Advertisements

Tag Archives: LBD

Style by Lauren Conrad

Lauren Conrad celebrated her 26th birthday earlier this week, so we thought it’d be appropriate to write a review of her fashion guide, simply entitled Style.  This editor had seen the book in Urban Outfitters about two years ago.  It looked halfway decent, but didn’t get around to borrowing it from a friend until last November.  Honestly, I was pretty skeptical when I started to read it…  Don’t get me wrong – I have loved “LC” since my college roommate and I stayed in the dorms instead of going home for our Fall Break freshman year, and watched an entire Laguna Beach marathon.  Ever since she stated that she wore her eye makeup according to her mood, I have been on Team Lauren.  But we know she didn’t get a coveted internship at Teen Vogue because of a unique sense of style, or dedication to the subject.  She looked like every other teenage girl in the US at the time – slim-cut jeans, flip-flops and straightened hair.  We know, because we saw her sport these outfits every week on the TV show that followed around her high school clique.  BUT, she was one of the few American teenagers with her own reality show at the time.  Conrad went on to work for the magazine (whose sales doubled, following her hire), and eventually for the fashion PR firm, People’s Revolution.  Despite her career origins possibly stemming from a stunt, she obviously has true dedication for the subject, otherwise she still wouldn’t be working in the industry; she would have accepted other ridiculous reality show deals and movie offers her tacky co-stars have indulged in.  My other hesitation about taking LC’s fashion advice seriously, is the fact that she continuously thanks her stylist, makeup artist and hairdresser throughout the book (she even dedicated it to them); while it’s lovely she thanks the people responsible for her “look,” shouldn’t they be the ones writing a style guide then?  Despite that, it seems Conrad has picked up quite a bit of knowledge working in fashion, and living as a television celebrity.  The book is divided into three sections: Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle, and their subsections: Building Your Wardrobe, The All-American Uniform: Jeans and T-shirts, The Hunt: How to Shop, Mastering Your Closet, Accessories, Getting Dressed: The Fun Part, Makeup, Hair, Work and School, Travel, and Events and Parties.  The basics sections of these guides tend to all sound the same, promoting the same exact items every woman should have in her wardrobe: a little black dress, a pair of well-fitting jeans, a button-down shirt, a blazer and so forth, and Conrad is no different listing the same items with a few of her own additions.  Kind of a “been there, done that” feel.  (Seriously, was there some kind of Procrustean fatwa issued to fashion authors from clothing companies that makes them all repeat the same things?)  Although, this list is notoriously repeated probably due to the versatility of each item.  It’s the starter kit for any American woman trying to reform her wardrobe.  (Note: Let it be said, due to Conrad’s background, this guide is more of a how-to look like an upper middle class girl from southern California.  It’s got some fantastic tips, but Lauren did grow up in Orange County, which heavily influences the way she dresses.)  Conrad does do an excellent segment on the LBD (pictured, above right), showing how it can be worn five different ways: bohemian, evening, preppy, casual and edgy.  People often write how a little black dress can be easily changed with accessories, but rarely demonstrate how many ways the same dress can be worn.

Throughout the guide, Conrad gives makeup advice, how-to hairstyles, and what to buy and wear.  It’s similar to a lot of basic fashion books, but LC does give this one her own edge.  The absolute best statement Conrad makes is, “Style Is Lawless” (on page 108).  She explains that she doesn’t believe there are any rules in fashion, saying that people can wear white after Labor Day and that black and navy can definitely be worn together if the materials differ (like black jeans with a navy blazer).  We agree with her 100%.  While there are guidelines of what to wear to work, weddings, churches, funerals, interviews, and other social events, there’s no reason people shouldn’t be adventurous in their own down-time with their own clothing!  How else are you going to take risks and learning what you like?!  Conrad also lists some excellent discount fashion websites, including Gilt, Rue La La, HauteLook, and Editors’ Closet, which I highly recommend.  There are truly unique items at real discount prices on these sites, which people could lose hours looking at!  Conrad promotes the use of cobblers, which we also love.  Our editors are descended from Italian shoemakers (which probably accounts for our stiletto passion), and we rarely hear people esteem this dying art.  Every pair of shoes, no matter the price, eventually does get scuffed, scraped or worn down.  We have our favorite pairs fixed often (mostly getting the taps replaced on our well worn “skinny stilettos”).  It’s a great investment, and much cheaper than buying another pair of shoes!  Conrad mentioned that she gets boots that are too tight stretched out at her cobbler to make them more comfortable, and noted that shoes can be stretched in width, but never in length, so it’s important to buy the proper size.  (Two things this editor did not know footwear!)  Miss LC had some other very cute ideas.  She discussed several guidelines for buying vintage, and showed a very dated 1980s prom dress that she had bought – and how adorable it looked when she just removed the puffy sleeves on it.  In one simple move, she showed what could be perceived as garbage, and made a brand new cocktail dress!  Genius.  Conrad also likes to use shoe clips to dress up simple pumps, instead of buying multiple pairs of fancy heels.  We thought this was such a creative idea, because how often do people use shoe clips anymore?  Plus it saves money!  It gave me a reason to finally use the decorative white barrettes from my First Communion that have been sitting in my sock drawer for 18 years!  The last piece of Lauren’s advice we loved was the idea to buy pins with pearlized ends from a craft store to hang necklaces from.  It sounds basic enough, but makes a lot more sense than using nails and flattened staples (like I did as a teenager…) if you’re looking for a pretty way to store jewelry other than in a box.  Other than my original hesitation, the only complaint I have with the book is the advice given in the Work and School section.  Conrad has really only worked in the fashion industry, so the rules for appropriate work clothing is different for her than the majority of the world.  She mentions wearing tights and cardigans to work, which seems harmless enough, but it also sounds like she’s outfitting a little girl from the 1950s.  While American men dress for the job position they’re already in, American women actually have to dress above their own position if they hope to get promoted (i.e. If you’re a secretary, you should dress like an executive.  So no sweater-sets if you want to move up in the world!)  The fashion world has completely different rules for office clothing, because they’re under the pressure to look edgy, as well as professional.  This advice is explained in better detail in the classic Dress for Success by John T. Molloy, one of the most important style guides ever written.  (Guess it would have made sense to review that book before any others – especially since we’re always referring to it!)  LC has come a long way from the quiet teenager on Laguna Beach and it’s nice to see her have a passion for fashion, when so many of her counterparts seem like they want to make a quick buck off their 15 minutes.  Despite my initial reservations, Conrad put together an entertaining and lovely style guide for young American women.  We’re proud to still be on Team Lauren, even 8 years later! ❤

Advertisements

What About Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s celebrated its 50th anniversary this month, which is the reason every article this week has been about the famous film.  Based on the novella of the same name by Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of a seemingly glamorous party girl named Holly Golightly in New York City and her new neighbor, Paul Varjak, who she nicknames “Fred.”  While the book is certainly different than the film (Holly is blonde, Fred is gay – as made famous on an episode of Seinfeld), but the story of a lost Manhattan party girl laid the groundwork for many famous pieces of fiction with the same premise including, most notably, Sex and the City.  Directed by Blake Edwards, both he and Truman Capote preferred Marilyn Monroe for the lead role, but her agent thought it was a bad idea.  (We personally think the movie would have lost much of its charm if Marilyn was the star – while playing a well-dressed call girl is all Miss Monroe actually was, we feel it  just would have been a sad commentary on the troubled actress’s real life.  Plus, we’ve always preferred the elegant brunette over the blonde bombshell…)  Audrey Hepburn is the epitome of taste and elegance, so it made more sense to have her play against type in this romance.  While Holly Golightly seems like she’s always having a good time, she’s actually dying inside – and beautiful clothing is the perfect disguise.  The costume supervisor on the film was Edith Head – the 8-time Academy Award winning film costumer who outfitted Audrey in many of her movies.  The majority of Holly Golightly’s wardrobe was designed by the legendary Hubert de Givenchy.  The French designer and Hepburn met in their early 20s while they both worked on the 1953 film Sabrina (another Audrey flick with fantastic fashion).  The film went on to win an Academy Award for costume design, for which Edith Head received all the credit for (which also kind of happened on this set…), which Hepburn was not happy about and swore would never happen again.  It’s no surprise the two became lifelong friends, and Audrey became the elegant designer’s #1 muse.  (Fun Fact: Givenchy’s first perfume, L’Interdit, which means “forbidden” was made for Audrey!)  His gorgeous creations included the pink cocktail dress, orange coat, and several little black dresses.  Although Coco Chanel invented the LBD, the sensation of this movie and the stir it created with its opening scene, the little black dress became de rigueur for cocktail parties everywhere.  After 50 years, it still constantly makes it onto the fashion “must-have” lists of taste gurus, fashion designers, magazine editors, etiquette experts and even romance websites.  The costumers were quite clever in reusing Holly’s clothing throughout the film.  As a struggling city girl, it would make sense that she would have limited options, but each piece she wears again usually looks different do to her accessory changes.  For example, her little black dresses are seen several times, but she is usually sporting different accents – one LBD appears in the beginning complemented with a big black hat when she’s on her way to visit Sing Sing; it reappears again when she’s wearing a small black hat with a white muff and feathers attached; again at her party she highlights the outfit with sparkly earrings and a huge statement necklace; and another time she comes home from a date with a long, white silk scarf flowing from her neck in the same LBD.  Holly’s famous Burberry trench coat also makes an appearance twice.  Miss Golightly’s penny-pinching shows up in her apartment, too.  While there’s hardly any furniture, the single piece she does have in the living room is actually half a bathtub with some decorative throw pillows.  (Perhaps a metaphor for Holly herself?  A damaged piece searching for her other half that’s easily disguised with pretty accessories?)  Although Holly’s wardrobe is supposed to be “low-end,” she still looks damn good in every scene.  Even her nightwear is even super glamorous!  A pretty peach robe, tux shirt and eye mask with half-up, half-down hair and she still looks gorgeous!  Her accessories, including Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses, long black gloves, strands of white pearls and huge black hats, are legendary and have been associated with the film ever since.  If you’re donning one of those items, people inevitably ask you if you’re channeling Audrey.  (Well, of course we are!)  And even though the movie surrounds and constantly describes the allure of the most famous jewelry store on the planet (Tiffany & Co.), Holly cannot afford anything there.  She famously states, “I think it would be tacky to wear diamonds before I’m 40.”  It’s not age – it’s probably due to the fact she can’t buy them herself, and no man has ever bought her real jewelry.  The only piece she does receive is a Cracker Jack ring from Paul, but Tiffany’s does engrave it for them! ❤  In short, Breakfast at Tiffany’s has one epic wardrobe that still influences fashion half a century later.  It cemented Audrey Hepburn as a style icon and made several chic items as famous as the movie itself!  Its influence on costume design and classic style is legendary.  It’s theSkinnyStiletto‘s all-time favorite film wardrobe, and it forever changed the look of women everywhere.  Just as Paul said, “You’re a stylish girl, can’t we end this stylishly?”  Yes, we can.


Look-of-the-Day

“Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s.  Calms me down right away.”  Earlier this week we described how Breakfast at Tiffany’s made the “little black dress” the essential go-to cocktail party outfit and showed the knee-length black frock Audrey wears several times throughout the movie.  Although the shorter dress is what many picture when they talk about the LBD, it is actually this stunning Givenchy gown that Hepburn famously dons in the opening scene of the film that created the sensation.  This dress went to auction in 2006 at Christie’s and was sold for a record-breaking $923, 187.  (Fun Fact: At the time it was the most expensive piece of clothing ever sold, until Marilyn Monroe’s white dress from The Seven Year Itch went for $5.5 million this past summer.)  Made of Italian black satin, the gown has cut-out décolleté on the back and is fitted at the waist.  The accessories in this scene are just as famous as the dress; Holly Golightly’s big black sunglasses, long black gloves, elegant cigarette holder, miniature tiara and multi-layer pearl necklace have forever been affiliated with Audrey’s natural glamour.  If you’re wearing any of those items, people will comment that you’re channeling the majestic Ms. Hepburn.  Although the movie revolves around Tiffany & Co., none of Holly’s jewelry actually comes from the famous New York store, because she’s a struggling downtown call girl, so even though she looks like a million bucks, it’s all just an illusion (actually the dress did go for a million bucks – only 45 years later!)  This look is the definition of ultimate elegance, and our editors’ absolute favorite movie costume.  We could write about it for days, so we’ll keep it to a minimum.  We only wish we could look this good on a Sunday morning after a night of partying!


Look-of-the-Day

In this iconic picture of our “Tuesday Twosome,” Audrey is wearing the dress that made the LBD (“little black dress”) famous.  Here, she pairs her knee-length, sleeveless silhouette with her usual oversized sunglasses, black gloves, and matching hat with a soft, camel colored sash around the top.  George Peppard looks smart and meticulous in his fitted wool blazer, white oxford, cranberry tie, and camel-colored sweater vest that matches Audrey’s sash.  The two look put-together, and complement one another beautifully (better than they realize at this point in the movie).  Audrey’s dress was designed by Hubert de Givenchy and chosen by the film’s costume designer, Edith Head.  As a struggling call girl, you see Holly reuse this dress later in the film.  This outfit not only made the LBD famous, but forever associated big black sunglasses and large brimmed hats with Audrey’s eponymous style.  It’s also the costume Audrey has on in one of the most famous photos of her ever taken (pictured, left).  This scene gave birth to appropriate cocktail attire everywhere, making it one of the most revered outfits in motion picture history!