Thursday, November 18, 2010

Style Crush

(photo © Citizen Couture)

(photo © Tommy Tom)

When I come across a photograph of Giovanna Battaglia on a fashion blog, I always say the exact same thing, I would wear that outfit in a second.

Now, being a Stylist and Fashion Director for Vogue Gioiello and Vogue Pelle, and sitting front row at Fashion week may give you a leg up when it comes to getting dressed in the morning, but Giovanna proves that looking stylish doesn't mean pulling looks directly from the runway. In fact, her style habits are more like a regular woman, than, say, some of the other fashion directors out there (no offense Anna Dello Russo, I love you, too!)
(photo © The Sartorialist)

Oftentimes you see Giovanna wearing the same piece over and over again in different combinations, like these gorgeous snakeskin boots . . .

(photo © The Sartorialist)

(photo © The Sartorialist)

. . . or this candy-colored Fendi bag.

(photo © The Sartorialist)

(photo © Hanneli Mustaparta)

She often mixes vintage with modern— like these vintage Emporio Armani sunglasses.

(photo © Tommy Tom)

And I LOVE how she pulls her hair back in a messy bun, just like any woman on the go.

(photo © The Sartorialist)

The feeling I get when I see photos of Giovanna is not one of envy, or even wistfulness. Her style is amazingly wearable and accessible — even though the pieces in her wardrobe are high-end labels, any of her outfits would be easy to recreate with more affordable pieces.

(photo © The Sartorialist)

I mean, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only woman out there who could go over to her closet right now, and pull together something pretty close to the above look.

(photo © The Sartorialist)

And, like all the stylish women I admire, she has incredible shoes . . .

(photo © Tommy Tom)

(photo © Tommy Tom)

(All the photos in this post are from various street style photographers— be sure to check them out!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heirloom-quality fashion?

A few weeks ago, I went to hear some of the Cooper-Hewitt's Annual Design Award Winners speak about their work. Although the Fashion Design Winners, Rodarte, were not on the panel, I couldn't help but apply many of the other winners' words to the fashion world.

At one point, Tom Dair of Smart Design, the Product Design Winner, mentioned his desire to create "heirloom-quality products," and gave the example of a wristwatch that one can pass along from generation to generation— a product that appreciates in value over time. This may seem like a strange thing for a Product Designer to strive for, because in today's world, New has somehow come to equal Better. Why else would millions of people upgrade to an iPhone 4, when they already have a phone that works perfectly well (if not better)?!

In fashion, it's the same. We dismiss pieces as "last season" and fill our shopping bags with the latest trends. But wouldn't it be better, and economically smarter, to stock our closets with "heirloom-quality" clothing?

What a brilliant idea! I'll just buy a bag that will look chic for the rest of my life, and my kids' lives, too. Now, if you would be so kind as to point me in the direction of that store that only sells beautifully-made pieces that are stylish for eternity. Hmm . . .

While it's not hard to identify a piece of clothing that's well-made, it's impossible to predict whether it's something future generations will love (a trench coat) or laugh at (bell bottoms). I guess all we can do as stewards of future fashion is seek out quality for our closets, and care for the items we love, as if we are planning to pass them on.

I'm a firm believer in mending my clothing and, especially, shoe repairs. When the heels start to wear, I get them replaced before they turn into tap shoes (we all know that painful sound heels make when they wear down to the metal!) I also have my shoe guy put rubber soles on my shoes to extend their life.

Last week, I got 4 pairs of shoes repaired. They got new heels, new soles, and I even had one blister-inducing pair of stilettos stretched to fit better.

The ultimate miracle was a pair of abused Miu Miu flats that I wish I'd taken a "before photo" of. The bottoms were stuck with pieces of gravel from walking down a rain-wet road after a wedding, and the leather on the heels looked like it was chewed by a particularly ferocious puppy.

When I picked them up, I couldn't believe my eyes.
For about $30 a pair, I now have 4 pairs of virtually new shoes.

Who knows if my newly repaired shoes will earn a place of honor in my future Granddaughter's closet, or will just be something she'll just crack up over. Grandma Catherine! Booties?!? But I plan on keeping my beloved shoes wearable as long as I can, if not for the next generation, then at least for myself.

(Shoe repair photos © Littlehouse of Style)

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Fall Again!

I love when the seasons change in New York. It means that I get to rediscover all of my cold weather clothes that were pushed to the back of the closet during the warmer months. While a lot of people find themselves shopping when the seasons change, I think going through your own closet is a lot more fun, especially since you come across clothing that A) you already like, B) already fits, and C) doesn't cost you a thing.

This JaeYoon Jeong coat is one of my absolute favorite pieces of clothing. This weekend it finally got chilly enough for me to wear again.

And of course, what's Fall in New York without knee high boots. I wore these constantly last year and couldn't wait to pull them out again. I shined them before I boxed them up for the Summer, so when it got cold, they were all ready to go. I'm sure people think I just bought them!

I know this might sound a little silly, but another thing I like to do as I'm rotating my coats to the back of the closet is put some money in the pockets, so that when Fall comes around again I get a nice surprise.

A ten dollar bill! Awesome.

(It's Fall Again photos © Littlehouse of Style, Jacket: JaeYoon Jeong, Boots: Dries Van Noten, Bag: Alexander McQueen, Leggings: Daffy's)

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Blog's First Birthday!

Today is the One Year Anniversary of Littlehouse of Style!

I started this blog as a fashion notebook of sorts— a fun side project that I thought only my mom and close friends would be reading. As of today, the blog has had over TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND page loads! 

I am absolutely blown away by that number.

Thanks to everyone who reads the blog, to all the people who took the time to leave comments, to the other bloggers who have promoted Littlehouse of Style, and to those who have passed the blog along to their friends. I can't wait to share more with all of you!



(all images © Littlehouse of Style)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

That's so Last Century!

The dress this woman is wearing, as she hangs a poster in Greenwich Village, could be a piece in any modern New York girl's closet. And the photo was taken in the 1920s. That dress would be almost 100 years old today, and I don't think anyone would bat an eye if you wore it out for drinks in today's Greenwich Village.

In fact, I don't think anyone would bat an eye if a dress like that came down the runway at Fashion Week . . . on a model like Karlie Kloss . . . at a Marc Jacobs' show . . . in a Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear collection, for example . . .

I guess some pieces really are timeless . . .

(Flapper photo from the Hulton Archive, Marc Jacobs Spring 2011 runway photo from

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Better than a Glass Slipper

I would never peg myself as a crystal-covered evening bag kind of girl, but a few months ago, I found myself surrounded by dozens of Judith Leiber's iconic clutches at a photoshoot. We were working on a book cover, and were transforming the many bags into a city skyline for the cover photo. Despite the work at hand, every woman at the shoot couldn't help taking a moment to gush over the clutches. I kept turning them over, opening them respectfully, and imagining myself gripping one on the red carpet.

After the shoot, the bags all went back to the showroom, and I was pretty sure that was the last I was going to see of Judith Leiber— the current line goes from around $1600 to $6000 per bag. Not exactly in a book cover designer's price range . . .

Months went by, and suddenly it was Fall in New York. And I started getting bombarded with magazine articles, commercials, and blog posts about Fashion's Night Out. For this year's second annual Fashion's Night Out, hundreds of stores across the city kept their shops open late and provided free drinks and entertainment for their shoppers. Many stores also had special appearances by celebrities, models, and bands. Unlike Fashion Week, you don't need to work at Vogue to attend. In fact, you don't even need to RSVP.

I had already made a list of the shops I wanted to visit, when I got an email about a Fashion's Night Out Party at Judith Leiber's Madison Avenue store. Oh, and a small footnote about 100 Judith Leiber bags for $100. Wait. What?! And as if that wasn't enough incentive, 100% of the proceeds were going to Alzheimer's. I felt like Cinderella getting an invite to the ball.

So, my friend Sarah and I put on our highest heels, and went to check it out. As I sipped my cocktail, and got offered silver tray after silver tray of tiny appetizers, I couldn't help but expect an Evil Step-Sister to discover my identity, and drag me back to my computer where I belonged.

I said to Sarah, as we stood at the front of the line, Hey, I didn't have a Judith Leiber bag yesterday, so it's not a big deal if I don't get one. Even as model Molly Sims pulled back the fuchsia curtain to give us a peek at the 100 bags, I was thinking, A Judith Leiber bag for $100 AND it's going to a good cause?! Come on what's the catch?

Turns out, there was no catch.

Fashion's Night Out was a real fairy tale, where two regular New York girls ended up with bags worth more than their entire wardrobes. Oh, and as much free champagne as they wanted.

New York City really is a magical place.

(Black clutch photos © Littlehouse of Style, Other photos from Judith Leiber's website)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mix and Match

A few years back, my good friend Paige got me into surfing. Dressing for surfing would appear to be very similar to dressing for the beach— you just grab your favorite bikini and go. However, when you're planning to get pummeled by waves, it's not so simple. I quickly found out that bathing suits that looked perfect on my beach blanket weren't exactly made for paddling out.

Whether it was boyshorts that were too loose to withstand a crashing wave (Hello, Coppertone Girl!), or straps with uncomfortable wooden beads, a lot of my suits just didn't work when it came to surfing.

So instead of buying all new surf-friendly beach gear, I started mixing and matching my bathing suit pieces.

(top: DKNY, bottoms: Calvin Klein)

(bottoms: DKNY, top: Target)

Once you start putting different tops and bottoms together, you'll wonder why you never did it before.

I bought an adorable Ripcurl swimsuit on clearance a few years ago. It was in my size, so I bought it without trying it on. When I put it on at home, the bottoms made my butt look like Bar Refaeli's . . . and the bandeau top totally cut off my circulation! Instead of putting the entire suit in the back of my drawer, I gave the top of the bikini to my petite friend and started wearing the butt-perfecting bottoms with a black bikini top. To this day, that mismatched set is one of my favorite things to wear to the beach.

(top: DKNY, bottom: Ripcurl)

(bottoms: Calvin Klein, top: Leilani)
(bottoms: Hurley, top: Calvin Klein)
(top and bottom: both DKNY)

P.S. It was so windy outside today that 90% of my photos looked like this . . .

(All mix and match photos © Littlehouse of Style)