By Kate Ebeling, Staff Writer
A new year means a new me. Long gone are the days of my subtle judgment on the current climate of the music industry. With the weather having gone from cold to unearthly, and Boston looking incredibly unfamiliar to a Texas native, so I’ve decided to dedicate this 2014 column to discovering Beantown from a (very cold) transplant’s perspective. Enjoy!
In case you didn’t know, Texas weather is unpredictable. Because the state is so big, weather varies from snow and sleet to hot, humid, muggy days. Hailing from Houston, I am an expert of dressing for days that top out at 102 degrees paired with 90 percent humidity.
Houston’s weather has trained me to dress well while allowing for my body to regulate temperatures and not die of a heat stroke. I say this in jest, but I can tell you that it has happened.
When I packed for Boston, I brought up six pairs of denim shorts, cute floral culottes, and skirts. Skirts for days in the park, skirts for class and skirts for long walks. August was warm, and I smugly told my parents that I was, in fact, right in bringing up all of these clothes that were highly inappropriate for normal Boston weather.
I made it all the way to Thanksgiving Break. My meager wardrobe worked by constantly washing the four pairs of pants I owned, and throwing in a couple days of sweatpants. Weekends were tough, but I made it work with a lot of the shorts and tights combo, and a lot of complaining about how cold I was. By the time I came back from Christmas Break, I knew that the snowpocalypse was coming. It was time for the shorts to retire.
Forget the infantry, I had to bring in the big guns.
Firstly, pants are a must. No matter how cut your calves are, no matter how skinny your ankles look in those mini shorts, pants are the only way to go. Pants and tights are the new shorts and tights; the added warmth is a solid bonus. Secondly, forget the crop top. I’ve made many attempts to work the crop top while there is a solid half-foot of snow on the ground, and it’s not worth it. Trust me. Your belly button will thank you.
Also, jackets. We all know you don’t want to carry your jacket to a party. You don’t want to look bulky and lame walking through Allston or down Comm. Ave., but as someone who is used to wearing crops and denims for about 11 months out of the year, the jacket is worth it. I don’t care how “used to 11 degree weather” you are, bring the jacket. Always. You will thank me as you stumble back to your dorm, unable to feel your face and hands, as the snow falls in your hair.
And finally, never wear heels. I wore cowboy boots to parties back home. And kids wore them to school. Yes, that is a real thing. And yes, cowboy boots have heels. Little ones, but even those are too much to wear on a slick, long walk like Comm Ave. Too many people to watch you eat it if somehow you manage to lose your balance.
As a Texan taking on Boston, I hope all those who are also transplants heed my advice: never underestimate the power of mother nature, especially on the east coast.
By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
I should start off by saying that I’m pretty much a blazer expert. I went to a prep school, where coat and tie was the norm and Vineyard Vines was as ubiquitous as Mystery Meat Mondays — a necessary evil. So I am well-acquainted with the navy-blue devil, sewn-up pockets and padded shoulders that could rival those on any prom dress in the ‘80s.
But I have learned to redefine the blazer, and disconnect it from those preppy days. You see, blazers aren’t just for stiff formal occasions anymore. If you pick the right fabric and cut, they can be much more versatile.
Firstly, stay away from the structured restricting styles. Go for something more casual and loose; it should feel comfortable. A common mistake is going too small on a blazer when trying to achieve a slim-cut look and ending up looking like a corporate sausage. Most blazers are cut slimmer to keep in vogue with the current styles, so as long as you’re not getting swamped in an XXXL, stick to what feels natural.
Next, pick what fabric you want. The typical navy blazer comes in some itchy nylon, so I would suggest going for softer alternatives, like linen, corduroy and tweed. My personal favorite is tweed. I have a gray tweed blazer with brown corduroy elbow patches. It keeps my “grandpa-chic” style consistent. But if you’re looking to class up a summer look, go for linen. It’s light and breathable, but unfortunately easily wrinkled. Just be delicate.
Lastly, apply to your wardrobe. A blazer can take any outfit from unkempt to sleekly casual. Don’t be afraid to really go out of the box. Of course there’s the typical look of pairing a blazer with some jeans and a button-down. Get a pair of skinny-cut sweatpants, throw on a band t-shirt and a tweed blazer.
In fashion nowadays, there’s a lot of mixing between what is typically “casual” and “formal.” Ten years ago, wearing sweatpants in public might be a no-no, but now it’s the latest trend. Knock together some chic Nikes, some black sweats and a blazer, and you’ve got yourself an in-vogue, effortless afternoon look. Now you can grab that cup of coffee in style or hang out at the movies in comfort.
Blazers aren’t just for business meetings and weddings. Play around with different cuts and fabrics, until you find a blazer you like. Don’t be afraid to experiment and good luck!
By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
It’s a strange phenomenon: something so ugly that it becomes chic. But for some reason, I am completely on board. Maybe it’s the mob mentality and maybe it’s my love for thick wool and reindeer. All I know is that I crave Christmas sweaters.
I think Christmas sweaters are so popular because they really symbolize the return of the merry Yuletide. You can’t rock a Christmas sweater in July—if you are, then you need to immediately stop. Please cease.
But when the days get cold, there’s nothing quite like pulling on a warm sweater. And if that sweater happens to have reindeer or Christmas trees or Santa Claus then that’s all the better!
But if you’re anything like me, then you’re a little befuddled as to how to get Christmas sweaters. They seem so ubiquitous, but they’re strangely sparse in the retail world. Everyone and their mother has one, but where do they get them?
There are expensive retailers online or in stores like Urban Outfitters, but unless I’m willing to saw off my own leg in payment, I don’t think those are options. You could scour EBay for hours, but that might end in fruitless heartbreak.
Well, I discovered an answer! H&M!
I don’t know what it is, but I feel like—suddenly—H&M is all about sweaters: warm, funky geometric patterns, bold colors. I was there a few days before Thanksgiving, returning a pair of ill-fitting black pants—an embarrassing story in its own right—when I wandered over to the sweater collection.
I found a dark blue sweater with neon green snowflakes and a white moose, but there were also ones with white snowflakes and red stripes. Best of all, H&M frequently has sweater sales, like “Buy one, get one half off” or “Buy one, get one free”.
So, if you’re looking to find a quick, cheap Christmas sweater to hold you over until your parents finally crack, I’d stroll on down to H&M.
By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
November’s cover of Elle magazine features the annual Women in Hollywood cover shots, but Melissa McCarthy’s cover is receiving a lot of backlash amid speculation that the plus-size funny lady is too covered up, showing just a sliver of leg beneath her coat, and a bit of exposed décolletage above it.
While heavy, oversized coats are a current big trend this year, the fact is that McCarthy is the only woman in “Women in Hollywood” who is so drastically covered up (and in such a heavy material: wool cashmere.).
In fact, the other covers, which feature Penelope Cruz, Reece Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Marion Cotillard, include crop tops, swimwear and form fitting dresses, a far cry from the almost overwhelming Marina Rinaldi coat McCarthy wears. Although, Cruz’s cover photo, which is a close-shot of the actress’ face, doesn’t show much skin either.
The implications of the photograph are somewhat troubling, however, and many have criticized Elle for “fat-shaming” by singling her out and covering her body with such heavy fabric.
The fashion world is no stranger to weight issues, and hardly any plus-sized women have been featured on the covers of magazines and, up until this past Spring/Summer season, none have been included in New York Fashion Week.
But McCarthy herself dismisses the controversy, admitting that she picked the coat herself and, in an interview with E News, the star said, “What I found so bizarre is I picked the coat. I grabbed the coat. I covered up. I had a great black dress on but I thought, it comes out in November. I was so sick of summer. I live in Southern California. I was like, ‘Give me a big coat to wear. Give the girl some cashmere!'”
It looks like McCarthy gets the last word on the matter and I have to say that she looks gorgeous.
By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
Shoes are the foundation of any outfit. And if we’re going by my shoe collection, my outfit is built on a foundation of sand and Jell-O. I’m not saying my harem of shoes is dismal, but it could definitely stand to be improved upon. I think one reason I hardly ever buy shoes is that it is such a major purchase and I don’t do well with bigger decisions. Just ask anyone who is out to dinner with me.
But let’s call a spade a spade: Shoes are more expensive than your average article of clothing. And, after all, shoes tend to get more wear and tear than your sweater, unless you’re doing weird things with that sweater.
So if one day I hit the jackpot/pull a bank job (which one do you is more likely?) and I decide to spend some of my millions on shoes, here are the shoes I’d currently go for:
Shoes I Heart:
1. Clarks Desert Boots: Okay, so I already have a pair of Clarks Desert Boots, but I have the “Sandy”-colored ones. I have my heart set on the brown suede, a chocolate-y dream that would do wonders for my autumnal outfits. Dark brown suede, dark jeans and a cozy striped sweater: could anything be better than that?
Years of My Life That I’d Be Willing To Give Up: 1.5
2. TOMS: These are adorable and need to be in my life. I bought my first pair of TOMS over the summer, and fell in love. I went for the safer black color, but I want to own a pair of red slip-ons before the end of this year. They’re so light and comfortable; I feel like I’m walking on a cloud that a child in Africa is also walking on. Side note: make sure you wear socks with TOMS, because if you don’t, they will smell and you will be embarrassed.
Years of My Life That I’d Be Willing to Give Up: .6
3. Sperry Top-Siders: The only pair of shoes I have never owned; and I want to so badly. I want to go for the Original in either light blue or faded green, but they’re expensive enough to give me pause. I used to hate Sperry Top-Siders because I thought they were very “Dad”-ish, but they’ve grown on me, like fungus on the walls of Lascaux Caves (too soon?).
Years of My Life That I’d Be Willing to Give Up: 2
So there you have it, a peek into my deepest shoe desires. This also goes for anyone who wants to buy me a present: Let’s hold off on the gift-cards, and look to the aforementioned items for reference. Thanks!
May the Fashion Be With You!
By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
This week on Fashion Padawan, Danny hit the streets! No, I’m not homeless. But I did make several awkward attempts to ask Boston University girls what they would want their boyfriends, brothers and male friends to wear.
So, if you’re a human male and want to impress the fairer sex, you should totally continue reading.
The Top Ten:
- Leather jackets
- Sperry’s Top-siders
- Big-frame glasses (real, not fake)
- Band t-shirts
- Short sleeve button-downs
- Classic Converse
- Oxford shoes
Interestingly enough, the answers weren’t as expensive or outrageous as I thought they would be. Personality appeared to be a big factor in what the “boyfriend” should dress. A few mentioned a specific style and then suggested what would work for that style: skater, hipster, etc. Some girls inquired for the situation.
If your personal style is more prep, some girls suggested Vineyard Vines. If you’re more eccentric, try Urban Outfitters.
The items on the list seems pretty ubiquitous in every store, so what makes them what girls favor most on a guy? One recurring theme was this notion of confidence. I chatted with a few girls who said that they wouldn’t care what a guy was wearing as long as he was confident in it.
But if confidence isn’t your natural inclination, the ladies of Boston University also offered me the following advice:
- Dress for your personality: If you’re a skater guy, don’t worry about dressing in the preppy style. Vineyard Vines probably isn’t your fave, but feel free to play around with Vans clothing.
- Make sure everything fits: No baggy jeans, please. Jump out of your comfort zone with straight-leg and slim-fit.
- Dress cohesively: Make sure everything goes together. A really expensive pair of leather shoes will look ridiculous with a pair of sweatpants, but if you swap the sweat for a nice chino, I’m sure you’d look fantastic.
So, if you want to impress that cutie in your Psych discussion, or go crazy over the barista in Starbucks, feel free to follow these tips!
May the Fashion Be With You!
By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
Cherry blossoms, cotton candy and girls in frilly lace dresses are just some of the many possibilities that might come to mind when one thinks of the color pink.
From the palest shades of amaranth to the more vibrant fuchsia and magenta, since the later half of the 20th century, the color pink has been associated with romance, flowers, delicateness, femininity and even boldness.
“Think Pink,” the newest exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, prompts visitors to reflect on the meaning of the color pink as it has evolved through time, be it through its evolution in the use of fashion and accessories, or its association with social and gender classification. The exhibit highlights several dresses from the collection of the late Evelyn Lauder, who was known for creating the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer awareness in 1992. It also showcases a handful of works from other influential designers, such as Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana.
On Friday, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts for the very first time in an effort to get a much-needed breath of fresh air and explore areas off-campus. As someone who’s had a lifelong aversion to all things pink, I was pleasantly surprised by how fascinating I found the exhibit.
Though it was smaller than I was expecting it to be, its size by no means limits the message it aims to create. Rather than overwhelming visitors in a splash of pink, the exhibit draws one’s eyes to the artfully selected pieces on display. It doesn’t fail to capture one’s attention and stir intriguing topics to dwell on, with captions explaining how pink hadn’t been associated with femininity until the 1920s. Before that, both boys and girls wore pink undergarments and it wasn’t uncommon for men to wear pink formal suits. It wasn’t until the 19th century when darker business suits became trendy for men.
“Think Pink” opened last Thursday, coinciding with the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The exterior of the museum will also be illuminated in pink every night for the rest of October.
The exhibit can be found in the Loring Gallery (Gallery 276) and will be open to the public until May 26, 2014. Entry to the Museum of Fine Arts is free for BU students with identification.
By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
As the calendar flips to October, we should know what to expect, weather-wise: chilly days, pumpkin-spice lattes and thick sweaters. Nope. The weather is broken. And the weather isn’t like my iPhone; I can’t turn it off and turn it back on, in the hopes that the problem will be fixed. And when we can’t fix something, we must adjust.
As a guy, I have so few layers to work with already, and it’s made even more perilous by a temperature that changes numbers faster than T-Swift changes boyfriends. It’s like a square dance of “hot and cold, hot and cold.” I need to make each piece of clothing work, because: one, I won’t be beaten by the weather and two, I’m not going to get changed. I have to pay for my laundry now.
So, if you are similarly afflicted by stubborn pride and a small wallet, then this How-To is for you!
How To Dress When the Weather Is Cray:
1. Button-downs: How have we not bowed down to the mystical powers of the button-down? I recently wore a chambray (like denim, but slightly more pretentious) button-down and was pleasantly surprised by how breathable the fabric was. Button-downs often have a more defined figure than your average t-shirt, so it structures your shoulders into appearing broader and squarer than they might usually be.
2. Loose shirts: For the love of everything sacred, avoid tight clothing. I’ll be the first to admit: I’m a human being and I sweat. And sometimes, when it’s hot or I’m hurrying somewhere, I sweat more. Tight shirts cling to your body, making it all the more obvious when you’re gross and sweaty. Go for a looser t-shirt and roll up the cuffs of your sleeves to give it a slightly more tailored look in the arms, which are uber important.
3. Pants: If I know it’s going to be cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon, I opt for pants. I’d rather be comfortable than cold in the morning. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with rolling up the cuffs of my pants. I would normally roll my eyes at those idiots, but if you know how to do it right, it works. My advice? Roll with fitted pants and only roll enough that your ankles are exposed. No one needs to see your calves in their unholy glory. Have some class.
Are we all ready to brave the tumultuous twists of Boston weather? Just remember to be smart; pack a sweater if you’re going with a t-shirt for the mornings and roll your cuffs to keep cool.
May the Fashion be with you, Padawans!
By Olivia Shur, Staff Writer
Within two seconds after stepping through the backstage area of 19th Amendment’s fashion show on Saturday, I was surrounded by complete chaos or, shall I say, organized chaos.
Clothes were hung all along the top of dressing screens, waiting for models to slip into them. The entire right side of the room had been taken over by hair and makeup artists, who were hastily beautifying away – and making the entire room smell like hairspray. Designers were running around, making sure all of their outfits were runway-ready. I approached one of the calmer-looking ones, and she not only eagerly showed me her collection, but explained the woes of the fashion industry as well.
“The fashion world can be so crucial sometimes. Either you’re in or you’re out,” said Jesenia Lopez, designer and Lasell college graduate. “It’s just really hard sometimes for emerging designers to get that credit.”
Amanda Curtis, the founder of advocacy-fashion-brand 19th Amendment, is looking to change that.
“The 19th Amendment gave everyone a voice to the democratic process. We give everyone a voice in fashion,” Curtis said.
Last summer, Curtis founded 19th Amendment, an organization that gives new designers a platform to launch their collections. She recognized the need for designers to get a foot in the door of the industry – without breaking the bank. The organization’s first ever “flash fashion shows” (more on that later), took place Saturday on Newbury Street, the Prudential Center and Quincy Market. In order to be a part of 19th Amendment, designers had to submit their work to a “virtual studio” on the organization’s website. Their designs were then featured in the fashion shows at a cost that can’t be beat: completely free.
“Compared to what the registration is at Boston Fashion Week, it’s like, $7,000 just to get into the show,” Curtis said, “And you’re maybe showing in front of 70 people, who are probably there for other reasons besides buying your stuff.”
The chaos continued as the first flash fashion show took place on Newbury Street. A 40-foot catwalk rolled out onto the sidewalk and a DJ set up alongside the buildings line Boston’s fashion avenue. Curious onlookers began to gather around the area, taking photographs and tweeting about what was happening – which was exactly what Curtis intended to happen. By having the shows out in the open, it was free for the designers to participate and for street-goers to watch. The only problem? Curtis chose not to obtain permits for using the public sidewalk; hence, a “flash fashion show”, a quick, runway-style show that lasts no more than 10 minutes. Cue, music, models, photographers and then move on to the next location – before the police come.
Curtis explained why this type of opportunity is great for emerging designers — and why Boston is the place to do it.
“If you’re in New York, you really need the money [to launch your designs]. Here you can do it without the money. This is their opportunity to show their fashion that they may not have gotten otherwise,” Curtis said.
Lopez also concurred with Curtis’ statement.
“This is that little platform, that push, just having someone standing behind you in order to get out there,” Lopez said.
In the future, Curtis has high expectations for 19th Amendment. She plans on expanding to a nationwide level, and to continue helping designers launch their careers. Curtis wants her designers to not only have success on the runway, but also have an income they can live off of through their work.
“We really want it to be a platform for designers to launch themselves into a career, where they’re not just achieving success from a Vogue standpoint, but from a financial standpoint, as well,” Curtis said.
While the chaos completely overwhelmed me, Curtis was not bothered by it in the slightest.
“This is absolutely nuts upstairs,” Curtis said, as her eyes widened with excitement, “But I love it.”
By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
I have a lot of clothes, probably a lot more than I need and definitely more than my meager money supply can manage. I think I’ve been spending so much and buying so many clothes over the past few months (cue rolling eyes from my parents), because I need to catch up. I went to private school for most of my life where, horrendously, we had to wear uniforms. every. day.
Clearly, it’s not hard to find the root of the problem. I was depraved of that joy and, like Augustus Gloop in “Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory”, as soon as I could I went hog-wild. Any spare cash went straight into the registers at stores, from H&M to Urban Outfitters, ASOS to J.Crew.
I’ve learned some things on my journey as a fashion Padawan and I would like to share these with you:
1. Men’s clothes are crazy expensive.
2. Men’s clothes are the middle children of the fashion world.
3. J.Crew won’t accept tears and a firstborn child as payment for a cardigan.
So that’s where we are. I’d like to share the knowledge I’ve gleaned from my shopping experience and share them with you. That’s right, you! But first, you should probably know a little about me.
Fashion Style: Grandpa Chic with a hint of Modest Hipster.
Favorite color: Green.
Most embarrassing fashion purchase: a horrendously bad, itchy orange sweater (Seriously, it has no redeeming qualities).
I am an excellent sales shopper and recently became addicted to online shopping, as well as becoming addicted to falling in love with the models who wear the clothes in the pictures. It’s a big issue, you guys.
My newest goals are to find more cute, short-sleeve button-downs, which (spoiler alert), I look really great in (and don’t I always look great?), some skinny chinos because sometimes jeans just don’t make the cut and even more crew-neck sweatshirts because I will never have enough crew-neck sweatshirts. Never.
The thing about fashion is that you’re never “done”. There’s always going to be a new season, a new shirt you want to buy and a new style to adapt to. That’s good because as long as our styles change and evolve, it means that we’re changing and evolving as people. I know that I won’t stop changing and evolving until I topple off the top floor of a futuristic Urban Outfitters in the frenzy of a sale. They’ll say it was an accident, but really I was pushed so that someone else could get that denim shirt.
So let’s grow and evolve together, into more fashionable, more savvy and more shrewd shopping individuals! Let’s be Padawans to the fashion Jedi. Seriously.