Dilemmas: Stuff I'd like to get from the General Economy

Been a long time since we did a "Dilemmas" post.  In this case it's not really a matter of choosing which one to get, but whether to get something at all - or get all of them :)

  • Oak NYC houndstooth scarf, $7
  • Frye Paige dark brown boots, $200
  • Rag & Bone top, $45
  • Free People sequined vest, $23
  • Random Japanese lace skirt, $30
  • Kookai striped sweater, $27
  • Anthro skirt, $45
  • Tulle pencil skirt, $20

Esoteric scarves from the Metropolitan Museum of Art store (on sale!)

It's not really a place you think of for high fashion, unless maybe you are someone's grandmother.  But I wandered onto the Met Museum store's website today and rifled through some of their winter sale offerings.  I was taken aback, and very pleased, to discover some really beautiful scarves in its collection, most of which are on major sale, and all of which allude to some part of the actual art collection.

What I love most about these scarves, besides that they are lovely and colorful and can be styled in so many different ways, is that they are a little bit nerdy.  It's like wearing a piece of history, for the liberal arts geeks among us.  My favorite is the Tiffany stained glass scarf (number 1 below), as the Tiffany windows were always my favorite part of visiting the Met, followed closely by the arms and armor section.

I also included a couple standouts from the jewelry sale, a cascading pearl earring and a Tiffany 'pine-bough' pendant.

Dilemmas: Incarnations of Black-and-White Tie Dye, the Dress and the Scarf.

Another of my personal fall trends (maybe they are better labeled as "interests," "fascinations," or "obsessions"): tie-dyed things.  I'm specifically drawn to the black-and-white variety, or its equally neutral cousins (gray-and-black, white-and-navy), because let's face it, I am not one to pull off the rainbow-hued hippie sort of tie-dyed T-shirt.

The concept first entered my consciousness through Lucky's end-page spread from Andrea Linett, the insufferably smug creative director who has been called "the horsey, manfaced ex-Sassy editor" by at least one vehement blogger.  I know, I hate her sense of entitlement too.  But I totally developed an infatuation with this tie-dyed cashmere scarf she featured in the some really old issue of Lucky. The very idea of tie-dyed cashmere was intoxicating - such a flippant, casual method applied to such a luxurious material.  The scarf, of course, was way out of my budget, but the idea stuck.
A month ago, my dear Annie sported a simple tank dress from Calvin Klein that was tie-dyed in the same way.  Of course, this girl can pull off anything, but it really looked good--and versatile to boot, the way she combined it with black tights and a belt. Then, I saw a glimpse of some tie-dye the other week while browsing through American Apparel.  Usually I am hard-pressed to find anything worth buying at AA, but the style of the dye almost exactly matched the one in Ms. Linett's spread.  And finally, I was reminded of this latent tie-dye obsession when I came across a beautiful, version of the tie-dyed dress in the tambukiki eBay boutique.

Now, I'm torn!  Do I get the simple shift dress from Calvin Klein (on sale now for just $20!)?  Or the giant and infinitely versatile circle scarf from American Apparel ($34)?  Or both?  Or do I bite the bullet and invest in one of the uber-extravagant cashmere versions ($200+)?

For Men: Scarf It Down

With the changing of the season - and Steph's post on her personal fall trend, I've got to throw in my two cents on my personal trend of the moment: scarves!

This often neglected accessory is usually more of a utility item that is saved for particularly cold nights or that ski retreat weekend.  It's usually in some awful crimson wool blend that itches and has reindeer and snowflakes all over - unmistakably the calling card of some crafty relative.

But thanks largely to the bandit/afghan craze in street style in the past few years, scarves are reinstated as a legitimate, fashionable accessory both guys and girls can rock. 

If you need some convincing, I did a little experiment.  I put on a ho-hum pair of Gap jeans and a Hanes white t-shirt and then put on some of my favorite scarves to see how they worked.  The result?  Well, I think that the scarves single-handedly enhanced the look altogether.  Granted, it's a bit of a metro look, but you get the idea right?
So scarves are practical, stylish, and now more than ever, they're at almost every clothing retailer!   I find H&M carries the most economic/trendy options (run between $5-$15) but these will last you about a year before getting a little threadbare.  Club Monaco has consistently amazing scarves, but wait for their end of season sales to score GREAT deals on them (regular retail is $79.50, sale price is usually $19.99 - that's 75% off people!).

If you're comtemplating your first scarf purchase: go to Banana Republic and pick a solid color scarf in a light wool (think of a light wool sweater). I like bright oranges, rich purples, and sporty blues for solid colored scarves.  This adds a fresh pop to any outfit. 

For the more adventurous: try a lightweight, wrinkly scarf in linen or very light cotton (they would be like 24 inches wide if you pulled it out and ironed it, but scrunched together it's actually not that big). You can drape them in a bunch of different ways - play around with it to find which you like the best.  Colors in shades of off-white, beige, brown, and light grey or green are what I gravitate towards these days for these kinds of scarves.

I'm not the biggest fan of the afghan-style scarves, but I think that the afghan print is still "in" for now.  If that's what you're looking for, I'd encourage exploring bolder color combinations (beyond black and white) - I especially like teal+grey and beige+brown color combinations. Diesel has cool on sale now for $30 

As the colder weather comes, thicker fabric scarves in wool/cashmere come in exceptionally handy.  I find that in the bulkier fabrics, colors in the range from l off-white to light grey look super fresh on a cold winter night - so you can look for those as they start stocking up for the winter season.

All in all - I think the scarves are much more than something that white people like - they're an accessory that every guy should own multiple of to take his wardrobe to the next level.