Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stepping Out of the Box: Accessories

You’re wearing a white T-shirt, dark wash jeans, and ballet flats. If you’re a guy, your white shirt is a button-up, and you’ve swapped your jeans for khakis. These basic looks are both comfortable and effortless ways to look good without looking like you tried too hard. But after a while, the basics can get boring. We’re here this week to explore the wonders of accessories—small details that you only have to throw on to make yourself look fifteen times cooler, just like that.

•Bags: Guys, feel free to skip ahead, unless of course you’re reading to do research for upcoming gift ideas. Halloween is just around the corner. (We’re kidding). Anyway, a good bag is like a microcosm of lipstick, cell phones, credit cards, keys, and gum. Why not make it fashionable? Megan was shopping with Jenni and was moved so much by Carlos Santana. What? He makes bags, didn’t you know? And shoes. But that’s another article. The one Megan totes around is made of burnt orange leather and accented by woven and geometric stitching. Jenni prefers tote bags and alternates between Andy Warhol’s “Flowers” design and an obnoxious lime-green Marc Jacobs satchel. Both of us love to switch it up, but can attest to finding “the one,” that bag that just works with everything. Till death do us part. Target bags are great but have a negative lifespan to cuteness ratio.

•Belts: Oh, the black belt/brown belt dilemma so many men must face. What’s a guy to do? Simple—match it with your shoes. And for the record, black and brown actually can go together, and sometimes should. So don’t be afraid to wear that black polo with a brown belt, khakis and brown shoes. We’re begging you. Ladies, belts don’t have to match shoes. Or bags. Or anything. Sometimes your belt can be your outfit’s main statement. Keep the “Go Fish” rule in mind—things don’t have to match, but they do have to go together. Wear them on your hips, on your waist, or under your bust to create an empire seam. Basically, imagine what you’d like your body to look like and put a belt there to make it happen. Who needs the gym when they’ve got a nice wide belt?

•Scarves: It’s getting colder. Everyone needs a scarf. Whether it’s a solid color or printed, neutral or bright, this bohemian-chic accessory does wonders for the whole T-shirt and jeans look. Guys can also benefit from scarves, and no, you don’t have to be metro sexual or a scene hipster to pull it off.

•Hats and Hair Accessories: Try them. Jenni loves hair accessories; they add hints of bygone days of glamour and help corral her curls. Picture Rita Hayworth’s luxurious deep side part. Now add a peacock feather. Suddenly, you pretty much are Rita Hayworth for the day. If you want to go frilly, find a headband with a silk flower or bow and tuck it into a low bun or voluminous curls. Hats are a little trickier, depending on (obviously) your head. Jenni is hats over heels for cloche hats, a staple of the 1920s flapper style. If you’re not into a polished, vintage look, then something is wrong with you, but you can wear a rakish beret. Preferably with a paint palette and a baguette. Megan’s a big fan of knitted hats that you might wear if you had a head full of dreadlocks, and of course preppy little scarves. Seriously. She alternates between the two because, honestly, she hates to wash her hair. So, regardless of your reasons, a hat can add endless personality and intrigue to your overall look. Even if hats are tricky for you, there’s always some style out there that will suit you. Don’t be intimidated by all this talk of cloches and berets—baseball caps can always play the fashion field.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Style Polls II: Boys, Boys, Boys

As promised weeks ago, we’re finally incorporating men’s fashion into our column. We’ve gotten results from our men’s survey and are ready to share them along with our own opinions about several of GQ’s fall trends.

•Trench Coats: 66 percent of the 21 respondents were against this cool weather cover-up. We disagree. It’s possible that there was some confusion about what constitutes a “trench coat.” We’re pretty sure GQ didn’t mean floor-length black coats with chains and huge buckles. We favor shorter ones in lighter colors, like grey or khaki. Think James Dean, not Dracula.

•Patterned Sweaters: 52 percent of you guys don’t like these either. Once again, we’re thinking modern instead of hokey—as heartwarming and nostalgic as they may be, we aren’t talking about the reindeer patterned sweater your aunt knitted last Christmas. We like stripes or non-pastel argyle. Now who looks like a big boy?

•The Double-Breasted Suit: 52 percent weren’t fans of this look, either. You guys are hard to please! But honestly, we’re skeptical of this kind of suit as well. It’s a wide-cut suit, so it can be hard to wear. Honestly though, we don’t know that much about suits. Don’t tell anyone.

•Henley Tees: 61 percent don’t wear them. What?! We’re pretty sure these look nice on every guy. What if girls stopped wearing tank tops or perfume? There would be riots in the streets. Henleys are laid back, but still put together. Sexy. Start wearing them.

•Fatigue Jackets: 66 percent aren’t enthusiastic about them. We feel that the only reason you should be wearing something as militaristic as a fatigue jacket is if you’re actually in the military. And if you are, thank you.

•Plaid Dress Shirts: 71 percent of you like them. Finally—something we both like. They are like an Oxford on the weekend; the ideal business-casual. Maybe more casual than business, and that nerdy sort of fashion is what both of us are a little bit more than into.

•Dark shirt, dark tie, dark jacket: 52 percent don’t want to be so funereal. Jenni ‘unlikes’ this trend because she’s seen her fair share of unflattering choir outfits. In fact, whenever her friends wear something black and comment on it, she often adds in “Yes, like your soul.” Megan doesn’t hate it, because she has a secret affinity for dark clothing. It looks good on everyone, no matter their skin tone or eye or hair color. Black on black on black would be nice, but she’d like to see a man wear, say, a black shirt and with a dark grey tie and jacket.

So, these are the trends, this is how you responded, but the real question is this: does anyone actually dress like this at Longwood? We see plenty of fashionable fellas, but where are the plaid dress shirts, cool sweaters, and stylish jackets?
We hope this helps you next time you’re shopping for things to wear this season. And rest assured that from now on, we’re going to keep you guys in mind every week when we write for The Longwood Look.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Unorthodox? No problem.

Posted by Jenni

Hello, everyone. This is Agyness Deyn. Not only is she stunning, she's the premiere model for Burberry and has been on the cover of Vogue in at least two countries. She's one of my fashion inspirations because she is unabashedly unorthodox. She's eccentric, slightly androgynous and hugely successful, yet she never conforms to trends. She'll never be a 'slave to fashion', and she has the longest legs ever.

To pare down this street-chic look for yourself, try a graphic tee, skinny jeans, a scarf, a knit cap(or fedora, as shown), and Converse sneakers.
You do have those, right?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Longwood Look meets Longwood Hole

The best (and only) interview/review we've ever given/received. Enjoy.

"...does not suck." -The Longwood Hole

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hide and Chic: A Quest

Posted by Jenni

The phrase “hide and chic” is often used to describe designer storage intended to hold ten years of your life while looking like an innocent Ottoman. I prefer to use it as a phrase to describe the shredding of tags on clothes you've had for...ages. You just forgot about them. At Banana Republic.

If you're like me, then you enjoy shopping to a degree that actually causes withdrawal if the activity is too infrequent. This is called retail therapy, and Americans are particularly prone to it. It's nothing to be ashamed of - just don't be one of those people who write it off and say things like "The truth is...". The truth is that you enjoy buying and wearing new clothing. Lots.

Obviously, this can be expensive. That's why I'm here: to enable you to um, help our economy. At Banana Republic.

I am a pro at finding good deals. I have a pair of Betsey Johnson T-straps, a Marc Jacobs tote bag, and a vintage Burberry scarf, all of which I managed to get for much less than their usual retail prices. I think.

The first place to look for these things is an outlet mall. I found my Marc Jacobs bag for $58 at a Saks Fifth Avenue outlet over the summer. If you live in northern VA, you're in luck - the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets have great clothes/shoes/bags/cookware at great prices. Similarly, I ran across a Burberry scarf in a locked glass case at a Goodwill in Frederick, Maryland. It was $20.

In my opinion, the key to finding quality products at a Goodwill or similar thrift store is to make a day trip and go to one that skirts a major city or a borough. But I would always recommend looking through a thrift store no matter where you are. You might find a great piece of vintage clothing or jewelry. I did once stumble upon a real Chanel bag in a tiny town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but it was practically destroyed. I still should have bought it. It was only $25.

My favorite, though, is how I got ahold of my Betseys. I traveled to Boston (my hometown) this summer with one of my best friends, whose real name is – get this – Ashley Magnifico. As one native Bostonian said upon meeting us, “I betcha spent two howahz on history, and five howahz on Newbury Street.” How did he know?
Anyway, later in the day, we wandered into Betsey Johnson’s hot pink boutique. We must have looked pretty darn cute, because the manager invited us to Betsey’s birthday party later that day, where we were served cupcakes, pink lemonade, and 30% off. I bought my T-straps for $56.

Basically, what I’m trying to tell you is not to be afraid to look. To shop. To dream. Try everything, and if it doesn’t work out, make your own.

Jenni Schweitzer is unnaturally talented at finding good deals on normal clothes, too. She just looks like a million bucks.

Tights as Pants

Posted by Megan

After receiving continual questions on the subject, I’ve decided to pretend to know something about wearing tights as pants. I have to be honest and say that I’m actually pretty into the whole look. I’m a firm believer in turning warm weather pieces like dresses and skirts into fall and winter clothes by adding scarves, cute jackets and tights.

But when I talk about wearing tights as pants, I really mean leggings: they shouldn’t be sheer, and they should function more or less like pants, except that you can wear a dress over them and not look ridiculous.

There are really important guidelines that need to be followed when you’re wearing leggings. More important than the color or style is the issue of making sure that you’re appropriately clothed in the most basic sense. Before you walk out the door, pretend that your leggings are invisible and that you have no pants on. Is your shirt long enough to cover your behind? Perfect.

Here are a couple things to keep in mind:
• Brightly colored leggings can work really nicely if you’ve got the confidence to wear them.
• Make sure your leggings don’t end in strange place. A little above the ankle is good. Anywhere near your knee is not.
• Layer your long tops and add cool jackets or a scarf. Don’t be afraid to pair leggings with shirts, just remember to keep them long enough.
• Leggings are awesome because they look good with pretty much any shoe: flats, athletic shoes, heels, boots. Don’t forget this! Switch it up.

Hopefully this clears a few things up. It’s a good look! Just find a way to wear it that works for you.