fashion

This Exuberant Cardigan Is the Ideal Antidote to Office Air Conditioning

PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN, C/O THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN, C/O THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

AH, THE CURSE of corporate-office air-conditioning. As I sit here grumpily at my desk in Midtown Manhattan, I’m wearing my favorite gauzy, white, short-sleeved summer blouse, but you’d never know it because the Arctic air calls for a heavy wool cardigan. Anyone who wants to express a seasonally carefree style message come August and into steamy September tends to resent such artificially chilly conditions. The way out of that bitterness? An insulating layer that’s more interesting-looking than the drab sweater you keep tucked in a file cabinet at work. 

Miu Miu, designed by Miuccia Prada, is known for playful sweaters. By splattering on pattern, or adding details like rhinestones or ribbons, the brand injects wit into the world of fuddy-duddy knitwear. This particularly charismatic cotton cardigan is striped in Day-Glo shades of neon pink and green, toned down with mustard-colored hand-knit trim—an exuberant, maximalist palette that gives the wearer permission to combine it with just about anything. Once fall arrives in earnest, its collar and heavy-duty resin buttons make it substantial enough to wear as a lightweight jacket. 

Miu Miu Prefall 2018 C/O Vogue.com

Miu Miu Prefall 2018 C/O Vogue.com

Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at MatchesFashion, advocates for fashion-forward cardigans as a way to boost rather than drag down the delightful summer outfit beneath it. “They can be popped over a summer dress without disguising the fact that [your outfit] is summery,” she said. “By the end of September, beginning of October, it feels too early to wear a coat but certainly not too early to wear a shirt over your dress or something heavier like a cardigan.” After that, if you’re lucky, any shivering will be complemented not by Xerox machines but, as nature intended, by picturesque snow.

 

Original story here

 

The Case For Wearing Nightgowns All Day - WSJ

The Bennet sisters and their mother (far right) in white nightgown-esque dresses in the 2005 film version of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ PHOTO: EVERETT COLLECTION c/o The Wall Street Journal

The Bennet sisters and their mother (far right) in white nightgown-esque dresses in the 2005 film version of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ PHOTO: EVERETT COLLECTION c/o The Wall Street Journal

IS THERE A JANE AUSTEN fan out there who hasn’t envisioned an alternate life as Lizzie Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice,” at least the Lizzie in the Keira Knightley movie version? You know, the thoughtful, combative girl who finally gets the guy in a dewy field at dawn while wearing a white nightgown and coat. Such a romantic nightie plays a pivotal supporting role in countless period films, signifying vulnerability, rebellion and great taste in linen. As Jane Eyre in the 2011 adaptation, Mia Wasikowska runs away from Thornfield Hall’s ghost in a dirty, white, ruffle-collared dressing gown; Emily Blunt learns she is to be queen in frilly white sleepwear in “The Young Victoria”; and Kirsten Dunst pretty much reigns as the queen of nightgowns in multiple Sofia Coppola movies. 

Clara Cornet of Galeries Lafayette wears a Simone Rocha nightgown-ish dress in Paris. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES c/o The Wall Street Journal

Clara Cornet of Galeries Lafayette wears a Simone Rocha nightgown-ish dress in Paris. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES c/o The Wall Street Journal

You needn’t be an Austen heroine to appreciate the crossover appeal of a gauzy nightgown that does double duty as bedtime fashion and easy weekend dressing. Several ready-to-wear brands of the moment make daytime pieces that recall nightdresses of the past, like London brand Egg’s oversize white shirt dresses, and Danish label Cecilie Bahnsen’s ruffle-trimmed cotton sheaths. And then there are the actual sleepwear labels, like the Sleeper, based in Ukraine, and London’s Three Graces, which tout the appeal of wearing their wares beyond the bedroom. Their high-quality fabrics and sundress-like cuts allow for a seamless night-to-day transitions.

Ms. Dunst’s nightdresses in Ms. Coppola’s film “Marie Antoinette” directly inspired two of the Sleeper’s most recent nightgown designs. Constructed from heavy linen with romantic ruched trim detailing, both are legitimately nice enough to lunch in. Asya Varetsa, co-founder of the Sleeper, said that she wears her own gowns for morning dog walks: “I put on my loafers and I’m ready to go. It’s so easy and convenient.”

Kirsten Dunst and Jamie Dornan in ‘Marie Antoinette.’ PHOTO: ©SONY PICTURES/COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION c/o The Wall Street Journal

Kirsten Dunst and Jamie Dornan in ‘Marie Antoinette.’ PHOTO: ©SONY PICTURES/COURTESY EVERETT COLLECTION c/o The Wall Street Journal

It would be a shame to keep the broderie anglaise detailing and playful prints of these midnight-midday hybrids to yourself. While they can of course be worn to bed, it’s au courant to let them leave the house. “They are light, delicate and airy,” Catherine Johnson, founder of lounge wear brand Three Graces London, explained over email. “It’s totally understandable why some of our clients don’t want to keep them just for the bedroom.”

The Sleeper’s Ms. Varetsa thinks the trend is catching on this summer because of the nightgown’s versatility. “It works on the beach, over your swimsuit,” she said, “but you can easily put on a belt and beautiful sandals and go to dinner in it.” And even though romance revolves more around Tinder and after-work drinks these days than fated encounters in fields, you can channel a bit of Lizzie Bennet’s impetuousness in it, too.

 

SLIP SERVICE // Three beyond-the-sheets nightgowns and the shoes that take them outside

From left: Lounge Dress, $320, the-sleeper.com; Sandals, $310, kjacques.fr; Nightie, $195, thesleepshirt.com; Sneakers, $50, vans.com; Three Graces London Dress, $480, net-a-porter.com; Porselli Flats, $230, usonline.apc.fr PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, STYLING BY JUDITH TREZZA

From left: Lounge Dress, $320, the-sleeper.com; Sandals, $310, kjacques.fr; Nightie, $195, thesleepshirt.com; Sneakers, $50, vans.com; Three Graces London Dress, $480, net-a-porter.com; Porselli Flats, $230, usonline.apc.fr PHOTO: F. MARTIN RAMIN/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, STYLING BY JUDITH TREZZA

I Wanna Rock

A new wave of innovative jewelers - all women - is bringing craftsmanship to the Instagram generation. Are these the heirlooms of the future?

by: Rebecca Malinsky

Originally published: February 15, 2018 in The Wall Street Journal

Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

BRENT NEALE

Bright Young Things

We discovered New York City designer Brent Neale on Instagram, which is how many of her customers follow her work. When she’s made a new piece, she immediately posts it on the photo sharing app, often triggering a prompt sale. And although her conspicuously cheerful and colorful designs might seem strategically created to pop on your iPhone screen, they hold up in person, too. One indicator of Ms. Neale’s design sensibility: She doesn’t own a single black dress. “I love colorful things,” she said. “They’re fun and happy, and it’s important to wear things that make you feel that way.” Though she has many favorites among her collection of semiprecious rainbows, gold ladybugs with ruby spots and patches of emerald-adorned grass, she singles out a pair of turquoise double-flower drop earrings (above) for their versatility: “The length is slightly lower than your chin, so they’re flattering on peoples’ faces,” she said. “You can wear turquoise and flowers with anything.” Brent Neale Earrings, $6,800, modaoperandi.com

 

Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

NATAF JOALLERIE

Astronomical Gems

The first piece of jewelry Shannon Nataf designed for someone other than herself was a silver ring shaped like a cloud, with diamonds set into the edge. This gift to her mother was meant as a reminder to look for life’s silver linings. “It felt really empowering that you could put meaning into things that were beautiful and also tangible,” she said. Ms. Nataf has gone on to create a celestially themed line whose pieces look like small works of art when viewed in a case. On the body, they become extra-intriguing: A pair of “infinité” hoop earrings, for example, loops from the inside to the back of the ear, evoking Saturn’s rings. Ms. Nataf’s designs play with accepted notions of, say, what a ring should look like, or how a charm sits on a necklace. Curious why the stones in jewelry rarely come into contact with our skin, she made a ring whose pearl rests beneath its gold setting (above). For the future, this iconoclast plans to continue “mixing things around and turning them inside out.” Pearl Ring, $1,970, Diamond Ring, $2,400, natafjoaillerie.com

 

Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

RETROUVAÍ

Retro Baubles

Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Kirsty Stone (yes, Stone) first caught our attention with her gold pinkie ring with a flying pig motif, a playful suggestion that anything is possible. The quaint reference to “when pigs fly” has a certain throwback charm, as do Ms. Stone’s classic signet rings, so redolent of your grandpa. “All of my pieces have some sort of nostalgia,” Ms. Stone said. “I get a lot of emails about my fantasy signets and the flying pig.” One female head of a Fortune 500 company wrote to reminisce that she’d printed a flying pig on her first business cards out of college. Although Ms. Stone’s designs are essentially empowerment symbols, they’re not cheesy. Take her gemmed compass pendant (above): The subtext of this midcentury style is to trust your own intuition. To Ms. Stone, a woman’s collection of jewelry is all about the stories behind the objects. “I hope my pieces stay in families for generations,” she said. We would be surprised if at least some of her clients aren’t planning to pass them along. Compass Necklace, $1,980, and Yin-Yang Necklace, $2,485, retrouvai.com

 

Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

JESSICA BIALES

Varsity Spirits

Jessica Biales was a practicing attorney before starting her jewelry business. “I was a really bad lawyer,” Ms. Biales said with a laugh. And while she played around with signet-ring designs for a few years, it was the early 2017 launch of her collection of “Breton” striped metal signets that took her brand to a “whole new level,” she said. Her decision to combine her love of the classic navy-and-white striped Breton sailor shirt with her jewelry proved fateful. The buzzy rings were picked up by Dover Street Market and Colette, two retailers known for discriminating jewelry selections. As a follow-up, she launched Collegiate by Jessica Biales, setting out to refresh the traditional class ring. The customizable, enamel-striped rings are set in silver as well as the gold she typically uses, allowing her to bring the price down to $400, a reasonable price for a graduation gift. Each ring can be designed with university colors or just the wearer’s favorite shades, if school spirit isn’t the graduate’s thing. Emerald Signet Ring, $3,000, Collegiate Signet Ring, $400, and Block Signet Ring, $840, jessicabiales.com

Moc Something Up - WSJ

FMRV4_Moccasin_Grouping_96.JPG

IF YOU HAVEN’T YET heard the urban legend about the rat that scurried across a sandal-clad woman’s toes in the New York subway, my apologies for ruining your summer. I’ve certainly curtailed my city sandal-wearing since hearing that tale. Thankfully, a more sanitary summer-shoe option—the moccasin—may already be in your closet. If not, the style, currently in vogue, is easily within reach. 

This tanned leather slipper is generally traced back to the Native Americans. Designs varied greatly from tribe to tribe, with elements including porcupine quills and beading, according to Cécile R. Ganteaume, associate curator at the National Museum of the American Indian. Over the past century, the slip-ons have been creatively reinterpreted by stalwarts such as the 72-year-old Minnetonka Moccasin company and luxury brands like Saint Laurent.

“It’s lightweight,” said David Miller, the third-generation CEO of Minnetonka Moccasin. “You can wear it without socks, slip it on, slip it off.” 

This summer, New York-based designer Gabriela Hearst has riffed on the classic, encasing a croc-embossed leather moccasin in colorful crochet that’s too nice for forest traipsing but suitable for lazier vacationing. “They can liven up a serious outfit,” she said of the adaptable shoes, “but also go on holiday.” Tod’s, the Italian accessories brand that has cornered the market on nubby-soled driving mocs, trimmed this season’s version in extra-long fringe, aptly naming it the Yorky. 

“Moccasins work for everything,” said Los Angeles-based stylist Laurie Trott, who, come summer, shuns overly trendy sneakers and overly heavy brogues. Ms. Trott considers them a perfect non-statement statement shoe. “They’re stylish but not wearing you.” 

Subtly fashionable, versatile and excellent at foiling rats—who needs more?

Original story here

Once And For All: Are Leggings Pants? - WSJ

Illustration: Steve Scott/The Wall Street Journal

Illustration: Steve Scott/The Wall Street Journal

Why We Hate Them

Few sartorial sins violate good taste as much as wearing leggings outside the gym (though strolling about in a visible thong comes close). Even if you’ve wriggled into leggings to flex and grunt, proceed with caution. Many a fitness enthusiast doesn’t realize that these second-skin bottoms can be see-through from behind when stretched. Having been subjected to this vision at my Pilates class, I can attest to its unpleasantness.

Still, opting for leggings as ready-to-wear is a far worse offense. “But they’re so comfortable!” their defenders cry. So is my terry cloth bathrobe, but I’m not going to throw that on for a breakfast meeting. The “comfort” argument has also been used to justify sweatpants—another garment best suited for workouts or aimless Saturday mornings alone—since the ’90s when Jerry Seinfeld’s character on “Seinfeld” said of sweats: “You’re telling the world, ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.’” Leggings, sweatpants’ slimmer cousin, denote a similar lack of effort and imagination.

Known for her feminine dresses and floral prints, New York-based designer Tanya Taylor said she’d never feature leggings in her collections: “They don’t feel like our customer,” she said. Leggings, she argued, should be restricted to times when comfort is your only priority. “I don’t think they’re something that you should wear to work.” 

Anne Huntington, the 34-year-old vice president of business development at Huntington Learning Center and founder of creative agency AMH Industries, concurred. Because she travels constantly for work, Ms. Huntington said, “Even if I’m taking a phone or video call, I’m dressed as I would be in a face-to-face meeting. It puts me in a professional mind-set.”

She added that even a packed schedule doesn’t validate the laziness of leggings. “If you’re busy, you have to be ready for any situation.” Including a more dressed-up affair that bears no resemblance to an aerobics class.

Clothing affects how others perceive us, and how we perceive ourselves. Multiple studies have linked dressing up with positive performance at work. An outfit has the power to inject us with confidence or lull us into a malaise-infused sense of security. We can do better than leggings. We can get dressed. 

—Katharine K. Zarrella

________________________________________

Why We Love Them

According to Norma Kamali, the 73-year-old fashion designer who espouses a fitness-as-life philosophy, we’re getting the leggings debate all wrong. We should be debating the fit of leggings, not issuing blanket statements about their appropriateness. When worn too tight, they’re shocking; when worn just right, they’re sleek. “I believe that leggings [can be] even more provocative than bikinis or mini skirts,” cautioned Ms. Kamali, “because they are worn on the street and they are closer to looking like you have second skin than any other piece of clothing.”

Which brings me to my defense of leggings as pants: How you style them matters. I’m in the camp that considers them a wardrobe staple, suitable for working out, the office and even more formal events. The same discreet, dark base layer can go under a blousy white shirt for work, a sweatshirt for the airplane or a crisp jacket for a cocktail party.

“Leggings are versatile. They can be dressed up and down, worn with heels, flats or sneakers,” confirmed Christine Centenera, whose uniform-inspired line Wardrobe.NYC is composed of just eight pieces with one pant option being a legging. “We all live active, busy lives,” the very busy Ms. Centenera said of her formula’s ease. 

Plus, wearing leggings as pants—stylish pants!—has a fashionable legacy. Since Lycra’s invention in 1958, body-skimming pants have featured in iconic looks: Emilio Pucci did patterned ones in the ’60s; and in the ’80s designers like Ms. Kamali and Azzedine Alaïa made soignée versions for women who aspired to look like Madonna.

Today, brands like Live the Process offer athletic leggings with fashionable higher waists, while Versace and Céline have made intricately cut designer pairs. Céline’s stretch-heavy fall 2016 show was the watershed moment in my own leggings story, inspiring me to buy a slim-but-not-too-skinny pair from that collection: matte black with a zip up the front that opens nicely over flats or boots.

Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of fashion site Man Repeller, was in her own sporty-yet-luxe Céline leggings when we spoke. “I least frequently wear them to work out,” she said, “which is the great irony in my relationship with them.” For those who say leggings should be confined to the gym, consider this: Ms. Medine recently wore hers to a wedding with a tuxedo jacket, crystal-encrusted belt and strand of pearls. Which is as far from the yoga studio as one can get. 

—Rebecca Malinsky

Original story here