Monday, October 24, 2011

Head first back into the Milwaukee fashion scene...

Last Friday night offered me the perfect opportunity to jump head first back into the Milwaukee fashion scene. After a few months spent adjusting to a new job, the Run Up to the Runway event at the Milwaukee Art Museum overwhelmed my fashion senses. Me and 1000 potential shopping buddies packed into the Calatrava to view the Mount Mary College student design competition, runway shows from a handful of local designers, and Ra'Mon Lawrence's 2012 Spring/Summer collection. With the possible exception of the fainter two people to my left, the crowd was excited and appreciative of the designers and the event itself. I had to marvel at the local talent and creative energy in our community. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

This week we get to celebrate a holiday that is all about dressing up...Halloween. I'm taking the opportunity to pull together a vintage 1960's look inspired by my newest guilty pleasure show, Pan Am. Watch for pictures next week. Is your costume fashionable, flirty, fun? If you have a great idea - share in the comments so we can all look better!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For the Man in Your Life

Every many looks his best in a nice suit that has been tailored perfectly for his body. Women know this. Men are clueless. Mostly. Which is why many of us have had to drag boyfriends and husbands out shopping to ensure they have an appropriate wardrobe. With this specific situation in mind, I stopped by Harleys, The Store for Men, on Oakland Ave in Shorewood to chat with Jeff Brand. Jeff has been with Harleys for ten years and is the store buyer, ensuring they have the best merchandise in Milwaukee. Jeff also survived high school with me, so he already has street cred in my book.

Harleys is celebrating its 63rd anniversary this year (check out their accompanying sale this Saturday) selling fashionable and exclusive clothes for men. As I roamed around the store, in addition to the expected button-down shirts, silk ties, and pinstripe suits I found an impressive jeans collection and stylish outerwear.

While suits remain their staple at 60% of business, they do not appeal to the executive set only. Jeff believes the clientele is actually trending younger, especially since the store moved to this new modern location. As summer teases us, sales shift to include more sportswear. I spotted a lot of Hugo Boss, Cole Haan, Citizens of Humanity and Ike Behar. Harleys is also the exclusive Wisconsin retailer of Ermenegildo Zegna.

Formal wear is also a large piece of Harleys business. They provide suit and tux rentals for weddings, galas, and proms as an Elite dealer of Jim's Formal Wear. I was not surprised to learn they receive a fair amount of referrals from area event planners.

Harleys, unlike some competitors, survived the recession unharmed and the staff are seeing sales growth this year. Jeff attributes this resilience to keeping a fashionable and exclusive merchandise offering. I'm confident the excellent customer service has factored in too. While I was in the store, the customers were addressed by name and given the full attention of the staff. Pictures of well known and respected Milwaukee business men and loyal customers were hanging throughout the store.

Need another reason to stop by Harleys? Their in-house team will even tailor your (ladies) clothes. Ask for Jeff if you stop by and tell him I said hi!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How I Love the Sun

How do I love the sun? With sunscreen! Yesterday was the first really beautiful day of the summer and I spent over five hours of the afternoon outside golfing. It was glorious! And I don't have an inch of sunburn to regret thanks to copious amounts of my favorite products.

Every time I have washed my face in the last fifteen years I have lathered on Neutrogena lotion with SPF 15. I still get carded fairly regularly in my mid-thirties and I believe I owe that to this particular routine.

More importantly though, I hope it will keep me healthy. I already know two too many people who have been touched by skin cancer. I strongly encourage you to lather up in the morning as part of your routine and to keep a travel size in your purse in addition to extra protection for outdoor activities.

Enjoy the sun this summer (I will) safely with your favorite sun screen. Do you have a brand you use and love? Please share it in the comments.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cannes Not

My obsession with the fashion spectacular at the Cannes Film Festival continues this week. I've seen so many stunning gowns on equally lovely women. I've also seen some dresses to scoff at or even scorn and compiled them here for your enjoyment. The designers will remain anonymous for their own protection.

Jodi Foster: Worst accessory
I can admire loyalty as much as the next girl, but Jodi is dangling precariously on the limb furthest from the trunk...over a cliff...above rapids...leading to a waterfall.

Claudia Schiffer:
A dress can be too 'flattering'. With that cut, the lace, and transparent pieces, she has made the long journey from couture to Elvira.

Melanie Laurent
This dress looks like a nightgown Bernice wore when Grandpa was out of town. And it wasn't hemmed properly.

Dasha Zhukova
She did it better; the color is eye catching and she has a waist. Still it comes across dowdy. I want a little skin. A short skirt maybe, or make the top a halter?

Bryce Dallas Howard
Was she in France promoting a movie version of Little House on the Prairie? Nope, doesn't even work then. Lace again, too! It can be done right. Who will join me in a ritual burning of that skirt?

Brook Shields
How does this dress do so many bad things to her figure? Boxy torso, hippy, her boobs even look uneven. Why wasn't this tailored properly? It is too small and pulling through the front and the detail work is not hitting her natural waist.

I challenge you to find better examples of Cannes Not's. Post them in my comments or tweet them to me.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cannes Star: Fan Bingbing

Happy Cannes Film Festival! It has already been a wondrous week of fashion. While I was browsing through red carpet highlights this afternoon I became more and more obsessed with Chinese mega-star, Fan Bingbing. In addition to her chiseled features and porcelain skin, she seemed to do no fashion wrong. Shockingly, I wasn't able to find a comprehensive article about her Cannes 2011 looks. I can't imagine how this is possible in our over-saturated fashion blog world, but I decided to fill the void my 30 second Google search couldn't. So here we go...

Atelier Versace organza gown at the Wu Xia premier. Sadly, it looks like the car ride added some wrinkles and possibly even a crease or two.

Elie Saab Couture 2011 at the 'My Way' photo call. Dramatic, but hiding her petite figure.

Another Elie Saab later that day at the movie premiere. She could be a different woman, right? Well, a different Movie Star. I don't think she could be confused with us regular X chromosome carriers.

Entering the festival opening ceremony like royalty in Chris Bu (Bo) Kewen. I can't even complain about the four inch bouffant hair because it balances out the heavy dress bottom perfectly.

Second Ateleir Versace to 'The Artist' premier.

Have I convinced you to worship the ground her gowns drag across? I want to see her glamour and drama once a week, not once a year. While I have been unable to pick a favorite, please share which look you like best...or hate the most.

Thanks for all your patience as I dealt with a few scheduling and technical (damn blogger) issues this week. I should be back to a normal schedule now.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fashion Behind the Fashion: 2011 Met Gala

If you are anything like me, once you'd had your fill of Royal Wedding coverage you started pouring through pictures of the Met Gala fashion. This is the one night that fashion exists for its own sake and the goal is to be artistic and push the envelope...not cater to the minivan moms at home who buy People. Most media outlets have covered the looks from head to toe, literally. If you've missed the photo extravaganza, I would suggest and for comprehensive coverage.

While pouring through these pictures, do you notice the people behind the stars too? My girlfriend, Mandi, smartly suggested I do a post about the fashion behind the fashion. So, let's spend some time judging and criticizing the average Jane's who wrangled a ticket to fashion's biggest night for double price, begged their personal shopper to find a 2010 couture, and then Spanked their size 6 bodies into sample sizes for an entire evening.

Behind Kelli Hilson in white and yellow: I'm afraid that is Liv Tyler in Givenchy. Without working a pose, the odd angles in that skirt are not flattering. That dress looks so amazing in her actual pictures, but it needs to work in reality too.

Behind Madonna: this anonymous lady is on-trend with the feather wrap and neutral shade, but the whole look is ruined with the unflattering skirt length/hideous shoe combination. Even if you can't deal with stilettos for the evening, brown-sling backs should only be worn to the office on a lazy, rainy day. Not the Met Gala!

Glance past the egos in the foreground and check out the blond with the sheer skirt just behind Gweneth. I like this look. It is eye-catching and sexy without trying too hard.

We can do double duty with this photo of Ginnifer Goodwin, but lets ignore Giselle in red for the moment. On the right side of the background is a statuesque blond in a white Grecian-styled column dress. It could have been elegant (and a bit safe). Instead the viewer gets an eyeful of bicep wrapped in an unflattering pale, sparkly yellow. Is it a shrug? Is it connected to the dress? Is it a skin condition? Is her arm a mechanical appendage, recently retrofit for superhero duties? I can only hope.

Behind Frida Pinto: elegant and elaborate fan purse. Best accessory of the night.

Designer muse Blake Lively easily overshadowing a mustard yellow belted dress. I'm going to go out on a limb here and call that one as the same Alexander McQween dress Pippa Middleton wore just last week to her sister's wedding. Compare here. Different color, add a belt, am I right? They were honoring McQueen at the Gala.

I had to include this picture because it reveals the impracticality of some high fashion. Here Beyonce needs help from two people to ascend the stairs into the event. What is that assistant wearing (not JayZ in the white tux)? I don't care if you are only there to sweep the street between limos, at least wear all black to fade into the background. I'm embarrassed for him. Or her.

Cristina Ricci brought all her steeze to the Gala. Lady in boring white column dress has missed a golden opportunity to really stand out and make use of that stunning figure. What a waste.

I hope you enjoyed critiquing the fashion behind the fashion from the 2011 Met Gala. It was a lot of fun for me. Thanks Mandi! This might become a regular ritual here at Bernice.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pictures and thoughts from Prague

I found the fashions in Prague to be less edgy than in Berlin, bordering on summer-y (it was almost 80 degrees). It wasn't hard to pick out locals among the swarms of tourists. Below are some of my favorites. The first picture makes the list because it is so easy to see the story behind the photo. Plus, I love a man in a suit.

I dragged my sister through back streets below the castle in search of this particular designer's store. Closed because of the Easter holiday. Sigh.

Street style in the Jewish Quarter? Actually, I think this was a real shoot.

Again with the leggings under jean skirts or shorts. I only saw it work on the girls who needed to shorten their legs and add some heft to their figure.

Cute tunic on the Charles Bridge.

Very typical Czech gal. Cute, no?

I'm finally back home and recovered from my trip. I learned several lessons while traveling. First, BlogPress is the bomb. So easy to use. Second, free wifi isn't a concept that has taken root everywhere. Third, general style trends seemed to uniquely reflect the personality of the city. I'm going to think about how to define the group style of Milwaukee this week while getting my fill of fashion porn from the Met Gala and the Royal Wedding. Thanks for your patience while I escaped.