Hi Everyone!

06/02/2010

Hi everyone! It’s Lizzi. As you probably can tell, Mom and I are taking a little break with our blog. But, you can still connect with Mom on Twitter twitter.com/etkotite and me on Chictopia!!! chictopia.com/lizzishopaholic

Stay fashionable! xoxo

New Headshot for Mom

03/25/2010

(Erika/Mom) I’ve been using the same photo for almost all of my online activity (except this blog): Twitter, Facebook, bios, etc. The photo was taken in the summer of 2005, in a little grove of lemon trees and I just love it:

But…2005? That was five years ago! I’m starting to feel dishonest. While I look pretty much the same, there’s just no way that this can be considered a recent photo. It’s like using a resume that you haven’t updated in awhile. I don’t like the fact that I look older, or somewhat heavier, but it’s the truth. This was driven home to me a few months ago at a meeting I attended where we could post stuff live on Twitter. The guy who was speaking looked around the room (and it was not a huge room) and said he was looking for the resident Twitterer (me) but couldn’t seem to find her. Hmmm; maybe because my hair was about six inches longer, my face wasn’t professionally made up, and, well, time has passed.

So this week I decided to ask my friend and wonderful photographer Simon Alexander to get me an updated face. Of course before heading into NYC to do the shoot I had to figure out what to wear. And as usual, I had to do it fast. While trying to return a few things in Princeton I rushed into Ann Taylor with about four minutes left on my parking meter. They had lots of pretty things meant for layering. I loved all of the ruffles and prints, but didn’t indulge this time. Instead, my eye was caught by a steel-gray cardigan with tiny silk rosebuds framing the front. I paired it with a champagne camisole I already have, and some dark gray pants. Then for a splash of color I borrowed Lizzi’s orange LV scarf. Here is the final presentation:

So where’s the professional NYC headshot, you ask? I’m still deliberating. You’re going to have to check back in, or Google me in a few weeks. But thanks to a good haircut, some serious highlights, and great makeup (all thanks to the Village Salon in Pennington), I think that five years have been good to me.

Lizzi’s Look of the Day

03/12/2010


(Erika/Mom) We think spring is finally here. At least this week. Temperatures actually reached 60 a couple of days and the mood around here is decidedly brighter. Lizzi put together an outfit that celebrates the hint of warmth yet acknowledges that winter is not quite gone.

Lizzi found a great pair of cropped pants a few weeks ago at our new favorite store, Rosana in Princeton. She paired them with a black shirt from Old Navy and ballet flats. Wrapped around her neck is the lucky scarf I actually found on the ground (our first post!) last winter. It’s a gorgeous striped cashmere that I took to the cleaners and has been a soft staple for us all winter long. Her headband was a Christmas gift.

Mixing Patterns

03/08/2010

(Erika/Mom) An easy costume for Halloween is to dress like a nerd. All you have to do is find startlingly patterned pants, and pair them with an equally startling patterned shirt. Voila–instant comedy.

We all live in dread of wearing an outfit that clashes, but sometimes a bit of pattern mixing results in a really great look. Lizzi and I often look at the wild combos in Teen Vogue and Seventeen–darn it, they always just seem to work! Kristen O’Reilly, in a post last April in Idiosyncratic Style, dares us to mix it up and her examples are really wonderful. It’s like looking at a bowl of mixed candy: sure, the colors and patterns vary wildly, but the big picture is pleasing to the eye.

Yesterday Lizzi and I tested our pattern savvy at the mall. Each of us chose an outfit with lots of pattern (and the rule was, NO picking merchandise already put together by the store!) I chose Macy’s and the two of us perused the racks, starting with a graphic silk skirt with a black border. We tried it with a very loud (but really cool) blouse with a swirly green and white pattern. Even with a complementing black belt, the overall effect is rather bizarre:

So then I went safe, pairing the skirt with an off-white cardigan.
Yeah.
Don’t see fireworks? Neither did we.

Still having green in my mind’s eye, I rounded the corner and both of us spotted this button-front cardigan with just a hint of tie-dye.

“I like it, but too groovy, maybe?” I asked Lizzi.
“Try it on,” said she.

So I did, grabbing a simple white blouse with lots of ruffles to put on underneath. We decided this one’s a winner:

Here is an example of two pieces I never would have thought to wear together, let alone buy together. But we both instantly voted yes on this outfit, as the stodgy skirt got a jolt of color and fun from the top. I probably could have gone a little more adventurous on the belt. Shoes? Well, you could go chartreuse suede with some serious heels, ballet flats, or laceup boots. Lots of choices. This experiement was a lot of fun and what’s more, it pushed me out of my long-held fashion conventions that much more.

Now it’s Lizzi’s turn!

(Lizzi/Daughter) Mixing patterns isn’t as hard as it looks. Polka dots and checkers, plaid and stripes, leopard and floral… it all works. Of course, there are times when an outfit can go way too far when mixing patterns… and after Mom and I visited the mall, we found multiple different ways that an outfit could be safe, sorry, or just right.

As you can see, mixing patterns is big this season so I was excited to look at all the choices Mom and I had to create outfits for ourselves!


DVF SS10


Marc Jacobs SS10

I went to Forever 21 to find my outfits and they had many choices. I went with a gray boat-neck top and an orange and white striped cami for the main pieces.

First, I decided to pair the outfit with a blue and black skirt with an Aztec print.

It obviously doesn’t look good, so I switched to a pair of light pink leggings, to play it safe.

Finally, I tried on the same skirt as before but in black and white…

… and finally! an outfit that works.

This shows that not only patterns can make an outfit clash, but so can color!!!

Lizzi (Bennett’s) Look of the Day

02/23/2010



(Erika/Mom)
Any of you Jane Austen fans out there will get my clever title. Lizzi and I dressed up last Saturday to see lots and lots of handwritten letters of Jane Austen at The Morgan Library. We took this shot whilst waiting for the train in Hamilton NJ. (Notice how I used the word whilst? aahhh)

I called the afternoon downright thrilling–Lizzi probably called it something else. She really, really liked the tea afterwards, though, especially the cheese toast. She ate three.

Anyway, Lizzi looked smashing in her black pleated skirt, thin-knit sweater, and moccasin boots. Oh yeah, she’s always reminding me to label everything properly so here goes:

Black skirt: H&M
Patterned thin-knit sweater: Urban Outfitters
Leather jacket: Baby Phat/Macys
Tights: American Apparel
Boots: Urban Outfitters
Bag: TJ Maxx

10 Reasons We Hate Getting Dressed

02/18/2010


(Erika/Mom) It’s winter, in case you were wondering. Getting dressed is a lot harder when it’s cold freezing. But no matter what the season, there are certain things about wearing clothes that remind us….well, that we are not in heaven yet. When Lizzi and I compiled our list, we realized that much of our wardrobe woes stemmed from garments that don’t fit right. Makes you envy those privileged souls who have their clothing tailor-made, or who make their own. There really is a huge advantage in avoiding off-the-rack dressing when you can. Because you’re always going to hassle with stuff like this:

Erika’s Top Five Peeves
1. Poor fabric. Almost everything looks good when it’s brand new and in a well-lighted store. The real test comes after washing and wearing, many, many times. Expect fading, stretching (or shrinking), and of course everyone’s favorite, ripped seams. That’s why it’s probably better to buy fewer things at a time, but replace them a bit more frequently. I’m not one to talk, since some of my clothes date back to the last century. But I’m planning a big spring purge this year.

2. Bra bulge. Lizzi doesn’t have this problem–I do and probably lots of other women in their 40s (at least I hope I’m not alone). Even if you aren’t overweight, you just soften up a lot as you age. Those soft bulges are NOT attractive. Some experts say that it’s because your bra is too big or not adjusted properly. Real Simple recently ran a piece on getting bras right; I’m going to check out some of their recommendations this year.

3. One sock (or one earring) syndrome. So many of my favorite earrings and socks-that-don’t-fall-down are MIA. Just one remains to taunt me.

Here’s a solution: We need to band together and start wearing mismatched earrings and socks like it’s a fashion statement. Really. If enough of us do it without looking embarrassed it just might catch on. Or maybe we just say “who gives a d*mn” and do it anyway.

4. Pant hems that drag on the ground. It’s annoying in the summer but it drives me nuts in the winter. THIS unfortunate wardrobe mishap is happily not one I subscribe to, but unhappily lots of other people do. Lizzi can maybe elaborate more intelligently on why teenagers in particular like to drag fabric through dirt, salt, slush, and Lord knows what other goodies on the streets and sidewalks.

5. No dressy coats live in your closet. Most days I hardly give a second thought to my coat inventory. But those frigid nights when you happen to be going out, looking pretty good in your thin dress and thinner hose/tights…and you must choose between freezing to death and wearing a Garbstore Mountain Providence Parka it dawns on you that outerwear is an important component of looking good. This parka is very cute in other circumstances but not on date night.

So there you go. Some of the reasons we reach for the jeans, clogs, husband’s sweater, sports bra and skip the jewelry in the morning. But there’s always another day, and another attempt, tomorrow. Now for Lizzi’s list:

Lizzi’s Top Five Peeves

1. Sagging tights. In the winter, especially in New Jersey, it’s basically mandatory to wear tights when wearing a skirt or a dress. Except no matter how many times or how far I pull my tights up, they always seem to slip right back down. And I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this since I have seen a couple of my friends’ struggle with their own low-hanging tights… if you know what I mean.

2. Straps hanging by a thread. (literally!)This sort of goes along with mom’s first peeve. Yesterday, I wore a cute cami under a jacket and as I had one of my friends adjust it, the strap broke off and I had to walk around all day with my jacket zipped up all the way until I was able to find a safety pin. Now that’s a real fashion emergency!

3. Your favorite top has a stain on it– cause unknown. “Ahhh… I love this shir– ew! Where the heck did that come from!?”

4. Colors that run. Last week, after I threw my red acid wash jeans in the laundry, everything else came out pink. This includes, my gray sweater (which is now a grayish pink), my light pink socks (which are now a very dark redish pink), and my dad’s underwear (which are now bright pink). Sorry Dad.

5. Correction: black does NOT look good with everything. What I hate the most is when you put on a black sweater or top, but you can’t tell it’s black because of all the animal hair covering it. It sucks for me because I have two cats who love to snuggle and a puppy who clings to you like a barnacle.

Lizzi & Erika’s Look of the Day

01/31/2010

Last night, I went to a movie with my dad and sister and decided to dress up a little for no particular movie. We saw “When in Rome” which was very good! I wore a cream ruffled DKNY top from Macy’s, a pair of black jeans from Nordstrom, a pair of brown Steve Madden boots that I recieved for Christmas, and a brown cardigan bought from Nordstrom.

While I was out seeing a movie, Mom went to a country western concert and dinner with some of her girlfriends. She wore a black cardigan with a faux-fur collar bought from Greene Street consignment, a deep pink silk top from Greene Street consignment, a pair of cool dark-wash jeans from H&M, and a pair of black Chinese Laundry fringed boots (which are rather hard to see because they’re black).

Last night was a real fun and fashionable night for both of us!

Rosana: Our new favorite store!

01/24/2010

(Lizzi/Daughter) A couple of months ago, Mom and I went to a trunk show for our neighbor’s client’s new teen clothing store called Rosana.┬áSince she was just beginning, there was only so much clothing and only a little bit of color. We still loved it though! The other day, I got an email from her and I told Mom that I wanted to go see her new store soon (which opened two months ago). So we headed down to Princeton and met up with Rosana again. She remembered us and was so excited to see us! Her store looked amazing. It was decorated with cute chairs and she had a much bigger variety of clothing! She also told us that she’s getting a lot more shoes in, so I knew that I would definitely be going back for more.

Mom and I grabbed different pieces right and left and I tried everything on. I was glad to find a store where I loved the clothes and most of the clothing fit me! (P.S. Sorry about the bright blue tank top… I happened to wear it and it didn’t exactly go with some of the pieces I tried on!)

First, I tried on a light blue ruffle mini dress and a pair of sequined pewter flats:

After that, I tried on an adorable black cut-out mini dress (cut outs are BIG this spring! Again, as I said before, so sorry about the tank!!!!)

Next was a beautiful orange chiffon dress which I was absolutely CRAZY about! It was a little big on the top (perfect on the bottom half).

Then I tried on a couple of things: a strapless top and a pair of really cute cropped pants! (the cardigan is my own)

Finally, I tried on a basic black cami and it looked pretty cute!

Oh, and by the way, if you happen to visit Rosana boutique in time, remember to sign her wall!

At the end, I bought the pewter flats, the black cami, and the cropped pants! I can’t wait to go back again… hopefully you’ll be able to visit the boutique sometime also!

Lizzi’s Look of the Day

01/14/2010


Here is Lizzi, early on a Thursday morning, with a great outfit for winter. Although the pink skirt is gauzy, it is warmed up with a dark gray sweater that has a 1940s silhouette. Paired with black tights, ballet flats, and a fun floral necklace, Lizzi’s ensemble is feminine and sophisticated. (Shoes from Aldo; tights from Nordstrom; skirt from H&M; sweater from Forever 21; necklace from Macys).

Short-Waisted People

01/06/2010

Short Waist
Remember the old Randy Newman song about short people? Yeah, I’m glad it isn’t played anymore, too. But I was reminded of it when contemplating my own fashion nemesis: a short waist, paired with a not-so-small torso.

When the distance between your breasts and your waist can be measured between thumb and index finger, you’ll understand. A perfectly ordinary blouse tucked into fitted pants or a belt minding its own business on your natural waistline can look ghastly. I asked Lizzi which items in my wardrobe weren’t the most flattering and she immediately named a favorite nubbly tank top that is too short for me. It hits right about my waistline and immediately turns my entire figure into a rectangle. I keep thinking of my grandpa Ted, whose trousers seemed to reach up to his armpits. Us kids used to snicker about that but the image comes back to me disturbingly sometimes when I look in the mirror.

There is good news, though. I never thought I’d say this, but today’s lower-waisted pants are actually flattering for short waists. Look at the pants in the opening photo. This clever woman used a Vogue pattern to make these pants and simply moved the waistline down on the pattern by an inch or so. I think they look really good on her short-waisted figure. Here is a pair of jeans, from Boston Proper, that would also work well on short waists:
Boston Proper Rio fit jeans

The other piece of good news is that while your waist is off limits, you’ve got two other prime areas to highlight: the hips and the breastbone. Empire-waisted tops and dresses look really pretty and tend to elongate the torso. Here is a sweater dress from Boston Proper, paired with tights and boots, that I really like:
Boston Proper empire sweater dress

I see lots of petite, short-waisted women wearing short- or waist-length jackets–likely because they think they would be overwhelmed by longer lengths. In my opinion, it’s not the best choice. You don’t want to look like a little girl wearing her mom’s clothes…but if you have any excess middle weight, longer hemlines almost always look better. This jacket, for example, would look good on a petite, short-waisted woman. The 3/4-length sleeves are a stylish touch:
Jacket-Boston Proper

Lizzi and I both think the shirt I’m wearing below is a winner. I think I got it at Macys:
Ruffled shirt
Empire waist, nice cleavage, little ruffles (my new obsession)…this comfortable top is great for summer (as seen here in Verona, Italy) as well as peeking out under a cardigan or jacket. And yes, that is an empty beer mug in front of me. I’m aware that beer does not a small waist make. But it was Italy in July–I didn’t care!


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