Monday, March 31, 2014

3-D Jewelry


 
Interesting patterns on a 3-D printer

Yes, I know what you’re going to say, all jewelry is 3-D. What I am referencing is the making of jewelry with a 3-D printer. Now everything I know about 3-D printing can be summed up in a sentence. It’s a machine that makes 3-D objects by adding layer after layer of material until you have a finished product. Most of what I learned about 3-D printing was gleaned from an episode of The Big Bang Theory. They made a whistle in something like 3 days.

 

Design your own ring
 
 
I’ve seen the traditional jewelry making that requires a mold, shaping, buffing and literally tons of work to produce a single ring. These manufacturing processes can take days to complete, and while a 3-D printer isn’t much faster, the results are astonishing. It’s interesting that plastic and even metal jewelry can be made without all the molds. While it is futuristic and allows designers the opportunity to see their sketches come to life, this technology still isn’t super practical.

 

3-D dresses hit the runway
 
 
So many of you may be asking why bother? A 3-D printer allows the designer to make sketches and then produce a mock-up of the finished product. If you actually have the product in your hand you can see all the angles, the size, shape and if any adjustments need to be made. Some companies are already using 3-D printers to allow customers to design their own jewelry. You go in and work up a design and the 3-D printer makes a model. From there you pick your metal, gems and other specifics for a custom piece.

 

Pick your own metal
 
 
While 3-D printing is still new and has limited applications, someday it will be able to make just about anything. It will be like those replicators that were in every episode of Star Trek. You simply tell the machine what you want and it makes it. This will reduce waste and hopefully make each piece customized for a perfect fit. No more size 8 or 9, now you can have an 8 ½. Until then I guess I’ll have to shop the old fashioned way, on-line.
 
Will 3-D printed clothing be the wave of the future?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Perforated Leather


 
French Sole League $180
 

For all of those who refuse to give up wearing leather, even when the weather warms up, try a little bit of perforations. Perforated leather is basically leather that have little holes or laser cut patterns. Car manufacturers have been using perforated leather on car seats for years. The idea is the little holes will allow more air circulation and keep the passenger cooler. The same principle applies for clothing made of perforated leather.

 

Avery Perforated Jacket $895
 
 
You’ve probably seen shoes made of perforated leather. Flats with a cut laser cut pattern have been around for a while. The cut-outs on the shoes allow more air flow and help to let your feet “breath.” This allows the wearer to enjoy leather even when the weather is heating up. It also makes the leather appear less solid and enclosed. When you allow a little skin to show it lightens up the overall appearance thereby making it more summery.

 

Super cute structured perforated leather handbag
 
 
Accessories such as shoes and purses have been made of perforated leather for quite some time. Dresses, blouses and even skirts with lining have used the perforation treatment while using a light summery material such as cotton or linen. Now we are seeing perforated leather shirts and dresses, as well as jackets. This gives the leather a light look that is appropriate for warmer weather while allowing the wearer a little breathing room. Nothing says hot and sweltering like a heavy leather jacket.

 

Super affordable, Wanted Limbo $35.99 at Zappos.com
 
 
Not only does perforated leather allow you to wear your favorite jacket material during warmer days, it adds a little interest with a pattern. Keep in mind that dark colored leather will also look heavy and hot so go with a lighter color. Think white, yellow, light green or blue, a pastel color will look light and airy and feel super cool. A perforated leather jacket looks super cute when paired with white jeans and a light cotton shirt. So if you can’t go without wearing leather, try some perforations, it’s just the trick to transition leather to summer.
 
Perforated Shirt Nordstrom.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Frankenwatch


 
John Mayer is an avid collector of Rolex watches
 

You may be wondering what the heck I mean when I say Frankenwatch. This is a watch, generally a name brand, which has been refurbished with aftermarket parts. Recently the singer John Mayer filed a lawsuit alleging misrepresentation of several Rolex brand watches that he purchased over several years from jeweler Maron in Thousand Oaks California. He claims that the jeweler sold him watches that had counterfeit parts.

 

I can see why, Rolex makes beautiful watches
 
 
This appears to be a case of “you say toe-may-toe and I say toe-ma-toe.” Rolex believes that any part that is not a genuine Rolex part can render the watch a counterfeit. This is probably because only an authorized repair centers for Rolex should be doing the repairs. It is highly likely these authorized repair centers charge an arm and a leg for a simple repair. This may cause some jewelers to seek out alternatives, including aftermarket parts. It almost appears as if Rolex is trying to corner the market on repairs done to their watches. If only authorized dealers have authorized parts, then Rolex is the only one who can do the repairs. I get it, you're protecting your brand.

 

Some Rolex watches have been around for a long time
 
 
The Chinese are famous for manufacturing counterfeit items so counterfeit watch parts are a natural crossover product. This makes sense when you think about older watches that may not have readily available parts. Springs and gears break and if you have no other alternative you may succumb to the lure of an aftermarket part. While Rolex has the resources within its large company to manufacture parts that may no longer exist, some of us aren’t that lucky. Also let's get real, is one or two aftermarket gears in a watch going to taint it so badly that it is no longer a Rolex, really?

 

With so many parts, something is bound to break over time
 
 
It is kind of silly that Rolex is taking such a hard line stance against a few aftermarket parts in a watch. I can understand their apprehension; after all, they are counterfeited frequently and must defend their brand. A costly endeavor indeed, but to penalize a jeweler or anyone who simply wanted to repair a watch economically isn’t good customer service. I feel it is more important to keep an antique watch running and in use as opposed to authentic. Authenticity is for museums, jewelry and watches are to be worn and enjoyed and if some wear and tear results, fix it and move on, or better yet, Rolex can fix it for free then they are assured all parts are genuine.
 
 
It would be a shame if this watch was never used again due to a lack of authorized parts

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What to Wear for Spring


 
Mix it up with different types of fabric
 

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and one thing we are famous for, other than sourdough bread and cable cars, is micro-climates. This generally means if you don’t like the weather, travel an hour in any direction and it will be different. This also means that we have huge swings in weather from day to day. Yesterday it was 80 degrees, this morning I awoke to cloudy skies and cooler temperatures, by 20 degrees. This is our spring.

 

Add or subtract pieces as needed
 
 
The real question is how is a girl supposed to dress for these wild swings in temperatures? I cannot count the number of days I put on a coat and scarf to find I am the only person in the checkout line dressed for a blizzard. While I’m not one to let others dictate what I wear, it is a little odd to find you’re the only person bundled up amongst a sea of shorts and flip-flops. I feel out of place, as if I have a medical condition that requires me wear heavy coats and boots. Yes, people do look at me weird.

 

Try denim on top for a twist
 
 
Truth be told, I feel cold most of the time. I also love to wear jackets and scarves. I think I look better with them as opposed to without them. Generally I dress in layers to combat our dyslexic weather. If you live in a region where the weather is topsy turvy, then wear layers. A cardigan over a collared shirt, a light jacket and perhaps a scarf will keep you warm, look fashionable and be easy to remove one piece at a time should the weather warm up.

 

Marc Jacobs got it right
 
Shoes can be tricky as flats are generally worn sans socks and sandals can leave your toes exposed. If the weather appears like it is going to warm up, try flats and sandals with a heavier upper half. Think scarf and jacket over a tank top or camisole. Nothing looks cuter than a sweater, scarf and sandals, and maybe I won’t feel so out of place when the sun decides to shine.
 
 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dress Up Your Outfit with Jewelry


 
Wear these and people will notice
 

I will be the first to admit that I’m pretty plain when it comes to my clothes. While I love patterns and florals I rarely purchase them. I love the sparkle of sequin and beads but I don’t think I own anything with these embellishments. Some women open their closet and their evening wear looks like Liberace dropped off his extras, my evening wear is a high heeled shoe.

 

I bet no one will notice your dress doesn't have any bling when you're wearing this!
 
 
This became a problem while searching for a dress for my daughter’s wedding. My Mom and the Mother of the Groom both purchased outfits that had a bit of bling. I on the other hand tried some bling and found that it just wasn’t me. I couldn’t even bring myself to wear a beaded jacket. This got me to wondering if I was making a huge fashion mistake. Would I look like I didn’t care, was I being too plain, and was my dress too ordinary for a wedding?

 

Add some bling to your wrist
 
 
That was when I realized I can make a statement with jewelry. Jewelry sparkles and shines and wearing the right pieces can turn something ordinary into something special. I decided that my multiple strand pearl necklace would add a bit of pop to my neckline. I also have some beautiful drop diamond earrings. I rarely wear them because they are very dressy, perfect for a wedding. Now is also the time to break out a diamond watch and maybe that diamond tennis bracelet.

 

I'm wearing my favorite David Yurman watch
 
 
I’ve always kept my clothing conservative so bringing in some sparkle with jewelry is perfect. Wearing a beaded jacket generally requires a special occasion but wearing a diamond tennis bracelet can be done on just an evening out for cocktails. Jewelry can dress up any outfit or add just the right amount of sparkle, no beading required. Remember the bigger the piece the bigger the impact. Also the more you wear the more likely it should be a big event. That’s what is nice about jewelry, it’s so versatile.
 
These earrings would make any outfit pop

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When is a Sale not a Sale?


 
We went here yesterday...
 

It happens all the time; you see a sale sign and immediately think that the prices will be good. You go into the store and begin browsing and come to discover, these prices really aren’t as good as advertised. This is a trick many retailers use to sell items. Mark the item up to gigantic proportions then slash the price dramatically, the retailer still makes a large profit and the customer thinks they’re getting a bargain, win win right?

 

To look for one of theses...
 
 
Not so if you know the actual value or price of the item. Case in point, I went to the local Outlet Mall yesterday to find a suit for my son. My daughter is getting married and she wants her brother to look good so hence the suit shopping. Men’s Wearhouse was offering buy one get one free. Awesome if you need two suits but we only needed one. The problem is, this is the same offer at any Men’s Wearhouse in our area and the suits themselves were not discounted. How is this a sale or discount?

 

Yet we also needed a pair of these.
 
 
We ran into the same problem when trying to find a pair of shoes. Many stores claimed 60%-70% off but sometimes it’s not any better than the email coupons I get to shop on-line at the same store. Cole Haan 70% off is the same whether you buy on-line or at the Outlet Mall. Additionally, some discount stores are actually selling a similar product made especially for an outlet. So while it seems you’re getting a great price in reality it is a lesser product to begin with. There is a reason you can’t find that purse at any other Coach store, it’s only made for the outlet stores and is usually an inferior product.

 

Beware the Kitchenaid refurbished mixer, they're everywhere
 
 
Also beware the refurbished item. Appliance and electronics stores are famous for this maneuver. They offer a great product at a fabulous price but upon further inspection you find that it isn’t new, it is a refurbished item. They claim they’ve gone through it thoroughly and it work like new. Problem is, these items are usually customer returns that didn’t work the first time. The manufacturer just thinks they fixed the problem and are now selling it at a reduced price. Don’t fall for it. So beware the sale, do your homework, you might find that paying attention can really pay off in your bank account.
 
 
Another notorious refurbished item, stay away!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Five Easy Pieces Revisited


 
Floral Lace Shell, Ann Taylor LOFT
 

Every morning women wake up and wonder what to wear. It can be a daunting task and many of us either crumble under the pressure or simply give up. I know this because I’ve had the unfortunate task of late to find a replacement for the perfect dress I already picked out for my daughter’s wedding after the seamstress messed up. I can see where important events or even daily work can make dressing appropriately difficult.

 

Textured Stripe Open Jacket, Ann Taylor LOFT
 
 
This is where five easy pieces come in. Those pieces are a silk shell, cropped jacket, ankle slacks, sheath dress and collared blouse. While you probably can’t get a week’s worth of outfits out of these pieces, they do go together easily and with a minimum of fuss. These pieces are versatile and can be worn with each other to mix and match to make dressing a breeze. Just keep the colors neutral or work within the same color family.

 

Dense LOFT Bi-Stretch Ankle Pants, Ann Taylor
 
 
The slacks can be worn with either the silk shell or the collared shirt. For a casual look wear the silk shell tucked in and the collared shirt over all like a jacket. Add flats and a leather handbag and you’re set. For a more work appropriate look, add the cropped jacket, heels and a structured tote and you’ve got two go to outfits for the week. Remember you can mix things up with a larger wardrobe of both silk shells and collared shirts in different colors and patterns.

 

Embroidered Clover Shirt, Ann Taylor LOFT
 
 
For the sheath dress you can wear it simply with the cropped jacket for a lovely work look or don the collared shirt over the dress. No one will know it’s a dress, just add a belt and it will look like a skirt and belted shirt outfit. This is the easiest way to get two outfits out of the same dress and both will look completely different. Over time you can add pieces like a skirt, cardigan or blazer to get different looks with just a minimum number of pieces. It’s easy.
 
Floral Lace Dress, Ann Taylor LOFT

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Wear Some Green


 
Wear coral as a wild card color
 

As anyone who is from Ireland knows, Americans butcher St. Patrick’s Day. We wear green, drink too much and apparently eat corned beef, which isn’t a traditional Irish dish. These are unfortunately our traditions so the Irish are just going to have to deal with it. While I don’t really celebrate this holiday the wearing of green is a holdover from childhood.

 

Olive green is subtle and casual
 
 
If you happened to go to school on St. Patrick’s Day you better wear green. If you were unfortunate enough to forget you usually ended up bruised and sore from all the pinching. Children can be merciless in this department. As I got older I found that few people were willing to pinch me if I didn’t wear green so I’ve dropped this rather bizarre tradition from my things to do list.

 

When using bright greens, tone things down with grey
 
 
For those who look awesome in green I say go for it, there are plenty of beautiful green clothing and accessories on the market so you can wear green and still look chic. You don’t have to succumb to wearing cheesy green clover glasses or a plastic hat and beads. Green is the color of spring so you can wear shades of green from mint to forest and still look great. Try a mint colored sheath dress with a forest green cardigan for a lovely springtime look.

 

Browns and blacks also tone down greens
 
 
If you want to wear green as an accessory, stick to scarves, belts and the evening clutch. Unless you’re one of those people who are lucky enough to look awesome in green and it really is your go to color, green accessories are hard to match. A green dress or turquoise jacket can be toned down with black or grey accessories which are considered more neutral and have longevity. Think jeans and a green blazer with a grey scarf and purse. So keep it spring like and have some fun, just don’t drink too much green beer.
 
 
A bevy of green accessories

Friday, March 14, 2014

What to Wear to a Spring Wedding


 
Milly Dress, netaporter.com $425
 

I will admit that I am not an authority of what to wear for a wedding, spring or otherwise, since I can count the number of weddings I have been to on one hand. Most of my family and friends got married quickly and quietly. They were fond of destination weddings or elopement. Probably because planning a large wedding is fraught with anxiety, case in point I almost didn’t have a dress to wear to my daughter’s wedding.

 

Fit and Flared dress, Chadwicks.com $59.99
 
 
This got me to thinking, does everyone have this much trouble trying to figure out what to wear to a wedding? The standard rules of what to wear have changed a bit over the years. Gone are the days when wearing black to a wedding is wrong. I’ve seen bridesmaids in cute black cocktail dresses. I guess the bride had mercy on the bridesmaids and actually choose a dress they could wear later after the wedding was over.

 

Tibi Dress, netaporter.com $475
 
 
While you still can’t wear white, there are many other options. First rule, wear something appropriate, even if the invitation states there will be a cocktail hour, do not wear a cocktail dress so skimpy you could go clubbing after the reception. Look for something demure, conservative and preferably with a jacket. While the days in spring maybe sunny and warm, the nights can get quite cold and having a jacket with keep you comfortable.

 

Eva Mendes Collection Isabel dress, NY and Company, $48
 
 
Go for a light fabric, you can wear something bright and spring like. No heavy fabrics like velvet or tweed. Now is the time to maybe break out those prints. Flowers and patterns, as long as they’re subtle are perfect for a spring wedding. Don’t forget the accessories, if wearing a solid go for something with a little pop. Add color with an evening bag or maybe some shoes. Also don’t forget the jewelry. Wear your hair up off your face and go for some chandelier earrings. It’s spring and you’re at a wedding, don’t forget to have some fun.
 
 
Mother of the Bride sheath dress, JJ's House $200

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Cocktail Ring


 
Bolivian amethyst makes a statement, Gabrielle Bruni

When we think of the cocktail ring we think of a large ostentatious ring that is usually worn on the right hand to a party or other special event. Think Oscars, Grammys or other red carpet events. The cocktail ring, also known as the dinner ring got its start during prohibition and the illegal speakeasy. Women originally wore a large gemstone ring to draw attention to the “cocktail” they held in their hands. They were thumbing their noses at authority.
 
Chocolate diamonds are fun, Gabrielle Bruni


There are stories in my husband’s family of his grandmother going to speakeasies with her first husband. This was before she was married to him and of course her family didn’t approve. I can image his grandmother having a good time, dressed to the nines and flashing some pretty baubles while sipping bathtub gin. When she passed there were boxes and boxes of costume jewelry, pretty rings and of course, her pearls.

 

My favorite, citrine and sterling silver, Gabrielle Bruni
 
 
Nowadays the cocktail ring has been transformed from a symbol of rebellion to something a little more glamorous. Cocktail rings now make a fashion statement. Women use the cocktail ring to reflect their own personality and individuality. A cocktail ring can be a showstopper that makes the wearer feel special or maybe just to have some fun.

 

Try a cuff ring, Lois Hill
 
 
The cocktail ring was born when a bunch of rebellious women decided that they were still going to go out and party and to hell with the law. It continued to be popular after alcohol became legal again as a display of independence. Today it is a fashion statement with many different styles to choose from both real and imitation. So at your next party don’t forget to show off that ring with a drink in your hand, my grandmother would be proud.
 

Raise those cocktail rings!