just plain sara: August 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Style Spotlight: Michelle Obama

There is no denying that this post is long overdue. Vanity Fair has already named Michelle one of their favorites on their "International Best-dressed List" and Vogue featured her as one of their "It Girls" in April. She's an obvious choice not just for her sense of style but the ease with which she wears her clothes. You never get the feeling she's trying to please anyone but herself. Some have questioned whether or not Michelle has a stylist but her people deny it...

“To the best of my knowledge, she does not use a stylist,” said Mrs. Obama’s spokeswoman, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, although she is known to have relationship's with a few designers and Chicago boutiques [Source].

Obvious comparisons have been made to Jackie Kennedy and even Barbara Bush (must be the pearls) but I'm just excited to see another type of black woman on my television screen and on magazine stands. My only frustration when composing this post was trying to find full-length photos of Michelle's outfits (as a personal plea to campaign photographers, we want to see the shoes!). I guess I'll have to wait until they make it into the White House. Then we'll be spoiled for choice with images of a classy, fashionable woman. After a few weeks of online digging I found some great examples of Michelle's style choices. You can view them below in the slideshow. I can't wait to see what she wears when their victory is announced!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Register to Vote - NOW!!

Beyonce and Jay Z out-and-about in New York City on August 4th, 2008.
Alicia Keys wears her Barack Obama T-Shirt while at The Black Ball, July 10, 2008.
Halle Berry left a shopping center in Century City today proclaiming her love for Barack Obama via t-shirt with one that read Barack The Vote July 29, 2008.
Eva Pigford models the "Sunshine" Barack Tee priced $25 available at www.barackthevote.com
LisaRaye McCoy proudly shows her support for Barack Obama while out-and-about in Beverly Hills, California.

There is no excuse ladies. The countdown is on and whatever your political affiliations you must register to vote. Fear not. Registering doesn't take more than a few minutes of your time. Visit http://www.rockthevote.com/ to fill out the simple form. You'll need a printer to print out the form once you've filled it out electronically. Note that your "ID Number" is either your driving license or social security number. If you don't have either, put a zero in the field and you can proceed by clicking "Prepare Form". You must, however, indicate that you have neither a driving license or social security number on the paper form you print out. Then all you have to do is send it to the appropiate address and you're done!

For those of us who are not citizens (I'm British), we'll be showing our support via the ultimate statement - Fashion! Make like the ladies above and wear your point-of-view proudly across your chest. See below for where to buy the coolest Obama tees.

My Picks!

Top: Obama, $20, www.ragamuffinclothing.com; Barack Obama Picture, $16.50, www.democraticstuff.com; Barack Obama Signature Ladies Natural T-shirt, m, $20.08, www.shopbarackobama.com; Obama 08 Ladies Black T-shirt, $20.08, www.shopbarackobama.com

Bottom: NV Me Boy Beater, $20, www.barackthevote.com; Obey Obama Progress Tee, $28, www.urbanoutfitters.com; Team Barack T Shirt, $38, www.siralistairrai.com; Obama Hope Tee, $32, www.shopintuition.com or www.hopeshirt.com

I acknowledge that Obama mania is at fever pitch but it's not just hype, my love for him is REAL! To prove it I'm ordering my graphic tee ahead of time and I'll wear it proudly during his inauguration. Paired with denim capris, silver hoops and designer shades, there's no mistaking where my support lies. If you want to put your hard earned money to good use, order tees from official sites like http://store.barackobama.com. Any purchase is considered a federal contribution to the Obama Victory Fund.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Check Yourself!

Kelly Rowland and Rihanna make appearances in a winning combo of plaid/checked shirts and dark jeans.
Left to right: Midwest Plaid Shirt , $22.90, www.forever21.com; Tartan Silk Blouse, $34.80, www.forever21.com; Victoria Check Shirt, $79.99, www.fcusbuymail.com; Plaid Vest, $18.99, www.charlotte-russe.com
Left to right: Checker Plaid Shirt, $19.80, www.forever21.com; 3/4 Sleeve Check Shirt, $30, www.topshop.com; Plaid 3/4-sleeved ruffle-front top, $44, www.gap.com; Ruffle Front Shirt by Ivy, www.intermixonline.com

Lumberjacks are the last people you'd expect a fashionista to turn to for style inspiration but surprisingly a plaid/check shirt paired with jeans is a winning combination. Whilst some shirts in stores right now look like they came straight off a lumbrjack's back, others include feminine details like a nipped in waist, bows and frills. Whether you stay true to the shirt's origin or go with the updated interpretation, always, always wear with a pair of dark, indigo jeans. See the ladies above for instant inspiration.

GL, Legion & Other Awesome Rings

I remember finding really great silver rings on ebay and then they stopped getting listed. Luckily, a regular over at the League of Heroes posted a link to Arroba Silver which is just what I originally bookmarked. The right GL ring is obviously vital if you are going to dress a Green Lantern; cool thing is that now there are other color Lanterns too and Arroba already has their logos available.

Also essential to rings would be a member of the Legion of Superheroes where rings and communicators are given when you are asked to join up. So for all the Phantom Girls and Beast Boys out there, you'll be able to find affordable LoSH rings now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nadia Nour

Designers from Nadia Nour's Fall 2008: Modern Rustic Americana
What do you get when you cross a philosphy major with a innovator with a penchant for fashion? The answer is a Nadia Nour. A designer who creates flattering apparel that fits flawlessly and is constructed using all natural and select organic textiles. Nour's clothes are born of more than just a love of fashion. The Fall 2008 collection is called "Modern Rustic Americana" and is filled with bold colors, unique shapes and luxe fabrics. Created for women who defy trends, Nadia Nour apparel is designed to inspire a sense of self-assurance and vitality in the women who wear them. If anything stands out to you (and something should) you can find out where to buy her clothes here. Be sure to check out her other collections while you're on the site, they'll inspire you to step-up style quotient!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Old Navy: Fall Collection

Above: Silk Ruffle Top $29.50 Denim Pencil Skirt $32.50, www.www.oldnavy.com/plus
Left to right: Flutter Sleeve Top $29.5o; Ruched Neck Dress $36.50; Color Block Top $26.50 all available at www.oldnavy.com/plus

So I've noticed that some of the comments left on previous "plus size" clothing posts have pointed out that the quality of the outfits online are not all that great. Well, Old Navy has stepped up and provided an appealing alternative for Fall. Old Navy Women’s Plus is offered exclusively online at www.oldnavy.com/plus and features the latest fashions designed specifically for sizes 16-30. The online store provides an expanded selection of fashion apparel that help customers go from work to weekend and day to night – all at affordable prices. See above for a few items from their latest collection. The site also provides $7 flat rate shipping on all orders and free returns by mail for any Women’s Plus clothes - great for when you change you mind about something like I do constantly! To get a sneak peak of the rest of their Fall collection click here. My favorites are their dresses and casual tops from the Jewel Box Colors line.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rogue's yellow boots

I get asked about X-Men's Rogue a lot. The reason I love her is because her vast wardrobe reflects different periods of her life and therefore personality. Her classic yellow & green suit is by far the most popular of her collection.

Making the bodysuit and jacket are easy enough. With Rogue there are also a decent amount of accessories to consider too. To get the perfect "double" belt where one is thin and one is thick, you can either buy two brown belts and create an X-logo buckle to hold them together or have one custom made.

Boots can be tricky to have custom created because if you're like me and spend all day in your costume, you really want them to be as comfortable as possible. That means going shopping for yourself. Having someone who is not a boot-maker or cobbler create your footwear can be a hit or miss situation. Many people will just refer you to a tutorial on how to make your own but not everyone who enjoys wearing costumes wants to go through all the trouble involved in making one.

With the yellow & green suit, Rogue wears over-the-knee (OTK) yellow boots with green straps. They flare open at the top around the knee and thigh. If you don't care about being dead on accurate there are a lot of go-go boots that come up the knee but not over it; still, it's not a bad place to start because they only cost about $40 and have a variety of heels to choose from. You can always try to create the flared top yourself out of yellow vinyl which takes a lot of the daunting construction out of the equation.

Yesterday I scoured the internet again looking for yellow OTK boots and found these options:
- White boots (expensive; might mean better quality but I don't know; for cheaper and in US dollars check here) that you can try spray painting with a shoe paint like Magix.
- Yellow suede, currently out of stock, but maybe they'll get them in again.
- Spandex boots/leggings are common from Chinese costumer designers and can be found easily on ebay. The thing is the prices are cheap but shipping is costly. One Chinese designer that I've heard good things about is Maggie at Cosfun. She'll also do customizations so if you need a bootie in a color not shown, you can always ask about it. Booties though are very slippery and offer no protection for your feet! You can get some leather, foam or even an old yoga mat to cut out some soles for yourself and glue it onto the stockings.

Tutorials on Armor making at GEN

I recently joined the community of GEN, Girls Entertainment Network (open to guys too) and have been slowly going through the forum posts on costuming. My friend Belle Chere answered someone's question about How to Make Armor. Check out her wonderful response complete with photos of her Ivy Valentine gilded clawlike gloves.

A while ago, I found this website dedicated to making Halo armor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Rumor - Completed!

I got my boots (they aren't a perfect match but they're pretty nice) and finished the details on the jacket plus found my winter gloves for the final touch. Here's my completed Rumor from Umbrella Academy volume one for the Wizard Magazine Halloween Costume Contest. (Nothing like having a deadline in the middle of August!)

It feels really weird not to be completely covered in spandex.

Shea Moisture, Sheer Genius!

Left to right: Shea Moisture Coco Hibiscus Soap & Lotion Set, $12.99; Shea Moisture African Black Soap and Lotion, $12.99; Shea Moisture Raw Shea Wash & Lotion, $15.99 all available at www.target.com

Always on the look out for new and exciting beauty products, imagine my joy when Target were kind enough to send me their new Shea Moisture line. Shea Moisture is a distinctive array of bath and body products designed to address the unique skincare needs of African-American and Hispanic consumers. The Black Soap line will even your skin tone, the Raw Shea Butter will keep you moisturized and the Coconut Hibiscus will heal any skin irritants you have. The products vary from $12.99 - $15.99 but those prices you get two items! Visit www.target.com to test them out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rumor 99% complete (Umbrella Academy)

Umbrella Academy's Rumor

I still have gloves, proper boots, and some embroidery on the jacket left to have this actually completed. I need to redo the red top and t-shirt at some point in the future but it's wearable for now.

Ebay Sales: Wizard of Oz

I have continued the major gleaning of my house and came across a couple of Bradford Exchange plates from the MGM Wizard of Oz collection. I had them listed on ebay years ago and for some reason two of them didn't sell. I still have the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. I have relisted them on ebay and have set 10% of the proceeds to go to Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Now - as for ebay - there is no minimum bid however even sales with 10% going to a charity have a minimum to pay to the charity which is $5. So I would really appreciate the best offers possible on these plates.

Both plates are listed as separate sales. They are in their original boxes and have all original paperwork including the important Certificates of Authenticity.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dereon Fall 2008

Beyonce's second line Dereon has released a video with a preview to the Fall 2008 Collection. Though I'm not a big fan of either of her lines (House of Dereon and Dereon), I thought the video was worth sharing. Let me know your thoughts and if any of you have bought items from her collections what are they like? I must admit that they are some cute dresses on the House of Dereon site but none of them are less than $300 :(

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day Glow Jester completed!

By the end of Day 4, I actually had a wearable costume! It took about 28 hours with taking only half hour breaks to eat or run to the store. At least now I have a suit to start from so I can make some modifications. I'll probably design my own booties for Harley. I have to adjust the diamonds especially on the butt. I'm still trying to figure out what to do for the white cuffs. In these pictures, I just used some spare white trim from my Harley inspired tote bags. I'd like to round the bottoms more on the white neck piece too. The horns ended up pointing backwards too far.

Things I was really happy about where how I actually got the 4 corners of alternating color to line up in the front and the back. The hood zipper was a pain but the back zipper is the best zipper installation I've ever done. Of course I couldn't find too many color choices though so I went with white. For the sake of speed, I appliqued the diamonds on this one but I'll give gluing a shot with the next one.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Take a Leaf Out of Her Style Book: Dania Ramirez

Dania arrives for the Entertainment Weekly and Vavoom annual upfront party at the Bowery Hotel on May 13, 2008 in New York City.
Dania Ramirez attends Intermix's 3rd Annual 'VH1 Rock Honors' VIP Party at Intermix on July 11, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.
Dania Ramirez arrives at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Fall 2008 held at Smashbox Studios on March 9, 2008 in Hollywood, California.
Dania arrives at the "InStyle Celebrates Grammy Salute to Fashion 2008" earlier this year.

Your high school days may be over but it's never too late to look like a prom princess. Let Dania Ramirez guide you. It's not hard to imagine her as Homecoming Queen - her style choices for the red carpet are always demure yet attention-grabbing. Whether you prefer prom dresses that stay true to their 1950s predecessors or shorter dresses with a full skirt and plenty of tulle, always look for a dress with pockets - they instantly bring the look into the 21st century.

My Picks!

Left to right: Jasley Strapless Floral Dress, $24.80, www.forever21.com; Bustier prom dress by Miu Miu, $2300, www.net-a-porter.com; Check Prom Dress, $56, www.newlook.co.uk; Vintage Prom Dress, $100, www.topshop.com
Left to right: Plain Prom Dress, $80, www.topshop.com; Sandra Tube Dress, $44.50, www.delias.com; Leaf it Out Dress, $89.99, www.fcusbuymail.com; Isaac Mizrahi for Party Dress Fandango, $44.99, www.target.com

If you prefer the modern interpretation of this dress the top row is for you. The shorter length, fuller skirt and details such as bows and pleats make this look fun and adventures. The downside is these dresses will date a lot quicker. Those of you who prefer the classic 1950s original, will cherish the bottom row looks for a lifetime. Whichever group you fall into this style flatters all shapes and sizes, so get out there and find the one for you!

Testing the Harley/Jester

Day 4: I feel like progress is so slow on my test version of Harley Quinn. I've worked out some of the kinks and think I'll make a couple of small changes. I don't know if I'll ever figure out how to put in a damn zipper. All I have done so far is the hood, gloves (which need some patching repairs) and one bootie. I'm about 19 hours into the project.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Michelle Obama Covers Ebony...

My excitement for this issue is immeasurable. Michelle Obama WILL be the next and First Lady and a very stylish and classy one at that! Get an early preview of her fabulous life in the upcoming issue of Ebony:

"Going beyond the surface view of poise, elegance, style and the utmost class, Ebony magazine unveils the real Michelle Obama: mother, wife, potential first lady and style icon. Take a rare look behind-the-scenes of Michelle’s life on the road to the White House and how she finds the necessary balance between managing the household with Sen. Barack Obama and joining her husband in pursuit of the most ambitious American dream. Plus, in an EXCLUSIVE interview, Michelle’s mother, Marian Robinson, reflects on her daughter’s childhood and transition to being one step away from changing her address from Chicago to Washington, D.C."

Be sure to pick up your copies ASAP!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One Blazer to Go!

Thandie Newton attends the gallery opening party of Established and Sons, at Established and Sons on October 11, 2007 in London, England.
Naomi Campbell leaves after appearing in a Manhattan Criminal Court for assault charges on November 15, 2006 in New York City.
Vanessa Williams poses for a photo at the HomeAgain event launching 'Bring Pets Home' campaign at the Animal Haven in Soho on October 25, 2007 in New York City.
Sharon Leal attends Women's Health Magazine's Premiere 'Blue Issue' event at the Mondrian Hotel's Sky Bar Co-Hosted by Molly Sims and Rebecca Gayheart on October 18, 2007 in West Hollywood, California.

Yes I know we are still in the dead heat of summer but owning a tailored black blazer is a must whatever the season. Blazers can instantly turn a casual outfit into a sophisticated winner. Take style tips from the four ladies above who all invested in a fitted, black blazer and reaped the benefits on the red carpet. Whether your heading for a business meeting or just want to transform a favorite dress, blazers have you covered... literally!

My Picks!

Left to right: Linen SS Jacket, $24.80, www.forever21.com; Executive Career Blazer, $24.80, www.forever21.com; Satin Tuxedo Jacket, $32.99, www.charlotterusse.com; Stripe Blazer, $110, www.topshop.com
Left to right: Ellie Cord Blazer, $54.50, www.delias.com; Cropped One-Button Blazers, $39.50, www.oldnavy.com; Cotton blazer, $125, www.bananarepublic.com; Super 120s pinstripe three-button jacket, $240, www.jcrew.com

Congratulations on your decision to buy this wardrobe staple - now the fun can begin! Even though there are plenty of cheap blazers on the market, I suggest investing in the most expensive you can afford. It'll be worth it in the long run as it will last for years to come. Stores like J.Crew, Banana Republic, French Connection and even Ann Taylor Loft are fail safes. If you're on a budget try the Gap or department stores like Bloomingdale's which always have sales. If that still sounds too pricey you can always head to Forever 21 and co., they won't last as long but they're an instant substitute at a price no one can beat.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wonder Woman 2.0

I'm still waiting for my fabric to arrive in order to experiment with a new Wonder Woman design I have in mind. I already practiced with a new commercial pattern from New Look using regular cotton. It features built in boning and a side zipper. One of these days I'll get a zipper to actually look right but I'm not holding my breath.

Today after spending about 5 hours cutting out practice fabric for Harley Quinn, the Sherbert Colored version (my practice suit is lime green and salmon), I started making my new Wonder Woman armor.

I used thin plastic sheeting called EZ Quilting Template Plastic which comes in a small roll. Having it already rolled is a bonus in this case because I would have wanted curvature in the pieces anyway. I still haven't gotten the opportunity to get the adhesive metallic mylar; I have plenty of the gold PVC left over from last time so I feel the need to use what's in my overflowing fabric bin. And all I did was scotch tape the fabric to the plastic.

My old tiara is actually a fabric cover of a real metal tiara. This time I made a matching plastic one and tied a piece of elastic to it. I have to paint the stars I have for the tiara and bracers.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Supergirl Hits 5th Avenue

According to all the fashion sources, the designers of Lonstein Gruss have made a deal with WB to launch a Supergirl clothing line for high-end retailers. Forget spunky girlie tees and underwear. This stuff most likely won't cost less than $50 and probably more like $300.

racked NY