Everyone loves a weekly Mazal. From Bravo’s Andy Cohen to the author of Jewcy’s Sunday Mazal, what was once used as celebratory phrase at bar-mitzvahs and weddings has gone global. Considering that fashion is all about embracing or resisting the most current of trends, I thought I would take the opportunity to embrace the entertainment industry’s new found love of “the mazal.” I’m sending a hearty yet stylish one to some of fashion’s mainstream players that have impressed me with their Fall collections.
As a Jew and a stylist in the recession, I am consistently asked how to achieve expensive looking trends and classics on a budget. These challenges are often close to impossible. Over the past year, I have been forced to tell clients the seemingly obvious, i.e. finding top designers for under $100 is not an option and dressing oneself for a wedding requires a small monetary investment. However, it is my opinion that a woman should have the right to own any or all of fashion’s bare necessities, regardless of her budget. I set out to find what have been dubbed the basics of Fall 2010 – a great fitting pair of pants, a fantastic skirt, leopard print done well, the perfect coat and fur – all across the financial spectrum. After a great deal of research, here is what I discovered in the field. My test results proved that much to my surprise, affordable shops like GAP and Zara are designing pieces that are certainly worthy of praise, and a very lofty mazal.
I recently decided that I would start wearing big girl pants. I convinced myself that both the fashion writer and stylist aspects of me would be more fulfilled in trousers, and I was right. In search of the perfect lady pants, I came across GAP’s Black Pant Collection in every single September issue of every fashion publication. Then, after the media slapped me in the face with the message “you need to own these pants,” I gave in. I headed to the nearest GAP on a lunchbreak and sampled each and every pant option from The Boyfit to Super Straight to the Modern Boot to the supposed Perfect Trouser. After many a trial and tribulation in the dressing room, I am now the proud owner of a navy (yes, a navy pant in the Black Pant Collection) and black pair of their Modern Boot cut trousers. 70’s inspired and elongating to no end, these bottoms make me feel a way I rarely do- sexy and sophisticated. Who knew it would only take a pair of pants to make me feel like a grown up?! If you are looking to expand your corporate attire or if your closet’s in need of a sartorial infusion, hit the GAP and pick up a couple pairs of these. You can afford it, they’re all under $70.00.
I then popped into Zara, a Spanish import that at times can be the solution to any and all of your fashion
quandries. Zara tailors its looks to each country its located in and focuses on catering to the core trends of that locale’s customer. Naturally, this season meant tailoring, luxurious fabrics, leopard, fur, puff skirts and ladylike silhouettes for the U.S. of A. I rarely drool, especially not outside of Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman, but went positively gaga over the reversible shearling asymmetrical vest, the leather blouson skirts and the generous amounts of camel and taupe on the Zara floor. Perfect coats are also on their menu for September and there are luxuriously tailored options for everyone from the bohemian to the siren. For those who email and text me with questions regarding trends and classics on a budget, this season Zara could just be the answer. When I complained to Amaya Maurie, friend and editor of The Cool Kid List about my desire to invest in designer pieces with a simultaneous budgetary concern that there would not be enough to work with in my closet for Fall 2010, her response was simple – “that’s why Zara was invented.”
And so, this week’s Guide to Style will serve as my official Mazal to GAP and Zara for their affordable contributions to my (and hopefully soon, your) Autumn wardrobe. Visit GAP and Zara (who just opened their online shop this week!) online if you prefer to do your bargain hunting in the comfort of your own home.