Marais’ Spring Lookbook Has Us Weeping For Warm Weather

Fans of Brooklyn-based footwear company Marais USA are already familiar with the brand’s laid-back chic, which we’re all secretly hoping to achieve. (Unfortunately, it’s the kind of effortless style you can’t fake.) Marais’ Spring Lookbook once again hits the nail on the head, with an impeccable balance of tasteful flats and subtle-sexy heels that could quickly fill the closet of any young lass on a shoestring budget.

The designs are safe and classic, with an impressive offering of colors that will go with anything. And with most shoes costing under $100, you won’t feel guilty at all picking up more than one pair when they hit stores in April. Until then, be content to browse the lookbook and slowly count down the days until you’re no longer forced to wear tights, wool socks, and snow boots.

Fashion Week Live, Straight from Your Phone

Starting today, fashion fans across the world will be logging onto their computers to catch coverage of an increasingly digitized Fashion Week: livestreams of almost every major show, busloads of fashion bloggers writing up any and every event they can weasel their way into, and street snappers posting the best pics of NYC style icons hopping from show to show. But in all the comprehensive coverage, there’s one element missing, and that’s user-generated content.

Running under the radar last September, Milk Studios has partnered with The Standard to launch a microsite for Fashion Week featuring a section where anyone can submit cellphone pics or videos of their experience, which are quickly posted for the world to see. (Full disclosure, the company I work for built the site.) Along with user-submitted cellphone snaps, Tiny Vices will be contributing commissioned photography posts, as well as exclusive editorial posts on behind-the-shows gossip, model drama, and other sartorial shenanigans. And if nothing else, the Milk Made Live site has a handy calendar of events for both Milk and The Standard, so you can plan exactly how best to stalk Zac Posen and Alexander Wang. And if you do happen to spot them, make sure to send in your cellphone snap so we know you’re not lying.

You Too Can Enjoy a Purse-Free Existence

We’ve covered our bases for those of us with baggage to spare, but what about the women who pride themselves on their streamlined micro-purses, leaving behind all but the most essential items? You know, the women that don’t need 3 different lipsticks, a pashmina, and their DSLR? Fashion blogger Luxirare has you in mind. On Sunday, she unveiled her latest design, and it’s perfect for when you just can’t bear the thought of a heavy purse straining your shoulder.

The Luxirare Minivest holds only the things you can’t leave home without — keys, phone, and credit cards or ID. There’s barely enough leftover space for lipstick. Crafted out of adjustable leather straps and a variety of luxury fabrics, the minivest is appropriate for all seasons, and you can see Luxirare’s elegant styling on her website. All of the vests are handmade from the finest materials, which explains the steep pricetag (from $190-420), but judging by Luxirare’s recent steady increase in popularity, these pieces are sure to be collector’s items when she finally begins to mass-produce her designs, as many of us have been hoping for and expecting.

The Dreaded Second Bag Syndrome

As New Yorkers, we’re privy to a whole host of advantages over most of the world: an accessible public transit system, 24-hour access to nearly anything you could want, and a never-ending stream of interesting things to do. But with such greatness at your fingertips, New Yorkers often need to be prepared for a variety of situations and events, which can mean either one seriously oversized purse, or the infamous second bag.

Serving as a catch-all for the spillage of your purse, the second bag primarily serves to hold a laptop, gym clothes (or change of clothes for those with outer-borough partners), seasonal accessories, or a small dog. The second bag should be unassuming and inconspicuous — it needs to match any outfit and hold up in any weather, like the recycled Forestbound tote ($168), pictured. After the jump, check out our favorite second bags, and never be caught without a toothbrush, yoga mat, or spare iPad again.

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The adjustable straps on this tote by Delmare ($29) lets you throw it over your shoulder or hang from the crook of your T. Rex arms.

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The white canvas on this bag by Bell’Occhio ($68) will only look better with age.

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Stand out from the sea of canvas tote bags with this leather carry-all by An+Ka ($147).

David Koma’s Limited Edition Designs for Topshop

No stranger to fast-fashion designer collaborations, Topshop is back in the swing of things with its current partnership with David Koma. You may recognize his designs from paparazzi pics of Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Kylie Minogue. Koma’s avant-garde garments feature futuristic tailoring and unconventional lines. As if Topshop sales weren’t competitive enough already, the collection contains just 5 designs, with only 30 items per piece.

Dresses run around $560, which is pretty steep for Topshop, but the extra cost is evident in the tailoring. The dresses are trimmed with metal tubing (a belt in the collection costs $160.) At such low quantities, the collection is sure to be highly coveted upon release. However, the internet can’t seem to agree on when that happens. Pieces will be available in NYC, London, and online on either Feb 10th, 16th, or 18th. But rest assured it will go quickly whenever it releases, so hedge your bets and log on to the site all 3 of those days.

Buy a Terence Koh Artwork on the Cheap

For those of us high on taste and low on disposable income, this past year has offered up a wealth of online shops with sales on designer duds: The Outnet, Reserve, and Privé, to name a few. So it makes good sense that the next iteration of living beyond your means, à la characters in a Bret Easton Ellis novel, would be the same e-sale model applied to art. Enter Exhibition A.

Exhibition A sells limited-edition series from a catalog of well-known artists. Catering to a previously unfilled niche, the site aims to bring high-brow art to the hoi polloi at a reduced cost. Most pieces are only available for four weeks or until sold out – no new prints will be made.

If your biggest hurdle to becoming an art collector (aside from the prohibitive cost) is the fear that your new acquisition will depreciate over time, the team at Exhibition A has done the legwork for you — they aim to feature artwork “sought after by serious collectors,” such as the currently-available print by Terence Koh, starting at $100. New artists’ pieces are added to the site every Monday, so check back often to get started on your art collection. Trust me, your retirement-age self will thank you.

Shoes for Fashion Week, Despite the Slush, Sleet, & Snow

As Fashion Week approaches, the fashion editors, writers, and fans of the world will descend upon the city for a week of designer shows and after-parties, hopping from place to place in the most precarious heels possible. In spite of the often illogical shoe choices for Fashion Week, at some point the weather takes first priority. With piles of leftover snow at every corner, our options for footwear have dwindled. But thankfully, that doesn’t mean too big of a sacrifice on style. For even the most stiletto-obsessed, there are myriad options with enough pizazz to attract plenty of street peepers (such as these New Kid studded boots). And you’ll be able to hop from show to show with enough energy and style to wow at the after parties, without having to carry ballet flats in your purse. After the jump, check out the best shoes to get around during Fashion Week, and make sure to give us a shout out if you’re snapped by the Sartorialist.

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Jeffrey Campbell’s suede boots ($174) are versatile and easily wearable from day to night, with a heel wide enough to prevent tripping.

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If you’re unable to avoid the nasty slush at every intersection, at least keep your toes a few inches above it in these platform Rachel Comey heels ($314).

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These glittery gold Nike Dunks ($108) are an unusual choice, but fashion is about taking risks. And you know every poor girl in stilettos will be silently jealous of your attention-getting shoes.

Chanel’s New Shades Make Narcissism Easy

Chanel’s success lies in creating classic, elegant items in timeless silhouettes: the tweed skirtsuit, the quilted bag, cream and black ballet flats. Now, Karl Lagerfeld is catapulting the company into the future, combining sunglasses and compact mirrors in one, futuristic design – mirror glasses!

The new Chanel frames keep their trademark quilted pattern, but the surprise mirror on the side lets you check for errant spinach in your teeth on the go. You could also leave the mirror open as a courtesy to your dinner guests, in case they have food in their pearly whites, or their powdered pompadour has lost some steam. Either way, the glasses will set you back a cool $740, which is appropriate considering the oversize frames are big enough to hide the embarrassment of having just purchased them.

Opening Ceremony’s Candygrams Are Either the Best or Worst Way to Show You Care

We’re all very familiar with the concept of the candygram. Some of us even have fond memories of a friend, parent, or secret admirer sending us a heart-shaped treat on February 14th, some sort of pun-filled missive attached. This year, Opening Ceremony is offering a similar deal: Drop $3 and you get the opportunity to leave a personalized Valentine’s Day card for the person of your choice, including a few Hershey’s chocolates to sweeten the deal.

However, if you’re a bit down and out, this may not be the best idea–in spite of the cheap price tag, you’re unknowingly sending the recipient into Opening Ceremony to pick up the candygram, where he/she will undoubtedly be enamored by all the highly covetable clothes and accessories, yet rewarded with little more than a drugstore chocolate and heartfelt note. (Bravo on the marketing scheme, OC.) Accordingly, OC is graciously allowing customers to add a gift card to the candygram–giving you one heck of a sweet deal for the big day. So choose wisely, or you may find yourself in the doghouse on the most romantic day of the year.