Sunday, September 2, 2012

Almost Famous

A few weeks ago, a photographer from The New York Times came to my office to take pictures to accompany a story that was going to run in its August 15th edition. The story focused on Puneet Mehta, my business partner, and a past effort to get a marketing company up and running. Local Marketing, Inc., our current company, was mentioned only briefly toward the end of the article.

I knew that being included in the photo was a definite long shot, but like any fashionista, I had to thoroughly prepare for the possibility.

Shoshanna Plum Sateen Dress and Kate Spade Slingback Pumps

I decided I wanted to wear one of my favorite, flattering and most professional dresses for the photo shoot, so I chose the Shoshanna Plum Sateen Pleated Cap Sleeve Dress. I absolutely adore this dress for its beguiling color, waist-enhancing silhouette, and simple cap sleeves that slim the arm.

The dress in this plum color is no longer available, but here's the same dress in a pink floral pattern: Shoshanna Hibiscus Jacquard Charlotte Plated Dress.

I paired the dress with my (current) favorite pair of work shoes: the Kate Spade Celeste Slingback Pumps in black leopard. These Kate Spade shoes are still available online at in a different color, and you can find the same color in just a few sizes (and on sale, too) at Eve's Apple.

If you like this dress, I've found a few others online that have a similar silhouette, so I hope you will check them out if you are in the market for a new addition to your closet:

Cusp: Shoshanna Allison Tweed Dress

Saks Fifth Avenue: Shoshanna Metallic Jacquard Dress

ShopBop: Shoshanna Antonia Print Dress

Nordstrom: Tahari Belted Dress (Petites) -- on sale!

Bluefly:  Calvin Klein Cap Sleeve Belted Dress --under $100

Happy shopping!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Homegrown Fashion

Wearing the Nanette Lepore Cosmic Crepe Dress
The fashion world is definitely not without its controversies. One major topic that seems at the top of everyone's lists this summer is over high-end, American fashion designers outsourcing their clothing manufacturing, resulting in lost American jobs and revenue. Made in the U.S.A.? Made in China is more like it.

Even the Ralph Lauren-designed Team USA Summer 2012 Olympic uniforms turned out to be produced overseas. While that fact certainly did not cast a pallor over the Olympic Games -- though, it seems to me, that if any one item of clothing is made here, the Team USA Olympic uniform should be it -- it did turn up the heat on American designers who choose profit over patriotism.

It also got me thinking about my own closet, and what items gracing my shelves are made more cost efficiently outside the United States. It turns out... a lot.

Of course, a few of those labels make a point to produce as much clothing as possible in the United States, in areas like New York City's famed Garment District. Nanette Lepore is one of the most outspoken designers on her stance to keep her clothing made in the U.S.A. She appeared on an episode of Project Runway All-Stars, and part of the challenge for the designers involved factoring in the cost of American production when making their creations. She also talked to CNN earlier this summer about her outrage over the Team USA Olympic uniforms:

My friend, Taryn, actually brought this issue to my attention a few years ago, when we bonded over our love of Nanette Lepore clothing. She told me that she purchased a top, knowing full well that Nanette Lepore's clothes were made in NYC, and discovered later that the label read "Made in China." She was outraged, and wrote a letter to the company to tell them so. What is shocking is that she actually received a reply. The truth was, they told her, if her top had been produced here, then it would have cost so much money most people would not have been able to afford it. That broke my heart.

A recent article in the NY Daily News highlighted the issue of American clothing manufacturing as well, showing that Nanette Lepore isn't the only designer who is making an effort to bring clothing manufacturing back to the United States. Shoshanna, another of my favorite designers, also produces some of her clothing here. It's not a giant leap, but it's at least a first step.

Nanette Lepre Cio Cio San Dress with BCBGMaxAxria Sandals

I've highlighted just two of the Nanette Lepore dresses in my closet on this post. If you're interested in shopping for Nanette Lepore clothing, shop her website, Each product page, like this one, shows where the item was made, and most of them proudly boast, "Made in New York City."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Life's a Peach!

One of my favorite designers is Shoshanna Lonstein Gruss.  (Before she became famous as a designer, you may have known her as Jerry Seinfeld's 17-year-old girlfriend. He dated her for a chunk of the 90s.) The dresses she designs are beautifully cut, well made, and almost always exhibit my favorite combination of classy and feminine. Plus, they are designed for women with realistic proportions (hips and boobs). As she explains on her website:

"I found that there were not any wearable, beautiful clothes out there for someone with my body type. I could never find a halter dress or strapless top that offered support for women who usually need to wear a bra. That experience inspired me to create the pieces that make up the core of my collection." --Shoshanna

I have a good number of Shoshanna dresses in my closet, though I always have to buy them on sale. Bluefly usually has a good collection of her designs, and you can also find them on Lord & Taylor, Saks and, to name just a few stores that carry her line. (She also designs some beautiful bathing suits and bikinis.)

This peach dress, the Shoshanna Coral Stretch Ponte Cap Sleeve Dress, is currently sold out, but is one of my favorite work dresses. I love its simple yet elegant look, and the peach-coral color really pops. It's especially great to wear during the Spring and Summer months when that color really works - and when you have tanned skin to serve as a nice contrast.

Shoshanna Dress with Kate Spade Shoes

I wore the dress on our recent trip to Italy - during a night out in Milan - and also several times to the office.

If the dress looks familiar, there may be a reason why. The dress was seen on Leah Michelle's character, Rachel Berry, on Glee, as well as on actress Gabrielle Union at an event last year. Who do you think wore it best?

Actress Gabrielle Union in Shoshanna
I have compiled a few dresses that are similar to this dress if you love the look - the fit and flare style is very 50s... and very on trend at the moment:

Calvin Klein Short Sleeve Dress - Macy's

Kate Spade New York Jane Dress - Bloomingale's

Emily & Fin Too Much Fun Dress in Bubbles - ModCloth

Calvin Klein Pleated A-Line Dress - Macy's

Shoshanna Red Brittany Dress - Saks Fifth Avenue

Nanette Lepore Modernista Dress - Saks Fifth Avenue

Shoshanna Clementine Dress - Cusp

Happy shopping!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wooed by Wu

Ever since Jason Wu emerged onto the scene with his stunning gown for Michelle Obama at the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Ball, I have been a huge fan of his work. He has a fresh style that manages to be both feminine and classy, whether it's a wear-to-work sheath dress or a gorgeous frock for a special occasion.

But his designs will cost you - usually several thousand dollars.

That's why I was so excited when he paired up with Target back in February 2012. I was there at my local Target store very early on Sunday morning, February 5th, 2012, so I could have my pick of the best styles in my size. I think I arrived at the store about 15 minutes after it opened - and even by then, everything had already been picked through. The one dress I wanted, a cute navy blue poplin dress with red and white accents, was no longer on the rack in the my size. I was so upset (disappointed).

Dress and Purse: Jason Wu for Target

I tried on a few things, and ended up with a purse and a shell in a fabulous aquamarine color that I knew I could wear under a suit. But THE DRESS eluded me. As I emerged from the dressing room with my new items, I spotted the dress on the rack of discards that hadn't yet made it back into the store. I quickly looked through the sizes... no size 4. But I would not give up hope yet!

I stood my ground, and a few more people came out with the dress, but not in my size. Finally... hope. A young woman came out of the dressing room with the dress, and I quickly saw it was in my size. However, another young woman had the same idea I'd had, and we reached the dress about the same time. I was adamant, though - I'd been standing there much longer than the other woman, and I wasn't about to give up that dress. I could see the sales girl wanting to side with the other woman, because I was very clear (and truthful) that I had been waiting there longer. I knew the sales girl had seen me, too. Finally, the other woman gave up, and the dress was mine. I grabbed it and ran to the register. I did not want to spend any more time there. I'm not a violent person, and I HATE confrontation, so that took a lot out of me. I guess you could say I just really wanted that dress.

In recent news, after the success of his Target collaboration, Jason Wu will be launching a new line called Miss Wu that will hit Nordstrom stores in January 2013. According to the news articles I read on the announcement, the line will start at about $195, which puts it much more in my price point that his high end, thousand-dollar designs. I am super excited to see what he will come up with for the lower priced line.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Check Out This Author

I've mentioned before on this blog how much I love to read, and one of my favorite authors is Australian Liane Moriarty. I recently finished her novel, The Hypnotist's Love Story, and if you are looking for a fun, fast read that's a perfect complement to poolside lounging - look no further.

Last year I wrote to Ms. Moriarty to tell her how much I enjoyed her 2011 novel, What Alice Forgot, and to my delight and surprise, she actually responded. So, like the dork I am at heart, I decided to write her again when I finished The Hypnotist's Love Story. And, again, she wrote me back. How cool is that?! I've included our recent correspondences below, and definitely check out all Ms. Moriarty's books on Amazon's Liane Moriarty Page.

Happy reading!

July 10, 2012

Dear Ms. Moriarty,

Hello! I don't know if you remember me, but I wrote to you last year while I was reading What Alice Forgot. I am such a huge fan of your writing, and eagerly awaited the publication of your latest novel in the US. In fact, I almost ordered it from an Australian site before it was even out here! I just finished it today, and it was another hit. I loved the character of Ellen - she was so real! - and it was interesting to see another side of a stalking case like that. I wasn't sure about Patrick and Ellen until the end, and then, of course, I'm glad they ended up together. What an intriguing idea for a book - not just the hypnotism side of things, but the whole story.
Australian Cover
I'm sure you hear praise like that all the time! You are fabulous, and I just wish I had a new Liane Moriarty novel to look forward to more often. Do you ever think about going on a book tour in the US? I tell everyone I know about your novels, but more people should definitely know about you.
My husband and I were recently on a vacation in Italy, and we met up with so many Australians. One couple was seated right next to us at a dinner in Milan, and so we got to talking. The wife loved to read, and I told her all about you. I was shocked she hadn't heard of you! :)
Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for another wonderful read.

Dear Michele, 
Who was that Australian in Italy who didn’t know my books? What sort of Australian was she? Thank goodness you were there to set her straight. (Actually, I am extremely envious – a trip to Italy would be wonderful right now, although I have to admit I don’t even have a valid passport at the moment, that’s how home-body-ish I’ve become.)
I’m so glad you enjoyed The Hypnotist’s Love Story and I’m VERY grateful that you’re recommending my books to people. I’m sure a book tour in the US will be on the cards some day, although I think need to write and sell a few more books before my publisher will feel justified in bringing me out, so in the meantime I’ll have to depend on you to keep telling your friends. When and if I do get there, I will look forward to meeting you and thanking you personally for all your wonderful support.
With very best wishes,
Liane Moriarty
PS. Hope your George is not being as naughty as mine is right now...

Monday, July 16, 2012

La Dolce Vita

Chapin and I recently traveled to Italy, a dream vacation a decade in the making. We spent ten wonderful days exploring Milan (fashion capital!), Rome, and Florence and all their culinary, artistic and scenic wonders.

My wonderful husband, Chapin, waited to give me my 34th birthday present so that we could pick something out together on our trip. He ended up buying me this beautiful Dolce & Gabbana Stretch Crepe and Lace Dress at the Dolce & Gabbana store in Rome, Italy.

Chapin took this picture of me at home in Atlanta. It was a windy evening in June, and -- surprisingly for Atlanta in summer -- it wasn't too hot yet. I really love the juxtaposition of the city and the dress in this photo, because it seems to mirror the combination of the crepe and lace in the dress itself. This dress is just the epitome of cosmopolitan chic.

Plus, I love how the fabric hugs my curves. These two men sure know how to dress a woman's body.

I was thrilled to discover as I was writing this post that several celebrities have been spotted in the dress:

The actress Liv Tyler wore the dress to the 2012 Golden Globes InStyle and Warner Brothers After Party. Liv was more demure, pairing the dress with a wrap. She is seen in the photo posing with actress Kate Beckinsale.

Actress Deborah Ann Woll also wore a tricked out version of the dress for Entertainment Weekly's 2012 cover shoot of the True Blood cast. I think the dress is perfect for a vampire, don't you?

At least I'm in good company wearing this sexy dress!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Polka Dot Print

If you liked Natalie Portman's Dior Haute Couture polka dot dress at this year's Oscars, then you will want to check out the Nanette Lepore Want Me Dress.

This Nanette Lepore dress is on sale now ($328 reduced to just $131.20) and comes in two different color options: black/white and black/violet. Hurry, though, because only limited sizes are available. I prefer the black and violet version, because -- like on Natalie's dress -- the polka dots seem a little more subtle.

The dress is also available at the following retailers:

I did not think polka dots would work for an event as elite and elegant as the Oscars, but Natalie pulled it off. I love her whole look here, especially the gorgeous Harry Winston diamond v-shaped necklace she sports around her neck. Now where can I get some bling like that?

Nanette Lepore Want Me Party Dress