Looks of the Week

Welcome to Moi Contre La Vie’s Looks of the Week.

This is a special edition because at the end I’ve included some snaps from the Fall/Winter 2012 Menswear collections. And why is that so special? Well… Prada had some very interesting special guests that walked their runway.

Fuzzy, powder blue Philosophy Di Alberta coat paired with purple pants and kick @$$ black leather booties? Yes please! Hanneli, you're my hero.

 

Polka dots, leopard print & sequins? For daytime? It takes quite the talented stylist to pull off that combination and make it look this chic.

Not sure how to stay warm on date night? Rachel McAdams wears a buckled wool coat over a seriously cute pleated LBD with dramatic, pointy toed nude & black pumps.

 

Alright, its official, Matt Bomer is no longer just a pretty face. He's a pretty face that can seriously put together an outfit. Love the camel coat. Love the shoes. LOVE the purple scarf. What? I live in San Francisco.

 

Olivia Palermo absolutely knocked one out of the park with this ridiculously chic look. The cropped pants, leopard heels and bag are incredibly well chosen and the fur-trimmed, double-breasted jacket is beyond stunning.

There may be a Style File coming on this look…

Emma's look here is super cute, but simple enough to copy easily. I especially like the flashy red pants and the black and white striped scarf.

  

Model Imogen Morris-Clarke was captured on the street in New York wearing a phenomenal vintage YSL coat and varying shades of blue and black. I love the mixing of colors, fabrics and textures in this look.

 
Alexa Chung’s cropped navy trench look got fashionable mention on Frugal Fashionista. This is a GREAT way to cover up when you’re wearing a midi length skirt or dress – go for a completely different length top layer!
 
alexa chung burberry, alexa chung paris
 
 

First, why am I not in Paris right now??? Second, LOVE this look. A high-waisted skirt is a challenge to pull off but this bright little number paired with a crisp white button down and seriously hot heels make it work oh so well.

 

It's no secret that I adore outerwear - so there was no chance I wouldn't fall for this look. Knee-length, double-breasted camel colored coat with a matching scarf? AND leather gloves & pressed, hemmed slacks. Oh Milan.

 
Prada’s Fall/Winter 2012 Menswear show in Milan showcased some gorgeous outerwear, slacks, and accessories. It also showcased some new talent on the runways. Think these gentlemen have a future in modeling? 🙂
 

Willem Dafoe was chic in all black with a dramatic broach-like decoration on the breast pocket of his overcoat. I also love the way they parted his hair for this look!

Adrien Brody in a phenomenal red brocade double-breasted coat with fur lapels and hippie-inspired round glasses.

Gary Oldman finished up the show in another great overcoat over a high white collar and great shoes.

Quite the trifecta, no?
 
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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

It’s that time again… Time for all the new ad campaigns for Spring 2012 that make us swoon and wish the weather would hurry up so we can throw on sundresses and gorgeous resort wear. Sigh. Tom & Lorenzo have the lowdown on Valentino, Harper’s Bazaar previews the fabulous Burberry video featuring Poppy’s younger sister Cara Delevingne, Mama’s A Rolling Stone has gorgeous photos from the 2012 campaigns for Lanvin, Chloe and Balenciaga, and My Dress.My High Heels.My Style shows off the Proenza Schouler Spring/Summer 2012 Ad Campaign with the lovely, tan Natasha Poly, a breathtaking Mila Kunis for Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2012 and great mixing and matching of prints in the DKNY Spring/Summer 2012 Ad Campaign where Ashley Greene giving great face on New York rooftops.

Looking for something light and entertaining to read this weekend? Try Simon Doonan’s Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, see Harper’s Bazaar’s review here. Not your typical fashion tome, that’s for sure.

Need some ideas for comfy clothes and cozy accessories as this latest cold weather front moves through? WhoWhatWear has the breakdown on outerwear worn by everyone from Ashley Olsen to Rooney Mara, Frugal Fashionista has the lowdown on snowboots under $100 and FabSugar has 5 ideas on how to mix and match your feminine, warm-weather wear with cozy pieces for winter.

Need some extras to finish up your daily looks these days? 10 sweet winter accessories under $50, China Glaze creates a Hunger Games inspired line of nail polish, 7 pairs of nerd-chic glasses and leopard print scarves.

Health & Fitness:

Personally, I don’t own a scale, I’m much more interested in how my clothes fit. One reason? Muscle mass is important for your health. Is bulking up at the gym one of your fears? Fit Bottomed Girls discuss common fitness fears.

The girls over at Tone It Up give great daily updates – check out their great suggestion to keep you healthy and moving all day at work. Need some more motivation to get you going? FitSugar has you covered with quotes and mottos to get you up and out the door.

I can’t decide what I want to make first next weekend: FitSugar’s black & white bean sweet potato soup, The Wannabe Chef’s tofu stirfry or The Hungry Hungry Hippie’s clean food cornbread.

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Looking to add some new foods to your diet to increase your health? You could try hemp seeds, antioxidant-rich foods, green monster salads, “cheesy” veggie quinoa Quiche and some of the newly popularized superfoods of 2011.

Hope you had a great weekend!

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Le Manifeste

Have you ever thought about how your goals and dreams evolve over the years? How daily life and putting one foot in front of the other can cause you to lose sight of the ambitions and aspirations you once had for yourself. Every once in a while I like to get back in touch with my plans and hopes for myself to make sure that I haven’t gotten too far off track, and to see if I still want the things that I used to.

When I read Holly from Holly Would If She Could‘s inspirational Personal Mission Statement – influenced by Gala Darling‘s A Girl On A Mission post – I realized that doing something similar would be a great way for me to reevaluate my values and goals, and to regain some perspective on where I am in my life and where I want to get.Pinned Image

So in connection with my non-resolution resolutions – and with my hopes for 2012 in mind – I’d like to share my manifesto:

  • I am at my best when: I’m content. When I accept my circumstances. When I’m at peace with myself.
  • I am at my worst when: I give into stress, it takes me from a rational human being to a OCD nightmare who has to control everything around her.
  • What do I really love to do in my personal life? Relax! My job is stressful so as soon as I step out the door I love that feeling of having the tension draining out of my body. I fill my weekends with anything calm and lazy. Movie nights, walks with beautiful views, foot massages, cooking, good wine, conversations and debates that last for hours, eating at great restaurants, shopping…
  • My natural talents & gifts are: Organization & creativity are two of my most valuable skills. 
  • If I had unlimited time & resources & knew I could not fail, what would I choose to do?  I would travel everywhere that I’ve ever wanted to go and go back to school. I would study journalism and psychology and get my PhD in Classical Civilizations. I’d learn Italian and French. I’d blog fulltime and actually go to the fashion shows and give you guys first hand photos and reviews. I’d finish the three novels that I’ve started writing.
  • My life’s journey is: still a work in progress. Everyday I’m learning more about myself and my goals and what I want out of life, and each piece shapes my journey a little more.
  • What would people say about you on your 80th birthday? She lived her life. She took chances and didn’t play it safe. She ate and drank and loved. They’d quote my favorite Thoreau saying from Dead Poets Society:

“I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately… To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”

  • What do I consider to be my biggest future contribution to the most important people in my life? I want to be a constant source of unwavering support and unbiased advice for my friends & family. I want to be a loving and affectionate aunt when my brother has kids. I want to continue being highly involved in the charitable organizations that I support.
  • What are your values? I value love, generosity of spirit, and the courage to be honest with yourself and others.
  • What is most important to you?  The relationships that I have with family and friends, and passion. If I could pick a single word that holds the most importance for me it would be passion. I want to have passion for everything in my life, for every day, for every moment.

“Passion is the source of our finest moments; the joy of love, the clarity of hatred, the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.”

  • What are some goals you’d like to achieve this year? Per my non-resolution resolutions my major goals for 2012 are to buy & decorate a house in Sonoma and to publish a piece of my writing. From a self-growth standpoint I’d like to work on becoming a more positive individual and responding to life’s challenges with positive, constructive reactions.
  • What kind of image do you hope to project? Is it similar or dissimilar to the image you’re projecting right now? I would like for those who meet me to come away thinking that I’m a straightforward, honest and genuine. I work

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I have to admit that this was an interesting and cathartic process to go through. These are some meaningful and important topics that you may or may not have thought about before. I was an incredibly introspective individual growing up and through college I kept diaries, wrote daily and really thought about my life and my goals. Over the years as I got busier, life got harder and my responsibilities increased, and I stopped looking inward. This exercise really focused me on myself again and I highly, highly recommend giving it a stab.

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I’m printing this out and adding it to my inspiration board to keep me motivated and positive. Tell me, what’s your personal mission?

Quotes from WordsThatAreTrue

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Reader Request – Packing & Traveling

I received the following cry for help this past weekend:

I’m flying to Kentucky in several weeks for graduate school interviews, then Maryland, and then Florida. Memphis is a maybe. Sooo my issue is a few pieces to swap around to create several interview outfits, in addition to more casual attire for a dinner at a prof’s house. I want to look professional but still bring some fashion into it, if not quirk. I personally am wondering if a plain white t-shirt could be placed under a suit and then a turquoise necklace added to keep it youthful and interesting.  On that note, I need ideas for what to wear under a suit jacket, and how (if possible) to avoid wearing pants to every interview. What color tights are acceptable, and what kind of shoes?? And for a coat, what do I do then? It’s winter in some of these places, and Kentucky said the weather is super unpredictable so bring rain stuff.

This is a phenomenal question and one that is relevant to a lot of people. Whether you’re traveling for work, interviews or even a wedding, if there’s business or formal attire required it can be hard to decide how much clothing to pack. If you read my Wanderlust post you’ll know that I’m a big fan of interchangeable pieces and mixing & matching articles of clothing so that you can take a smaller bag. That’s especially relevant in this case since the reader will be on the road for nearly a month – who wants to carry multiple heavy bags around for that long?

The key here is going to be separates and layering, that way you can add to the outfit or take pieces off without losing the professional feel of the look. Since she’s going to be attending graduate school interviews the foundation of her suitcase needs to be a suit. Or two. I recommended that she buy two suits – a pants suit and a skirt suit. (I sent her three emails covering clothes, packing and accessories. Including pictures and links. Overkill?)

SUITS

For the pants suit you want something simple but of nice quality so that you can mix it up for different occasions – pants with a button down & no jacket, full suit with a t-shirt or just the jacket over jeans w/ a striped t-shirt.

(L) AK Anne Klein 3-Button Pant Suit - $99 (sale price), (C) Who*s Who - $225 (sale price) @ Yoox.com & (R) Tahari by ASL Suit - $105 (sale price) @ Macy's

 
For a skirt suit you can go with a standard pencil skirt or amp up the youthful aspect and try a tulip or trumpet silhouette (personally I’d go with a non-pencil skirt and use a sheath dress to double as a pencil skirt). Black, grey and black & white are all good choices, but try to remember that you want to be able to deconstruct the suit to pair with other pieces in your suitcase.
 

(L) Anne Klein Belted Skirt Suit - $140 (sale price), (C) Nine West Belted Flared Suit - $240 @ Macy's & (R) AK Anne Klein Speckled Skirt Suit - $100 (sale price)

 
And while my office is business casual and suits aren’t required, I frequently add a blazer to my outfit for a pseudo-suit, which is another type of look that you can try in lieu of a suit.
 
 
DRESSES
 

For cocktail parties, receptions, dinners etc a Little Black Dress is a bit too informal so I would go with a sheath dress paired with a blazer that can be taken off. This can easily be spiced up with heels & funky jewelry to keep it fun and young, but remains professional.

(L) Black & White Ponte Colorblock Sheath Dress - $60 @ New York & Company, (C) Fluid Travel Knit Sheath - $100 @ Coldwater Creek & (R) Calvin Klein Ponte Colorblock Sheath Dress - $100

 
In addition to a sheath I would recommend a multi-purpose long-sleeved black dress. Cocktail length is fine. You can wear it with one of the suit jackets or as an alternative to a suit during the day or with tights and heels to an evening event.
 
 

(L) Lauren by Ralph Lauren Dress Long Sleeve Knot Dress - $135 @ Bloomingdale's, (C) Lauren by Ralph Lauren Long Sleeve Boatneck Sheath - $100 (sale price) @ Macy's & (R) 3/4 Sleeve Sheath Dress - $130 @ Ann Taylor

 
TOPS
 
All the tops need to be multi-purpose – they can be worn under either suit, with a skirt or pants, or with jeans and a blazer. You can even wear a shirt under the sheath dress or the sweater over the top of it. 
 
(1) A white button down is a must. Be sure that the material is thick enough that it’s not transparent (see Real Girls Need Real Closets for more tips on buying the perfect button down).
 

Top Left: Tommy Hilfiger Military Button Down - $80 @ Macy's, Center: J.Crew's Perfect shirt with french cuffs - $80, Top Right: Ann Taylor Perfect Long Sleeve Shirt - $70, Bottom Left: Canna Tie Blouse - $75 @ Piperlime & Bottom Right: Tie Neck Button Down Shirt - $40 @ LOFT

 
(2) 2-3 Nice, well made shirts. Short or long-sleeved, black, white & striped are all good choices.
 

Top Left: Knitted Tape T-Shirt Jumper - $70 @ TopShop, Center: Women's Striped Boat-Neck Top - $15 @ Old Navy, Top Right: Classic Long Sleeved T - $80 @ Alexander Wang, Bottom Left: Pia Ponte Knit Tee - $50 @ Banana Republic & Bottom Right: Boatneck Long Sleeve Tee - $35 @ Ann Taylor

 
(3) At least one long-sleeved black sweater – My first stop for sweaters is usually Zara, I have a longer torso and theirs are a good fit. My second stop is usually Banana Republic, though their blacks tend to fade if you over-wash. You’re going to be using this for layering so don’t worry about thickness, just find a good material that wont wrinkle too much in the suitcase.
 

Top Left: Pullover v-neck - $50 @ Banana Republic, Center: Long Sleeve Boatneck Tunic - $40 @ Ann Taylor, Top Right: Long-sleeve scoop neck sweater - $20 (sale price) @ GAP, Bottom Left: Tommy Hilfiger Jenny Long Sleeve Sweater - $40 @ Macy's & Bottom Right: Knit Sweater - $35 @ Mango

 
 ADDITIONAL CLOTHES 
 
  • Bottoms: A pair of black pants and a pair of nice, dark wash jeans – no holes!
  • Outerwear: Either a black or tan trench coat or a black coat (cashmere, wool – whatever), something that will cover you backside and is big enough to layer over a sweater.
  • Travel clothes: I recommend choosing a comfortable, non-wrinkly outfit that you can use for all your traveling. I usually pack black pants with a long-sleeved shirt, boyfriend cardigan, scarf and flats.

ACCESSORIES

You can really let your personality shine through with how you choose to accessorize your outfits, I would pack lots of accessories and add them to each look to give it a bit of punch, but you need to keep in mind your audience and not go overboard.

“Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror, and remove one piece of jewelry.” – Coco
 
Bring some basics like pumps and a large carryall, but you’ll want to spice things up with some additional pieces.
 
Jewelry: You’ll want to pack a couple of statement necklaces to wear with the more traditional pieces. A dramatic collar and a great pendant necklaces are both good ideas.
 

Top Left: c.A.K.e. by Ali Khan Champagne Beaded Collar - $85 @ Macy's, Center: Anna & Ava Multi-Row Pearl Necklace - $60 @ Dillard's, Top Right: Juicy Couture Pave Chain Link Starter Necklace - $70 @ Lord & Taylor, Bottom Left: Spike Spray Collar - $25 @ TopShop & Bottom Right: Oval Stone Collar - $30 @ TopShop

 
I would also bring thick bangles or cuff bracelets (make sure they don’t make a ton of noise – that’s a no no) and some smaller ones of layering. Also – at least one cocktail ring, something fun.
 
Scarves: In addition to a basic black scarf/pashmina, you could add a patterned or bright jewel toned scarf to a look to make it more interesting. Or you can even try faux fur.
 
Tights: Unfortunately extremely bright tights are hard to pull off in these types of situations, but Swiss dot or a subtle pattern would be perfect with either the sheath dress or the skirt suit. I would also pack solid black and navy or grey, depending on the colors you end up with for your suits and dresses.
 
Shoes: Black pumps and a pair of ballet flats are the basics that you should start with. I would recommend keeping any heels at a lower level in case you’re asked to walk a lot or given extended tours. A pair of black or patent leather booties or flat ankle boots would be very versatile as well.
 
Extras: I would also pack an umbrella, a hat if you’d like (not a beanie probably – maybe a bucket hat or those cute 20’s style hats), gloves, a black clutch for an evening event and a small fold-up tote in case you need to carry something extra (I also bring one of my fold-up Longchamp bags when I travel).
 
 
Packing Overview:
 
Pants suit
Skirt suit
White button down
2-3 long & short-sleeved shirts
1-2 long-sleeved sweaters
Sheath dress
Long sleeved black dress
Dark wash “nice” jeans
Black pants
Pashmina
Tote
Pumps
Ballet Flats
Tights
 
 
 
Need some inspiration? Harper’s BazaarInStyle, Marie Claire and Elle talk suits, business attire and interview style.
 
Good luck travelors!
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How to Survive a CrossFit Meet

This past weekend was the 2012 LaLanne Fitness Garage Games Kickoff. An all-day CrossFit event Saturday at LaLanne Fitness in San Francisco and the first big competition of the season for my boyfriend and his teammates from American River CrossFit in Sacramento.

 

After last year’s introduction to the joys of CrossFit competitions – the Fittest of the Sierra’s in South Lake Tahoe was the 1st big competition I attended – I wanted to share my advice & lifesaving tips on how best to survive one of these high intensity, rowdy, crowded events.

(1) What To Bring:

  • Bring food – Lots of it. These kids can EAT, so pack unprocessed, lean meats, cheeses & nuts for snacking between workouts.
  • A close second on the must have list is booze. You’ll need it and so will they. Trust me. These are work hard, play hard types and blowing off steam immediately after a brutal competition is a MUST.
  • Water! I can promise you that a giant water bottle will come in handy. This weekend all three competitors ended up using my Nalgene which had to be refilled every 5 minutes.
  • Camera – The biggest issues that I’ve had photo-wise is that the athletes are moving so quickly that in some cases the pictures are blurry or the camera doesn’t reset quickly enough to capture the next shot. As much as I love my Canon, this season I invested in a little HD video camera that also takes stills. Success!

 

(2) What To Expect:

  • Lots of people – These are busy, crowded events and in addition to lots of competitors, you’ll be surrounded by members of the hosting team and tons of spectators. Expect to be bumped or asked to move to accommodate events.
  • No place to sit – In some cases events will be outdoors and you’ll have bleachers to sit on, but primarily the events are indoors and you’ll  be standing pressed against a wall, craning to see over the heads of the other spectators.
  • A fast-paced environment – With large numbers of competitors and a handful of workouts to get through, the organizers may  be rushing to get through the events. Some workouts can be “blink and you miss them” short so keep an eye on your competitor to make sure that you see everything. 
  • LOUD and offensively bad music. This weekend was bad. R&B bad. 

(3) What To Do Afterwards:

  • Plan to go out – You’d think everyone would be beyond exhausted after a day full of crazy workouts, but my experience has been that the adrenaline is still pumping and they have a few more hours of energy left in them.
  • Head straight to a restaurant, trust me when I say they’ll be ready for a big meal. And if they’re paleo-people I’d pick a restaurant in advance to make sure that the menu is acceptable.
  • Make sure that the restaurant you’re going to has a bar. Your competitors will definitely want a drink. Or two. Or three.

I can’t recommend checking out one of these events enough – they’re exciting and fun to watch, never a dull moment.

P.S. Ladies, in case you need some more incentive, the shirts come off about a fourth of the way through. I’m just saying.

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