Friday, February 28, 2014

The Cheap Knock-Off

The original Ugg boots

When something comes out, especially if it is exclusive or designer, it has a tendency to be expensive. Kind of like prescription drugs. Those drug makers have to recoup some of the cost for research and development. The same can be said of manufacturing. Someone had to come up with a design, figure it out and then make the product. This doesn’t come cheap.


Knock-Off Ugg boots made in China
It is much easier to reverse engineer something than to think up a concept and then produce it. The problem for designers is protecting all that hard work. Once someone has seen how it is done, they can manufacture cheap knock-offs. For example, the Ugg boot. This ubiquitous suede boot is now found just about everywhere including Wal-Mart. It is similar in style yet made with much more affordable material. These no brand name boots are popping up everywhere.


The original Celine handbag
Now I’m not sure if the manufacturer of Ugg’s is fighting this invasion into their design territory, but at this point could they stem the gigantic tide of boots coming from China? This isn’t a case of counterfeiting; no one is saying these are Ugg boots. Rather this is a similar boot in design and feel. It is more of a design infringement issue. Are these cases harder to fight? Are they harder to fight when it is being produced in another country that doesn’t honor patent/trademark/copyright laws?


Very similar Nila Anthony handbag, from their Facebook page
From what I’ve learned from one semester of Intellectual Property 101, fighting these battles when they involve companies that manufacture overseas is almost impossible. This would probably make Ugg think twice before going through the expense or trouble. While having cheap knock-offs invading your territory can put some companies out of business it isn’t always the case. Sometimes the cheap knock-offs make people enjoy the construction of the real deal even more. Every product has its fans and sometimes those fans are willing to pay more for the original.
Not sure who makes it, but it sure looks similar to a Celine

Thursday, February 27, 2014

In the Nude

Nothing says neutral better than a classic pump

For all of you who went to this blog because you were looking for something other than fashion advice, shame on you, for the others, we will discuss nude accessories. Nude accessories are not something new. Beige, winter white, ivory and other flesh toned shades have always been popular. In the past decade or so they’ve taken on the mantel of being super neutral.


Delvaux Handbag, structured and classic $2,750 at Barneys New York
Nothing gets more neutral than your own skin tone. Nude accessories, while neutral in color can add a lot of pop to your wardrobe. Contrary to popular belief, making something stand out doesn’t always mean adding a bright color, that’s just the easy way. Nude accessories can make their own statement and that statement can be elegant and classy.

The classic shape of these Stella McCartney sunglasses say old school Hollywood 

One of the ways to make nude accessories look elegant is to go for classic lines. Simple styles that have simple lines will have staying power. Go for handbags that are smooth, brief case styling, something with structure. Shoes can be a bit more daring; you can try something with thin straps, high heels or go the classic route with a nude pump.


Wear a nude colored scarf
Don’t forget the nude accessory that isn’t a shoe or handbag. Try nude framed sunglasses, a nude sheer scarf or a nude belt. Nothing looks better than a light ivory or white dress with a sheer nude scarf and matching nude belt. Add some nude pumps and you’re all set to go. So while spring is a little off in the distance still, go for some nude accessories and winter white, it is sure to lighten any mood.
Winter whites and nudes, always in style

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Mom Jean

They're making a comeback

Yes, I’m talking about the Mom jean. The style of jeans that have been parodied and reviled, those jeans that were criticized by all when worn by Jessica Simpson, yes those jeans. Apparently they are making a comeback and while some people may think this is a bad resurgence, other will applaud. Why are people happy, probably because they are sick of jeans that need constant pulling up.


The high waisted style is comfortable
First off, let me explain that I own a pair of Mom jeans. They’re super old, distressed and probably past their prime. I love them, and while I find the material soft and comfortable I do have to admit that they aren’t very flattering. They are a size too big but yet I never have to pull them up because the waistband sits quite high. I can’t say the same for my skinny jeans with the low cut waist.


So popular in the 90s that these guys wore them
Contrary to popular belief, Mom jeans can be flattering.  Women who are curvy will benefit as the cinched waist will accentuate their curves and show off that hourglass figure. Those who are on the shorter side will benefit from the elongating effect of the higher waist. Remember, that anything that makes the eye travel up and down over a long expanse gives the impression of long and lean. Extend the visual by wearing chunky wedge sandals and letting the hem fall over the shoes to extend those legs even more.


Even celebrities are wearing them (Jessica should of skipped the belt)
Since this style of jeans is a throwback, remember to keep your accessories simple. Don’t overdo it or it will look like a costume. No wide belts, animal prints or tons of bling. Keep your handbag classic and simple, no big hair (a little too 90s) and wear shoes that will keep the eye moving up and down, maybe some heels. You want to add length so stick to classic light blue jeans with no distressing, whiskering or other gimmicks. Anyone can wear Mom jeans, even if you’re not a Mom.
Remember there is a rear view so opt for a long cardigan if this is a problem area

Monday, February 24, 2014

Can You Sue to Wear Whatever You Want?

SEIU is willing to protest in the street of San Francisco

Believe it or not a group of employees at the Superior Court in San Francisco under the guidance of SEIU local 1021 say that their employer is over stepping the bounds when they tell them what they should wear to work. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t your employer always been able to dictate what you wear as a representative of their business?


They're protesting because they have to dress like this...
Many food services companies dictate what is acceptable work garb and places where heavy machinery can grab clothing require employees to follow dress codes for safety and sanitary reasons. Many corporate businesses like to project a sense of professionalism in order to instill confidence. Also courts around the country require dress codes of those who come to their hallowed halls to stand before a judge, so why should court employees get away with not following the rules?


instead of this
Apparently, many employees of the Hall of Justice and the Civic Center Courthouse in SF are being written up for not wearing the appropriate professional attire. Instead they are opting for hoodies, t-shirts and sneakers over coats, collared shirts and ties. Part of the problem may stem from the court not being vigilant in writing up employees who violate the dress code. Some are complaining that they’ve been wearing casual attire like flip-flops for over a year and no one said anything.


It shouldn't be, show some respect to our President by wearing the appropriate garb
While it maybe true that the court hasn’t been prompt in stating the obvious, all employees are made aware of the dress code the minute they apply for the job. I have personally gone through every round of interviews and testing for a Clerk I job (unfortunately I didn’t get it) and I know there is a dress code. Claiming ignorance really doesn’t work, beside how else will the court know the difference between the employees and those charged with a crime if they wear the same clothes? I’m always amazed when people refuse to dress appropriately.
Inmates no longer wear strips

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Hoop Earring and the Updo

Why can't I do this Rihanna?

I will admit right now that I’m pretty hopeless about putting my hair up. Welcome to the home of the lopsided bun, the slow sliding bun and the sloppy ponytail. I’ve tried several different methods for keeping my hair up and neat. This was especially important when I was serving an internship for a judge. Nothing says serious like a librarian hairdo.


Classic gold hoop earrings
One of the main reasons for putting my hair up is to showcase fabulous earrings. When your hair is off your face and your ears are visible, those earrings take center stage. Nothing says elegant like beautiful drop earrings and a fancy updo. These are things that I have failed to achieve no matter how hard I try. So I’ve come to a conclusion, I just need bigger earrings.


Emma Stone does it right
If you’re like me and have issues with getting an acceptable updo to show off our earrings, maybe we should just get bigger earrings. Bright sparkly earrings that have substantial size might be hard to miss even if they are hiding in my hair. I’m thinking some diamond hoops, maybe something with a couple of rows.


Maybe I just need some diamonds
So while an updo works best for showcasing earrings, I’m just going to try some larger earrings. Maybe I’ll be able to achieve the half updo. This only requires getting the front portion of my hair off my face and it will still show off my earrings. In the meantime, maybe I should look for some stunning hoop earrings. Nothing makes you feel better about your inadequacies than shopping for jewelry.
Go big or go home

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why Wear High Heels?

A wedge adds stability, Michael Kors MK Plate Espadrille

This becomes a question that is frequently asked as we get older. Why should I have to wear heels with this outfit? I want to be comfortable but I also want to look good. This is probably why I do it. I remember that old SNL skit where a character says “It is better to look good than to feel good.” Sorry, my memory is pretty fuzzy so I can’t remember his name, but I think he was an Italian priest.


Nine West Camya
Since I want to look good I will opt to wear heels, I just have a few suggestions. First, remember the higher the heel the more likely you will have difficulty walking or may sacrifice comfort. If you really love a high heel go for a platform. While your heel maybe 3 inches a platform that is 1 inch will give you a boost of 4 inches. Now you’re talking high heels.


Michael Antonio Jace
Another tip, go for stacked heels or wedges, the thicker the heel the larger the platform you stand on which provides stability. Stability is a key ingredient in finding a heel that is comfortable and walkable. If the surface you were walking on was unstable, think funhouse flooring, you would have a hard time keeping your balance and would strain your muscles. Look for shoes that provide a good solid heel.


Platforms add height, Born Emmy
Lastly, practice, practice, practice. I remember someone telling me that there is no substitution for practice. If you want to get good at something, this includes walking in heels, wear them and work on walking in them. You can always tell that woman who is wearing heels for the first time in months; their walking is labored and foreign. Keep your back straight, head up and walk tall. Practice will give you confidence and that is really the key to owning those heels and making it work. This is why I opt for high heels.
Who can resist red, Gabriella Rocha Coraline

Monday, February 17, 2014

I'm Disappointed in David Yurman

The Limited Edition Renaissance Bracelet in Gray $350

If you follow my blog you probably already know that I’m a huge fan of David Yurman. His classic cable designs are legendary. I have several pieces and wear them with pride. His craftsmanship is always superior, the quality of the materials outstanding and overall a David Yurman piece can be passed down to another generation. Always a sign of quality jewelry.


Renaissance Bracelet in Sterling Silver $850
Needless to say I was very disappointed when I received an email announcing their limited edition renaissance bracelets. Made with the classic cable pattern these bracelets come in a variety of colors and are made of anodized aluminum. Anodized aluminum? What could David Yurman be thinking? While interesting in design my immediate thought upon seeing the ad was these look cheap, and that was before I knew they were made of anodized aluminum.


I have these, Color Classic Earrings $575
Now I must admit that I haven’t actually seen these bracelets in person. I’ve only received an email and then gone to the website to look. The pictures are typical professional shots and show the bracelets to their advantage. While the pictures are great I still wonder what anodized aluminum will feel like, will it be light, will the color fade, are they too trendy?


I also have these, Mobile Earrings in Gold  $975
The cost for these bracelets is extremely inexpensive for a David Yurman piece, just $350 and can be shipped free. Unfortunately I’m not willing to chance my $350 to see if these bracelets are the same quality as my other pieces. Although you might be able to fool someone into thinking the gray version is actually the $850 sterling silver renaissance bracelet, who’s going to be looking that closely? Any way you slice it, I’m a little disappointed in these new limited edition renaissance bracelets.
Would love to have these, Renaissance Earring $575

Friday, February 14, 2014

What is Moissanite

Go big or go home, 5 carat tension set earrings

Today is the day that women wait patiently for, Valentine’s Day. Many are hopeful that this is the day when that someone special pops the question and a diamond ring isn’t far behind. For those of us who have already been posed the question, answered and spent years being committed or wishing we were, a diamond as a gift probably isn’t feasible, but maybe moissanite is feasible.


Get a lot of bang for your buck with moissanite
Moissanite was discovered by Henry Moissan in 1893 in Canyon Diablo in Arizona. He thought it was a diamond but it turned out to be silicon carbide. While moissanite has been found in other areas in the US finding this mineral in nature is still pretty rare. Apparently it likes to hide out in upper mantle rocks and meteorites. Moissanite is almost as hard as diamonds and can be grown in a lab.


Moissanite costs a fraction of diamonds
The ability of this mineral to be grown in a lab and its relative hardness made it perfect for industrial usage. Let’s face it, diamonds blades are the best for cutting with precision and ease. A commercially grown diamond substitute can greatly reduce the cost of producing these blades. Around 1998 moissanite was introduced to the jewelry market as a diamond substitute.


Big is sometimes better, moissanite makes it affordable
A lab grown diamond substitute is generally less expensive than a natural diamond. Since moissanite has similar optical properties, color and clarity of a diamond but at a much more affordable price it is a doable indulgence. So if you’re looking for diamonds on a crystal budget go shopping for moissanite. Moissanite paired with sterling silver makes for stunning jewelry that anyone can afford and won’t get the hubby all upset when you went shopping for yourself this Valentine’s Day.
Go for some big drop earrings, no one will know it's moissanite

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jewelry for Star Trek Fans

I saw this and thought, "Wow, I would so love it!"

I’ve seen a lot of novelty items for various science fiction fans. Everything from toy replicas to t-shirts is available for purchase. You can even buy entire costumes of your favorite characters. Places like Comic-con showcase these types of items and if you leave without buy at least one item then I don’t know why you would attend this type of convention.


Everyone's seen these...
This got me to thinking about jewelry that shows your fandom. We’ve all seen the various comic book character cuff links. You can get anything from Batman to Superman on a cuff link and character watches are common place, but what about jewelry? While many pieces are still kitschy, there are some people making some cute stuff.


or maybe these...
There are simple cuff links and pendants all the way to rings and earrings. Some are quite subtle other are a bit more daring. I did a little research on finding items for those Star Trek fans and of course there is tons of stuff out there. You can purchase just about anything and not all of it screams “Hey, I’m a huge Star Trek fan!”

 ...lets not forget this

One of the most interesting items was a wristwatch by Vianney Halter, it was quite a marvel with its domed crystal and visible inner workings. This is a high end luxury watch and you have to really be a fan to shell out the money. You also have to be a fairly wealthy fan too since it runs around 187,000 Swiss Francs. Oh well, I guess my personal fandom doesn’t stretch that far.

For the ultimate fan, Vianney Halter Deep Space 9 Tourbillon Watch


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Weird Valentine's Day Presents

Trader Joe's wants you to buy Valentine's Day presents from them

Valentine’s Day is coming up and most of those who have to buy presents will say that this is a holiday manufactured by the retail industry. While I think there is a modicum of truth to this, it was actually manufactured by the greeting card industry. That’s right, we retailers have nothing to do with creating a holiday that allows our significant others to capitalize on the love that we share.


...they suggested organic mustard
While there are the usual Valentine’s Day presents, flowers and chocolate, there have been some pretty unusual promotions for presents. I’ve been driving a lot lately so I have to endure radio commercials and the weirdest presented was advertised by Trader Joe’s. They are offering their Organic Whole Grain Brown Mustard as the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for that moderately special someone.


At least it will go with the mustard
Now I don’t know about you but I really cannot understand why someone would buy mustard as a gift and I feel sorry for the person who may receive it. I’m sure their reaction will be utter confusion. “Yes, thank you for the mustard; it’s just what I needed to make my sandwich sing!” I’m hoping that these ads are meant as a slightly humorist take on the commercialization of Valentine’s Day.


How most guys think...
While I have my own special ideas of what Valentine’s Day is all about, there are apparently others who think differently. I mean those who think mustard is an appropriate gift. To me Valentine’s Day is another excuse to indulge in chocolate, desserts and of course, wine. I like to keep things simple. Together time watching a movie at home, that’s my kind of Valentine’s Day.
My frugal side loves this the most