Thursday, August 28, 2008

Word on Seventh Avenue is...

I was so excited to see that Constance White made #7 on Fashion's 50 Most Powerful List in yesterday's New York Daily News. She so deserves it. White is presently the style director at eBay but has also completed stints at The New York Times, Elle and WWD. She is also the author of Style Noir. In addition, she provides her expertise to a gazillion of television shows and other media outlets on the whos and whats of fashion. And personally, I know that she truly cares about those on the come-up. In writing this post, I pulled out my copy of Style Noir and saw that she autographed it during a book signing at F.I.T. while I was a student there. Since then, I have come to know her as a mentor and even a colleague. Kinda crazy, right?

Number one on the list was Vogue's Anna Wintour. Like it or not, I think they were correct about that pick. Um, let's just say people take Anna's calls. Others I was excited to see make the cut include creative director of The Gap, Patrick Robinson (I interviewed him for the day job and he's a seriously talented designer), uber SATC stylist and boutique owner Patricia Field, what ya know about a wrap dress Diane von Furstenberg and Brandusa Niro, editor in chief of Daily Candy (Although they clog my in-box with emails, I so adore the witty and informative writing of this site). And the wildcard (but not really) on the list was billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg. Surprised? The fashion biz is the second highest ranking industry (profit-wise) in NYC and basically, 'ole Mike runs this town.

(Have a look at the entire list here.)

Ev, a PPT reader, wanted to know who designed Michelle Obama's brooch that I mentioned in my last post. Well Ev, I did find out that the dress was by Michelle's trusted Maria Pinto (she turns to her designs quite often) but the brooch was apparently straight from her jewelry box. Yet another reason to love Michelle's style.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama's Style Definitely Goes Way Beyond Clothes...

Last night I was an emotional wreck. First, I was pressed to watch The Black List on HBO since a few of my colleagues had gone to screenings and couldn't stop raving about the doc. I enjoyed the diversity of the profiles -- from Al Sharpton and Chris Rock to Thelma Golden and Zane. Good, good stuff. I did miss the end of Bill T. Jones because as much as I was enjoying the program, I couldn't miss a second of Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. (I guess TiVo would solve that little problem, huh?)

I began watching just in time, as her brother Craig was introducing her. That alone got me teary-eyed because I am very close to my older brother as well. Without exageration, I cried no less than three times while watching Michelle's speech. And then cried again when Malia and Sasha came out to join their mom on stage. Folks, THAT was history. And I'm so grateful that I had an opportunity to experience it in my lifetime. I know there will be a plethora political analysis disecting her speech today in all the major (and not-so major) media outlets. How she is (or isn't) an asset to her husband's campaign, how she did (or didn't) resolve any issues of her being elite or unpatriotic. I can't do that though.

I also can't bear to write about Michelle's flawless shiny hair last night during her speech. Or speculate on how fast the aqua-green, v-neck dress she wore will sell out. Or even how she accessorized the look with a brooch that could have easily went into the matronly zone yet she still managed to look very modern and fresh. Nope, I can't do that today. For one, I've written about her style, at length, here on PPT before. But moreover, the grace, confidence and all-around swagger that Michelle exuded last night had NOTHING to do with what she was wearing. Please understand this. What she displayed has to come from a place within. As much as I love fashion and I recognize how important outward appearance can be, I am much more concerned these days with quality education for children of working class people (and no I don't have kids of my own), affordable housing (Yes, I do own a home) and health insurance for the working poor (Even though I have excellent benefits). Michelle genuinely seems concerned with these things as well and I think her life's work thus far indicate such. Her values on family, work ethic and womanhood are what made me cry last night, I couldn't care any less who designed her dress to be honest.

One lesson Michelle did remind us all of during her speech was:

You wear the clothes, don't let the clothes wear you.

And she didn't even charge us.

Get a more in-depth look at Michelle's style recipe here in a piece I worked on, Commander in Sheath, for the 10am-6pm. (Click on the main pic to view the photo gallery.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's The Principle of Pleasure: Janet "Ms. Jackson If You're Nasty" Does Lingerie

Just when I thought that I was done with celeb "designed" clothing lines, I go and read this in yesterday's WWD:

"I hate when you've had on a bra all day long and you just can't wait to take it off - every woman has experienced that."

Ain't that the truth?! This is what Janet Jackson had to say about her new lingerie line which is set to debut late this year or in early 2009. (I predict it will be in stores in time for holiday or Valentine's day.) The line, named after her hit 1986 single, Pleasure Principle, is crafted primarily with lace and satin and will launch with 18 pieces. Honestly, I am very impressed with the range of bra sizes offered: 32A to 44G. It is slated to be affordable as well, price points are all reported to be under 40 bucks. But since this was reported in WWD, those might be wholesale prices - still not bad considering.

The Principle of It All: Two spicy pieces from Janet Jackson's affordable new lingerie line

There doesn't seem to be an official website for the line yet but look for her sexy little numbers in major department stores. Of course Janet is being a good little celebrity (Mama is trying to sell albums afer all...) and telling everyone how she really had a strong hand in the creative process and is very pasionate about the collection, yada ya. We've heard that before. I'm actually curious to see the line since I adore lingerie and am just thankful she spared us a cheesy denim or tee shirt venture.

SIDEBAR: Pleasure Principle is one of my all-time favorite videos. Like, ever. Janet was killing 'em in her tight grey Guess jeans, jet black wrap (so what if it was a weave, it was fierce) and sick dance moves. C'mon, the routine towards the end when she jumps off the chair is c-r-a-z-y. What else can you really ask for? And to top it off, the lyrics of the song are timeless.

P.S. - Notice I didn't include any bad jokes about wardrobe malfunctions in this post. You can thank me later.

Take Me With You: Girlfriend Getaways to London, Paris and More!

I'm beyond swamped and quite perplexed about it being August 20th. I mean, seriously, I feel like summer just started. My nieces start school next week - GEEZ!

Did you get to take that fabulous vacay this summer? If you didn't, fret not. Andrea Adams, one half of the dynamic duo, Travelista, is offering a cool package abroad for the fall, but also has trips lined up well into 2009 so you have time to save up. Now we know the dollar ain't worth ish right now (thank you Mr. President) but Andrea is a seasoned vet when it comes to international travel so she can help any tourist get the most bang for her (or his) buck. I've posted some of the deets below. For more info, visit her site here.

From the Co-Creator of Travelista TV:

The Velvet Tour - October 23-31, 2008

The Girlfriend's Getaway to London & Paris

Priced from $2,900 from JFK, ATL, DC, LAX


• Double occupancy accommodations (single occupancy additional)

• 2 nights boutique hotel accommodations in London

• 5 nights boutique hotel accommodations in Paris

• Eurostar train from London to Paris, First Class

• Daily breakfast

• Panoramic tours of both cities

• Shopping Tour in Paris at world-famous Antique and Flea-Markets, and French boutiques along St. Germain des Pres

• Shopping Tour in London to Portobello Market and London boutiques for the latest in fashion

• Art Gallery Tour in Paris and London

• FIAC Art Expo in Paris

• Airport and train transfers by private shuttle

• All hotel service charges and taxes, and airport taxes

• Additional tours available at an additional fee

More Trips to Come....

December 2008 - ARGENTINA for NEW YEAR'S EVE

February 2009 - BRAZIL

April 2009 - NEW YORK, USA

June 2009 - FRANCE

July 2009 - SPAIN

September 2009 - ITALY & GREECE

November 2009 - SOUTH AFRICA

On a totally different note, how proud are we of Keeth Smart for helping the U.S. score a silver medal in fencing last week at the Olympics? AMAZING (that word so overused but is fitting for him) story. Yay for the underdog. Although being a young Black man from Brooklyn making history in fencing while mourning the lost of both your parents AND battling your own health issues plus finding time to attend B-school at Columbia just might make you anything but an underdog...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Life, Love and Lip Gloss

I try to keep my posts solely about style but my definition of "style" continues to evolve. Oye vey. While at home chillaxing recently, I stumbled upon a show on BETJ about Black women and dating. Usually I enjoy BETJ’s programming (kinda hard to screw up after big bro BET) but unfortunately the documentary like show featured about 6 or 7 women, Black women - all seemingly professional, financially secure, attractive; ranting and complaining about the quality of Black men for them to date. It felt like a bad re-run although I had never seen it before. Enough. Enough already with the depressing statistics about Black men in prison (trust me, stats are manipulated all the time). Enough already with rattling off the low percentages of Black women getting married (so relative). Enough already with the complaining about not being able to find a "good Black man". Enough!

Yes dating can be tough. For EVERYONE. No I’m not implying that ish doesn’t sometimes seem f*cked up for "us" in the romance department. It has been hard on "us" since we arrived (before the Mayflower that is). But now that we’ve established all of this… Then what? Are we going to all wake up tomorrow morning and slit our wrists? I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve been lonely, I’ve been depressed, I’ve been cheated on. I’ve also been in the type of love people write songs about. I’ve shown my affection for a dude with no reciprocation. But I’ve been showered with compliments and gifts too. I've gone out with a blue-collar worker and a suit-wearing corporate honcho. I’ve been on dates courtesy of the iron horse and a Metrocard (my best date in fact) and I’ve dated someone who drove a shiny, new Jag. My point is there are peaks and valleys in the dating world just as there are peaks and valleys in every other area of our lives. And newsflash: every guy you date doesn’t have to be your future husband. Kiss a few frogs. Live a little. Please. Maybe the odds are not in our favor, maybe I’m delutional because of the way I was raised (I’ve been told that), maybe I’m totally wrong but doggonit, the complaining and sulking we’re doing (collectively) is so lame. Let’s try something else.


Moving right along. I actually tried something else last week that I am in deep like with. Lip gloss! But not just any gloss. I’m not a big make-up wearer and I’m very brand loyal with the make-up I do wear. Other than lip gloss, I only fool with mascara and occasionally bronzer/highlighter. I’m also leery of beauty products with bells and whistles. Does it do the job it is suppose to do? Well? That is what I care about. Enter Go Light On My Lips Lip Gloss. This line has been around for the past year or so but is still fairly under-the-radar. What is so special about this gloss you’re wondering? Well, it provides the perfect hybrid of long lasting shine and just enough color to make your lips look even more kissable. However, it isn’t too sticky like many other glosses are. Created by Emmy winning make-up artist Elena George who has beat the faces of everyone from Star Jones to Salt ‘N Pepa, these glosses also have a built-in mirror and a light! How fab, right? Elena suggested I try Brown Sugar Baby ($38 with monogram, $19 without) and she did not steer me wrong. Plus the blinged out B on the top is such a conversation starter and I’m a sucker for anything personalized. Visit her site here to check out the other colors and the mascara.

P.S. - I am in a relationship now but it is far from a fairytale. Mr. TK and I might live happily ever after. We might not. Regardless I hope to remain optimistic about life, love and yes even a really good lip gloss.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Recession… What recession?

Let me guess, you have been under the impression our the nation’s economy is in a little bit of trouble, right? I thought so. What gave it away? Was it the rising cost of fuel that ultimately leads to the rising cost of everything from cereal at your local supermarket to the increasing advertising costs in your favorite magazine? Or maybe it was the alarming number of foreclosures that our country has seen this year or the fact that 80,000 people lost their jobs in March alone. It just might have been that startling figure of 47 million: the number of uninsured Americans. Well my amigos, we have all been bamboozled!

Clearly there isn’t a recession going on if homes are on the market for -are you sitting down?- $125 million dollars. Yes, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS. What the crap? I had to share this because it is so un-freakin’-believable. My office happens to be walking distance from Christie’s and I spotted this bargain courtesy of their window display the other day on my way home from work. Since this is so priceless (no pun intended) I needed to take a pic. It’s no surprise that the home/estate is located in Greenwich "mo money, mo’ money" Connecticut. And as if the pricetag itself weren’t enough, best believe the property taxes in Greenwich are through the roof as well. Oh wait, turns out this is Leona Helmsley's old crib so maybe the owners don't have to pay taxes? I'm just sayin'...

I’m just wondering if the $125 mil includes psychiatric counseling.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Search For The Perfect Freakum Dress

"Every woman has one."

Beyonce proudly made this declaration on the catchy cut Freakum Dress from her multi-platinum album B’Day. I’ll admit Freakum Dress isn’t my favorite song on the album. (Resentment is and Jazmine Sullivan does such a better job with that track.) But back to this dress that every woman has - I don’t. I do not own a freakum dress and I think I want one. Sure I, like most women, have a sexy number or two that I reserve for special occasions. But a straight up, shut your mouth, "Dang Gina!" freakum dress? Not a one in the closet. And I don’t necessarily want one for the reasons Bouncy lists in her anthem either. Seriously, what woman doesn’t desire a fierce go-to dress to wear when she just wants to shut it DOWN? I pondered over this for quite a while last year and even pitched this idea to one of my favorite fashion mags. (The editor entertained my pitch but ultimately decided my story wasn’t the right fit for said mag.) One of the things I love about having my own blog is that I get to write about what I what, when I want, how I want. Sooooooo…

I am officially searching for the perfect Freakum Dress! I already know it won’t be easy to find so I’m going to document my search here on PPT. First off, I’m thrifty - I don’t like paying retail for much of anything especially clothes. I refuse to spend more than two hundred bucks on this dress. Second, although I am fairly slim, I’m hippy. Finding a dress that properly fits my frame won’t be a breeze. Lastly, although this dress obviously needs to be sexy, it can’t be slutty. I don’t do slutty.

Amerie working a mustard Herve Leger number. These dresses certainly fit the uber-sexy yet classy bill but are way out of my price range... (Plus, everybody has one now. That isn't my speed.)

And I’m giving myself until the end of September to find it. I would have made it sooner but I’m going on a big vacay in September. So the search is on. Where should I start? I think I’ll check out the Barneys Warehouse Sale just for kicks. But I’ll go the last day for the best deals and less crowds. I also want to check out Bebe. Yes, Bebe does carry quality clothes for folks over 25 but you have to use a discerning eye to find them. And there are a bunch of cute boutiques and mom and pop shops around the city that I will check out for this self-imposed challenge as well.

Should you decide to accept this assignment for yourself, leave me a comment and tell me how you are progressing. In the meantime, I’ll post periodic updates on my search. I’m very excited about this y’all!

Live It To The Fullest!

I'm rushing off to the j-o but I had to post this before I left even though it isn't what I wanted to blog about today. I recently learned that I lost yet another family member to cancer. Just last year, I spent a little time with him down in Alabama and he seemed like the picture of health. Now he is gone.

Let's really live our lives like they're golden y'all. Because you know what? They are.

Make it the day you want!

R.I.P. David

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Making of a Dream Team: HONEY Magazine

An assignment at work this week led me to do some research on the Olympics. Now I’m not really into sports but I was surprisingly happy to learn such cool info about the Games. How gangsta were track and field stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos (above)? And Jesse Owens showing Hitler what was really good - crazy, right? Then the Dream Team creating the blueprint of a perfect basketball team because they realized that each of them were all-stars. There are so many important parallels between succeeding in sports and in life: teamwork, tenacity and God-given talent. (I believe the Creator gives each of us a gift.) All of these athletes faced tremendous adversity in their careers. But they persevered. I am convinced that this is how champions are built.

Well, I have my own dream team when it comes to magazines. Kierna Mayo and Joicelyn Dingle created what for me was the perfect publication: Honey. It had a lot to do with timing I guess. When the mag launched, I was in my early 20s; really just starting to find myself as a woman. I did have YSB (we desperately need a version of this for teens today), Seventeen (I rarely saw girls that looked like me in it though) and even 3-2-1 Contact (my dad was a science buff) but none of them touched Honey. And I don’t think I was mature enough to appreciate Essence yet. But Honey, it gave me and my girls a voice. And it spoke loud and clear with perfect diction. It told the world what we didn’t have a platform to: that we enjoyed going to art museums and hip-hop concerts, we were interested in traveling to Barcelona and Howard’s Homecoming (the boys!), we found it necessary to keep our hair tight and gear fly but still made time for church. Basically we had layers. Honey got that.

R.I.P: Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez graced the cover of Honey's official debut issue

Well, the "perfect" moment in time was swept away by greed, legal ish and a bunch of other stuff I don’t know enough about to comment on. Others attempted to keep it up but it wasn’t the same (no disrespect). What was once thick, sticky and sweet felt watered down, bland and just eh. No matter how hard ya try, some things just can’t be duplicated.

Every now and again I pull out my very first issue and smile. (Actually, Lauryn was on the cover of the prototype issue but I never got that one…) What a dream team it was! While Kierna and Joicelyn oversaw all the editorial content of the mag, Sonya Magett and Julia Chance held down the fashion and beauty pages. (Sonya tolerated my stalking - I was trying so hard to be her assistant.)

Just take a look at some of the other talented folks who contributed to this first issue:

Aliya S. King - recently penned what is sure to be a bestseller: Faith Evans tell-all biography

Bonsu Thompson - EIC of XXL Presents Hip Hop Soul

Datwon Thomas - EIC of XXL and Editorial Director of King

dream hampton - all around dope writer, ‘nuff said

asha bandele - author of The Prisoner’s Wife, poet and teacher (I worked with asha briefly so I can personally vouch for her being a natural teacher.)

Ayana Byrd - Articles Editor at Glamour and co-editor of Naked

Margeaux Watson - writer for Entertainment Weekly and amazing scribe (Did you read her Usher cover story?)

Miles Marshall Lewis - writer, author, blogger

Elon D. Johnson - magazine, television and book writer (She contributed to Ayana’s Naked.)

Raquel Cepeda - writer turned filmmaker - Bling: A Planet Rock is a dope piece of work

To this day, whenever I see Kierna and Joicelyn, they inspire me. These two young women made history and opened doors I didn’t even realize were closed. And I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way. I don’t have a gold medal to give them, but they will always be a dream team to me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Family Business: Evin Cosby (Bill's Daughter) Opens NYC Boutique

I'm over celebrity "designed" clothing lines. I don't think I was ever really into them. Most are an insult to those who have paid their dues as a technical designer, patternmaker or illustrator. Frankly, starting a clothing line just seems sorta trite for the average celeb in 2008. Like opening a restaurant or launching a line of clothes (usually basic denim offerings and embellished tee shirts) are the only two investment options for a rapper/singer, athlete or actor.

Most of these celebs have licensing deals. They don't actually own ish. And the vast majority of people who own/run the parent companies that produce these lines have last names like Cohen, Jacobs or Berg. (I hope I didn't offend anyone but it is what it is y'all.) Just because someone is grinning in an ad campaign doesn't mean a doggone thing.

I digress. I'm not angry at all. I am actually pretty pleased because earlier this week I found out that Evin Cosby (Bill's daughter) just opened a boutique in Tribeca, NYC. PB & Caviar (Don't you love that name?) will carry pieces from newer indie designers like Melissa Odabash and Sestra Moja, as well as, cult classics like Anna Sui. And if it counts for anything, Evin did attend the Fashion Institute of Technolgy. Sure, she is working the family name a little bit (okay, maybe a lot) but I'm certainly not mad at her for it. But another graphic tee "designed" by someone who doesn't know anymore about fashion than my 5-year old neice? I would be mad at that. In addition to clothing, PB & Caviar will sell organic beauty products, home decor, children's clothing and toys. Prices for most of the items in PB & Caviar are probably on the high-end; I don't think this is the type of place to drop in and pick up a last minute top for the club. I hope to check it out this weekend. If you want to do a little checking out for yourself, head to 88 Thomas Street (Tribeca), NYC. (There doesn't seem to be a website address yet.)


Friday, August 1, 2008

A Sneak Peek at Tracy Reese: Pre-Spring 2009

Who doesn't love the feminine, classy and well-crafted designs of Tracy Reese? While checking out Suze on Style earlier today, I came across these Pre-Spring 2009 looks from the talented designer. The items below won't be available at retail until early January; it is basically her cruise/resort collection. Don't you love? C'mon, you have to feel pretty in one of these dresses. And I am even feelin' the striped jumpsuit situation -- I actully have something very similiar from H&M, who knew (lol)?

I've always been partial to Tracy's spring/summer collections over her fall/winter ones because of her fearless use of color, prints and flowy fabrications. To me, what she does best just translates better for her spring lines. And I see she didn't disappoint with this latest offering. Notice how her Plenty (lower-priced line) doesn't skimp on quality or style. Go Tracy!

It is a tough choice but I think the cream dress is my favorite. What about you?