A Moment For Black Denim

The invention of the car was a pretty big deal, I’ll admit. Sending men to the moon was a major achievement. The Internet? Eh, I use it sometimes… But the greatest invention in the past 150 years: jeans. I’m wearing them right now. I wore them yesterday. I’ll probably wear them tomorrow. I’d venture to say that I will wear them at least four days out of the week for the rest of my life (or until we all finally get to start wearing those silver jumpsuits of the future). I have one man to thank for this glorious item: Levi Strauss, who would have turned 185 this past Wednesday. But since I’m still bitter about the US men’s hockey team losing to Canada in Sochi— and to recognize another maybe-not-entirely-obvious fashion icon, Johnny Cash, who would’ve been 82 this week—I’m suggesting an alternative to the so-called “Canadian Tuxedo”: all black denim.

1. R13 Oversized Trucker Stretch-Denim Jacket: A good jean jacket is a staple in any wardrobe. But separate yourself from everyone and their mom by going for a darker, roomier cut.

2. BLK DNM 8 High-Rise Skinny Jeans: Hands down, the best jeans on the market. If you have hips that don’t lie or a booty that Sir Mix-a-Lot would wax poetic over, consider trading in all your denim for these. No more whale-tales. No more of that awkward wiggle-pull when you stand up. Universally flattering, leg elongating, waist-narrowing denim in true black has arrived.

3. Goldsign Holly Denim Skirt: Jean skirts are back. I’m not talking about the frayed Abercrombie micro-mini we all wore to high school parties (though, maybe it’s time to revisit that painfully preppy past? No? Just me?), but rather a fashion-friendly, svelte, casual take on the workingwoman favorite that is a black pencil skirt.

4. Ksubi Albuquerque Cut-Offs: The secret to fitting in at the Gloffice in weather north of 65 degrees is wearing these Australian cut-offs. Not because we’re cool and trendy, but because they’re the next best thing to wearing pajamas. I recommend going a few sizes up for a roomier fit, and to avoid giving too much of a peep show to an unsolicited audience.

5. Converse Chuck Taylor Denim Low-Top Sneaker: Instead of going for the classic (and emo favorite) black canvas, let the slightly heathered black denim Chucks be your default comfort shoe. And thanks to Kristen Stewart circa the 2009 MTV Movie Awards and that cool guy at prom/graduation/that wedding, casual footwear is now equally appropriate for both a formal occasion and a low-key Sunday stroll (or a game of 1970s pick-up basketball, wherever your week takes you).

—Elizabeth Brockway

Florals You Want To Wear, Now

I read somewhere that planning a trip produces the same chemical reactions in our brains as actually going on vacation, making it nearly just as exciting as the real thing. I have a few destinations in mind for quick jaunts in the near future (if anyone feels like bringing a beauty blogger with them to the Caribbean, just let me know), but my real ideal spot isn’t a physical location, it’s a phenomenon: Spring. I’m over the snow; I’m over the bad shoes; I’m over the sweaters that I was so desperate to wear last August. If you’re supposed to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, why not dress for the weather you want instead of the ungodly climate that has been thrust upon us here in NYC? And what better way to celebrate the (hopefully) soon-to-be season than by embracing the flowers that help usher it into being? It’s time to get some flora on your fauna, and the retail gods agree.

1. Isabel Marant Étoile Renee Floral Midi Dress: Perhaps more appealing than snowless streets, dining alfresco, and daylight that lasts well into the evening is the possibility of soon being able to wear a sundress. The oversized white flowers against the dark linen of this one in particular (paired with fishnets, Dr. Martens, and maybe a jean jacket at night) is a more modern take on what once was your go-to ‘90s dELiA*s ensemble.

2. Marni Floral-Print Gauze Pencil Skirt: I’m trying to embrace what Lacey taught us a few weeks ago, and really appreciate my natural form. While bandage dresses won’t happen any time soon, this cartoon-ish Hawaiian pencil skirt is begging for me to grab a crop top (cropped black sweater, for the time being, white tank come May) and show off what all my gym hours have been working toward.

3. Givenchy Floral-Print Double-Buckle Sandal: OK, let’s be honest—this is a Birkenstock in Givenchy clothing. But doesn’t that just make you want it more?

4. Peter Pilotto for Target Floral-Print Canvas Sneakers: If you’re feeling the Jeff Spicoli-inspired footwear and can’t quite justify nearly $800 on shoes, Peter Pilotto’s take on Vans are for you. But click fast: his collaboration is flying of the shelves, both real and virtual.

5. J.Crew Cotton Pocket Square: The Man Repeller herself, Ms. Leandra Medine, and hair-styling hottie James Pecis were both sporting delicate fashion scarves (more for style, less for warmth) this NYFW. This one might be meant for a dandy’s jacket pocket, but I’m thinking it works just as well tied elegantly around your neck.

—Elizabeth Brockway

Not Your Usual Workout Clothes

Tonight, NYC will be filled with lovers, dressed to the nines, trading little gifts, adorably slurping the same string of spaghetti, and probably having lots of sex. And, after binging on chocolates from a heart-shaped box (or, like me, consuming a gross amount of edible sex products in today’s Valentine’s-themed cleanse), perhaps we will be spending some much-needed time in the gym to try and work off the damage. But instead of the classic black-on-black-on-black look that I—and the majority of the Greenwich Village Equinox—have resorted to wearing, why not dress to impress?

1. Under Armour Bra Protegée: While a good breast-jiggle peeking from beneath your top might be a career launcher, on the treadmill it just leads to pain and awkward arm placement. This is not the most delicate bra on the market, but those of the bustier persuasion will appreciate its infallible support—and the fact that it’s so easy to put on and take off.

2. Tamara Mellon Ribbed-Knit Bra Top: A-cups to small Cs: I’m officially jealous (well, I’ve been jealous, but this is adding insult to injury). Wear Mellon’s creation solo to show off your toned abs, or underneath a tee. Strappiness always equates to sexiness, even while sweating off the candy thongs (or whatever your diet is made of).

3. Nike Legendary Printed Tights: Black may be the most sliming color (particularly when it comes to extremely body-conscious gym attire), but most of the time it’s also incredibly boring. Stick to the same forgiving shade, but add a little bit of pattern, and thus interest, with these Nike tights.

4. Print All Over Me Sweatshirt: First it was the Christopher Kane photo-realistic floral sweatshirt of Spring ’13, then it was Beyoncé in her pizza getup, and now it’s time to create your own version of a loudly-printed jumper. I suggest going with an image of the food that you hope to be eating shortly after your trip to the sweatshop (grilled cheese, please), but you could choose literally anything, including something from Instagram.

5. Adidas Stan Smith Shoes: The recently re-introduced Adidas classic has already popped up in our office. Don’t wear them for strenuous cardio, like long distance running—we already sacrifice our feet in the name of fashion when it comes to heel height—but they’re a comfortably chic option for mat exercises and walking to get that grilled cheese.

—Elizabeth Brockway

10 Things You Forgot About The Breakfast Club

Do you ever, while sitting at your desk clicking between Gmail and your favorite beauty site, realize that school is happening right now? Just in the time it took you to read the last sentence, thousands of teens were sentenced to detention for being tardy to class. May their experience at least somewhat resemble that of Claire, Andrew, Brian, Bender, and Allison of The Breakfast Club, the film that taught us the most important thing about being a teen: we don’t necessarily have to listen to authority, but we shouldn’t be jerks to each other, either. Let’s take a few moments to reminisce about some of the other awesome things from the classic, second installment of the Molly-Ringwald-John-Hughes trilogy:

1. There is never a problem big enough, a moment stressful enough, or a Saturday boring enough that would not benefit from some dancing.

2. The movie poster [1]—ranking among those for The Endless Summer and Breakfast At Tiffany’s in terms of dorm-room decor—was shot by none other than Annie Leibovitz.

3. They key to any man’s heart—particularly hunky, wrestler jocks—is a good makeover.

4. Have you ever wondered how to light a match with your teeth? Well, now you know.

5. In 1985, sushi was apparently the most bizarre lunch option available.

6. Like any true American “princess,” Claire’s ensemble was purchased entirely from Ralph Lauren.

7. Shermer, Illinois, the town in which many of Hughes’ ’80s classics take place, does not actually exist, much to the chagrin of Jay and Silent Bob.

8. John Cusack was originally cast as Bender, but was replaced by Judd Nelson. Which was probably for the best, since there could never be an ’80s role better suited to him than the embodiment of the perfect boyfriend, Lloyd Dobler, in Say Anything.

9. While Allison (Ally Sheedy) seemed to be in desperate need of some Head & Shoulders, the film’s dandruff was, in reality, just parmesan cheese. 

10. But more than anything: don’t ever let The Man keep you down—whether the man is your principal, your dad, or society, in general.

*Cue the music and celebratory fist raise.*

How To Wear A Bodycon Dress—Subtly

I am neither a Kardashian nor a Victoria’s Secret Angel, but I do wear a lot of bodycon dresses. Now, before you jump to any Hervé Léger-tainted conclusions, hear me out. Body-con isn’t all bandages: it can be clean lines and understated styling, too. Done well, it’s more a return to the fitted shapes of the 1940s than to Chateau Marmont circa 2003. Still require further evidence? Take a look at the five demure (yet adequately clingy) examples below:

1. Rick Owens Cotton-Jersey Midi Dress: This seems like just another tank maxi, but nobody cuts a piece of jersey like Rick Owens (also, little-known fact: Nobody puts Rick Owens in a corner). So what you’re actually getting is an elegant, cleaned-up take on 90s alt girl style. Don’t worry, though; it’s so deceptively casual no one will ever guess it’s not a slip from Delia*s.

2. Helmut Lang Slit-Back Stretch-Knit Dress: Know what turns a party dress into an office dress? Sleeves and a good pair of tights. Sure, this is a mini, but pull on opaque stockings and a pair of ankle boots and there’s no skin showing anywhere. It’s polished without being conservative or fussy, and if you put a blazer over it you’ll have even more styling options. And the only person on the planet who doesn’t need more styling options is Jessa from Girls.

3. Jason Wu Contrasting-Collar Belted Ponte Dress: This basically has Alexa Chung’s name written on it, which is not a bad thing for all the Chunginator fans out there. It’s minimalist, it’s modern, it’s a little bit quirky—it’s Jason effing Wu. You will want to wear this thing to every damn business lunch you ever have for the rest of your life.

4. Christopher Kane Printed Stretch-Jersey Midi Dress: The long, lean fit of this calf-grazing t-shirt dress reminds me of Maggie Cheung’s perfectly tailored cheongsams from In The Mood For Love [4]. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. Guaranteed to make you buy this dress, tease your hair, and get tangled up in a doomed romance.

5. Rag & Bone Coated-Trim Dress: Trim is definitely having more of a moment than usual. It’s not like it ever went away, per se, but haven’t you just noticed more of it than usual lately? Rag & Bone is great with shaping and linear accents, so they’re a go-to for slightly off-base basics, including this discretely bric-à-brac’d dress. It’s versatile without being boring, and a sheath mini is 100% season-less; there’s literally no bad time to wear it. Plus, it turns your whole torso into a monochrome rectangle, which can hide a multitude of sins. Fun times for all!

—Lacey Gattis