The other night, I was scrolling through my Pinterest feed and saw a couple of pins from my friend Jenny featuring women wearing chambray shirts over white tees and black leggings. One was captioned “no pants?” and the other, “again with the no pants?” And I feel her pain. Every day, I see girls with otherwise cute outfits, ruined by the lack of pants.
So let’s have a little clothing refresher, shall we? Leggings are not pants. Leggings are not pants. Leggings are not pants.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, there’s a way to wear leggings, and that way usually involves a tunic long enough to cover the upper thigh area, even with arms raised overhead. If your top is shorter than that, it’s too short. And the tops in these pins? Were too short.
But there’s hope. In the form of pants. Specifically, J.Crew Pixie pants. They’re skinny enough that they create the look of leggings, but they’re thick enough to wear as pants. Plus, they have a zipper, a defining quality of pants. Plus, the fabric has a kind of spanx-y quality that keeps everything pulled in, which, let’s all face it, leggings lack. Plus, unlike jeans or pants with straighter legs, the knees don’t bag when you’re wearing them with boots.
There’s a reason they’re named after something magical.
You read Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletters, right? They are fantastically, absurdly wonderful guides in how to live Gwyneth’s life to the fullest. It’s really not for us mortals, who have things like “bills” to “worry” about and occasionally indulge in cookies. But it’s fun, nonetheless, and sometimes there are really useful tips, like how to give yourself a blow-out.
Last week’s email was all about snacks, one of my favorite topics. You see, Gwynnie doesn’t really eat meals. She just snacks throughout the day. But unlike me, she’s snacking on zucchini fritti and bite size chicken caprese*. I mean, seriously, if she has enough time to make fried chicken canapes, she can make herself a sandwich.
Anyway. I snark, but there was a useful recipe in there: slow-baked kale chips. And, as it happened, I had just gotten a bunch of kale with the intention of chipifying them. The bunch of kale I got was big enough for two batches of chips, so I decided to do a little test. I figured Gwyneth’s technique (baking for an hour at 200 degrees) would either be exactly the same or far superior to Refinery 29′s technique (baking for 30 minutes at 300 degrees). And, yes, I get recipes from the same website where I get hair tips.
So what was the verdict? As with everything she touches, Gwyneth’s version was pretty fantastic. They were more consistently chip-like than the non-slow-baked version.
Of course they were.
*Um, yeah, I will totally make this the next time I have a party. Get excited, people.
A few weeks ago, I told you about Birchbox, where, for $10/month, you get a customized box of beauty samples. It’s amazing. I love it. It’s vastly improved my life.
I’d heard through the grapevine about similar services in other genres, if you will, of life necessities. But I never really bothered to look into them. I figured Netflix brought me movies, Birchbox brought me beauty and I figured I was set.
But when my friend Mindy told me about Stitchfix, I was intrigued. Apparently, it delivered to her friend G a romper that changed her life. Life-changing rompers? SIGN. ME. UP.
Unlike Birchbox, Stitchfix is a one-time $20 fee for the box of five items. If you like what you get, you can use that as a credit towards buying it. Otherwise, pack it all up and you’re out $20 for the experience. You fill out a general questionnaire about your size, your body type and your tastes. Hopefully you’ll love something in the box and maybe there will be something that pushes the edge for you.
Now, onto the juicy stuff: What I got.
1. A necklace
2. A mesh top
3. An open-knit sweater
4. A floral tunic
5. A dress
And what did I think? In all honesty, I hated it and I wish I hadn’t wasted my money. But, on the other hand, $20 isn’t that much money to satisfy my curiosity. I’ve spent much more on terrible Jane Fonda movies (I love you, Jane, but Georgia Rule was atrocious).
Buuuuuut, I’m absolutely the wrong person for this service.
See, I have a pretty good sense of what I like and what I don’t like, as well as a pretty restrictive dress code at work, where I occasionally get free clothing. Likewise, I have a hard time paying full price (minus $20) for something I’ll only wear on weekends, especially if my reaction is, “meh, it’s OK, for the things in my box.”
So who do I think it’s right for? If you’re in a style rut, I think it’s great. Likewise, if you have a job where you can wear what you want, it’s a fun way to add something unexpected to the mix. Same goes for people who want more clothes for the weekend and have trouble balancing style and trends. And if you’re a dedicated boutique shopper, it might help introduce you to new brands.
And what would I do if I worked for Stitchfix? Well, first off, I’d ask how old people are and/or how “mature” they like to dress. I’m in my late-20s and, well, I like to dress like that. The dress I received would look great on someone 10 years younger, but it was a dress for a girl and I’m not a girl anymore and don’t dress like one. I’d also pay closer attention to the opinions of the brands. I received two pieces from a brand I’m familiar with and dislike, for many reasons. It’s not my style, it’s a little young for me and I think the quality is out of line with the price. Nothing in my stitchfix did anything to change the opinion and, from their perspective, they wasted 40% of my box on something I warned them against.
Will I order a stitchfix again? Probably not, at least in the forseeable future.
I’ve always felt a connection to Anne Hathaway. It’s hard not to; I’ve been hearing comparisons to her ever since “The Princess Diaries” came out, prompting my friend Erin to proclaim, “She stole your essence!” And not only do we share big eyes and dark hair, but neither of us have managed to shake the, “Please, let me entertain you!” earnestness of our musical theater youth, even though we’re well into our 20s.
Which is why I feel a responsibility to call Annie out on her horrific shoe choices.
While Annie generally looks fine-to-great on the red carpet, thanks to the yeoman’s work of stylist Rachel Zoe, her street style generally leaves something to be desired, especially when it comes to her feet.
I get that she wants to be comfortable and casual, but, seriously, Annie, velcro sneakers? VELCRO? SNEAKERS!?
It’s time to stage an intervention.
The other day, while catching up with the Birchbox blog*, I came across a call for bloggers to write about combining neutrals with pops of neon (or neon with pops of neutral). While I realize that for me, this concept is known as “Tuesday,” it’s not something everyone is so quick to embrace. But the beauty of this trend is that it’s an easy–and cheap!–way to freshen up your existing classics and look trendy without looking like you’re trying too hard.
Thomas Wolfe once wrote that you can’t go home again, a phrase that has stymied philosophers and fashionistas for decades. Those words ring true for those of us who find ourselves headed back to the place we once called home, trying to impress those who are still there. It’s an existential crisis most effectively solved with high heels, shiny hair and outrageous jewelry.
Since I have a horrible habit of wearing boring clothes when getting together with old friends — and then feeling ashamed when pictures of those clothes end up on Facebook — I was determined to step it up when my high school reunion came around, an effort that quickly turned into brainstorming outfit ideas and generally annoying everyone around me. So when my friend Ashley needed to come up with some outfit ideas for an upcoming baby shower, I was more than happy to pay it forward.
Yesterday, I wrote about hot pink soft matte lip cream, and all you guys can talk about is a throwaway line about nail polish. FOCUS, PEOPLE.
So, yes, my general rule for nail polish colors is, “Would I wear it as a cardigan?” Which is to say, “Hey, crazy neon green nail polish, should I purchase you?” And the answer is, as it should be, no.
But what about pretty robins egg blue nail polish? In that instance, the answer was, “Well, not as a cardigan, but as a manicure, sure!”
Because I don’t really do pastels, as clothing. For one thing, I’m a Winter, and we do better in jewel tones, and for another, I am rather young looking, and pastels don’t help this. So pretty baby pinks, butter yellows and minty greens get to have fun as manicure colors, since they have no place in my wardrobe.
Nail polish is also a great way to dip a toe into crazy trends. Think you might like neon? Try a neon mani before dropping cash on a fluorescent sweater. Another way to tone down your polish? A matte top coat. It looks amazing over metallic polishes, too.
So, now that we’ve gotten that cleared up, go forth and explore the rainbow, my friends.