Friday, October 30, 2009

Grey, not black

This may be the most useful garment in your closet (there is one in your closet, isn't there?).
The grey cashmere cardigan is great with a white shirt and a black pencil skirt, open or belted; over a strapless dress (any color), or my favorite way, with a white tee shirt and jeans.
You may think "grandpa" at first, but the current styles are more fitted and there is nothing old-fashioned about them. There is even something classic/sexy about wearing one with the sleeves pushed up, the top and bottom two buttons unbuttoned, no shirt underneath, with broken-in jeans.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

That dress

Diane von Furstenberg's entire career as a fashion designer began with one dress. But what a concept. Design a garment that is throw on easy (a dress) and flattering (the wrap). Who wouldn't rush out to buy one?
And the concept and the dress and most importantly, the woman, live on.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kitchen style

I love this kitchen.
First of all, it has that blinding, clean, bright whiteness, but the natural floor and wood-topped bar stools provide the comfort level you want in a kitchen. The appliances are state of the art, a nice contrast with the sort-of farmhouse look. The window over the sink, the arcing faucet that any pot will fit under, plus the sink with the same faucet in the island, the lighting (again, you want lots of light for cooking, but I'll bet they all have dimmers), the cabinets with the glass doors, and the smart little flat screen television on the counter. Perfection!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Go bold or go home

I love the scale of the objects in this room designed by Matthew J. Lanphier. The round high-gloss white table on the animal-skin rug with the equally wide hanging lamp; then that great big star-burst mirror . Then further back into the room is the massive dark and shiny armoire acting like the sentry to the other furniture grouping.
The neutral colors are perfect for this room because the shapes of things are so strong. Lots of roundness ( the white half-chair and the legs of the coffee table and the globe in the background) but then some sharp lines ( the flat-screen television and the armoire) and texture ( the cashmere throw on the leather chair and the velvet sofa) all add up to a room you just want to be in.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pearls are a girl's best friend

Pearls are right for everyone. They transend time and trends. They can be small or large, black or white, long or short. You make pearls your own by the way you wear them. Pile them on like Ms. Chanel or keep it simple like Mrs. Kennedy. Or live forever as the focal point of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Style icon

I love Lauren Hutton.
I love that every time I see a new photograph of her she looks more like herself, like she has relaxed completely into her look. She has amazing style, amazing all-american classic style. I love her crazy curly hair and her always slightly sun-tanned cheekbones and she is usually smiling and looking like she is deeply happy and not jaded the way you would expect a famous model to be after all those years.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sinatra style

It's no secret that Frank Sinatra did it his way. He is a legend for very good reason. His recordings endure because his singing style was timeless. He lived and sang the music.
What is interesting and unexpected is to observe the progression from young man starting out in the entertainment business to show-business icon always maintaining an impeccable look that told the world exactly who he was.
I love how he always looks perfectly appropriate, like he respects the job he's doing and the people he is working with, but he can't help but make the look his own by the way he loosens his tie or wears his hat at an angle. He had so much talent that he could just dress well and let his swagger speak for itself.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White is a writing style guide which was first published in 1919 and was most often used as a grammar and usage guide by high-school English teachers.
It is a slim volume of rules for speaking and writing properly set down in list form with examples and, in the 2005 edition, lovely illustrations by Maira Kalman.
What I like about it is how relevant these same principles are for expressing individual style. For instance, Do not overstate, Avoid fancy words, Write in a way that comes naturally and my favorite, Omit needless words. In other words, edit, edit, edit.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thanks, Michelle

Here are just a few photographs of First Lady Michelle Obama wearing a cardigan.
I love that she wears them everywhere with everything. I don't even know if I have ever seen a picture of her wearing a traditional jacket.
I get that jackets are a great way to complete an outfit, and the pockets are useful, but sweaters just feel better on. I can forget I am wearing it, unlike a jacket which feels so restrictive.
And there is so much more available style-wise. But even if you opt for a simple style and color it is just so much more wearable. Take a navy, cotton cardigan; wear it with jeans, a strapless dress, white walking shorts, even a bathing suit. Perfect, and democratic!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Things that cannot be improved upon volume I

What do linguini with clams, the Eames lounge chair, hydrangeas, a Chanel jacket, post-it notes and the movie Casablanca have in common?
They are all things that cannot be improved upon.
Please feel free to add to the list.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Favorite things

Here are three of my favorite pieces from The Arco floor lamp, the Saarinen table and the Louis Ghost chair.
They are most definitely iconic mid-century modern designs, but insert any one of them into a traditional space and the effect is like wearing Levi's with a Chanel jacket; it takes the seriousness out of the equation.
For me the beauty of these items in particular is the idea that there is nothing extraneous to them. The way the lamp swans over in that elegant curve is so unlike the typical floor or table lamp; it illuminates exactly what you want illuminated. The table takes the heft of ancient marble and whittles it down into a smooth, cool disc with a super practical sleek, round base. And the chair updates the classic Louis IVX style by rendering it in acrylic of all things.
Another example of the beauty of simplicity.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Style icon

This is style.
The Mira Nair movie 'Amelia' starring Hilary Swank opens October 23rd.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Stylish house

This is my friend's house in L.A. It has a glamorous, grown-up look.

The colors are moody but there are hits of sparkle and shine mixed in. I love it when you go into someone's home and you want touch everything and sit everywhere. Doesn't that velvet sofa make you want to lay across it and drink a glass of champagne? Or if you are all dressed for an evening out you want to perch on one of those leather ottomans and put on your shoes before heading out the door?

Los Angeles is such a sunny, happy place. I love that this space is the counterpoint to all that. It's like ducking into a cool, dark lounge for a cocktail in the middle of the day.