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August 3, 2009

Stuck on the Stam

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I must have bags on the brain.  Just for fun, I walked into the handbag section at Nordstrom this weekend.  The Anniversary Sale was still going on so it was pretty busy throughout the store.  This wasn’t on sale but the color alone made me stop to check it out.

Lexi Satchel
Marc Jacobs Stardust Stam Bag

Truth is, I don’t know why I still look at this thing.  When the Stam first came out, I loved the retro hip granny purse look, but didn’t like how clunky it felt.  Then new colors and new quilting changed the bag up and I’d look at it again, thinking maybe I’d feel differently.  No dice.

Now with studs being one of the biggest looks for fall, I imagine this version will win new converts.  I couldn’t resist picking it up to sling it on my shoulder, hold it in the crook of my arm, caress the leather and turn it over in my hands.  Despite the beautifully vibrant color and tasteful use of studs, it still just feels… unwieldy.   It’s not even that big.  Perhaps if it was a tad smaller (but not as small as the shoulder bag version) it would work better?  Also, the leather isn’t exactly rigid, but definitely not supple so it doesn’t really sit against the body comfortably.  I don’t know. Carrying a purse that feels awkward makes you look awkward.   I’ve decided I liked the idea of the Stam but not the bag itself.  Now I can move on.


White Tee
July 27, 2009 | Searching For…

I call it the Sookie Stackhouse effect.  My love of True Blood has me obsessing even more about finding the perfect white t-shirt.  Every time I see Sookie in her waitress uniform, I think, “Why can’t I find a white t-shirt that fits perfectly like that?”  Never mind that her uniform is a baby step up from a Hooter’s waitress, but I suppose not wearing cheap satin shorts makes a big difference.  Anyway, I think I’ve come close to the perfect white t-shirt with this…

Splendid Tee
Splendid ribbed scoop tee 

I’ve been wearing this one a lot.  It isn’t overly sheer and it’s perfectly fitted.  I know the boyfriend look is big right now, but this is definitely more flattering in my opinion.
So back to True Blood… I listened to a radio interview on Fresh Air with Anna Paquin and she talked about her wardrobe on the show.  Apparently, they dress her in things from Old Navy and other inexpensive items to reflect Sookie’s humble means.  I think she looks pretty damn good considering they don’t spend big money on her character’s outfits.  Too bad I don’t have a wardrobe department scouring stores to find cheap but fabulous finds for me.

Tee Time – Elizabeth and James Giveaway!
June 26 | Searching For…

Why does it seem like when it’s time to get dressed in the morning I never have anything to wear?  I’m constantly searching for t-shirts I don’t actually own.  I shopped a few weeks ago for new summer clothes, but I neglected to get enough t-shirts.  Oh, well.  I’ll have to rectify the situation soon.  It’s interesting how something so simple and necessary isn’t always the easiest thing to find.  I’m obsessed with thin, but not too thin, t-shirts that are soft, a bit loose and have the perfect drape.  Yep, I’m pretty specific so no wonder I have trouble finding what I need.

Just because I have trouble finding the perfect tee doesn’t mean you have to.  Fashion Vice is part of a fantastic giveaway. has offered up this Elizabeth & James t-shirt for one lucky Fashion Vice reader.

Deconstructed Tee
Elizabeth and James Deconstructed Tee

This line by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen has tons of downtown cool pieces, from tailored blazers to short shorts.  I love their feminine version of the plaid shirt.  I bought one last fall and it’s still one of my favorites. So I’m sure their t-shirts are just as wearable and comfortable.  What I really like about this t-shirt is the relaxed shape and how a few fantastic accessories – from bracelets to flat sandals – can come together to make the perfect weekend outfit.

So here’s how to enter: email me with your ideas about how you’d wear this tee.  If you own Elizabeth and James clothing or you are a fan, let me know what you think about the line.  Contest runs until July 5, afterward a winner - from the US only - will be chosen at random. Fashion Vice is only responsible for running the contest and nothing else.

If you like what you see, you can check out other Elizabeth & James items at  It’s also a great place for women's dresses.  Show your love by checking out on Twitter and on Facebook Fan page.  Thank you and don’t for get to enter now!

Seeing Red
July 3 | Searching For…

Like many of you, I will be spending a lot of time in the sun this 4th of July weekend – and during the week since I’m on vacation.  Like the total over-packer that I am, I will take a few pairs of sunglasses.  You can't take too many and they really don't take that much room, right?  Lately I am loving colored plastic frames.  In 8th grade I had a pair of red Ray Ban Wayfarers.  Yes, I know, totally 80’s but hey, it was the 80’s.  While the Wayfarer is making a comeback with a vengeance, that look probably doesn’t need to make a second go around on me.   Works for Mary Kate Olsen.  Me - not so much.  But I do like the idea of fun red sunglasses.  Take a peep at the ones I’m digging right now:


Very glam indeed.  Thanks Karl.

The Perfect Tote
February 21 | Searching For…

Doesn’t it seem like when you are shopping for something specific in mind, you can never find it?  I have been searching high and low for the right tote – a lightweight, roomy but not too large zip top tote in either canvas or nylon.  Oh, and it has to be fashionable.  Is that asking too much?  There are plenty of choices but I haven’t found the exact match.  I did find these cute cotton totes…

Gap Twill

The Gap tote is adorable and is the perfect color green but it doesn’t have any sort of snap or zipper at the top.  The same goes for the Diane von Furstenberg tote.  The beautiful print almost made me pull the trigger when shopping online, but not having a closure makes it less practical for me.  Both bags also don’t have an inside pocket so forget about stashing a wallet.  Oh well.  It was not meant to be, but for less than 50 bucks each I may get one anyway for a fun way to carry farmers’ market purchases. 

So after more research online, I was happy to see the new Stella McCartney line for LeSportsac is now available for preorder.  Here’s my favorite in the collection…


The numerous pockets are great for storing the dozen or more things I have to carry around these days.  These bags are made of eco-friendly recycled polyester and come in neutral colors as well as a couple of dazzling prints.  I actually really like this subtle shade of pink, which normally is not my thing.  Anyway, here are a couple of other Stella for LeSportsac accessories I really dig.

Stella Stella Hobo Bowling

Since these products are not yet available, I’m still at square one on the tote search.  Plus these LeSportsac bags are in the $300 to $400 range so it’s not like I’d think long and hard before buying.  I guess if comparing prices to Stella McCartney’s own handbag line, these are a steal.  Still, it’s not an impulse buy… but I’m thinking about it.

Flirty Pretty Things
February 11 | Searching For…

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and whether you love it or hate it, it’s hard to ignore.  While I don’t make a huge deal out of it - the real pressure is on the guy - I always try to make some sort of effort.  So I was definitely concerned when I realized I have a serious lack of lingerie.  It's a little bit shameful actually.  I’ve never been into elaborate lingerie, but I know beautiful, well-fitting underthings are a must.  Right now my sensibilities are on the more practical side but do I have to choose sedate over seductive?  There’s got to be a happy medium.


This looks comfortable and a little saucy.  The stretch lace makes it feminine without being prissy.

Betsey Johnson

Okay so this is a little bit girly, but I like this playful satin cami set.  The mesh and pleats are sweet details that don’t go overboard on cute.  I’d definitely skip the ribbon in the hair though.

Elle Slip

This silk chemise is simple but has a few details to make it interesting.  Plus silk feels great against the skin.  Now if only I could make a decision… 

Tie me up, Tie me down
Searching for… | December 16

Scarves are my latest obsession.  It seems I can’t get enough of them, in every color, pattern and material.  It’s such an easy way to add a dose of color and texture without spending too much.  Well, I guess you can spend a lot on a scarf if you want to go the Missoni or Burberry route, but there are plenty of pretty options that don’t break the bank.  My current favorite look is the thin woven wool scarf.  Add a cute hat and you are one chic chick.

Anthropologie Scarf
anthropologie mirage scarf
Lucky Brand Scarf
Lucky Brand tapestry scarf
Madewell Scarf
Madewell washed wool scarf

I want every single one of the Madewell scarves.  Madewell is like the casual little sister of J. Crew with lower prices to boot.  At just under $50 you could indulge in more than one fun scarf.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  Hey, my Christmas shopping is nearly done so I can give myself a gift right?        

Party On
Searching For… | November 18
Tis the season to be jolly.  Social gatherings abound and looking gorgeous is a top priority.  I prefer taking the guesswork out of dressing appropriately by sticking with a classic little black dress.  The fun lies in the accessories.  Party worthy shoes, jewelry and bags make your reliable LBD look and feel different every time.  Here are some glam possibilities.

Prada Pumps
Prada crystal pumps
Oh Deer Shoes
Oh Deer! Sequin Jamocha pumps
b romanek
B. Romanek Rockstar clutch
Bottega Veneta Clutch
Bottega Veneta lizard clutch
Penang Earrings
Anthropologie gold plated earrings

Is this another excuse to go shopping?  This site is called Fashion Vice after all.  There’s no time like the holidays to indulge your vices… just don’t go broke.   Now that is definitely not fashionable.

Here Comes the Rain Again
October 17 | Searching For…

One thing I noticed when I moved to Portland two years ago is how very few people carry umbrellas, much less wear raincoats.  And the footwear of choice in the rainy months seems to be clogs.  Mercy! 

I personally hate feeling soggy and always keep an umbrella in the car.  Moving from Los Angeles, even a light shower feels like an all out water assault.  Now that it’s my third fall/winter in Portland I see why people just shrug off the rain.  Because it rains all the freakin’ time.

These days I find myself just lifting the hood of my sweater - who knew it was actually functional? -  and slogging through my day.  But that doesn’t mean I’ve completely succumbed to the Portland aesthetic.  This is not a slam against the city and its good people, so no hate mail please.  This is just another reminder that style often takes a backseat to substance around here.  However, I’ve decided to get a proper raincoat this year and that doesn’t mean a hoodie masquerading as raingear.  I found some lovely options, both practical and indulgent.

Burberry Trench
Always classy but very pricey Burberry Ivybridge trench
DKNY Trench
Basic black DKNY Isabella trench
Walking Coat by Gallery
Walking coat by Gallery has a slightly spacey feel but I like it
Nau Urbane Jacket
Nau Urbane jacket with that utilitarian hood

I've actually been eyeing the Nau jacket for a while now. It definitely has more of a sporty influence, but in person it really looks more versatile and has fashionable details in its design. So in a perfect world the Nau jacket would be my day to day option while a chic trench would serve more dressed up outings. A girl's got to have more than one option right?

Louboutin or Lobotomy?
Searching For... | October 3, 2007

After a hiatus (longer than expected!) following the birth of my baby boy, Fashion Vice is back and regular posts will be forth coming.  Apologies to regular readers – there are regular readers, right?  And to those who’ve just stumbled on the site, welcome.

Fashion Vice is about the pure fun of fashion and my love of it, but it’s also about distilling the ever-changing trends into something that fits your own personal style.  I’ve always been a little bit obsessed with fashion but in the past few months I’ve gained new perspective.

Motherhood changes you, but I’ve discovered you never know how or how much until it actually happens to you.  Before I had a baby, and certainly when I was single, looking good was a top priority.  Much of my disposable income was spent on fashion and much of my extra time was spent reading my favorite magazines, blogs and of course, checking out essential websites like or net-a-porter.

While I was pregnant I made an effort to stay stylish and I did a pretty good job of it, if I do say so myself.  But my seven and a half pound bundle of joy with an insatiable appetite changed everything.  Never has a single event so consumed me.  During the first few weeks with our baby, every waking hour - and there were many more waking hours than those spent sleeping – was devoted to the care, feeding and nurturing of this little peanut.

So here’s where the perspective comes in.  Before my son was born, I swore I’d never give up like some new moms.  I’d always style my hair.  I wouldn’t wear track pants day in and day out.  I’d get my nails done.  Was I smoking crack?

The first couple of months a ponytail was my new “hairstyle.”  I wore yoga pants too often than I’d like to admit.  Hey, they aren’t track pants right?  My hangnails had hangnails.

It wasn’t just the sleep deprivation and the ever-present breast milk stains on my clothes that left me a little down.  It was the fact that I’d slid down that very slippery slope.  Yes, being a new mom is hard work, but couldn’t I run a damn brush through my hair any more?  Instead of imaging how I’d look in a teetering pair of Louboutin heels, I felt like I had gotten a lobotomy.  Now I couldn’t imagine wearing anything but my slip-on sneakers.  Aaaaaahhhh!
Then I took myself by the shoulders and shook the shit out of myself.  Try this sometime.  It’s quite satisfying.  Anyway, I knew I had to snap out of it.  That doesn’t mean I’d go through my whole get pretty routine before leaving for work or a night out.  I’m a full time mom now and a night out consists of an early dinner with baby in tow.  But it’s the little rituals that made me feel like I looked good that I missed.

So now I curl my eyelashes in the morning and put on a little blush.  So what if it’s just for the baby?   I banished the ponytail with a sassy short haircut.  The nails are still a challenge but I’ve managed to get them under control when I have a blissful hour to myself.  And best of all I’ve gone shopping without feeling too much guilt at buying a few frivolous and entirely impractical things.  After all I’m not just a mom.  Do I need a better excuse than that?

Leopard Shoes

Besides, what better way to celebrate the most important event that’s happened to me?  I have a healthy baby who I love beyond reason or understanding.  And maybe someday he’ll appreciate that his mom is the type that likes to put on some lipstick before running into the grocery store.

And now for your viewing pleasure, here is a dreamy pair of Louboutin pumps that I would look very cute in.


Maxi-mum Effect
May 9 | Searching For…

Big for spring: the maxi dress.  Something about it makes me think of a jet-setting socialite hosting a fabulous cocktail party on the backyard deck of her Bahamian mansion.  Or a 1970’s party involving cigarette holders, Twister and round after round of vodka drinks.  While that doesn’t sound quite as glamorous as the first scenario, there is something retro-cool about the maxi dress.  What could be better than a chic dress that’s comfortable and let’s you tuck into a heaping plate of bar-be-que without having to suck it in afterward.  Mmm, bar-be-que.  I must be hungry.  Anyway, I think maxi dresses are pretty forgiving on most body types, but if you’re on the diminutive side, it may be best to skip an overly billowy silhouette and wear wedges instead of flat sandals. 

So, here are a few of my favorites:     

tbags dress
T-bags dress at blaec
tibi floral
Tibi floral dress at net-a-porter
jcrew linen
J. Crew linen dress
Halter Dress
Halter dress at Forever 21

I especially like the pink Tibi dress.  I’ve been into pink lately, not a color I’ve been fond of in a while.  It must be a reaction to my black and gray winter wardrobe.  With the improving weather here in the Pacific Northwest, any color is a welcome change.

An Eye for Eyelet
April 5 | Searching For…

Something has come over me.  I am scouring sinks, scrubbing the stovetop and wiping away soap scum armed with non-toxic cleaners and my pink Casabella rubber gloves.  By the way, if you are at all particular about cleaning, this line makes the best products.  Some people get spring fever.  I get spring cleaning fever.

Sure I’m 7 months pregnant so my so-called nesting instinct may have kicked in.  But I think this all started with my closet.  It is in a woeful state. My tops aren’t color coordinated anymore.  Half my t-shirts are unfolded and in a state of disarray.  And do not get me started on the chaos of my bras and knickers (ha, I like that word better than panties).

So what do I do instead of tackling the mess in my closet?  Like anyone itching to embrace spring in a bear hug, I go shopping… and I had a mission: finding this cute Juicy Couture eyelet top.

Juicy Eyelet
Neiman Marcus offers this top online in white and black

Love the floral eyelet pattern and the bib front with buttons!  However, as much as I wanted to splurge, I have a growing middle to keep in mind.  Juicy clothes are not exactly known for their generous cuts.  I was afraid sizing up would still leave me with a tight shirt.  Or worse, I’d end up with a shirt I couldn’t wear post pregnancy because the proportions were wrong.

Still, I was undaunted.  I really wanted this top, and dammit I was going to find something that at least played like it!  Thankfully I found this.

French Connection
French Connection ribbon trimmed top from Nordstrom

This top also comes in black and is made with a pretty, floral sheer fabric and a row of covered buttons.  The wide cut is very forgiving but doesn’t make me feel like I’m wearing a muumuu.  I actually went for black instead of white because thinking ahead, I still want the Juicy Couture eyelet version so hopefully I can revisit this desire once I’ve semi-bounced back to my old self again. Yes, I’m fully aware of how obsessed I sound right now and I pray this kid doesn’t turn out like me.

Skirting the Issue
March 27 | Searching For…

I’ve complained in the past, all I seem to wear lately are jeans.  Then I realized what I really need is to refresh my denim wardrobe.  Of course this isn’t going to happen until after the birth of my first baby this summer, but once my body is completely mine again it’s going to be fun to put away my Habitual maternity jeans (which have been very, very good to me) and go shopping for new denim looks. 

For now I have to be content just checking out the latest trends.  It’s a relief to see more choices in wider legged, higher waisted jeans.  I’m sure post-baby the looser look will suit me better.  Another trend I’ve noticed is the comeback of colored denim.  Hmm, the sight of red jeans takes me back to the 90’s when colored jeans were the “girls’ night out” look of choice in college.    

What I really look forward to shopping for is the perfect denim skirt.   There are actually a lot to choose from.  I covet all things Marc Jacobs, including his fabulous medium wash denim, but here are a few other choices I’m eyeing.

Citizen Novak
Citizens of Humanity Novak skirt from Nordstrom
Chloe Denim Skirt
See by Chloe skirt from net-a-porter
True Religion Marissa
True Religion Marissa from shopbop

I like the idea of sucking everything into place with a great fitting pencil skirt, but then again an A-line look could be more comfortable.  It’s a good thing I have a few months to think about this.  I just like to think ahead.

A Bag in the Hand is Worth What?
March 12 | Searching For…
Every time I see a woman carrying a great handbag, I immediately debate in my mind whether to accost her with questions on where she bought it and when.  But I never do.  Don’t want to act too weird at Starbucks (that’s what the woman playing dozens of scratchers lottery games and mumbling to herself is there for).  What I should actually be looking for right now is a good diaper bag, but that’s a task (and post) better left for another day.
Speaking of handbags, I’m going to admit something a little embarrassing so please don’t hold it against me.  I still love the good old Louis Vuitton Monogram canvas Alma and Speedy bags.  Yes, it’s a cliché to be seen with one hanging on the crook of your arm, but what can I say?  I love me some Louis.
But I digress.  This isn’t about those immediately recognizable status bags, like the ubiquitous Balenciaga Motorcycle bag, or the suburban mom favorite, Coach logo bags.  I’m talking about finding the workhorse bag that goes with practically anything, holds everything and looks good without being immediately recognizable.  Even when you get a little tired of it and you pull it out of your bag rotation, you can still bring it back and it never goes out of style.  I’m wondering if one of these would work. 
minkoff bag
Rebecca Minkoff bag - simple design that really pops in royal blue
leather messenger
anthropologie messenger bag - Chloe-esque but without the sticker shock
biasia bag
Francesco Biasia woven bag – nice slim profile, fun color
stella canvas
Stella McCartney coated canvas bag – a non-leather classic
Okay maybe the Stella McCartney is cheating a little bit since it’s technically a (very expensive vegan) status handbag.  In any case, I suppose my appetite for accessories will never be sated.  Even if I had all of these bags, I would still be eyeing the lady at grocery store with some other covetable bag on her shoulder.  A bag in my hand is still worth checking out what’s in someone else’s.  It’s a sad, sad cycle but I never said fashion was my virtue.

Cozy Up
October 31 | Searching For…

It was not pleasant this morning when I walked outside and a blast of cold air froze my unprepared face.  This weather makes me want to wrap myself up like a burrito and stay by the fire. 

I’ve been looking for a chunky knit that isn’t too bulky or boring.  Since knits are hot this season, there’s plenty to choose from.  I especially like these two.

Nicholas K
Nicholas K
Nicholas K sweaters from

I love the menswear inspired leather buttons.  The velvet collar on the tan sweater is also a luxurious touch.  The gray sweater has a great textural pattern and the off center buttons make this look anything but ordinary.  Bring on the cold weather!

That’s So Plaid
October 11 | Searching For…

Here’s one for the girl who can’t get enough plaid this fall.

Alexander McQueen & Sarah Jessica Parker at Costume Institute Party of the Year last spring.  Photo from


Wow, I just noticed Sarah Jessica Parker is holding a matching bag.  Girl, please!  I like plaid.  Not as much as Alexander McQueen and SJP, but I do like it.  Back in junior high I had a Catholic school uniform skirt that I ripped up and adorned with safety pins.  Ha!  I thought I was so punk rock.  Between plaid and the black nail polish craze, I am totally reliving my youth this fall.

My favorite plaid dresses come in figure flattering silhouettes that hug your curves if you’ve got them or create curves if you don’t.  I’m in the latter category and will take any help I can get.

Lepore Plaid Dress
Nanette Lepore plaid dress from
Lamb Dress from Nordstrom
L.A.M.B. dress from Nordstrom
MCQ Shirt Dress
McQ plaid shirt dress from net-a-porter

If you don’t want to drop a ton of cash (who does right?), here’s one for $158.

Anthropologie Plaid Dress
Cotton dress with removable ribbon belt from Anthropologie

You can find similar looks at Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters for even less.  Or spend time at a good local thrift store for a diamond in the rough.


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