Items tagged with 'style'

"On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars and Snow Leopards" at Proctors

Nat Geo Steve Winter snow leopard

A talk / presentation called National Geographic Live On the Trail of Big Cats: Tigers, Cougars and Snow Leopards will be at Proctors next Wednesday, November 14. Blurbage:

Join award-winning National Geographic photographer Steve Winter for a thrilling journey into the world of big cats. From trekking high in India's Himalaya in search of rare snow leopards and stalking the elusive jaguar through Latin American jungles to chronicling the nocturnal activities of the "American lion" or cougar, this determined explorer ventures far and wide to come face-to-face with his subjects. This is no easy task. Since many big cat species are in danger of extinction, they have good reason to avoid humans.
While these felines may be endangered, they're still wild, unpredictable creatures?and caution is required in their presence. Negotiating their habitats can be more dangerous still. Winter has been attacked by rhinos and gotten stuck in quicksand while working in the field. There have been lighter moments as well: mishaps with remote-control cameras, and waiting on a southern California hillside to catch a shot of a cougar under the famous "Hollywood" sign. Throughout it all, Winter's mission is to share the beauty of big cats while reinvigorating efforts to save them.

That's Winter's photo of a snow leopard above.

The show's at 7:30 pm on the Proctors main stage. Tickets are $30.

By the way: If you've never seen the Planet Earth episode with the snow leopard, it's worth checking out.

Local places to buy head scarves?

pink scarf on tableChristine emails:

I'm looking for suggestions for a place to buy head scarves for a friend going through chemo. I know they have tons online but she'd love to be able to try them in first. Thanks so much!

Sometimes half the fun of buying some new clothes -- especially when you're with friends -- is the chance to try a bunch of different things on.

Got a suggestion for Christine and her friend? Please share!

At the new Zebra Bras in Troy, the measuring tape is a 3D scan

Zebra Bras Troy composite photo with owner Hannah Johnson

By Cristin Steding

If you are a bra-wearer, you already know the struggle to find the right size bra.

Standard sizing does a poor job of accommodating non-standardized bodies, and misinformation is rampant. Many women don't know what a properly-fitting bra is even supposed to feel like, and uninformed employees at mall stores often measure incorrectly.

But maybe all of that will soon be a thing of the past.

Sure, custom bras have been around for a while, if you're willing to spend enough cash. But recent innovations in 3D scanning and printing have the potential to eliminate issues with fit.

Zebra Bras is a new business in downtown Troy that uses 3D printing and scanning to create bras that are customized to your body. I talked with owner Hannah Johnson about how it works...

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Where to get measured for a suit?

sport jacket button detail closeupSean emails:

A friend is having some tuxedo's made for his wedding by a shop in China. He's asked that all of the groomsmen get measured so he can pass those measurements along to the tailor. Do any of your readers know of a good place to go to get measured?

We had a somewhat similar question many years ago. Then, as now, we wonder how a local shop will react to taking measurements so a tux or suit can be made somewhere else. But maybe they'll be OK just charging for the time.

Got a suggestion for Sean? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a place can be helpful.

Blood and lipstick: Jenn Dugan's Makeup Curio

makeup curio schenectady composite

Jenn Dugan didn't wear makeup until after she graduated from college.

Well, that's not entirely true. There was a goth period in high school in East Greenbush, but she doesn't really count that.

She studied fashion design at Marist College where she started costuming plays and became a self-proclaimed "theater nerd." After school, she worked in New York and Seattle, and traveled the country as a costume designer and dresser.

In regional theater, costume designers often design makeup as well. So, out of necessity, her next career was born. She studied books about theater and film makeup, attended trade shows and experimented with characters and special effects. And she enjoyed it. When she returned to the Capital Region to be near her family, she quickly gained a reputation as a makeup artist.

Earlier this month Dugan opened The Makeup Curio, a makeup and esthetics salon in Schenectady where clients sometimes leave looking stranger than they did when they entered.

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A stylist for long, curly hair?

sculpture with curly hair Flickr user quinn.anya CCJordan emails:

Hello. I moved to the area two years ago. I have beautiful long curly hair. I'm really picky about who I let cut it and am really protective of it. For two years I've actually flown back to my previous place to meet up with some friends, and while there, got my hair cut at my old stylist. She had 13 years of experience with a focus on curly hair and had a studio with one chair. She cut my hair perfectly, layered everything just right, everything. Comforting, knowledgeable, the whole nine. But I can't go back this year, and I need a cut. The whole thing tended to cost around $70, and I typically tip 100%, because changing a part of my body that take years and years to grow is a big deal for me.
I'm looking for a person in the area similar to her. She was affable, easy to talk too, covered in tattoos, and the 1.5 hour cut was never awkward or silent. Who in town is like this? Price isn't an issue, just skill, lots of experience, and a good positive environment.

We had a similar question in the past, but it was many years ago. And things change, shops close, stylists move.

So, got a suggestion for Jordan? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a specific stylist can be helpful.

photo: Flickr user quinn.anya (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Nigeria to Albany to the fashion world

Head of State fashion line

A few of the looks from the Head of State website. There are a bunch of others at the link.

This is great: Taofeek Abijako -- an Albany High grad -- was featured this past weekend in the New York Times style magazine for his menswear line, Head of State. A clip:

Abijako was still a senior at Albany High School when he released the look book for his first collection on his Twitter feed. A few weeks later, when an email from a buyer for the Japanese luxury retailer United Arrows arrived, he assumed it was a prank perpetrated by friends. The buyer asked to visit his studio; since Abijako was working out of his childhood bedroom, he demurred, and instead they met in Manhattan. "I came to New York City with my clothes in a little bag and they looked at me like, 'This little kid?!' But once I showed my work, they decided to carry the entire collection," he says with a hint of pride. His luxe streetwear line, Head of State+, features wide-necked sweatshirts, cropped half-zips, fitted jeans and loungey basics, often in warm, rich tones. But the line also moves beyond the requisite sweatpants to offer social and political commentary.

There are a bunch of interesting bits in the profile about how he raised the money for the collection and experience with the YouthFX program.

Abijako was the subject of a short YouthFX documentary directed by by Aden Suchak, in which he talks about the experience of immigrating to the United States from Nigeria.

See also this profile of Abijako from last year by Jess Winans.

What's in the Albany Institute's closets

Albany Institute clothing closet composite

Here's something fun while you're trying to decide if it's finally time to switch your closet over from winter to summer -- a look into the closets at the Albany Institute.

Among its collection of paintings, patents, mummies, and Albany historical artifacts, there are rows of closets filled with clothing made in, or worn in, the Capital Region over the centuries.

The collection ranges from 18th century Paris couture gowns, to 1920s flapper dresses, to 1960s and 70s mod. And there are shoes and accessories, too.

We persuaded curator Diane Shewchuk to let us poke around in the institute's closets this week. Here's some of the fun stuff we found.

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A good hair stylist in the Albany area?

statue with curly hair

Jen asks via Twitter (and a series of tweets):

I swear I ask once a year at least, but I can't seem to get my ish together finding a hair stylist I like. Suggestions? Cc: @alloveralbany
Not too concerned about $ bc I only get my hair cut 3-4x/yr. Just want somewhere convenient (location + hrs), high quality, & not sales-y.
My last stylist was great but her hrs are limited & no longer work w my schedule. Went to John Paul last & it was fine but very sterile.
Albany area, I would say within a 10-20 min drive from Center Square. Guilderland, Loudonville, Colonie, Delmar, EG.

Similar questions have been popped up in the past, but we checked the archive today and it's been (at least) a few years. And things changed, shops close, stylists move.

So, got a suggestion for Jen? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a person or shop can be a big help.

photo: Flickr user Quinn Dombrowski, cropped (CC BY-SA 2.0)

About those fancy hats...

kate welshofer fancy track hats horseheads

The Saratoga Race Course draws people in all sorts of headwear.

By Kate Welshofer

"Let me ask you a question."

Two beers were sweating through their glass bottles last summer on a cold, metal, patio table when a man I barely knew put me on the spot. The style of his delivery fell somewhere between Dennis Miller and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, so I knew it was trouble. All I could think was, "Here we go."

Instead, what I said was: "Go ahead!"


"It's... about the hats..."

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Red, white & blue

lunchboxbrain red white and blue tshirt

Check out this handsome, seasonally-appropriate t-shirt created by local designer Andrew Gregory: It's called "Red, White & Blue." (You know, because the ampersand is red, white, and blue...)

The shirt is currently available from Cotton Bureau, in men's and women's sizes, through this Friday. It's $28.

Andrew Gregory? You might know his work under the name Lunchboxbrain.

Queen Size Swap 2016 spring

Queen Size Swap 2015 fall

The Queen Size Swap will be back at The Hangar in Troy this Sunday, April 10.

What's the Queen Size Swap? As its founder describes the event: it's the "Capital Region's locally founded, body positive, 100% accessible plus size clothing swap." Blurbage:

This is the perfect time to start your Spring cleaning! Clean out your closest and get rid of those clothes you no longer wear!
Sizes 12/14 and up. Clothing to swap should be clean with no rips or stains. All seasons welcome! Accessories also accepted and shoes of any size! ...
We will have several businesses set up at tabling at the swap! Past businesses included Stella & Dot, Thirty-One Gifts, Expressions An Adult Boutique, Her UnderThings and more! ...
The remaining clothing and shoes will be donated to the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless clothing pantry

The swap is Sunday from 11 am to 2 pm. It's $10 at the door (to cover event expenses) -- you can reserve a ticket online.

photo via Queen Size Swap FB page

A place to recycle old textiles?

blue jean fabric closeupErin emails:

I know plenty of places where I can donate clothes that are still wearable, but what can I do with the ripped, stained, ratty stuff? I know its possible to recycle textiles, but I don't know where or by whom. Any ideas? Please and thank you!

This is one of those questions that never occurred to us before, but we have heard of stuff being made from, say, old jeans. So we're curious to see if there's a place that does this.

Got a suggestion for Erin? Please share!

Where to find vintage architectural pieces?

ask aoa vintage mirror question

Stacey sent along this pic to go with her question.

Stacey emails:

We are getting our dining room painted (finally saying goodbye to terrible green) and would love to find a large vintage mirror to go over the mantle. The ceilings are about 14 feet high so the mirror should ideally be six feet or more. I've seen some reproductions online that have potential but I would prefer a mirror with a past. I keep looking on craigslist but with no luck. I would be out scouting salvage yard, antique shops etc. but for the fact that we work and have two little kids. I am hoping someone has a great mirror who needs a new owner? Or at least knows where to look? We only have about $500 to spend.

There are a handful of places (or more) around the region that collect and sell these sorts of vintage or reclaimed furniture/decor/architectural pieces. The first two that spring to mind are Silver Fox Salvage and the Historic Albany Parts Warehouse, both in Albany.

We're guessing you have more suggestions -- if not for a specific place to look, then maybe some advice about how to go about finding a piece like this, or even a DIY solution.

So, got something in mind? Please share! As always, a sentence or two about why you're recommending a place can be a big help.

A good stylist for Asian hair?

asian woman playing with her hairV. emails:

I desperately need a new hair cut, and I was hoping your reader can help. The problem was it is hard to find a good hair stylist for an Asian hair. Would you mind asking your readers to see if they have a suggestion?

We've had a few questions before about finding a good hair stylist (linked below), but this is a new twist on the question.

Got a suggestion for V.? Please share!

Earlier on AOA:
+ A good stylist for a pixie cut?
+ A good hair colorist
+ A good haircut for the curly headed?
+ Stylist for long hair?

photo: Flickr user Harsh Patel (CC BY 2.0)

Electric City Couture 2014

electric city couture 2014 promo photo

The Electric City Couture Fashion Show is back April 26. And this time it will be at Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs. Event blurbage:

The evening will showcase signature collections of six regional designers and will include roughly 55 male and female models on the runway. Targeted proceeds from this year's show will go to the ongoing restoration work of Historic Universal Preservation Hall, a year-round arts and community events venue located at 25 Washington St. in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. ...
A new edition to this year's show format will be the ability to "buy it off the runway" in a retail sales area that will be available both after the show on Saturday for show attendees and on Sunday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the general public. This year's show will be a partnership between Proctors Theater of Schenectady, N.Y., Universal Preservation Hall and Electric City Couture. It is designed to highlight the strengths of the regional creative economy.

The show is at 8 pm on Saturday, April 26. Tickets are $15 and available online.

photo: 2014 Electric City Couture Designer Showcase Shoot - Shrine of Fashion. On location at Historic Preservation Hall in Saratoga. Photographer: James Pickett

The "Glamour" of that house

The video embedded above is for the song "Glamour" by locals The Lucky Jukebox Brigade. It's a good song, and the video has a twist at the end. Have a look.

You'll notice a bunch of local spots in the video. And also, there's that house. The seafoam green! The wallpaper! The kitchen! It's like waking up in the late 1950s.

Curious about the house, we emailed the band for the scoop. From The Lucky Jukebox Brigade's Deanna DeLuke:

The house is local! We are keeping the specific location private because it is a residential home, but I can tell you that the kitchen cabinets and counters are original from when the house was built in the early 1950s, and the hallway wallpaper (in the shot where they are walking down the stairs) is from the 1960s. The bedroom was updated maybe 10 years ago. It has been in the family since the 1950s, passed from one generation to the next, and they have taken excellent care of it to keep all the vintage pieces in such pristine condition!

"Glamour" is currently available as a single. The band is working an album, Familiar Fevers, for this summer.

The Lucky Jukebox Brigade is playing at The Low Beat this Friday, March 28. Local funk Oobleck is also on the bill. It should be a good time. Show's at 9 pm, it's $5.

Where to get a dress altered?

generic dress midsectionJulie emails:

I was wondering if you know where to get a dress altered for a good price in the area. Thanks.

It's been a long time since we've had a question about a seamstress or tailor. We're curious if there's someone who's especially good for dress alterations.

Got a suggestion for Julie? Please share!

Pin Up's Blow Bar

Pin Ups Blow Bar interior.jpg

Pin Up's Blow Bar in Saratoga Springs.

By Lauren Hittinger

First: an explanation, for those who have never heard of a blow bar.

A blow bar is not a bar in the traditional sense. They don't serve drinks. Also, contrary to the suggestive name, there's nothing untoward going on. A blow bar is a salon that blow drys and styles your hair. No cuts, no color, just, "Wash, Blow, Style & Go."

Why? Well, for most women, myself included, it's difficult to achieve a professional looking blowout at home -- not to mention the arm fatigue you get from holding your hands above your head for so long.

Also, it's a little bit fancy. And as a lover of fancy things and experiences, I was completely willing to check it out.

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Planning a Capital Region wedding: the dress

lauren wedding dress composite

All three were candidates...

By Lauren Hittinger

Lauren and George are planning a wedding in the Capital Region, and they're chronicling the planning process here on AOA. Last time we heard from them they were checking out catering. Next up: a wedding dress.

I never imagined that wedding dress shopping would be such a long and difficult process. All those wedding shows make it seem magical -- with infinite budgets, tears of joy, and champagne.

My dress process, on the other hand, is a lesson in frustration.

In the beginning I was so excited. I had scanned Pinterest incessantly and decided I was looking for a light, romantic dress with some sort of strap, and without a train. My budget was $700. I could do this.

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The Albany Bearded Gentleman's Club

albany bearded gentlmans club mustache photoLet it be known: The first meeting of The Albany Bearded Gentleman's Club is at Patsy's Barber Shop in downtown Albany this Wednesday (January 22) at 6 pm.

From the event description: "Come down and meet the other members of the Club, get some great facial hair advice on care and shaping from some of the finest barbers in Albany and enjoy some comradery and light refreshment."

We asked club founder Will Vondoome for the quick background on the club (link added):

I've been in contact with Beard Team USA, which organizes the annual National Beard and Mustache Championships and represents the United States at international beard and mustache competitions. This is the first step toward creating a local chapter of Beard Team USA that could support participants who want to grow facial hair for serious competitions, as well as have at least one local fundraising competition event per year. Men and women who have or appreciate facial hair are welcome.

photo via Albany Bearded Gentleman's Club

What sort of winter coat(s) should I buy? And where?

old winter coats

The world have never seen a dorkier coat than that parka. But it did the job.

A question from AOA Greg. Let us now self-blockquote:

It is time to bid farewell to my winter coats. My beloved 3/4 length corduroy coat is frayed and falling apart (fail wale). And my LL Bean parka -- which has protected me against many a winter, much lake effect snow, and frequent blustery dog walks -- has finally succumbed to catastrophic zipper failure and other indignities of old age. Also: it makes me look like (even more of) an enormous dork.
So I'm looking for a new coat. Or coats. I'd like to get away with just buying one. But I suspect I should probably replace both types. I need a coat for work around town, but also long walks with the dog and other winter outside activities (I don't ski).
If you have suggestions of where I should shop for a coat, great. But I'm also looking for suggestions of what type or brand of coats. Do you have a favorite winter coat type? What about brand? Should I re-submit myself to the warm, reliable dorkiness of another LL Bean model? Or is there something better? (Please say there is.)

So, got a suggestion? Please share. Greg will think warm thoughts about you this winter.

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Suggestions for a 1920s-themed local wedding?

1920s wedding portraitAllison emails with a fun question:

I'm recently engaged and am overwhelmed with all the potential wedding venues in our area. To help narrow the choices down, I've decided on a 1920's era themed wedding (secretly hoping Hemingway crashes my party, drunk).
Can you guys help a girl out with some vintage-y and spacious venues? And if you have any other dope ideas for center pieces, signature drinks, etc. please do not hold back.

This area has no shortage of wedding venues -- and some of them even date back to the 1920s (or thereabout).

So, got a suggestion for Allison? Please share!

photo: State Library of Queensland Flickr

Donating hair for charity?

curly hair statueChrisck emails:

My question is about donating hair for charity (for wigs for cancer patients). My hair has gotten quite long and I want to cut it, but would donate it if I knew where to go to donate it. Also, I'd like to talk to someone about exactly how long they need the hair to be because I might be willing to wait a while longer for the cut if my hair needs to be longer to be useful. Anybody know anything about donating hair?

As we understand it, there a few charities that collect hair for this purpose (and some criticism of at least one).

So, anyone have the scoop for chrisck? Suggestions about a local place to go to have the hair cut properly for this purpose? Please share.

photo: Flickr user quinn.anya (cc)

A good stylist for a pixie cut?

unspeakable visions christine pixie cutSarah asks via the Facebook:

Hey, can anyone recommend a good stylist for a pixie cut? It can be so hard to find someone really good with short cuts for women...Thanks!

Our first thought when seeing Sarah's question was Christine over at Unspeakable Visions and her super cute pixie cut -- she chronicled her switch to the pixie in a fun series for the "pixie curious." That's Christine on the right.

But going short can feel like a jump. So... have a good stylist to suggest for Sarah? Please share!

Earlier on AOA: Ask AOA: A salon for very (insert color) hair?

Expo 1920s

flapper dress detail

Detail from a flapper dress.

We generally operate under the assumption that the 1920s had the best clothes. And the decade generally sounds like it was a grand time, what with the those stylish clothes and speakeasies and
new work from Fitzgerald and the atmospheric sound of Victrolas.

And maybe it was, if you were a certain kind of person. Maybe less so if you were a woman or a minority.

The 1920s -- and how different, or similar, they are to day -- are the subject of "Expo 1920s," what looks like an interesting upcoming program from the Rensselaer County Historical Society and Russell Sage College. Blurbage:

Expo 1920s uses fashion, technology and leisure items from the RCHS collection and joint research by Russell Sage College Women's Studies students and RCHS staff to explore the question, are the 1920s so different from today? The program features an expo-style show that will highlight twelve different historic artifacts, from flapper dresses to home appliances, wool bathing suits to linen duster coats that highlight the themes of sexuality, consumerism, privilege and power. A multi-media presentation including historic photographs and music serves as the audio/visual backdrop for the show.
After the expo portion of the event, Dr. Shealeen Meaney, Assistant Professor of English, Director of The Helen M. Upton Center for Women's Studies and Coordinator, American Studies at Russell Sage College, will moderate a Q&A session fostering community dialogue.

The program is April 27 at 7 pm in the Bush Memorial Hall at Sage College in Troy. Tickets are $25 and $35 ($10 for students).

RCHS has shared photos with us of some of the artifacts from the expo. A few are after the jump.

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Shopping for clothes, but not at chains?

Truly Rhe exteriorJennifer asks via Facebook:

Can you guys recommend clothing stores in the area that aren't part of big national chains? I'm trying to shop local as much as possible these days, and that seems especially hard to do with clothes.

There are options -- places such as downtown Troy and downtown Saratoga include a handful of local clothing stores.

So, any suggestions for Jennifer about which shops to hit up? Or maybe tips about how to shop local stores for clothes?

A salon for very (insert color) hair?

platinum blond hairDebbie asks via Twitter:

I'm new to the area and need a salon that does awesome platinum blonde. I'm nervous. Help?

Understandably nervous -- taking a hair color to one extreme or the other can go... very wrong.

So, got a suggestion for Debbie? Maybe any local salon experiences involving extreme hair color -- whether it's platinum blond or Run Lola Run red or whatever. Please share!

photo: Flicker user Chloë Rae (cc)

The Old is New consignment sale

Old is New JessJamesJake Accessory Table.jpg

One person's "been there done that" is another's "that is so awesome -- and cheap!"

The first ever Old is New Consignment Sale opened to the public at 8AM today in the athletic center at Albany Academy.

The Old is New Sale is a chance for people with stuff they don't want, to sell it to people who are looking for stuff -- without having to bother with their own garage sale. And by stuff, we mean gently used clothing, accessories and housewares.

AOA previewed the sale yesterday with fashion writers and super-shoppers Kaitlin Resler and Jess of JessJamesJake to scope out the scene and see what kind of deals there were to be had.

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Where to buy cuff links?

ebay albany flag cuff linksNed asks via Twitter:

Do you have any idea where I could find vintage (and whimsical) cuff links in Albany? I like to hold things before buying.

Our first guess: estate sales -- or vintage shops that collect from them.

Got a suggestion for Ned? Please share!

Albany cuff links: While poking around for this post, we came across this listing for city of Albany flag cuff links on eBay (photo on the right). They're listed by seller family-crests out of the UK. The price: about US $15.37.

photo: eBay listing "Albany Flag Mens Gift Cufflinks US USA New York"

Where to find Indian-style clothing?

indian bridal lehengaMichelle emails:

An Indian friend of mine is getting married downstate in a month, and I've procrastinated on buying my outfit. She's asked me to wear a lehenga (lenga, lengha) - essentially a long skirt, a top, and a scarf/wrap. There are some fun and/or gorgeous looking things available online from India, but two other women in the wedding had bad experiences with that. I can sew, but I'm at the top of their size spectrum, and don't want to be stuck without enough fabric.
When this friend was in Albany last Saturday, we found - but there was no answer by phone, and no answer at the address, which turned out to be an apartment in a large complex.
I'm wondering if your readers might have an insight - is there anywhere in the Albany area that I can shop for an affordable (under $200) version of this outfit, before I head to NYC or Edison, NJ?

Michelle acknowledged in her email this could be a tough question. It was our first thought, too. But we're pleasantly surprised how often an answer surfaces for what seems like a difficult question.

So, anyone have a suggestion for Michelle? Please share!

photo: Bollywood Hungama via Wikipedia

A good pedicure near Albany?

pedicure toes flip flopsJen (@JenIsGreen) asked via Twitter:

Any albany peeps know of a nice (and affordable) place to get a pedicure?

Got a suggestion for Jen (and her toes)? Please share!

Earlier on AOA:
+ Haircuts at Paul Mitchell School in Schenectady
+ A good hair colorist
+ A good manicure and pedicure near Troy?
+ Mirror Images: spa and salon on a budget

photo: Flickr user jenniferlstoddart

Nadine Medina Designs

nadine medina jewelry composite

"People love to match, and I want to encourage a more abstract sense of what it means to match."

By Emily Rippe

Troy jewelry maker Nadine Medina gets inspired by the most ordinary of objects. 

Remember those macaroni necklaces that were all the rage in 2nd grade? To a seven-year-old Nadine, the idea that you could take an everyday, household item and turn it into a work of art was a mind-blowing revelation. 

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Haircuts at Paul Mitchell School in Schenectady

Paul Mitchell School -Salon.jpg

The Paul Mitchell

By Wendy Voelker

I have always hated my hair. When I was a kid, it was the wrong color (I was the only red-haired kid), and today, even though redheads are all the rage, it's always the wrong style. Not to mention the fact that I always wait too long to get a trim, and end up with what I call "Pumpkin Head."

I recently decided that finally, as I near the age of 40, it was time to do something about my lackluster locks. I wanted style. I wanted glam.

But where to go? I'm too intimidated and self-conscious to go to a high-end salon, and I'm too much of a cheapskate to spend that kind of money. I just do NOT understand how people can shell out $100 or more for a haircut. I clip coupons for crying out loud!

The answer came to me as I was planning an event in downtown Schenectady.

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Best Cleaners Autumn Refresh: Laura Perfetti

Laura P.jpg

Laura in her "sad black tee" with ponytail

best cleaners logoNext up in our shoptastic adventure is the lovely Laura. To say we enjoyed spending a day with Laura Perfetti is an incredible understatement. She was fun, positive and open to new ideas. And the always fashionable Kaitlin Resler had a few in mind.

Laura is the mother of a 1.5 year old boy and feared she had fallen into "frump mode." But she works in a performing arts center and wanted a look "as eclectic as the art we present." She has a high school reunion coming up soon, and she wanted a look that would wow her old classmates, but be something she could still pull off for work.

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Best Cleaners Autumn Refresh winners

best cleaners logoThanks to everyone who entered the AOA/Best Cleaners Autumn Refresh contest.

The winners have been selected... so, who gets the refresh?

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Best Refresh II: autumn edition

best spring refresh before after both composite

best cleaners logoLast spring fashion writers Kaitlin, Carey and Rob helped take Mike from camo to crush-worthy, and Emily from being buried in sweaters to total dish.

Well, it's a new season and we know some of you are looking in your closets and saying, "Yeah-- I have to change something up." So it's time for another refresh. If you, or someone you know, is in need of a little autumn wardrobe pick-me-up, AOA and Best Cleaners may be able to help.

The plan

Two winners -- one male, one female -- will get a shopping trip in Saratoga with style writers Kaitlin Resler (AOA, All This Happiness) and Erik Dollman. Each winner will get an outfit worth $250 courtesy of Best Cleaners. They'll also get a fresh hairstyle from Rebecca at V Salon.

So, up for a wardrobe refresh? Here's how to enter...

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A good hair colorist

BrideofFrankenstein001.jpgThis just in from Amber:

My hair is a hot mess. I was in very capable hands until I moved back to the area a few years ago. Since then I've had a lot (LOT) of trouble finding a decent colorist. I've endured disasters (green hair, falling out hair) and a whole lot of meh (boring loring zoring color). I have resorted to DIY thinking surely I could do better than what I've been paying to have done to me. Yeah, not so much. I'm looking for someone who is good with blondes and who can do color correction. Somebody who can give me that zing - like have it look natural but with an extra oomph. What say you, capital region? Who have you got to recommend? I'd love to hear stories of their expertise. For reference I live in Saratoga but will travel for the right colorist.

Green hair? Hair falling out? Yikes! Can anyone help Amber out?

Where to a buy a suit?

suit tie collar closeupMatthew emails:

Wedding season is approaching, and I need to buy a slick navy suit by the end of June. I'm new to the area, and can't find a shop I'm happy with. Men's Wearhouse is my usual favorite, but I'm not pleased with the Wolf Rd edition. Don't get me started.
Also, I'm not looking to break the bank. So where to go for a nice modern look (no pleats!) for a decent price?

We hear you on the pleats. Just say no to pleats.

So, got a suggestion for Matthew? Please share!

Earlier on AOA:
+ Erik went shopping for a suit last year
+ Kaitlin tracked down a few local options for getting a custom-tailored dress shirt

photo: Flicker user O'hAodha

Best Cleaners spring refresh: Michael Walsh

Best spring refresh Michael Walsh before

As Kaitlin and Carey said: "It's so funny that he wasn't even going hunting."

best cleaners logoRebecca snipped; Kaitlin, Carey and Rob shopped; and Michael -- well, Michael tried on a lot of clothes and was a very good sport.

And today we have the results of the first Best Cleaners/AOA wardrobe refresh.

That's Michael pre-refresh above. As he said with his entry:

A dirty Yankees cap, woodland camo, a hooded sweatshirt, ripped Carhartt pants and (purchased used) Bellvue combat boots. And no, I wasn't going hunting or working outside on this particular day. Considering my daily wardrobe, my friend figured it would be funny to post a picture of me holding his Macy's bag containing a brand new suit. Oh, the irony. A refresh would be good so at least I look semi-acceptable if I ever go out on the weekend.

We think it's safe to say he ended up better a lot better than "semi-acceptable."

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A good manicure and pedicure?

manicured nailsRue asks via Twitter:

Where are the good places to get a manicure/pedicure in Troy?

If you have a suggestion for Rue, please share! And even if it's not a suggestion in Troy, share that, too! Cuticles of the Capital Region will thank you.

photo: Flickr user Bex.Walton

Best Cleaners spring refresh winners

best cleaners logoThanks to everyone who entered the AOA/Best Cleaners Spring Refresh contest.

Fashionistas Kaitlin and Carey have made their choices, and they're ready to go shopping.

So, who won?

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Best Cleaners spring refresh


Nice refresh.

best cleaners logoThe snow has melted, temperatures are warming up, the ice cream stands are open and tulip season is just around the corner. Time to open the closet and break out the spring wardrobe!

What's that? Last year's wardrobe just isn't working' for ya?

Maybe we can help.

AOA and Best Cleaners are going to give two people a style-refresh for the season.

The plan

Two winners -- one male, one female -- will get a shopping trip with style writers Kaitlin Resler (AOA,All This Happiness) and Carey Wodehouse (Corks and Caftans). Each winner will get an outfit worth $250 courtesy of Best Cleaners. They'll also get a fresh hairstyle from Rebecca at V Salon.

To enter

Email a photo showing why your style needs refreshing to This is about getting out of the winter rut and trying something new, so let us know a little about what you'd like to change, where you're at and where you'd like to go.

We'll select two winners to go shopping with Kaitlin and Carey and get a hair/makeup refresh at V on April 30 and May 1.

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A good eyebrow person?

groucho marx eyebrowsPerhaps with stars in her eyes, E emails:

I would like to go to a great eyebrow waxer. The type that makes you look like a movie star! Do you have recommendations?

Know of a good eyebrow person -- for a star turn, or just to look a little better? Please share!

photo: Ralph F. Stitt via Wikipedia

A good haircut for the curly headed?

curly hair statueHannah emails:

This is a question in line with Akum's from [last] Wednesday. I recently moved to the area and am in need of a trim. I have curls that I am rather fastidious about, and have had enough bad haircuts to be rather paranoid about any ol' pair of scissors.
Any suggestions? I live in Troy and work on Central Avenue in Colonie, so bonus points for stylists in those areas. Thanks a bunch!

Got a suggestion about who can give Hannah's curls the care and attention they deserve? Please share!

photo: Flickr user quinn.anya

Viva Kaitlin!

kaitlin glamour espanaCheck it out: Kaitlin is featured in Glamour España!

The mag highlighted Kaitlin's blog, All This Happiness, and her love of vintage fashion.

page grab: Glamour España

For your inner Joan

mode mad red lipstickIf you're looking to bring out your inner Joan in anticipation of the new season of Mad Men, locally-based makeup line Mode has a "Mad Reds" collection. Mode's site says the colors pay "homage to the iconic style of the 1960s."

The collection includes a very-Joan lipstick ("creamy warm red") and nail polish ("flaming fire red"). And they're cheap -- $4.75 for the lipstick and $3.50 for the polish.

Mode was founded by two sisters -- Cristina Samuels and Jennifer Issac -- in 2007. It's based in north Albany.

Mode products are available at Price Chopper and Hannaford, and online.

[via Arrive - thanks, Karen!]

image: MODE

Barber Poll: Mensroom

barber poll mensroom exterior

On Columbia Street, around the corner from B. Lodge.

AOA Greg was in a long-term haircutting relationship for the better part of the last decade. And then he wasn't. Suddenly unattached, Greg was at a loss for where to get his hair cut. So he asked the AOA crowd -- and it had a bunch of good suggestions. Now he's playing the field, in search of a new shop.

I had heard some good things about Mensroom -- and it describes itself as "a contemporary barbershop with an 'old school' feel." So, it sounded like a good candidate and I was looking forward to checking it out.

The before/after pics and more after the jump...

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Summer essentials for men 2010

Don Draper in madras

How to pull off summer plaid, Don Draper style.

By Kaitlin Resler

Summer essentials for men are, I think, somewhat harder than for women.

There is no sun-dress to turn to with endless silhouette options, and so the summer uniform for guys turns into shorts and some variant of shirt.

Rather than attempting to find sartorial inspiration for summer that delves outside of this, I went on the search for summer's essential basic items for guys that are somehow more than just the usual.

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Lark-ternative looks

larktervative hair

Richard sent along a photoset of the avant-garde looks created by local stylists at the Lark-ternative Hair Competition this past weekend at Art on Lark. Some of the styles are whimsical, some are fierce -- all area little out there.

Bonus shot: Here's another photo from the competition by Mike Watson (Flickr user musicnartblue).

Bonus photoset: Flickr user vonnegutjr has posted a handful of photos from the music stage.

photo: Richard R

Swimsuit shopping (yes, it's time)

swimsuits summer 2010 composite

Everybody into the pool!

By Kaitlin Resler

Lately every day feels more and more like real-life summer than spring. Shedding our cardigans and one teeny layer after another, it becomes more and more obvious that we're eeking into bathing suit season. Whether it's for dips in the pool or weekend excursions to ponds, lakes, and oceans, the nagging want of a new suit pops up every summer, even if last year's faithful suit is just fine.

It's probably one of most people's least-favorite shopping trips, the bathing suit shop -- and it's certainly not a favorite of mine. But instead of trudging through the racks and feeling resentful of handing over my hard-earned pennies for the teeniest garment, I chose to run around as though a magnificent vacation was on the horizon -- even if it was just imaginary.

After the jump -- some of the suits I found for women and men.

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Twilight Vintage in Troy

Twilight Vintage window

Twilight Vintage. The window displays are just the beginning of what's so fabulous.

By Kaitlin Resler

A while back, when I did the AOA vintage round-up, LQ suggested taking a gander at Twilight, a vintage store at 44 4th Street in Troy.

Now, generally a trip into Troy will keep me around River Street, peeking into antique stores but rarely buying. Not anymore.

Thanks to LQ, I've definitely found a new favorite just a few blocks away.

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Suggestions for a good seamstress?

sewing machine closeupMeg emails:

I need to have some tricky alterations made to a bridesmaid dress. I saw your posts on shirt and suit tailors in the area, and am hoping you and your readers can hook me up with a talented seamstress. Any ideas?

We wonder if maybe there are seamstresses (or tailors) who specialize in dresses. We know next to nothing about sewing, but we suspect that altering a dress is more complicated (and perhaps more of an art) than hemming a pair of pants.

Anyone have suggestions or experiences to share with Meg?

Earlier on AOA: Where to find suit tailoring?

Elsewhere: Kristi recently got a question about where to get pants hemmed.

photo: Flickr user d3b...*

Barber poll: Knockouts

knockouts interior

It's boxing gym meets bachelor pad.

AOA Greg was in a long-term haircutting relationship for the better part of the last decade. And then he wasn't. Suddenly unattached, Greg was at a loss for where to get his hair cut. So he asked the AOA crowd -- and it had a bunch of good suggestions. Now he's playing the field, in search of a new shop.

OK, let's just get this out of the way upfront -- no, I would probably never go to Knockouts on my own. But the place has gotten a certain amount of attention and the barber poll is all about trying new places. So, here we go.

The before/after pics and more after the jump...

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Shopping for a women's interview suit

By Kaitlin Resler

KatherineHepburn.jpgA few weeks ago Erik investigated men's interview suits, and the many suggestions on where to find suits for women sent me on a shopping trip of my own.

For women, the classic suit is slightly different than for men. It seems standards of dressing for interviews or general office attire are more varied. Not only can cuts of jackets and pants morph into something totally different from the standard cut (cropped, peplum, pleated and high-waisted, ruffled, boxy, fitted), but the option of skirt to trousers is always there.

So I went and wandered around, checking out some of the suggestions, trying on all kinds of suits. And I found quite a lot...

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Rain gear: staying dry and stylish

singing in the rain.jpg

Does your rain gear make you this happy?

By Kaitlin Resler

Yes, yesterday was sunny and dry and lovely, but we're not out of the woods yet. It's early April, and we all know that April showers bring... raincoats, umbrellas, and makeshift rain-gear.

So that you don't end up using library books or newspapers as a shield against leaky skies, I took a quick jaunt around town last week to see if we couldn't dress a bit more like Paddington Bear while braving the waters.

After the jump, stylish rain gear for women and men.

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Shopping for a men's interview suit in the Capital Region

Cary Grant 1.jpg

The suit to wear for interviewing -- or dodging international spies.

By Erik Dollman

If economists are to be believed, over the next several months we should start to see some job growth. With new jobs comes the opportunity for interviews.

Interviewing, for many people, is a mysterious science -- like alchemy or the inner workings of the iPhone.

So lets try to demystify at least one part of the process: what to wear. Oh, and where to find it.

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Liberty for Target is here

liberty for target composite

Patterns, patterns, patterns.

By Kaitlin Resler

The first time I heard the iconic British clothing brand Liberty was pairing up with Target for their GO International designers partnership, I was gleeful. Teeny-weeny floral designs (the kind Liberty is famous for) just for spring! And not just dresses, but men's shirts and ties, teapots, pillows, stationary... all kinds of stuff!

At the back of my mind was the tiniest bit of trepidation -- these collections have been disappointing in recent collaborations, but how could florals go wrong?

Thankfully, we have access to several Targets that carry the collections. I checked out the Albany and Latham locations. Here's what I found...

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Shopping all over: stripes

kaitlin spring stripes composite

Stripes for spring.

By Kaitlin Resler

Stripes get a bad rap. Makeover shows tend to harp on their unflattering aspects, citing them as the culprits that widen the figure, but a lot of that has less to do with pattern and more to do with fit.

When I think about iconic, classic clothing items, the striped shirt ranks high on the list.
The most classic version might be Coco Chanel's Saint James striped shirts, borrowed from fishermen

Just in time for spring, stripes are popping up in affordable versions all over stores. The trend toward the stripe seems to be mostly for women right now. They're definitely a spring staple to toss on with those hopeful floral pieces, and there's no shortage of them at stores in our area (in a range of prices for those of us saving our pennies).

I went on the hunt for stripes in the Capital Region, recently. Here's what I found.

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Barber poll: B'yond Style

b'yond style exterior

It's in the strip near New Scotland and Manning in Albany.

AOA Greg was in a long-term haircutting relationship for the better part of the last decade. And then he wasn't. Suddenly unattached, Greg was at a loss for where to get his hair cut. So he asked the AOA crowd -- and it had a bunch of good suggestions. Now he's playing the field, in search of a new shop.

The shop up this time around: B'yond Style on New Scotland in Albany, across from St. Peter's. And, wow, did they have their work cut out for them -- my hair was a mess.

The before and after pics after the jump...

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Finding the fashion: The Oxford files

Easy Spirit(lg).jpg

Classic + fun

By Kaitlin Resler

For the past couple of seasons, oxfords in various incarnations have been popping up on fashion blogs, on runways and going for extraordinarily high bids on ebay. Thankfully, it seems that local shoe retailers are finally offering these funny little sartorial legends.

I've been hankering after a pair for a while (shopping vintage doesn't seem to be helping me in this case) and since I have problems finding shoes that work for my poor feet, I've gone back to wandering the mall stores in hopes of finding some. I'd prefer a flat pair. The ones with heels are kind of cute too, but I've found lace-up heels to be pretty uncomfortable.

Oh, and today's budget is 100$--preferably less.

So here's what I found:

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A haircut and a beer

barbershop beerWhile reading Fun in Saratoga's Dan's great post about his haircut at Swagger, the new barbershop in Saratoga, we took note of the fact that the shop offers customers a beer. As Dan wrote:

Finally, when my eventual, ummm I guess barber, Jenn (let's just say she's very different from the barbers I had when I was a kid, that's for sure), offered me a beer, I was in Caroline Street Utopia (at least Caroline Street afternoon utopia - later in the evening my Caroline Street utopia involves bars and even later it involves Esperanto, but I digress). And it's not mainstream and wimpy Bud Light or Corona they offer - nope - Swagger offers Pabst Blue Ribbon and Schlitz beer - the same blue collar cheap stuff with a bite that I used to steal from my Dad 25 years ago. Good brew, and it fits right in there.

It seems the beer with a cut has become a little bit of a trend.*

Rumors IV Men in Latham has offered customers for a cold one with their cut for a while. Adding to its rep as "the Hooters of haircuts," so does the new Knockouts on Wolf Road. And now Swagger. (We wouldn't be surprised if there are others.)

Update! B and Kim pointed out two more: the Men's Room in Albany and Executive Barber Shop in Latham.

A few shops in other cities have taken the "drink with a cut" angle even further. In Manhattan, a place on Wall Street keeps a stocked liquor cabinet. And a shop in the DC area serves martinis.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Barber poll: Jean Paul
+ Where should AOA Greg get his hair cut?

*There's old joke in journalism: if you can find three of something, it's a trend. So, uh, right.

photo: Fun in Saratoga Dan

Where to get a custom tailored shirt

Caruso's Custom Shirts

Do you think there's a custom shirt for that little guy hanging from the lapel?

By Kaitlin Resler

A custom shirt doesn't just fit like a glove, it fits like skin. Better than skin even, because a custom-tailored garment hides, flatters, and accentuates.

Countless magazines, style guides, and makeover shows sing the praises of having ready-to-wear garments tailored. It can be a great help for anyone who has trouble finding sizes that flatter -- and a really fun luxury for others.

There's a history in a custom-made garment. Like couture, it's special and infused with care and detail. I don't mean to be overly romantic or wax poetic about this, but custom garments are a funny kind of imprint of an individual. Because they're special they can be passed down through generations, like jewelry.

Custom shirts are also a kind of a mark of arrival, like the first suit, first little black dress, first grown-up perfume or cologne.

There are a few places in the Capital Region where you can go for custom tailored shirts. I checked out the process at Caruso's Custom Clothier in Guilderland.

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Passing Fashion: Elias' coat

By Kaitlin Resler

Passing Fashion Elias.jpgWho:

Lark Street

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Barber poll: Jean Paul

greg hair beforeAOA Greg was in a long-term haircutting relationship for the better part of the last decade. And then he wasn't. Suddenly unattached, Greg was at a loss for where to get his hair cut. So he asked the AOA crowd -- and it had a bunch of good suggestions. Now he's playing the field, in search of a new shop.

Thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions. I'm looking forward to checking out a bunch of them (though, sorry Siobhan, there will be no weaves).

The first stylist up suggested herself: Rebecca at Jean Paul in Stuyvesant Plaza.

Update: Rebecca has since moved down the street to V Salon.

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The search for winter boots

DSW Boots.jpg

So many boots. So much ugliness.

By Kaitlin Resler

Not to be a downer, but snow is coming.

Piles and piles of snow.

We're all thinking it -- tugging our winter coats out of closets and waiting for the gloves and scarves to go on sale. Then, there is the trickiest part of the winter ensemble: the winter boot.

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Skin Poison

Turtle tattoo.jpg

There are some things you just want to be sure of.

By Jessica Pasko

Okay, so you'd really like a big dragon tattoo but you can't figure out exactly where it would look best.

Wouldn't it be great if there was someplace you could get a sort of virtual tattoo -- something that would let you visualize the tat on your bod before getting the real thing.

Turns out, there is. It's also kind of a MySpace for Capital Region tattoo lovers.

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Casey Dwyer's wool headbands

leaves 6.jpg

Fashion, meet function.

By Jessica Pasko

I saw these the other day and can't help but lust over them.

Glens Falls resident Casey Dwyer's wool headbands just seem like the perfect way to add a little warmth to a cold day and still look cool. They're made out of three layers of wool felt in hand-printed floral and leaf designs in a bevy of colors.

Dwyer works on her designs out of a studio in the Troy Shirt Factory , which despite it's name is actually in Glens Falls and is home to several local businesses and artisans. But she's selling her wares in boutiques and craft fairs from Brooklyn to Portland.

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Lucia of Saratoga

By Kaitlin Resler

Lucia.jpgIf the list of things you need includes: delicate jewelry, a special dress, late-fall mittens for windy walks, a passport case (so that you can wear said dresses and jewelry to somewhere awesome), a clever postcard, or a gift for someone who is terrifically hard to shop for, I offer you Lucia in downtown Saratoga springs.

Those who remember the Saratoga shop, Mabou, can think back to the jewelry and gift selection (Lucia is owned by Lucy Strauss, the daughter of Mabou owner Mark Strauss). Lucy's shop is one of my favorite places in downtown Saratoga that doesn't involve food.

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Passing Fashion: Nicole's vintage transition

Passing Fashion Nicole.JPGWho?
Nicole, an employee at Albany Medical Center Foundation.

Lark Street

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Project Larkway

larkway winners 2.JPG

Winning designer Joleen Button and Lark Street's top model Sarah von Ouhl, wearing a Button designed bikini.

So this weekend at Art on Lark, AOA's too-fabulous Jess Pasko got her best Tim Gunn on and joined Kristi G, fashion designers Katie Pray and Gina Ulrich and Upstate Magazine's Christa Dijstelbergen to judge Project Larkway (think Project Runway for local designers and models).

This year's designers were Amy Orr , Jill Castle and Joleen Button. Button won.

Here's a little of the inside scoop from the judges on how it went down and more pictures from the runway.

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Swimsuit season?

Swimsuits at Target.jpg

Yes, now.

By Aja Lownes

Cold, rainy weather or not, the time has come to think swimwear. Vacation season is on the horizon (yay!), and swim suits are an integral part of it (yikes!).

I generally avoid buying swimsuits because I find it to be an... experience. But, there are couple of things I have learned both as a shopper, fashion enthusiast, and former sales associate. If you are in need of a new suit, do not wait until like, Memorial Day to buy one. Chances are, you will be disappointed.

Because the time to actually wear swimsuits is rather limited in our chilly corner of the country, and retailers are always thinking months ahead of shoppers, stores tend not to get much replenishment of swimwear. This means, if it isn't a pretty basic cut, in a basic color... you snooze, you lose. And the stores do start to stock them when there's still snow on the ground, so in their minds, you've had your chance.

Here's a quick look at what's out there now and a few tips that might make the swimwear shopping experience a little less painful.

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Wraps at Burlington Coat Factory


It's a wrap. Well, actually -- it's a lot of wraps.

By Amy Brozio-Andrews

The workhorse of winter fashion will help get you over the hump until summer comes and then protect you from overzealous air conditioning. The problem is that it's darn near impossible to make those heavier fabrics and bold colors transition for warm weather dressing.

So it's time to invest in a spring or summer wrap. I found a pretty large selection of styles (solids, jacquards, animal prints, and more) in cottons, silks, and acrylic blends at Burlington Coat Factory in Crossgates.

The prices are pretty affordable, $7.99 to $12.99. Just watch out for the ones with fringe -- they tend to get caught on everything.

English Retread bags at Fancy Schmancy

Rubber bag.jpg


By Amy Brozio-Andrews

Here's a way to get more mileage out of handbags and accessories.


The other day I stumbled on these cool bags and belts made from used truck inner tubes.

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A stylish spot in Center Square

Kim's apartmentKim Dunham, of Happy Accidents and gnome hunting fame, recently had her Center Square apartment featured on the design site Apartment Therapy.

We're big fans of Kim's style. If we hadn't met her at the AOA birthday party, we're not sure we would have believed she actually exits outside the dreamy world she depicts on her blog. Nobody, we thought, could be so effortlessly stylish.

Kim's posted a more extensive photo tour of her apartment on Flickr.

photo: Kim Dunham

Shopping with Emma: The Eyeglasses Edition

By Amy Brozio-Andrews

If you've never been shopping with a 6 year old fashionista --you don't know what you're missing.

A few weeks ago I thought it would be fun to take my 6 year old -- Emma --shopping with me for new eyeglasses. Now here's the thing about Emma: for a first-grader -- well, let's just say Emma's pretty sure of her own mind.

Case in point, she recently told me I should "cover up" before going to volunteer at her school, "You know, everyone will know you're pregnant if you don't."

Um, I didn't know it was a secret...

Also, Emma's quite the F.I.T. (fashionista in training) with her slim fit only jeans (nothing baggy will do), sparkly t-shirts (the more sparkle the better) and her pink and purple sneakers. She has some pretty definite ideas about what passes for style.

Anyway, my frames were about five years old. Emma desperately wants a pair of her own (so much that I bought cheap dollar store reading glasses and popped out the lenses for her) and jumped at the chance to pick out glasses "for real."

So, off to LensCrafters in Colonie Center we go.

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Made to measure suits at Bachrach


Bachrach in Crossgates Mall

By Amy Brozio-Andrews

Just when you thought the mall was the last place you'd find something that wasn't mass-produced, Bachrach, one of the newer men's clothing stores in Crossgates Mall, is offering men's made to measure suits starting at $498.

So what's made to measure all about and why should you care?

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Antara Home Sale


Cute. Reversible. And less than half the price.

If you've ever stood outside Antara Home and whimpered at the high end bedding that could cost you weeks salary, this could be your lucky day. Antara is having an end of the season sale that's worth popping a few quarters in a downtown Albany parking meter to check out.

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Passing Fashion: Sofya's polka dots

Passing Fashion Sofya

Pretty in polka dots.

Sofya, a pre-med student at UAlbany

Uncommon Grounds

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Indigo organic salon

Indigo salon storefront<

No harsh chemicals or smelly stuff allowed.

So last weekend at the Farmer's Market in Troy, we met a woman who was sporting a chic new hairstyle. Always curious, we asked where she'd gotten her new look.

"An organic salon called Indigo."

A what? Organic salon? What is that ?

We had to know more. So we dropped in on Kathe Anzola, the owner of Indigo. It's a peaceful, airy little place on River Street.

She cleared things up for us.

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What to wear to the ballet at SPAC

toe shoes

Sure, these are fine if you're on stage, but what do you wear if you're more the spectator type?

By Heather Lumb

Maybe you haven't been since your childhood, but the ballet is where it's at this month in Saratoga. And, since our Mommies and Daddies won't (typically) be picking out our clothes this go-round, Violet's of Saratoga and owner Laura Ferrar has a plan.

The one-year old boutique on Broadway is filled with some hip little delicacies that would leave a sophisticate with a stimulus check breathless. Perfect for ballet dressing, whether you're lawn-bound or reserved for an amphitheater seat.

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Passing Fashion: Rachel and her anti-hoodie

By Heather Lumb

Rachel, a marketer for All Star Body Art in Scotia.

Outside Borders on Broadway in downtown Saratoga.

Sum up your style with one word.

(click on Rachel's pic for a closer look)

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Passing Fashion: Sherri and her parasol


Eclectic and elegant.

Sherri, founder of a women's organization from Harlem.

Outside the capitol building on Washington Ave.

How do you describe your fashion style?
Eclectic. My mother always told me to wear long things that are long and flowing.

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Shopping Albany on Etsy

esty logoCheck it out: you can search Etsy, the online marketplace for cool craftiness, by location. So we punched in Albany, NY. Here are a few things that caught our eye.

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Anatomy of a trashion piece

trashion anatomyWe put together an anatomical diagram (so to speak) of a trashion piece by Troy designer M.T. Maiello. The full size image is after the jump.

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From trash to trashion

trashion collection by MT Maiello

Pieces from the M.T. Maiello's trashion collection.

This Friday night models will strut down a catwalk at Revolution Hall wearing outfits made of stuff other people threw away -- in the garbage. Designers have been working for months on the trash couture that will be showcased at the annual Trashion show. No, you won't find people wearing this stuff off the runway -- but what these designers can do with trash is pretty amazing.

So how does trash become trashion?

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Passing Fashion: Meaghan

Meaghan in a pink baby doll dress

Comfort, meet style.

Meaghan, a U Albany Student from Saratoga.

On Broadway in Saratoga.

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Behold, "The Rachael"

The RachaelOne more reason it's good to be Rachael Ray: your friends design shoes just for you. And then sell them on QVC.

Taking over the world apparently involves being on your feet a lot, so Gretta Monahan says she designed "The Rachael" to be extra comfy and practical. Because her Rachaelness is (circular hand motion) just like all of us.

Passing fashion: Michelle's awesome coat

a great coat

Black and white and cool all over.

Who: Michelle, a UAlbany student from Long Island

Where: Crossgates Commons

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The Caftan? Really?

caftan in a store window

And a floral print is somehow supposed to make it better?

By Aja Lownes

I think the only person I have ever seen look gorgeous in a caftan was Jackie O in a photo from the 70s. And that's because Jackie O was magic and looked good in absolutely everything. Regular woman generally look pretty foolish in these things. Still, this frightening 70s trend is back, and it's popping up in stores all over the Capital Region.

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Talking with Tim Gunn at Macy's

Tim Gunn at Macy's

"Make it work!"

Well, we did it. After a week of agonizing over our respective wardrobes, we finally selected our outfits and set out for the "good" Macy's to meet fashion guru Tim Gunn.

The first thing you need to know is that, seriously, this guy is just as nice in person as he is on TV. In fact, he may be the nicest celeb we've ever met (because, you know, there have been so many). Tim was in town for a Liz Clairborne fashion show at Macy's (he's now chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne) and he set aside a few minutes to answer some of our questions -- and some of yours. Here's how it went...

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Tim Gunn at Macy's: what should we ask?

tim_gunn.jpgThe AOA team has been scouring their closets in search of the right outfits to wear for our interview with fashion guru Tim Gunn. Gunn is making a public appearance at "the good Macy's" in Colonie Center on Saturday and we've arranged for a 15 minute audience.

We'd love to take you all along, but we can't fit everyone... and it wouldn't be fair to take just a few. Still, as Tim likes to say, "We're concerned about you". So here's what we want to know: if you had 15 minutes with Tim Gunn, what would you want to know? Let us know and we'll do our best to get Tim to answer your question.

Make it work! Tim Gunn's coming to town!

tim gunnThere was squealing at the AOA satellite office this afternoon when we found out that Tim Gunn -- the best thing to come out of Project Runway -- will be at the Colonie Center Macy's (you know, the "good" Macy's) April 26 at 2 pm. It seems that Tim, who's now chief creative officer of Liz Claiborne, will be demonstrating "how to build a versatile wardrobe with a couple of key pieces."

And maybe he can explain to us why Victorya seemed like such a pill on the last season of Project Runway.

UPDATE: You'll need reservations for the event. Call 1-888-622-9769 and apparently you can leave a message to reserve your spot. Probably. The reservation process seemed a little unclear.

(Thanks, Aja!)

photo: Bravo Company

The hunt for an alternative wedding dress

By Aja Lownes

For the bride-to-be with a taste for the non-traditional, the Albany area presents a few obstacles. The Capital Region is nothing if not traditional, especially when it comes to the contemporary tradition of finding a wedding dress.

kermit the frogSo when AOA friend and rebellious bride Renée wanted my advice on where to find a dress for her upcoming nuptials, I had a significant challenge on my hands. The ceremony will be outdoors later this Spring, so she wants something on the shorter side. Also, she's hoping to wear, in her own words, "Kermit Green."

I know this is probably a surprise, but there is no abundance of Kermit-hued dresses at Crossgates (who knew?). She's already tried the usual suspects at Stuyvesant Plaza with no luck and now she's moving on to Saratoga. So, here are some good Spa City shopping bets...

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The Brunswick Goodwill: a great place to score new, or nearly new, stuff cheap

rows of pants

Pants, pants, pants! And cheap.

By Aja Lownes

My experience with thrift shops is admittedly small. This is mostly because I'm lazy. I love fashion and I love all of those great vintage pieces I see on celebs. But I also love merchandising. Pretty displays always make shopping a more pleasant, navigable experience. And that's why I generally avoid places like Marshall's and thrift stores.

I love the idea of cheap, awesome clothes. But at the mall, "cheap" and "awesome" are usually in the same company as "poorly made." This is not necessarily the case at thrift stores. So after Eileen mentioned how great the Goodwill store is in Brunswick, I decided to have a go.

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Finding a local stylist -- and products -- for curls

Katherine's curly hair

Katherine looked all over for the right stylist.

By Aja Lownes

The only thing I'm more envious of than people with a great sense of personal style, is people with great hair. You can wear the most uninspired clothes in the world, but a hair cut and/or style can make the clothes a moot point.

Katherine, a former colleague and good friend of mine, never has that problem. Not only is Katherine's hair always great, but it's curly AND great. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive (I just straighten the hell out of my African-American hair to avoid having to style it in its naturally curly state).

Here's how Katherine found her style in Albany.

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The art of transition

Trench Coat

Classic and versatile, a trench coat can handle whatever March has to offer.

By Aja Lownes

So it's finally (barely) March, and the Spring clothes are out in full force. The rest of us have finally caught up to the retailers, and we're itching to purchase and wear them (unlike January). The problem is that with March comes this lion/lamb business. We could be wading through the snow straight through Easter, or we could be in sandals before St. Patrick's Day.

The key to surviving and enjoying the early spring months is transitional dressing. Here are three things that I think everyone should have to bridge the gap from Winter to Spring:

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Smart dresser

three pictures of Eileen
By Aja Lownes

We all know people that we envy a little because being awesome is so effortless for them.
In college, it was that person on your floor who was a super-busy do-gooder. Somehow, despite never being around (due to saving the world), he or she would mysteriously make 20-page papers appear out of thin air and, of course, get an A. You on the other hand spent two weeks in and out of the library, and a couple of very late nights, to eek out a B.
At work, it's that person who, despite having 12 projects going at once, never breaks a sweat, and always manages to smile.

And then there are the smart dressers.

I like to look nice, but a really good outfit for me usually requires actual thought and planning. The best dressers I know just throw outfits together without a second thought. They also mysteriously acquire the most coveted pieces. Here's an excerpt of a typical conversation with a smart dresser:

Me: "I love your Boucle jacket! Very Chanel-esque. Where'd you get it?"
Smart Dresser: (without any smugness) "This old thing? I found it in my grandmother's closet."
Me: "All I ever find in my Grandmother's closet are floral Mumus."

I know quite a few. And over time, I'll be profiling them here. The first is my co-worker Eileen.

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Nice shoes

Cordury Dogs There's nothing like a great shoe bargain to brighten up a wet, gray February day. This week we found these fabulous Rocketdogs at The Shoe Dept. in Colonie Center.

Plaid Dogs 3

Fabulous because they're really cute, fabulous because they're really inexpensive ($15 for the Corduroy, $25 for the plaid) and fabulous because it's fun to say Rocketdogs. Try it, "I'm wearing my Rocketdogs." See, told you it's fun.

Shopping Mecca in the 'burbs

Marshalls sign outdoors

Are the good deals a myth?

By Aja Lownes

I'm not a fan of bargain stores. I love a good deal, but I HATE the hunt. I don't consider
it a payoff to find $300 Theory pants for $40 if I had to spend two hours picking through the racks and fending off an equally interested shopper to get them. But if you live for the hunt, a trip is well worth it.

For a few years now, everyone's been telling me about how the Marshall's in Clifton Park is amazing; that you can find much better and/or higher-end merchandise than their stores directly in or around Albany.

I'm always skeptical when people say things like that to me. I mean, same company, same stuff, right? Mmm, not so much. A little birdy informed me that unlike sister store TJMaxx, Marshall's stores are stocked by zip code. So more affluent areas generally have more highly-coveted merch. This would explain how a former co-worker of mine got a cute Coach tote (non-logo, thank god) from the location a few years ago. My interest was peaked at the time, but not enough to make my way up the Northway.

Recently, I finally got the itch to go see what all the ruckus has been about. Here's the verdict:

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Happiness Is A Tall Red Shoe

a pair of ruby red high heels
By Aja Lownes

Never let it be said that high fashion doesn't exist in the Capital Region. (I'll just point out right now that I'm usually the person complaining of this.) As it turns out, it not only exists, it exists at ~gasp~ the mall.

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January is not spring.

spring fashions at the mall

But you wouldn't know it from walking around the mall.

By Aja Lownes

Each year in January, like clockwork, our little corner of the country gets slapped with a nasty cold-snap. I've stopped being angry, and just accepted it. However, our favorite stores have not, and it pisses me off.

I generally am not ready to invest in new winter stuff until I'm sure the cold business is going to stick around. (I know, it always does. But a girl can hope.) Then the Holidays hit and most of my disposable income (Ha!) goes to gifts. So finally, after the new year, and a few weeks into the season, I decided to go looking for a few wardrobe updates.

It was not to be.

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The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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