...sunday search: sheath dresses under $100

I'm always on the lookout for sheath dresses. Since I don't have the lifestyle where it's necessary to own several cocktail dresses, I tend to look for work appropriate dresses. It's easy to find classy dresses if money were no object, but what if you had less than $100 to spend? Well, not an easy task...

I managed to find very few. Note though that most are on sale from the original price, and online from US retailers.

BR wool sheath dress, $79 on sale
The best thing about this dress was this online review: I'm not sure why stores like Banana Republic take so many great-for-work styles and then modify them so they are only great for work if your work involves seducing someone... ha!

Ann Taylor knit tweed sheath dress, $79 online

Ann Taylor moody jaguar print sheath, $79
 I nearly purchased the AT jaguar print sheath when I was in Buffalo a few weeks ago, but decided against it. Yes, the length and cut are work appropriate. But would I be comfortable wearing purple animal print to a meeting, or even an office cocktail party? No! 

Loft wool sheath dress, $89

 This beauty is available in petite size, and with an additional 30% off now. It may just be worth a trip across the border....ugh.

I've concluded that cute, quality sheaths under $100 don't exist in Canada.But of course there's always Winners...


...saturday silver screen: The Haunting (1963)


What's the scariest movie you've ever seen? I've seen dozens (hundreds?) of scary movies, but have never experienced anything more frightening than 1963's 'The Haunting'.  The prologue alone sends shivers down my spine. This classic haunted house movie has no monsters, blood, or slashers, but it is horror at its most perfect--it's all in your mind.

"Hill House, not sane, stood against the hills, holding darkness within. Whatever walked there, walked alone."

Need I say it? Do NOT watch this alone. (It's playing on TMC on Sunday, 9:30pm EDT.) Happy Halloween!

...friday flap: hair!

On Thursday's Today show, Meredith Vieira interviewed famous hairstylist Sally Hershberger and Dominique Browning. to discuss the most pressing issue of the day:

Should middle aged women cut their hair? 

Ms Browning is a former H&G editor and author of Slow Love: How I Lost My Job, Put on My Pajamas and Found Happiness (don't you love her already?) who she recently wrote this apparently much discussed article in the New York Times about the length of her hair. (I guess it was a slow news day.)  It defies logic and fairness that this is even a question that is discussed on national television.

You know I'm obsessed with my hair, as noted here. My hair is the longest it's been in over 20 years. It's past my shoulders now, and easily tied into a long swingy ponytail. I'd been dying to grow my hair out for years and finally found a hairdresser who doesn't cut when I come in for just a trim. So now it's long and I don't know what to do with it. And it turns out my 49 yr old hair doesn't have the same texture or bounce as my 25 yr old hair...

But you know what?...It's MY hair. I may continue to grow it. I may get a pixie cut. I may get full bangs. I may go blond. I may just go grey. It's MY hair.So what I do with MY hair --regardless of my age, face shape, height, fitness level-- is up to me and is nobody else's business.

Unless one is a celebrity like the Goddess of simplicity and all that is kind, one's hair should not be up for discussion. I once cut my hair from shoulder to chin length and an in law dared to say "I liked you better with long hair." My immediate answer? "I didn't ask for your opinion." End of discussion as air chills considerably around the dinner table. I know... I'm that sister in law.

These beautiful women are over 45, and clearly happy with the flattering hair length of their choice. Shouldn't we all?  Your hair is YOUR hair. Don't let anyone (fashion expert, your hairstylist, your mother, an opinionated blogger) tell you whether it should be anything other what YOU want it to be. If they do, tell 'em to take a hike.


...thursday talk: GOOP and other tidbits

GOOP added more hate to our one way love/hate relationship with the arrival of her weekly email. Today she writes about how she was PERSONALLY INVITED to brunch in the Hamptons by my alternate universe mom, Ina Garten. *aargh* [That's the same alternate universe where I'm Mrs. Seinfeld, and my BFFs are Nora Ephron, Carrie Fisher and Ali Wentworth. The four of us (me, Nora, Carrie and Ali) walk arm in arm around NYC and Paris like the women from SATC, but in sensible heels... How fabulous would that be?]

GOOP with my alternate universe mom, Ina.
Anyway, GOOP (without makeup to prove that she's cool with her natural beauty) hangs in AU mom's kitchen making ricotta. Ricotta?! I don't understand why anyone would ever make anything that can be purchased at any grocery store for $5 a tub. "It only takes 25 minutes for homemade ricotta... " But hey, that's my AU mom. Details here.

And other breaking 'news' I must share:
  • 340 people died in Indonesia's tsunami on Monday, but this is the biggest story of the day. (Access Hollywood)
  • They've never heard of Dri-Fit. (The Cut)
  • Paid blogger, formerly anorexic, sparks outrage with ignorant and cruel remarks. And why is it acceptable to say  'fattie'?!?  (Marie Claire)
  • And intelligent counterpoint to above. (Jennsylvania)
  • The Dog Whisperer reportedly exhibits sexist pig behaviour, comparing women to dogs, and not favourably.  (LaineyGossip)


...wednesday wish: Paris treats

Macarons at Laduree,
the creamiest hot chocolate at Angelina.
Croque monsieurs at Cafe Au Vieux Colombier,

Bread and jam from Poilane,
People watching at the Cafe De Flore,
A bottle of wine, good bread, cheese and olives for an evening picnic on the Pont Des Arts, 

and seeing the Eiffel Tower, everytime.


...today's tidbits

  • The HIGHEST PAID ACTOR ON TV TODAY is a major f*&% up.(People)
  • Twice my age and two thousand times cooler. (Advanced Style)
  • Nice place, no thanks. (Hooked on Houses)
  • Possible Halloween costume. (Glamourai)
  • My favorite new show this season (always a bad sign), cancelled already. (EW)
  • ...tuesday shoes day: Anthro

    Anthro Sawtooth Myrtle TStraps, $188
    HELLO, GORGEOUS! Everything about this beauty is calling me to 'checkout' of my proverbial shopping cart. "Pale grey, pebbled leather peep-toes sprout a patch of pinking-sheared petals..." *sigh*


    ...today's tidbits

    • Mad Men news that doesn't have anything to do with the show, but the BEST THING YOU WILL READ TODAY, in case you missed it the first time. (Celebitchy)
    •  Jakey, this better not be true. You could do so much better. (LaineyGossip)
    • I've seen all except nos. 3, 17, and 20 and I have no intention of ever catching up. (EW
    • As usual, the shows I like are the ones that are cancelled. (gawker
    • A sale I would line up for (Habitually Chic
    • More beautiful than ever. (Glamour)

    ...monday mirage: W Barcelona

    Let's face it, most Mondays can be depressing. Imagine then your near future: money is no object, it's the first day of an extended holiday, and you're free to go whereever your heart desires....

    Shall we go to W Barcelona today? 


    ...sunday splurge: Kate Spade boots

    Kate Spade black goat (goat?!) boots, $300 from Stylesense. Yay or nay?

    This afternoon on the drive back to her university, Rorygilmore and I just had to stop by Stylesense to search for scarves. We found the scarves. But just before cashing out, we thought we'd cruise the aisles in case there were any cute new things. Within 2 minutes the bright pink box called my name and I found these...ugh. 

    Of course I don't NEED them.  I've got at least 4 pairs of black boots. But my other pair of comfy high heeled black boots (the five yr old pointy stilettos for example) are looking worn. And these are comfortable 3 inch heels, easily pulled on, and wide enough around the calf to accommodate jeans. But I'm still on the fence. Thank goodness Stylesense (the Winners of shoes) has a great return policy. 

    Should I drive back to the store and return them while I can still get a refund? Or should I keep? Discuss.


    ...saturday silver screen: Salt On Our Skin


    Salt On Our Skin, a 1992 film starring Greta Scacchi and Vincent D'Onofrio, is probably my favorite romantic drama. It's the story of a sophisticated 17 year old Parisian girl (Greta) who meets a handsome but simple fisherman (Vincent) while visiting Scotland.  Or course, they fall in love (lust, really) despite the differences in their lifestyles. He asks her to marry him but she refuses. They live separate lives, but reunite and continue their passionate affair with sporadic trysts over the years.

    Greta is at her sexiest (there's brief nudity if you're looking for that); Vincent at his most intense (that's saying something). In real life, Greta and Vincent began an affair that produced a daughter,  named after Greta's character, George. Don't you love useless trivia?

    The ending is ultimately uplifting, but it is a great movie to watch alone if you need a good cry. And cry you will.


    ...friday fashion passion: Jcrew November

    Just when I'm supposed to curb my spending, the November Jcrew catalog arrives to tempt me yet again.

    Honestly, I was a tired of the old Jcrew formula: Stick thin model (bare faced but with strong brow and bright matte lip), outfitted in embellished feminine tee, layered with something masculine like a denim shirt, topped with a contrasting embellished cardi or jacket, accessorized  with a statement necklace that likely weighs about 10 lbs. Bottoms are either a tweed or sequin mini skirt, skinny cargos or Jenna's fave sequin lounge pants that just wouldn't look right on the rest of the human race. Footwear? Platform heels, always. *yawn*

    The Nov issue had much less layers, few statement necklaces. I found this page particularly refreshing.What? Only one sweater? No necklace? Brogues? Yes, yes, yes. More wearable for a petite but curvy 'minimalist' like moi. Does this model remind you of Paulina Porizkova?

    I caved in and finally bought the Minnie pant. I know, of course I don't need another pair of black pants. But in my defense, instead of the usual stretch twill, I bought a pair in bi-stretch wool. Normally I wouldn't buy wool, ESPECIALLY wool pants that aren't lined, but the Minnie was surprisingly comfortable and somehow more flattering in wool than twill. I do wish they sold the petite sizes in stores, because I'd need this to be hemmed to get the cropped look as pictured. The skinny pant is really so versatile if you have the right figure. I would wear these for day or evening, with flats, heels, or comfortably tucked into boots. I think it's worth every cent of the $80USD + tax (on sale!), don't you?

    Here are more tempting images from the latest Jcrew.

    And here's an image that inspired me to visit my closet to and 'go shopping'.

    I apologize for the sloppy styling. I took this picture at 9pm in my hallway. It may be time to invest in a digital SLR camera. Details: Denim that loves you back jacket, (Winners $20!, Sept 2007), Banana Republic striped fitted shirt ($35, April 2010), BR long cardi ($45, April 2010), BR classic skinny petite jeans ($50, Aug 09), Aldo platforms ($110, Sept 06), Coach animal print kitten heels ($150, Aug 06), Barneys motorcyle bag ($200, Aug 06)
    I realize my $20 jacket is lighter than Jcrew's. The green ribbon detailing makes it more 'froufrou' than the Jcrew, but it is also a tweedy metallic with a three quarter sleeve, so close enough. The rest of the outfit is nearly identical, but  I would NEVER wear all these layers. Even on a hanger and without my ample torso, that outfit is already bulky! Note that I styled with two pairs of shoes.  I'd wear the platform peep toes for about 15 minutes and then have to switch to the kitten heels. Fashion versus reality? Today, reality wins.


    Club Monaco



    BREAKING NEWS... got this email from my girl GOOP herself this morning:

    Email from GOOP

    I think she agreed to be on Glee to promote her movie Country Strong, which from the trailer looks like an All About Eve'set in Nashville. The gorgeous Leighton Meester plays the 'Eve' role, but I'm sure it's really all about GOOP. Isn't it always? The world revolves around her after all.

    Is this further proof that Glee has jumped the shark? Will you watch just because GOOP is on? Do you still watch Glee?Or did the Britney episode turn you off too?


    ...manifesto, pt2

    Lululemon manifesto

    I realize you've seen this before (and those ubiquitous reusable bags office workers everywhere use to carry their lunches), but it's always good to remember. To start, "Do one thing a day that scares you", and "Sweat once a day" are good words to live by.



    Anna della Russo and co walking the streets of Paris (or Milan, I don't know), probably to some fashion show
    Garance Dore on The Sartorialist
    SJP walking her son to school!
    Olivia Palermo, from The City, about to mount a bicycle, in Paris or New York
    How? How do these women walk in these gorgeous but ridiculously sky high heels, on pavement, for distances that seem longer than 500 feet?

    Listen, heels are a necessity for the vertically challenged like me. I love the way I look in heels... but reality is, I have 'office' heels that I wear in my carpeted office, 'party' heels, and 'everyday' heels.

    I have rules:
    1. Everyday heels are for running errands, and may occasionally be worn in transit TO the office, but never IN the office.
    2. Office heels are not worn to parties.
    3. Party heels are for parties where dancing may be limited.
    4. If lots of dancing is a possibility, 'dancing' heels of course may be required..

    Here are my 'everyday' heels...which is why, besides the obvious reasons, I may never appear on The Sartorialist, or even Advanced Style. But my feet will be happy!

    Rockport shoes with Adidas technology, $60


    ...finale (Mad Men spoilers)


    Thank you Emmy winner Matthew Weiner and company for this latest, brilliant season of Mad Men. Obviously you read my post when the opener aired, and granted my wishes for the season.

    'Don't you want to come home and see a steak on the table?'
    I predicted over Thanksgiving that Don would be with Megan by season's end. But by 'with Megan', I meant, on a date with Megan, I did NOT expect that they would be engaged. Don and the kids couldn't believe Megan's non-reaction when Bobby spilled the milkshake (unlike Betty's for certain freak out, and mine for that matter). Is Megan so the anti-Betty that Don decided right there that she should be the next Mrs Draper? It would seem so, because before I could blink, they were back in Don's apartment and he was proposing!  I was so shocked by Don's impulsiveness that I was sure the scene was a dream and Bobby Ewing would step out of the shower. But it seems Don had in fact admitted to himself that he wants to come home to a steak on the table, a sweet adoring young wife, and happy French-speaking kids.

    'Yes, they're bigger.'
    So Joan is STILL pregnant, and she's gonna pass the baby off as Dr Rapist's. I enjoyed seeing Joan relaxed, casually dressed, chatty and happy in her kitchen. But I'm afraid Joan's 'deployed to Vietnam' Greg won't come back  And if he does, she's got some 'splainin' to do. I hope they show us Roger's reaction to Joan's news, even in flashbacks.

    'Whatever could be on your mind?'
    The best scene of the episode for me was Peggy and Joan finally engaging in a bitchfest about the day's events.That's what I miss most about my office -- my girlfriends --and knowing that no matter how crappy things are going down, you can gossip, bitch, and cry on each other's shoulders, and at the end you're giggling  about it all. Can't we all relate to this exchange:

    Peggy: “You know, I just saved this company. I signed the first new business since Lucky Strike left. But it's not as important as getting married. Again.”
     Joan:  "Well I was just made Director of Agency Operations. A title, no money of course."

    Ha!...that's exactly how my friends and I would talk over coffee (not cigarettes) while laughing hysterically at our misfortunes. Loved it!
    More thoughts:
    • 'Who's Dick?' ...Don came close to admitting his identity to the kids.
    • The Roger suicide watch is off after all.
    • So is the Sally suicide watch. Gosh, children are resilient. What did Sally get Creepy Glen?
    • 'Are you kidding me?', cried Dr. Faye. Hey, I knew you were a goner when you didn't know what to do with Sally a couple of eps ago, and when this began with you having to pack your bags. You don't have to be a doctor-on-tv...
    • Is this the same Bobby from last season? Or are we on Bobby #3?
    • Don and Betty would have great DNA. Shouldn't their spawn be cuter, especially 2 year old baby Gene?
    • 'Carla is my life, my actual life.' Good for you, Ken Cosgrove. That's why you're not in too many episodes. And why the future of Mad Men may be Sterling Draper Campbell, but never Sterling Draper Campbell Cosgrove. 
    • Jon Hamm was more dashing than ever in this episode, especially when he walks into the milkshake scene wearing a black polo shirt, tweed jacket and khakis. No I did not pause the PVR to examine his, er, outfit.
    • Betty remains childish, unhappy, and next year probably divorced. I knew when she was powdering her nose in the kitchen that she was expecting Don's arrival. I could do with even less of her next season.
    • 'Who's going to take care of the kids?' I would have loved to see Carla give Betty the smackdown she deserves. I know they're not real people, but didn't Gene stay with Carla over Thanksgiving and Christmas? How could Betty be so cruel?
    • They mentioned Megan's teeth!
    And so this year's obsession ends....To be honest, although I was excited about some new shows early on, I've stopped watching them all. There is no appointment television left for me this year. But don't feel bad, now I'll be free to live my life... cooking, practicing yoga, probably studying and working, and I'll finally have a chance to read those books!


    via Advanced Style
    Advanced Style is a fashion blog featuring New York's stylish older folks, like The Sartorialist but with a a minimum age limit.  It's on my 'best of the blogs' list. 

    I couldn't agree more! Although I'm not quite ready to go silver just yet.

    This lady caught my eye because I have a very similar outfit. Should I be happy, or terrified? Am I *gulp* advanced too? I might as well admit it...

    The image inspired me to shop the closet once again and style this outfit that I'm wearing to the office soon. I love all her bangles, though I have to limit my jewelry to earrings, a watch, and a charm bracelet. And yes, there are 2 leopard items here, but I think it's a small dose.

    Anthropologie jacket from this post, $178, purchased last month with Maria and Jo
    Target leopard scarf, $12, bought last Tuesday
    BR little black dress, $90, Oct 09
    Coach ergo tote, $150, Nov 07
    Leopard Franco Sarto mary janes, $60, Aug 10
    Thanks, Advanced Style.



    Katherine Heigl is only 32 yrs old
    Bloggers suffer from writer's block (or, blogger's block) too, but sometimes it's just TOO easy. I didn't want to do another snarky post after this, but how could I resist posting this picture of Katherine Heigl? ... leopard tunic, leopard skirt, leopard tote?! Really?! Does she have a stylist or did she come up with this outfit all by herself? I can't even talk about her hair...it's a tragedy.

    Andrea Martin as Edith Prickey, on Second City

    Do you remember when leopard was funny, and limited to the 'old lady' section? These days, you'll find the print everywhere. There are leopard scarves, sweaters, dresses, footwear, bags, luggage, cushions, rugs, mugs, plates... I'm sure somewhere in the universe there's a leopard print toaster. ugh.

    I'm as guilty as anyone, but I hope I have the sense to limit the print to small doses, say not more than 50% of my body. So how do you know when you've got enough? I gathered the leopard items from my closet and around the house, and came up with this.

    Clockwise from top right: Forever 21 trench (Sept 2007), Scarf (Tuesday), Nightie and robe (Aug 2010),
    Apron (2008), Towel (2005), Shoes (Aug 2010), Miraclesuit from here (Aug 2010), 
    Robin Kay cushion (at least 8 yrs old), and bra (2006?)

    THIS is when you know you've got enough leopard. Granted, I've had some of these items for YEARS. The RK cushion was from our old house so I'm sure it's at least 8 years old. And just when I thought that was all, I remembered this is on my vanity:

    Leopard print lampshade from Winners, on Eiffel tower lamp base from Target, purchased 2006.

    Yeah, now it's time to stop buying leopard before this happens to me.