Category Archives: Fashion

Kelly Cutrone: One Bad Ass Mama

Maven of the Dark Arts, Kelly Cutrone, has made a name for herself as a balls-to-the-wall force of feministic power and success. Representing names such as Vivienne Westwood and Valentino, the PR guru has been called a few names herself. The name that I can relate to the most is b…

Kidding. It’s “mom.” She’s a mom. A single mom in the crazy fashion industry. How does she do it? Granted my life isn’t as hectic as hers, nor my paycheck as large, but I’m always intrigued to find out how moms get through their To Do list with their sanity (relatively) intact.

When I heard that Cutrone was going to be at Borders, I wanted to check her out. Naturally whenever I have any kid-free time planned, there’s always a kid-tastrophe that makes me leave the house 20 minutes late.

But I made it. And it was good. She was there to plug her latest book, Normal Gets You Nowhere, but she was talking about anything and everything. She’s a big believer in finding your personal truth, so to speak. Very follow-your-dreams kind of stuff. I know, not what one might expect from a tough-talking bad ass.

Yet Cutrone revels in being unexpected, or the anti-normal. In the uber chic, uber skinny, uber everything fashion world she sits upon her throne with flat black tresses, hardly any makeup, a regular woman’s body and clothed in all black (though at Borders she wore navy blue.)

What struck me most was she talked about figuring out what you’re passionate about and going from there. Even as a mom, focus on what’s important to your heart and let the rest fall into place.

I think that’s so easy to say, so hard to do. I wonder if I follow my passions, will the other plates I’m spinning come crashing to the ground? The thing about Cutrone is that she didn’t make it seem easy, but she made it seem possible. And she doesn’t let her fear get in the way.

What about you? Are you following your passion? If not, do you have the courage to make that change?

“You can develop a whole world around what you want to do once you find your truth.” –Kelly Cutrone

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Trendy Women Everywhere: Fashions For Punks and Us With Badunkadunks

Finally. Balmy weather has arrived in Chicago. We can safely put away our parkas and it’s time to step out in my favorite fashion season: Spring/Summer.

I enjoy this season because it’s always the most fun and creative. This year there’s a lot of trends, some whimsical, others retro, but the best thing is that many of them have figure-flattering pieces for us everyday women.

  • Trends I like:

70s- Invoke the rockstar’s chic girlfriend

Derek Lam

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Skinny jeans, cute as they may be, are not the big-bootied woman’s friend. (Unless paired with chunky shoes.) I have a serious badunk and short legs, therefore I praise the straight-legged pants, boot cut, or bell bottoms. This season, it’s the high-waisted pants with a fashionable flair at the end of your stems. Keep in mind, not everyone can rock the high-waisted pants though. (Ahem, Jessica Simpson.)

Other pieces from this 70s trend that I find appealing is the return of the maxi dress, this time it’s sheer. Maxi dresses are so comfy, though sometimes I wonder if I’m unsuccessfully hiding my flab or truly looking fab.

by turquoisepassion

Also platform wedges are back on the shelves. I love these since A) I’m short and B) I’m a mom. That means I can be cute at the summer barbecue while chasing my kids, because I’m not going to break an ankle, like I surely would in stilettos.

Polished Punk

Ahhhh this appeals to my inner rebel. The girl whose favorite manicure color is black. Who still loves all things G n’ R, Nirvana and Sound Garden, and who remembers the first time she saw Joan Jett and immediately found an idol.

Burberry's zipped motorcycle jacket

This look is easy to incorporate with existing items in your closet. You can pair an ultra feminine top or dress with an edgy, studded jacket. Frilly tops can help hide any post-preggo belly bulge (*blush*) and a nicely tailored, don’t-f*ck-with-me jacket can show off (or give the allusion of) a trim shape.

  • Trends I wouldn’t be caught dead in:

Floral. Personal preference, I like to keep my flowers in my garden.

Christian Dior, Reyes, Max Azria, Blumarine

Loungerie: This is the underwear-as-outerwear gone wrong. I’m all for lounge wear, being a temporary stay-at-home mom I have perfected the lounge wear look, but this is ridiculous. It makes me wonder if it’s one of those things that’s only truly seen on the catwalks, never life’s sidewalks.

However, as in all things fashion, one is never really sure. I mean, who would have thought that snow boots and shorts would one day become trendy? But Coco Chanel herself even said: “Fashion is made to become unfashionable.”

Maternity Fashion: It Doesn’t Have To Be An Oxymoron

You’re pregnant and your growing belly, butt and boobs let you know it won’t be long before you’re bursting at the seams. It’s time for some serious maternity shopping, but what do you buy?

The obstacles are many. Your shape is changing every week getting curvier, bigger. It’s hard to anticipate what your size and shape will be down the pregnancy road. Also, since growing a baby is a nine and a half month venture, that’s two, possibly three seasons of clothing that you’ll need. And you don’t want to break the bank for clothes that you don’t plan to wear much after the baby is born. (Warning: In the weeks, sometimes months after baby, you could still be wearing your maternity clothes.)

Some girls are lucky enough to have a batch of friends or family who just pass a collection of maternity clothes among themselves so they only need to get a few items to personalize their wardrobe. The rest of us have to hit the shops.

First off, handle the basics. You’ll need staples. Cute jeans, black pants, khakis and if you wear them: a versatile skirt and dress. I found it helpful to buy classic styles and colors of shirts so that they could be swapped out with pants as well as not look out-of-date for a pregnancy down the road.

I do like my fashion though and some of the really fun maternity fashions can be pricey, so I admittedly would buy a handful of trendy pieces to mix it up. I’ve found most of my cute affordable stuff online. There’s scads of great boutiques and they have sizing charts that can help you get the right fit. Google your heart out.

There’s also these wonderful things called maternity pant extenders that helps you stay in your pre-preggo pants for quite some time. I have the BellaBand in three colors.

Don’t buy all of your maternity clothes in the beginning. I know it can be exciting to build a new wardrobe, but don’t get carried away. I mean seriously, who knows how large you’re going to get or what your needs will be.

Broaden your personal style. (No pun intended.) For this pregnancy, I was glad leggings were back in. I didn’t wear them much before I was pregnant and in my first trimester, I scoffed at the maternity jeggins thinking, what pregnant woman would want to pour herself into those? Fast forward to the end of my second trimester and that preggo pop was me. I caved and got my own pair of jeggins, size large from Kohl’s.

And paired with my chocolate leather knee-high boots, I must say: they’re pretty boss.

Simply because you’re sporting a new, shapely body doesn’t mean you have to forsake your fashion sense or your finances. Just be creative and have fun with it.

Fall Fashion Trends (finally!) Friendly to the Every Day Woman

Thumbing through the latest fall fashions, I noticed a happy little trend of my own. The runway waifs are touting something I too can sport without looking like a teenaged stuffed sausage.

I’m not saying the slim fits are gone, it’s just that the more forgiving cuts are in too. For my fellow big-hipped hotties, boot cut is back! It’s so much easier to balance out that pear shape with a boot cut than those skinny jeans.

The realistic fashions that appealed to me most were largely in two decades. The 1950s and the 1990s. Apparently the Mad Men affect is still rippling through fashion’s waters with Betty Draper-esque glam ever-so-present. Full skirts, fitted jackets and hemlines that go well past the mid-thigh, the look oozes subtle sensuality instead of overt sexuality. And it’s polished off with red, True Blood red, lipstick.

There’s also the exactingly realistic look of the ’90s. Streetwear uniforms for urban warriors. Black flared pants with high-necked sweaters. Yet the provocative mix of textures keeps it fresh. Slick leather and wool. Slinky shiny knits with matte ribbed cotton. The colors are basic, lots of black, camel, but livened up with a pop of primary color.

What’s also great about these looks isn’t just that it’ll keep me from looking like a heifer, but they’re functional. I mean really, how many of us moms wore those feathered tops? We’d be deplucked faster than a KFC chicken.

And though I love spring and summer and their whimsical fancy, it had gone too far. So I’m glad that come fall we’re getting back to reality and it’s got the goods for real women with real curves.

The Line Between Complimentary and Creepy

It’s summertime. Time for summer dresses, flirty skirts, short shorts and spaghetti straps _ it’s hot and skin is in. And so come the catcalls. Not just from construction workers on scaffolding or cabbies whizzing by, but from bums to businessmen walking the streets.

Not that I run around Chicago naked, or even half naked, it’s just that it’s summertime in the city and as long as you are wearing anything less than a burqa, you’re going to get catcalled. I understand this, I don’t like it, but it’s just how it is. What gets me is when the compliments slip into the creepy. That’s when I get pissed. That’s when I get ugly.

So this morning, I’m rockin’ a new multi-colored art deco-ish print frock, capped off by chocolate wedges with an ankle strap. On the way to work a man gives me the once over, smiles broadly, drawing out a “goooood mooooorrrrnnning gorgeous.” I simply nod and move on. I’m annoyed, but that’s moreso because it’s 5:15 a.m. and all human contact at that hour is annoying.

Fast forward to this afternoon, walking to my car after work. Man stops in the middle of the street “Hey sista you look good!” I’m on the phone, I keep chatting. He’s nonstop with the comments, getting louder, more aggressive. Then I hear him shout that I’ve got nice looking legs… I can tell he’s ready to move on to other body parts. Before I know it my arm is raised high, hoisting a one-fingered salute. He angrily hollers: “What? I’m just paying you a compliment!”

Um no, you’re not. There’s a difference between a compliment and being a creep. And so many people need to learn it. One rule of thumb if you don’t want someone saying that to your mama then don’t say it to me. Why do guys do that anyway? Are they hoping we are charmed and give them our number? What’s your opinion on this?

Well, it’s only June 1 and I’ve already flipped off my first fellow. By August I start contemplating packing a bright green Super Soaker so that I can just hose the next creep, you know to cool him off. It’s hot.

Eating My Words … (Again)

I sent my kid to daycare today with flashing shoes and a black Thomas the Tank Engine T-shirt. I’ve become that parent. The following is Case No. 849 of me eating my words:

Before Logan, I’d see kids in stores and on the streets covered in over-the-top animations of cars, trucks, fairies, princesses, Care Bears, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and every other Disney character imaginable. I’d make a judgmental mental note, when I have kids, they’re not going to look like an advert for the Cartoon Network.

Some of these kids also had shoes with blinking lights, bells and horns. Horns!!!! But mine wouldn’t.

This week we go shoe shopping and unfortunately not the kind of shoe shopping that used to culminate in boxes of edgy stilts and flirty wedges. It’s shoe shopping at JCPenney in the “family section.” I go there for shoes for the little guy because you get good brands for very little cost. We mostly do Stride Rite, but I don’t like Stride Rite prices. Plus if your kid suffers a meltdown, no worries, you’re surrounded by sympathetic moms.

So I’m there, checking out the selection and Logan spots these black gawd-awful shoes with plastic red cars. “I want THAT ONE!” I tried to make snazzy gray Sketchers seem cool, but they were no match for the red car shoes that blinked red. I caved. I bought them, and he couldn’t have been happier hopping out of the store with strobing shoes.

The shirt was also a recent purchase and I saw it, knew he’d love it and told myself it wasn’t as horrible because the shirt was black. (The lies we tell ourselves! It’s actually very, very ugly)

But that’s the way it is. You think you’ll be one kind of parent and your kid teaches you that you’re another. And it’s all perfectly fine because they’re the greatest, hardest lessons you’ll learn.

The catwalk on the sidewalk

While in New York I dragged my hubby to quaint boutiques, poor chap. And the clothes, obviously, were fun to check out. But the most fun was the fashion not on the rack, but prancing down the street. Sure an amazing couture dress hovering above stilts as they teeter into a hushed restaurant snags my eye, but what makes me openly stare is people in their daily wares and how they choose to spice them up. It’s the middle of the week, in the middle of the day and they’re going only Lord Knows Where.

By Salvatore Vuono

I saw a scene usually reserved for Chinese paper fans now printed on leggins paired with blue sequined shoes, a cheap prom dress or layers upon layers of a top so deconstructed, I wasn’t sure if was a blouse or a scarf extraordinaire. All of it interesting, all of it fun.

Then there was inner ware as outer wear. Bras, nighties, lace, lace and more lace. Southern belle skirts with black leggins. Black skinny jeans. Leopard skinny jeans. Black skinny jeans with leopard booties. Black skinny jeans so tight she had to lay down to zip them up. Go ‘head girl.

And the belts. Big belts, flat belts, skinny belts, braided, leather, pleather, plastic. I won’t even get started on the shoes.

Yet let me not forget the short short. One morning, a woman in her late 40s/early 50s was rockin these black short shorts with red heels and a peasant top. She didn’t have cellulite. Isn’t that against some law? If I had cellulite in my 20s, why can’t *she* have it in her 40s? And it wasn’t that she had crazy muscles, there was jiggle, there just wasn’t any cottage cheese. To me she looked like she needed to put more clothes on, but mostly I was proud of her, go ahead with your great gams at 40+. Clearly, she still had *it.*

Do I see this in Chicago? Sure! Of course, but for the most part, we’re more reserved. A little more black and khaki with bright spots of red, not many covered in sequins or faux prom dresses while straddling a 10 speed.