Friday, October 28, 2011

Trick or Treat

As an actor, I get to play dress-up for a living, so it's no wonder that I absolutely LOVE to dress up on Halloween. And I'm not alone in my adoration. Did you know that Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion dollars on Halloween this year according to the National Retail Federation? That's $6.9 BILLION.

What I find most horrifying about that statistic is that people throw away so much money on a costume they'll only wear once. Why spend $200 on a naughty nurse costume you'll wear one time (well, maybe more than once, but only one time OUT of the house) when you could buy a fabulous pair of shoes to wear year round instead?

Each year I try to limit my Halloween costume budget to around $20 bucks. I like to make a game of it and challenge myself to come up with a really creative and fun look for little cash. I've learned a few "tricks" along the way, so I'm sharing them with you in this special Halloween edition Stylaphile post.

3 Steps to a Creating a Fabulous Halloween Look Without Breaking the Bank

1. Think of people that you get told you look like. I get the same ones: Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Jessica Rabbit, and lately, with my new bangs and a ponytail, I get Pebbles Flintstone. So this year, I decided to dress up as Pebbles. No need for an expensive wig, just a bone, which I got at Petco. COST: $4.99

2. Get inspiration for your look by Googling your chosen character or person. The key word here is "inspiration." It doesn't have to be the exact dress or costume down to every detail. It's more fun to just get an idea and then make the look your own. Plus, you want to be comfortable enough in your costume to have a good time, since that's really what the holiday is all about.

3. Once you have an idea of your costume, hit the discount clothing stores such as Marshall's or TJ Maxx instead of the expensive costume shops. I found my "Pebbles" dress in the clearance section at TJ Maxx and it's so cute, I can wear it again next summer (minus the bone in my hair, of course). COST: $10.00

After you've assembled the basics of your costume, then you can tailor your makeup and accessories accordingly. This is where you can really spend a lot of time and effort (but not necessarily money) in making your look unique. For the Pebbles look, the makeup was pretty easy...bright lips and Bambie eyelashes.

Although I know that bare feet were a big fashion trend back in the Flintstone days, I still felt the need to add a little "Barbie" to the Pebbles ensemble in the form of these electric pink and purple stilettos by the one and only Betsey Johnson. And since they were already part of my "collection," I didn't even have to spend money on the shoes. COST: zero dollars

And remember the rules when it comes to "sexy" Halloween costumes (or dressing in general). If you're going with a really short skirt, then make sure you're covered on top. If you're opting for a strapless, low cut, or one-shouldered top, then make sure your hemline hits at the knees or lower. Unless of course, you actually did purchase the $200 naughty nurse costume, or you are, in fact, a naughty nurse. If that's the case, then no rules apply. Especially if you never make it out of the house.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Bikini Shopping in October

Having just returned from my final beach trip of the season (sigh), I learned a few important tips when packing for late (okay, very late) summer vacations. The first tip would be to NOT put your summer wardrobe into storage prior to packing for your trip.

If you read my last blog post about the "lust board" and all my enthusiasm over the fall fashion trends this year, you'll understand my excitement in doing the annual "changing of the season" closet makeover. In my rush to get all my winter clothes out of storage and clear out all of the summer items, I realized that I still needed to pack for my mid-October beach vacation. Of course, I realize this at the very moment that all of my summer clothes are already packed neatly into a dozen or so large storage bins.

So, how do you pack for a late season trip when your mind is filled with fall fashion, your summer clothes are packed away, and your Mystic Tan has long since faded? You start with your beach basics: swimsuits.

Fact: you will rarely find swimsuits in stores at this time of the year if you live in New York. Also a Fact: you can order amazing swimsuits all year round online at Victoria's Secret. As you can tell from the photos, I'm a bikini girl (simply because I have short legs and a long waist and bikinis just look better on my body type than one pieces.) All four of the bikinis in the photos came from Victoria's Secret. The leopard print one in the top left photo is actually from the bombshell collection, and does indeed provide "2 cups worth" of lift if you know what I mean. It can also be used as a flotation device.

After deciding on bathing suits, I try to pack cover-ups that can do double-duty and also be worn out at night as a dress. Then I throw in a couple of sundresses, one long maxi-dress and all I have left to pack are shoes and accessories.

You'll notice in the photo of my "vacation wardrobe" how inspired I was by the fall season, from the leaf print on my maxi-dress to the "blinged out" black satin Michael Kors tunic and the rich green and brown colors of my mini caftan dress (also from Victoria's Secret).

As for the shoes, a couple of pair of neutral toned heels and wedges are perfect to wear at the beach and these go with everything!

And since I'll wear one pair while traveling, that's only one pair to pack (along with my "pack flat" Puma sneakers that are oh so travel friendly for workouts and my morning runs along the beach.)
There is a chance that upon my return up north, my exposed tootsies may get a little cold depending on the weather. But they know that soon they will be in boot heaven for the entire fall/winter season, so I think they'll manage.

Finally, I threw in some beach themed accessories such as a large shell necklace and plenty of flexible summer hats that don't lose their shape when packed. I never go out in the sunshine without plenty of protection in the form of a great hat, huge sunglasses and some serious SPF.

Of course, the best beach accessory is a hot guy and this is the one that I travel with. It's a shame that standing next to him, you can't even tell that I renewed my "Mystic Tan" for the trip.

I kind of look like Casper the Friendly Ghost, which I guess is timely since Halloween is just a week away.

It's time to pack away the bikinis for real this time. This is a good thing, since I now have a serious craving for candy corn.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lust is in the Air

Let's face it. Fall is sexy. Rich colors, pumpkin spice coffee, and that chill in the air that makes you want to snuggle up to someone. Or stay in bed all day canoodling with the larger than life September issues of your favorite fashion magazines. Both
activities lead to what I call, "the season of lust."

One of my favorite traditions is the "lust board" that I create after an intensive study of all the fall fashion issues. I just go through and pull out any of the pages that make me want to run to the store and get a particular look. This season seemed to be all about the return of the bombshell, evidenced by some of the following items that made it to my lust list and inspired my "look of the day."

1. Drew Barrymore's vibrant red locks in the Cover Girl ads

2. Kate Winslet's bombshell turn as the new spokesperson for St. John (I blogged previously about my crush on Miss Kate)

3. The black and white trend (this works for me, as I'm a New Yorker and my entire closet is black)

4. Overall Hollywood style glamour with red lips, cinched waists and curvy hips. Yes, hips seem to be back in style!

5. Bold eyes: serious eyeliner, serious color

So, after getting all my fall and winter clothes out of storage (another favorite tradition), I realized that I had most of the trends already in stock. The grey London Times dress I just recently purchased for an audition. The black & white necklace is actually two of the same necklaces that I bought years ago at New York & Company. My treasured purple Michael Kors Hamilton Tote adds a pop of much needed color. Speaking of color, the lipstick is Elizabeth Arden's Exceptional Lipstick in the appropriately titled "Autumn."

And then of course, there's the shoes. I purchased these gorgeous stilettos at the Fendi outlet shop at Woodbury Commons - half-price and worth every penny.

So, I was pleased to find that I already had a head start on some of the trends in fall fashion this year. The only items I really need to purchase are fall boots. The annual shopping for the fall boots tradition is another one of my favorites. And when it comes to how I feel about boots, lust doesn't even begin to describe it.

I'd better go find someone to canoodle with soon.