Items tagged with 'fashion'
Blurbage for this year's show:
The evening will showcase Signature Collections of 5 Regional Designers including Schenectady based special guest 'MA+CH (f. Marika Charles),' an international fashion brand and for the first time ever, a full mens line by Saratoga based 'frittelli and LOCKWOOD' supported by upcycled footwear designer Schenectady based 'The Last Gentleman Co.' The show will have roughly 55 male and female models on the runway. Targeted proceeds from this years show will go to the ongoing restoration work of Historic Universal Preservation Hall. ...
The Electric City Couture mission is to provide a platform to increase awareness for regional fashion designers and fashion support industries to stimulate a regional fashion based economy.
The show starts at 8 pm on Saturday, April 25. It's general seating, first come, first sit, with standing-room overflow.
photo: Lea Sophie Foto
Once again the ever-stylish Kaitlin Resler was AOA's representative on the judges' panel for the Saratoga Race Course's hat contest, which was this past Sunday. Here's her recap -- with photos -- of the annual Saratoga event.
I've just started to get those pangs of worry that summer is moving fast, that it's going to be over any minute, and then I realized that track season in Saratoga just started, and there's plenty of time! That's really just the summer activity touchstone that marks the height of summer, mid-July and all.
This past Sunday I got to judge the hat contest again, with a little more insight into what to expect (last year was my first time at the contest, and my first time to the track since I was a little kid!), and yet was still blown away by all the contestants!
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!
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
Sarah 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?
Special fashion correspondent Katilin Resler was AOA's representative on the judge's panel for this year's Hat Contest at the Saratoga Race Course on Sunday. She reports back, with photos:
The whole thing was super fun! I judged with Jenny from Mamatoga and Shanna from 99.5 The River. This year contestants were encouraged to involve the 150th anniversary into their hats (although it wasn't required), so a lot of the hats and outfits did just that.
One woman wore a black antique dress from the 1800s! Another wore a yellow flower hat made by a friend (who made several of the hats worn today), and over all there was quite a good mixture of hats made by their wearers and not. One of the winners from the Uniquely Saratoga category's hat featured a horse head wearing its own hat, which she let us know was standing in as the first horse to win at Saratoga.
Here's the list of winners.
A handful of Kaitlin's photos are after the jump. The horse head hat is pretty great.
Ed asks via Twitter:
Where is the best place to buy men's dress shoes in the Capital Region? Shoes are just too personal to buy online.
As with any question like this, you earn bonus points* for explaining makes a place good.
So, got a suggestion for Ed and the other dress shoe-shopping gentlemen of the Capital Region? Please share!
Jennifer 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?
Debbie 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!
Hat Day at the Saratoga Race Course is always fun.
People enjoy watching them pass by, and the folks who enter the contest have a great time putting their look together and showing off their creations.
On Sunday AOA teamed up with Kristi Gustafson Barlette, Matt Baumgartner, and morning show hosts Randi and Kevin from The River to judge more than 150 fabulous hats. After the jump, a look at the winners and some of the other impressive entries for the day.
Thanks to the people at the Saratoga Race Course for inviting us to judge again this year.
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.
Ned 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"
Scotia native Laura LaFrate did not win America's Next Top Model Wednesday night. That honor went to her British co-finalist, Sophie (and Sophie's pink hair). But LaFrate overcame a panic attack, a hair bow (hairbow?), and the usual ANTM drama (there's always crying) to turn in a great performance.
The judges spoke highly of LaFrate's presence, her ability to create striking images on camera, her willingness to be different. And throughout the season she came across as a very engaging person. She's hard to forget. We're betting more success is ahead.
Update: LaFrate told the Daily Gazette after the final: "For most people my age, you're at this point where you're trying to figure out what you want to do ... When I saw that final [episode], I was like 'Wow, this is exactly where I'm supposed to be, what I'm supposed to be doing.' " [Daily Gazette]
Wednesday was also a big day because she finally got her driver's license. [TU]
photo: Walter Sassard/The CW
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 www.albanyfashions.com - 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!
The next time you call someone "dude," you'll remember this.
Apparently one of the earliest uses of the word, back in 1883, did not describe a bro. The word was used as a put down for a man who paid too much attention to clothing and fashion. Yes, the opposite of the Dude.
It turns out that the "King of the Dudes" back then was a guy named Evander Berry Wall, a multi-millionaire who reportedly drank champagne instead of water, wore a walrus mustache, had 5,000 neckties -- and like many wealthy East Coasters of the day, spent a fair amount of time in Saratoga.
This is fun: the dress in the photo on the right is made out of wristbands from the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA. (It's for sale in the museum's shot -- $600.)
The designer -- Phyllis Criddle -- works at the museum. As she explained on the MASS MoCA blog:
There were thousands of wristbands left over from the two Solid Sound Festivals that we've had, and no one wanted to see them go to waste. The Box Office Manager approached me about making something with them, and I thought it was a brilliant idea! I was only too happy to accept.
She's created a few other items from museum materials, including a dress from museum logo t-shirts.
photo via MASS MoCA blog
Tomorrow night Urban Guerilla Theater is hosting a sort of anti-fashion industry fashion show at The Linda. Fashion for the People is focused on "exmplifying the local creativity and passion surrounding our 3rd basic need; clothing."
The show features clothing from local artists, designers and small local retailers and also handmade fair trade clothing from other areas. It's a fundraiser for the Albany Social Justice Center.
About half of the clothes in the show were made by regional designers and artists like Rana Woolens, Albany/Brooklyn designer Cinderloop and Elissa Halloran. The rest come from small local stores such as Perception's in Arbor Hill and Seasons Skate Shop on Lark.
The monstrous Crossgates H&M that lived in the old Caldor space (oh yeah, I totally remember and loved Caldor) has moved. It's now divided up into three connected spaces, both upstairs and down at the mall.
I had been really excited about this renovation, mostly out of hope that the new store would include some of the H&M's higher-end lines. Also, I like shiny new stores.
It wasn't until I saw the new store that I realized that our old H&M was a bit outdated.
Now that the leaves are turning its time to think about Troy's Victorian Stroll (This year it is Sunday, December 4, noon to five pm). Do you or your readers have any tips on where to locate a Victorian style bonnet?
This might be a tough one. Our first thought was costume shops -- but we're not sure how popular the Victorian look is right now for costumes (you know, unless it's "sexy Victorian"). And a bonnet like this probably goes way beyond "vintage."
Anyone have suggestions? Please share!
photo: Sebastien B
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.
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.
Next 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.
Well, the shopping, trimming and styling are done and it's time to unveil the results of the AOA/Best Cleaners Autumn Refresh.
We start with Asa.
First, we totally have to say what a great sport Asa was. He tried on clothes and shoes in stores all over Saratoga and Wilton and was open to whatever Erik suggested. As an IT consultant, Asa's work uniform is a red t-shirt and baggy jeans -- a look he carried over into the rest of his life. He wanted to move from his trademark t-shirt and jeans to a business casual look -- largely for the sake of his girlfriend.
We think she'll be impressed...
Thanks to everyone who entered the AOA/Best Cleaners Autumn Refresh contest.
The winners have been selected... so, who gets the refresh?
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.
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...
[via Hidden City]
There have been a bunch of these shows over the last decade or so -- both in this series and part of others. They're a lot of fun. They involve designers making outfits from objects and materials that would otherwise be thrown away (gives new meaning to a trashy look). Here are photos from the Discard Avant Garb's 2009 show.
The show this weekend includes designers Katie Pray, Amy Orr, and Mischel Nivens (as well as many others). It's a benefit for the Grand Street Arts, Albany Center Galleries, and the Chris Ryan Albany High School Art Scholarship.
Doors are at 6 pm. Tickets are $20.
One of the things we love about Saratoga -- it's one of the few places left where you can still wear a hat. Not just a baseball cap or beret or something -- but an honest-to-god fancy hat. You see people sporting them all season long at the racecourse, but never more than on opening weekend.
Yesterday 175 people sported their millinery masterpieces both home made and store-bought, for the 20th annual Saratoga Hat Contest. The place was crazy with fun hats, and we got to join Steve Ammerman, Kristi G. and Ellen Z from WPYX in the judges box.
The hats ranged from "that's lovely" to, "hey, neat" to "whoa! look at that!" to "Wow -- they've got a lot of extra time on their hands."
Here's a little of what we saw:
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
Emily works in the Berkshires, and has spent the better part of the last few months hiding under lots of layers. In her entry she told us:
The uniform out here is sweater on top of turtleneck, tights, skirt, boots, multiple undershirts. It's freezing and you can get buried in sweaters and never get out. I'd like to transition into some great spring dresses with florals and colors. Something cheery, less serious.
Kaitlin and Carey's task: to lighten things up a bit. They had some help from V Salon's Rebecca Taft and make-up artist Cindy Slyke.
Like Michael Walsh, Emily was a great sport -- excited and ready to try new things. And, like Michael, she looked gooooooood.
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."
Rue 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
Thanks 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?
Perhaps 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
This weekend we wandered over to the Albany Institute of History and Art to check out "The Shoe Show." While we loved the very cool and conceptual "shoe art" that's part of the traveling exhibition, the local history geek in us was really drawn to the Albany Institute's own collection of old shoes worn or made in the Capital Region.
We couldn't help but wonder about the people who wore and made these shoes. Where were they worn? And what did they say about the people who wore them.
The exhibit isn't huge, but there are some neat shoes and it does make you think a bit.
Here a peek...
The mag highlighted Kaitlin's blog, All This Happiness, and her love of vintage fashion.
page grab: Glamour España
If 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!]
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.
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
It's officially the first week of summer.
So AOA fashionista Kaitlin Ressler did one of her favorite things. She hit the mall looking for what she considers this season's essentials.
After the jump, essentials for women. (Next week, essentials for men.)
Mike has a posted a great photoset from this past weekend's Trashion show at the Atrium in Troy.
The hot looks this year? Compact discs, caution tape, magazines. And there was a lot of look in some of those looks.
Earlier on AOA: Trashion is back
photo: Mike Roach
The Trashion 2010 show coming up this weekend in Troy. The exhibition will feature more than 20 looks that local designers have made out of trash. (Trash + Fashion = Trashion)
The show is at the Atrium Building Saturday evening (doors at 5:30). Tickets are $15 ahead of time ($12 for students and seniors), $20 at the door. You can buy the tickets online or at the Flavour Cafe. This year's show is a benefit for the Fulton Street Gallery.
photo: a piece from M.T. Maiello's 2008 trashion collection
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.
We're noticing them everywhere we go. They're stylish, they're custom made and, as it happens, they're sewn in Troy.
But you can't just buy one. You have to wait until you're asked.
Trish Rost was a sales rep for radio station WGNA when she dreamed up the idea for Madison Handbags. They're custom made bags you design yourself -- but can only buy at a hostess party.
AOA talked with Rost about her factory in Troy, and why she took the home party route in the age of the internet.
I don't mean to make this sound super epic -- it's not exactly high-fashion heaven -- but it's the largest of the chain's stores on the East Coast. And for quick, trendy pieces and four-dollar sunglasses Forever21 is certainly a place to check out. And if you've never been, or haven't set foot inside for a long time, now it's definitely worth a look.
So I took one...
A 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...
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.
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.
I'm getting married.
I have four groomsmen, including my best man. Two of my guys are here in the Capital District, and two are out of town. One is downstate, in Rockland County. The other lives in North Carolina. And I'm here in Albany
With this in mind, I began my quest for a tuxedo rental solution that would work for my geographically disparate men.
But I'm pretty particular about tuxedos...
One of fashion's favorite repeating trends for women is borrowing from the boys.
Whether it's the cut of trousers, haberdashery details on blouses or shirts, masculine textiles on feminine silhouettes, tomboy elements of dress pepper women's fashion just about every season.
At the moment it's particularly popular. And hey, If the sizes are right, it's double-duty shopping, sampling the men's selections in stores to find pieces that are so neat and necessary that they'll fit both a his and hers wardrobe. The only problem is deciding who wears what garment when, or whether or not perfume or cologne lingering on blazers and sweaters prevents a second-wearing.
So, from stores in the Capital Region, here are some looks I like for guys or women.
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...
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.
Dan emailed today:
I saw the post on custom dress shirts on AOA, but what about suit tailoring?
Right now I'm looking at getting a suit from Indochino, but wanted to get measured and have a place to bring it to get some things tweaked, if necessary.
Last year I had a suit taken in at Hong Kong Tailors on Central, and they weren't too helpful about getting measurements done for an Indochino suit. They also weren't forthcoming on their prices for custom suits. The Indochino suits seem to be good quality, and reimburse for the cost of tailoring up to $75 (their perfect fit guarantee)
Well, we sort of understand why a local shop wouldn't be too interested in taking measurements for a custom suit shipped in from China. But maybe the measurement and alterations are better than no business at all.
So, anyone have suggestions for Dan? We'll widen this question a bit to also include local options for custom suits.
photo: Flickr user d3b...*
For the past couple of seasons, oxfords in various incarnations have been popping up on fashion blogs, on runways and going for extraordinarily high bids on ebay. Thankfully, it seems that local shoe retailers are finally offering these funny little sartorial legends.
I've been hankering after a pair for a while (shopping vintage doesn't seem to be helping me in this case) and since I have problems finding shoes that work for my poor feet, I've gone back to wandering the mall stores in hopes of finding some. I'd prefer a flat pair. The ones with heels are kind of cute too, but I've found lace-up heels to be pretty uncomfortable.
Oh, and today's budget is 100$--preferably less.
So here's what I found:
If you haven't guessed by now, I'm a vintage junkie.
I love old things, curious objects, and of course vintage clothing. Thankfully, we live in quite a good area for shopping vintage. I love perusing the racks and occasionally (okay, maybe more often than that) snatching up a find for myself.
Vintage stores can be kind of tricky -- they're doing the searching for you, and so prices are not always a bargain, but if you'd rather spend on something perhaps a bit more special, it's the way to go.
After the jump you'll find a list of places to shop vintage and some info on what you'll find. This list is by no means comprehensive -- there are dozens of funny little antique and second-hand shops tucked all around the area -- but these are my favorites of the moment (not just for vintage luck, but for set-up or general charm).
I'm feeling the weight of January.
Sure, we've had a few oddly warm days, but coats and boots are still required, there's slush, and it's going to be really, really cold for a long time.
These are the days when it's hard to resist dressing down and wrapping oneself in a cocoon, or, you know, caring enough to put an outfit together. Dressing well in an upstate winter is hard, especially when the holidays are over and it's just plain cold.
So I went shopping in the Capital Region and gathered a few ideas to help get over the mid-winter fashion blues:
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.
Yes, it seems like a lot of mall stores are already getting their spring stuff, but here in the great Northeast, it's still winter. And it will be for a long time. And frankly, I'm feeling the winter blues or whatever you call the slump that happens when you realize that yes, you do still have to wear eighty-seven layers to make the walk to your car.
It's also the time when many of us come to realize that our old winter coat just isn't cutting it in this cold.
If your winter coat isn't working out, or you're in need of a fallback, now may be the right time to pick up a new coat. It's not just that coats that were left over from holiday shoppers are marked down, it's also that coats that didn't fit or weren't quite right have been returned to stores and some of those are also marked-down. You might just find the coat you wanted months ago but that sold out in a flurry of chilly anticipation.
I went coat shopping recently to see what was left and what kind of deals are available.
Here's a look at what I found for women & men:
We were Victorian Strolling through Troy last weekend when we popped into The Paper Sparrow to see what new home made goodies Kate had added to her collection.
What we saw on the wall had us digging for our wallets.
Internet shopping makes the holidays infinitely easier to battle through, allowing us to avoid the frustrating lines in the mall and the dreaded parking wars.
On the other hand, how does one shop locally while remaining in the comfort of their pjs?
As it turns out, a whole bunch of our favorite local artists, crafters and other awesome gift-makers have shops set up on Etsy!
Here are three sellers who offer items I covet myself but will sacrifice as gifts for those who deserve fantastic local gifts:
Old sweaters and t-shirts become one-of-a-kind high-fashion items at Ekologic in Troy.
The company's been making their green-friendly sweaters, mittens and more since before "green" was trendy and they're definitely worth checking out.
Ask Brad Pitt and Catherine Keener. They're among the celebs who have been spotted wearing 'e ko logic designs.
This didn't click in our heads until this morning: Lorraine Murphy, the owner of the new Bettie's Cakes in Saratoga, is the local photographer Lorraine Murphy who takes pinup photos (that's her on the right). From our interview with her earlier this year:
I just like the classic beauty of the pin-ups. They were so gorgeous and curvy. I like that the women could be curvy. The 50's were exciting -- the sexuality -- it's kind of like a tease -- not showing the whole thing. I like the hint of suggestion.
I think because it's very period -- it's not everyday -- it's more fun. It's something very different but still classy. I didn't want to do nude or boudoir photos. Retro is more fun anyway. You're going back in time. You put on wigs from the 1950's -- it's fun to go back in time to the glamor days
And one of the inspirations for Murphy's pin-up photographs: Bettie Page. Yep, with an "ie."
photo: Lorraine Murphy
"Wine lover marries fashion addict. Blog ensues."
That's Carey Wodehouse's Twitter bio. It's also the short story behind Corks and Caftans, an endearing and addictive journal-style blog written by Saratoga Springs-based newlyweds
Corks and Caftans hit the big time -- in the fashion world, anyway -- a couple weeks ago when Carey was featured as a favorite blogger on ShopBop.com's blog (definitely worth a read, especially for Carey's personal style description). And with good reason. The personality Carey and Rob bring to the site is personal and refreshing -- they primarily praise instead of pan (always harder to do than it looks). And they do it with a sense of humor.
Yet even with attention in the fashion world and thousands of readers, Corks and Caftans is still virtually unknown here in Capital Region -- a tragedy that will henceforth be rectified! As a public service, I met Carey and Rob to sample some wine and find out what the two tastemakers adore about this area.
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.
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.
If 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.
Nicole, an employee at Albany Medical Center Foundation.
Sometimes it seems like the general attitude toward style in upstate New York is that there is none -- or that it's severely lacking. That the masses of would-be style mavens are toning it down or tragically bemoaning the fact that we don't have Nordstrom, Anthropologie (I cannot lie -- an Anthropologie would make me very happy), or other fantastical retail extravaganzas.
No, we don't have it easy. So we're forced to get a bit more creative with our retail options. We have to dig harder, wander into sections we wouldn't normally think twice about, decide that three sizes too big is fashionably architectural and slouchy, bargain with ourselves over the price of shipping.
But it's possible. There is plenty of style to be found in Albany.
Here's some proof.
Yesterday we looked at the five (and a half) autumn essentials for women. But what about the guys?
Nope, we didn't leave you out, boys. Here are five essential items to get you through the season.
Everyone waits for fall. At least in this area, where the leaves are gorgeous and crispy, and where we bring visiting friends and relatives on day trips to get cider donuts and take car rides on to walk around leaf-strewn streets.
Even though we love summer dearly, the poor soggy thing it was, one has to admit the dressing for fall in Upstate is one of the most exciting and challenging (wind!) activities season-wise (just try not to think of the coming snow banks, apologies for the reminder).
While shopping for totally new pieces is one of the highlights, this year the necessary items for fall are mostly in the accessories category, perhaps to help us all stretch out budget and revamp the wardrobes we already have.
Here are this year's 5 fall essentials for women:
In the 1992 comedy classic Wayne's World, Rob Lowe's character, Benjamin Kane, asks Dana Carvey's Garth Algar how he likes new set for their show. "It's like a new pair of underwear," Garth says to blank stares. "At first it's constrictive, but after a while it becomes a part of you."
You could say my skinny jeans have started to become a part of me. Not! They have loosened up, around my muffin-top waist. My ass has grown accustomed to being presented out in public. But then there's the pain.
Perhaps it's psychosomatic, but I have begun to feel a slight tingle in my inner thigh. This, I fear, could be an early symptom of Tingling Thigh Syndrome, which is not a joke, but rather a real ailment that doctors have reported can potentially be caused by the wearing of skinny jeans, the extreme pressure of which can constrict the femoral nerves that run from groin to outer thigh to knee, leading to a condition known as meralgia paresthetica, Latin for "tragically hip with your balls in a vice."
Dan has a book coming out soon. How to Be Inappriopriate hits shelves (and UPS trucks) November 1.
Earlier on AOA: Dan Nester's Watchful Analysis of New Growth
photo: Rob O'Neill / Dan Nester
Marika Charles, the company, is an interesting story. The company is a brother and sister team -- he's a textiles expert and she's a designer. They've developed a patented process for quickly dying fabrics with patterns created in Illustrator or Photoshop.
The factory sale is this Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 11-4.
photo: Marika Charles
Parents are always looking for a bargain. Especially on clothes. I mean, no sooner do you get them into a new pair of jeans or shoes then it's time to go shopping again.
Sure it's great to pass clothes and shoes back and forth between family and friends, but that's never enough. So I thought I'd check out a couple of the kids consignment shops in the area.
Umm... and the kids aren't the only ones I found things for.
The Closet Shop is a little more, uh -- upscale than the thrift stores I usually prefer to frequent.
Still, a trip there this week proved that if you're willing to pay just a little bit more, there are all kinds of good things to be found.
You get the feeling Joleen Button doesn't watch much TV.
A few weeks ago at Art on Lark, Button's collection of retro inspired summer dresses (plus one vintage style red bikini) won her the Project Larkway competition. But she's still playing with the collection, trying to make the dresses look a little better.
When she's not altering clothes to create new outfits, she's painting, doing graphic design, even making music. Constantly creating.
Button sat still just long enough to talk to AOA about the arts scene in the Capital Region, her passion for all things vintage and her great love affair with art (small "a") .
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.
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.
Mirror Images is a full-service salon, barber shop, and spa located in midtown Albany, where a large percentage of the clientele are severed heads. This sounds more off-putting than it actually is.
Let me explain.
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.
Let's face it, if you're a thrift shopper, you have to keep yourself open to possibility. Borrowing from Forest Gump's chocolate box metaphor, "you never know what you're going to get."
At Something Olde, Something New in Slingerlands, you could walk out with a unique housewarming gift --or a pair of vintage Gucci alligator heels. You just never know. And that's half the fun.
Hats are not the first thing you'd expect to see at Soave Faire.
This throwback to old fashioned five and dime stores on Broadway in Saratoga is packed with the weirdest conglomeration of stuff: art supplies, toys, journals, cards, drafting supplies, museum cards and Saratoga souvenirs . And in the back, they do custom framing.
But I'm going back for the hats.
It's springtime in the Northeast, and our weather situation is notoriously volatile. Sure, we've just come off some nice weekend weather, but even though most of us are over winter, winter may not be through with us.
There are lots of fun spring clothes in the stores and in our closets made of lightweight fabrics in the most vibrant of hues; but it's still too cold to wear most of them "as is". The key to approaching Spring from a fashion standpoint is the mix and match.
When the folks at Some Girls Boutique closed their Colvin Avenue store and consolidated in their shop on 2nd Avenue in Troy, they left this message in the window for their customers, "Troy is the new Brooklyn."
We love the Collar City, but here's what we need to know -- if Troy is the new Brooklyn, does it come with good bagels? And can Harry Tutunjian help Sandor find a decent egg cream?
Oh, Saratoga, how we love shopping your cute little boutique stores. The unique finds, the beautiful high quality clothing. But we're on a budget -- and window shopping is such a tease.
What's that you say? Sales? A lot of them? Hmmm. We're intrigued.
Yep, AOA took a little Spa City shopping trip this week and found some really good deals.
So we called Lorraine Murphy, artist, photographer and owner of First Impressions, to find out if, in fact, Capital Region women are going all Bettie Page. Turns out this is a little bit of a thing. More pictures and Lorraine's answers to our questions, after the jump.
Say you wanted to get hair extensions, buy a cute handbag and take a pinup girl photo all in the same day. Yeah, OK -- but just say you did. There actually is one place in the Capital Region where you can go for all three.
Lorraine Murphy pursues her three passions under one roof at a little boutique she calls First Impressions.
Years ago to get to the thrift shop at St. Peter's Hospital you'd have to go through a winding series of hospital hallways, past doors labeled with the biohazard symbol. And the place was only open one day a week.
Fortunately, you don't have to do that anymore. The place has come a long way since then, and now it has a delightfully pun-tastic name to boot.
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?
When you visit NYC, you can't throw a snow globe without hitting a Big Apple themed gift. Hats, shirts, mugs stickers, ties, postcards. But if you have friends or relatives visiting the Capital Region, have you noticed that it's nearly impossible to find the same kind of things with an Albany theme? It's the capital city, but can you find an "I heart The Egg" bumper sticker, or an "I got my tan in Albany" t-shirt? Noooooo.
Well, if you're just busting to show your A-Town pride you might find an outlet at CafePress.
It's interesting to note that as the weather is getting cooler, fall fashions are getting shorter this year -- 3/4 length sleeves, peep toe shoes, cropped jackets. That means it's prime time for some of these great fall fashions before the wintry weather sets in.
Here are a few examples I found at local stores...
Sofya, a pre-med student at UAlbany
Emily, a student intern for the state.
Outside the Spectrum Theater on Delaware Ave.
Sum up your style with one magnetic poetry phrase.
Raw, funky, more sophisticated.
With all the hype from local Yelp lovers, we had to see what this $8.98 shopping "secret" was really offering. So it was off to Colonie Center we went, and into the cave at the end of the second-floor.
Outside Borders on Broadway in downtown Saratoga.
Sum up your style with one word.
(click on Rachel's pic for a closer look)
You know what you're wearing to the fashion shows at Art on Lark this Saturday (Upstate Magazine providing the parades), right? No? Well, Elissa Halloran will have her door open for whatever unique and timeless look you want to go for. From 10 am to 6 pm that day, "lots of vintage coats, suits, and dresses" will be on sale. There will even be beads on the back deck, for all you crafty hands.
Go check it out, and get dressed up with some pre-loved and new-to-you duds.
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.
Earlier this week, we went summer shopping for the ladies. Now, a little something for the guys. And, gentlemen, it's time to ditch the denim shorts and "How to Evade Police When You're Drunk" tee. Luckily, an (almost) one-stop pop into the mall can keep your summer duds updated and won't leave your wife, girlfriend, partner, mom -- whoever -- embarrassed to be seen with you. Here are a few things you can score right here in the Capital Region.
When it gets this gross outside, shopping just seems to swell with probable cause -- new clothes so you don't suffocate in jeans; wandering around air-conditioned shops; you've finally seen every movie in the Regal Cinema Megaplex 18 and it's only Tuesday. Ah, but what to buy to keep you cool in every sense of the word. Here are a few "fundamentals" that we found shopping around the Capital Region that will live through the trends and actually induce a kind of warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling:
We 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.
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?
Meaghan, a U Albany Student from Saratoga.
On Broadway in Saratoga.
One 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.
Who: Michelle, a UAlbany student from Long Island
Where: Crossgates Commons
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.
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...