Jessica McConnell

Posts Tagged ‘fashion’

Diary of a Shop Girl

In Diary, Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on December 8, 2009 at 8:47 pm


Since I never expressly said, I ended up not taking the job at Saks Fifth Avenue…I decided, a commission only job was not what I had in mind when I said I’d try and find a “full-time” job. So instead, I’m back to working at my two jobs, thank God they loved me enough to take me back with my same hours and schedule. In the meantime, I’m working with a designer to help get her line of specialty bridal headpieces and veils, as well as trendy headbands, off to a good start. I’m looking forward to fashion shows and trade shows, where hopefully, she sells lots of merchandise!

Anyway, funny thing today…I’m at the consignment store, working of course, and despite the many unusual people who walk in and out, not including the junkies and drunks, I was most appalled today at a mispronunciation that left my jaw permanently glued to the floor. This woman walks in with 2 girls in tow. They perused every rack, the one with the blonde wig and missing tooth making my boss extremely nervous. One of the girls clearly hadn’t showered for days, her stench permeating everything she touched, including my precious designer clothing. As she picked up a pair of Antik denim jeans, I cringed. She later scoffed at the  price. She clearly needed new jeans though, because the ones she was wearing bared so much ass that you would’ve thought she was a celebrity gone bad in a tabloid. Unfortunately, this was no Britney Spears.

Her friend, who smelled much more pleasant, came up to the counter and asked me to see a backpack. So I pulled down the black nylon Prada and handed it to her. She turned to her platinum haired companion and asked, “What’s P-ur-aye-da?” I stopped all thought processes and just stared as the response was, “I think it’s designer, ain’t it?” She says this to me as if this is something normal that everyone asks. All I could manage to say was, “Prada.” I pronounced it properly and attempted to unhinge my jaw from the floor.

My job puts “being fabulous and broke” in true perspective for me and constantly tests my patience. If nothing else, it keeps things interesting and drama infused for sure.


Versatile Vests

In fashion, Trends on November 11, 2009 at 12:03 pm


Yesterday I found myself throwing on the faux fur vest I thought I may never wear again. Pittsburgh weather, however, is incredibly unpredictable. It was the perfect thing to wear over long sleeves while I walked to work and even out to dinner.

The fur adds a luxe factor to even the most basic henley, jeans, and boots. Whether it’s real fur or faux, cropped or asymmetrical, a vest is an easy way out of choosing what to wear in the morning. As I said, it dresses up even the most basic turtleneck or tee. Depending on the style of the vest, whether it be sporty suede with a hood or sheared mink, it can pull just about any outfit together. It’s sort of like this year’s boyfriend blazer, you have it in several silhouettes and colors and you wear it over your favorite party dress, trousers to work, or with jeans out for drinks.

Depending on your love of real fur or not, this could be a costly item to buy in multiples, so just choose one. If you were buying one boyfriend blazer, you’d probably buy basic black, it goes with everything. So take into consideration your personality. Do you work 9-5? Are you out on the weekends or the evenings? Think about what’s already in your wardrobe and choose accordingly. This year, I’m still a big advocate of making purchases that coordinate or at least mingle with several other items I already own, it saves me time and LOTS of money. So do the same. A fur vest won’t go out of style but if you’re worried about being too trendy, then choose something basic that you know will look fab over all your jeans and that work appropriate sweater dress. While the boyfriend blazer will come and go, the fur vest has always been a part of fashion and has been played upon in different styles, colors, and textures for years and years.

Check out some of the styles below to give you an idea of what you might like…

3.1 phillim lim nordstroms, 750 curly lamb

3.1 Phillip Lim, Curly Lamb


elizabeth and james, wilderness blazer with vest

Elizabeth and James, Wilderness Blazer with Rabbit Vest



elizabeth and james, saks, shearling vest

helmut lang, shearling vest

Helmut Lang, Shearling


white house black market, faux mink

White House Black Market, Faux Mink


Michael by Micahel Kors faux coyote

Michael by Michael Kors, Faux Coyote

Diary of a Shopgirl

In Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on August 11, 2009 at 10:26 am


I feel like Rebecca Bloomwood today in “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”


It’s now day 8 of working and I’m at the consignment store today. And while the black Louis Vuitton wallet is calling me, egging me on, I can only give it those sad, dreamy, puppy dog eyes it deserves and leave it in the window for others to admire. I have put myself on some sort of leash, meaning: I’m skipping Starbucks, packing my lunch, and avoiding buying anything for the rest of the week.

But perhaps, like Rebecca, none of us who view shopping as a true companion are actual savers but are “Make More Money” gals instead. In real life though, after working for 8 days straight, I don’t believe that idea translates as well as it does in a book.

So for now, I’ll have to put up with the junkies buying sterling silver and hope that nobody buys my  black Narciso Rodriguez pants, a perfect addition to my fall wardrobe. Training yourself not to purchase something each day, especially when you work in 2 clothing stores, is daunting. And if I appear overly dramatic about the situation, it’s simply because I really do love fashion, and also because I’m overly dramatic. 

But seriously, all of my fall fashion issues are arriving and it’s such a tease…

Legendary Model Naomi Sims Dies

In fashion, Fashion News on August 4, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Naomi Sims dies from cancer at the age of 61 on Saturday, August 1st.


Although I wasn’t alive to live in the moment of Naomi Sim’s influence and her triumph as an African American woman trying to get her foot in the door of the fashion world, I do know that her 1960’s cover appearance on  ‘Ladies Home Journal’ was the first time ever that an African American model was so highly publicized. “She was the first,” according to Halston in an interview with The New York Times in 1974. “She was the great ambassador for all black people. She broke down all the social barriers.”

A native of Pittsburgh, my current hometown, she made her way to New York City in order to attend the prominent Fashion Institute of Technology in 1966. Sims became desperate for cash though, after agency after agency turned her down, some even because of her dark skin tone. Nobody was interested in African American models in the 1960’s but Sims didn’t give up and eventually, she found a way in through a fellow model who was starting her own company, Wilhelmina modeling agency, of course.

It was a year later that the cover for “Ladies Home Journal” would propel the supermodel into the spotlight where she became highly sought after. Naomi rallied for herself and the African American community during her 5 year reign in the industry. As a result, today two of her magazine covers, one from the Times magazine and one from Life, are featured in the current “Model as a Muse” exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Both were firsts for African American models at the time.

“Modeling was never my ultimate goal,” she was quoted as saying in African American Business Leaders. “I started to model to supplement my income to go to college….But the idea of starting my own business had always appealed to me, and I was fortunate that my first career led to my second.” Sims, of course,  went on to create her own  line of wigs and later, Naomi Sims Beauty Products, which still exist today. She dabbled in writing and became a successful author of several well-known books, as well as articles featured in The New York Times. She was an accomplished woman, winning awards such as ‘Model of the Year’ in 1969 and the ‘New York City Board of Education Award’ in 1970.

Despite her distaste for modeling, it is clear that Naomi Sims was a grand asset. Because of her resilient attitude, she was able to give birth to a new community of African American models, changing the fashion world forever. If it wasn’t for her, models like Iman and Naomi Campbell would not exist. Here’s to you Naomi, thank you for the history making contributions.

On one last note:

Abel Rapp, a former model agent at Ford, recalled Sims’ early years in New York. “She was probably one of the most beautiful women I have seen in my life,” Rapp said. “One night, Harvey Boyd, the illustrator, and I were going to a restaurant on Second Avenue called Jack’s Nest,” Rapp recalled. They called Sims to invite her. “She said, ‘I can’t, I am not dressed.’ I told her to put on her f–k-me pumps, a tight pair of jeans, and a top and she would be fine. She showed up an hour late in a floor-length, purple jersey Halston gown. This was very much Naomi.”





“Barely Legal”

In Diary, fashion, Uncategorized on July 18, 2009 at 12:52 am

My friend living in Brooklyn sent me a text message today that read: “A 45 year old woman just came into H&M wearing a ‘Barely Legal’ sparkle tee. I thought you would appreciate!…And she was with her two daughters.”

Intrigue. It made me think.

The H&M in Herald Square is unbelievably touristy, not to mention how irritating it must be to have to need a SWAT team of employees to clean up the fitting rooms. Even still, if the woman was a tourist, it doesn’t make it acceptable either way. But t-shirts  adorned with rhinestones and glitter, outlining clever adjectives like, “Spoiled,” “Princess,” or even “Sexy,” say something about one’s self. And not just these, but my friends story of the day made me realize that we all own t-shirts we once purchased for a reason with clever or not-so-clever antecdotes. At one time they were a serious must-have, a prized possession perhaps. Now, however, their lack luster qualities and lame meaning behind their cute sayings sit in your bottom drawer taking up space. A memory from the beach or a trip to Vegas with the girls, (Thank God it was a t-shirt and not one of those matching group tattoos) clearly you’ve literally got a fashion “statement” on your hands and ultimately, your choices do say something about you.

For tees purchased at Rue 21, please put them in garbage bag immediately and don’t look back. Anything else, I suggest doing a double take. If glitter and rhinestones are involved, add them to the bag too. But if we’re talking about a “Team Paris” or Marilyn Monroe quote t-shirt, think about revamping them. Tees like that define your fashion personality and you should wear them for fun under a little blazer or with your boyfriend jeans. Absolutely change the neckline, add some embroidery and layer them up. You don’t have to give away your memories but you can definitely make them better, especially if you don’t remember much of that Vegas trip where you purchased $300 worth of Playboy tees. Ugh.

If you don’t own any of the above, lucky you. And if you feel out of the loop, below are a few places you can get your own and support a good cause. Not only will you look good but you won’t get flashbacks of you and your friends on the bar in Miami when you wear it. Instead, you can show your support for a cause that’s worth filling up a drawer full of t-shirts.

Visit for more information.

Visit for more information.


Visit for more information.

Visit for more information.


Visit and check out the Darfur Store.

Visit and check out the Darfur Store.

A Triumph for Christain Lacroix

In fashion, Fashion News on July 9, 2009 at 11:14 pm


This fall’s  Haute Couture collection from Christian Lacroix was beautiful in more ways than one. The 32 year old fashion house had recently announced it may close if a buyer cannot be found, leaving Lacroix with little to nothing and his imagination to set his Couture collection apart. Lacroix, a creative genius, used fabric that he had left over or had never used to create one of the most important collections of his lifetime.

Each piece looks precise in all it’s glory with exquisite jackets that show-off his extraordinary craftsmanship. With virtually nothing to work with, Lacroix credited old Hollywood with a mixture of pieces that are glamorous in a very, “here and now” way. The recession has practically forced the house into bankruptcy but a true couturier’s talent, like Lacroix’s, will shine through with craftsmanship and creativity.

I am enamored with the collection because I realized that despite the slow fading of the over-the-top glitz that once went along with Haute Couture, the frugality of it all is bringing back the truly, beautiful pieces that will define designer’s collections and in essence, define themselves. To truly appreciate fashion, you must appreciate Haute Couture. To understand the reasoning behind a designer’s work and collection is amazing because they are literally creating walking forms of art, through inspiration that they find season after season. It’s houses like Lacroix that gave us fashionistas a reason to believe in the power of fashion in the first place. So, I’m rooting for Lacroix on this one and I’m praying that I’ll see his next RTW collection, perhaps more subdued, but even still, his works of art deserve to be displayed on a runway.








‘NYC Prep’ – Is Not Gossip Girl

In fashion on July 7, 2009 at 9:49 pm


Has anyone tuned into Bravo’s new reality TV show, ‘NYC Prep?’

I give you fair warning- while highly addictive this show may become, it is not, under any circumstances, even a Gossip Girl     wanna-be.

The New York Times on-line recently published an article focused on the new reality show, premised on the lives of prep school teens. While the bitter rants of school administrators were dually noted, I was most interested in the interview with Victoria Goldman, who is the author of “The Manhattan Guide to Private Schools and Selective Public Schools.” According to the New York Times, she “…suggested that the teenagers’ behavior may have something to do with the private schools in the show — which she said are not top-shelf…The schools on this show are all at the bottom,” Ms. Goldman said. “There would never be a Brearley girl on this show.”

It appears that Ms. Goldman set out to prove a point but failed miserably. Her interview was infested with a haughty tone. This just proves the point that these types of schools continue to alienate themselves and push their students further from reality, on an elite conquest. But who’s to say that a student attending Brearley doesn’t drink martini’s and Manhattan’s or doesn’t spend thousands at Bendel’s with her clique of friends with equally impressive handbags? Or does a Brearley girl simply study and attend her bi-weekly piano lesson, while all the time in between making casual conversation with her parents over Scrabble? Doubtful. They’re all teenagers but with bigger bank accounts, making them perfect for a TV show thwarted by excess.

Despite all Manhattan prep-schoolers and upper-eastsiders not having a bit of reality TV drama of their own, my guess is, they still have drama. Life drama, wreaking havoc on their multi-million dollar high-school years. The show follows 6 students from the following schools: Nightingale-Bamford School, the Dwight School, the Birch Wathen Lenox School, the Ross School in East Hampton, and Stuyvesant High School, a public school?

The maturity, outlandish parties equipped with luscious cocktails, somewhat clever banter, to-die-for style and effortless ‘oomph’ and of course, the eye candy, all of which are a part of the CW’s ‘Gossip Girl,’ do not exist all at once or even at all sometimes in this knock-off. As I said before though, fair warning, because Bravo has a habit of bringing out the worst in your inner couch potato and trashy tabloid reading self.


Madonna for Fall 09′ Louis Vuitton Campaign

In fashion, Fashion News on July 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Well, she’s covered up this time…shocking. In recent pictures, I have seen Madonna toting around her daughter and despite everything she is trying to accomplish, I am not impressed. However, this ad campaign is appropriate, rather fake looking as one source mentioned, but what stars, even at age 20 with flawless skin, aren’t photoshopped to death?  Here’s a look at the new fall campaign below, what’s your take?


Diary of a Shop Girl

In Diary of a Shop Girl on June 28, 2009 at 12:22 am

Public enemy number one for small boutiques like the one I work at in Pittsburgh are shoplifters who are not even intelligent shoplifters but just happen to walk in on the right day and get you at a bad time.

I watched an extremely overweight woman, after she had left of course, hike up her skirt in front of our security camera and proceed to shove the orange Linea Pelle handbag down her pants or undergarments or…? She did several lunges to attempt her theft, while customers and an employee were down at the front desk, only several feet away.

Bloody Hell.

A $498 handbag gone all because we were helping our none predatory customers and assumed we didn’t need to tail her (and her daughter)  as if we were on a high speed car chase.

My disgusted and horrified look contorted my face in such a way as I rewinded the security camera tape that I once again realized how unglamorous a shop girl’s job truly is.

I’ve read Steve Martin’s novel but then again, I’m also not in the market for a man more than a dozen years older than myself. If only we could all be Claire Danes in real life, then it possibly wouldn’t matter if we were standing behind glass display cases selling hand-rolled silk scarves for a living.

Closet Picks of the Week

In What I love this week on June 24, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I was a bit late this week, but here’s what I’m loving right now-

1. The mini pocket tee by ZOA. They’re fab, that’s all I can say., $29.00

2. W Magazine’s ‘Last Laugh.’ We all need a little intelligent and sporadic banter from Louise J. Esterhazy.

3. A tour of Doris Duke’s estate in Newport, Rhode Island. The estate, deemed ‘Rough Point,’ has a new exhibit called Shop Like an Heiress: Buying Fashion in the 20th Century. I intend on taking a trip at the end of the summer, a chance to use my new boat shoes? I think yes.

4. “We’re thinking about the girl we know. Her life doesn’t depend on going to parties. All the girls we know work. They’re not wearing cocktail dresses in the afternoon.” – Lazaro Hernandez  Love Love LOVE the double breasted coats from Proenza Schouler for fall.