Tag Archives: Nordstrom’s

Baby Take a Bow

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I was at the opera recently and at the very end, on cue, our heroine collapsed and the curtain came in.   No, no, not the soprano onstage.  Me!  Yes, me with the severe vasovagal syncope.  As you may or may not know, it is traditional in the opera for the director of the production to bow opening night and in my rush to get backstage to take my curtain call at Pittsburgh Opera’s “La Boheme,” I slipped and fell in the house.  Rising quickly, thinking I was fine and just a little woozy, I made my way backstage and was standing in the wings waiting for my big moment.  I remember moving over to the proscenium wall to brace myself against some dizziness and next thing I know, I wake up on the floor with my legs over my head.  Apparently, my co-director, a former medic in the Israeli army (lucky for me, you say), saw the birdies circling over my head and lowered me to the floor, lifting my legs in the process.  Lucky, you say?  When I opened my eyes and my dress was over my head, all I could think of was THANK GOD I’M NOT WEARING CONTROL TOP!

My purpose here is not to elicit your sympathy or concern for my arterial health (though I do appreciate it and I’m fine, thank you very much) but to point out what our mothers stressed back when we were learning to drive: BE SURE TO WEAR NICE UNDERWEAR, since you never know who is going to see it!  Personally, I am somewhat obsessed with this.  I can’t wear a bra and panties that don’t match, or at the very least, coordinate.  JZ says it tells you a lot about who I am and I would say it borders on the pathological except that my friend, the Broadway actor, Judy Blazer, I was delighted to discover, feels the same way.  We belong to a club of two called The Panty Patrol.  Now I grant you that we are the extreme, but every woman, as well as you men out there, should give serious consideration to the condition of your underpants.  Especially as we get older, more weird stuff happens, no?  And since we can’t prevent all the indignities of unexpected accidents, why not at least try to prevent some of the humiliation? 

Undies aren’t meant to last forever or even more than a couple of seasons.  Got a favorite brand?  Stock up and dole them out a couple pair at a time as they wear out.  You don’t need to spend a lot of dough.  Target (I know, I know, my favorite…) has a really nice line called Gilligan and O’Malley.  Their mesh lace hipster is really comfortable, no VPL*, comes in great colors (I prefer the “Mochachino”) and is only five dollars.  Five dollars!  Gap is another great place to pick up unmentionables-that-are-here-being-mentioned.  They make great bras that are very reasonable, especially if you take advantage of the thirty or forty percent off often offered on line.  And with their free shipping/free returns policy you can be assured of the right fit in the comfort of your boudoir.  Want a real treat?  Go to Saks Fifth Avenue and ask the lingerie salesperson to do a bra fitting.  She’ll bring you the correct size, (chances are you are not currently wearing it) in an array of styles that may be pricey, but you’ll feel like an opera star.

As for the aforementioned pantyhose, obviously, if you’re wearing knits, control top is the way to go.  Calvin Klein makes my favorite, the Infinite Sheer.  Look for the denier number on the back of the package.  The lower the number, the sheerer the hose, i.e. a forty would be opaque, a twelve, very sheer.  Their Infinite Sheer is a seven denier and they’re practically invisible.  I apply some hand cream before I put them on to avoid snags. 

If you’re not wearing a knit skirt you can wear the control just on top with a long leg look with Nordstrom’s new French Cut, or Donna Karan’s The Nudes, or Hue’s So Sexy French Lace Sheers.  BareNecessities.com is a great site with lots of brands and styles that offers discounts.  Nordstrom’s private label is made by a big-time hosiery company and offers a price break when you buy three pair at a time.

But PLEASE, no reinforced toe.  Ever.  And if you’re wearing open toed shoes or sandals, forget the hose.  Buy some tan-in-a-can instead.  But’s that’s a whole other blog.  Meantime, let’s drink to lovely lingerie! 

Bottoms up!

*Visible Panty Line

http://www.target.com/p/gilligan-o-malley-reg-women-s-mesh-lace-trim-hipster-assorted-colors-patterns/-/A-14148257#prodSlot=large_1_12

http://www.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=1011254

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/calvin-klein-infinite-sheer-control-top-pantyhose/3207344?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Black&resultback=0&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_1_A

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstrom-french-cut-sheer-pantyhose-3-for-30/3490427?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Medium+Nude&resultback=640&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_2_D

http://www.barenecessities.com/hue-so-sexy-french-lace-sheers-control-top-pantyhose-5970n_product.htm?pf_id=HUE5970N&search=

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Oy-Cashmere

I’m going to apologize right up front here for any misspellings, grammatical errors or general goof-ups. I’m writing this on my iPad and being a student of the old-fashioned touch typing that Mrs. Bilecki taught us in high school, this hunt and peck nonsense is a kind of torture. BUT…I’m in Italy and it turns out that the remote little countryside inn in which we are staying is not that remote. It’s right near an Italian cashmere outlet!  Bravisimo!!  Can you believe it?  Not only am I eating great food, drinking fabulous  wine and looking at exquisite scenery, I’m in sweater-heaven!  And cashmere is something I know about.

Gilda Radner, rest her soul, once said that her fashion sense was based on what doesn’t itch. I can totally relate to this because I’m one of those people for whom the word “angora” is a threat.  Mohair, forget it. Even “virgin” wool can mean a day of endless scratching. So I have found that cashmere tends to be the best bet for me when it comes to winter warmth and style. However, not all cashmere is alike and it can be expensive.   Just because the label has the C-word it doesn’t guarantee that it will be itch-free.   The country of origin is often a good clue.  China makes some inexpensive cashmere that can be quite nice. I actually bought a bunch of cardigans that Isaac Mizrahi did for Target a few years back that were lovely and very soft and unbelievably reasonable, but it varies.  Sometimes you get what you pay for. That said, many large department stores, because of their size, are able to supply cashmere sweaters from China under their private labels for less than you’d pay for a regular old Merino from Banana Republic.  Nordstrom’s “Halogen” is just such a brand.  Likewise “C by Bloomingdale’s.”.  They work just fine for a season or two or even three if you store them with mothballs.  But don’t expect the sweater of a lifetime.

Scotland is a good bet for cashmere (think of all those sheep on the heathered hillsides) but you’ll pay for hip style.  Pringle, the best known Scottish knitwear vendor, tends to be fairly conservative style-wise, but the quality of the knit is indisputable.  It’s always best to let your fingers do the walking. And your neck. I hold a garment up to my neck for several minutes to judge the itch factor.  I’ve had very good luck with a British company called Pure Collection. They frequently have sales through their catalogue and the quality is very nice.  The same with Boden, which may even be the same company.  Again, watch their website as they always have promotions.  I like to stock up on bright colors. With a white tee and black pants, it’s basically my winter uniform.

In the meantime, I’m on my way to the Italian cashmere outlet.  Can’t travel without bringing home a souvenir, si?

Ciao bella!

http://www.purecollection.com

http://www.bodenusa.com

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-v-neck-cashmere-sweater-regular-petite/3603647?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=2375500&fashionColor=Blue+Mazarine&resultback=1314&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_4_C

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It’s in the Bag

My first trip abroad was at age 18 months.  In those days there were no jumbo jets.  No wide bodied behemoths equipped with movies, phones and internet.  Those were the days of plain ol’ planes with the propeller going round.  My brother, ever sensitive to loud noises, asked the flight attendant (then known as a stewardess) if the noise would continue “all the way across” meaning, to the other side of the Atlantic.

“I hope so,” was her response.

Back then no one carried actual luggage on board and the overhead bins were merely mesh netting like a hammock, suitable for coats and handbags, and apparently babies, as, according to family lore, that is where my mother stowed me.  I slept aloft the entire trip and no one chided her for child abuse.  My early bonding with the overhead bin must account for my need to travel light and as I pack for two weeks in Italy, I’m determined to take one twenty inch bag.

My scheme is this: I stick to one color story, usually black and white, with a dash (notice I did not say “pop” because, really, aren’t you just sick to death of that phrase?) of color.  This is a great way to pack for anywhere in Europe if you want to be chic, feel great and not look like you just got off the Greyhound.  And since I’m going to Italy, “bella figura”* is most important.  See note below.

In Italy, as in a lot of Europe, women are more commonly seen in skirts in the summertime and early fall.  Only the American tourists are sporting shorts and as the saying goes, when in Rome…  All you really need to look chic is black, black or black so I’m taking two black skirts; one a swingy, cotton knit and the other a simple, woven A-line.  Both machine washable.  One pair of black slacks (also washable) and a pair of black Capri leggings.  Several white and black tees of varying styles; sleeveless for warmer days, regular short sleeve crewnecks, and a couple of longer tunic-types to wear with the leggings for lounging around.  For a little color I take a coral tee and a black and tan stripe.  Two cardigans, one black and one coral and a lightweight anorak for warmth and/or rain (mine happens to be purple), my swimsuit (also black) and a cover-up that can double as a tunic with the leggings.  For a night out I can dress up the black skirts and tees with a gold chain belt or a statement necklace.

Now I suppose if you are doing some heavy duty hiking or biking you need some more durable casual wear.  But I have found that for general sightseeing, eating and drinking in the local culture, I fit in like a sponge.  I’ll travel in the leggings, one of the cotton tunics and the anorak, and I pack a bright red pashmina in the outer pocket of my bag because I’m always freezing on the plane and, call me neurotic (you wouldn’t be the first), but if I’m not breaking the seal on a fresh airplane blankie I prefer to leave it in the bin from whence it came.  Know what I mean?

Footwear consists of a pair of Tod’s flats that are really comfortable for walking and look good with pants or skirts and a VERY comfortable pair of black patent ballet flats.  Born makes some that look really great and are SO easy on the feet they can double as slippers.  A second pair in gold for evenings out, if I’ll be walking, and a pair of very low heeled black pumps if I’ll be dancing.  For serious schlepping around, I take a pair of sneaks, and flip flops for the pool.

I love a small cross body bag I picked up at the Coach outlet.  The strap comes off so I can wear it as a clutch for evening and, stuffed with underwear and packed in my suitcase, I can board with just one big carry-on as my handbag.  Voila!

Scuzzi.  “Ecco la! La bella figura!”

*La bella figura, literally “the beautiful figure”, is an essential philosophy that rules the lives of gli Italiani.  Bella figura can mean many things, but at its core is presentation…how one looks, how one comports oneself, how one makes the best possible impression in all things. Beauty is revered in Italy, whether expressed grandly through art and architecture, or more simply by the perfect cut of a suit.  Bella figura goes well beyond image, visual beauty and presentation…it also is defined by behavior: knowing how to properly and graciously interact with others in any social or public situation. Exhibiting good manners, tact and gentility is an essential component of “cutting a beautiful figure”.  –EyeItalia

Shoes:  http://www.dsw.com/shoe/tod%27s+metallic+leather+ballet+flat?prodId=279976&category=dsw12cat2010006&activeCats=dsw10cat130006,dsw12cat810002,dsw12cat2010006

http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/tods-bow-ballet-flat/3543110?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=90&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_2_B

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/born-riley-flat/3297875?origin=PredictiveSearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=2375500&fashionColor=Black+Patent&resultback=545&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_2_Bj

Anorak:  http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/rainforest-packable-roll-sleeve-anorak/3544208?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Flame&resultback=3545&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_10_A

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/ali-ro-short-sleeve-anorak-regular-petite/3274455?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Grenada&resultback=4000&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_11_A

Skirt:  http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=35288&vid=1&pid=428024002

http://www.bodenusa.com/en-US/Womens-Skirts/A-line-Full-Skirts/WG495/Womens-Ponte-Skater-Skirt.html?NavGroupID=13

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Go For the Gold

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Bracelets from Nordstrom

It was recently announced that Tokyo would be hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.  When I heard this on the news the other night I regarded it as my personal invitation to bypass the bronze and the silver and to go for the gold.

Gold is back.  I’ve actually been saying this for a while (ask my niece — I’ve been telling her on a daily basis), but no one seemed to want to take me seriously.  Now every catalogue, magazine and fashion story is showing gold.  There was a time when yellow gold was the metal of choice, considered to be the look of “real” jewelry.  Even men were wearing a lot of gold.  The chains, the bracelets, the rings until it became a parody of itself and nobody would go near it.  Then, with the nineties, white gold, platinum and silver seemed to take over with no letting go.  More restraint seemed appropriate and the showy, not-so-mellow yellow was out.

But big ol’ King Midas, Golden-Goose-gold is back and I’m amazed at how it’s giving a new oomph to some outfits I’ve had around for a while.  That’s not to say I’ve given up my silvery obsessions but I’m wearing both, sometimes at the same time!   Gold bangles, gold links, gold hardware on handbags, gold shoes; it’s the Gilded Age, for god sake.  While I usually feature one metal at a time, I also like to mix it up depending on what I’m wearing.  The simpler the ensemble the more opportunity for accessorizing.  And no being skimpy.  If I’m going for the gold I’m going to give it an Olympic effort.  Big, chunky gold is very retro-chic with black, or better yet, black and animal print, which is also big for fall.  I recently bought a gold link bracelet with black leather trim and I’ve been wearing it constantly.  As a side note, leather is showing up a lot in little double wrapped belt-like bracelets and as trim on garments like dresses, sweaters and pants.

As temperatures drop and the weather gets cooler, gold seems to provide a little warmth.  And for those of us past the midpoint of middle age, gold can bring a glow to the face that just can’t be achieved with silver.  Another big trend this fall is “rose gold” which is even better for us in the older crowd.  It’s to jewelry what a pink bulb is to a lamp.  In other words, an instant facelift.   I found a great little rose gold bracelet on line at Target that is such a bargain I won’t care if it’s a one-season statement.

So RUN right upstairs and dig out those old ball earrings, charm bracelets and bangles that have been languishing in your drawer with the expired gym membership card and the few leftover pesos from that trip to Mexico.  You’ve just started training for the gold!

Necklaces:  http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/nordstrom-curb-link-collar-necklace/3547964?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=GOLD&resultback=818&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_3_B

http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=33412&pid=685630&vid=1&scid=685630022

Bracelets: http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=33416&vid=1&pid=685627002

http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/tory-burch-double-wrap-logo-bracelet/3211107?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=3272&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_9_C

http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/jewelry/bracelets/PRDOVR~07355/07355.jsp

Bulbs:  http://www.lampsplus.com/products/ge-2-pack-100-watt-soft-pink-light-bulbs__91007.html

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Wedding Bell Blues, Greens and Other Colors

On a lovely dinner cruise down the Connecticut River last night I was talking with a friend about her son’s upcoming wedding.  Naturally, my first question was “What are you wearing?”

“Well, that’s tricky,” she said “because I can’t wear the same color as the bridesmaids.”  Huh??!!  Wait a second.  Rewind.  Have I been to so few weddings in the past twenty years that I don’t know what’s going on?  Where have I been?  When did this happen?  It used to be that the whole point was to find a dress that was the same color AS the bridesmaids.  To find something in the color scheme of the wedding party, as it is known (at least last I heard).  I can remember vividly my mother shopping for dresses for each of my brothers’ weddings.  The first was a shade of light blue.  All the bridesmaids wore the same dress and the mother of the bride, as well as the mother of the groom wore the same color.  By the time my second brother got married I thought it was ingenious that the bride decided that each bridesmaid could wear a dress of her own choosing, as long as it was yellow.  This was particularly good planning since I was only fourteen at the time, and the oldest attendant was a married woman well into her twenties.  But still the mothers wore yellow.  At my own son’s wedding the color was ivory (my suggestion, btw) and the bridesmaids, the mothers and, yes, the bride all wore the same shade.  It was quite stunning.  Truly.

Of course this can backfire, as when my niece was married and the groom’s grandmother was instructed to wear green.  Now I grant you if there is one color that has a broad range it’s green, but indeed Bubbie showed up in a green dress, green hat, green hose, green shoes, green bag.  Get the picture?  As Kermit once said, “It’s not easy being green.”  When she walked down the aisle it might as well have been the Yellow Brick Road.

And I’m so glad the wedding-party-in-black thing is finally over.  Nothing like starting a marriage off on the bright side.

I suppose it was only natural that conformity in a wedding would fall by the wayside.  There are so many possibilities out there now.  The fact that a national retailer like J.Crew can supply bridesmaids with attire in a multitude of colors and styles with just a click of the mouse is mind boggling for those of us who can remember being a bridesmaid and suffering through the fittings and discomfort of the custom made gown that in no way belonged on a human body.  Not to mention the expense.  But where does that leave the mothers?  I guess the best policy is to honor the wishes of the bride.  Some prefer everything to match.  Others do not.  But don’t fret, moms, and sisters, for that matter.  There is an amazing array of wedding clothes available on line.  Nordstrom’s, as well as Neiman Marcus have on line departments devoted just to wedding attire, and although some of the Mother-of-the-Bride styles look like, well…MOB, it’s a good place to start for selection and color.  They also carry dresses suitable for bridesmaids and best of all, a wide range of wedding dresses, from high end to very moderate, short and long.  And with their return policy it’s a boon to those of us in the boonies without ready access to Saks Fifth Avenue Bridal Salon (this is to a bride what a spa day is to the body) or the like.  Speaking of which, Saks and Neiman Marcus on line regularly have dresses on sale and if you go to their “Cocktail,” “Evening Gown,” “Mother of the Bride” or “Date Night” or even just their “Sale” links you’d be surprised at how reasonably you can find a beautiful and classy dress.

But whatever you get, make sure it’s comfortable and fits well.   The last thing you want to be doing on the big day is worrying about what’s riding up, falling down, itching, binding, chafing, wrinkling, because believe me, it’ll show on your face when you get the pictures back.

And Mazel Tov (that means “Good Luck”) to you and the happy couple!

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The happy (and comfortable) Mother-of-the-Groom

Links:

Nordstrom’s  http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/wedding-shop?origin=leftnav

Neiman Marcus http://www.neimanmarcus.com/category.jsp?itemId=cat10040734&parentId=cat42300744&masterId=cat000001&fromDrawer=true

J.Crew  http://www.jcrew.com/wedding.jsp

Saks  http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/Women-s-Apparel/Dresses/shop/_/N-52flor/Ne-6lvnb5?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374306418048&bmUID=k2wesR7&SECSLOT=LN-Dresses

p.s. I’ve been asked by some readers to supply the links to some of the vendors and sites I mention, so I’ve gone back and done so on previous posts.

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Going Undercover

Can I just say I’ve been seeing far too many bra straps lately.  Lingerie straps would be the correct terminology but let’s face it, most of them are bra, B-R-A, bra straps.  Who needs to see that?  I was standing in line at the post office yesterday and a lovely young woman, I’d say in her twenties, came in to mail a package.  She had on a black tank top and black athletic shorts, but that’s a whole other blog post.  Sticking out on both sides of her shoulders were white bra straps.  Now I know this was a look several years ago for about a minute.  But really?  To me this is the easiest way to go from classy to trashy in two seconds.  Or two straps, if you will.  There are so many bra/camisole options out there; racer-back, T-back, convertible strap, Y-back, there is no reason why anyone’s straps need to show.  No one wants to see that, except maybe a Significant Other and that’s private.  There is a reason they call it UNDERwear.

This brings me to the matter of the slip.  Yes, as in “Your slip is showing.”  Or more to the point, “Are you wearing a slip?”  This little garment can make such a difference in one’s look and it seems to have gone out of use lately.  Why?  Skirts and dresses all hang better with a slip.  Even those that are lined benefit from a slip.  It keeps garments cleaner, less wrinkled and protected from mishaps (use your imagination here).  But here’s the key.  If you’re thinking of those horrible tricot nylon deals that ride up in about two seconds so that you have a bunch of hot synthetic around your middle the minute you start walking, you can forget that.  I’m talking about a slip made of a non-cling fabric.  A satin or taffeta-like garment that hangs free, because if it’s going to wind up in a bunch around your middle what’s the point, no?  Such a free-wheeling item can be found.  Farr West makes one and it’s available through Nordstrom’s on line.  Free shipping and free returns so you can hardly go wrong.  And you only need one in a nude shade which I believe they call “Mink.”  If you want to splurge you could get one in Black as well.  They’re not cheap but trust me, these things last a life time.  And you don’t have to wash it after every wearing.  It’s underwear, but not THAT far under.

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Dress by Rachel Kurland of Foxglove, slip by Helena Binder

This is your mission, should you choose to accept it.  Go undercover.

http://shop.nordstrom.com/sr?origin=keywordsearch&contextualcategoryid=2375500&keyword=farr+west

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