Monday, August 4, 2008

In Process

Last weekend we went to the Indie Designer Market in Chicago. This second time around we really had a great response from customers coupled with a lot of sales. I am so proud of the fact that anonymous people will own my garments, and love them. Hopefully I will run across someone I don't know wearing my dress (all the pieces we sold were women's clothing). The favorites this weekend were the tie dress, the women's swimsuit, and the criss-cross halter top. Also, I cannot wait until the website launches at the end of August...27 days to go!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Being a Square

Men at the beach fall into 3 different categories: Guys who work out, guys who are naturally thin, and those who should be wearing a t-shirt. For some reason I have seen the swimsuit of choice for most men be distinctly against the type of body they have. For example, there have been quite a few times that a man who needs to get to a gym show up at the beach in a Speedo, and the guy with the 6-pack is lounging in a pair of long board shorts. While everyone should feel comfortable at the beach I don't think that a big man in a small Speedo is good for the other spectators who will be subjected to the view. On the other hand, though, the muscular guys really should look into more revealing swim wear. The board shorts are fine, but square cut swimsuits are far more exciting. Someone who works that hard on his body should really show more off. It used to be that small bathing suits on men meant that they only belonged to certain parts of society, but I think that it's about time for the square cut to make it into mainstream society. Women have already passed the point where backless and super short dresses are considered acceptable attire so men should be given a little slack as well. Besides, us girls will be much more tempted to go sightseeing at the beach.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bigger. Better. Brighter.

When we first started the clothing line we were full of hope, and not so full of cash. Sean has an incredible background in business along with his degree in intellectual property law. He is able to be my business partner, as well as our company's lawyer. Because of this we were able to get started with very little money. My background in fashion design, and my strength in the technical areas (pattern drafting and sewing) kept us from having to hire sewers and pattern makers in our start up stages. At this point, almost 2 years since we started, we finally have come to a point that we can start giving other professionals some of the tasks. The first one: Our website. While it is good that I learned some HTML and CSS online, and attempted to put a website together that was functional, it was certainly not a fantastic site. Our clothes are great, and I want the website to showcase them. My good friend (and quite amazing) Nejat is taking over the website, and we are going to be able to launch, along with a full shopping cart, at the end of August. By next week I will have mock ups of the pages, and I can barely wait! If you would like to see what Nejat has done, his portfolio is available at

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Just because something is available to buy does not mean that it is in style. Most of the time people justify buying inappropriate clothing with the fact that someone is selling it. Each person has a unique shape. Because not everyone looks the same, not everyone can wear all of the trendy looks. I, for one, cannot do the very billowy tops with shorts. Being curvy means that I can look like I am wearing a tent very quickly. Petite girls, however, will look lovely in that sort of look. It is trendy, but it is not a look for me. Conversely, the 1940's pinup style bathing suits look amazing on me, and the tiny girls will not get the same effect. So when you are shopping, be selective. Choosing the most flattering of the trendy looks for your shape is the best way to go. Just because it's on a rack doesn't mean it is meant for you. Happy summer shopping!



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Taking it to the Streets

This weekend we will be participating in the Randolph street market in Chicago's west loop area. I am excited to have the ability to sell my clothes directly to the customer. Face to face contact with the people wearing the clothing is a great way to get inspired to make new pieces. It also helps me see the garments on different bodies so I can further refine the fit of each piece. While there is no way to fit every single person in one set of clothing I will try to get the majority. Also, nothing is a warmer, fuzzier feeling that seeing someone so excited to wear something you created yourself. For that alone I am going to have fun this weekend. Come see us by checking out for information.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Recently I was watching TLC's What Not to Wear, and Clinton was expounding on the virtues of the color orange for blondes with blue eyes. He, just like myself, had originally thought that a color as intense as orange would be overwhelming to anyone with fair coloring. Turns out that orange can be very attractive on blondes. Since blue and orange are opposites on the color wheel it definitely makes blue eyes pop. Also, blonde hair and fair skin can be warmed up by orange. While tangerine is probably a better way to start, many hues of orange exist. What a rather juicy thing to try out this summer.


P.S. The orange shirt above is one of the new styles that Dept728 will launch especially for the Indie Designer Market in Chicago.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Launch

I was so pleased with the way the uniforms came out for the Underground's "Treated Thursdays." Hopefully the Chicago Indie Designer Market next weekend goes just as well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What to Wear

Next Thursday is the launch party at the Underground. Sean already knows what he wants to wear, but I am still deciding. The criss-cross halter top is really great, but because I am busty I don't know if that would be appropriate for press photos that may be taken at the event. I think I will opt for the morph skirt worn as a tube top (gotta love a skirt that can be a dress or a tube top) over jeans. It will be simple and still very true to the line. What I love about our women's collection is the multi-functional garments. Menswear is something that has to be a bit more concrete in its use, but women's clothing can be multi-purpose. Each line lets me work with different parameters, and appreciate each project for it's own highlights.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Oil and Water

Boys: Gals notice your shoes. We know that you do not own thousands of pairs (except for the hipsters who collect sneakers...but that's another story). We expect you to take care of the ones you have. Mink oil is your best friend. Shoes get dirty. Mink oil reconditions the leather and emulsifies the dirt and grime. The most expensive shoes can look cheap after a lot of wear and tear. Take care of your shoes. Oil them up.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Jewelry is such an overlooked part of a complete wardrobe. Considering that bringing attention to the face is the ultimate aim of any outfit (after highlighting the best parts of the body) jewelry is essential to finishing the look. Necklaces and earrings are now acceptable for both men and women, so I feel we should really take the time to discuss them. Personally, I find that a mix of expensive, heirloom pieces and cheap, very trendy accessories are the best way to keep your wardrobe up to date as well as complete. Spending tons of money on expensive bangles always seemed like a waste to me when the $5 bangles will do just fine for the few seasons they will be in. Beautiful silver necklaces, however, which will be worn for decades (and handed down to children) should definitely be worth the splurge. Interesting jewelry around the neck and ears brings the attention upwards and showcases the face. Also, interesting pieces can tell a story, set a tone, or even start up a conversation. Who knew something so small could be so multi-dimensional?

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I am pleased that the uniforms for the Underground came out well. Seems that without anything but minor alterations on one piece they all fit very well. I am so happy that they will make a statement on Thursday May 15th. This will be the first publicized event for Dept728. I am ecstatic that it will be a positive impression.

Monday, April 28, 2008


With all the varieties of jeans today it is important to make sure that the tailoring is done well. New technology makes the hems of the denim more interesting, and worth preserving. Reattaching the bottom is the way to go when shortening the length. Jeans that are too long MUST be shortened. Denim can go many places, but ripped and shredded bottoms are not the same as "distressed denim" you can buy from the store. Proper length and proper tailoring are important things. The one thing to know about denim is that fit in the waist and hip is important to have from the store. The nature of the seam work on jeans makes them very hard to tailor. Most of the time it is impossible to "take in" a pair of jeans. Be a fit snob and the store and find the pair that works for your body, then have them shortened if necessary. With so many brands out there at least one will lay well on your waist and hips. Remember: There is a fine line between distressed and messy, so find a pair of jeans that fits your style, then fit them to your length.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Short Shorts

The summer is has officially begun. Shorts of all lengths are now totally wearable, and acceptable in many different situations. For professional looks, women can incorporate walking shorts (just above the knee) with sport coats and cardigans. For night the short-short can be worn as long as a few rules are observed: First, the woman wearing the shortest shorts must have great legs. Clothing should highlight your best feature so if your legs are not the most complimented part of your body it would be best to stick with a longer short. If your legs are beyond amazing then wear those short shorts with pride! The second thing to consider is the shoes to go with such short shorts. Last night, Kid Sister performed at The Underground club in Chicago in a great pair of short shorts paired with a peep toe stiletto shoe. Feminine high heels are the best bet when revealing your gams in order to give the correct tone and shape to the leg in a sexy, feminine way. The last thing to make sure of is hydration. Showing skin means making that skin gleaming and smooth. Firming lotions with a little bit of shimmer are the best. With glowing skin, great legs, and some hot high heels you are all set! Rock those shorts ladies!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Launch Party

The launch date for the uniforms I have been working on has been set. Next Thursday, May 1st, we will be unveiling the military-meets-mod minidresses and the men's "stained" t-shirts in our engineered athletic fit. The party will be at the Underground in Chicago. I am so excited!
P.S. For a look at the club to see my inspiration visit

Update: The launch party is moved to May 15th. Any Chicagoans are welcome to come out and see us!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Birds...

The warmer weather tends to bring about more opportunities for men and women to engage in flirtatious behavior. Remember that the more there is to look at the longer the female eye will will stay in one place. Take a chance with your spring wardrobe and give us girls something to compliment. Even the most shy girl will take the opportunity to compliment an attractive, well dressed man. Make that work in your favor this season.



Saturday, April 12, 2008

Warm and Fuzzy

The one great (and simultaneously bad) thing about Chicago weather is that it never gets warm too quickly. It allows us to bring out our spring wardrobe's slowly while incorporating some of fall's staples as well. Lightweight jackets, sport coats with sweaters, and hoodies still have a place in our closet's rotation. Fun, light colored jackets are only appropriate when the spring is here. Otherwise, most of those colors in jackets are reserved for only post-retirement set who live in Florida most of the winter.



P.S. Dept728 makes a fabulous buff and beige fleece that you can see at

Friday, April 11, 2008

Poppin My Collar

Anything that frames the face is very important. Collars are the closest part of a garment to the face for most men. The scale of the collar is as important as the shape of it. A wider collar will balance a man's wider jaw, and a smaller collar will work best for a man with a longer face. A gentleman with a wide face who wears a smaller pointy collar is only accentuating the negative. Balance is the key to the most attractive look for each person. As for suiting, the full spread collar is almost never necessary unless you are a very broad gentleman and will be wearing a full Windsor knot tie. Jacket collars are supposed to be consistent with the breadth of the shoulders. Wider lapels can be best on a broader guy, and narrower collars on smaller builds. Peaked lapels are now considered completely acceptable. As long as the lapel is not in high contrast to the jacket, which will still look a little disco, and will need the right type of guy to pull it off (who must be under 30 or a rock star).



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New Ideas

Every artist experiences a block once in a while. When I find myself thinking in circles I go to other forms of artistic expression. Because fashion is both beautiful and functional I tend to gravitate towards others that have to incorporate purpose into their creations. While painting and sculpture can be great to look at I find that jewelry, food, and furniture are the most engaging objects for me. Great ideas can be extracted from other art forms. The way a chair is designed, or how a cake is seemingly gravity-defying can be so very inspirational to me. Modern architecture will use composition and details in the same manner than I will move seams or incorporate one bold graphic to make visual impact. Since, at the moment, I am working on the uniforms for The Underground Chicago's Treated Thursdays, there are times where I feel that I keep making the same piece over and over (which is true). Taking a break to watch the food network or HGTV gives me some rest from the pieces I am currently working on, and lets me think about what to design next.



Monday, April 7, 2008


Plaid has been a staple in American sportswear for decades. Sometimes plaid can look very fresh, but when used in certain ways plaid can look dated. For the spring madras plaid walking shorts are very modern with a flat front and clean details. Even though plaid is a pattern pairing it with a simple print is totally acceptable. Colorful plaid bottoms paired with a simple screen printed shirt is a great way to pair prints. When wearing more than one print at once remember the rule of proportion. If one pattern is complicated keep the other simple. If one pattern is smaller make the other one larger. Two patterns that are like proportions and complexities will look too busy. For instance, a plaid pant can be paired with a shirt that has a few large screened flowers on it. The sizes are very different and the flowers are less busy than the plaid. Those same plaid pants with a medium polka dotted shirt, however, will become an outfit that you can easily add a big red foam nose and a multi-colored wig to. So be mindful of your proportions, but experiment away with plaid. The pairings can look very updated and fashionable for spring.



Saturday, April 5, 2008

Popping the Cherry

Since the very beginning we have had a following within Chicago. A few of my old contacts and friends became big fans of the clothing Dept 728 has to offer. Thankfully those few people have spread our name by word of mouth over the last year and a half that we have been in business. Since putting up the website we decided to actually incorporate the ability to purchase online. While lots of people have gone to they had yet to actually buy something straight from the website. This week was the beginning of our online retail success when we started receiving orders through the website. I am so excited to show people across the country what Dept 728 is all about. I am obsessed with fit and proportion. The lines of the menswear are specifically engineered to work with the body and fit men in a very streamlined kind of way. I believe that we have something very unique to offer the fashion world, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to do so.



Friday, April 4, 2008

Drawing the Line

Lines make all the difference. The lines of a garment will either accentuate or detract from the person wearing them. When a garment is striped, there are far more lines to consider. Horizontal stripes are in right now, and only a select few can actually wear them. Slender men without a lot of bulk or muscle can wear them without problems, petite women can also do the same. Chesty women, or very muscled men, however, have quite a lot of dimension to their bodies already, and horizontal stripes will only make their proportions look cartoonish. Even a tiny bit of excess weight will be shown in a striped garment, so anyone not at the gym everyday should be careful. Luckily, stripes can be used in other ways for the rest of us who were not born with exceptional metabolisms. Striped structured sport coats look good on almost anyone since the structure of the garment is very flattering to almost any body type. Nautical striped bags and hats are also a good way to work the trend. So keep your eye on the lines for this season, and remember to use them only to your advantage.



Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Answer is Clear

I love Lucite. Big geometric Lucite blocks in home decor are my favorite. The form is alone, colorless, and allows light to pass through it in an enticing way. Clear accessories are a way to take the same effect, and apply it to your wardrobe. Lucite bangles, jelly ballet flats, and glass earrings are all fantastic additions to your ensemble. First, they go with literally everything. Second, they add a totally unexpected twist to an otherwise plain look. Finally, they are fairly inexpensive and lots of fun. I found the most attractive clear accessories are at the mass retailers for relatively little money. H&M had a great clear bangle with silver dots on it, Forever21 had fantastic clear twist earrings, and Target had cute clear jelly flats with a bit of holographic glitter in them. The ballet flats are going to go everywhere from the beach to the mall, and the bangle and earrings can get a bit dressier. There is always a way to make room for something fun in your wardrobe...clearly.




I was watching Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. I love 90s fashion for all of the kitsch. The scene with the girls walking on the treadmill, Romy in a purple half top and mini in holographic fabric, and Michelle in her coordinated cherry print outfit, is classic. While I laugh at people on the street wearing outfits straight out of 1993 there is a certain nostalgia about seeing it in the movies. I love that since the turn of the century we have started to combine clothing in a more coordinated, but less matchy way. In fact, mixing designer clothing with vintage finds, or even a pair of $20 jeans is considered normal. Wearing one designer head to toe is no longer necessary, and each person is encouraged to interpret fashion in his or her own way. I love the new freedom we have to be ourselves, inside and out.



Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Metallics are a big part of spring's look. A little bit of shine goes a long way. Incorporating metallic shoes or belt will add some extra pizazz to your outfits. As for metallic fabrics, less is more. A metallic pant should be paired with a matte top, or visa versa. The other thing to be aware of when wearing metallic fabrics is to make sure that everything underneath is smooth. Lace bras do not pair well under metallic tops, and panty lines or cellulite are much more apparent in metallic pants. Seamless bras and control top pantyhose are a girl's best friend when contemplating metallic clothing. Also, a great metallic bubble skirt or metallic drapey top will be more forgiving for those of us weighing over 110 pounds. Don't be afraid, metallic clothing and accessories are fun to play with. Go ahead and get your shine on!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Who knew there would be such a thing as a bad muffin top? Frankly I feel like the top is the best part of the muffin, and the first thing I eat. In fashion, though, a muffin top is completely unappetizing. Most of the time when I spot a woman walking down the street in jeans that her hips are spilling over the top of my stomach turns. Most of the time the muffin top is a side effect of a size problem. Each woman has a unique curve to her hips. Some companies will fit one woman, yet be completely wrong for the next. When buying lower rise jeans the fit and curve of the hip is essential. The most expensive denim will look cheap when paired with a muffin top. Aside from fit size is also an issue. Some women feel defined by the number on the tag inside their jeans. No woman is the same exact size throughout different lines, and it doesn't mean that she has gained or lost weight just because the tag reads a lower or higher number. Sometimes squeezing into a smaller size only makes a person look larger. Considering that people on the street are not equipped with x-ray vision, the number on the tag is not as obvious as the flesh spilling out above the waistband. I don't care if the size reads 2 or 22 as long as the fit is perfect. If it makes a difference I recommend tearing out the tag once the jeans are purchased. If the jeans fit fantastically then they are the right size. It's that simple.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Selling Out

We are preparing for the Chicago Indie Designer Market this summer. It will be the first time that, as a company, Dept728 is available in person to the public. In the beginning we had attempted to start our business in stores, but with the difficulty of guaranteeing that the customer would be assured the right fit (since men have 10 sizes to choose from) we decided to hold back and opt for a web based operation where we can ask all the questions we need in order to make sure that each customer gets the best fit for his body type. The Indie Market will give us face to face interaction with customers who have never heard of us before. I am very excited and a bit nervous. For one, Sean and I will have to guess what would be best to cut and sew for the market. What if we sell out of a certain size and miss out on sales? I know that I can offer customers custom sewn garments sent to them, but most people want to try it on and take it home the same day. I think that getting the feedback from customers feeling, seeing, and trying on our clothing will be so helpful in going forward with the best fit possible. Hopefully this will be a great success.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Throwdown

I am so excited that the weather is changing. I am finally able to break out some of my peep toe shoes and sleeveless tops that have been waiting patiently in my closet all winter. My favorite thing to do is rediscover my own closet before shopping for new pieces. The method is really fun as long as you have made your bed, otherwise it is just a big mess. One at a time, take each of your favorite pieces of clothing and lay it on the bed. Then look at your closet and find something that has the same color and throw it on top. Sometimes the two pieces won't work together, but sometimes they are fabulous combinations that you wouldn't have put together otherwise. When one piece doesn't work replace it with another that will. Keep switching until you have had enough. I can be there for hours. It is essentially playing a "six degrees of separation" game with your wardrobe. The jeans that go with the pink top and brown jacket, the brown jacket that goes with the orange shirt and khaki trousers, the khaki trousers that look great with the red wrap top, etc. This exercise also helps you realize exactly what might be missing from your closet and also gives a better idea of how many uses it may have. Grab a friend, if necessary, to give an outsider's view of the situation. Sometimes it's hard to be objective with clothes you are used to wearing all the time in the same way. Another pair of eyes is always useful.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Neutral Subject

Any of the colors below are great along side saturated colors in your wardrobe:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Can't Take The Heat

Cold water is your wardrobe's friend. Warm or hot water is great for cleaning white clothing made of natural fibers, but outside of that there is no place for it. Colored clothing or garments made from rayon, nylon, or spandex will last longer when washed in cold water. Not only does the cold water keep the dyes from bleeding and transferring in the wash, but heat is what breaks down the delicate fibers in the clothing. Using cold water in the laundry allows the fibers to stay intact longer which will give longevity to your wardrobe.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Grip Muscles

Ladies and gentlemen: I would love to expound on the many issues surrounding style and fashion that run through my mind on a regular basis but I have been cutting fabric all day. There are 9 waitresses and 3 bartenders on staff at the Underground club in Chicago on Thursday nights, and I have the distinct honor of clothing them. So for now I am intensively cutting, painting, and stitching these garments together in the hopes of having all 12 items finished by this coming Thursday night. If I have extra time the two VIP hosts will also have cool tops to wear that night. As it stands I should be right on track. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


When it comes to preserving the state of your wardrobe nothing is more important than properly caring for your clothes. The place that most clothing starts to deteriorate is in storage. Improperly storing clothing will allow pieces in your wardrobe to lose shape much quicker than wear and tear. The rule is that clothing is made to be hung on the body only, so hangers must mimic the shape of the shoulders or else the garment will not be in good condition for long. Wire hangers are something to be avoided, especially on sweaters and other knits. Knits that are not kept on padded or rounded hangers will stretch through the neck and shoulders, not to mention that the wrong hangers leave those bumps at the shoulders which just look silly. Even dress shirts kept on wire hangers will start to fall awkwardly on the upper body because they are not supported correctly during storage. As for structured sport coats and overcoats, these should be kept on fuller wooden or plastic hangers that are broader through the shoulders. All the interfacing and padding on the inner structure of these garments needs to be supported in the closet just as it is on your body when you are wearing it. Allowing the inside to lose shape will make even the best fitting jacket look strange on your body. So take stock of you supply of hangers, and remember, mommy dearest was right, wire hangers are not for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pull It Together

Subtle themes can take an ensemble to the next level. For instance, a gray jacket with a subtle purple pinstripe can be mixed with a pair of solid black flannel trousers and a deep purple sweater vest over a lavender dress shirt. The jacket has a pattern, the vest mimics the color of the pattern in the jacket, the dress shirt is another shade of the same tone of the vest, and the pants are solid but introduce a subtle texture. Outfits like this give the eye something to play with in every element. They do not look busy or overdone, but simply add a unifying theme. Had all the pieces (jacket, vest, shirt, trouser) been used in another ensemble, but without having the colors and textures add interest, the outfit would have been a major yawn. Even a simple track jacket, jeans, and t-shirt combination is more interesting when it is pulled together with a unifying theme. Suppose the jacket was a deep green with an orange stripe on the shoulders. The t-shirt could then be a camouflage print with a small orange graphic, and paired with a pair of dark denim jeans with an interesting wash. What would have been an outfit that looks thrown on now looks like a put together ensemble. It is no less comfortable, nor is it much harder to do. All it takes is an awareness of color and detail. With that sensibility there is nothing that will look boring no matter how simple it is.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Know What Boys Like

When I was in design school my construction-oriented design sense was considered somewhat subdued. Now, it is a reflection of my design sensibility that appeals to lots of men. Menswear is generally an area where a little bit of designing goes a long way. Overly complicated clothing is too much of a hassle for men, and overly designed pieces can be overwhelming. The simple updates to classic pieces work well to update a guy's closet. Well used details give a lot of style to a basic ensemble which is what Dept728 has come to be synonymous with. Who knew designing basics would be so much fun?



Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wardrobe Essentials

Every woman needs:
1. Sexy black patent heels
2. Nude seamless bra and panties
3. A little black dress
4. Basic leather tote bag

Every man needs:
1. Black leather dress shoes
2. A belt
3. Wool sport coat
4. Dark wash denim

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Pockets are tricky little buggers. Sometimes they help out in other ways than just giving you a place to put your stuff. On denim, in particular, pockets are important for the rear view. Bulky cargo pockets on smaller, flatter bottoms can actually give a little shape to an otherwise low profile rear. Those with ample rears, however, should avoid them for the same reason. For larger rears pocket placement is key. A centrally located, simple pocket can highlight the right part of the butt for shape. Pockets that are set too wide make even the roundest bottoms look flat and wide. Small pockets on a larger butt will also not work in your favor. As in style as the larger, lower pockets have become, it is important to find jeans with pockets that suit your backside since most people will have to see you from behind. No matter how good a jean looks in the front, the back must also be taken into consideration for a 360 degree look.


There is a golden ratio for bodies. Longer legs and a somewhat shorter torso is ideal. No matter what the actual proportions of the body are it is possible to visually suggest the more ideal scenario. Dropped waist dresses, for example, are a great idea for girls with short torsos and long legs. Empire waist dresses, in contrast, help shorten a longer torso and add visual length to the leg line. For men, shirt length is the most important consideration. Shorter men (or tall men with long torsos) should always make sure to have their shirts end just below the belt line. Long legged men can correct their shorter torsos by extending their shirts to the hip level instead. Ideally, the clothing will make the body actually look as if it is proportioned correctly, and always looking good is golden.
P.S. Dept728 will cut extra length or shorten the length on shirts ordered on the website. Just email me to request adjustments.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Big V

V-necks are not all created equal. Some are up high and straight, some are low and curved, and lots of others are somewhere in between the two. I think that all of the v-neck t-shirts out there have a place in the closet, but there are a few guidelines to follow:

1. Know what is too low: Men don't really need to enlighten the general population as to the landscape of their entire chest (so wear them layered with other knits), and women should follow this same rule (the only exception is when you are in a nightclub and all other body parts are appropriately covered).

2. Landscaping is key: Men should have their chest hair trimmed in order to avoid a tufted look, and women should be sure to conceal any splotchiness or acne on the decolletage for a clean look.

3. Less is more: When in doubt go for a higher v-neck in order to avoid having to consider rules one and two.



Monday, March 10, 2008

Looking Good

Colors that look on everyone:
1. Eggplant
2. Sage green
3. Gray
4. Medium blue
5. Pink
6. Rust

Colors to avoid if you are fair
(wear them if you are darker):
1. Beige
2. Yellow
3. Orange

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Cotton Condom

Somehow I never tire of talking about the cotton condom. Let me explain exactly what this is: Men with truly fantastic physiques who only seem to wear t-shirts that are entirely too small for them. The t-shirt is so tight, in fact, that the fabric is pulling underneath the armpits in an attempt to stretch itself across the buff wearer's chest. So essentially, the garment is no longer considered a t-shirt, it's more like a cotton condom. I used to think it was amusing, but now I just want to shake the guys wearing them and tell them to get a clue. I am sure that with all the hard work that they do at the gym they deserve to show off their physique, but enough is enough. Fit is something that everyone needs to find. Sometimes it's harder to get clothes to fit correctly when you are shaped differently than most of the population, but that is no excuse. Dept728, for one, created an athletic fit specifically for the gym rats so that they can wear something that shows off their v-shaped torsos without pulling too tightly in the chest or being too loose in the waist. Other lines do have some sort of athletic fit shirt as well. So sometimes it takes a little more effort to find something that fits, but wearing a t-shirt that looks like it's from the kids department is not the answer.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


It used to be that argyle was reserved for only stuffy older gentlemen in navy sport coats. Nowadays even Wyclef Jean will wear an argyle sweater. The tricky part of sporting an updated look with argyle is in the context. A basic argyle sweater worn alone over jeans looks more modern than a sweater vest over a button down shirt. A screen-printed argyle hoodie can be worn under a sport coat for a more funky look, or an electric aqua argyle sweater will look modern with a flat front trouser for something more traditional. The interest will lie in the details with argyle. It can be in the color, the method, or the application. As long as it's a new interpretation of a classic the look will not draw any associations with being stuffy.



P.S. Looking for some funky argyle? Check out Dept728's argyle
t-shirt vest at

Thursday, March 6, 2008


When every major magazine has models looking flawless and barely made-up (unless, of course. they are doing some crazy shoot with feathers and sequins applied to the models' faces) it seems silly for women today to apply their makeup with a palette knife. New technology has made foundations air light, powders so fine they are undetectable, and mascara that never clumps. I can tell when most women are wearing makeup (and thankfully most of them are), but most men can't tell at all. Yesterday, however, I came face to face with a face full of makeup. Aside from the clear line along the jaw where the foundation ended, there was a scary pinkish hue and a layer of foundation on her face so thick it looked like a rubber mask. Frankly, I thought that she would probably be a pretty girl if she just got out of "Halloween mode." My mother always said "less is more," and I think that, in this case, she was definitely right.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Small Man, Big Clothing

I receive many questions regarding sizes for men. For those that are big and tall there are many options available (though skinny jeans are not one of them). For smaller men, however, it gets a bit harder to find clothing that fits correctly. Most designers start at a 38 or 40 jacket, and go up from there. For those that are 36 jacket and below it is even more important to find close fitting clothing. Loose clothing on a small frame looks a little like a boy his dad's clothing. Swimming is a great sport, but not something that should be done while a person is dressed. Finding clothes that fit closely to the body make a narrower man look broader. Obviously, tailoring will also be necessary on most clothing in order to really suit the smaller man's build. Darting in woven shirts, hemming on pants, and a little shaping on jackets will make everything look custom made.



P.S. For any style questions of to get custom made t-shirts from Dept728 email me at

Monday, March 3, 2008


Shiny things are the first things to catch my eye. Most babies are responsive to shiny objects from an early age. The funny thing about metallic clothing and accessories is that there is a very thin line between glam and garish. For women, it is best to keep metallics to a minimum. A simple metallic shirt under a cute jacket, or a great metallic shoe can make any regular outfit pop. As for men, metallic clothing is bound to look like you are channeling an early Elton John. A little metallic in a tie, shoe or belt, however, can add interest to any man's look. Patent leather is also an alternative if you are looking for the gloss without the metal. For the most part, though, it is safe to say that if you are a man adverse to incorporating metallics into your own wardrobe, buying some for your girlfriend instead is an acceptable course of action.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Socks are a strangely important part of a man's outfit. Here are a few necessary guidelines for socks and the modern man:

1. Dark trouser socks are the best bet when you can't tell what to wear

2. White tube socks are never appropriate (unless you are in the movie Juno)

3. Low cut athletic socks are great as long as they are paired with casual clothing

4. Themed trouser socks are only good for a laugh (do not wear them to serious functions)

5. Going without socks is very European, but not appropriate for more formal occasions

Friday, February 29, 2008


Men look so much better slightly over-dressed. Women respond to clothing as a cue to the stability of the man. A man in a suit is more attractive than a guy running around in a tee shirt and jeans. Some women are attracted to the bad boys and are more attracted to the man in ripped jeans, hoodie, and leather jacket, but they are making an unconscious effort to find someone unstable. Men tend to underestimate how important their clothing is. A little bit of ironing and tailoring goes a long way. Subconsciously it indicates a confidence that women read as a sign of stability, and stability is more attractive than looks. When shopping for clothing, men should find items that fit really well on their bodies, but also that can be a little more dressy if necessary. Dark denim will go more places than a pair of distressed jeans. The darker denim will also look a little more clean and classic. Even if a guy wants to wear nothing more than tee shirts and jeans there are ways to make that a bit more dressy. Tee shirts made of fine fabrics (rayon and silk knits, or combed mercerized cotton) which fit very well are leagues ahead of that $2 Hanes tee. Smart graphics and interesting details (not illustrations of bikini clad women) will add interest as well. It may take a little more time to find, but in the end it will ratchet your look into another echelon of style.
P.S. To see some of our interesting graphic tees go to

For the Ladies this Summer

Ladies, before the weather turns, we need to discuss something: Wearing the appropriate undergarments and swimsuits this summer. Last summer I was absolutely distraught by the number of women I saw in ridiculously inappropriate underwear and bathing suits. I find that women are especially bad about wearing the proper colored underwear with light colored clothing in the summer. Nude is always the way to go. When you wear white underwear with white clothing it shows underneath a lot. Skin colored underwear dissapears, while white underwear is amplified by the sheer white on top of it. Colored underwear is a no-no. If you are wearing a bright pink thong with white pants you look ridiculous. Every woman should have a nude bra and nude thong. If you don't, go buy one immediately. Also, if the summer clothing you have bought is clingy, make sure that the underwear you pair with your ensemble doesn't bunch underneath the clothing. Tight pants need thongs. Panty lines are totally unnecessary. If thongs are unacceptable then investigate seamless boyshorts or other alternatives. Technology such as laser cutting and all way stretch eliminate any need for visible undergarments. We all have no excuses. Now, as for bathing suits at the beach: Please have a healthy sense of your body type. Beautiful women of all sizes can wear bikinis as long as they are toned and trim. I have a friend who is a size 12 and is very fit and looks fantastic in a bikini. Conversely, a smaller girl who is a bit soft-looking is much more attractive in a monokini or one-piece than she would be in a bikini. Bustier girls need to make sure that whatever style they decide to wear has enough support to lift and separate their breasts. Bouncing around on the beach can be terribly taxing on the ligaments that support the bust, and no one wants to help gravity along. As for curvier ladies I would like to stress that acceptance is key. Most of the world has trouble areas, but coming to the beach in a caftan is unnecessary. As long as you have worn a flattering one piece or tankini (and I have seen some nice ones, but we are also going to make a great tankini for this summer) you will be fine. Don't worry about your thighs or try to hard to cover yourself. Board shorts can be too much, and only serve to draw attention to you at the beach. Have fun and be confident. Life is too short to worry about how you look in a swimsuit. So ladies, please be mindful of your underwear and swimwear this summer. We will all appreciate it.



Thursday, February 28, 2008


I saw a really funny sticker the other day which said "I have more shoes than my girl does." It was amusing to me because it is a rather recent development that men have developed a shoe fetish. All the really bright sneakers and limited edition shoes out there have created a culture of men who collect shoes with more gusto than a woman drooling over some Jimmy Choo heels. Perhaps because men are naturally more competitive, or just because they are trying to make up for lost time, I feel they are surpassing females very quickly in this area. The only downside I see is that the man used to be the one to make sure that his girlfriend's shoes didn't get dirty as she walked down the street. Now, they are more concerned with their own kicks to bother watching out for ours. I watched my male friend clean his favorite white sneakers the other night for over 30 minutes! As long as it keeps men silent about how much women spend on shoes, however, I am willing to embrace the change.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Waiting for Spring

I am so ready for spring! I am especially excited about the change in wardrobe that warmer weather brings. I have had enough of the dark suiting and layers upon layers (though I was excited about them when fall came around). I want to have fun with summer weight suiting and brighter colors. For our spring collection, we are using really simple palm frond silhouettes in different ways. We are going to use them in the positive with a white stamp method and in the negative with a brown spray paint method. I especially love the beautiful spring colors: Orange, white, butter yellow, sky blue, celery green, and beige. Crisp white linen pants are my favorite for men out on the beach during the warmer months. Linen is a pain to keep unwrinkled, but a certain amount of wrinkle is expected, and the linen/cotton blends are fantastic. Now if the weather would only warm up sooner...



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Top Ten for Men

1. A very well tailored jacket with a surprising lining
2. Pocket squares will slightly alarming prints
3. Button down shirts with great texture
4. A chunky watch
5. Dark rinse denim with a straight leg
6. A graphic tee which has a graphic in an unexpected place
7. Layers
8. A great face-framing haircut
9. A 'man'-icure (trimmed, buffed nails)
10. Interesting athletic shoes

Monday, February 25, 2008


There has been much discussion of fiber content. I was in a very well known retailer last week and ran across a very nice wrap dress with a horrific fiber content. The 80% rayon (which would have been nice) was offset by 20% nylon! The nylon was obviously added in order to reduce the cost per yard of the fabric (nylon is a very inexpensive fiber), but it made the fabric wrinkle very badly. How much did this retailer save when no one wants to buy the dress because of how badly it wrinkles? I am a bit of a fiber snob. I am not the type of person to only wear natural fibers, but I like 'good' fibers. Some polyester can look cheesy, but polyester microfiber is a very smooth fabric and has the ability to wick moisture away from the body (plus it's easy to clean and color-fast). Generally speaking, I am a fan of rayon and cotton. They are both breathable fibers, and they drape well. In terms of stretch, spandex is my favorite. I love spandex! Not that I want to see everyone walking around in clothing shellacked to their bodies, but stretch is a wonderful thing, and helps to allow the body to move freely in the clothing. Anyone who has put on tight denim without spandex knows that moving freely is a tremendously helpful thing. So fiber content can really make a difference in how well a garment works, so next time you go shopping go ahead and look at the tag.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


One of my guy friends explained to me that men can only know colors as blue, yellow, orange, etc. Salmon and mango, are not colors to men, they are food, and food alone. What I think is strange about that philosophy is that some of the best colors out there are described by foods. Sage, tangerine, persimmon, cerise, candy apple red, salmon, butter yellow, peach, eggplant, and berry are fantastic shades. In our current collection of basic tees we have a shade called butter. Food, like color, is delicious and should be indulged in regularly. I know, as a woman, I am constantly overjoyed when I meet a guy with a fantastic sense of style which is almost always coupled with a great sense of color. I don't see it as being 'manly' when a guy doesn't know of a certain color. In fact, guys get more kudos for being aware of them. Clearly he is either well read or pays attention to the other women in his life enough to know.



P.S. To see our butter tee go to


I am back and forth on the issue of color in dressing. Sometimes I opt for an all black ensemble, but make sure I play with texture and proportion. In fact, I often find it more interesting to see someone dressed mono chromatically with lots of texture and really interesting seam work. Perhaps it's more to play with, visually, since I like that sort of thing as a designer. It may not be something most people pick up on. Color, however, doesn't go unnoticed. A really fantastic print can make a boring jeans and shirt into something very chic, and for men, using a print on pocket squares, ties, and trouser socks (or very bright sneakers if you are part of the hipster set) can really push an outfit up to the next level. Stylist Sarah Shirley said it is important to add color to a boring outfit, even if it means putting on a colored shoe with a gray or black suit. Eye candy works to every one's advantage. It shows personality. It gets noticed, and who wouldn't want that?



Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Skinny

Ties for men, are similar to women and shoes. Some women have 100s of shoes, and some men have 100s of ties. Just like whether or not a woman has the build to wear shoes with ankle straps (note: most women should not, it visually cuts off the leg) men cannot always pull off a skinny tie. The skinny tie is a definite fashion statement. It is hip, mod, and very chic. Most trends, however, are not suited to all people. Skinny ties are the same. For most men, proportion is everything. The smaller the man, the better off he is with a smaller (skinnier) tie. Dior Homme has skinny suits and skinny ties for skinny men. Medium builds can usually wear skinny ties as long as they are paired with a sport coat to narrow the visual field. Larger builds, though, should stick with a more traditional tie. The proportion of a traditional tie on a broader man will make for a more attractive ensemble, or forgo the tie completely and buy a fantastic pocket square.




There are only a few garments that hang in my closet with only one option. Most of the clothing I own tends to have multiple uses. Dresses are generally the garments that can only be worn one way. Sometimes that is the best thing about them. When it is impossible to decide what to wear, a dress is the perfect answer. The only thing to decide is what accessories to pair it with. On other days, when I am in the mood to really get dressed, I prefer to find new ways to wear the garments I already own. New options for things I have make me giddy. Sometimes I throw things on my bed and layer them until something new emerges. When I work with private clients this exercise allows them to see all the fantastic things they already own (and then we throw the other 50% of the their wardrobe out). I think everyone should try it at home with their own clothes: Pull out one or two pieces that don't get much use (but the terribly ugly stuff should be donated to charity) and start pulling out items that may or may not work with that first item. Throw them all together on the bed and start playing around with combinations. Eventually something wonderful will emerge.



1...2...3...Piece Suiting

Some say that American men have become overly casual. There are days where I walk down the street and think that this statement is true. Tuesday, however, threw me for a loop. Ironically, I was in the loop in Chicago. I had been downtown on a job and was walking through a building on the way back to the train. Down the corridor I notice a handsome, tall, well dressed man walking in the opposite direction. He was wearing a fantastic light brown suit, and had worn a lightweight maroon zip sweater over his collared shirt, and underneath his jacket. The suit was impeccably tailored, and the dash of color in the center was genius. I am sure I stared at him a bit too long because he caught me looking at him. I know that I must not have been the only woman to notice him that day. Kudos to the American men out there who understand the art of dressing!

P.S. If you are thinking of rocking a vest underneat your sportcoat check out DEPT728's argyle vest at