Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall Shoes

Vintage Salvatore Ferragamo Pumps; photo by Richard Gwin, Lawrence Journal World

An outfit can be instantly transformed, simply by slipping into the right pair of shoes. Read on for some excellent early-fall options that will carry you through late into the season:

1. Chunky Platforms
Platform high-heels are comfortable, walkable, and sturdy. To avoid clunking around with heavy boots, look for a graceful, thick heel with plenty of height. In other words, you don’t want to struggle while strutting around in these babies—your shoes should never require a prerequisite weight-lifting class. We’ve all worn the hideously heavy, clonk-clonky platform shoes from the 90s…just don’t bring those back out! Although it may be a platform shoe, it is not the right platform shoe! Keep in mind the overall shape, the heel-shape (often square), and the material of all potential shoes.

2. “Ice-pick” heels
“Ice-pick,” or tapered high-heels are one of my favorite shoe shapes right now. Their thick, upper heel slowly glides into a sleek and modern skinny point at the base. Also called a “cone heel,” this shoe adds a sophisticated, unexpected twist to any outfit, and its dramatic, tapered curve feels youthful and fun. This shape is a less classic heel-shape, but this fact alone opens doors: either buy your ice-pick heels in fall’s hottest colors (like hot pink, burnt sienna, or warm olive) or choose a safer color for more longevity (like black, brown, or navy).

3. Stilettos
If you are walking around in Old West Lawrence, you may want to leave your four-inch stilettos at home—brick sidewalks can be dangerous in heels!
Nonetheless, stiletto heels have made a massive resurgence in the realm of fashion. The higher, the hotter—if you can walk properly. But please ladies—don’t stick out your tooshes! You’ll look like Peggy Bundy from Married with Children!
Stilettos are quite the sexy shoe-choice. If you want to be super-chic find one with a metallic or metal heel. The stiletto heel, named after a dagger, elongates and slims the legs.

4. Square-toe
Square-toe heels are hit or miss. A good pair is hard to come-by, so make sure your choice is comfortable and fashionable. The new square-toe high-heel has a shorter, abbreviated square-toe—not anything too long or too slender down in the toe-width, but a quick, blunt shape. For some reason, the new square-toe heel reminds me of the trunk of a Ford Focus—just a short little thing with plenty of get-go.

5. Hybrid
With so many shoes in the sea, there are bound to be exceptional, unusual combination trends. Don’t shy away from a pair of shoes just because it doesn’t fall distinctly in one category or another! For example, DSquared2 has an amazing square-toe stiletto-heel. And chunky platforms don’t have to have a super high-heel. Half-inch platforms are great option for more casual events, days at the office, or even on the weekend, paired with strait-leg jeans and a blazer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Buy it Now! Pre-Fall Hot-List

photo by Richard Gwin, Lawrence Journal World

Fashions come and go, and it is always most cost-efficient to purchase timeless items; however—timeless or trendy—sometimes you just have to buy it now! So what’s on the hot list today? Try out these hot new trends—and don’t worry, your wallet can behave later.

Quilted Clutch:
Quilted clothing has been popping up everywhere. The quilted-texture adds a unique dynamic to any outfit—so why not find the perfect, quilted purse? But listen up ladies: Put away your oversized, haul-it-all purses and pick out a smaller purse with a hands-free, across-the-body strap. Bonus points for all purses with chain straps!

Black Tights:
This fall, wear black stockings with everything! Tights make dresses, skirts, and shorts look a little bit dressy, a little bit edgy, and a whole lot warmer! Pick up some simple, black-opaque stockings and pair them with your favorite pair of cut-offs or boy-shorts. Stars like Irina Kulikova and Milla Jovovich have been spotted in this look. For your upper-half, layer sweaters, sweatshirts, and scarves, and experiment with different lengths and materials. For example, if your sweater is long and thin, throw on a thick, warm, cropped jean-jacket.

Wanna wear some neon? Take the advice of designer Michael Kors to heart: “Always counterbalance. If you’re going to buy something in neon, make the shape simple and classic.” Check out MK’s Fall 2009 collection for the perfect example of a classic, bright-tangerine or neon pink dress that will never go out of style. Excuse me, but did you say, “A neon pink dress that will never go out of style?” Yes, trends can be timeless if you choose the right design.

Serpents are everywhere! Look for slithering snakes on everything from wallpaper and dinnerware to sexy high-heels, clutches, and bangles. Need to be charmed first? Check out Jonathan Adler’s Eve Hand, a beautiful art-commentary that returns to the Garden of Eden. Another jewelry tip: be in high-style—wear your rings on the upper part of your fingers!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fall Pants--What's in Style

Stella McCartney Fall 2009 wool pleated pants; photo from the Fashion Spot

Pleated Pants:

Wearing summer dresses and skirts is fun alright, but who’s ready for some pants already?
For your August workdays, last summer barbeques, and evenings out, slip into some trousers!

Harem pants were re-introduced last spring and haven’t gone away. You have to be brave to try this style! Their baggy shape comes from loosely draped, often pleated material around the hips and crotch; however, they are tapered at the bottom hem, providing a drastic, interesting change in fit. Harem pants are frequently considered a hybrid between a long, loose skirt and a skinny jean.

Carrot Pants:
Carrot pants are wider at the waist and tapered at the ankle. My favorite pairs are a bit shorter and cropped at the hemline. Also, look for a pair with a high, structured waist or extra fabric for cinching. This look really suits the name—a cinched waist with fabric bunching out resembles the leaves on top of a carrot, and its wider waist and tapered ankles take the shape of the actual taproot itself. Vegetables aside, carrot pants are a most sophisticated form of pleated pants.

Pleated Pants:
Basic pleated pants are the most dangerous of all—finding the right fit and shape is essential. If this goes awry, you will undoubtedly have on ‘mom jeans’ that give you the dreaded ‘granny fanny.’ So—look for a pleated pant that features either a wide and flowy leg or a more fitted, cigarette leg (the fitted pleated pant is essentially a form of carrot pants). Make sure your pleated pants are definitely high-waist or definitely right at the waist as well. Pleated shorts are easy to find, too, and fun to dress up in the summertime or pair with tights in the fall.


1. Tight-fitted tops: Because pleats add extra bulk to your waist-line, be sure to wear a fitted top that will show off your waistline. If this looks to severe, wear a flowing scarf or bow around your neck to make the look more feminine.

2. Heels: Heels provide extra height, lengthening your legs. Pleats often make your legs look larger and shorter. Booty-heels are a great option. Open-toed booties are great for hot August days, and a closed-toed, leather or suede booty will look fabulous for the fall. Wear flats or tennis-shoes (like Converse, for example) for a more fun, casual look.

3. Belts: A skinny belt looks very sophisticated and elegant with pleated pants. Don’t choose an overly bulky belt—this will look too masculine against the delicate pleats. Another option? Slip a long ribbon through the belt-loops and tie the ends into a oversized bow.

4. Material: If you are wearing harem pants, mind the material. A jersey or cotton material will look more casual and can be paired with flats for day-time wear. If you want to dress up your harem pants, heels really make a statement.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Brooches and Bows

Chesterfield Jacket and Vintage Poodle Brooch; photo by Richard Gwin, Lawrence Journal World

By mixing classic wardrobe pieces with fun accessories, you won’t get bored waiting around for fall! Add feminine accents and trendy touches to your daily-wear using items you already own. Play up your favorite fashion trends for a style-savvy daytime look.

Each time I discover a new jacket shape for Fall 2009, I feel compelled to report. Boyfriend blazers, military jackets, tuxedo coats—all of these overcoats are versatile and fun.
The Chesterfield Jacket is a classic shape (not to be confused with a Chesterfield Coat, which is typically full length). The jacket version has perfectly fitted arms without rolling up the sleeves, and its longer length is surprisingly comfortable, not at all bulky. Look for the trademark velvet collar, which can be single- or double-breasted. Also, Chesterfield Jackets are made in many different fabrics, but are normally tweed; because of the all-occasion nature of such a fabric, a Chesterfield Jacket can be worn with jeans, trousers, or a dress.

Although brooches constantly pop up as spring and fall fashion trends, I continually have to remind myself how gorgeous and transformative they can be. The best part about brooches? They are an instant look into the personality of a stranger. Brooches can reveal hobbies or start great conversations, all about their origins (‘is that an heirloom brooch or a thrifted brooch?’). Plus, brooches can be purchased relatively inexpensively. Use your brooch as an accent piece on your jacket collar, to pin a dress that is one size too big, as a hairclip, or to secure a scarf. Stick them on handbags or on the hem of a skirt, too.

Oversized bows have been sneaking their way onto the Fall runway—this time a bit less flamboyantly. Lanvin’s bowties were an excellent Menswear rendition, as well as the ‘smaller’ bows on some of Chanel’s blazer-collars. Lela Rose discreetly included oversized bows on designs, utilizing only one pattern and fabric for both the dress and the bow. Incorporate bows into your wardrobe to add a more feminine touch. Trousers can be belted with a satin ribbon, tying the ends into a sweet little bow. Scarves can be twisted into bow-like shapes and worn around the neck or even on your purse-strap. Maybe even use a brooch to secure a smaller bow onto the collar of your jacket!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tie-Dye: Not just for Hippies

photo by Mike Yoder, Lawrence Journal World

In my youth, I remember the home-made process of wearable art: tie-dye. After filling basins with dye I would dip my rubber-banded, twisted, looped-up t-shirts, socks, purses, headbands--you name it--into the colorful solutions, and wait impatiently for them to dry...then be washed...then dry again! Still, my creations never looked as profession as I hoped (but they never looked manufactured either...which I did not want).
Now, somehow wearing tie-dye feels unprofessional and far too casual. And, I suppose the bold combination of colors is a tad overwhelming for my taste. When I began to see tie-dye popping up on the runways--and in turn, on the shelves--I was skeptical; however, after seeing the cool color combinations of the Michael Kors Resort 09 Collection, I was convinced: tie-dye can be chic.

Just shop this trend with caution. Follow these guidelines to pick out your perfect tie-dye fashion item:

-Embrace more feminine shapes that incorporate tie-dye. Flowing, ethereal fabrics provide easy movement and draw attention gradually down the length of your body, elongating your frame.

-Look for simply dyed pieces--not every color in the rainbow. Dip-dyed items in variations of one color look classy (for example, a beige, pink or coral dress that is brightest at the hemline and fades into more subtle colors).

-Silk pieces dyed in simple, clean colors provide sharp lines, and the sheen of the fabric beautifully highlights each color variant.

-Don't buy tie-dyed clothing with patches or graphics if you are going for a dressed-up look.

-Look for an edgier tie-dye that is not so much 60's love-and-peace but more...boho chic.

-Pair your tie-dyed pieces with simple clothing. Too many patterns thrown together will give you a busy, hectic look--the opposite of serene and natural. Wear a dyed top with trousers or jeans and gladiator sandals. Also, don't wear more than one tie-dyed piece at once (unless they are very subtle and spread apart). Wear simple jewelry and accessories that don't distract from the fun, tie-dye pattern in your outfit.

-Do try the new tie-dyed jeans look, but again, keep the other pieces plain. A monochrome grey or white tank top, bangles, and heels would be perfect for a night out.

-Check out American Apparel's tie-dye collection. Leggings and t-shirt dresses have all been dyed for a super-hip look.

Roberto Cavalli has a brilliant Keywest Silk Tie-dye Caftan, Kimichi Blue makes a Tie-Dye Clutch with natural colors--the perfect envelope clutch,
and Brian Atwood's Ontario Tie-Dyed Boots are fabulous (their slouched look physically blends matching the aesthetic of blended colors in the fabric),

The tie-dye trend is flattering and young in subtle colors. For more ideas, check out Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Christian Lacrox, and Moshino.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fall Sneak-Peak

photo by Mike Yoder, Lawrence Journal World

The last week of July leaves me itching to discuss the trend forecast for Fall 2009.
With so many end-of-summer sales, it is important to be choosy when making a purchase, regardless how cheap.
Incorporating the upcoming season's trends into current, last-days-of-summer outfits helps transition your wardrobe into a closet full of ready-to-wear items.

Houndstooth-pattern fabrics often feel too heavy and wintry to don during hot summer days; however, by including this classic pattern/texture in your wardrobe via accessories, such as ballet flats, heels and clutches, you can let loose a bit of fall fashion while still acknowledging the calendar (which reads July!). Later, incorporate houndstooth into daily wear--such as peacoats or trousers.

Edgy 80s--
Metal spikes, triangular grommets, chains, black leather, and all-over zippers are not just for punk-rockers. Pair your edgy 80s accessories with flowy, light-colored summer dresses for the ultimate juxtapostion. These items will coordinate easily with fall's ripped-up denim, strong-shouldered jackets, and sequined daily-wear.

Envelope Clutch--
Pick up a brilliant accessory, perfect year-round. The easy-open, single-flap, simply-designed envelope purse is a great evening piece. I know it sounds nuts, but pick a purse that you can picture using in a different time and place. If you can imagine carrying your new envelope purse on a snowy, wintry evening, not just the current, muggy summer nights, then you have chosen a great, versatile accessory.

As difficult as it may be even thinking about wearing suede when the temperature is pushing 100 degrees...
Suede adds texture and definition to your look. Suede purses and headbands can be worn year-round and won't affect your body temperature. Suede peep-toe heels and tassles on jackets or driving gloves give off the attitude of a worldly aviator. Eventually, do look for a short short suede mini-dress that will pair brilliantly with an oversized jacket on chilly Autumn evenings.

Still not enough? Keep your eye out for...

Neon pink dress--
Fall's hottest color is hot pink. If you're a "pink's not really my color" kind of girl...buck up! An eye-scorching, neon pink, body-con dress will be your new go-to party dress. Look for a hot pink dress that is wearable now. When Fall truly rolls around you can rock this awesome look with ripped tights and a short leather jacket. (Also, I think a pair of 1/2" houndstooth heels or an extravagant houndstooth manicure/pedicure would be magnificient against a neon pink color palette!)

Big Shoulders--
Start looking now for your ultimate go-to Fall jacket. If you thought shoulder-pads were excessive, think again! Look for a jacket with super-size, defined, strong shoulders and unique details--out-of-place zippers, military chains, and studs. My fall dream jacket (well, one of them...) is definitely includes an oversized shoulder and a peplum waist!

Accordian Pleats--
Dresses are one of the easiest all-season pieces--throw on a jacket or scarf, tights, and heels and you are suited for multiple occasions. The accordian pleat is a fun torso-detail that draws the eye back and forth across your outfit. This pleat grabs attention without grabbing too much attention.

Blanket Coats--
Ok, maybe I'm pushing it a bit...but seriously! You will thank yourself for dragging that hot and heavy thing home early. Blanket coats are easy to find at vintage shops and second-hand stores. Look for an oversized blanket coat with deep pockets, muted patterns (usually a geometric pattern in lighter and darker shades), and fun fabric layers or folds.

Fall Winter 2009 2010 Couture

photo by Richard Gwin, Lawrence Journal World

Couture fashion for Fall-Winter 2009/10 premiered in Paris July 6, 2009. Members of the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture make customized clothing for private clients, utilizing the most decadent of materials. Also, members are required to have a workshop in Paris and hold a runway presentation for the people twice per year, comprised of both daywear and evening wear.
Yes, it's true: fashion does have rules.

This summer's shows were diverse--ranging from established designers, such as Christian Lacroix and Givenchy, to new, young talent, like that of Alexis Mabille.
Read below for my own reviews of a few designers (these Haute Couture members can undoubtedly be considered...grandfathered in):

Karl Lagerfeld produced impecible two-piece dress-suits, all paired with lace tights, gloves, and, sometimes, even lace bowler hats. Talk about a suit for your lifetime wardrobe! Blouses and dresses had the perfect amount of detail--each one can be imagined in a particular, appropriate environment. Cocktail party? Day at the office? Stroll downtown? Dinner at the Eiffel Tower? Lagerfeld has just the outfit for you!
Admittedly, I liked his more conservative outfits over his few bold, bright pieces. Perhaps pieces of couture already embody so much elegance and their perfection already demands for attention--you don't need to shout it, you know?
Lagerfeld's bead-work, more clustered at one end and more dispersed at the other, gave off a unique color-shifting effect. Most of his pieces had a train attached; either a long, chiffon pice trailed behind each model, or a tail-coat or fixed-fabric attachment unified his collection. Admittedly, I was not the biggest fan of his fireworks-like pattern that prevailed on so many of his pieces. Still, his finale was amazing--a duo decked out in all white.
My favorite? Grey, roll-neck shift dress with pockets at the sides
Get the look: Pair a party-dress (preferably one in a finer fabric, such as satin or chiffon) with a long, kaftan-like overcoat to achieve a train-like, attention grabbing look.

Armani Prive:

Armani is time and time again my favorite couture designer. I've previously swooned over his Spring 2008 Haute Couture collection (reminiscent of art-deco details and structures); however, Armani's 2009 collection was also impressive. Most of his pieces were a shimmery monochrome and softly structured. Exquisite details, beadwork, cut-outs, and lace did Couture proud. Still, haute couture or no, Armani made one thing crystal-clear: this fall, it's all about the pants ladies.
Other important details? Suit-jackets with structured shoulders, lace t-shirts peeking out of skirtsuits, and a distinct nod to sportswear--dressy hoodies incorporated into eveningwear and polos with embroidery. Armani also incorporated dressy jumpsuits (PANTsuits) that were a combination of nude, mesh, and sparkle. Also, one particular top caught my eye--a simple t-shirt that looked to be screened with a photo of barely-there flowers. The only color palette that I didn't like was his blue-black combination for several evening gowns, but they did feature brilliant cut-outs and showed some skin (a classy way to interpret the midriff trend?)!
My absolute favorite? Armani's opening pantsuit--fitted, pleated pants and a matching blazer with oversize front-buttons, pagoda shoulders, and a beautiful bow at the collarbone. Gorgeous. Seriously.
Get the look: Find the perfect pantsuit in a riche material. Look for strong shoulders, pleated pants, and one-of-a-kind details that remind you of Armani's perfect bows and buttons.

Christian Dior
Bright, vivid colors describe Dior's most recent couture collection, designed by John Galliano. Lemon-limes, yellows, and magentas were all over--but I love love his orangey-apricot. I couldn't stop looking at two pieces--a dress and a bubble skirt, both designed in this color. Galliano also incorporated soft, leather gloves in both brown and black hues. And, although most of the designers incorporated animal-print (tiger, zebra, leopard) into their couture collection, the cheetah-print in Dior's collection was just not-so. The gloves seemed so comfortable, sophisticated, wise, and reassuring next to the bold, brazen youthful colors. Structurally, his pieces emphasized the hips--jackets were wasp-waisted, skirts were volumized with padded-hip coats and bubble skirts. I do like a fitted blazer, especially with a peplum waist. He also included corset tops, so cinched that the oversized skirts looked more volumunous than I thought possible!
My favorite? Galliano's apricot dress!
Get the look: Wear a bubble skirt or dress in wild colors. If you're not the flamboyant type, choose a simple color and let the details of the dress speak for themselves. Top it with a blazer that grabs a little attention.

Jean Paul Gaultier:
Gaultier's fall couture collection surely has something for everyone. It was an eclectic mix of design concepts--from flapper dresses and fur coats to...powder blue alligator-skin overalls?
At any rate, Gautier did stress some great take-home points: velvet tuxedo coats, above-the-knee boots, leather overcoats, and oversized furs. Luxury fabrics were mixed to emphasize texture. Flowy, ethereal, floor-length dresses were absolute elegant drama. Gaultier's color palette was mostly browns and blacks with a splash of color--like a pale grey-ish purple. Stand-out models tended to be Marylin Monroe-esque, equipped with curves and gorgeous bobbed hair that carried off Gaultier's best, classic looks.
I just don't know what to think about Gaultier's gladiator-like corsets--tops that resemble the bumpy back of a dinosaur or an absurd wrestling costume!
My favorite? Super-short gold dress, shimmery ivory tights, oversized rust-colored fur, and a bob with mermaid-waves.
Get the look: Tone down the bulky leather by incorporating such fabric in your skirt or boots. Get a mixed-texture look by incorporating color-blocks comprised of diverse colors and fabrics. With an outfit as wild as this, try to unify your look with shoes or accessories that otherwise might seem too matchy-matchy.

Destination Dressing

photo by Mike Yoder, Lawrence Journal World

Whether you are taking one last vacation before summer's end or just bumming around town, these destination-inspired outfits will give you fresh ideas for the dwindling days of summer.

Beach/Clinton Lake:
Swimming or hanging at the beach is a great way to enjoy nature. Feel at home next to the water by incorporating natural colors and fabrics into your daily wear--leather, straw, cotton, and cool blue colors. Then pass the tides laying out on a straw beach mat.
Packing List:
Bold sundress
straw-accessories--beach bag, fedora, floppy hat, basket purse, espadrilles, and aforementioned beach mat
Gold Shimmery Eyeshadow
Gold bangles, earrings, and necklaces
Coral-inspired prints or colors
leather gladiators

Party/Summer Wedding:
Ladies, save the LBD for November, December, and February--pick a bright, monochrome dress for a chic summer look. For a fabric tip--silk chiffon is a great, lightweight summer fabric that won't cling when the heat rolls in.
Packing List:
monochrome dress
peep-toe pumps--more delicate than chunky
earrings--eye-catching, contrasting colors (such as jade earrings paired with a purple chiffon dress)
bracelets or bangles--match these to your clutch or heels for just the right hint of coordination

Big City/Night on the Town:
Sight-seeing and cocktail-drinking are a tricky fashion combination; however, with the right shapes and combos, you'll soon be a tourist and worthy task-master!
Packing List:
large purse
comfortable walking sandals
anorak--bright and colorful, please!
racer-back dress--this silhouette is sexy, and can easily be dressed up after a day of meandering
accessories--metallic combinations for an urban feel

Small Town/Back Yard BBQ:
It's always the worst to be super-overdressed at an outdoor event. You can't sit on anything because you are likely to get bugs/ketchup/baby spit/mud on your fancy rear-end, and your stilettos always sink into the mud. Besides, you look prissy! So, save your 4-inch heels for the city sidewalks, and pack comfy, classic pieces.
Pacing List:
color palette--classic country: blue and white
short sleeve cardigan
tortoise sunglasses
simple dress--a cotton fabric is simple and cool (plus, if you find one with an elastic bodice--wear it as a skirt, too!)
flats, espadrilles, or wedges--for optimum, anti-grass-sinking
simple jewels--hoop earrings or long necklace

Fall fashion is just around the corner, but don't worry ladies--if you still need a few more ideas to get through the summer-fashion blues, try out...
A funky, clustered necklace--such a bold piece can transform your outfit, and the pattern takes a new spin on statement necklaces.
A chic, straw fedora--tie a bright bow--or one with stripes, polka-dots, or other patterns--for an eye-catching, unique look.
Update a classic look--try going all grey, wearing grey jeans or slacks and a grey chiffon top--but accessorize with the clustered necklace or fedora, and--voila!--classic outfit turns modern chic.

You Rock My World

Michael Jackson 1984 Grammy Awards, AP Photo

Michael Jackson left an enormous impact on the performance art and fashion industries. Designers not only mourn the loss of Jackson, but they also recognize the loss of a style-icon. In 1982, Thriller sold 26 million copies and anchored his spot in the fashion community. To celebrate the life of Jackson, incorporate his lifetime full of style into your own wardrobe.

Early 70s: Jackson took over the world of pop music, sporting wide-leg, bell-bottom pants and fringed shirts.
Wear paisley-patterned shirts, platform heels, and suede vests to emulate his style.

Sleek, Sophisticate: Jackson wore pegged pants, blazers, and bright-white socks. This look of Jackson's is a definite classic--you can never go wrong when combining black and white clothing. To achieve Jackson's style from this era, simply wear a black tux or suit, white collared shirt, black dress shoes, and a hat.

Thriller: Jackson's style in the 80s was biker. Leather jackets, black and red studs, and sequined gloves. Fitted biker jackets and 80s inspired studs are in style now, so utilize such in your fashion homage to Jackson. His iconic red-leather jacket, made by costume designer Deborah Landis, stands alone; its repetitive zippers and detailed shoulders call attention to Michael Jackson's individuality--he didn't want to fit in, he wanted to stand out.

Military Inspired: At the 1984 Grammy's, Jackson won 8 awards for Thriller. His bedazzaled navy military uniform with gold accents was a brilliant fashion interpretation. This military-style jacket is all over the runways. Look for a jacket with oversize, dramatic shoulders for a look that embodies Jackson. Throw on aviators (and a white rhinestone glove) and you'll be set. Or, if that in itself seems like too much, armbands were onbe of his favorite accessories.

Other popular looks:
Jackson's shiny, black tuxedo for Billie Jean is elegant but modern.
Also, in 1991, Jackson escorted Madonna to the Oscars, and the combination of her luscious, oversize white fur and white gown alongside Jackson's own white jacket and sequinced black pants made an unforgetable duo.
Jackson's daily wear is equally inspiring--black satin pants, a black fedora, and an oversize red jacket would make a fabulous night-time ensembleJa.
1987 Bad tour, where Jackson donned biker-cop shirts, badges, and chains.
His custom-made court-room suits--never in a dull black or blue, but rather comprised of bright fabrics, perfectly tailored, complete with a vest.
Lastly, tight-fitting parachute pants and Jerry curls finish his looks.

For current designs that embody the fashion spirit of Michael Jackson, check out Balmain's Autumn/Winter 2009 Ready-to-Wear Collection (Paris Fashion Week).

Red, White and Blue

photo by Kevin Anderson, Lawrence Journal World

To me, the 4th of July has always meant homemade ice cream, bar-be-que and beer, corn on the cob, family and friends, swimming at the lake, and sparklers (I'm a total sissy when it comes to lighting off fireworks).
The 4th of July is just around the corner, and this year, show your pride for the good ol' U.S. of A. in one more way--with the hottest patriotic fashions.
Stars and Stripes are the new American Chic.
Clad in Red, White, and Blue, you're sure to contend with all the Yankee Doodle Dandies, from sea to shining sea.

Maritime Madams:
The color palate of the American flag is already pre-approved; still, feel free to get creative and find a unique look--after all, it is Independence Day! These fashions can easily be sublte outfits or taken to the next level with accessories, hats, and shoes. For example, if you feel like a flag in red, white, and blue, just pair your favorite pair of blue jeans with a white top. But, if you do want to go all out, add a red belt, red and gold bangles, blue gingham espadrilles, a basket purse with a fun scarf attached, and a white sun-hat (with a red/white/blue ribbon, of course!).

Here are some more excellent Americana items (with a Nautical hint) to get you going:
Navy and white stripes
Yellow accents
Sailor Pants
Wide leg trousers
Broad-rimmed sunhats--red, white, or blue will do (accent with a ribbon in one of the other colors)
Canvas Espadrilles
Gilt accessories
Sailor Collars
Matelot buttons
Retro bathing suits
Yaht/Dinghy prints
White pearls
White sunglasses
Gold braids/tassles
Red lipstick
Flag broaches
Bold flag stripes
Star-studded bracelets, earrings, belts, and bags
Beach Pajamas
Straw Hats

For ideas from designers--check out a few of my favorites that tout American fashion with pride:
Hilary & Co for its fun, nautical looks.
D&G (Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's younger, "cheaper" line) features great tunics, jumpers, and beach pajamas with hints of red, white, and blue.
Antoni & Alison has great little details, like monogrammed leotards and sailor collars.
Brooks Brothers provides excellent menswear (and has a great straw hat!).
Coach, specifically for their Star-Studded Red, White, and Blue Bracelets.
Chanel is always a Parisian designer that provides proper American style--my favorite comes from their Spring 2008 show: a tweed jacket with rope-like gold-plaited chains and fringed seams and their fabulous navy crepe de chine pants with beatuifully ethereal stars.
Tommy Hilfiger (obviously) for his everything American style.