Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: J. Crew

For the mom-to-be: Baby planners and maternity wear

Baby planners

There's a lot of uncertainty about having a baby. Which crib? Toys? Stroller? What about the rest of the gear? What about eco-friendly products?

Women used to rely on their mothers, their sisters, their aunts or their friends for answers to these questions. But sometimes it's best to let the professionals take over.

Baby planners -- a.k.a. baby concierges, a.k.a. maternity consultants -- are increasing in number, and, naturally, they seem to be thriving in Los Angeles. Read Heather John's report to get the scoop on the folks who "take the labor out of your delivery."

Then check out the latest in maternity wear. Being pregnant doesn't mean you have to look like you're wearing a sack. In fact, the sartorial landscape for pregnant women is only getting better.


Maternity style

The birth of fashionable maternity wear

Babies R Us to launch Truly Scrumptious line by Heidi Klum

-- Alice Short

Photo: Ellie Miller, left, and Melissa Gould started a baby planning business in Studio City almost six years ago. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times


On our radar: Menswear designer Todd Snyder

Todd Snyder
New York City-based menswear designer Todd Snyder is having a banner year. With barely three seasons of his namesake label presented to buyers and the press, the Ames, Iowa, native started off 2012 with a February nod from GQ magazine, which chose him as one of the best new menswear designers in America.

That was followed, in March, by a Council of Fashion Designers of America nomination for the Swarovski Award for Menswear (given to new, emerging and up-and-coming brands) along with Phillip Lim and Antonio Azzuolo, an honor Snyder calls "a complete surprise."

We first crossed paths with Snyder back when he was senior vice president of menswear at J. Crew, and his stint there (he left there in 2008 to launch his own label) coincided with the company's push into heritage brand collaborations with the likes of Timex and Red Wing, and the opening of the men's-only Liquor Store boutique in New York City. Back then he spoke about how his Iowa background was an asset in the quest to tap into the power of America's authentic legacy brands.

Snyder's emphasis on heritage was still very much in evidence when we caught up with him on a recent Thursday after a trunk show at the Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. 

"My father always said if you want to be the best, you need to work for the best," he said, by way of Todd Snyder explaining a career arc that included working for the Gap and Ralph Lauren before landing at J. Crew. "And [J.Crew chief executive officer] Mickey [Drexler] was my finishing school." 

A few minutes later, Snyder opened his sport coat and pointed to a label inside. "I did a collaboration with Southwick," he said, referring to the Lawrence, Mass.-based men's clothier that dates to the 1920s. "It’s a way of paying homage to my grandfather -- he wore Southwick, and my dad wore Southwick”

The rest of the collection (the Southwick partnership includes just suits, sport coats and a tuxedo) has a similar familiar-but-different vibe, the kind of luxe take on standard-issue garments that Billy Reid is a master of -- though filtered through Snyder's Midwestern-meets-military mind set instead of Reid's Southern sensibilities. Key pieces from the spring and summer 2012 collection -- which takes inspiration from the 1975 Jack Nicholson movie "The Passenger," includes selvedge chinos (in khaki and white, $325), Bedford cord trousers, dark, raw denim jeans ($275), cargo shorts ($225), bold check button-down shirts ($185), and outerwear pieces like a zip-front nubuck leather jacket ($1,500) and a poly-coated Italian wool peacoat ($595). 

In addition to Neiman Marcus stores (and website), Todd Snyder's collection is available at Ron Herman at the Fred Segal Center on Melrose and Confederacy locally, as well as Odin New York and Bergdorf Goodman (including both retailer's websites) in New York.

The ultimate recipient of the CFDA Swarovski Award for Menswear will be announced at a June 4 event in New York City, and even if his namesake label doesn't take top honors, Todd Snyder's high profile, appreciation of heritage and luxe take on the American classics ensure he's not just a blip on the fashion industry radar.


Shopping: Give him space

Denimology: If pants were a single malt

It's party of six for GQ's best new menswear designers in America

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos, from top: Looks from Todd Snyder's spring and summer 2012 menswear collection. Credit: Kenny Thomas.

Fashion designer Todd Snyder, one of three nominees for the CFDA's Swarovski Award for Menswear. Credit: Kevin Tachman.

Frugal Fashion: Olivia Palermo dresses up in denim


Light denim may not be the obvious choice for a Hollywood premiere party -- or depending on who you ask, a definite no-no for any occasion outside of a casual shopping trip or lunch date -- but leave it to socialite Olivia Palermo to use her gift of sartorial versatility to transform the look from day to night. The new face of Rochas perfume is proving she's more than capable of evolving from ex-reality television star to budding fashion icon.

Palermo recently attended the premiere of the HBO original series "Girls," in New York City where she dressed up a pair of ordinary light jeans. She wore a white button-down shirt by Masscob, Pearl Queen sequin jacket by French Connection, blue Dior cross body bag and purple silk cap-toe pumps by Giambattista Valli. Playing off the idea of jeans and a white T-shirt, she achieved a party-ready spin with the addition of a sequin jacket and cap-toe pumps.


Palermo's ensemble is full of handy investment pieces for any fashion lover on a budget. To get her look, try an all-purpose pair of American Eagle skinny crop jeans in light authentic indigo for $39.50 and the RSVP Jelissa blouse from for $89.99. Both these pieces are staples for any season. Palermo may have chosen a skinny jean, but a boyfriend fit could also work with heels and a sequin jacket for a bit of structural contrast. Try the vintage straight jean in old faithful wash from for $168 and for a sequin jacket, get the BB Dakota Royale jacket in gunmetal for $33 from


For a functional, stylish cross-body bag, get the March Fisher handbag in teal, $78 at, the Cole Haan "Jitney" all-cross body bag in Pacific PA from for $98 or the Hobo cristel bag from for $98. Finish with the Vince Camuto Jorgie colorblock pump, $89.99 at that features a patent blue cap-toe.

Happy shopping.

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? Email us a picture. We're up for the challenge.


Photos: Coachella essentials

At Coachella festival, music and fashion are a natural fit

Coachella musicians hip to fashion

-- Jenn Harris

Photo: Olivia Palermo poses at the premiere of the HBO original series "Girls" on Wednesday in New York. Credit: Kristina Bumphrey / Associated Press Photo.

Middle photo, from left: American Eagle skinny crop jeans, $39.50 /; RSVP Jelissa blouse, $89.99 /; Vintage straight jean, $168 /; BB Dakota Royale jacket, $33 /

Bottom photo, from left: Marc Fisher handbag, $78 /; Cole Haan "Jitney" all-crossbody bag, $98 /; Hobo cristel bag, $98 /; Vince Camuto Jorgie colorblock pump, $89.99 /

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: J. Crew's dress blues

J. Crew AW 2012 1
It wasn't just the luxury menswear brands that were headed in a dressier direction for fall and winter 2012, with labels like Brooks Brothers and J. Crew taking the guy's wardrobe up a couple of notches.

“The collection is more polished and more precise this season -- the look, the hair, everything," said Frank Muytjens, head of the men's design team for J. Crew, "with deep, inky blues and blacks -- like the colors in an oil slick.”

Muytjens said  he took the season's inspiration from the poet Edward James. "I found his picture on the cover of a vintage book I found at the Brooklyn Flea Market," he explained. "I was also inspired by the explorer Ernest Shackleton."

"That was a long time ago -- 1910,” he acknowledged, “but I feel the time is right.”

He came to that conclusion last year as he was traveling around the U.S. visiting J. Crew stores. “Of the people I was meeting, I noticed it was the men that were more dressed up than the women," he said.

J Crew AW12 2
The result is a sharp-looking collection that's heavy on the blue hues; tailored and trim-fitting suits in Glen plaid, Harris tweed jackets in a dark Blackwatch tartan, herringbone military shirts and shawl collar or double-breasted cardigans. Dressy denim could be found in dark five-pocket work pants, jean jackets, denim shirts and even neckties cut from vintage Japanese indigo. Outwear pieces included corduroy peacoats, wool hunting jackets and down parkas.

Also of note for Los Angeles fans of the brand's menswear: J. Crew plans to open its first L.A. standalone store dedicated to menswear and accessories (the label has opened a handful of such stores to date, the first one opened its doors in New York City in 2008) at the Grove shopping center sometime this summer.


New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Michael Kors' lake 'n' lodge glam

New  York Fashion Week Fall 2012: J. Crew, Manolo Blahnik to collaborate

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: Michael Bastian's wardrobe for the most-wanted list

-- Adam Tschorn in New York

Photos: Looks from the J. Crew men's fall and winter 2012 collection, which was presented Tuesday at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. Credit: J. Crew

New York Fashion Week Fall 2012: J. Crew, Manolo Blahnik to collaborate

J. Crew
Manolo Blahnik is coming to J. Crew.

That's right, the luxe footwear designer who became a household name thanks to "Sex and the City" is collaborating with the retailer on a limited edition collection of classic pointy-toed BB pumps, as seen in glitter, tinsel and tweed at the fall 2012 J. Crew Collection presentation. Prices are still being worked out.

The Manolos weren't the only things worth paying attention to at J. Crew.

So much of the excitement here this week has been in what's called the "advanced contemporary category," or labels that cost less than high-end designer collections without sacrificing style, such as the Rachel Zoe Collection, Rag & Bone and Tory Burch. The J. Crew Collection, which is slightly more expensive than the basic J. Crew offerings, is the chain store's own version of advanced contemporary. And it is looking darn good.


Creative director Jenna Lyons and her team ratcheted up the sophistication level ever so slightly, offering more tailored looks in edgier fabrications. Nordic sweaters topped tinsel tweed, python or pleated leather skirts, and fancy pants in metallic jacquards or scarf print silks were paired with the pointy-toed Blahniks. J. Crew
Color block clutches and totes trimmed in curly shearling rounded out the polished picture. My prediction? It's only a matter of time before this collection is on the runway.

-- Booth Moore in New York


NYFW Fall 2012 Review: Rachel Zoe's wintry rock goddesses 

NYFW Fall 2012 Review: Tory Burch's rich clothes for the rest of us

NYFW Fall 2012 Review: Rag & Bone is British countryside-meets-the Raj

Photos of the fall 2012 J. Crew Collection from J. Crew. 

Trend to watch: Art Deco

Judging from what we saw during the shows at New York Fashion Week, and in Milan at the Gucci show Wednesday, 1920s Art Deco is going to be a huge trend going forward into spring.

Lulu The evidence? Ralph Lauren's "Great Gatsby" inspired gowns, Tory Burch's sportswear inspired by 1920s Deauville and Frida Giannini's Deco black-and-gold flapper dresses at Gucci.

So, being the savvy shopper I like to think I am, I am already searching for Art Deco -- in my closet, and in the stores.

I landed on these Lulu Frost for J. Crew resin bracelets with Deco-inspired sparkle details and I'm obsessed. I'm piling them on and dreaming of Daisy Buchanan.

-- Booth Moore  




New York Fashion Week: Ralph Lauren 

New York Fashion Week: Tory Burch

Top left photo: Tory Burch spring/summer 2012 fashion show. Richard Drew / Associated Press

Top center photo: An Art Deco look from Gucci's spring/summer 2012 fashion show in Milan. Credit: Stefania D'Alessandro / Getty Images;

Top right photo: Ralph Lauren spring/summer 2012 in New York. Credit: Donna Ward / Abaca Press / MCT.

Bottom photo: Lulu Frost for J. Crew bangles, $45 to $118. Credit: J. Crew 

New York Fashion Week: J. Crew


Acid bright colors, sequins and boho paisleys. That was the message at J. Crew's first formal fashion week presentation. But the big news was that Beyonce came as the plus-one of sister Solange, who is apparently a fan of the label.


Solange wore a shocking pink, exploding bow blouse by Prabal Gurung for J. Crew, and Beyonce and the baby bump wore sequins.

J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons said that the brand wasn't trying to make a statement by showing during fashion week, but rather trying to create easy access for the foreign press in town. J. Crew is in international expansion mode, having launched its first store in Canada a few weeks ago. E-commerce at is launching in Europe this week.


New York Fashion Week: Rodarte

New York Fashion Week: Diane von Furstenberg

New York Fashion Week: Derek Lam

--Booth Moore in New York

Top photos: Looks from the J.Crew spring 2012 collection shown during New York Fashion Week. Credit: J.Crew.

Bottom photo: Singers Beyonce Knowles and Solange Knowles attend the J.Crew Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Stage at Lincoln Center on September 13, 2011 in New York City. Credit: Mike Coppola /Getty Images.

[Updated] Frugal Fashion: Alicia Keys gets an A-plus at BET Awards, before celebrating 10-year anniversary of 'A Minor'

Lnfd7tncSunday's BET awards brought the usual suspects of funky music fashion to the show's green carpet at the Shrine in L.A. At the extreme end of the night's style spectrum was Cee Lo Green with his bedazzled jacket and spiky hair, Nicki Minaj in a fuchsia pink poufy dress with tights and hip-hop artist Don "Magic" Juan in a mustard yellow pimp suit with enough bling to power a small city.

PHOTOS: BET Awards best and worst dressed

But striking the perfect balance of flair and elegance was singer Alicia Keys, who on Tuesday celebrated the 10th anniversary release of her debut album "Songs in A Minor."

Before her power performance of her song "Typewriter" and a killer duet of "A Woman's Worth" with Bruno Mars, she strutted the green carpet in sporty-luxe black Dolce & Gabbana pants with suspenders, a white boyfriend blazer and über-high black and white zebra print platform pumps.

The structured look was unexpected for summer, but what I appreciate most about the outfit is that it's appropriately funky for the show but realistic enough to rock to a real party. For a similar look try a jumpsuit, not circa 1987 but something chic with some shape like the Calvin Klein cargo pocket jumpsuit for $99, the Cha Cha vente jumpsuit from for $68.99, Bar III layered jumpsuit, also from, for $59 or the Jegia-J jumpsuit by Diesel for $99.


Keys' black and white color combination is bold and playful. To create a base for your own primary color palette, snag a white boyfriend blazer like the White hot boyfriend blazer from for $68 or the Linen Bermuda jacket from J.Crew for $69.99.


Aliciashoesfashion Keys' zebra print shoes pop and give her outfit a playful funky edge. For some shoes that will add a twist to any look, snag the Zebra print platform pump from for $45.

Happy shopping!

Have an outfit you're dying to buy but need a frugal alternative? Email us a picture. We're up for the challenge.

-- Jenn Harris


Frugal Fashion: Who says Selena Gomez needs Bieber fever to attract attention?

Frugal Fashion: 'Bad Teacher' Cameron Diaz rocks a summer romper

Frugal Fashion: 'Friends with Benefits' star Mila Kunis in Balmain at the MTV movie awards

Frugal Fashion: 'Margaret' star Krysten Ritter at the Fox Television Distribution bash

Photo: Alicia Keys, shown at the BET awards in Los Angeles, just announced she'll be producing the Broadway play 'Stick Fly' slated to premiere Dec. 8. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images.

Jumpsuit photos, from left: Calvin Klein cargo pocket jumpsuit, credit:; Cha Cha jumpsuit, credit:; Bar III layered jumpsuit, credit:; Jegia-J jumpsuit by Diesel, credit:

Blazer photos: White hot boyfriend blazer, credit:; Linen Bermuda jacket, credit:

Shoe photo: Zebra night platform pump, credit:

[Updated: June 30, 2011 10:30 AM. A pair of shoes was removed from this post.]

Your Morning Fashion and Beauty Report: Beyonce, Mariah Carey launch fragrances. Pre-Wimbledon party matches tennis, fashion stars. Ashton Kutcher models.

The world's top women's tennis stars mingled with celebrities like singer Liza Doolittle on Thursday night at a pre-Wimbledon party hosted by the Women's Tennis Assn., and with a high-style twist: The players were wearing exclusive gowns that British designers, under the auspices of the British Fashion Council, had created for them for the occasion. No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki arrived in a sleek one-shouldered black dress by Stella McCartney; French Open champ Li Na wore a chic gown emblazoned with a Delaroche print by Giles Deacon; Maria Sharapova was in a radiant red Alexander McQueen; and Serena Williams wore an emerald Burberry. [Telegraph] 

Beyonce says her new fragrance, Pulse, is "a fragrance you can wear all the time." The first ads for the perfume, due in stores in September, have been unveiled and they feature -- no surprise here -- the sexy singer herself. The fragrance features notes of pearblossom, peony, midnight blooming jasmine, Madagascar vanilla and bluebird orchid. [People] 

Amariah Mariah Carey is adding to her Elizabeth Arden fragrance line with Lollipop Splash the Remix, a trio of scents, all named for songs. They are Inseparable, which contains notes of raspberry, mango, jasmine and orange flowers; Never Forget You, which smells of gourmet jelly beans and golden peony; and Vision of Love, inspired by French macaroon and purple jasmine. [People] 

Rodarte showed 10 elaborate gowns — detailed with Swarovski crystals, tulle and feathers and inspired by influences including Fra Angelico frescoes and monks' cells —  in an unused building in central Florence on Thursday. Rodarte was one of two Los-Angeles-based design firms (Band of Outsiders was the other) invited to show during the prestigious Pitti Uomo trade show. Later the dresses are to go on display at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, as our Booth Moore reports. [Los Angeles Times]

Ashton Kutcher returned -- briefly -- to his modeling roots, opening the show for Brazilian label Colcci at Sao Paulo Fashion Week on Wednesday night. He walked the runway with model Alessandra Ambrosio, with whom he stars in the label's print campaign. [Fashionista]

After a recent round of royal appearances -- the Order of the Garter ceremony, Royal Ascot races and ARK charity gala among them -- the former Kate Middleton dropped into the Trilogy store on High Street and bought  a pair of jeans. The on-trend denims are J. Brand's 811 midrise style in one of this season's hot colors, tomato red. [Telegraph]

J. Crew is partnering with CFDA award nominee Eddie Borgo on a six-piece, limited edition jewelry collection. [People]

 -- Susan Denley

Photo: Mariah Carey, who is introducing three new fragrances. Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters


Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy: Fabricators

Kate Middleton's London

Christina Aguilera launches a super sweet new scent

Gifts for Grads: To a noteworthy future

It's graduation season, and although that sheepskin confirmation of work well done may be all the newly minted diploma-holder needs, we know you want to add your bravos in a tangible way too. This week, we're sharing some ideas to inspire your gift-giving.

Smythson- Whether on the new job or doing everyday note-taking, every grad could use a smart-looking notebook. Smythson's signature lambskin leather notebooks are a go-to with their fun and often cheeky sayings. We love this one -- "The Future's Bright" -- as well as "Reach For The Stars" and "Follow Your Dreams" -- why not go all out and give a set of three?

For a memorable finishing touch, add a personalized gold-stamped name or monogram. Panama notebook with lettering, $80 plus $12 per letter for personalization online or at Smythson in Beverly Hills, (310) 550-1901.

GraphicImage Wikipedia, schmikipedia. Even with endless online resources, some of us still appreciate stocking our desks with a few tried-and-true reference books -- particularly when they're this stylish. How about a super-luxe leather thesaurus and/or dictionary for the aspiring writer? Graphic Image offers both in bold brights, white gold or chic black leather, as well as covetable crocodile embossed leather -- all with acid-free paper and gilded edges. You can personalize these too, by stamping the recipient's name or monogram on the lower right-hand corner of the cover. Leather-bound Merriam-Webster College Edition Dictionary and Thesaurus, from $165 plus an extra $7.50 for personalization, at Graphic Image.


And then there's our perennial luggage obsession: drool-worthy Globe-Trotter Centenary suitcases in a brilliant day-glo hue, exclusive to J. Crew. Sure to add some cachet to their travels (and double as chic storage), these iconic cases will be the last ones they'll ever need to buy. Meticulously handcrafted in Britain from vulcanized fiber, they're said to be able to withstand the weight of a 1-ton elephant — or other equally weighty travel debacles. Sour Lemon Centenary cases, from $1,350 for a 21-inch size at J.  Crew. 

We hear that Globe-Trotter has also issued a special-edition William & Kate collection dedicated to the royal couple. William & Kate luggage by special order only online at Globe-Trotter.

-- Ingrid Schmidt

Wednesday: Be picture perfect

Upper photo: Smythson leather notebook. Credit: Smythson

Middle photo: Dictionary and thesaurus from Graphic Image. Credit: Graphic Image

Lower photo: Globe-Trotter Centenary suitcase. Credit: J. Crew. 


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