Runway to Real Life: NYFW Trends, part 2

Trend #2: Printastic

Milly, Nicole Miller, Karen Walker, Diane von Furstenberg, Suno

The idea of wearing prints head to toe can be daunting, not to mention a little fugly, if executed poorly. Stripes? Checks? Polka dots? All of it? Who’s to know what is and isn’t an acceptable mashup of prints?

The good news is that pretty much anything goes, and because of that, this is one trend that works in San Francisco’s favor. As “the city that style forgot” according to the New York Times (the publication that tact forgot), we’ve basically been given carte blanche to be our crazy selves and wear whatever we want.

Per the runway, it makes sense to keep things within the same color family, or at least the same aesthetic: lots of tiny lines, or several big bold prints. Blending a paisley top with a buffalo check bottom might be seizure inducing, but a swiss-dotted oxford with a beautiful plaid pencil skirt? Solid.

Other combinations to try:

– a pinstriped oxford and blazer, in differing hues and widths (I love a pale purple shirt with a navy blazer)

– a striped waffle weave henley under a plaid snap-front top, for weekends

– a nautical striped tee, neutral skirt, and patterned tights (for the pattern-mixing gun shy!)

– a lightly striated cardigan over a dainty floral top – it’s just the right amount of pattern and texture to be on-trend

What’s your favorite print and pattern mashup?

Runway to Real Life: NYFW Trends, part 1

Even though we’re just getting into beautiful warm weather in San Francisco, all the Fashion Week coverage is spurring my excitement for Spring. Sadly, the Spring in my head (Tulips! Bunnies! Satiny Shoes!) doesn’t exactly coincide with the Spring of my life (Rain! Rain! Trudging places uphill! Did we mention it’s going to rain?!) so I thought it would be helpful to put Fashion Week’s beautiful trends into context that makes sense for a Northern California lady’s lifestyle. Every damp, yet sparkly moment of it.

Trend #1: BIG pops of color (especially yellow!)

J.Crew, Badgley Mischka, Naeem Khan, Vera Wang, Jason Wu

When I think basics, I think really basic: jeans, khakis, black ballet flats or a crisp white tee or oxford. Maybe a bright necklace here or a dash of lipstick there, but basic has always been synonymous with blah. Luckily, what we’re seeing on the runway and on the cusp for next year is that ensembles can still be beautifully simple without being boring whatsoever. Case in point: using big, bright colors – especially yellow! – to anchor an outfit while still keeping it light. Instead of a bright necklace, bright pants. In place of a fun scarf, taking things a step further with a bright dress and even brighter heels.

But in San Francisco (or anywhere the weather is less than Audrey Hepburn’s perfect Paris in Funny Face), it’s hard to sacrifice beautiful heels to rain, or hide a beautiful sundress under layers of sweaters and jackets. Instead, think how to externalize the trend and make it work for you: sunny rain boots, a bright umbrella, or fun tights.

The Perfect Martini

Cary Grant (allegedly) famously said, “Why don’t you get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini?” and no quote is more appropriate for misty, wet San Francisco weather than this one! To learn how to make the perfect, badass martini, I turned to my mixologist roommate Victor for the scoop:

“There’s been a shift, from traditional vermouth and gin martinis, to straight vodka with lots of olive juice,” says Victor. “But in my opinion, the key to a great, classic martini is good quality ingredients, a nice clear glass, and the right ratios.”

We have a lot of top-shelf liquor on hand at our house, but you can feel free to experiment until you find the spirits you prefer. As long as they’re good quality, you can’t really go too far awry.

We did a lot of experimenting and mixing – all in the name of research, of course – and ended up with two different camps of martinis: some that are smooth, clean and bright, and others that slap you in the face and yell I AM A MARTINI, BITCHEZ!, but in the most refined way possible. In other words, I’ve Had A Good Day Martinis and This Has Been A Terrible Day Martinis.

But since we’re talking perfection here, we continued to mix and stir and concoct until we developed a perfect blend of the two that will have you sipping happily until Cary Grant walks through the door.

THE PERFECT MARTINI

Ingredients:

. Beefeater or Ransom gin

. Noilly Pratt vermouth

. Fee Brothers orange bitters

. One lemon

Instructions:

1. Chill the glass, either in the freezer, or by filling it with ice water while you mix your drink, and pouring it out before you strain.

2. In another glass or shaker, measure out 2 1/2 ounces gin, 3/4 ounce vermouth, and two dashes orange bitters over ice. Stir the ingredients with ice, quickly and evenly, first clockwise, then counterclockwise. Continue stirring until well mixed and condensation forms on the outside of the glass.

3. Strain into a chilled glass, making sure no ice shards escape!

4. Garnish with a large lemon curl. For extra technique points, squeeze the lemon curl to release its oils, and rim the glass with it before placing it into the drink.

5. Voila! Even if you had a bad day, if you’ve made perfect martinis, you’re suddenly having a very good day. Hey, good for you!

Thank you, Victor!

Icon: Nancy Drew

It’s still on my wish list. That blue convertible, I mean. And to have perfectly coiffed titian hair (though “titian” was a word that confounded my childhood vocabulary for many years) and, of course, the ability to be showered, dressed and ready in “only 20 minutes” as she so often is.

Of course, we speak of Nancy. The only Nancy. Nancy Drew.

Beloved by awesome, fearless, highly achieving females everywhere, from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Oprah, Nancy captivated my childhood with her tales of daring, fortitude, common sense, and kindness. She made us believe that anything was possible – it’s probably not a ghost, but it might be! Eeee! – and that we could tackle most anything on our own if we had to. Especially because, more often than not, she had to. Ned didn’t show, her dad was off trying a case, or her trusty sidekicks Bess and George were lost or were being held hostage. Nancy just hitched up her sundress and went to work, saving the world one bad guy at a time.

Kathleen Parker’s column in the Washington Post explains the psychology of our love affair with Nancy in ways that I cannot. But I can say that, without Nancy, I would not have an overnight kit in the back of my car, I would not sleep with a flashlight under my pillow, and I would not have the ability (one of my finer points, I’d like to say) to be showered, dressed and ready in only 20 minutes.

What did your literary heroine teach you?

Icon: Jane Goodall


This week has spurred some serious thought about awesome women. From strangers, to my friends, to sorority sisters to fictional characters who amaze and entertain, there are so many icons who inspire us.

One of my favorite moments, ever, in my entire life, was meeting the fiercely intelligent and wonderfully quirky Dr. Jane Goodall. The world’s foremost primatologist and conservation champion gave a lecture during my senior year of college, and I had the privilege of interviewing her before her speech. What she said that day, and what has resonated with me for several years now, was her hope for the future and the power of humanity to do the right thing, to stand up for what we believe, and to change the world.

I also will never forget her impersonation of a chimp in front of an audience of thousands! What a wonderfully wise lady.

Who is your icon?