29 February 2008

Thank you.

A serious job is no excuse.

When I chose that name for this blog almost 15 months ago, I hadn't the slightest idea just how meaningful a mantra it would become for so many women.

Or for myself.

I started ASJiNE for two primary reasons, the first of which was to raise awareness among women, most notably those in the overachieving professional crowd, that placing daily priority on putting together a smart, figure flattering, venue appropriate look was a critical component in achieving their professional goals.

Not more critical than the graduate degree, not as critical as the gets-along-with-the-guys quick wit, but still, critical.

The second reason was a selfish one - to build up a body of writing in an area in which I had enormous passion but absolutely no rightful claim, no pedigree, no legitimacy; my writing here would serve as my entry into an industry everyone in my life knows is the one in which I was meant to make my most meaningful professional mark.

Over the past few weeks, I've grown increasingly sure that my value-added on the first front has run its course. As I wrote in a recent post, I can only write so many scathing reviews of block heels, French manicures (and pedicures) and be-tanktopped chunky upper-arms before my "shtick" becomes predictable and my persuasiveness loses its punch.

And on the second front, well, there are some big changes a comin' in your Editrix's life, and these are changes that will require a good deal more of her time than her current blogging schedule allows.

So this is a bit awkward and more than a bit unexpected, but I think today, a day we see only once every four years, is the perfect time for me to cap the lip balm on this venture and bid all of you adieu.

Thank you to everyone who read, commented, e-mailed, and especially to those whose public personal attacks taught me the difference between hateful words that matter and hateful words best used for e-mail fodder among girlfriends.

I'll miss this. I really will.


p.s. one more thing, the consignment event will definitely still move forward but under the sole guidance of the lovely Maria -- please check out her blog, Righteous (re)Style, for any and all updates pertaining thereto.

28 February 2008

If I had a sugar daddy...

Silk chiffon jeweled blouse by Castle Starr
$400 at basicboutique.com

Since I don't (yet)

Button back bib-front blouse by Asos
£25 at asos.com

Eye candy of the week

Kudos to Brooke for finally sitting me down and showing me this new clip for next month's premiere of "The Hills". Just like my love for Audrina's love for Justin Bobby, Monday nights at C's cozy AdMo abode will live once again!

How would I rock a pair of dramatic dress trousers at a black-tie event? You're lookin' at my answer right here. Minus the "Brian [Austin Green]" tattoo, of course.
To borrow a term from the ladies over at GFY, this ravishing redhead (Teen Vogue's Accessories Director, Taylor Tomasi Hill) at the Tuileries yesterday creates the ultimate in 'lady cum tramp' scroll-down chic. Holy legs, Batman!

I've always liked men's watches far more than women's, but this one -'The Motif'- from longtime favorite line Nixon, is making me reconsider that preference. So very pretty, no?

We all fawned over Penelope's feather-bedecked Chanel Haute Couture gown on the red carpet, but how many got to see the second dress in which she stepped out for the many Oscar after parties? Penny's always been a favorite of mine, because she's one of the few beauties who can pull off the smolder and the cute with a quick dress change and hair tousle.

Before the unfortunate bang chop. Sorry, but that's all I can think about here. That and how HRL would snap this black and gold banded skirt up in less than a New York minute and then, in all honesty, ask me, "Really, you think it's '80s?"

I just want to see these new ruffled Prada runway pumps in person. Just to touch. Okay, maybe to wear, too, but only to work.

I can finally die happy knowing a benevolent soul and not some horrid socialite earned the honor of wearing the $14,500 Proenza Schouler cocktail dress. You say serving food to the hungry, I say serving Vogue to the fashion hungry. It's all charity in God's eyes.

I get in this same exact 'J' position after crunches and before prison push-ups, but aside from the sultry look and feelin'-for-progress hand placement, the similarities end there. Oh Katie Moss, no matter how old or drugged up you get, you'll always be the most glamorous chick in the coop.

27 February 2008

Right down the street!

Yours, my and everyone else's favorite fashion photog, Scott Schuman, will soon show his super successful 'Sartorialist' exhibit two blocks from where I'm currently sitting (!) at the Adamson Galleries, located at 1515 14th St., NW.

According to his own announcement, a selection of street-style prints will be on display in the Logan Circle space from 15 March through 26 April.

I'll keep you posted on any further developments...

If I had a sugar daddy...

Silk houndstooth 'cascade' skirt by L.A.M.B.
$225 at saks

Since I don't (yet)

High-waisted silk pencil skirt by Teri Jon
$107.95 at nordstrom.com

I'm gonna have to borrow that

It was seven years ago this past Sunday when a then more Angelina Angelina Jolie snubbed Oscar's evening gown tradition and stole one of the night's top style slots with her unexpected white Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo and slicked back chignon.

Now, I don't much remember the acrylic French tips or Uncle Eddie slip-ons, but I choose to chalk those egads up to a combination of just having left the '90s and Miss Thing probably kicking off her heels in the limo during her and Billy Bob's "good luck" ritual only to accidentally grab his albino eelskin kicks by mistake on her way out.

But anyway, back to that unorthodox red carpet selection we were discussing...

I loved it then, I love it now, and I really love that at an Oscar after-party this year, Sharon Stone took a day off from torturing the people at PETA (rat paw brooches don't count, right?) to honor a look we see far too infrequently on the red carpet.

As I've professed too many times to link you to, whether it be January or June, Tuesday afternoon or Saturday night, with my parents in Michigan or out with my ladies in the District, I am a skirt and dress only kinda girl. Aside from the three pairs of jeans in red, black and blue hanging neatly in the back of my closet that are liberated really only when the dry-cleaning schedule and my wardrobe rotation hit an unforeseen snag, the only two-legged items in my non-workout wardrobe are the many, many pairs of opaque tights clogging the top three drawers of my poor, dickered dresser.

You'll share in my surprise, then, when I discovered that the singular trend, color, collection, piece or person that has most influenced me this past month was none other than the dramatic dress trouser (DDT).

To be honest, the reason why I spent the majority of my shopping time in New York two weekends ago fruitlessly trying on pair after pair of high-waisted black tuxedo trousers is more rooted in my being attracted to the drama a DDT entrance offers its wearer than anything else.

I know, I know, many of you are probably reading this and thinking, "Wow, dress pants. That's exciting," but believe me when I tell you how rare it is to find a woman, celebrity or otherwise, who is willing to go this route in a formal situation. Rarer still is to find one who does so and executes it well. Designers and boutique owners recognize this reticence among women and design and stock accordingly each season. I didn't draw up metrics on this, but I'm confident in asserting that after clicking through nearly every designer's most recent RTW collection and squinting through every "Look of the Day" thumbnail from InStyle from today back through last July, there is at most one pair of black-tie worthy dress trousers for every 15-20 similarly formal gowns.

These odds don't mean, however, any woman wearing any ol' pair of black pants at a formal event is destined to make it into the ranks of the best-dressed simply by virtue of her having taken a risk. In fact, in my opinion, it is much more difficult to assemble a great outfit of this sort than it is to choose a great dress. With the former, one has to worry about the blouse and/or jacket, the super tall heel (don't even think about wearing flats here) and choosing an equally dramatic hair and makeup palette around which the final product will be tied. With a dress, really what it comes down to for most women is (1) is it pretty? (2) is it comfortable? and (3) will it make me look thinner?

After summoning the courage to set the skirt aside at the next social function on your calendar, the first challenge is to find the right pair of DDTs, a task I now know is a whole lot easier in theory than it is in practice. If you're an online shopper like I almost exclusively am, the process becomes frustrating fast. Typical mid-priced dress trouser haunts like J. Crew, Banana Republic and Club Monaco are much more often misses than hits because nothing in their inventories qualifies as anything dressier than office-wear. Your best bet to find the cuts and fabrics meant for fancy evenings out are in boutiques, department stores and high-end vintage stores. If money were no object, I'd shoo you over to Relish in Cady's Alley or Nordstrom in Tysons Galleria.

In my current recuperative state, I don't foresee any opportunity in the near future to debut the dress trousers of my (adjusted for financial situation) dreams, which is probably a good thing, considering I haven't cut enough budget corners in the past two months to appropriate them.

In the meantime, if I might tempt some of you into ditching the cocktail dress you planned to wear to your next best friend's wedding for something a bit more unconventional...

Oscar de la Renta RTW
Fall 2008
Barbara Tfank RTW
Spring 2008
Bill Blass RTW
Spring 2008

Givenchy Haute Couture
Spring 2008
Charlize Theron
Hedi Slimane for Dior Homme

26 February 2008

If I had a sugar daddy...

Raw silk three-button bolero by Akris Punto
$895 at saks.com

Since I don't (yet)

Short-sleeve cropped jacket by Top Shop
£35 at topshop.com

24 February 2008

Still down for the count...

Despite yesterday's feeble attempts at existing, I am sorry to report I am still quite near the precipice of death and thus won't be joining you today or probably even tomorrow for our regularly schedule blog posts.

For serious, if you don't believe me, ask any one of my friends who had the displeasure of hearing the emphysema-plus-bronchitis-plus-Demi-Moore tenor of my voice at any point during the past 96 hours.

Not pretty.

Anyhoo, enough about me (and that means no more text messages with photos of my thermometer under self-pitying subject headings like "boo :-("), while I'm away please to check out all the prettiness going on in Paris this week and the links at right I've labeled "inspiring irreverence" -- particularly the most recent addition, an often witty, always spot-on, brand new blog plainly named, "Stuff White People Like."

I laughed particularly hard at numbers 28, 47 and 63.

Oh, and number 20, of course. So true!

A final tip of the hat to Jon Stewart's only funny quip of the Oscar broadcast -- his deadpan-delivered praise of Cate Blanchett, an actress whose range is so wide, he waxed, she even played the role of the pitbull that attacked Josh Brolin in No Country For Old Men.

Funny stuff.

staying away for real this time,

The good, the bad, the where-the-hell-are-they?

Waiting (im)patiently for photographs to emerge online, but for sure, my favorites, not so favorites and biggest question marks (so far) of the night, include:

(1) Portia de Rossi in a nude, perfectly draped Lanvin confection (at an after-party)
(2) Rosamund Pike in a one-shouldered, butter-hued Roland Mouret column gown
(3) Keri Russell in a nude, very structured, strapless Nina Ricci dress (the ball-gown bottom overlooked because of those tremendous shoulders!)

(1) Sarah Larson in the pastel floral Valentino gown Shania Twain almost wore in the "You've got a way" video
(2) Cameron Diaz, ponytailed and tan-lined, in a very wrinkled strapless Dior gown
(3) Daniel Day Lewis' wife in...(gape mouthed)...uh...I'm not quite sure... (her dress later identified as Christian Lacroix Haute Couture)

Where the hell are they?
(1) Penelope Cruz (found! she arrived late in a black, feathery strapless Chanel number!)
(2) Nicole Kidman (found! she also arrived late in black but with straps and an ice storm around her neck)

(1) Best: Jennifer Garner (sideswept, asymmetric shy-eye bangs -- an unfussy up-'do)
(2) Worst: Katherine Heigl (think the 'body wave' all our Moms sported in the '80s)

Love the neckline, "eh" on the rest

Debuting what looks to be the color of the evening, Ms. Heidi Klum goes Texas pageant big on the red carpet with this one-of-a-kind John Galliano designed gown.

Not loving the hair (too Winehouse) and not loving much from the waist-down (too Beyoncé), but honestly, this woman is one of the few who could walk around in Uggs and a denim mini and still look charming.

If I could, I would pare the four bolts of expanding red taffeta down to one and a half - enough for a slim-fit cut that hits just past the knees, offering the very in-shape Mommy of three a still very sophisticated, still very eye-catching, yet markedly less Alexis-Carrington-at-a-Christmas-gala silhouette.

Oooh, I see that Hannah Montana has finally arrived! Let's hope she channeled age appropriateness!

This is what we call a "warm-up"

Let me be clear, no matter what I'm about to say during the outfit deconstruction of ASJiNE favorite Sienna Miller at the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica last night, I am over the moon to have seen this recently elusive London doll make it onto the traditional Oscar Eve blue carpet.

Relieved is more like it, actually.

I do love myself a good indie flick -it's no coincidence I live within walking distance of here- but it's not Miller's "Interview" nod or her appearance therefor that lured me out of my den of sick and got me typing. Believe it or not, it's not even her could it be any more me? textured halter-neck Monique Lhuillier LBD, her sunny glow or her fresh, nothing-but-mascara (looking) makeup palette.

No, what's really got my still seriously feverish body all a-gleeful is that one of my non-Oscar-nominated, non-Oscar-presenting style stars is in the vicinity of Hollywood the night before O-Day.

In other words, here is the evidence I need to be assured that later on tonight, I'll for sure see Ms. Miller walk the real Hollywood carpet, the one that shares the shade of Marilyn's pout, Rita's locks and Vivian's dress.

As for Sienna's overall look here, I'm not such a big fan. To begin, the dress is a size too big, and not just in one or two alter-able regions but everywhere. Then there's the clutch, whose combination of seafoam and alligator smacks of Mommy-dress-up to me. And the ankle-strap pumps? Upmarket though they surely are, they seem awfully dated, more than a tad too boardroom, and just plain ol' mismatched for a flirty, Chantilly-overlay cocktail frock.

All that aside, the most frustrating and unforgivable offense is Sienna's violation of the cardinal rule of the showpiece neckline with those unruly, undone beach waves of hers.

If the strep throat demons hadn't stripped me of my voice, you better believe I'd be more than mouthing, "PULL IT BACK!" at my screen right now.

For more snaps of Sienna in her pretty but ill-fitted dress, Working Girl shoes, Easter sermon clutch and disrespectful hair at the IFC Awards, see below:

23 February 2008

If I had a sugar daddy...

High-waisted trousers by 3.1 Phillip Lim
$318 at shopamiami.com

Since I don't (yet)

City-fit wool-stretch trousers by J. Crew
$145 at jcrew.com

22 February 2008

If I had a sugar daddy...

Medim 'Heloise' lambskin satchel by Chloé
€1095 at luisaviaroma.com

Since I don't (yet)

Ruched vinyl tote by Simply Vera, Vera Wang
$99 at kohls.com

Dangblasted shoddy $20 Kroger flu shot!

(I call this look, "Every side is my good side, Mr. Oscar")

My fewer than five hours of sleep a night streak, refusal to recognize the merits of a Winter-appropriate sleeve length and tights-are-tantamount-to-trousers attitude have finally caught up with me.

Every sick symptom you can think of, I've got it and I've got it bad.

I tried to analyze through the fever and wit my way through the chills, but after an hour of writing the flattest and most flat-out tedious comparison between the ultimate work pump and the ultimate older man, I had no choice but to admit defeat and trade my Indian-style sit and MacBook Pro for a couch crash and "Entrapment" on HBO.

A girl's gotta rest for the three plus hours of real-time blogging during her absolute favorite event of the year, don't you know.

So unfortunately for me, I have to spend an entire Friday (and likely tomorrow, too) in oversized sweats drinking tea instead of coffee and wanting so very badly to exercise but knowing if I tried I'd end up teeth first into the treadmill belt.

But fortunately for you -or for those of you who come here because you actually enjoy me- the nice editor Em over at DC Goodwill Fashionista has chosen today as the day to post my 'Blog the Blogger' profile, so if you want to read my answers to her "soon-to-be Famous Five (plus one)" questions, click on over to her stylish slice of the Interwebs here and check it out.

sleep long and well, ditch the sleeveless dresses 'til Spring and give pants a try,

21 February 2008

If I had a sugar daddy...

'Luzia' slash-pocket wool coat by Mackage
$550 at ssense.com

Since I don't (yet)

Donegal tweed walking coat by Guess?
unfortunately, this item is no longer available online

Eye candy of the week

She may drink her own breast milk and be the kind to leave a Post-It in her friend's apartment reminding her to recycle, but with her asymmetrically shaved pixie and super lean runway frame, 24 year old Claire from NYC was the easy choice to be my prized pony for this, the tenth (!) installment of "America's Next Top Model."

Here, a video introduction:

It's so true what they say about typecasting. Luke Perry and Jennie Garth have grown up, gotten married, raised children, ridden bulls and danced the cha-cha-cha, but try as I may, these two together, even at some random event called "Chevy Rocks!", will always make me think first and foremost of Kelly's face after Brenda skewered her (in front of Dylan!) with the classic, "I was always taught that if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck…"

HRL, take note, Rihanna at last night's Brit Awards is your eye makeup blueprint for my "Jumpsuit Mandatory" birthday celebration. Tick tock, woman, get to practicing!

After enduring four straight days of not being able to avoid Lindsay Lohan's painfully unsexy attempt at recreating Marilyn's "Last Sitting" (not to mention her mother's insufferable interviews pertaining thereto), I've come up with an idea.

How about we take this young curvy thing here...
And make some Jayne Mansfield magic?
My favorite photo of Scott's this week captured all that I love about a well-dressed man: fitted, formal, polished and neat. The yellow accent of eccentricity, the silvery tousle and the Gucci boutique backdrop certainly don't hurt, either...

After I figure out the genesis behind Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi's decision to anoint themselves "6267," I'm going to place at the tippy top of my wishlist their breathtaking take on the perfect formal showpiece coat.Or at least let it share top billing with this front-draped, skinny-cinched Bottega Veneta sheath...
...and this tiered one-sleeve Marni blouse peeking out from under this structured coat, which, if there's room, I might slide somewhere else in my top 10.
I know presidential politics are and should be rooted in substance, but let's suspend reason for a second and imagine how cool it would be if our First Family looked like this instead of this?

My ticket on the Megan Fox Express has long since expired -she's just too one-dimensional is what it comes down to- but holy wow, that's one hard to miss rib tatt she's got there. I don't really care what it says (if you do, click here), I'm just in awe of a woman with that little protective fat who chose the most painful part of the body on which to have a needle create not just a small fairy or the Chinese character for "serenity" but something of the that-must've-taken-a-good-45-minutes variety. Color me impressed, MegFo.