Posts by Dara

Extra! Extra!

imageRead all about it! “SEXY MOTHER PUCKER… Lip Size Found Crucial For Sexual Attraction!” No, it’s not the front page headline from today’s New York Post, but a “cheeky” tagline emblazoned on the bubblegum-colored packaging of a lip-plumper from British-based beauty company, Soap & Glory.

With 8 kitschy bath and beauty essentials whose names were inspired by the daily tabloids, Soap & Glory just landed stateside at my fave masstige retailer, Target. Created by Marcia Kilgore, the mastermind behind Bliss, Soap & Glory is her irreverent sister line that’s half the price (nothing tops $25) and practically just as good. Meant to moisturize the masses, Soap & Glory’s mantra is that “a good laugh can take off as many years as a good lift.” Don’t let the slapstick humor fool you – these pun-filled products do indeed work.

Soap & Glory’s sensational lineup includes a stress-battling, lemon-infused bubble bath (Calm One, Calm All), a super-sized shower gel (Clean On Me), a skin-sloughing body buffer (The Scrub Of Your Life), a velvety smooth body butter (The Righteous Butter), a sexy lotion with shimmer (Glow Lotion), a hydrating hand cream (Great Shakes) and an almost edible sugar, shea butter and peach-infused body polish (Flake Away). My personal favorite is Sexy Mother Pucker, a tasty trio of tingly lip-plumping glosses that actually smell like chocolate – something missing from the captions on the box. After layering Super Starry (shimmery clear) on top of What A Melon (sheer pink), I came pretty close to having Angelina Jolie’s sought-after bee-stung pout. Regardless of what you slather on, Soap & Glory is sure to keep you smiling.

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Filed: Beauti-Fixation

Seasonal Staples

Aside from dark chocolate and a double shot of espresso, nothing gets my adrenaline pumping more than fall fashion. In fact, I got so wrapped up with this season’s alluring assortment of fabrics (tartans to tweeds) and colors (cobalt blue to charcoal gray), that I couldn’t help but purchase 90% of my wardrobe when pre-fall shipments hit stores in July. But, since I still need a few more staples, here’s a short list of what I’m eyeing next. And it just so happens that everything can be worn separately or paired together for a perfect day-to-night look.

imageWhy risk throwing your back out with a bulky, over-sized bag?  Instead, play-up your wardrobe with a petite frame purse that works with your proportions, like this lightweight Charlott Vasberg ($800) find. The shimmery black leather and matte gold hardware add that extra touch of glam. Buy it at • 888.222.7639

imageHere’s the skinny on denim for fall: stovepipes are out and baggy, wide-legged styles like these Seven’s ($209) are in. Finally, a pair of blues that doesn’t require plastic Baggie’s to slide ‘em over your feet. Buy it at • 877-746-7267

imageIf there’s one must-have piece you splurge on this season, make it this mustard blazer from Smythe ($698). It’s a well-priced alternative to the ones I’ve seen from Marc Jacobs and in my opinion, a much better fit. Buy it at • 212-924-4330

imageSimply put, Cobalt blue is the “it color” of the season. It works wonders for almost any complexion and will instantly brighten up your mood. This billowy Madison Marcus blouse ($225) is my personal fave because it pairs beautifully with black, wide-legged trousers. The feminine neck-tie, pleats and puffy sleeves make it that much more irresistible. Buy it at • 204-292-1524

imageUnleash your inner Victor Victoria with this smokin’ pinstriped fedora ($38) – a guaranteed head-turner. Finally, there’s no excuse for bad hair days, period. Buy it at • 800-862-0100

imageStep into the season with confidence with a shoe bootie – a stiletto that thinks and behaves like a boot. An edgier alternative to a pump, Christian Louboutin’s patent leather zippered pair ($770) glams up your gams, even when worn with nothing else.
Buy it at • 877.551.SAKS

For a sneak preview of my top picks for Spring ’08, stay tuned for next Monday’s special New York Fashion Week runway report.


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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Old Is New Again

imageAdmit it. When you think about shopping for vintage clothes, the following images of a Goodwill thrift shop probably come to mind: a musty, moth-balled space with dim lighting, cluttered racks, creaky wooden floors and, dare I say, cobwebs. Well, that perception will instantly change the moment you set foot inside Dear:55 – a surprisingly clean-cut boutique with a beautifully blended assortment of new and pre-loved designer threads, shoes, bags and baubles.

Run by Moon Rhee and designer Hey Ja Do, antique dealers who always dreamt of opening a vintage clothing and accessory shop with a modern twist, Dear:55 is quickly becoming the go-to destination for downtown and uptown shoppers alike. A cutting-edge gallery-like space that’s painted a blinding shade of snow white (from the white walls to the white antique furniture and the white facade), Dear:55 is easily spotted from a mile away.

Eye-catching décor aside, it’s the boutique’s eclectic mix of designer clothing that will lure you inside. Expect a stellar selection of avant-garde labels culled from Europe and Japan, including Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens, Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang. Vintage junkies will love pawing through the racks for original ‘80’s pieces from Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons. Other retro standouts I spotted during last week’s sojourn include a DKNY military jacket, a sequined cardigan, a denim bubble skirt, an ivory tunic adorned with gemstones and a black leather motorcycle jacket. But the real show-stoppers were Hey Ja Do’s reconstructed creations, ranging from one-of-a-kind handbags (fashioned from recycled fabrics), chunky beaded jewelry (handmade from found objects like lace and charms) and futuristic frocks such as an asymmetrical cobalt blue skirt and a tuxedo blouse with tiers of cascading chiffon ruffles (pairs perfectly with my new men’s-inspired wide-legged pants).

No matter what your preference, perhaps the most en-dear-ing thing about Dear:55 – all the garments are so well preserved, you can wear ‘em out the door without first stopping at the dry cleaners. 

  • Dear:55
  • 55 Clinton Street (between Stanton & Rivington)
  • 212-673-3494
  • Monday-Sunday, 1pm-9pm
  • $100-$300
  • store credit or exchange within 7 days of purchase
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Filed: Shop Talk

Fall Forward

After spending Labor Day transitioning each of my three closets (two for clothes and one strictly for my beauty booty) for the fall season, it occurred to me that I’m in serious need of a makeup overhaul. Rather than hoard dozens of tubes of red lipstick and lengthening mascara (they usually expire long before I get to use them anyway), I’ve decided to purge my stash and simplify my life with just a few of the season’s must-haves. Now if only I could downsize my wardrobe? Yeah, right.

Witchy black nails are out and automobile-like chrome shades are in. My fave new hue is Creative Nail Design’s Hyde In The Dark ($6) – a glitzy, gunmetal that looks gorgeous on short, squoval-shaped nails.

imageA punchy red pout instantly brightens-up your face and your mood. I’m hooked on Lipstick Queen’s Red Sinner ($18) – a shade so intense, it almost makes me want to go to confession!

imageWOW – a blush that does double duty for the eyes and face! With The Balm’s Hot Mama, there’s no reason to look pasty white, even when the mercury dips. This pretty pinky-peach hue acts as highlighter for the lids and adds a splash of color to the apples of the cheeks. 

imageWhen it comes to lashes, burgundy is the new black. When I want my peepers to pop, I swipe on several coats of Kitten Vixen’s Eye Put A Spell On You Bewitching Burgundy volumizing mascara ($24). Plus, the flip side doubles as a liner for lids. Can you say Cleopatra?     

imagePut down your pencils! Goof-proof liquid liner is where it’s at for back-to-school. Try Tarte’s double-sided Indelible Wink ($22) liquid formula (use the flip side as a matte shadow) for sultry, smudge-free cat eyes. Even sneezing won’t leave you with those dreadful Amy Winehouse wing tips.


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Filed: Beauti-Fixation


imageWhile my closet may suggest otherwise, finding the right-sized clothes to fit my frame is no small task. Despite the myriad of clothing boutiques at my disposal in the Big Apple, I’m rarely able to wear frocks right off the racks. Since most American labels are cut so large (can you say “Super Size Me”?), I can either fly to Europe for more petite (but pricey) clothes or try a more fitting alternative, like paying for alterations at Stanton Tailor Shop.

A Lower East Side landmark since 1993, Stanton Tailor meticulously mends everything from frayed pant hems to, believe it or not, parachutes. Having tried dozens of tailors in my time, absolutely nothing compares to level of craftsmanship offered at this one-man show. Run by my new best friend, Pablo Vargas, a self-confessed control freak who simultaneously supervises multiple fittings, repairs, customer calls and even the cash register (no computer terminals here), Stanton Tailor is one of the most unconventional businesses I’ve ever seen. The size of a walk-in-closet, this old-school shop still manages to serve more than 75 customers a day. With lines that snake out the door, Stanton Tailor is so busy they might as well have one of those ticket dispensers you find at the deli to manage the crowd. Come on a Saturday and you’d better bring a copy of War and Peace to help make the time pass. Perhaps more entertaining is watching poor Pablo balance himself on a ladder in order to pull down your alterations (which hang suspended from the ceiling).

What I love most about Stanton Tailor is that they’ve willingly reconstructed several complicated pieces from my closet such as a delicate silk blouse with a ruffled Victorian collar – items other tailors wouldn’t dare touch. They’re also one of the cheapest tailors in town. Original pant hems average only $10, practically half the price of what you’ll find uptown. Just don’t bother asking Pablo to specify a pick-up date. When your stuff’s ready, it’s ready! So long as you’re willing to put up with the chaos, Stanton Tailor will magically mend your wardrobe and just maybe, your life.

  • Stanton Tailor Shop
  • 90-96 Stanton Street (@ Orchard Street)
  • 212-353-9753
  • Monday – Saturday from 10am-7pm (fittings only from 10am-6pm)
  • $10-$200 (for major coat alterations)
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Filed: Shop Talk