Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving thanks

Thanksgiving just might be the most American holiday there is (okay, except for Independence Day), but the concept behind it is quite universal. I have to say that I love the idea of a holiday where I get to reflect back on my year and give thanks for all my blessings. One could argue that giving thanks should be a daily occurrence, and I wholeheartedly agree. However, to know that on this one day, millions of people are thankful for their blessings...well there's nothing better than that!

Even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving or if you celebrate it nontraditionally (my family always goes out for a Chinese food banquet), it's a great day to write out what you are thankful for, and to count your blessings.

I'm thankful for...
a family that may be flawed but still sticks together, God's grace, fabulous friends that I could never get bored of, the privilege of attending an academic institution where I am constantly challenged, beautiful fashion spreads, being on two amazing cheerleading squads, eggnog lattes, cozy food such as baked potatoes with sour cream and chives, crispy freeze-dried fruit to snack on, fond memories that make me blush and giggle, the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday), and the ability to grow and learn from my mistakes.

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Holiday discounts for you!

I came across a wonderful collection of holiday sale discounts, and my first instinct was to share them with lovelies like yourself. Enjoy the holiday haul; you deserve it irregardless of whether you've been naughty or nice.

Stila Cosmetics Warehouse Sale
Banana Republic
Gucci
Victoria's Secret
Bath and Body Works
Aldo
Lord and Taylor
Aeropostale
H&M
Sharper Image

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Miss Couturable

Monday, November 19, 2007

Black Friday -- hello to the holidays

I love lists; whether it's for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, Christmas shopping, birthday wishlists, back-to-school supplies -- I will make a list for any time I go shopping. I need to prioritize before I go shopping, otherwise I'll be out of control when there's a sale.
So what are my must-buys for Black Friday 2008? Anything high-quality, sophisticated yet kooky, and hopefully slightly old-fashioned. I dress by the rule that every occasion is a reason to dress up, and I definitely appreciate it when I see someone else dressed nicely for a common day occasion. Doesn't that make you want to spread some holiday cheer too?

Black Friday must-buys for impeccably-dressed ladies
  1. A slightly dressy coat, preferably in a bright color and with ruffles. I have a white wool peacoat from J.Crew, a gray coat from Kenneth Cole, and a black cropped coat from Erin Fetherston for Target; obviously I have my monochromatic colors covered. Now is the time for a playful purple coat to brighten up the darkening gray skies.
  2. Cozy sweater tights so that I can still wear my heels and flats with dresses to school in the winter. White is a staple, but I'm looking for patterned ones too.
  3. Rainy day skimmers to replace those clunky wellies and platform wedges that have become rainy day wardrobe staples. Imagine wearing these gorgeous ladylike flats to school without frost-bitten toes!
  4. Headbands, of course. Particularly ones with jewels or bows; I can't resist them when I see them! It's the simplest and one of the most chicest ways to dress up your hair.
  5. Pretty and simple day dresses that can be worn without tights in the summertime too! I absolutely love wearing dresses to school and I think it's very appropriate too, even if everyone else is bedecked in Seven jeans and Juicy velour hoodies. People will take you much more seriously (including teachers!), and heads will turn in the hallways.
  6. Soothing lip balm to prevent chapped lips. Trust me, I'm finally learning the importance of maintaining soft lips. My lips are so chapped from the cold that I can't even drink hot apple cider without cringing in pain! If there's a sale for lip balm, I'm stocking up.
  7. Floppy satin hairbows á la Brigitte Bardot. All you have to do is visit your local fabric or craft store and stock up on thick satin ribbons. Tie it anywhere you want in your hair; it doesn't have to frame a ponytail!
These are the top seven things I will be looking for this Friday, but I know I'm always going to buy something that isn't on my organized list. Isn't finding unexpected gems the most fun part of shopping? Black Friday will hopefully open up a very stylish holiday season for all of us!

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Miss Couturable

Erin Fetherston: renewing my affection for Target

I used to love Target back in 4th grade when they sold Powerpuff Girls t-shirts and fluorescent shirts with 'witty' sayings on them. After that phase, I lost all interest in Target, including the GO International Campaign. However, one look at the Erin Fetherson ad in Teen Vogue and I knew I had to get the red heart-shaped tote.
Even though it was 7pm and I was still in complete cheer uniform and glitter make-up from my competition, I dashed to my local Target in search of this elusive tote. After being directed to the Sporting Goods department by a clueless associate, I found out that it has not arrived at that particular Target yet. However, I will be calling everyday to ask for it, because it is scheduled to arrive soon. Too whimsical and Alice in Wonderland to not have!

I did however, find some other fabulous Erin Fetherston pieces...
A fabulously crafted cropped coat with 3/4 length bubble sleeves and a giant asymmetrical bow.

Blue jumper with velvet heart straps and big velvet heart pocket.

Who would have thought that a designer from Berkeley, land of Birkenstocks, could produce such whimsical sophistication?

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Miss Couturable

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Completely hooked with fashion mags


Happy Thanksgiving break, for those of you like me who are fortunate enough to have next week off for the holidays!
As an appropriate conclusion to my week, I visited the corporate offices of Nirvana Style Magazine, a high-glossy eastern meets western women's fashion magazine as president of my school's fashion club. While I've done some work related to fashion, this was my first time visiting an actual fashion magazine office.
It's a small magazine (although 6,000 subscribers is pretty good!), and while the office was a spacious suite in the back of a business building, it contained a photo studio, make-up studio, and green room. The CEO, fashion/style editor, and publisher of the magazine met with my club and spoke to us about the fashion magazine business.
We even got to see the cover samples before they come in print!

I am hooked and in love with the fashion magazine business, and this trip just solidified my desire to work in the fashion magazine industry someday. In addition to building contacts (I plan to apply for an internship there during the school year very soon), the magazine staff offered to set my club up with Colleen Quen, a couture designer who has appeared on "America's Next Top Model" and makes fabulous kimono dresses, as well as inviting us to volunteer at future magazine fashion events and parties.

I started off this week with no greater desire than to sleep and do nothing, but this trip to Nirvana Style has left me with the energy and motivation to reach for stilletoed skies again. I swear, I could feel my blood rushing just standing inside the office.

Fabulous plans for Thanksgiving Break:
  1. Compete at 2-day cheerleading competition.
  2. Shop till I drop (or go broke) on Black Friday.
  3. "Bring it On!" movie marathon with cheer squad.
  4. Karaoke with some of my best friends.
  5. Apply for Nirvana Style internship.
  6. Read two new books while drinking green tea in bed.
  7. Plan out east coast trip for college visits and summer internship interviews.
  8. Bake a cake; decorate it with too much frosting (whipped cream frosting, that is).
  9. Spend quality time with my family.
What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

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Miss Couturable

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Words like 'copying' and 'knockoff' do not exist in my life"


Marc Jacobs (left) versus Forever 21 (right)
Fashion designers take on pirates
Emili Vesilind, Los Angeles Times
November 11th, 2007

The vendors on Santee Alley are going underground with the good stuff -- the $300 knockoff designer handbags so close to the real thing, they could fool an Hermès salesgirl.

[...]

"There is no counterfeiting without design piracy," designer Diane von Furstenberg said in an interview at her Beverly Hills estate. "It's counterfeiting without the label."

As the president of the New York-based Council of Fashion Designers, a nonprofit trade organization, Von Furstenberg is backing a bill pending in the Senate that would amend the Copyright Act. Dubbed the Design Piracy Prohibition Act, it would extend the protections in fashion design beyond artwork to encompass "the appearance as a whole" (the cut and silhouette) of an article for three years.

[...]

Indeed, some of Los Angeles' most established fashion companies have good reason to hope the bill falls short. Companies such as Bebe, ABS by Allen Schwartz and Forever 21 regularly cull design "inspiration" from New York's runways, and if passed, the legislation may greatly curb this practice. Additionally, many of the West Coast's biggest fashion exports fall into the denim and sportswear categories, genres that are less concerned with silhouette and shape than they are with flashy branding and artwork -- elements already protected under current laws.

[...]

Von Furstenberg, for one, said the bill wouldn't restrict designers from latching onto major trends in fashion, only deter them from copying looks verbatim. "It's like locking your door," she said. "Once people know you have locks, they won't try it."

[...]

Ilse Metchek, executive director of the California Fashion Assn., a nonprofit organization based in downtown Los Angeles, called pattern-making "a craft, not an art. There is only so much you can do with a silhouette, a collar, a drape. For the little designers who have that one great idea and it's knocked off -- well, welcome to the real world, guys. Make another one."

[...]

Johnson Hartig, designer and co-founder of Libertine (which recently settled a suit against Los Angeles-based ABS by Allen Schwartz for allegedly copying designs -- which Schwartz denied), said, "I love the bill theoretically, but I don't think it will ever work. I think it's next to impossible to enforce any of this." He added, "Some of the biggest designers would be in court every other week for knocking off other people."

Copycats have always been a thorn in the side of fashion designers, but never more so than today -- with fast-fashion retailers including Forever 21, H&M and Zara churning out lower-priced versions of runway looks.

"Everyone has style now and everyone wants it immediately," Hartig said. "That's just our culture now."

[...]

"This act is a double-edge sword, because designers think they're going to be able to protect themselves from knock-off artists, but they are going to have to make absolutely sure there is pure, unadulterated originality in everything they do," he said. "Wouldn't anyone run afoul of things eventually?"

Kal Raustiala, a professor at UCLA with a specialty in international law, wrote a paper on the subject with University of Virginia law professor Christopher Sprigman titled "The Piracy Paradox" that's become a hot-button document for both sides.

The paper contends that piracy is actually good for the fashion industry, as it promotes creativity through copying.

"That's the genius of the fashion industry," said Raustiala during a phone interview. "The act of copying by diffusing ideas promotes more innovation at the top." When a coveted fashion item is created, Raustiala said, it's everywhere in six months or a year -- a good thing in terms of propelling trends forward.

[...]

Still, the idea of democratizing fashion is a potent -- and often convincing -- platform for fashion's most infamous copyists. Allen Schwartz, founder of the Los Angeles-based brand ABS by Allen Schwartz, has made the talk-show rounds on TV, flashing knockoffs of red carpet dresses that he sells for a song. Though his business is no longer centered on creating designer replicas, his opposition to the pending bill is a no-brainer.

"Words like 'copying' and 'knockoff' do not exist in my life," Schwartz said. "If a long gown is worn by Nicole Kidman, that was a gown that Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1950s. And that dress is a copy of something that came before it."

A passionate believer in egalitarianism in fashion, Schwartz added, "When you talk about this, it hits a nerve for me. It's based on such an elitist attitude."
While fashion designers have a complete right in worrying about their designs and the cheap copies that destroy the exclusivity of their pieces, just imagine what the masses would have to resort to wearing if we couldn't attain a Tory Burch lookalike pair of ballet flats or a Chloe-inspired shift dress. Will we all have to resort to wearing only Abercrombie-esque logo t-shirts and cardigans because we're banned from high fashion? I'd have to learn how to sew.

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Miss Couturable

Friday, November 9, 2007

Can't leave home without one

You know you're getting close to your mommy when she finally buys you accessories that follow your taste. Fashion is very intimate, and I think it says something when you and your mom can buy things for each other and truly enjoy it.
Especially recently, she has taken a fancy to buying me headbands whenever she gets the chance to shop. Since August, I have rarely stepped out of my house without a headband for every occasion. Bows, plaid, jewels, flowers, buckles: I have them all, but for some reason I always choose the ones with bows.. My mommy likes to call it my "Audrey Hepburn mentality", because I'm a prim and proper dresser. Throwing outfits together is so not my thing. Or at least, wearing a headband decreases the likelihood of looking like I threw my outfit together 30 minutes before class.
This Cara Couture headband is so classic; updates on the satin bow are charming and adaptable for a variety of situations. Cocktail party? Afternoon tea? Quick dash to class? Black satin with pearls totally has you covered.

Need a little more color? These skinny crystal-accented headbands from Tasha add a little sparkle and shine to your hair.

Perfect for strolling through that winter wonderland! The delicate crystal snowflake would look so perfect with a snug winter coat.Another bow headband, this time with delicate rhinestone trim and a demure little bow. My favorite one so far!
A clever twist on the bow is this vintage-inspired gold leaf headband, which definitely exudes a 1920s look.

Too expensive?
But this Forever 21 satin bow headband for only $2.80 and decorate it with your own rhinestones!

Please, let's tidy our outfits up a little more with a headband...there's so many varieties nowadays so stock up on these classics!

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Miss Couturable

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The prettiest things in life

I've been MIA for about a month, and I wish I could say it is because I was busy with spending quality time with my family or organizing a wonderful charity fashion show to save the world, but the truth is, I was just being selfish this whole time. The past month or so, I have only thought of myself. My primary concerns were school, meeting deadlines for yearbook, meeting deadlines for work, winning at competitions for cheer, and picking out new outfits. I love being busy, but living a continuous routine of nonstop stress and work everyday can make you lose sight of the truly beautiful things in life.
Last week, I volunteered at a Halloween festival for low-income families where I helped little kids make scarecrows. Sure, it was just scarecrow making and it was a small thing, but it was so worth it and lightened up my whole week. I'm a sucker for little kids (which is why I'm a volunteer for March of Dimes), but I also realized that the most refreshing and beautiful things in life aren't Chanel pumps or Balenciaga bags.

You can be stylish and do good for the world. I urge you to get out there some time this November and volunteer for a cause you really care about. We can be both couturable and caring. Beauty is love.

Not sure where to start?
My favorite causes/organizations are:
March of Dimes (save babies from prematurity and birth defects)
Look Good...Feel Better (help women and teens in cancer treatment with appearance-changes)
The Princess Project (help teens who cannot afford prom dresses to attain one for their special night--links will also direct you to similar projects if you don't live near San Francisco)

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Miss Couturable