Category Archives: Uncategorized

Quickie: Cover Girl’s color match

Looking to shave some costs off your makeup budget? Check out Cover Girl’s website where you can compare your favorite designer shades to the CG product line and look for a match.

The selection is a little limited – for instance, the only Nars products you can match are lip glosses. But every penny counts when you’re on a budget. If you can get a $7 Cover Girl gloss instead of a $24 Nars gloss, why not? With the difference you can get a Liberty of London dress on sale at Target!

On Target: Liberty of London on Sale

Target has become the new place to be for big-name designers looking for a budget audience. Most of these collections (like the current Zac Posen for Target line) are geared toward younger shoppers. They’re made in juniors’ sizes and tend to feature sky-high hemlines and young looks. (I remain a tad bitter that Isaac Mizrahi left Target for Liz Claiborne since his line for Target was filled with gorgeous clothes that were beautifully fitted for women, but I digress…)

What’s great about these lines is that they give the average consumer a chance to own some designer looks. But you have to be careful: not all the prices are actually very budget-conscious, and some of the fabrics that have been used for capsule collections look and feel very cheap in person. (Jean-Paul Gaultier, I’m looking at you.) The long and short of it is that you’re better off checking out any designer collection in-store instead of buying online. You can find some real treasures sometimes.

With that in mind I hit my local Target this weekend to check out the Zac Posen line (which didn’t wow me) and was pleasantly surprised to find the Liberty of London capsule collection on clearance. This sale seems to be in-store only since items on are still listed at their full prices, so if you see anything you like hit the stores!

I picked up this cute halter-top dress for $14.98:

The LoL line features home decor, women’s and children’s clothes, swimwear, and even a bicycle in one of LoL’s signature bright prints. Oh yes, I said prints. The LoL brand is known for their colorful and flamboyant prints. I love this, but it’s not for everybody.

One word of advice: if you’re shopping the dresses in this collection, try going a size down. They run on the large side. I usually wear around a size 10 or 12, and the size 12 dresses I tried on were swimming on me. (Which actually wound up being handy, since I could only afford to buy one thing, and if all the adorable dresses I tried on had fit me I would have had a tough decision on my hands.)

The selection was already pretty limited when I shopped on Friday, so if you see anything online that you love you’ll want to hit your local Target ASAP to get the sale price.

Quickie: The Beauty Brains

The Beauty Brains is a blog written by a group of cosmetic chemists who let you behind the curtain of the beauty industry to reveal what really works (and why) and what’s a load of bunk. Their website has a forum where readers can exchange ideas and ask questions, and they update daily with posts that can help you shop smarter when choosing beauty products.

Yesterday’s feature on TBB: Seven ways you waste money buying beauty products.

The “simple” math of fashion and attraction

Ladies, are you trying to attract a man? (Of course you are!) Do you go out to clubs every night just hoping someone will ask you dance, but instead you go and you stand there alone like you’re living inside a Smiths song? Well fret no more, for England’s Telegraph has solved your man-hunting woes once and for all!

And the answer is this: you’re not showing the right amount of skin:

Using tape recorders hidden in their handbags, the researchers took note of what female clubbers were wearing and how many times they were approached by men asking them to dance.

For the purposes of the study, each arm accounted for 10 per cent of the body, each leg for 15 per cent and the torso for 50 per cent.

Women who revealed around 40 per cent of their skin attracted twice as many men as those who covered up.

However, those who exposed any more than this also fared worse. Experts believe that showing too much flesh puts men off because it suggests they might be unfaithful.

It’s so simple! All you have to do is show exactly 40% of your body’s skin. Too little and men will think you’re a prude; too much and men will think you’re a tramp. And what’s really nice is that this super simplification of human attraction isn’t insulting or patronizing at all.

It does raise a few questions, though. For instance, does my face count? Is this like the SATs where I’ll get 200 free points just for not leaving the house in a ski mask every day? And given that the study was performed in England it seems only fair to ask what women are expected to do in the winter. Should we just suck it up and get hypothermia or expect men to ignore us if we choose to avoid frostbite? Do men find amputated limbs sexy as long as their uncovered? A truly thorough study would have addressed these things. After all, we women need this information so that we can achieve our true purpose for existing: attracting a man!

Obviously we need more information. For that, I direct you to this clip from The House Bunny. At 47 seconds in there’s a primer on “skimplifying” which I think is very helpful for just this sort of thing. Except of course for the part about revealing your torso, because that will make men think you’re going to cheat on them. So just ignore that part.

Beauty Buy: The Sephora Color Play 5-in-1 Palette

This is my new favorite toy:

Sephora's 5-in-1 palette

It’s Sephora’s Color Play 5-in-1 color palette and it includes 50 eye shadows, 10 lip glosses, and 5 blushes all divided into five color stories:

• Dinner in Paris: Grays and blacks
• Coffee in New York: Browns
• Shopping in Milan: Purples and pinks, green
• Tango in Buenos Aires: Blues and greens
• Clubbing in Tokyo: Baby blues, pinks, and yellows

Each color story pops out of the large compact and can be popped into a smaller compact that’s included so you can take it with you for touch-ups. It’s basically five full makeup kits in one big set for only $29.50. $29.50! You couldn’t buy the same amount of makeup in drug store brands for that price!

And the really good news is that the makeup in this set is worth it. I have oily eyelids that cause even the most carefully applied eyeshadow to crease and smudge, and these shadows lasted on me all day. The color stood up to being outside on a hot day and even looked perfect after I took a nap with my makeup on (but don’t be like me – sleeping with makeup on is bad for your skin, and I always wash my face before bed!). The colors are buildable so that you can wear them sheer or layer them for a more dramatic effect, which makes this kit work whether you like to play with bright colorful looks or prefer a more subtle effect.

I bought this kit partially because I swear by Sephora’s house brand cosmetics. I have allergy-sensitive skin and it’s hard to find makeup that won’t irritate me and still wears well and comes in a variety of shades. Sephora fits this bill beautifully. This kit in particular is a lot of fun for me because I have so many colors to explore and try.

The only downside is that the kit doesn’t come with any brushes. I picked up this kit at CVS for $9.99, which comes with a travel case and four eye brushes. I’ve been using the eyeliner brush with some of the darker shades in the kit to trace my upper and lower lash lines in place of wearing actual eyeliner on humid days when makeup tends to smudge and run. The shadows in the Sephora kit lend themselves to that really well and glide on smoothly with no mess.

If you like makeup and playing with color, this kit is a lot of fun and a great value. I highly recommend it. (And gents, if you know a woman who loves makeup, keep this in mind as a gift!)

Skinny Jeans: Rape Proof? Jury says YES.

Editor’s Note: Apologies for the delay in posts. Technical difficulties kept me from updating, but we’re fully operational again!

Skinny jeans are one of the scary scary trends that appear here to stay for a while. I say “scary” because most of us aren’t built like models and thus fear the skinny jean because we believe it’s the equivalent of wearing a sign that says, “HEY WORLD! Look at my enormous ass!”

(As the owner of both a not-inconsiderable ass and two pairs of skinny jeans, I can say that this isn’t necessarily true if you choose a good fit and pair them with the right tops – but that’s another post for another time.)

But now we have an exciting new reason to fear the skinny jean, thanks to a jury in Australia who acquitted an accused rapist on the grounds that skinny jeans cannot be removed without the wearer’s assistance, and that said assistance qualifies as consent.

Did you get that? This woman could not possibly have been raped because apparently it would be impossible for a man to get her jeans off without her helping him. As if that statement isn’t ridiculous enough, the assumption also seems to be that if you take off your clothes you’re consenting to sex.

Hooray! Another reason rape is the victim’s fault. Well, she wore that short skirt… well, she got drunk… well, those jeans were so tight she must have helped him get them off…

Technically this isn’t a “fashion” article and I’m sorry for that. But I find it relevant because women are judged in so many ways by what we wear. Our clothes form perceptions about us. It’s the reason we dress differently for a job interview than we would to a barbecue. Some of that is fair. Men are also judged to a certain degree by their appearance; people use things like hygiene and fashion to make decisions about a person at a glance. But a line is crossed when it’s determined that the clothes someone chooses put that person at fault for harm that befalls them.

Let me be clear about that: sometimes it is our fault. It’s my fault if I wear 5″ heels and trip on them and fall. It’s my fault if I wear bright blue panties under white pants and people snicker at me. But it is not my fault if I get raped while wearing tight jeans just because some idiot in a courtroom decided what it would take to remove them. That’s just a new form of victim blaming and it’s ridiculous.

An Italian court upheld a rape conviction appealed on the same grounds, saying that “jeans cannot be compared to any type of chastity belt.” So Viva Italia! At least there’s common sense somewhere.

DIY: Make a Personalized Sewing Dummy Out of Duct Tape

One of the goals of A La Mode is to include ideas and tips from several points of view. That way this really will be a blog for real women, by real women of different tastes, sizes, and talents. Today’s post is a great DIY project by The Cheap Scot:

How To Make Your Duct Tape Double

When sewing or tailoring your own clothing, there is little in this world that is more helpful than a dress form in your size. But dress forms in the standard size 6 are expensive enough. Try buying one that’s adjustable, or even plus-sized. It sort of defeats one of the main purposes of the whole D.I.Y. thing. So what’s a girl, or guy for that matter, to do? Hey, you already make your own clothing. Why not make your own you? With a few cheap materials, and a little bit of time and effort, you can have a completely lumps-and-all accurate mannequin of yourself. Continue reading

Ladies, you do not need this.

The fashion world is full of genius little innovations that make our lives easier. I’m talking those little stick-on treads for shoes with slippery soles, bra strap extenders, those cool towel turbans that button on so you can actually move your head, etc. I’ve even come to find the Snuggie brilliant for sleeping with a fresh manicure, because I can keep my arms warm without risking sheet marks on my shiny new nails. (So thanks for the Snuggie, Mom!)

But some products are really just stupid.

For example, I give you the Backtacular:

The Backtacular is a patch, bedazzled with little crystals, designed to cover your ass crack (they’re calling it a “coin slot,” but let’s not get euphemistic now) when you’re wearing low-rise jeans.

Here’s my question: if you’re so modest where said crack is concerned, why are you wearing jeans that will show it off in the first place? Maybe this product is just a lower back tattoo for the commitment-phobic, but even then they make better looking removable tattoos that cost less than $15. That’s right, $15. For a sticky patch covered in fake crystals that goes on your ass.

I might understand if the actual patch was flesh-toned. Then it might just look like a newish take on the vajazzling trend. But the patch is black and quite obvious, so I just don’t see the point.

Ladies, if you think you need to throw down $15 on a sparkly ass patch, please reconsider. Instead I suggest putting that money aside for a pair of pants that will cover your assets in a less ridiculous way.

Spring Color Trends

If you work in art or publishing, you know Pantone. Graphic designers and printers depend on Pantone’s consistent color palette to translate ideas into reality. We spend hours comparing chips or varying shades, looking for just the right one to apply to our work. We count on their consistency, knowing that the chip we show a client will be the same color as the finished product. In the fashion world, Pantone is better known for seasonal reports on trending colors. Twice a year they produce a Fashion Color Report on what shades are going to be hot from the runway to the street.

Spring 2010’s FCR (you can download a free PDF at the link) forecasts sunny brights offset with light neutrals will be the big look for spring and summer. I know – brights and neutrals for spring! Groundbreaking! (Next they’ll tell us that red lipstick is hot!) But cynicism aside, there’s a reason this season’s palette is taking the safe road: money. This season’s report was tailored to the current economic climate and the fact that consumers have less cash to spend on new clothes:

Designers bring splashes of sunshine to the runway for spring 2010. Vibrant brights add a sense of excitement to the color palette, while practical neutrals provide a safety net for cautious consumers.

“Now more than ever, women are vigilant when it comes to spending,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Instead of re-inventing their wardrobe at the start of each season, consumers want pieces to complement what they already own. Pairing a bold color with a basic piece or freshening up their look with bright accents addresses the need for practicality, as well as fun.”

The inclusion of basic colors most women own (like khaki and tomato red) makes it easier for fashionistas on a budget to update our look without spending a ton of cash. A basic pair of khakis or blue jeans and a white shirt look instantly fresh when given a pop of color with a pair of yellow sneakers or
red sandals.

Accessories like scarves and jewelry are an inexpensive (and low-commitment) way to embrace the newest color trends without overhauling your closet. They’re also a great way to work in colors you don’t normally feel comfortable wearing – a necklace of bright yellow beads is much less intimidating than a bright yellow dress. If you’re looking for an update but wary of committing to a garment in a new hue try starting with baby steps. A bright pair of earrings, a new bag, a bright skinny belt at the waist of your favorite dress or sweater.

If you want to get a little more bold, try a belted t-shirt dress like this one from Old Navy (only $15!). A dress like this is great because of it’s versatility: on cool spring days you can wear it with a cardigan and boots, then carry it into summer with a chunky necklace and sandals. I would pair the blue version of this with accessories in Pantone’s turquoise or aurora yellow (my taste tends toward the bright and the bold), but it would also look sharp with bright white, khaki, or grey. The turquoise version would look great accessorized with Pantone’s fusion coral or pink champagne shades to create a beachy summer look.

Another versatile piece that can add a quick hit of color (and get you through spring’s chilly days and evenings) is a great cardigan. This Merona sweater from Target brings in spring’s violet and yellow shades and works as well over a shift dress at the office as it does with a tank top and jeans on the weekend. Old Navy’s lightweight pointelle cardigan comes in shades resembling Pantone’s fusion coral, aurora yellow, and pink champagne.

Pantone’s Fashion Color Report is a great resource for knowing where the seasonal trends are headed, and they provide a variety so that almost anyone can find something to embrace. No matter what the trend – color, print, style – the most important thing is finding your comfort zone and working within it. Just because Pantone says yellow and coral will be hot this season doesn’t mean you need to embrace them if you hate those colors or just don’t feel your best in them. The key is finding a way to make the trend work for you. Real style isn’t about following trends, anyway. It’s about seeing the trends and deciding for yourself how you’ll apply them (or ignore them). And more than anything color is about confidence. The right color can lift your mood and make you feel invincible just as the wrong color can make you feel drab and out of place. Because who cares if your outfit is in style if you hate it?

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