Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009

Here it is: The Gift Guide 2009. These are some of the best and most interesting shopping sites out there. Please add your own favorites in your comments, they will be filed!

For Anyone on your list:

Fishs Eddy

Artsy glassware, dishes, mugs and gifts at low prices. I like the Brooklyn line of dinnerware.

Fred Flare

This site has it ALL, from bacon bandages for $9 to foxy faux fur and talking Japanese watches for $15. You can even find your Edward-crazy niece Bella’s jacket from Twilight.

Retro block Ipod Speaker

Target Red Hot Shop is always fun to browse. has everything, and has a free shipping deal going on right with a minimum purchase of $50!

For the creative people on your list:

Curiosity Shoppe Online All manner of gorgeousness here. Every item is thoughtfully curated and very cool! I love these lace earrings for $30. Art, office and entertaining items that are to die for.

Lace Earrings from Curiosity Shoppe

I Love Uma

For creative urbanite, this cool site has things you didn’t know you needed! I love this:

Urban Cuckoo Clock


Amazing handmade items! This is not your granny’s craft show! Children’s items and jewelry are especially great finds. Easy to search.

Check out this adorable bath towel from SDK Designs:

For the fashionistas:

Newport News

A surprising array of on trend accessories and shoes. Newport News is having a great boot sale right now!

These booties are $44!


A super easy site to shop, (choose by color, size, trend and more) Baghaus constantly has amazing sales. Many faux leather bags are trendy and cheap, but well-made.


If I had my way, I would outfit my home and person with everything from Anthropologie. Plenty of inspiration and some affordable gift ideas.


One of my favorite sites for high fashion at low prices. I love the store, but the site is much more relaxing to shop. Great accessories!

This necklace looks so much more expensive than it actually is at $9!

More ideas for girly girls:

Statement necklaces

Chain handle bag

multi colored scarf and beret

Next up: Holiday Party Dressing. Email your questions, situations and parties, we'll help you get dressed!

Mad Gifting Skillz

Winter holidays are coming fast. In this craptastic economy, holidays are not just about the gifts. Holidays are about appreciating loved ones, and the great things we already have. That said, you still need to get a little something for those loved ones…

I recently read a study that found people are happier with purchases they make themselves compared with gifts they receive from others. People aren’t loving gifts they receive because the giver has no idea what to buy. Time to do some digging, shoppers. Get to know your “giftee” a little better. That is what the holidays are all about anyway, right?

(Stop reading here Linea and Emma, if you don’t want a holiday spoiler)

I just found out my sister loves Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon. I am someone with an art degree, so I am searching for a fabulous art book to inspire her. Another sister is moving into a new apartment, so an adorable wine rack it is (who can live without a wine rack?).

Here are things to think about when shopping for gifts:

No knick knacks or gag gifts. What happens to these things? We laugh, then stick it in a closet. Eventually it goes to charity or a landfill and is accompanied by the guilty feelings of the person getting rid of the gift.

Small and tasteful is better than large and cheap. Ostentatious, enough said. There are amazing and tasteful gifts to be found at Target, TJMaxx and more. Antique and flea markets are also a fun place to find something unique.

I know it is too late for this now, but shop all year. When you see something that jumps out at you, you will have it instead of doing a frantic stressful search the week before the gift is needed.

Think of getting something the giftee might not splurge on themselves; a pair of nice leather gloves, cute jeweled ipod headphones, an antique pitcher or vase…the list goes on.

Purchase clothing for people you know very well, with a gift receipt and clear knowledge of sizing. Jewelry and handbags are also very personal, but sometimes you have to take a chance.

Next up: A gift list, shoppable online!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Common Sense Fashion Tutorial, Class #1:

As I was recently perusing the racks at a high-thinking, low-end fashion mecca (Target), I spotted a fabulously faux-furry boho-inspired vest that called to me from across the industrially carpeted floors.

Shaggy vests are in for fall. A staple in stylist Rachel Zoe’s wardrobe for years, these kinds of trends take awhile to trickle down to the masses. Anyway, enough history. I picked up the vest and held it up to myself in the mirror. Cute?

Ok, my first instinct was, yeah, and cheap! Then I put on my Common Sense Fashion Chapeau, and realized this was a mistake.

An abdominable-snowman, crazy-sherpa, dead wet roadkill looking mistake.

Cheap, yes. Cute, um seriously, this got me thinking:

1. One must try to stay in style… but how to follow trends without succumbing to fashion-victim status while remaining true to oneself (and one’s figure and, I hate to say it, age)?

When I put on my figurative (invisible) chapeau, I am forced to slow down, back AWAY from the furry vest and think.

What does this look like? A dead animal. A fashionable dead animal, but I digress.

Another issue is the amount of clothing one wears vs. the clothing one HAS. People wear 20% of the items in their closets regularly. Wouldn’t it be great to have and organized closet, where you wear 90% of the items regularly? (the rest is formal-wear, your old dominatrix gear, etc..)

For the next few CSF entries, we’ll be working on better buying, organizing and using what we have while examining trends that are worth the money.

Look critically at the item in question, and ask yourself these 5 questions:

Would I wear this is if were not “in fashion”?

Would I still want this if its price were $100 more?

How does this REALLY look on my figure/face/hair? (Be honest)

What are three things in my closet that would go with this item?

Do I love it? (sometimes the last question cancels out the first two, but never the third)

Next up, some inspiration. Come back soon!

The vest above can be found at Urban Outfitters. I will add some examples of CUTE faux fur in the next post.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chloe Sevigny in a Proenza Schouler leather jumpsuit.

Is this:

a. a crime against an innocent crotch.

b. boob jail, with one trying to escape.

c. hot! I would wear this.

d. all of the above.

Please post your answer in the comments.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Disco pants.

Meet Shermine. She LOVES disco. And these pants. And why not? Who isn't dying to get into a disco diva's pants?
Um, ok, these are unflattering to say the least. What is with the classic mom high waist/ super tight, "1982's mistake" cut? And a cropped top with pumps. They had to go all the way. Well, I guess all the way is the only way to go, Disco Diva.
We here at the Common Sense Fashion Committee get the no sweatshop, made in the USA coolness of American Apparel, but we do not get this. These also come in shorts, and I mean SHORTS.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Found! Coveralls?

Coveralls and jumpsuits are different, seriously. Who doesn't covet the ease and style of your neighborhood mechanic's everyday go to item? We, of the Common Sense Fashion Committee declare these coveralls good. Hear us out... Yes, we know they aren't for everyone. But they are COMFORTABLE and different, which is always good. There is something vaguely art-school cool about these. You can find them for $118 at Free People.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Are Infants and cashmere compatible? The Mother's day issue.

Imagine my surprise upon realizing that my new infant and my favorite cashmere sweater were not compatible. Well, rather, my infant liked the sweater, the latter experiencing its first coating of spit-up and slobber. I had no idea what I was in for. 12 months later, I continue to learn about the tenuous pairing of motherhood and style.

The typical day trying to be a stylish mother:

Get up early for a nice long shower. Child pounds on shower door until you relent and let him in. He knocks down every product in the shower, and you can’t shave lest the razor get anywhere near him, he has those crazy trick arms that look short, but have a six foot span.
Dry hair while dancing to the noise with child while child “rearranges” your beauty products. He mimics your routine, which you know would make his father proud. Find your wayward makeup (in the tub, toilet and garbage) and get it on, quick! Ok, good face this morning, great eye makeup… You pick up little one for a look in the mirror, what a cute pair! Yes, I’m a hot mama! Child goes in for a kiss, and, oh no… it’s a sneeze! You wipe the snot from your eyebrow and decide to get dressed.

Dresses are out if you’re nursing.
Low cut tops are out if your little one has a “security boob” (anything unfamiliar and a little hand shoots down your shirt).
Dry clean only fabrics are out, white is out, anything that snags…
Ok, jeans and a cute top, I can do this. Put on those pre-baby designer jeans. Is there a such thing as a “jean horn”? You know, like a shoe-horn, that people used to use to slide those tight shoes on? I might have an idea here… Did I have a baby in my butt? Why does it look deflated? Oh well. Find a top that is still in style and covers the muffin top…

Feed little one. Now there’s yogurt on your shoulder but that’s ok, it’s fairly transparent.
Play. Little one gives you the sweetest kiss… on the eye. Unbeknownst to you there is a spreading mascara smudge just under your right eye.
Diaper change. Child says no to this. After the war-like struggle, you clean the poop off of your elbow and get on with your day.

You head out, little one in tow, for some shopping before nap. You cannot try anything on because of little one’s dressing room claustrophobia but somehow you find an amazing pair of gladiator heels and an adorable top on sale! Head to line. Little one is DONE. Major freak out happening here. It is nap time, NOW. He is writhing like someone possessed out of his stroller, screaming in outrage, and people are looking at you. You imagine they are thinking: “what a selfish mother, that child looks so tired and she is out shopping…in this economy? How irresponsible, she probably doesn’t even work she should be home cleaning or something that child has no manners I bet his mother just ignores him and shops all day.”

You flee, leaving the stuff on the counter. Gladiator heels, ha. Try catching the kid in those.
Child sleeps in car and when you get home he is AWAKE! Ready for fun!

Fold laundry while child unfolds, licks and throws each item into the laundry room garbage bin.

Change into sweats because we’re not going anywhere else today.

Child naps again. Bills, clean bathrooms, do six sit-ups, start dinner.

Child wakes. Try to plant some flowers in the new pots that have been sitting on the patio for three months. Play in the dirt instead.

Handsome Husband arrives, wearing a nice suit. You great him covered in dirt, yogurt, snot, spit, sweat, hopefully no poop, wearing ratty sweats, smudged mascara, and a frightening little-old-lady bun. You go in for a kiss and he does the duck and weave… and pats you on the shoulder.

So the point of this story is. I understand. I do. Keep trying. Don’t give up, ladies. We can do this hot mama thing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Update on the JUMPSUIT

I just returned from Oahu, where adorable tiny Japanese girls were rocking the jumpsuit, eighties style. I predict this trend will continue for tiny fashionable girls. Fall brings larger, structured shoulders. Yes, really.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

THE Jumpsuit

The editor at Common Sense Fashion has been away for a bit. Pontificating a contradictory new spring trend (while grappling with the flu and a newly defiant one-year-old, but that’s another type of blog). This disturbing, yet oddly comforting trend is THE JUMPSUIT. In the eighties, my glamorous mom had a lovely soft yellow palazzo-panted jumpsuit that I coveted. It had everything; shoulder pads, a flower pin, wide swishy fabric and buttons all the way up. She even let me try it on, but at age 10 the look did not quite work for me. Anyway, I digress because as I have heard some people lamenting the return of the jumpsuit along with all that was ugly in the eighties and nineties, I can’t help but feel a little connection to these items of current fashion. Let’s debate this issue:
1. Jumpsuits are comfortable. Yes, comfortable. I know, not important in fashion, per se, but it’s like wearing your pajamas, and with the ease of one-piece dressing, some people just might be able to pull this off.
2. We can do this with class, if we decide to accept jumpsuits into our fashion vocabulary. See Stella McCartney’s Spring ’09 collection in plain creme. (top photo) I am not a fan of printed jumpsuits. Too much going on. The shortie jumpsuit above in black works of you have a great figure and an auto body shop.  Wear with red stilettos.  
3. No shoulder pads. Obviously.

On the other hand…
1. Jumpsuits are vaguely unappealing on the sexy scale. Something about them reminds us of Sally O’Malley (Molly Shannon) on Saturday Night Live… “I’m Fifty Years Old!”
2. They can be unflattering. See the terrifying jumpsuit made by Stella McCartney below. You win some and you lose some, Stella. The focus seems to be on the extra-long crotch area. Mmmm.
3. They can be very unflattering if the wrong style is chosen. Check out the Proenza Schouler “jumpsuit” above. I dream of delusional genie? Oh well, this one is only about $10,000. Small price to pay for a fashion experiment.  The one next to it is another Stella creation, this time not a good choice.  
Remember, to pull of a ridiculous look, you must have confidence. And a sense of humor. Good luck. I might just give this one a try.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baby 'Hawks. Always In.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

We, of the Common Sense Fashion Committee, hereby issue a proclamation banning the future and present adoration of starlets wearing hippie headbands across the forehead. This trend has come and gone, coming rather uninvited-ly, and serves only to make said starlets looks as though they are suffering a war wound and trying to bling up the bandaging a bit. Let go of the little strings around your foreheads, tiny hipp-lets, and find a new trend! Be free!

Nicole Richie, repeat offender Mischa Barton (please, stop!!! We can revisit her outfit choices another day), model Irina Lazareanu of Sgt. Pepper's ugly headband club, and the lovely as always but just this once misguided Mary Kate.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Your handbag can't save this outfit. Or the Animals.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


“Ressionista Chic”?
Have you heard this? I have mixed feelings about this cheesed out label but the idea is actually quite Common Sense. Why max out your credit cards to look adorable? We (the committee) are cheap when it comes to fashion, and love to own up to it. It takes stamina, creativity and sometimes sheer force to snag a killer bargain.
What does it take to buy the latest Marc Jacobs off the rack? A personal stylist. Snore. Get some fashion cojones and be cheaper.

Our newly crowned Miss America 2009, gorgeous Katie Stam is a recessionista. She borrowed her formal gown from 1986. I actually like it, partly because pageant wear is an entirely different world than high fashion and putting it all out there is excused, partly because my dream wedding Barbie had the same dress. Maybe Ken's all in one tux with attached tie will make a comeback as well? Oh, I forgot, Barbie ditched that dude years ago.

Oh, the point: Here are some sites where you can find some FINDS!

Gilt Groupe (you have to create an account, and keep checking in, jump on it quick- but the discounts are amazing if you find something you like)

Day Lab Cute cheap jewelry! Unworn Vintage! Much under $10! Yeah!

Bluefly Everyone knows about Bluefly, but still good.

Etsy Everything under the moon from indie designers and non-dorky crafters.

Target Way more than is in the store. Check out the clearance section!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mom pants!

Open letter to Jessica “Mom Pants” Alba,

Let’s talk about last impressions. This is the impression you leave when you are walking away. This is as vital as the first impression, but often overlooked.

Dear reader, is this the picture you want to leave the world as you walk away?

Yes, we know high-waisted pants are all the rage, but they are not without their victims. Do I need mention the silly bow, equally mom-tastic conservative top, and shoes that look, from the back, a little streetwalker-ish? I am a mom, too and as a star, you, Ms. Alba should try to represent us with a little more common sense. Sexy mom, yes. Weird, saggy butt, hooker shoes mom? No.

On the subject of the derriere, let’s look at the photo below and just take a moment of silence.

The poor girl probably only has Laguna Beach, season one, on DVD for fashion inspiration.
A little booty never hurt anyone, on the beach, in a bikini, but this little booty is too much.

Is it cold, hence the Uggs and flannel? Or warm, as she is wearing a ridiculous mini?

Ok, let’s fix this picture.
1. Chop that raggedy unkempt mess of a mop. Even just a little.
2. Ditch the Uggs.) but they are not appropriate for a beachside stroll. Trade for Chuck Taylors.
3. Trade heinous Lisa Turtle inspired skirt for dark straight-legged jeans. There, better already.

Next, the transitional spring uniform and “Recessionista Chic.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Common Sense Fashion gets Catty.

Today we are taking issue with a certain affordable store and leader of the teen fashion steamroller, "Eternally 19" or something along those lines... It is a great place to pick up little tops and layering basics that look like they might be from somewhere pricier. Now we at the committee are not 19, and that being said, we are appalled at the state of youth fashion today.

#1: Your pantaloons are showing. These things are too strange for words. This outfit adds a hideous pooch. However, this would be great for a flood, after she joins the Hessian army.

#2: What is going on between her waist and dramatically lowered crotch? Where is her real crotch? That is an odd space but we can't stop looking! Oh, the mystery! This outfit is obviously inspired by Samantha Ronson, who, if you don't know is Lindsay Lohan's DJ hipster lady. She makes very dubious fashion choices and should not be a muse. The hat is too small, it makes her head look like a giant melon, while the shirts are mannish and disturbing.

#3. Ooooh, the pants. Imagine if you had a real body and tried to pull this off? Don't. We thought this trend ended in 1987, but alas, the glamour of that era has entranced the younger set. Try to find your own sweat-flinging flashdance moment in these dominatrix heels and you might break an ankle! We do nominally like the SATC inspired Manolo knockoffs, but in a very specific setting.

Next we'll bring out some lovely choices and must haves for the dolldrums we call January through March...

Signing off.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Common Sense Fashion. What does it mean? It's silliness, really. Fashion is not, in itself, common sense. However there is an inundation of jackassery in our current climate that lends itself to mistakes of the grand order when it comes
to fashion choices. We, of the committee are all for fashion, all for trends. We are not, however, for jackassery. In our fast moving world, it is so easy to get swept up in the haves and have nots of fashion and style.

"That succulent, name-not-mentioned sweat suit, I must have it. So what if it makes me look like an overstuffed sausage? I will wear it to the store!"
No, reader, you will not. We are here to help. Read on.
Resolutions for this year: (or this month anyway)
I will buy it only if I am in love. Love means never having to think what it will match with in my closet. Love is love, accepting the item as it is. Strange rationale, we know, but we are getting there.
I will find a fashion muse.
I will never go to the store in sweats. You never know who you'll see.


                       Let's start with some inspiration.  Take a deep breath.  Then we'll talk.

In order: Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg in Cannes, Jean Seberg, Jane and Serge, Jean again, Faye Dunaway

 (Bonnie and Clyde), Deborah Harry.