Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Q&A - More Outfits Please

Q: Are you going to put together any Spring outfits for the store? It's nice to have the option and not worry about pulling stuff together on my own. Also, it would be cool to see some of your suggestions on the blog. Thanks!

A: We had great success with our Outfits in the store but to tell you the truth, it was a lot of maintenance for us. We had to track our stock on the items individually and in the outfits category - our current e-commerce platform couldn't do both. I know it seems lazy on our part, but until we upgrade to a more user friendly platform we may not be doing this for a while. Maybe I can incorporate outfit suggestions on the blog for those who enjoy it. Also, you should check out other blogs that focus completely on this subject such as Fashion Under $100,and The Frugal Fashionista. I am sure there are more out there, so if anyone has suggestions, please leave me a comment!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Perfect Handbag...Part One

If this is your first time reading my blog, you should catch up on how I feel about expensive, designer clothing. The same goes for designer purses. I won’t pay big money for a name. I’ll pay for good design, quality and something I really love or enjoy using. A bag that makes me feel happy and confident and that doesn’t feel out of place with my overall look. I am very picky when it comes to purses and I realized this post requires three parts. The first part, featured herein, will help you identify quality and timeless style. The second part will further educate you on the different handbag shapes and what works well for your body type and style. And finally, the third post will include must-haves for your closet and my affordable choices to assist in your quest.

Study The Classic Icons

Many bags on the market reference the iconic classics of yesteryear. Hermes has some of the most steadfast and clean design influences found in the Kelly, Birkin, Bolide and more casual Le Trim. Other tried and true silhouettes include the Louis Vuitton Speedy and the classic Chanel single flap shoulder bag. If you must have the real deal, plan on saving your dollars and scour the vintage online stores, thrift shops and ebay. Modern day classics from Coach, Celine, Burberry, Gucci, Marc Jacobs , Furla, Fendi and Prada are also worth studying. Although quite expensive in their own right, they command a lesser price than the icons and provide a good reference. Sites like the Bag Snob and PurseBlog are solely dedicated to the subject of bag obsessing and are good resources for tracking the trends and identifying the real deal. Study the icons and look for the style translation in newer, less expensive bags.

Material Matters

In today’s market, many budget bags use affordable, durable PVC that can look as good as real leather. Other alternatives include nylon and canvas. The key is to choose a material that feels supple and has a substantial look. Very thin leather or plastic will cheapen the look of any bag no matter the price. Texture often makes a bag look more expensive so keep an eye out for quilted, crocodile and snake skin finishes that are tasteful. Consider durability if you opt for real leather over synthetic. Lambskin is soft, tears easily and often shows more abrasions whereas cowhide is tougher with a rough texture.

The Finishing Touches

Hardware is equally as important and makes a big difference in the overall bag aesthetic. Choose low luster trims - brushed, antique or brass gold instead of bright gold and shiny gunmetal instead of a white silver. The stitching should be uniform and not coming apart.

In order to spot quality and good design in affordable pieces, you need to understand the classics and learn what material and finishes are used on the expensive handbags. Stay tuned next week for Part Two!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Dress That Reveals Your Inner Self

I just can't help myself - when I see this dress, available at ShopBop for a whopping $372, I think "yes, I have two boobs and two ovaries in approximately the same position as these large medallions on my dress". I think this pattern would work much better as a skirt.

I feel like I am taking part in a Rorshach test. What do you see? My husband sees a giant rattlesnake. My 4 year old daughter just points and laughs.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Daylight Savings Give Away

Daylight Savings begins March 9th and we all need some extra daylight here in the North. So to celebrate, we are holding another give away and this time, we will announce THREE winners. All you need to do is leave a comment on any of our blog posts over the next two weeks. Each comment counts as one entry - so the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win:

1. The winner will get to choose any item(s) they want from our store until they reach a total of $75.

2. Second place gets a super soft tank top from Rebecca Beeson (your choice, black or white)

3. Third place wins a pair of earrings (our surprise choice).

So join the fun and thanks for visiting our blog! The winner will be announced right here, Sunday night, March 9th.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Q&A - Cheap Handbags

Q: I bought the Silver City Handbag at your store and really love it. It's hard to find cheap, trendy purses that don't look gross but I get a ton of compliments on this one. I am anxiously awaiting your Spring arrivals and wonder if you will be carrying any similar styles or can recommend some other places to find these.

A: I really enjoyed the fact that the term "gross" was used by this customer because I feel that way about a lot of cheap or shall I say affordable handbags. We decided to carry a few last Fall to test the market and had a couple of successes including the Silver City Bag that sold out quickly. Truth is, I have a very difficult time choosing these bags because I am very picky about what I carry (not only in the store, but on my arm). Also, there are a ton of other handbag and accessory stores that focus entirely on this market and can offer you a better price because they buy larger quantities. We will have a few selections for Spring, but it may take some time to find the winners in a sea of "grossness".

I suggest you check out the following sites:
Shop Suey and Baghaus are two of my favorite stores carrying affordable, trendier pieces with a good selection. Several items mimic designer styles so be careful not to misrepresent (pass on the fake logos and imprints please).
Smart Bargains has great deals on affordable designs from Perlina, Adrienne Vittadini, and Sigrid Olsen - designers who are a step up from the cheap stuff but still under $100 on sale.
Coincidentally, Winona over at Daddy Likey beat me to the punch with a similar reader question this week.

Occasionally, I buy cheap handbags (usually if it's a trendier item), but I find that it is best to invest in a few good timeless bags. I have a post planned for next week about handbags that will allow me to elaborate a bit more on this subject. And, I know our readers will have something to say as they are smarter than your average purse buyer.

Have a wonderful weekend and come back Sunday night for our next blogger contest!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

...and Stella McCartney should design an exclusive dress under $50 for our store

Our first blogging award E.V.E.R has been bestowed upon us by The Iron Chic. She is wicked smart (thinking blogger, duh) and her blog borders on addictive. If you haven't been there, you really ought to check it out. So without further delay, we must tell you some stuff about us:

What is the story behind the name of your blog and nickname??

Lady Language is our business name so it seemed appropriate for the blog. There are so many online stores and we wanted a name that stood out and meant something more than "shophereboutique". We started the blog to provide fashion and shopping tips for customers and try to provide a realistic spin on the fashion world.

What has been your best, and worst, blogging experience??
We have met so many brilliant bloggers and genuinely nice people through blogging and don't have any bad experiences to report.

What do you want to happen to your blog in 2008???
Literally sat here staring at the screen for twenty minutes and couldn't think of one thing.

So now we would like to nominate:

Quirky Jessi
- Because she says what she means and there is no sugar coating. If she lived in WI, we would surely be best buds and I could keep giving her great fashion advice, like wearing nude slingback heels to make her look taller and she would say, no way, I would never wear NUDE colored shoes. But this post really sums up how she feels about us.

: I met him during National Bloggers Month and he was kind enough to thank me for being a friend. It only takes a moment to give back to those around us and he continues to spread the light throughout the blogging community. I respect his writing and love of art as he is a painter and photographer.

I could go on and on, but it is late and I have orders to pack and questions to attend to. Ahh, the glamorous life of the fashionable. Catch ya later Dahlings....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We Love To Clown Around

Stephanie said they were too long and made her look like a circus clown, then laughed hysterically. Jessica is 8 months pregnant and cannot possibly fit into them. I tried them and they were too short and definitely not flattering to my hip area. I wondered why I would intentionally hike my pants into my armpits. I asked a few other friends if they would try thanks.

The High Waisted pant dilemma. They seem so cool and trendy, almost reminiscent of better days when a dance and song blessed every feature film. Truth is, the average female cannot wear them easily. Large hips? Sorry. Short waist or torso? No way. Pouch belly or big butt? Keep walking. Tall, slender, long legged, long torso, slim hipped, defined waist? Bingo! If the latter describes your figure, run...go get yourself a pair of high waisted pants fast! The other 95% of us? They're okay paired with a higher neck blouse or top and a long cardigan sweater or jacket.

Anyone else have an opinion on this trend? I'd love to know what you think!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Fascination With Love

Known as one of the most controversial women rockers, Courtney Love is a resilient woman. I find beauty in some of her lyrics and sadness in her life. I admire her persistence and "who gives a shit" attitude, but deplore her rudeness. Still, I enjoy her rebellious and invigorating grunge-pop music and am fascinated by her life.

She was a product of divorce and there is speculation of drug abuse within her family. Her Father was a "Deadhead" who gave her LSD at four years old. Most of her childhood was spent traveling and living in various hippie communities and her mother often left Courtney in the care of others. As a young adult, she worked as a stripper to make ends meet. Her anger and addictiveness obviously stem from this unstable environment.

Quite possibly, much of her "angry girl" music was birthed from these early experiences and tortured relationships. I wonder about the lyrics in "Petals"...Tear the petals off of you/Make you tell the truth. And "Dying"...You promised, you promised me/I'm dying, I'm dying please - a soft, haunting lullaby that may invoke childhood memories?

I confess to buying every album Hole and Courtney Love have produced yet I have not witnessed her in concert (I don't want to be spit on). I love screaming the lyrics to "Miss World" while I am cleaning the house - I'm Miss World/Watch Me Break and Watch Me Burn/Nobody's listening my friend. And "Violet" - And the sky was made of Amethyst/And all the stars look just like little fish...You should learn when to go/You should learn how to say no...Go on take everything, take everything, I want you to. It's very cathartic if not a bit deranged on my part.

Many musicians write lyrics that strike a cord within their soul or speak of their experiences. I believe Love's music is a hauntingly violent, artistic portrayal of her life. I wonder where she would be today without her music. I recently noticed that she has her own blog. Her drug abuse is still blatantly apparent in her writing.

*photos courtesy

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Q&A - Too Old For The Mini

Q: Can a 40 something woman in good shape wear a mini skirt or dress? I am afraid of looking like a teenager, but I see a ton of cute styles this season that I would really love to buy, so any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

A. A pressing question on the minds of many women over the age of 30 - the age in which most of us retire our legs to a life of hiding beneath knee length skirts and dresses. In my opinion, there are three questions to ask yourself to determine the answer. First, are your legs attractive? Saggy knees and cottage cheese thighs do not belong in a mini. Second, does the look fit your style, personality and the rest of your wardrobe? And third, are you comfortable wearing short skirts and dresses? If your answer is yes to all of these, keep reading for tips on the best way to wear a mini at your age. If you answered no to any of these, put the mini back on the rack.

How To Wear A Mini

1. Keep it Sophisticated

Shop for mini’s no less than two to three inches above the top of the knee (unless you have really great legs and want to show them off). Avoid tight fitting denim and leather. Please, no ruffles or sequined embellishments. Never wear a mini skirt to work!

2. Proportion is Key

Volume on top will counterbalance the shorter length to provide an appealing look. Billowy, sheer fabric, larger sleeved tops work well with mini skirts. A short shift dress looks great with tights and ballet flats as does a short skirt with a turtle neck and knee high flat boots. Never pair a tank top, low cut top or sexy stiletto heels with the mini at your age - you’ll just end up looking trampy.

3. Consider Wearability

The mini may look and feel great while standing in front of the mirror because it exudes a sense of liberation and youth. So move around and sit down before you make a decision. If you are not comfortable sitting or walking in it, then what’s the point? The trapeze and babydoll style mini dresses are feminine and cute, but can look too young - in a bad sort of way - on older women. I agree that some can pull it off nicely, but do you really want to look like you are trying to re-live your teens or twenties.

So what do our readers think about this dilemma? How do you feel about older women wearing short skirts? I am still trying to find an appropriate place to wear my electric blue tights and black mini dress. Some day, I tell you...some day I will.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lady Language Says...

Treat your significant other to some good chocolate (hehe), champagne and Oysters Rockefeller this Valentine's Day. It's not too late to plan something special for the evening...even after the kids are in bed and the daily obligations are met. Regardless of whether the holiday was birthed from Christian or ancient Roman tradition, take the time to show someone how much you care about them. Small acts of kindness can make a difference in all our lives.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Valentine's Day Give Away WINNER!!

What a fun week it was! I enjoyed all of your comments and appreciate you stopping in and reading. I met a few new bloggers and visited some great new blogs - there are many talented writers and entertainers out there.

So, without further adieu, the winner of the Valentine's Day Contest is... The Poet Laura-eate! Congratulations! She is wicked smart and writes beautifully. I was able to relate to her recent post on A Cry From The Wardbrobe describing her disillusion with the fashion industry.

So you may be wondering how I pick my winners? I use this great tool at that allows you to copy and paste in a list of names. I thought I would also post the top 10 on my list so you can see just how close you came to winning (if I missed the link to your blog, let me know and I will add it - some of you I couldn't find!):
  1. poet
  2. java
  3. sandy
  4. calgirl
  5. arlina
  6. jessi
  7. emily
  8. susan
  9. tatiana
  10. iron chic
I hope everyone has a great week and a very Happy Valentine's Day!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Q&A - Work Attire

Q: I am a 23 year old who likes to wear trendy clothing but I also have job as a law firm secretary and find that sometimes my choices aren’t appropriate. Most of the time I stare blankly into my closet and don’t have a thing to wear. I don’t have a ton of money to spend on a new wardrobe and I was wondering if you could give me some advice.

A: You need to build a base wardrobe with a few classic, timeless pieces. Then, you can mix color, accessories and trendier silhouettes with these basics to maintain your style. February is a great time to shop for pants, blazers and skirts because many stores mark down Winter apparel in preparation for Spring arrivals. You will find good quality pieces at up to 70% off.

Here is a list of my suggestions to get you started:

1. Basic trousers - Two pair, with a flat waist and straight or slight bootcut leg. Black should be your first choice, then brown and gray. Gabardine Dress Pant by Atelier and Daria Straight Leg trouser by BCBG.

2. Wool A-line skirt - A feminine and thigh concealing favorite that looks great with fitted jackets and tops. Try the Wool Pintuck Skirt by J Crew.

3. Slim or pencil skirt - A sleek skirt to pair with trendier tops and blouses especially if they are voluminous. Try this Pencil Skirt from Banana Republic.

4. Dresses - Wrap, sheath or shirtdress are classic styles to invest in and you have an instant outfit. Try a Sheath Dress from Banana Republic. Or satisfy your trendier side with this Boatneck Dress from Tulle.

5. Jackets - A nice, fitted blazer to dress up a pair of pants or skirt. Find one in black and another that compliments your solid basics like the BCBG Marilyn Jacket.

6. Blouses - White button down and another color that you like.

7. Turtlenecks - Cashmere, silk blend or merino wool in neutral colors like the Cullen Ruched Silk Cashmere Turtleneck.

Never underestimate dressing well in your professional environment - it speaks volumes about your credibility and personality. My list may seem boring or too “old” and conservative, but I guarantee you will always find something that matches your trendier selections while maintaining a polished, look. Shop sale racks at Nordstroms, Nieman Marcus, Banana Republic or J Crew to find these classic pieces with good quality. Also, one of my favorite clothing lines, BCBG Max Azria, has trendier classic pieces and a 70% off sale online.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me And My Drum

There are several blogs that I frequent on a weekly basis and some of you may be surprised to know that they are not about fashion. One of my favorites is Me And My Drum which focuses on blogging tips, software reviews and general discussion/entertainment. The first time I visited the blog, I left a comment regarding my difficulty coming up with new domain name ideas. The owner of the blog, Mark, kindly responded to me by email within a few hours including a list of available names to spark my creative juices. He is on my short list of super nice guys in the blogosphere and deserves some attention.

His flagship blog is celebrating its one year birthday in February so please stop by and say hello. While you're there, enter his birthday contest to win 1,000 Entrecard credits and a review of your blog on Me And My Drum.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The New Bohemians

Often regarded as artsy and whimsical, the bohemian look is constantly being dissected and bastardized by the fashion world. Last year, I recall the term Foho, which I will loosely describe as the fashionista’s attempt to meld a shiny modern handbag or shoe for example, with a folksy broom skirt. Many celebrities were hot on the heels of this trend. This season, I am reading the term Boho Tech, in which the airy, ethnically printed bohemian style is mixed with structured, futuristic styling.

The dictionary defines bohemian as “a person with artistic or literary interests who disregards conventional standards of behavior”. As a child, my parent’s would exclaim that my younger brother was “acting like such a bohemian”. I always associated the word with being out of control and disrespectful.

I can see how bohemian translates to rebellion in fashion as designers use artistic expression as a vehicle to push the limits of fabric, color and the minds of those wondering how to incorporate the look into their current wardrobe. The fusion of two opposites to produce a positive design can yield stunning results.

The bohemian look this Spring focuses on Ikat prints and 60s silhouettes mixed with metallics and embellishments. To subtly introduce this look into your wardrobe, wear an Ikat print top with a pair of sleek trousers and structured jacket. Or, pair a voluminous, printed skirt or dress with a leather bomber jacket. Here are other avenues to explore if you are interested in learning more about this look:

The Style Mauraders wrote a definitive piece on this new movement in the nouveau bohemian.

Top Shop has their take on the trend

A real person trying to pull of the Boho Tech look .

Tights featured over at Kingdom of Style that are so cute I don’t care if they are Foho or Boho or Ombre...I’d wear ‘em this year and the next, and the next, and the...well, you get the point.

And some additional Bohemian styles to mix and match with structured pieces:
Lux Kimono Top
Kimchi and Blue Tie Died skirt
Lithe's Right To Roam Skirt
Peggy's Cove Blouse
Mix Print Henley
Oasis Silk Printed Dress

Picture courtesy - Armani

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Valentine's Day Give Away

To honor Valentine's Day, we are giving away a sweet package. And, to make it even sweeter, this contest is for our blogging friends only. No customers (unless you blog) and no newsletter entries allowed.

The winner will receive a pair of Scanty Love pajamas, a box of Candinas truffles, and a pair of sterling silver earrings (which will remain a surprise).

So, leave a comment on any of our blog posts to enter. And, if you have already left a comment on our blog within the past three months, you are automatically entered. If you leave a comment this week, you'll receive two entries. The winner will be announced right here next Sunday night. Good luck!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Q&A - Wearing Polka Dots

Q: Can I wear Polka Dots this season, or are they considered "out"?

A: Polka dots are a timeless print and really never go "out" of style. While it's true that designers sometimes need to give this print a rest in their seasonal line up, there is no reason why you have to follow suit. If the print is part of your personal style and you wear it well, moderation is the key. Pick one piece of clothing or accessory and go for it. I am partial to smaller polka dot prints and black and white as the larger prints can look childish or comical. I personally love it when a woman bucks the trends and wears what she likes, especially if she looks stunning. Besides, when everyone else is wearing the latest cookie cutter trend, you will have maintained your personal style despite what the magazines and stylists have to say!

A Brief History of the Polka Dot

The origin of the polka dot pattern may be left to our imagination as there isn't a single factual source. Possibly influenced by the Polish polka dance as it was done in a circular motion, it has been around since the 1880s. The polka dot inspired Walt Disney's Minnie Mouse and it was set into fashionable motion by "I Love Lucy" dresses and the "Isty Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" in the 1950s. The polka dot print has been a part of our pop culture and fashion landscape for over a half century. Andy Warhol used tiny polka dots in his paintings during the 1960s. Julia Roberts portrayed the classically prim effect of the polka dot dress during the 1980s in Pretty Woman and the Pipettes revived the polka dot trend for Britain around 2006 wearing their big, bold prints on stage.
The Pipettes - photo courtesy of daniel arnold on flickr

Happiness, innocence and femininity best describe the polka dot in my mind. If this fits your outlook and style, then you may want to give the polka dot a second glance. Check out Polka Dots in Fashion for an interesting look into the world of the dots.