The Rules Rule.

Posted on October 28, 2009
Filed Under Around Town, Men, Only in Washington | 1,104 Comments

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Thank the waitstaff.

Last night I attended a party celebrating the release of Walker Lamond’s book, Rules for my Unborn Son, at the at the amazingly gorgeous home of his friends Meg and Chris Ferguson on Dumbarton Street. Walker’s been here on the blog a time or two, and over at Washingtonian, and now he’s well, everywhere. Walker’s one of my favorite men in town, and such success couldn’t have come to a nicer, cooler person. The book is witty, useful and full of life tips for not just how to be a good man, but how to be an interesting, charming person. The advice goes far beyond rules for men – anyone can and should take notes. A sampling of wisdom:

Be subtle. She sees you.
Know the proper time to wear a tuxedo. It’s more often than you think.
Dance with your partner, not at her.
The best thing to do in the rain is be quiet and listen.
Don’t show off. Impress.

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For fun, I asked Walker to give a Rules spin to a few questions and fill-in-the-blanks (those are fun, don’t you think? I’d like to see more people bent over Mab Libs on the Metro in the morning…):

Every guy should own CORDOVAN WINGTIPS and know how to TIE A BOWTIE and BAIT A HOOK.

Every girl should own BICYCLE and know how to RIDE IT IN A DRESS.

Guys should lay off the DISTRESSED JEANS AND GRAPHIC TEES.

Girls should lay off the GROUP PHOTOS.

Favorite online sites for men’s style inspiration: A CONTINUOUS LEAN

List of men who inspire great style: BOBBY KENNEDY, THOM BROWN, BASQUIAT, JACK EVANS, YOUNG WOODY ALLEN, DAVID LYNCH, BING CROSBY, GRANDFATHERS

I could go on, but you should probably buy the book instead (for yourself, a holiday gift, the guy you’re dating). And conveniently, there’s a book signing today at the Borders in Friendship Heights from 7-8 (I’ve begun thinking in rules as I write this: – perfect your signature).

Next up, Rules for My Unborn Daughter-?!

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The Sartorialites

Posted on October 20, 2009
Filed Under Events | 2,245 Comments

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Scott with Sheila and Sarah, two of my favorite girls from Marvin

Last night I was at the newest addition to my neighborhood’s rapidly expanding offerings, Masa14, for FW‘s one-year anniversary party & Scott Schuman appearance. I have to say, it was so refreshing to see so many unfamiliar faces sprinkled among the social-circuit regulars. And so many interestingly dressed folks. Too many to shoot – especially while balancing a mojito, a clutch, and Scott Schuman’s just-published photo book, called, what else – The Sartorialist. It’s a chunky brick of a thing, and I wonder if he’ll reissue this one, or do book number two, in more of a coffee-table form.

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Nakea West, who I met on the Sidewalk Style beat, wearing an amazing ear cuff from Litter and a shirt she’d DIYd with safety pins. Loving this site right now, as I’ve recently been interested in attached rings like these. She is an inspiration every time I run into her!

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Possibly my favorite look of the night, on Patricia Harr. It was a Valentino pantsuit rescued from the racks at TJ Maxx (or Loehmann’s?). She reminded me of Audrey Tautou.

As much as I’d love to see the book in a more luxurious, large format, I’m enjoying it (also, enjoying the fact that when I came up to Scott to have him sign my book, he said, who are you? you are gorgeous! – week: made). There’s not much in the way of text, and though that probably frustrates some who want to know the who, what, when, where and HOW of every shot, I appreciate that he wants us to take from it what we will. Maybe make up stories about the subjects, wonder why they are laughing, who they are. In a world full of oversharing, there’s something to be said for a little mystery, no?!

Speaking of mystery, he did say that he and girlfriend Garance are already collaborating on yet-to-be-announced projects. Blogosphere power couple, anyone!?

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The Wall Street Journal, Blogging, and the Subject of Free.

Posted on October 14, 2009
Filed Under Everything Else | 1,281 Comments

Retailers Pin Hopes

Retailers Use Novel

I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday! And because, like many of you, I do not have a WSJ subscription to read the online version, I’ve scanned a really really crappy version of the article, from the Marketplace section, above.

While I’m thrilled to have been included, I feel a need to put my quote into context. I end the article, and it goes like this (typing directly because again, I know that scan stinks):

“Rachel Cothran, a 27-year-old blogger in Washington, D.C., used her card to purchase a pair of Wolford tights for around $60. Ms. Cothran said she typically buys hosiery at discount stores and never would have thought to splurge on a luxury version – until the gift card.

“People want things to be free,” she said. Ms. Cothran said she loves her purchase and is considering going back to the store to pick up another pair.

Needing to set a few things straight here. First, I, ahem, most certainly do think to splurge on luxury hosiery. I think about it A LOT, actually. I have just learned to physically restrain myself and make do with the Target and “irregular” TJMaxx varieties.

But what I really want to clear up is the quote, which feels to me that it was published in a way that was out of context with the discussion I was having with the writer, Elizabeth Holmes. I had just mentioned Chris Anderson’s recently published and much-debated book, Free, where he addresses moneymaking in the digital marketplace, and how, basically, people want and expect information to be free. He then talks about how powerful the idea of “free” is when it comes to consumer buying patterns generally. Holmes asked me if I thought people came to the Neiman Marcus event because of all of the events going on within the store, or if I thought the free $50 gift card was the draw. To my mind? The gift card, hands down. Referencing Anderson’s ideas, I said that “people want things to be free.”

It’s hard to say how people read that last bit of the article quoting me, but for what typing it out here is worth, I feel that it’s important to address the act of blogging and the standards bloggers hold themselves to. Especially as a writer who goes about the act of blogging as an exercise in journalism, I’m naturally a bit protective of how I’m perceived as “a blogger.” I try to hold myself to a set of unwritten rules, even though I didn’t have to until now (you may have read about the FTC’s new rules and this one on fashion blogs is interesting). I don’t have a blog to promote clients or partners or events, much less advertisers. Not that I’m against advertisers or any of it really. It just isn’t the point of my blog and I wouldn’t want it to be. Maybe one day I’ll accept ads and etc and etc. If the content’s there, the readers will be there and then the relevant ads and promotions that benefit your readers will be there, and then we can all retire to the country or Spain with our hot, smart, interesting, insatiably lusty boyfriends.

If I ever get something for free (and honestly, it’s not like I’m getting Louboutins in the mail), and if, like any other journalist, it makes its way into a post about a larger idea or concept I’ve been thinking about for a story, then that publicist has done his or her job – having provided relevant, interesting and timely information to me as a writer with readers who trust me and my opinion. Companies want bloggers to write about their products because their readers trust them as an independent voice. The minute you compromise that, you’re no longer valid. I don’t find it compelling to read a blog that consistently shills products or events, especially overpriced luxury goods. Leave that to the magazines! Honestly, even I, a self-professed magazine junkie…no, whore, have a hard time enjoying magazines for this reason. Say something about yourself, trends taking place locally, and offer original content. Ultimately, your readership will grow and other writers – both print and new media – will respect you.

OK, that is all. Back to the pretty clothes and lip gloss!

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Handbag Crush.

Posted on October 13, 2009
Filed Under Only in Washington, Shopping Events & News, Women | 45,227 Comments

A serendipitous path led me to Ralston, a new handbag line from DC-based Paige Ralston Fromer, who used to be on the Hill and at the RIAA. A friend who met her at a local restaurant told me about her, and soon I was lusting over several of the handbags online while she and I exchanged an email or two (and in full-on Web 2.0 obsession mode, I even googled her and looked her up on Facebook…and saw that we had a few friends in common). Then, one day when I happened to be in Bloomingdale’s in Chevy Chase, I was heading out the door when a bag caught my eye. I went over to admire it, and sure enough, it was Ralston, and there was Paige standing among them (on a white horse! Kidding.) Something drew me to the line, and fate led the way!

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The Ralston “Cindy”

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The Ralston “Raquel”

I’m crushing on two bags in particular: the Cindy (LOVE the studded details on the upturned sides of the bag. Ladylike and quietly subversive at once!) and the Raquel, which would be the perfect work-to-cocktails option. One’s fun and one’s serious. Can’t a girl have both? Which do yall like?

I’ll quickly add that she’s planned two trunk shows with Bloomingdale’s – November 14 in Chevy Chase and December 5 in Tyson’s Corner. But hands off my bag(s).

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