Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kate Hudson in a Vintage Cartier Sautoir

Kate Hudson stuns in Cartier jewels! Photo by Bauer Griffin.

This may be a look from the 2010 SAG Awards, but I still love this photo of Kate Hudson in a gown by Emilio Pucci and vintage Cartier sautoir worn down her back. Gorgeous! I feel pretty certain that Rachel Zoe put together this look for Kate and it reminds me that some of the best parts of The Rachel Zoe Project were seeing Rachel and her team have carte blanche at Cartier, among other jewelers, to use both current and vintage gems on the red carpet. Kate was wearing $1.75 million worth of Cartier jewelry that night. To borrow a line from Rachel, I die!

A full view of the front of the dress. Photo by Bauer Griffin.

A sautoir, in case you were wondering (and I just love that word, don’t you? It sounds so elegant), is, according to Merriam-Webster, “a long gold chain often set with precious stones, usually with a pendant hanging from it.”

This shot gives a better glimpse of the earrings. Bauer Griffin photo.

Let Kate’s ultra glamorous look be your friendly reminder that February’s “How I Wear My” is devoted to long necklaces. Photos are due by February 2, 2015. Send them to us at, along with a brief description of what you are wearing. Start looking through that jewelry box and join us!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Is Fur Back?

A Jazz Age gal in a J. Mendel fur, from a 2012 Bergdorf holiday window.

Maybe I should be asking, Did fur ever go away? Because I had assumed it did. It seemed for awhile if you were caught in public wearing a fur coat of any kind, someone from PETA might be very close by, willing to throw red paint your way to make the point that killing an animal to make a coat out of its fur is unethical and unacceptable!

Or maybe that was just the way the media spun it.

But between the holiday windows at Bergdorf Goodman this past year (okay, maybe every year), and a few ads and editorial spreads I saw in a recent Harper’s Bazaar, I have to wonder if fashion editors and merchandisers have just decided to get on with it and feature some fur, PETA be damned. For instance, Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, wears a fair amount of fur and she doesn’t seem to be heckled for it or have any pangs of conscience about it.

Anna in a white shearling coat. Photo by Gareth Cattermole.

Side note: I want a cute young man to hold an umbrella for me too.

I don’t know if I have an Official Opinion regarding fur. I don’t own any, save for a collar I picked up from a neighbor who had draped it over her gate, hoping to pass it on, and I can’t work up the guilt about owning it since it’s a vintage piece, probably from the 1950s or 60s, when I think fur was a lot more acceptable than today. I am not vegetarian and I do wear leather shoes and carry leather bags. I will be honest and admit I find the fur coats Bergdorf shows in their windows every winter jaw-droppingly gorgeous, however if I had that kind of money to spend, I would take it right to Cartier for some pavé diamond jewelry, I would not be buying a fur coat!

A gorgeous fur coat by J. Mendel in a 2014 Bergdorf holiday window. Stunning!

Another fur (probably J. Mendel) from a 2011 Bergdorf holiday window.

From the Dec 2014/Jan 2015  issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Photo by Jennifer Livingston.

From the same issue, an advertisement for fur coats.

Detail of a fur collar added to a J. Crew coat, from “How I Wear My: Coat,” January 2014.

I do think there are some really pretty and glamorous faux fur options out there so if I had my eye on that kind of look I would definitely be buying faux.

Do you wear fur or are you opposed to it?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nostalgia Train NYC (and Vintage Ads!)

I love this picture so much. There is no ad attached, that is the entire panel!

After reading a great post by Joanna over at Dividing Vintage Moments about her fun on the Nostalgia Train in New York City (go have a look at the lovely outfit she wore!), I was reminded that I’ve never ridden it myself. Every Sunday in December the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) breaks out vintage trains that used to be in service in the NYC subway and runs them on the M line from 2nd Avenue out to Queens Plaza and back again. My son is a big fan of this program so he and my husband and daughter have gone out for it many times but I had not joined them until this year!

If you ever see this train pull into the station in Manhattan, get on it!

I have spent so much time at the New York Transit Museum here in Brooklyn that I have been on these trains before, many, many, (many) times, just not been on them when they are moving. What a time capsule they are! They are old and you feel the cold air blowing in through the windows and sometimes there is the smell of oil or of faint smoke, but in a way these old standbys seem safer than the newer trains and because there are two MTA employees posted in each car, everyone is quite polite and you never see people throwing trash or acting rude like you might during a regular subway ride. Woo-hoo!

My favorite part of this experience was watching the expressions of people on the platform when they saw one of these trains arriving in the station. Plenty of riders would not get on the train, even when a conductor stepped off to yell what the next stop would be and it was a train going their way. Hilarious!

A train from the 1920s, featuring wicker seats!

I’ve heard the Nostalgia Train is a big To-Do now on opening weekend, with people dressing up in vintage clothes and bands playing on the platform. Because we went so late in the season, I only saw one lovely lady dressed in vintage and accompanied by her children. She was in the 1920s car and kindly let me take her picture. She was wearing her mother’s fur coat and grandmother’s fur hat. Both were divine!

A beautiful lady and her children, dressed up for the occasion!

A great ad on the 1920s train.

Doors closing on a Blue Bird train from the late 1940s.

Inside the Blue Bird.

One thing I have always loved about the old trains is seeing the vintage ads and they have them from the era the train was in service. The cars they used the day we rode were from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s and the ads reflect their time. Whenever I get to see these ads I am reminded of the power of illustration (and the wonderful talent of illustrators) and in many cases I find the illustrations better and a lot more charming than a photograph could ever be.

Such a glamorous picture for such inexpensive wines!

I really like this ad for Lipton Tea...

...and this one for Chuckles. I love these old illustrations!

Is it just me or does this lady look like Babe Paley? This ad was on the train from the 1930s.

Until next December, vintage train!

If you’ve ever been on the Nostalgia Train in Manhattan let me know what you thought of it. And if you ever see it pulling into the station, do yourself a favor and hop on board!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist by Betty Halbreich

I first became aware of Betty Halbreich, longtime personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan, when I saw the documentary Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s in 2013. Asked what she would be doing if she weren’t still working, the tart-tongued octogenarian pursed her lips and said without missing a beat, “Drinking.” I had to laugh, a lot—who says stuff like that, in this day and age?

Well Betty, that’s who. She clearly believes in telling it like it is, which made her memoir, I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist (with Rebecca Paley), such fun to read. Finally, an autobiography written by somebody old enough to have actually lived a very full life and what an interesting life it’s been! From her youth as an only child in a well-to-do family in Chicago during the Great Depression to her years as a Park Avenue housewife and mother in Manhattan in the late 1940s and 1950s (boy, doesn’t that sound like fun) to working for the secretive and aloof fashion designer Geoffrey Beene and how she got her start at Bergdorf’s, Halbreich never comes off as precious about it, but nevertheless her book is an account of her journey to become a fully-realized, independent woman.

Love this picture of Betty in a leopard coat.

Because I love reading stories about New York City at different times in history I savored this book like a box of the richest, most decadent truffles, which maybe aren’t good for your waistline but are definitely necessary for your head! There were two passages in particular, in a book filled with terrific passages, that struck home with me.

The first, after Betty completed a lengthy and expensive wardrobe refresh for the wife of a rich Dallas developer, who said,

“ ‘Betty! But we aren’t done. I need a fur coat!’

“A fur coat? I didn’t care if she lived in Alaska, let alone Texas, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. A fur coat was the kind of big-ticket item most salespeople kill for, but it only gave me a case of the school stomachs. Memories of my old life returned as I pictured her unpacking all her purchases at home. Where was she going to hang everything? What was he going to say? No, no, no. Not on my watch. Closets can be too full. There is a point of saturation.

“‘Aren’t you thrilled with what we’ve done?’ I asked. ‘Because I am.’

“She had bought a new and extensive wardrobe for the season. Need, however, meant something incomplete. This wasn’t about need. Nobody goes naked. ‘It’s enough for now. There’s always a tomorrow!’”

God love a salesperson who has this attitude because I tell you, so few of them do. I’m with Betty, there is indeed a point of saturation! You can most definitely have too many things in your closet, too many clothes, too many shoes, too many bags!

Bergdorf Goodman.

The other passage I loved:

“As I walk back out, my crankiness is abated by the hush of the empty store, a privilege of access that in all my years here has never lost its thrill. The clothes placed on the correct racks and shelves, the floors freshly swept, and the neatly folded shopping bags waiting like elegant writing paper; it is everything I imagined as a little girl wondering what Marshall Field’s was like when nobody was around.”

I weep, that paragraph is so beautiful, and I know exactly what she means. I felt the same way during my time at the 59th Street Bloomingdale’s. When you walk the first floor before the store is open and it is so clean and neat and gorgeous, with its black and white tiles in the semi-dark since the lights have not yet been turned up to their brightest before the customers come in, it is a unique and special treat that not many people are afforded and one I never took for granted. Betty is right, those old grand department stores are something else when no one is there, and it’s like being in a dream!

I don’t know if I’d have the bravery required to step into a dressing room with Betty while she sized up my style and gave me advice on what I should be wearing (hold me, I’m scared!), but meet her for a drink and a talk? Count me in.

If you read I’ll Drink to That, let me know what you thought of it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Favorite Jewels at the 2015 Golden Globes

Naomi Watts, stunning in Gucci and Bulgari!

After watching the Golden Globes last night I think we can safely say it’s all about the Big Earrings this year, or at least Hollywood stylists think so, did anyone else notice that nearly everyone wore gigantic long earrings? Because there were so many of them on view I found myself bored pretty quickly with that look and ended up loving instead anything that wasn’t about the big earring (though you will see in my list below I found one notable and gorgeous exception). These were my four favorite looks, selected primarily for the jewelry!

Naomi Watts

I loved this yellow Gucci dress on Naomi Watts, it’s such a great color on her, and her Bulgari necklace and belt brooch were perfect additions. Naomi has been wearing some fantastic jewelry on the red carpet in the past year and I hope that trend continues!

An amazing Bulgari serpent necklace on Naomi Watts.

Amy Adams

Amy looked so elegant in her periwinkle Versace gown and I am crazy for those diamond Art Deco earrings by Tiffany & Co. Amy is another one who has been killing it on the red carpet with the jewelry. She wore Tiffany last year too, to amazing effect.

Lovely Tiffany earrings on Amy Adams.

Joanne Froggatt

I had never heard of this actress before last night but she easily won my award for Best Big Earrings with these ruby stunners. Wow! They are Casato Dragon Eye earrings in 18-karat rose gold. I thought they went so well with her beyond-gorgeous Marchesa dress!

Love these Casato earrings on Joanne Froggatt!

Joanne in a sumptuous Marchesa gown.

Amy Poehler

I thought this very unusual necklace that Amy Poehler wore was so beautiful with both her dress and her coloring. If you know who makes that necklace, do tell.

A great necklace on Amy Poehler. I also like those bracelets!

Let me know what your favorite jewelry of the night was. If you’d like to have a look at even more gorgeous gems from the red carpet, head on over to Jewels du Jour, my favorite website for all things jewelry related, for an even more in-depth Golden Globes 2015 jewelry recap!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How I Wear My: Winter White

Adrienne of The Rich Life (on a budget).

Happy New Year! “How I Wear My” is ready to start 2015 in style and Adrienne of The Rich Life (on a budget) and I could not resist the glamorous charms of winter white for January.

We got so many wonderful photos for this theme that it reminded me of what street style photographer Bill Cunningham once said during one of his “On the Street” segments for the New York Times: “Women love white clothes.”

Bill’s words could not be truer, as this post proves. Enjoy!

Adrienne of The Rich Life (on a budget), above, my wonderful “How I Wear My” partner, writes, “Winter white is one of my favorite shades to wear. It’s so incredibly versatile and flattering on most anyone. This is my ideal winter time outfit - a big fuzzy sweater in winter white, skinny jeans, booties and a wool felt hat.”

Adrienne looks so northern California cool in this combination, especially out in the beautiful vineyards!

Jane of Toronto Shopoholic.

I do love a tone-on-tone look so I am a big fan of this cream cable-knit sweater over white pants that our friend Jane of Toronto Shopoholic is wearing. Her accessories are wonderful too, from the plaid scarf and camel ankle boots to the Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Clutch in lipstick red. It’s the perfect addition!

Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb.

Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb is wearing a fabulous wrap camel coat with her white Asos trousers and nude Aldo high heels. I also like that animal print beret and very unusual bag by Debenhams.

Ana of Mrs. American Made.

Ana of Mrs. American Made is wearing a lightweight ivory wool coat by Laundry, both vintage and made in America. She writes of it, “I wear it with many looks from casual jeans to date-night dresses. Here I have some tall boots, colored jeans, and a silk print top for a ready-for-anything look.”

Ana looks so fresh and wonderful in this ensemble!

Tamera of Tamera Beardsley.

Tamera of Tamera Beardsley says this stunning ensemble is “my favorite outfit right now. I love mixing monotones and textures together … and winter white is always my very favorite to work with.”

I cannot imagine a post on winter white without Tamera and I am crazy for the wow factor of this shot of her. The fur! The sunglasses! The glitz! The glamour! The draped overskirt leading a pleated underskirt! What?!? Amazing! Tamera looks ready to attend the Golden Globes this Sunday and I give her my personal award for best dressed of the night!

Nora of Jacket Society.

Nora of Jacket Society is wearing a Zara jacket with a Zara lace top, distressed jeans, Ralph Lauren booties, her favorite Prada bag, and gold and pearl jewelry.

You know I am crazy about lace so I really love this look on Nora!

Malia of Style By Malia.

Malia of Style By Malia says, “Winter white slacks are my Go-To when everyone else is in black. Add a fur wrap and I feel like a million bucks.”

Malia is wearing slacks by Lane Bryant and a wrap by INC and looks fabulous. I love the addition of those striped black and white high heels!

Susan of High Heels in the Wilderness.

Susan of High Heels in the Wilderness says, “I never, never wear white pants in winter. Not since I had a pair of winter white, wool trousers in the 80s. But I may do so this year. I just love this cream sweater from Gap. It’s long enough to cover everything that needs covering but doesn’t look, or feel bulky.”

I’m glad Susan changed her policy on white pants because this is such a great look on her. I love every bit of it, from the sweater to her Paige cropped jeans, Stuart Weitzman boots, Max Mara coat, and jewelry by Anne Marie Chagnon of Montreal.

Deborah of Fabulous After 40.

Deborah of Fabulous After 40 says, “I grew up, as most women my age, being told that white in winter was a big no-no, but now it’s quite chic, so I decided to give it a try.”

What a terrific tailored and elegant look on Deborah, featuring a double-breasted blazer with her merlot-colored cords by Fabrizio Gianni. And I love the snowy background, it looks so romantic!

Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo.

Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo writes, “I rarely if ever wear white. It doesn’t look good next to my skin. Instead I wear cream. It is softer and doesn’t wash me out as much. I will often wear a scarf next to my face to add some much needed color.”

I think Suzanne brings up an interesting point regarding white. Does anyone else out there shy away from it because you feel it doesn’t flatter your skin tone? I like what Suzanne has done here, by adding an olive vest over her white sweater, with a big colorful scarf over that.

Sheree of It’s Not That Deep.

Sheree of It’s Not That Deep joins us this month with a winter white offering from her shop. If any of you babes are in the market for a white blazer, head on over because Sheree is offering this one for sale!

Pam of Over 50 Feeling 40.

Pam of Over 50 Feeling 40 is wearing a white sweater from Simply Vera by Vera Wang and I like that she draped a black burn-out velvet infinity scarf over it because I never get tired of black and white.

Sarin of XL Cheap and Chic.

Our new friend Sarin of XL Cheap and Chic joins us from Finland! She writes, “I wear winter whites frequently and love the light colors for winter. This time I combined a white woolen sweater with a white/gray plaid shirt and gray jeans.”

White and gray is another of my favorite color pairings and it suits Sarin so well!

Trina of Tea Time With Trina.

Trina of Tea Time With Trina says, “This is how I wear winter white basically any given day by throwing on a comfy pair of winter white jeans and sweatshirt. This time Miss Molly joined in.”

Not only does Trina look so wonderful (love that embellished sweatshirt), but good golly Miss Molly, you are one adorable girl! Trina’s beautiful granddaughter is also in her winter whites which she paired with a print vest and pale pink boots. How’s that for terrific toddler style?

Karen of Fashion Tip of the Day.

Karen of Fashion Tip of the Day says she loves winter white and I love how she has added a pop of color under her oversized sweater. The red sleeves add an element of fun to the whole look.

My mother!

My mother wore this Ralph Lauren sweater dress to mass on Christmas morning. I love that she added a pearl necklace, a Christmas tree brooch, and wine-colored suede pumps. That’s her dachshund Heidi at her feet, who loves to make her way into outfit pictures!

Alice of Happiness At Mid-Life.

Alice of Happiness At Mid-Life writes, “This Loft sweater is a favorite of mine because it’s slightly longer in the back, which covers the backside and makes wearing leggings more comfortable for me. It’s not too heavy of a sweater which is perfect to wear under jackets in California’s mild winters.”

I like Alice’s striped and casual take on winter white!

Dawn Lucy of Fashion Should Be Fun.

Dawn Lucy of Fashion Should Be Fun is wearing a winter white crochet wrap she received as “a fabulous Christmas gift from my California Boho Santa!”

I love it when Santa knows exactly who we are and what we want, don’t you? This is a great look on Dawn Lucy!

In late 2013 Adrienne did a post that showed pictures of her wearing a lovely winter white blouse with black lace panels set into the sleeve. I immediately asked her where she got it and was surprised to hear it was from Target! But sure enough, I went to my local Brooklyn Target and there it was, and in my size too. Sold! Adrienne had warned me that the blouse was sheer and I’d have to wear something with it so I picked up a black tank as well, with a subtle shimmer to it. It fits perfectly underneath.

Love the lace panels!

The joke with me and winter white is that, while I love it, I do feel nervous wearing it since, between having kids and living in New York City, I feel like keeping it pristine is just not in the cards. So it probably won’t be a surprise if I tell you that I didn’t wear this blouse for a year! I brought it along on a recent trip to Virginia over the holidays, which it seems perfect for. It is longer in length, and really a tunic, so I kept the look simple with black pants from Gap and Nine West ankle boots. 

Do you go for it with winter white or do you have anxiety about it like I do?

For February, have a look through your jewelry box while thinking this: Could anything be more romantic than a long necklace? Whether you prefer an opera-length strand of pearls, a rope of jet beads, an elegant diamanté sautoir that a flapper would’ve worn, or a metallic necklace studded with motifs, join us for “How I Wear My: Long Necklace.” We can’t wait to see how you style them! Send photos to us at by February 2, 2015.

Do swing by Adrienne’s to see even more wonderful looks featuring winter white!

And thank you to all the fine foxes who participated this month!