FASHION BLOG

September 14th, 2004

Due to being incredibly busy returning home to Key West after being evacuated because of Hurricane Ivan–not to mention finishing my seemingly never-ending rewrite of All American Girl 2 (now called Ready or Not)—I have asked some friends to submit entries for this blog, so it does not go un-updated.

The following is a Fall Fashion Blog by author Michele Jaffe, Fashion Expert and All Time Champion Shopper. Visit her at www.michelejaffe.com:

Fashion Blog by Michele Jaffe

Back to school
And the living is sweet.
But what to wear
From your head to your feet?

You want to have style
Look like the celebrities,
But all you've got
Are a few lousy pennies.

Don't cry, little sugarcup
We've got your back good.
Here a few fashion suggestions
To get you looking Hollywood.

This fall is an excellent time for fashion-conscious people on a budget. Not only is one of the main looks vintage (read: things you can get at a thrift store for like a buck) but one of the hottest things about this look is accessories. Why is this good, you ask? Read on and I will reveal to you the 7 items that will make your old worn out '03 wardrobe completely Class of '04.

Okay, so first some Fashion Filosophy.
Fashion Filosophy 101: Wish upon a star

Shakespeare said, “all the world's a stage and the men are but petty players.” I don't agree with everything Old William put out there, but I think he's on to something with this one. The way I see it, every person's life is their own production, their own movie. And the reason that's important with fashion is because you have to ask yourself: “What part do I want?” and then dress for it.

OK, counting down the seven things you need for Fall Fabulousness in no order we start with:

7. jeans
6. blazers

#7: JEANS. Luckily for all of us, the jeans you've had for the last few years are still working this fall. Soon we're going to be seeing a lot of very tight leg jeans, but not yet. Jeans skirts of all shapes–short, long, flippy, pencil–are also good. Phew. What will make last year's jeans look This Year is what you wear on top. Which brings us to

#6: BLAZERS. I haven't seen so many blazers since I got lost in the men's department at Nordstrom looking for the bathroom and couldn't get out (I know that sounds implausible but this Nordstrom was really big, and I think they have magnets under the floor to trap you. I swear. I'm not going there again without a compass.)

Anyway, going shopping this fall is like going to the Blazer Zoo. There are blazers in every color, fabric and style in every department store and American Eagle Outfitters Limited & Fitch kind of place. But you know where else there are blazers? Blazers a plenty? Thrift stores! Yes! For like $2.00. In fact, one of the most popular blazer styles this fall, the tweedy ones with the fraying edges, are copies of old Chanel blazers. Which means they are based on something you could buy at a thrift store really easily.

But there are all different styles of blazer and, despite what the magazines will make you think, each style isn't flattering on everyone, so while your friend might look nice in her little Chanel knock off, you could be hotter in something more traditional. The key thing to look for in your blazer is its fit. One test is, when the blazer is buttoned, if you reach your arms in front of you and cross them, it should not feel like its pulling across the shoulders. The sleeves should come to right where your hand and your wrist meet (if they don't, you can shorten them with a needle and thread or, if you're sewing challenged like me, use duct tape. Not elegant, but it works).

Blazers can be short, only going to your waist, or longer, hitting your hips. Look for the style that is the most flattering on you. By flattering, I mean, the one that makes you feel the coolest and prettiest and most confident when you look at yourself in it. The one thing you should think about is, you don't want the bottom of the blazer to rest on the widest part of your body. For example if the widest part is your hips, choose a blazer that rests on your waist or on your thighs, above or below your hips.

Fashion Filosophy 102: Eyebrows

I once took a cartoon drawing class and on the first day the teacher asked us what we thought was the most important part of the face for conveying expression. Everyone was all like, the mouth, the eyes, the hair. But no. Its the EYEBROWS. Try drawing a plain face and changing the shape of the eyebrows. / eyebrows make someone look mad or mean; — eyebrows make them look daft. ` ~ makes them look coy, like they're raising one eyebrow inquisitively. Anyway, the point is, accessories are the eyebrows of your wardrobe. They are what give it personal expression, and they are the Fast Lane to Destination Cool. That is why numbers 3-6 of the Fall Fabulous count down are accessories, like eyebrows.

They are:

5. skinny belts
4. flowery or sparkly brooches
3. hats and caps
2. long scarves

This is good news because the first two in particular are inexpensive and easy to make or buy.

#5: Skinny Belts: Sure, you can buy one of these. But there are two great options that are less expensive and actually even hipper this season than a boring old thin belt. The first one is ribbon. Designers are showing bows and ribbons on everything. Get yourself a yard of satin ribbon in your favorite color(usually 99 cents at a craft store; or go to Target and buy a roll of it for $3.00 with your friends) and use IT as a belt. You can tie it around the waist of your blazer, to cinch it in, string it through your belt loops, or just wear it around your hips. Tying it in a pretty bow and letting the ends dangle will have you wearing of the hottest looks of the season. A variation on this is to buy a measuring tape at your local drug store ($2.99 at my rite aid) and use that. It looks tres cool and a little arty.

The other belt innovation, which I'm seeing everywhere, is the men's tie. Yes. A simple tie. You can buy a used men's tie at the thrift sore for $1.00. Then you tie it! You can tie it around the waist of your blazer. You can string it through the belt loops of your jeans. You can wear it on your hips. The only thing to know is that you should tie it ON THE SIDE. You can tie the ribbon anywhere you want (experiment: side, front, other side, back) but you really don't want a big tie hanging down in front of your crotch.

You can also spruce up both the ribbon and the tie by pinning them instead of tying them, with a BROOCH.

#4 The brooch. What is a brooch? Its a thing your great grandmother probably wore. A large pin, usually sparkly with fake gems (unless you're Princess Mia, in which case the gems are likely real). This season there are TONS of these for sale in every store, but because they were something Great Grandma wore, they are also a good thing to look for in thrift stores and at the Salvation Army. This season it seems like you can't have too many of these. You can pin as many as three on the lapel of your blazer (always use an odd number though. And don't pin them on both lapels–that takes the look from Cool to Protester At A Political Rally).

But maybe thrift stores aren't for you. Maybe you are more of a flower girl. Have you noticed that flower pins are EVERYWHERE? It's like a garden out there. And you can spend a lot of money on them. But you can have way more fun making your own. For real. Here is what you need: Fabric. A scissor. Glue or a needle and thread. A button. A pin.

If you are not allowed to play with scissors for medical reasons, then you are out of luck. But otherwise, here's what
you do. On a piece of paper, draw the simple outline of a flower with four round petals (like a four leaf clover with no stem) about 4″ across–if you take a piece of paper and fold it in half the short way, that's about how far you want it to be from petal to petal. Cut out your outline.

Now lay your piece of fabric with the pattern side down, and trace around the flower shape you just made. Do it again. Cut the two flower shapes out. (you can do it a third time if you have enough fabric). Now lay them on top of one another, so that the petals of the one underneath peek out between the petals of the one on top. The next step depends on how good you are at Home Ec. I was bad at it, so I would get out the glue, glue the two flowers together at their center, and glue the button on the center of the top one, so it looks like the middle of the flower. More capable people could use the needle and thread to sew the button to the flower, sewing through both layers.

All that's left to do is attach it with a pin to your blazer or belt. If you have glitter you can also run a thin line of glue around the edge of the petals, then sprinkle the glitter on, for a more sparkly look.

With a belt and a brooch you have locked in Fall '04 fashion. But if you want to go a little farther, consider….

#3 A Cap or Hat. This season hats–particularly newsboy hats, floppy caps and fedoras–are really big. You can find great old hats at thrift stores, as well as fairly inexpensive versions at stores like Rampage. If you buy the plainest hat possible, it will give you the most versatility because you can–yes, you know its coming–PUT YOUR BROOCH ON IT! Or your ribbon! Or your tie!

Seriously though, if you make your own flower broach, and you save some fabric, you can make a hat band out of it and then won't you be little miss matchy match. But in a good way.

Try your hat on at all different angles. Some people look better with it at the back of their head. Others with it pulled down over one eye. You can also vary the look depending on your mood. The same is true with accessory number 2, our friend the

#2 SCARF! Scarves are fun. They are exciting. They TOO can be belts. Hurrah! This season there are two kinds of scarves that are molto popolare (that's very popular in Italian. Which must be cool). First, long knitted scarves, preferably with fringe on them. These look HOTTTTT with jeans and a blazer. Or even jeans and a sweater. Merely throwing on a long scarf with jeans and a sweater will make you look glamorous. Add to it a blazer or a cap and woooah baby. And a brooch? You'll be hot enough to bbq on.

Those six items are the things you can get from outside–a store, your closet, your friend's closet–to be fabulous this fall. But they are just suggestions.

Fashion Filosophy103: No Dick(tators) allowed!

No one can dictate what you should wear. There's a difference between Fashion and Style. Fashion is what comes and goes, whereas Style is forever. It's part of who you are. You may still be sorting out what your style is, and that's cool. You may also have more than one style. I'm NOT going to put together a quiz to tell you what your “style” is because I think those are always wrong. The most crucial thing is:

What is your eye drawn towards? What do you look at and get a happy feeling? What makes you smile?

Look around at people on the street, at school, at the store. If you see someone wearing an outfit that you like, notice what exactly they've put together. Is it the scarf? The hat? Or is it just the way they carry themselves? Because although I said the fall fashion items weren't in any particular order, I lied. The most important part of fall fabulousness, item:

#1 CONFIDENCE.

And its friend good posture (shoulders back, chin parallel to the floor, back straight, now swagger!). No accessory will make you look better than that.

Ciao for now cupcakes. Have a great fall!

Thanks, Michele! If everyone would just take Michele's fashion advice, I'm sure our eyes wouldn't bleed so much when we go out from all the icky outfits we keep seeing. I now I'm getting MY brooches ready. And I already have a ribbon belt! YAY!

More later.

Much love,

Meg