Friday, March 30, 2012

Stereotyping and Fashion

Some time ago, my husband and I were in New York City and our friend Willis invited us to come to the party with him. The party was in an apartment near Columbus Circle, overlooking Central Park. It was a pretty big crowd with about 100 people attending. At some point during the conversation,one of the other guests asked me how I was invited to this party.

"We came with Willis"  I said
"Who is Willis?" the men inquired.
"A friend of Robert".  Still, no recognition.
"The tall, skinny guy, over there..."  I continued but he still have puzzled expression on his face
"Talking to Meghan, with a glass of champagne"  I tried to identify our friend, annoyed, because it seemed to me that Willis was plain in sight.
"Oh, the Black guy!" he finally got it.
"Willis, the guy in the red shirt" I insisted stubbornly.

I am not trying to show you here how politically correct I can be. I just couldn't get over dumping Willis into this huge 'Black guy' bucket. Willis is smart, funny, flamboyant, artistic and gay. I thought of two other 'Black guys' that were part of my small team at work. Adi is a big, tall men, was born in Sierra Leone, is a single father and avid sports fanatic. Bernard wears Afro, is always proper and dignified and very active in his church. Willis has probably more in common with my husband  (no, not he gay part) than with my coworkers.


Our friends Rose and Mark got married . Rose is an American citizen but she was born in Honduras. Mark is Swiss. They decided that they will live in  New York where Mark will try to get a job. He was a lawyer in Switzerland. They went to INS to start naturalization process for Mark. They had totally confused INS workers because they all started talking to Mark, assuming he is sponsoring Rose, not the other way around..

Mark tried to get a job, but it proved harder than they though. He is a confident man, but he is soft spoken and understated. When he went on interviews, he talked about his limited abilities. Nobody could take him seriously, because hearing he is a lawyer, they expected assertive, articulate and aggressive and he was none of it.  After over a year of trying to find a job in NYC,  Mark decided to accept a job with UN through a Swiss company.  As a part of his assignment, he had to travel to Sierra Leone to prosecute war criminals. After he was there for a few months Rose decided to join him in Africa. Children would come up to her to touch her jet black, waist long straight hair and for a first time in her life, everybody referred to her as a 'White Woman' .


My skin does not signal a difference but my voice does. Many times I meet someone for a first time, I say one sentence and they are asking me "Where are you from?" . It is not that I want to hide my heritage. But is seems kind of personal question. If I happen to notice that somebody has a nice car, I don't ask them how much they make, even if I was curious and I wanted to group owners of BMWs into some kind of list of reference in my head. I also noticed that the people who quickly pop the 'where are you from' question, usually don't ask me about anything else after that.

I am Polish, by the way. Once they learn that, they usually tell me that their cleaning lady is also Polish and that they really like her.


I talked about it with my Puerto Rican friend and he sent me this:


Fashion, on the other hand, is the opposite of racial and ethnic stereotypes. It is the way we consciously create our exterior image. It is the story we want to tell about ourselves to the outside world. We don't pick our skin color or the country we are born in or even our family. But most of us can pick our clothes and some of us like to use them to create meanings.

That's why fashion is not superficial (read more about it HERE on one of my favorite blogs, authored by my friend, DaniBP) and interestingly, many times we find out that we have more in common when we share the elements of personal style than when we share the genetic or ethnic background.


There are many other ways to be stereotyped, being a woman, being young or old, being religious, being from the South, being vegetarian, being a teacher or SAHM....

Have you been a victim of stereoptyping?
Do you think we use fashion to defy stereotypes?


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ooops and No More Chances

Oops! I have accidentally deleted my J.Crew April preview part III post. I was trying to edit it from my iPhone and when I went to it again it was gone!!!  Has this ever happen to you?

At least I still have the pictures that I uploaded to Blogger, but I have to recreate my comments. In the meantime I have a post that I have written few days ago but I saved it for later because I was excited to share the new roll out pictures.

So here it goes....

Chance tee w/Lexington

I know so many of us have the stripe obsession, and I for one, am always looking for this perfect striped shirt to add to my collection.

Enter Chance, company that evolved around the striped shirt, what a concept!

Perfect striped shirts with a store behind the brand and cool website, of course I was excited to try them. I needed a navy shirt with white stripes, so I decided to try this boatneck in navy.

It is quite pricey at $68 plus $10 shipping, but if it is going to be my ultimate striped shirt that would make me forever satisfied, it is definitely worth the price, right?

WTH, I took the plunge. After all, I am an adventurous spirit.

Well, the t-shirt arrived in couple of days in a flat envelope that probably costed no more that $3 to mail, but who is counting?

With BR skinny jeans

Size Medium

OK, it is a nice shirt. Feather weight is right, it is what we call in JC lingo tissue weigth, very thin but somehow, probably becasuse it is 100% cotton, not too clingy. What really bothered me was that the seem seemed to be slightly crooked and twisting to the side.  This was driving me bonkers when I first tried it on.

I felt so duped. The shirt is really nothing special and I doubt I would select it in the blind trial. But I have already paid $10 for shipping and I would have to pay to ship it back with insurance and delivery confirmation. I tried to adjust the wonky seam and walked around for a while and it seemed to stay in place, more or less. I really like the color, not a very dark navy but with some teal undertones, that I find flattering with my skin tone.

After some deliberations, I decided to keep it, but I am not very impressed and it is unlikely I will be giving them any more 'chances'.  


My other try-it-out-just-because purchase was a pair of Corso Como pumps from Nordstrom.
I was looking for a pair with nude/black colorblock, ever since I saw similar Zara's shoes on Atlantic Pacific. I needed leather lining, the heel that is not overly high and reasonable price.

The Corso Como 'Del Quilted' Pump seemed to fit the bill.

Corso Como 'Del Quilted' Pump
I never ordered Corso Como shoes, but I went with my J.Crew heel size. In some brands I need a half size smaller, but with the free shipping and the store near by to return to, I wasn't too worried about getting it right.

leather lining and soles $90

The size turned out to be correct. The shoes are very comfortable and the heel is stable. They have a lot of arch support and supple leather lining and leather soles. However, I wasn't thrilled. They seemed to be too wide (I usually don't have that problem) and there was a space on the sides between the shoe and and my feet. I am pretty picky about my shoes and this was a deal breaker, I thought it looked ugly and mumsy. Also I did not like the quilting, I was concerned with that when I ordered and I should have listened to my instincts, they are usually correct.

I decided to return the shoes, no big deal since I knew I will be going to the mall that has Nordstrom in it, anyway.

you can see the space forming on the side

Overall, the shoes were very comfortable and I feel good about the brand. I will definitely try some other shoes from them, as they seem to be reasonably priced for quality and comfort.
I hope they are not always wide.


Have you ordered from Chance or Corso Como?
What do you think about the brands?
Do you have colorblock pumps recommendation?
Where do you get your favorite striped shirts?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

J.Crew April Rollout Preview - Dresses and more

With every roll out,  J.Crew comes up with few prints that are repeated in different pieces. This spring for example, we have already seen different variation of the apple print and the foulard print.

The print on the pencil skirts that I reviewed yesterday is also used in different items. The paisley print you will come in perfect fit button down and there is a scarf as well. The flower print comes in strapless dress and a scarf. There may be more pieces, this is just what I saw.

Another print this spring, in tradition of 'all things nautical', is the anchor print. To me, this is similar to apple print in terms of wearability, some will love it and some will think it is too literal, especially in navy and white.

Recently, J.Crew also seem to be doing the same shapes over and over and here we have another version of maritime dress, this time in anchor print:

Short and (too) sweet

size Small, TTS
Actually, it is a very cute dress, but maybe just too cute. Where would I wear it? On beach vacation in Martha's Vineyard (we do go there almost every year)? No, it seems like too much, no mentioning that it is usually too hot to wear long sleeve sweatshirt dress.

It will not work for me, but I know many of you like this shape.

$98 100% cotton

Eyelet dress ( also comes in white)

This one is purple. On my phone and on my monitor at home it looked totally blue, but it is purple irl. I don't usually wear purple so I would prefer white, but if you like purple, this is a very pretty shade.

Anyway, it is a very nice dress, finally not high waist-ed, with good length and bra friendly. It has a back zipper and pockets and is fully lined in cotton. In theory sounds great, but it is just not very exciting to me, for some reason. Maybe I was just tired?

Good length and waist in a proper place

Pockets and back zipper

Size 8, TTS, fully lined

size 8, TTS
$188, 100% cotton, overpriced imo

Cotton-silk perfect shirt in raj paisley

First, let me make a dislaimer. I am actually a fan of cotton/silk blend that many of you hate. I know it is kind of delicate, but those are the only shirts that I don't mind tucking in, or wearing under sweaters. They drape well and don't create bulk. And they may rip or develop holes, but I guess these are casualties of war, I mean fashion.   

$88 size 8, they did not have a 6
I would say it fits TTS, it is slightly oversized in size 8, I usually wear 6 in perfect shirts, but 8 was OK . It would be great with denim!
57% cotton 43% silk, pattern is matched, again!

Luxe utility pant
Great for casual wear. They fitted me quite well, so I would think they may not work for those of you that are pear shaped, with small waist and wider hips.

I would prefer that they were longer because I think they may be borderline after they shrink. I do wash linen in regular washer and hung to dry (if I remember). I have a 33" inseam.

$85 100% cotton
Size 4

last year they eventually were on sale for $20

Silk blouse in anchor print

OK, this is a another 'Talithian' blouse, this time in anchor print, 100% silk. It has three cute little ivory buttons on each shoulder. Again, it drapes well and looks good, although it seems overpriced. I think the anchor print, similarly to apple print, is definitely better in small scale.

This print is also used in scarf and in capri pants.

size 6, fits TTS, sleeves scrunched up

100% silk $135

Linen herringhbone pants in pink

The linen pants also come in pink, see below, and pretty bright shade of pink, think Pepto Bismo.  I thought this would be cool with navy, but it did not work with anchor print, probably because it is silk.

Size 4, TTS

that's all folks!


What do you think?
Do you like the anchor print?
How about the eyelet dress?
What do you think of the paisley shirt or the linen pants? 
Would you consider anything at full price?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

I will have more tomorrow, stay tuned!


And if you are interested in anything from J.Crew,  fabulous Em in Espania is giving away a $25 gift card to J.Crew,  don't forget to enter HERE.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

J.Crew April Rollout Preview - New Pencil Skirts

Like I mentioned on JCA, I got an email form my PS about the new collection arriving today at Garden State Plaza concept store. These items will probably end up in other stores and online in April.  Of course, I had to go check it out for you!

I took lots of pictures and tried on quite a few things, but it is already late, so I only have time for a quick post, but I will have more soon.

These are the new pencil skirts and schoolboy blazer.

Size 4

Fits TTS

I really like this print

I like the red lining, very cute.
Pockets in the back
Notice that the pattern on the skirt is matched!!! That's the way to go J,Crew, thank you!

Schoolboy in 100% linen

Size 6, TTS

I am guessing the blazer may be coming in other colors, maybe in navy?

 The skirt below is the same price, fit and fabric content as paisley skirt above.

Size 4

Fully lined and TTS

I think this flower print is nice, somewhere between realistic and abstract and will go with many tops.

cute little clutches

This is what I took to the fitting room

That's all folks


What do you think?
Do you like the skirts or the blazer?

Please share, it would be no fun without you!!!

I will have more tomorrow, stay tuned!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Champagne and Fowl (Emerson Fry Review)

For a couple of years I had a girls crush on Emerson from Emerson Made, aka Emerson Fry.

I was seduced by this picture:

I wanted her life! Oh, to look like her, wear her clothes, live in her house and have her job. White hens roaming around  while I sip champagne, looking pretty in my party dress? Yes, baby, bring it on. I actually forgot that I always associated  farmyard fowl with the (ahem) droppings, they inevitably leave behind. There is nothing that the glass of bubbly combined with pretty frock (or leopard coat) cannot fix!   And how about this handsome hubby of hers (and business partner), masculine looking dude, wearing huge flower pins while tending to the lettuce? Total meltdown. Now, my urban variety hubby is not bad looking, smart, caring and metrosexual, but huge flower pins?! I always had a soft spot for tough guys with their feminine side peeking through. You can laugh, but I had a crush on Bruce Willis in the 90's...

In the interview with Megan from wonderful blog Beach Bungalow, Emerson was asked about her design influences.
"The biggest influences are my favorite era’s for womens fashion, not to mention social and political change for women: the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. great combinations of sexy and classic for formal and casual. Powerful women doing powerful things. These three era’s encompass so many incredible options, and Woman want to look good and have options!
I design pieces I want in my own closet depending on the woman I need to be that day. We all have so many sides to our personality, so many things we can do, lives we are made to live, characters we are in different moments.
I am designing for all of those. It’s the transformative power of clothes that I’ve always loved, the story we tell. Open your closet and choose your destiny. Bang Your Drum"
Read the whole interview HERE

I love her fashion philosophy, it makes me even more excited about the line. Her clothes really speak to me, modern classic, simple and feminine, but chic and sexy at the same time. 
I could totally rock this look

I love so many pieces from her Spring 2012 line. The clothes are not cheap but the design is timless they made in US from natural fabric.

But since my budget is limited, I could only afford to order couple of items, so I went back to The List (of things I need this year), and decided that I would try this skirt:
2 Button Skirt - Tiny Navy PinStripe
The skirt arrived in couple of days, packed in white tissue paper with golden seal. It was like opening a present. Lavender sachet was hanging on the skirt hanger, how delightful. 

With perfect fit button sleeve
Love it!
With linen perfect shirt
The skirt fits according to their size chart. I had to order a size 8 to get 30" waist (equivalent of size 4 in J.Crew pencil skirt. The two button belt is removable. The length is just below the knee on me, I am 5'6.  It is a n A-line skirt and there s no too much volume in the hips, which is sometimes a problem for me. It drapes nicely and it is fully lined in white acetate, it feels wonderful on. It is made from Belgian linen and it does wrinkle, but this is a nature of the fabric. Shipping is free and no sales tax.  I was fully prepared to return it if it is not perfect but I am in love. It's a keeper.

My other purchase was from their 'ends', leftovers from previous season. You cannot return it but you can get store credit or exchange. I actually ordered it first to test the brand since it wasn't so expensive and I thought I would use a credit towards the skirt, if I have to.

They had a whole line of those blouses in different colors but I actually need a black blouse that can double as a party top which I was lacking. 

Same blouse in blue, you can see the pleating and puff sleeves

Cream version

My blouse

Cute little button in the back
This blouse is made of silk chiffon and quite sheer, which is what I was looking for but it may not be for everybody.

Little daring for going out
I would wear it sheer with just a black bra if I was going out clubbing with my hubs.

Plain and easy
But of course you can add a black cami underneath and wear it to dinner, like above.

Love the silhouette!
Combined with my tulip lightweight wool skirt from J.Crew this is a silhouette I really love and it feels very me. The front is a little longer than the back and the blouse has just the right length to wear it untucked. It has slightly boxy swingy fut that I love but it is fitted in the chest are with perfectly placed darts. I love the neckline with the pleating and perfect depth of scoop and the sleeves are only very slightly gathered, nothing puffy at all. And ceck out the cutest little button in the back. This really is a great purchase for me, very versatile for what I needed and I am very happy with it.

That's all folks

I will probably buy more from them, I am lusting after the raspberry striped skirt, but I need to save up first.


What do you think?
Have you bought anything from Emerson Fry?
Do you like the line?
What are your favorites?

Please share, it woudl be no fun without you!!!