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Do you want to know why I love Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of Rag and Bone? First, because they are nice, ordinary married guys with tots in tow. Not drama queens. Not sunglassed, gloved vampires. Second, because they’re not prone to such vitriol as that of Dior’s most famous former Musketeer, John Galliano (yes – you’ll remember him as the man who said, “I love Hitler.”) In fact, they are reputed to be on a friendly, first-name basis with all their employees, and have blessed us Yanks with their good taste and growing industry by coming across the Pond and establishing a home base in New York.

But also, I love Marcus and David and the simplistic, but edgy designs of Rag & Bone because their clothes are infinitely wearable. They make fashion make sense. They reflect the reality of our everyday lives – how we look (or aspire to) on the weekend, at the office, at a party. They cite American Ralph Lauren as a brilliant designer (an excellent choice, and one far different from those kooky avant-garde types so often hailing from England) – a designer who is also committed to beautiful, livable fashion.

In the January edition of Vogue, Neville said, “There has always been a solid realism, and a credibility, to what we do.” And with no formal fashion training (and roots in the burgeoning designer-denim craze of the early 2000’s where they were based in Kentucky), the pair has taken to creating things like chunky sweaters, bomber jackets and plaid skirts, interspersed with menswear tailoring, flowing tanks and crisp, pleated shorts. “Normal” clothes. Clothes that just about anyone can wear. Think J. Crew. But smarter. With a whole lotta fashion street cred.

There is of course, the occasional electric blue legging thrown in for flair. But let’s face it people, this is fashion. Not investment banking.

There are no gold tuxedos, no feather headdresses, no face paint or mirrored masks or rotating gyroscopes (I think you all know who I’m talking about).

(Some looks from the FW’11 collection).

It’s nice to know there are designers who take the reality of our lives into account when hitting the drafting board.

So to Marcus and David, I say, “Cheers.” Visit their e-commerce site here.

Right on Target…Again.

I’ve oft praised the genius behind Target’s GO international designer collaborations. Now, we lucky shoppers will be able to snap up 34 offerings from past collaborations from the likes of Proenza Schouler, Rodarte and Thakoon. They will be available online starting March 13th, and in stores in April.  There is a surplus of dresses among these easy pieces which doesn’t bother me in the least: I think a dress (leggings, tights and knee-high boots optional) is THE perfect seasonal transition piece.

But with big names and little price points (think $50 and under), they won’t last long. So hurry up, y’all.

For a full retrospective of past (and soon to be current) looks, visit Fashionista.com here.

Polka Dot Perfection

Marc Jacobs Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear

Marc Jacobs’ collection at NYFW channeled something of a post-apocalyptic “The House of Mirth” what with all those tiny, constraining hats, high collars, dark booties and long, body-skimming skirts. With a predominance of black, white and grey, his collection wasn’t without its share of polka dots, giving what would otherwise have been a touch costume-y, a modernity (some bloggers called it “twisted” – I disagree) that was all Marc. 

For complete images of his show, visit Style.com here.

What do you think?

On Writing


It seems a fitting start to every year: an exposition on why this whole thing started. You know, it actually started a lot earlier than I’ve maybe let on.

When I was 11, I wrote a letter to Marguerite Henry – the author of the “Misty” pony series.  It went something like this: “I love you, you are a great writer. I love horses, too. Do you think I’ll be able to write like you one day? I love you. P.S. I want a pony. Sincerely, Sarah.”

I was horse-crazy and book-crazy and one of four kids, so reading came cheaper than riding.  I read (mostly books about horses) because I loved the escape words offered, their little size and mighty power.  I loved reading something so rightly summed-up that I could leave a page and walk around with the sense that I had a tad more insight into the way the universe was always intended to work – as if someone had finally, correctly described what I had been feeling but couldn’t quite articulate.  I wanted to do that for other people. 

So after I read “Mustang,” I wrote Ms. Henry to thank her for penning something that helped me to see meaning and structure and beauty in the world in a way that, to use a tired cliché, changed my life.  It’s the same reason I’m writing now. Not because Praying for Prada is ever gonna be War and Peace.  But because I want to help point the way for other people – to set off that little hum of recognition in someone else’s heart that makes them laugh or think or cry or just live more fully because they feel as if someone, somewhere gets it enough to describe it well. 

I wrote in college to get a journalism degree.  I wrote in law school: dry, wordy briefs with lots of Latin and “hereinafters.”  But it wasn’t enough.  No one feels any kind of sweet fulfillment when they get to the plaintiff’s conclusionary paragraph in her motion for summary judgment. Instead, all the non-lawyers just pretty much want to hang you.

But that sick feeling of needing to write kept right on with its fingers around my throat, daring me to sit down and get to it already.  So the blog was born.  

It’s no secret that I’m insecure. I struggle daily with the notion of whether there’s enough horsepower in this machine to make something decent come out.  There are times when I am witness to some haunting relational complexity, or something as simple as the bark on a tree, and I hear the words to describe it in my head.  Sometimes, I think they could be lyrical or entertaining, and when I’m very lucky, even accurate.  But these days, after years home with little children, I’m the one hanging my head at dinner parties because I hadn’t heard William F. Buckley had died, or skulking off to Wikipedia because I can’t seem to remember what in God’s name Robert Stone ever wrote or what desiccated means.    

But I’m still writing. The fact that it is about fashion is secondary. The writing itself, is primary.


…is a warm muzzle. Its too bad all he really wants is the bag of treats.

I was always a sucker for a redhead.

Top it Off

You’ve seen that Target commercial, right?  A harried mother stares dreamily at a cap and is suddenly transported to some bucolic fall scene with a stand of apple trees, cable sweaters and falling leaves. The motto? “You totally wear hats.”

I am myself, a “hat” person. I have quite the collection, in fact – from newsboys to fedoras,  cowboy hats to bucket hats and everything in between. In fact, I just snagged this fur trapper number from Michael Kors at Bluefly.com:

MICHAEL Michael Kors beige tipped faux fur trapper hat style# 307815101

Hats are not only the consummate statement-making accessory, they’re the perfect accompaniment to this season’s frigid temps.  Take for example, the:

1. Fedora – Menswear is the thing right now. Pair it with something feminine and don’t skimp on the eye makeup – the brim is just right for keeping other people’s peepers on yours. Just make sure to keep hair trailing around your face or you’re liable to look more K.D. Lang than Carmen Kass.

2. The Knit Cap – Seasonally appropriate, cozy, and tomboyish, it works best pulled back on your head, particularly for those of you with bangs. Any lower, and you’re going to look like you’re about to rob the Rutters.

3. The Wide-Brim – Twelve thousand photos of Rachel Zoe can’t be wrong. Go for big hair and big sunglasses to match the hat’s volume. Keep everything else scaled down.

Best sites for affordable hats?  WWW.Jcrew.com, www.Urbanoutfitters.com, and www.asos.com.

So go on. You totally wear hats.