Fall Shopping Guide: Slip Dresses

When Hedi Slimane took over at Yves Saint Laurent, he ruffled a few feathers and continued to do so back in February when he showed a very grungy fall collection. Perhaps it was not the most original choice (nor the truest to the house's legacy), but as we all know, fashion moves in 20-year cycles, thus making the time ripe for a full-on grunge revival--and making Saint Laurent right on top of the trend. Now, the rule with cyclical trends is that if you wore it the first time around, you shouldn't wear it the second. Back in 1993, I layered my slip dresses over baby tees (remember those?!) and paired them with Doc Martens; wearing that look now might as well be a Halloween costume called Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis. The good news is that Grunge Part Deux is much more refined and luxe; the styles here are more suited to stilettos than combat boots. Grown-up grunge? It's like having your cake and eating it too.

When it comes to reviewing Saint Laurent collections, critics tend to play a game of snarkier-than-thou, but fashion politics (and maybe some questionable styling) aside, there are some very directional yet wearable pieces. Amusingly enough, this spaghetti-strap dress was one of the few items in the grunge collection that, critics noted, did give a nod to YSL. I think the flouncy shape (and ruffle) are very youthful and flirty, yet sophisticated in that singularly French way. Maybe Slimane knows what he's doing after all...

One of the tricky things about wearing a slip dress is that the wrong cut can end up looking like a sack, thus eliminating any straight-from-the-lingerie-drawer sexiness. I like this Rochas dress for its strategically placed seamed panels, slim (but not formfitting) shape, and warm but not-too-sexy color.  

Adam Lippes recently liberated his company from its former corporate parent, and as often tends to happen in similar situations (see Narciso Rodriguez), his work is better than ever. With its sheer neckline inset and body-skimming fit, this satin slip dress is the stuff fashion dreams are made of.

Haute Hippie is one of my go-to labels for going-out dresses; their lace-trim slip dress is the most overtly lingerie-inspired style here, but that actually lends itself to more adventurous styling--I'd wear it with a chunky sweater, opaque tights, and ankle boots. 

This James Perse plaid bias slip dress is the style most like what I wore as a teenager; in fact, I had a very similar olive green style. I included it here because it's more casual than most of the others, but it's also pretty classic and could read anything from preppy to punky depending on how you wear it. 

Of course, grunge doesn't have to be so literal. Leave it to Tracy Reese for a feminine interpretation of the trend; this beaded cowl slip has a fussier shape and intricate embellishment yet still captures that darkly glamorous effect. 

Remember that scene in Madonna: Truth or Dare where she goes to the movie premiere with Warren Beatty in a black slip dress and Fleuvogs with daisies in her hair? That outfit made a lasting impression on my then-teenage mind, because to this day, I would totally wear it. There is something so eternally cool--and chic--about a simple black slip dress, especially one with an open back, like Nasty Gal's Soft Cover embroidered slip dress.

Similar styling but a simpler back and a wider variety of colors mark Topshop's strap-back slip dress; I'm partial to the holiday-friendly red version shown here. The little inverted pleat and layered hem add a little shape, making this a more flattering option too.

As you might expect, Zara has all manner of slip dresses, some of which are pushing the $200 mark, but I like this very '90s printed style. It straddles the line between frumpy and sexy, which, if you ask me, is the true essence of grunge.

TheFind Guest Post: Shoe Spotlight: Anthropologie Lydia Cutout Loafers


There was a period of time when I would feel a little bit guilty settling for flats over heels while getting dressed for work in the morning. Sure, the outfit I had on would look a lot better with that new pair of peep-toe pumps I've only worn once – not to mention provide my legs with a much-needed slimming illusion – but I also knew that I'd regret my decision after a mere 2 blocks out the door. On a daily basis, I'm likely to choose comfort and function over fashion (within reason, of course), and that's why updated takes on the loafer trend are always on my style radar – especially pairs with a little somethin' extra that help elevate my look without literally elevating my height. And Anthropologie's Lydia Cutout Loafers totally fit the bill. This innovative new silhouette comes in 7 different shades and prints, from classic taupe to bright blue leopard (plus some additional shimmery laser-cut alternatives), and puts a sexy spin on the classic loafer shape. After all, toe cleavage is the new cleavage cleavage, right? The best part? They're less than $100 a pair... so go ahead and stock up for the season ahead! - Alexandra Gambardella

Content provided by TheFind in partnership with Cheryl Shops. 

Fall Shopping Guide: Pointy-Toe Wedge Boots

From what I hear, it's fall in most parts of the country; here in San Francisco, it was in the mid-seventies today, glorious and sunny. Everyone keeps telling me it's Indian summer, that sooner or later it's going to be foggy and cold, but for now, I love the weather just the way it is. That said, it's still San Francisco and thus unpredictable; we had a slight cold spell last week in which I had to break out my trench coat for the first time, and which also served as a reminder to me that I had to start working on the Fall Shopping Guide! So here we are.

One of the many fashion quirks of this city is that, perhaps because the weather is more or less constantly on the cool side, people wear boots year round. Like, I got here Labor Day Weekend (which was uncharacteristically hot) and women were wearing knee-high boots. As longtime Cheryl Shops readers know, I love me some boots (especially black ones) so this was welcome news to me, and perhaps an excuse to buy more! Something I've found my closet to be lacking is wedges; they're kind of perfect for SF in that they're more stable than stilettos but they still give you some height. Maybe they're not so practical for navigating the hills, but thankfully it's pretty flat where I live, so yay Lower Pac Heights!

Like many fashion-industry folk, I worship at the altar of Isabel Marant, and if someone handed me $1500, I would gladly buy her Scarlet wedge boots. A more sophisticated evolution of her ripped-off-by-everyone wedge sneakers, the Scarlet combines leather, suede and haircalf in a sleek shape; they're still edgy but look a lot more expensive. (And they are.)

Slightly more palatable in price yet punkier in style are these Tabitha Simmons Harley boots, And while in the past I'd hesitate to wear wedge boots with skirts--they tend to have the unfortunate effect of making your legs look like Gumby's--these are unexpectedly streamlined and sculpted to flatter.

If you're more of an uptown girl (or, in my case, an Upper Pac Heights girl), Derek Lam's Marta boots may be the answer: The leather is more polished, the hardware is gold, and the double buckles are a bit more understated.

These Josie Buckle Boots seem a bit more casual and edgy, with a hidden wedge that hearkens back to Marant's sneakers. (See how it all comes full circle?) Strategically placed buckles help shape the boot and avoid the dreaded blocky effect.

Along similar lines, these Jeffrey Campbell Willis Boots look like biker boots but have a hidden wedge for a stealth leg-lengthening effect. So these are perfect for vain people like me who refuse to wear flats ever. The toe is rounder and the buckles more basic than the rest of the styles here, but now that I'm a Californian, I feel like I need to represent the casual girls out there.

Back to chic, Alice & Olivia's Owen Wedge Boots take an even simpler approach to the buckled effect; I like the combination of skinny and thicker straps as well as the super-pointy toe. I saw these at Alice & Olivia's presentation last February, and believe me, they made quite the lasting impression.

For the super minimalist, Steve Madden's Jossie boots have no buckles whatsoever, but the pointy toe and streamlined wedge shape remain. And considering the challenge of finding actual leather boots for under $150, I think these are a pretty solid find (with a very comfortable 2-3/4" heel).

For those totally on a budget, there are these Riawna boots from ShoeDazzle, currently available for the introductory price of $24.98 ($49.98 regularly). Yes, they are synthetic, and the hardware is a bit on the flashy side, but the shape is right and they do somehow still have a Marant-esque vibe.

But for the closest Marant experience--without the Marant sticker shock--I recommend Aldo's Jacelyn wedge boots, a point-for-point homage from the mix of materials to the adjustable buckles. Actually leather and a mere $140, they are the most obvious thing since beautiful, sunny weather in the mid-70s. The weather might not last that much longer, but I have a feeling I'll be wearing these boots for months, if not years, to come.

Under $50: Embellished Sweatshirts

One of the most frequent questions people ask me here in San Francisco is how the city is different from New York. I usually say the weather is consistently beautiful, people are a gazillion times more laid-back and friendly, and there's a better work-life balance. What I usually don't say is that the general relaxation of the city extends to its fashion. It's not that people here don't have style or aren't interested in clothes, it's just that everyone dresses way more casually than in New York. I refuse to assimilate totally--I still wear heels every day, after all--but over time, I have a feeling my style will evolve in a more California direction. A nice bridge between the East and West Coast way of dressing is embellished sweatshirts--think of them as fancy enough for New York but laid-back enough for San Francisco. All of the styles pictured here are under $50 too, a price that's nice no matter where you live.

1. Xhilaration Beaded Sweatshirt, $22.99

2. Zara Glitter Finish Sweatshirt, $49.90

3. Y.A.S. Contrast Panel Sweatshirt, $50.63

4. Limited Lace-Sleeve Sweatshirt, $49.95

5. Old Navy Embellished Raglan Sweatshirt, $17

Object of Desire: Clare Vivier Duffle Petit Tote

In my last post, I wrote about love, lust, and shopping. To continue with that theme, think about the first month or two in a relationship. Not that is-he-into-me-or-not uncertain period, but that giddy, euphoric, holding-hands, making-out-everywhere, butterflies-in-your-stomach, barely-coming-up-for-air phase. That is how I feel about San Francisco. I wake up to an amazing, sunny view of the city and that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of my day. I feel lucky to be here. That and whenever I fill out an address form, I think, "Oh yeah, I live in California now!" and giggle.

Speaking of addresses, my apartment is right on the edge of Lower Pacific Heights, which I've quickly concluded is the best neighborhood of the city in which to shop. Key in this conclusion is my proximity to the Fillmore Street branch of Steven Alan; I will admit, it reminds me a little bit of home, and I do find that comforting (hey, you never forget your first love, right?). I recently stopped by the store after a few hours of day drinking outside in the sunshine, and I promptly locked eyes on Clare Vivier's Duffle Petit bag. This was no case of beer goggles; it was more like I walked into the bar, er, store and spotted the man, er, bag of my dreams. It's a classic shape with the option of double handles or a longer, adjustable shoulder strap; the size is big enough to hold all the essentials but not so big that you feel the need to overload it with crap. (Ahem, like I used to.) Vivier has also started lining her bags, which is key--I'd been deterred from buying one in the past for that reason alone. What really sold me, however, is that it is monogrammable. In my old age, I'm becoming very vain, and thus I like to see my initials slapped on everything. Sheets? Sure! Stationery? Of course! But those are so practical. Monogramming a bag says, "I'm SO not going to sell this purse on The Real Real six months from now!"

I almost pulled the trigger--after all, I owe myself a bag, which is my traditional present to myself when I get a raise or a new job. However, I have a more immediate concern: furnishing my apartment, which happens to be significantly bigger than my apartment in New York. (That's right, I said BIGGER. First World problems, I know.) So I am on a clothes-and-accessory-shopping diet*, but as soon as I'm ready to binge, I'm marching myself four blocks up the street and slapping down my Amex. After all, once you find The One, you don't want to let it slip away, do you?

*Okay, so I am human. I cheated and bought this garment-dyed hemp T-shirt by Jungmaven and it was the best $30 I've spent in awhile. It. Is. So. Soft. Seriously, new favorite T-shirt. It's for men, so size down; I think I'm seriously going to buy one in every color. Once my shopping diet is over, of course. Of course.