Tuesday, May 11, 2010

style savvy: the fashionista's video game of choice

Wanna-be rock stars have Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Sports nuts have Madden. There's even Nintendogs for people who like to care for virtual pets. So it was about time fashionistas got a video game that would be worth their time and money.
Style Savvy was released in November 2009, so I realize I'm a little late to the party, but I couldn't resist sharing my thoughts on this totally addicting game.

The basic premise is that one day you pick up a part time job working for a woman named Grace at a trendy boutique called Strata. The next thing you know, you're out-shining your slacker co-worker Renee and getting rewarded with your very own boutique! Once you get to run your own shop, the game is totally in your hands. You can man the store and help picky customers pick out merchandise, pick up new stock at the buyer's center or spend your hard-earned cash at the hair salon and cosmetic store.
Here's the bad news: if you're a guy with a passion for fashion, you're out of luck. You pick an avatar towards the beginning of the game, and there are no male avatars. There actually aren't any men to be found in the entire game besides the owner of your store, a dashing millionaire named Domenic and his irritating butler, Godfrey. But if you're a female playing the game, you can adjust hair, eye and skin color to make the avatar look a lot like you. Well, you if you subsisted on a diet of carrot sticks and diet coke. All the women in the game are extremely skinny, which didn't really sit right with me. While in the store, you help one customer at a time. A girl usually comes in to tell you a boring, pointless story and then somehow ends the story with an explaination of why she's in your store. You then head to the stockroom, pick something out for the customer, and either ask her to take a look (which you can only do three times) or to try it on. If she tries it on and hates it, she's going to leave. But if you only tell her to take a look and she nixes your choice, you can take another shot. Sometimes it's easy to predict what your customer will like, but when you aren't sure, the "take a look" option is life saver. But I'm not gonna lie: sometimes these women do not make sense. They'll to you come dressed head to toe in red and you give them a red shirt and they're all, "I just don't like the color." It can get pretty frustrating. Other times I give them clothing they'll be sure to hate just to spite them, and they're freaking out with joy over the outfit.
As you sell more and more clothing, your shop rank goes up. Each time you get a star, you can enter a fashion contest in which you dress a model according to the theme of the contest. Your prize is typically some god-awful costume, but the glory of winning is enough of a prize.
You don't actually "beat" the game, but once you earn all five stars, you're eligable to enter the International Contest. If you win that, you are named the best stylist in the world and are given a crown to prove it.
Throughout the game, I kept thinking the creepy store owner, Domenic, was going to ask me out. He would always say awkward things after I won a fashion contest and his butler would frequently complain to me about the fact that his boss was such a loner. I was getting ready to become all outraged if it turned out the objective of the game was to land Domenic and move into his mansion, but he ended up keeping his distance.
What I love about the game is how low-key it is. Although there are goals, there's no pressure or time-crunch to complete them, so if you want, you could spend half your time picking out outfits for yourself or browsing the buyer's center. As a shop owner, you get the added bonus being able to keep each piece of clothing you buy for the store in your own closet. So by the end of the game, you have quite an extensive wardrobe. And the clothes are legitimately cute! I often found myself wishing I actually owned some of the pieces. Other items... not so much.
I'd recommend the game to anyone who likes shopping for clothes-it's suitable for all ages. It would be interesting to give the game to a player who just learned to read, because I think the challenge of listening to your customers could help develop reading comprehension skills.
It's not the perfect game, but it's a fun, eye-pleasing diversion during a long car ride or rainy afternoon. Just don't be surprised if it leaves you with an insatiable urge to go shopping.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I recently checked out House of Versace: The Untold Story of Genius, Murder, and Survival from the library and am really enjoying it. Since I've never been a Versace devotee, I didn't know much about the brand's appeal and why it was so successful in the 80s and 90s. But reading about the label's rise and (sort of) fall made me want to check out the older, glory-day designs, and I found some old ads that made me quite nostalgic for the 90s. Check it out:

In the book, the author, Deborah Ball, often parallels Gianni Versace's career to that of his rival at the time, Giorgio Armani. Armani rose to fame first, with his power suits that couldn't have been more appropriate for the affluent times. Then Versace showed up, the complete opposite of Armani, with his over-the-top ads and celebrity clients. One person Ball interviewed for the book noted that Versace's clothes weren't intellectual at all, and were more like candy. The last advertisement above really drives that point home. The models in it look like cotton candy or sweet tarts. 
If you have any interest in fashion whatsoever, I highly recommend picking up the book!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

meg white: unsung fashion hero

I just watched The White Stripes' new live DVD Under Great White Northern Lights. For those of you not in the know, the 92-minute film follows the band on their tour of Canada, where they play a show in every province and territory in the country. The DVD is most satisfying for die-hard fans, since it doesn't really reveal anything new about the band. But since this is a style blog, I'll talk about one thing I re-realized upon watching: Meg White doesn't get enough credit for her fashion sense.
One thing Jack White talks a lot about in the film is his desire to make playing music as difficult as possible for him. He believes that by limiting himself (playing old instruments, having only two band members, never using a set list), he challenges himself to be as creative as possible. In a world of limitless choices, I think The White Stripes' mission statement is as relevant as ever. From an aesthetic viewpoint, Meg and Jack always look interesting and stylish even though they only wear three colors. How do they, and specifically, how does Meg, pull this off? Like Jack implies, having only three colors to choose from forces her to be imaginative when constructing an outfit. Let's take a look:

She wears hats: I'm a firm believer in hats. I think they can totally make (or break) an outfit. And when you're choosing from only red, white and black, plenty of hats can make an outfit more interesting. I can't think of anything more adorable than a red or black beret, which Meg has worn plenty of times.

She accessorizes with scarves: When your wardrobe contains a lot of plain white t-shirts, scarves can keep your outfit from getting boring. I love Meg's polka-dotted scarf here.

When in doubt, wear hot pants: I couldn't have been more surprised to see this picture of Meg wearing little red shorts at a show. But maybe when it's hot outside and you're sick of wearing red, black or white skinny jeans, you have to break out the mini shorts.

She cleans up nice! Whenever Meg has attended a red carpet event with Jack, she always looks darling and put-together. Thankfully, her color palate allows little black dresses, and she gets creative with a fuzzy white bolero-type thing.

Friday, March 12, 2010


So, the Telephone video, huh? I'm still recovering from the awesomeness of it all, and I think I need to watch it a few more times before it all sinks in. But can we all agree that we can't even compare this video to Bad Romance? Telephone is so twisted and really more of a short video set to music than a music video. Here are a few of my favorite highlights.

The jailhouse dance party.

The text reads: "Thanks for bailing me out Sista!" I love B and G together.

Beyonce bails Lady G out and the real fun begins.

Let's make a sandwich! To poison everyone with!

Love that B got to wear the Mickey Mouse sunglasses of death.

Patriotic post-homicide dance party.

And sassy beekeeper outfits.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ring, ring!

Today is the day Lady Gaga's Telephone video FINALLY premieres at 11:30 p.m. EST on E!. All the hardcore fans will be waiting with bated breath for what she and Beyonce unveil. All we know so far is that it involves bright yellow hair telephones, police tape outfits, prison breaks and lots and lots of insanity. Hopefully the end result lives up to Lady Gaga's promise that the video is a "masterpiece" that will put Bad Romance to shame.
In the meantime, I re-watched several of Gaga's videos. All fantastic.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chanel's fall 2010 show just the tip of the iceberg

Ha-ha, literally! Oh, the wit. Chanel's fall 2010 collection was paraded down a chilly-looking runway with a giant glacier in the middle.

The runway set the tone for what was to come, specifically, Abbey Lee Kershaw wearing this

A little Where the Wild Things Are meets the Abominable Snowman. Reportedly, all the fur on the runway was fake, which is relief since I can't imagine anyone actually leaving the house in this fuzzy mess. But, this being Chanel, my all-time favorite label, there was plenty of classic goodness in this collection. Observe:

If I ever had a reason to attend a red carpet event, I would no doubt wear the floral number on the bottom left. And there's nothing I wouldn't do to get my very own Chanel tweed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Three confusing spring fashion trends and how to wear them

Like I mentioned yesterday, spring really is just around the corner, and malls are stocking their shelves with floral dresses and skirts, bathing suits and shorts. But with the beginning of each season comes a host of new trends that can be mind-boggling and difficult to pull off. These trends usually trickle down from the spring runways, which we first saw back in September. It's always fun to pontificate which wacky clothes will get knocked off at the likes of H&M and Forever 21, and now we finally get to find out. Of course, we're not all fashion models who can easily pull off sky-high heels, bare midriffs and ruffles galore. So how do we translate these high-fashion looks to reality? Let's see.

Trend #1: Clogs

Seen on: Chanel's spring hoe-down themed runway


Can we do this in real life? Probably. When I first saw these clogs on the runway, I had instant flashbacks to a pair of grotesque Candie's clogs I owned in middle school, and I definitely don't want to pull them out of retirement. The beauty of style is that it's open for interpretation, so I'd recommend seeking out some slightly less extreme clog-like shoes with studs and chains that make the look more modern. 

1. Steve Madden; 2. Target; 3. Steve Madden; 4. Veganchic.com

Trend #2: Peplum skirts and dresses

Seen on: Several spring runways, most notably Victoria Beckham

Can we do this in real life? Sure! But remember a few guidelines. Any time you have a piece of fabric flaring out from your waist, you risk looking a little wide in the hips. I learned this lesson the hard way in a Forever 21 fitting room. If you want to rock the look in a way that's flattering, stick with dark colors and stay away from crazy patterns. If you're really hesitant, choose a skirt or dress with a top layer that extends beyond the hips. 

1. Wet Seal; 2. Forever 21; 3. Aqua

Trend #3: Crop Tops

Seen on: Erin Wasson for RVCA

Can we do this in real life? Kind of. Unless you've been doing major ab workouts, my guess is that you don't want to strut around town in a crop top. However, there is a way to pull this trend off in a modest way if you wear a crop with a pair of high-waisted paints or skirt. Your belly won't be exposed, but you still get the drape-y effect of Erin Wasson's top, above. Make sure the top is loose-fitting, and you could even wear it over a slim tank top for a cool layered look. 

1. Forever 21; 2. ASOS; 3. Forever 21; 4. Urban Outfitters; 5. American Apparel

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Topshop's pretty spring clothing

A while back, I talked about my futile quest to find some pretty lingerie-as-outwear tops and dresses. I found lots of hard-to-wear corset tops, but nothing I'd be willing to leave the house in. It completely slipped my mind to check Topshop--the UK's answer to H&M. I normally count Topshop out because of geographical issues. They finally opened a store in the U.S. about a year ago, but it's in New York, which is close, but not close enough for lunch break shopping sprees. Either way, they have some really pretty, delicate looking camis, skirts and dresses that won't leave you looking like you popped out of an 80s-era Madonna video. Behold:

Any of these pieces would be a great addition to a spring/summer wardrobe--they look soft and flowy, and would keep you cool on a stuffy day. I know it's only the beginning of March, and we haven't quite arrived at spring yet, but it sure is nice to daydream about it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

D&G's wintery mix

Over in Milan, fall 2010 shows have been pretty promising. Prada and DSquared² both had excellent shows, and gave me a lot to look forward to this fall. D&G, on the other hand, was kind of a head-scratcher. This isn't to say I didn't like it, because I'd take outrageous yet interesting over wearable but boring any day--but these pieces aren't functional by any stretch of the imagination. If I had to name the collection, I'd call it "Sexy Snow Bunnies", which really doesn't work because even snow bunnies need to stay warm. Bare legs don't fare so well on the ski slopes.

The knits are cute enough, but why isn't there a little more to them? The reindeer and snowflakes scream "winter" but I wouldn't wear a dress that length outdoors in December--unless I lived in Southern California. And speaking of SoCal... I couldn't help but notice the collection's striking resemblance to Seth Cohen's Chrismukkah sweater.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Time to buy a trench coat

After drooling over Burberry Prorsum outwear the other day, I became obsessed with the idea of getting a trench coat for the spring. Luckily, trenches seem to be one of the leading trends for spring, so there is no shortage of adorable, reasonably priced coats choose from right now. Since I shop at the same five stores every day (and I think you can all guess what they are by now), my choices come from the places I frequent the most. But whether you shop at Saks or H&M, I have no doubt the perfect trench is out there waiting for you.

Can we all take a moment and applaud Forever 21 for the awesomeness of these trench coats? Just look at them! There's one trimmed with a checked pattern, a more traditional one with ruffles and a floral trench. And they're all under $50.

The above trenches are from Target, and they certainly aren't the only ones the super store has to offer. On the right is a playful pink trench that's $49.99. On the right is a trench from Jean Paul Gaultier's upcoming line at Target, available March 7. I have a feeling that trench will be one of the most in-demand items from the collection.

And, finally, because Urban Outfitters can't say no to a trend, we have the BDG Twill Trench, the most expensive at $98. But good trench coats should last forever, and this is one trend that will likely never go out of style.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

burberry prorsum fall 2010: an exercise in outwear perfection


Yesterday, Burberry's Prorsum show was taken in around the world. In a fashion first, the show was streamed in 3D--and was also available to watch live on the company's web site. I'm so glad these brands are making the shows more accessible to average citizens who most likely won't find themselves sitting in the front row any time soon. Although I have to admit, when I watch the shows online, I'm often more concerned with what celebs and editors I can spot than what the models are wearing.
Burberry's show was great, most notably their signature outerwear. The coats above are gorgeous, and it looks like the thigh-high boot trend will be staying on for another season. Check out the trench in the middle, above. There appears to be a zipper around the waist, so the bottom can be zipped off to shorten the length of the jacket. Very inventive, and I'm sure the piece will be in demand this fall. You can see the full collection here and watch the entire runway show here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

olympics fever

It's hard to know where to divert my attention these days--Fashion Week or the Winter Olympics? Both events are full of spectacle and shock. But watching Lindsey Vonn conquer the mountain is slightly more uplifting than watching Karlie Kloss conquer the runway. Either way, I've been busy keeping up with both events.
I recently jumped on the bandwagon and began a Tumblr, which can be found here. Don't get jealous, Blogger! I'll just be using the Tumblr to supplement this blog and post things I don't really have words for. Like the stills released from Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video.
So, tonight, you can rest assured I will be sitting on my couch cheering for Evan Lysacek to bring home the gold in men's skating. Hopefully, he'll be wearing another fab Vera Wang creation like he did on Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

rodarte fall/winter 2010

The Rodarte sisters' Fall/Winter 2010 line showed today at New York Fashion week. I've come to expect a lot from Rodarte, and they always end up exceeding my expectations. This line is incredibly soft and feminine, especially compared to the edginess of Spring/Summer 2010's collection.
Luckily for us non-insiders, the show was streamed live today on SHOWstudio--and is available to watch there now. There's tons of floral prints, draping and delicate white dresses. The models are almost zombie-like, wearing practically no makeup and dead expressions. Here's a quick preview, but you can see stills of the entire line here.
photo collage by me, stills from coutorture.com

Friday, February 12, 2010

long live mcqueen

The fashion world is still mourning the loss of British designer Alexander McQueen. He was a favorite of many, and will certainly not ever be forgotten. At this time, I'm sure everyone's thoughts are with his family and friends--though one can't help but wonder what fashion will be like without his unique voice. 
On a personal note, Alexander McQueen was one of the first designers I really loved. I remember flipping through an issue of Vogue towards the end of high school and seeing the white and blue dress from his fall 2008 collection. I fell in love with the shiny blue fabric, the pouf of white skirt, and had to know who this Alexander McQueen person was. Ever since then, I've anxiously awaited his next collection and always hoped I'd own something of his design one day. This is a great loss--such a young talent with so much more to create. In his honor, in my own small way, I'd like to pay tribute to his short time with us. 

He made actresses take fashion chances. This is only a small sampling of the many McQueen dresses that have found their way onto the red carpet. Actresses who wanted to wear something a little different, a little daring, might choose to don McQueen at a premiere or awards show. They might have gotten ripped apart by the fashion police (who tend to favor bland, middle of the road dresses that lack imagination), but they always got a gold star from me for taking a chance and making the parade of beautiful but ordinary dresses that much more interesting.

He gave us a good reason to join corporate America. Suits are boring, right? Not when Alexander McQueen designs them. Whether they're plaid or houndstooth, trimmed with fur or paired with a plunging neckline, McQueen made woman want to put on a suit. Michelle Obama knows--she's wearing a McQueen pinstriped suit in the photo above. Clothing should never be boring, even in the boardroom, and McQueen made it possible for fashionistas to bring it at the office.


He brought the crazy. As long as your name isn't Lady Gaga or Daphne Guinness, chances are you wouldn't be caught dead in any of the ensembles above. But they are SO interesting to look at! One of the things I love about McQueen is that he can outfit the First Lady of the United States in a tasteful suit, and then turn around and provide the jaw-dropping costumes for Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" video. McQueen was truly imaginative and versatile. 


You can't beat his runway shows. Each time McQueen premiered a new collection on the runway, the fashion world held its breath. He's made his models chess pieces, aliens and dancers. His sets have been beautiful, bizarre and creepy--usually all at once. He was one of the first designers to stream his show live on the web, making him an innovator with an eye towards the future. 

There isn't much I can say that hasn't been covered elsewhere, but I had to take a moment to look back at McQueen's astounding career. As upsetting as it is that we will never see a McQueen show again, I take comfort in knowing we have what he gave us while he was here, and hope that wherever he is now, he is at peace.