Saturday, July 30, 2016

Better Bets by Rhonda Erb

Campus Essentials
Fashion That Shows Your Spirit….


Yoga tank

Nuyu is the new fashion lifestyle brand that gives college women a chic alternative to the usual campus style options. Their merchandise will be available on several college campuses this fall (check out their website to see if your school is on their list) and more schools are coming soon.

Show your school colors in nuyu’s yoga tank. It features your school logo and is made of moisture wicking nylon spandex and mesh.

nuyu yoga tank: $65.00

Fabulous Footwear…

Shellys London

The Emma’s platform wedge sole adds a new dimension to the classic menswear inspired oxford, without sacrificing comfort.

Shellys London Emma Platform Oxford: $119.95


This shoe is called the Jayne Laceless, but laces are included to add some versatility to your look. The oxfords feature a removable cushioned footbed.

Sebago Jayne Laceless: $125.00


The forefoot Flex Zone and second density heel pod in the Yoga Flex gives you comfort and support for any kind of workout. The spider rubber sole prevents slippage.

Ahnu Yoga Flex: $110.00

The Right Bag…


This tote is made of a durable, high -strength nylon material that can stand up to the rigors of college life (it’s the same fabric that Birdwell uses in their popular boardshorts). There is a signature pocket on the back.

Birdwell Classic Tote: $48.00


The Lenox Greenpoint backpack is made of coated canvas and has convenient features like a padded laptop pocket and a zippered compartment on the bottom for shoes (up to a men’s size 13). For each Lenox bag sold, State will donate a bag filled with supplies to a child in need.

State Lenox Greenpoint Backpack: $135.00

Dorm Misc...


A well-decorated dorm room is a must. Start with coordinated bedding from Lacoste. The College Collection Green Stripe Comforter Set includes a comforter and one sham. The set comes in twin XL, so it fits most dorm mattresses. Accent pillows and matching sheets are also available.

Lacoste College Collection Green Stripe Comforter Set: $71.99

Dri Soft

These towels are woven with a special process that makes them extra plush yet fast drying (perfect for dorm life). They are all cotton and come in several colors.

Dri Soft Bath Towels: $6.99


This mug is dishwasher, microwave and oven safe. It’s perfect for sipping hot beverages with friends or for late night study breaks.

Fiesta Tapered Mug: FiestaFactoryDirect $10.99

- Rhonda Erb
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Friday, July 29, 2016

In the Market Report

Hillary Clinton & The Chain of Command

Hillary Clinton tops the chain of command at the  Democratic Convention
Photo credit: 

One normally equates this phrase with the rules of the military but of course, it also applies to government and politics. Hillary Clinton undeniably topped the chain of command at the Democratic Convention which ended yesterday, her historic nomination providing a long overdue “missing link” within our political arena.  By contrast, the only phrase using the word ‘chain’ that most applies in the case of the Republican convention, is “Chain of Fools.”

By the way, there’s no reason Hillary Clinton, who is poised to become the Commander in Chief and the leader of the free world, should not also have a sharp, commanding presence. Unsurprisingly, much has already been written about her fashion choices and we all know that Anna Wintour has been instrumental in getting her fashion look together.  But with all due respect, I think Hillary could look a lot better. For the record, while I liked the pantsuit she wore last night, the color washed her out. Instead of opting for white, the color of purity, I would have gone with red, the color of power.

She is an attractive woman and at 5’7”, she can certainly carry  clothes. (I never knew she was that tall because her long, often shapeless jackets and matronly tunics don’t do her any justice). I would suggest wearing more fitted clothing. Belted coats and trenches, tailored jackets and narrower pants in dark colors like navy or black are  always appropriate, thinning, lengthening and would perfectly offset her pale skin and blonde hair. I would advise that she invest in a wardrobe of crisp white shirts and silk blouses (black and white or navy and white always look good), distinctive black turtlenecks (always flattering), and instead of wearing head to toe turquoise (or that famous shade of blue that many politicians wear), my suggestion would be to add strong hits of color by adding a colorful scarf (and using it instead of a dainty necklace), or wearing strong hued pumps.

But regardless, I’m not talking politics here. What I’m really talking about are chains, commanding chains at that.

Right about now, with temperatures in the 90’s, it’s been impossible to think of wearing anything more complicated than a crisp white shirt, cotton t shirt, sleeveless shift, or other similarly simple pared down, spare pieces and separates. But all of this can admittedly get a bit boring. The easiest and most effective way to add some pizazz is through the addition of accessories, but often times, they can look a bit fussy. To my way of thinking, nothing is a better compliment to minimalistic fashion than chains (whether worn around the neck, at the wrist, around the waist, or added to a bag or shoes). They are at once timeless and classic, inherently modern, edgy and cool (both figuratively and literally, since they add no warmth).

Chains have been perennial favorites among designers and customers through the decades, and there are always great updates; this season is no exception. A number of pieces that have caught my eye have done so because they are bold, standout, and anything but run of the mill as they have all been somehow reimaged through proportion, scale, material, color, or design. They run the gamut from metal (gold, silver, bronze, and palladium), to plastic, resin, and Plexiglas; represent a mix of new and vintage; and can be decorative or functional.

Balenciaga Fall 2016 Ready-To-Wear

Of course, the best case scenario is the combination of form and function, as exemplified by the colorful and statement making plastic chain link eyeglass holders which were first seen on the runway of the Balenciaga fall 2016 Ready-To-Wear show in Paris.  (This is hardly surprising since one of the strengths of this iconic label’s new creative director, Vetements’ founder Demna Gvasalia, is his ability to take streamlined, streetwise, authentic designs and make them as highly distinctive as possible). They are $315 and will be available at Balenciaga stores in August.

FYI, about 20 years ago, I purchased two fabulous eyeglass chain holder necklaces made of large, oval links in black and tortoiseshell plastic, from Henry Miller Opticians on 72nd street and Lexington Avenue; they were $75 and alas, no longer available. I wear them all the time. They are not only great looking, but I never misplace my glasses. And they never fail to draw compliments. I can’t tell you how many times women have offered to buy them from me owing to their great design fused with practicality;  typically, what you find are those tiny, cheap looking dime store versions. This seems like such an easy thing to replicate at a relatively inexpensive price. Perhaps now that Balenciaga has offered a distinctive version, we will see other appealing interpretations

.Diana Broussard has long been known for her bold, over scaled Plexiglas and resin chains. A mainstay on her website and in her eponymous West Village shop (22 Christopher Street, 646 336 6365), is her signature 20 inch Nate chain necklace, $275, which is available in 11 colors. I especially love the vibrant red which would instantly rev up black. Info/Purchase

Pluma Italia (, a relatively new kid on the block, is the brainchild of Brendan Cannon, its Creative Director. In a relatively short time, they have become known for their bold, statement making yet classic necklaces, chokers, collars, cuffs, bangles, rings, earrings, and clutches which focus on style, high quality and attention to detail. Each piece is handmade by artisans in family run factories in Tuscany, Italy. Their triple large gold plated brass link Oro necklace, $792, would look as good with a plain t shirt or striped pullover, as with a little black dress.Info/Purchase

I love that this chunky Bottega Veneta chain link bracelet is in oxidized silver Info/Purchase

Miuccia Prada has long been a member of the “chain gang” and this season, several of her Miu Miu bags and shoes, like these fringed black suede moccasins, are  adorned with prominent silver chains, $850 Info/Purchase

I tend to gravitate towards vintage because I’m getting something that is all but guaranteed to be one of a kind. I love the unusual, eye catching, graphic color block design of this vintage Hermes multicolored plastic chunky chain necklace, $1115.03.Info/Purchase

This vintage Yves Saint Laurent chunky gold chain necklace can do double duty as a belt, $643

Of course, no label is as associated with chains, as Chanel. This rare and exceptional pair of bronze Chanel chain biker cuffs is laden with poured glass Gripoix cabochons in emerald, ruby and sapphire. Dating from the 80’s, they were designed by Victoire de Castellane, under Karl Lagerfeld, at a time when “all of Chanel’s iconography was pumped up on steroids”, $ 12,500. Info/Purchase

This iconic vintage Chanel fringe chain belt with woven leather buckle, $2800, was worn in a famous editorial featuring Linda Evangelista. How great would this look with a crisp white shirt and black skirt? Info/Purchase

This vintage Chanel 5 row gold chain necklace is a classic, and simply a wow! Price upon request.Info/Purchase

- Marilyn Kirschner

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Black Bags Matter

Upscale Garment Bag Lady Linda Fargo in her D.I.Y. Raincoat
Photo credit: Instagram

It's happened to the best of us, especially now in the dog days of summer: TFW you're about to leave your office for the night and out of nowhere there's a clap of thunder followed by a deluge of epic proportion. What to do? If you're Linda Fargo you D.I.Y. a Bergdorf Goodman garment bag into a chic Prada-esque rain coat. I especially love how the clear patch "window" perfectly showcases her black and white striped outfit, as well as how the thin belt sets off the look perfectly. Naturally it goes without saying that as Bergdorf's fashion director she's the perfect brand ambassador for this "outerwear." Just for giggles I attempted to get a similar look using a white canvas "The Outnet" garment bag.Using the fabric loop as a halter and without slicing the bag I decided that what I had created was really just a belted apron.

Bradley Cooper

While Ms. Fargo seems to have cornered the market on garment bag couture, many celebs have raided their garbage cans sporting straight up Hefty bags -- all without even being asked to take part in "Project Runway's" infamous unconventional materials challenge. Who can forget Bradley Cooper wearing a black sack for his 2011 role in "Silver Linings Playbook"? Apparently this was taken from a direct reference to the character in the book who wore a garbage bag over his sweats as a weight loss aid. (Don't try this at home -- all you'll lose is temporary water weight, says WebMD.) According to costume designer Mark Bridges, the noisy garbage bag had to be put on mute so as not to have the rustling sound picked up by the camera's mic.

Missy Elliott & Abbi Jacobson

Perhaps the most iconic look belongs to Missy Elliott who famously wore an inflated garbage bag in her 1997 video of "Supa Dupa Fly." Legend has it that Elliott decided to give a big middle finger to the size-ist record execs who told her that she wouldn't be able to make it in the music business without a "perfect" body. An enormous inflated trash bag, some rose-colored sunglasses attached to a glittery bicycle helmet, and bam! -- she made a visual statement that still resounds today.  Abbi Jacobson of "Broad City" even copied her look in a hilarious video entitled "Eight F**king Thousand Dollars" which appeared in an episode of the Comedy Central TV show.

Lady Gaga
Photo credit:

In September of last year, Lady Gaga wore garbage bag couture during New York Fashion Week. She attended the Nicopanda presentation in this mini dress (well, actually it was a shirt over denim hot pants) which she accessorized with chains and ripped fishnets, thanking designer Nicola Formichetti for her head turning look from his new collection.

J Lo & Rihanna

Stepping back a bit to 2010 we have J. Lo and Rihanna, who went to the "bottom of the barrel," yet not too far from "throwaway chic" in these Lanvin dumpster diving looks. Who wore it better? Alber Elbaz showed large black plastic-y sacks as handbags in 2013 in case anyone wanted to crush the look of a second story man or alternately, just someone on their way to the curb.

Photo credit:

Also in 2010, here's Ke$ha (as her name was formerly spelled) at the VMA's doing her best to look as trashy as possible -- she described the look as "a celebration of being broke"-- from back in her "brushed-my- teeth-with-a-bottle-of-Jack" days.

Photo: Instagram

If transparency is what you're after during this election season, be forewarned --you probably won't get it. For a little controlled opposition to all the opaqueness, take a gander at the ever creative Solange slaying in her "dry cleaning bag" ensemble. She's even doing a little song and dance routine while wearing it on last month's Instagram post.

Ikea Bags Coat

If you believe that Blue Bags Matter and like to come full circle to the original idea of a store supplying the raw materials instead of a metal can, check out this raincoat made from recycled Ikea bags. Hard to fault the crafty "couture" upcycled from four of the Swedish carryalls -- wearing it as a coat means you won't have to assemble its contents from cryptic picture diagrams when you get home.

- Laurel Marcus