Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Officially Party Dress Season

Thanksgiving is over, and it's official: Party dress season has begun.

The invitations have probably already begun trickling in. You may even be planning your own party. You'll be going out for cocktails with friends, spending evenings at lavish dinner parties, seeing old friends at gatherings that last until breakfast, and gearing up for a work occasion or two. This is your chance to glam it up. What will you wear?

One choice is the classic little black dress. For my money, I like 1940s rayon crepe. It's made for women with curves, and it clings in all the right places. The Xtabay just landed some exquisite 1940s black dresses, some with peplums, and some with sequin decoration. The LBD is seasonless and goes to just about any type of function fuss free. It looks terrific with pumps, nude legs, and red lips, of course. But an LBD sings with red or pale green tights (choose a color of tights that picks up the color in your tattoos) and open-toed shoes. Keep your makeup modern and your hair slightly messy. My only LBD caution would be to stay away from dowdy all-black velvet outfits. Way too spinster aunt.

Mad Men has opened many people's eyes to the beauty of the colored party dress. This look is especially smashing if you can get a coat to match. Imagine a pale blue dress with a floaty chiffon skirt and a large crystal brooch pinned to the shoulder topped with a pale blue mohair coat. Slick back your hair and brush on a smoky eye. Or, try a gold or silver dress with no jewelry except for a massive cocktail ring. Those boring women in designer jeans and pointy shoes will be so jealous.

Another angle is to opt for 1980s glamour. No, not the cheap Kmart Dynasty look, but the real thing: Thierry Mugler, Guy Laroche, et al. The Xtabay has a killer black Guy Laroche suit in right right now that will give you the figure of Jessica Rabbit. I'd do 1940s jewelry with it to take it out of Falcon Crest and make it timeless. Or, add a large, modern, handcrafted choker. Purple suede over-the-knee boots would put the outfit in the stratosphere.

Once you have your dress chosen, it's time to focus on accessories. To me, the holidays are all about rhinestones and in every color. The Xtabay has a brilliant Eisenberg crystal brooch and earring set right now that should come with a "must wear sunglasses when viewing" warning. The store also has a row of vintage fur stoles that would look especially great with jeans and sweaters, and a fabulous assortment of 1940s sandals. (If you're a 7 1/2 shoe size, get down to the store, pronto.)

Here's the best news of all: This Saturday, December 5th, the Xtabay is having a party, and all day just about everything is 25% off! Come let us pull together a couple of good party looks for you. We can lead you to the dresses that work with your figure and suggest a few pairings you might not have thought of yourself. The Xtabay's secret mission is to glamorize Portland. (Crocs and fleece, beware!)

This is the season that you make an entrance. This year people talk about how gorgeous you are and see you as inspiration. You only live once. Do it right! Do it with style.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1960's Zig-Zag Dazzler!

The necklace is by Hattie Carnagie ...beware of it's potentially blinding brilliance.

Just in today, this 1960's Harold Levine chiffon evening gown is to die for!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Time to Rethink that Handbag

What has happened to us lately? Look at the handbags out there. They're big enough to hold sleeping bags and snoozing Rottweilers. Tiny women hobble down the street encumbered by massive purses. This is so wrong on so many levels. For one, the balance is all off. Only the tallest and thinnest can get away with a big bag. For another, why do you need such a big bag? Are you carrying your iron lung in there? Finally, have you priced a chiropractor lately? Honestly. Think about it.

It didn't used to be that way. Xtabay has a shelf of vintage handbags showcasing gorgeous craftsmanship in a moderately sized structures. Many of the bags snap open to reveal gently scented, leather lining with a tiny mirror in the side pocket, maybe even a comb, and sometimes a leather coin purse secured to the inside of the bag with a delicate chain. The bags come in highly polished napa leather or real patent leather or soft-as-cream suede. They have tiny brass pegs to protect their bottoms when you tuck the purse in your desk drawer or on the seat next to you at the restaurant.

Each bag is a work of art. They settle elegantly on the arm and are plenty large enough to hold a cell phone, hankie, slim wallet, lipstick, keys, and a golden atomizer of Shalimar. If you're hell bent on lugging around yoga togs and an old banana, you can toss them in the trunk. Keep a collapsible tote for library books and gym clothes. They have no business being in your most intimate of accessories--your purse.

It's time to pare down. Think about what's important to you. Tuck a tiny photo of your Papillon or a golden lock of hair from your toddler the side pocket. Scent your handkerchief with your lover's aftershave and let it rest where its scent will mingle with the leather. Put your most flattering red lipstick and your vintage compact filled with French grain translucent powder inside. When you go into the world, take with you just what you need. Distill who you are and what you require into your purse, and leave the rest behind.

Right now the Xtabay is chock-a-block with stellar bags. Come in and find the one that's yours.