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Written and illustrated by Kathryn Martinez
Ann Taylor GO
Banana Republic GO
Gap GO
Guess? GO
Old Navy GO
Hello all!  During the summers as a little girl, when it was soooo hot, and all I wanted was to go for a swim (we didn't have a pool), I'd often watch my video of The Little Mermaid, thinking it would give me some sort of satisfaction. No matter how many times I tried this experiment, it never really quite worked. 

I feel like a similar scenario is being painted for us in many of the stores,  since they are already offering numerous spring items. Perhaps it is an  attempt to induce everyone into daydreaming about warmer times.  However, like my little experiment as a child, the cold weather we've been having here on the East Coast is no joke!  No matter how many flowy skirts and bright prints I see, it CANNOT be forgotten that Jack Frost is no longer nipping at my nose, but has gone on to kicking my butt! 

I must admit though, all the spring stuff has succeeded in feeding my excitement for spring to come, and I do hope it comes soon, because there are a lot of great items out there!  Here are a few of them:


Our first item is a simply cut, sleeveless tweed dress, with a v-neck. The fabric is a pink/orange/red mix that is more specifically 63% silk, 26%  rayon, and 11% linen. It's one eye-catching little number. $138.00.
There is this fantastic gray-brown color that has been appearing lately. It goes perfect with orange, pink, blue, and black. I sense in it great potential, its reading is higher than I've ever seen before. Could it be the one to  fulfill the prophecy? Could it be the season's "new black"? I think so! And this particular skirt in the  aforementioned color is a perfect specimen. It's made of a textured fabric -- 70% rayon and 30% wool. It  ends at about knee-length, and has two pockets in front that are very well
hidden. $78.00.
My next pick is this 100% silk dress in a crazy patterned fabric of beige dots creating crazy patterns of swirls. The dress itself is soft and light, but the dots give a certain mathematical or scientific quality that balances out the organic nature of the cut and the texture of the fabric. $138.00.
Ah yes, now we have the bag. Yet another one from Ann Taylor, who  just keeps coming out with great bags. This one in particular has  shorter straps. It's a great outlet for the possessive streak in everyone (my "better a bag than a boyfriend" theory) because you automatically hug it  close to your body. It's made of black leather with a scrunchie drawstring thing that echoes the sporty-chic wave of last year. The fact that it's made of leather, however, leaves a lot of the extreme sportyness behind. $78.00.
Lastly from Ann Taylor is what I like to call the ugly shoe. Like Saabs and bulldogs, they're so ugly that they are just so cool. It's an inexplicable thing. I mean, they are obviously styled in reference to old lady sandals, but revamped for hot young ladies (or hot old ladies, or hot in-the-middle ladies -- I don't wish to limit anyone). I've been searching for shoes like these, and now they're here! In an odd color no less (it's a black/sliver/gray color). There are teeny holes all over, a la Dr. Scholl's, and have cute ankle straps too. Just be prepared for all the "Did you steal those from your GRANDMA??" remarks. $88.00.
My first pick from BR is this butter- colored raincoat. And it's the softest raincoat I've ever felt. Wanna know why it's so soft? Because it's 100% cotton, but with a polyurethane coating. All hail the wonders of  technology! It does look a bit "lab technician" in that it stops below the
knee and zips up all nice and neat. No mess, no stress, I guess. $188.00.

With them are these pants from BR's Stretch collection (they're made of 51% cotton, 41% nylon , and 8% polyester). They have a front zip, no pockets, and are shorter in length, bordering the clam digger length. In the back, there are zippers to open up to mid calf (a great way to show off cool boots). Comes in black, navy, gray-brown, stone, and khaki. $78.00.

This next piece is also showing  echoes of the utility trend, but does it  so quietly. It's a black mesh,  long-sleeved top with a deep v-neck,  and those drawstring thingies on the sides. Now, since the mesh fabric is made of 88% rayon, and 17% nylon, it looks pretty slick and very  un-athletic. The drawstring serves to add some draping effect, circa 1970's.  I would personify this top as the girl in gym glass who walked that mile we were all required to run, smoking a cigarette the entire time. $115.00.

I have coupled the smoking top above with a silk skirt, in that gray-brown  color I was talking about earlier (see what I mean, it does look good with  black. And it'll look good with blue,  pink, green....). The skirt has an  elastic waist and is cut on the bias, therefore creating a very light and
delicate silhouette. $78.00.
OK, now the raincoat I mentioned before may be butter-colored, but this gray leather jacket right here IS pure butter! This is one jacket to save your pennies for! The shape is great;  designed neatly and simply, with pockets built into the seams, and cuffs with zippers that zip up to the  ELBOWS! The ELBOWS! How cool is that?? $350.00.

Being that I haven't seen any new Gap ads to poke fun at, I'm gonna pass Go, collect $200, and go directly into the 5 picks:

First up is the dark red leather jacket.  It's cut like a traditional classic denim jacket, and looks a bit beat up, which is essential in detracting from the ostentatious quality that I feel inherently comes with red leather. It's kind of like the foxy wolf meets Little Red Riding Hood, but without the hood. $198.00.

Next, we've got stretch pants with a  tab front, pockets on the sides, and a slit pocket on the back. It's made of 98% cotton, 2% lycra, and comes in  medium gray, black, or khaki. Pretty, plain, and simple. $48.00.

The next item, this white, cotton/lycra/spandex sweater with mock turtleneck, was chosen for the fact that it doesn't look dowdy. I have  encountered a few white sweaters in my day, but most of them always looked dowdy, and I don't know why. This one is very fitted and zips up.  $48.00.

The black stretch skirt  is one I know I would use all the time. It's in the length I love: mid-calf, the fabric is soft and comfortable (cotton and lycra), the slit in back makes it easier to walk, and two slit pockets don't add any bulk. $48.00.

The last Gap pick is an underwear tube-top made of nylon, polyester,  spandex, and elastine. It's so soft and supple, plus is available in yellow-green with little stripes, pink with little stripes, lavender with little stripes, and blue with little stripes. $18.00.

Like, Ohmigod! This season, the folks at Guess? have totally, totally been hit
with 80's nostalgia, totally!

Like, this top right here, is sooo bitchin'! It has capped sleeves that are mesh and a strip of mesh across the chest area. It has Valley Girl (that movie with Nicolas Cage as a  rebellious new wave-punk type from the San Fernando Valley who falls in love with a popular, preppy girl) written all over it. I personally like the white one the best, but the red one is pretty darn cute too. And it also  comes in black and in hot pink. $58.00.
The second item we have is this  long-sleeved shirt that gradates from  white to light pink to HOT pink. The material itself is see-through, made of 100% nylon, and looks like a plastic cobweb. And under that is a white mesh layer, to keep things decent. Together they make a pretty snazzy combination. $68.00.

Next is this little skirt with a side slit and cute darts in the back. It's made of nylon with a touch of spandex to keep the booty in check. I think that with all the longer lengths that have been popularized the last few years, I'm finding the mini-skirt rather refreshing again. $78.00.

Now we have the bi-layered tank top. One layer is a solid black tank with a set of straps similar to bra straps (you know, with the adjustable thingies). The other layer is a pale pink mesh, which creates a rather interesting juxtaposition of sheerness and opaqueness, softness and harshness. The neckline is kind of curved, so it has a slight 1950's feel to it. However, one look at the tag reminds us that we are very much in the future, as this top is made of pollearmidica and elastine, fibers that I doubt existed in the 1950's. $88.00.
The last Guess? item we've got seems to be in the middle of sleeve puberty.  Its sleeves are still developing! It's not quite a tank top, yet I can't even call what it's got "cap sleeves." It also has a stripe across the chest that matches the trim of the collar and the sleeves.  Available in blue with a black stripe, black with a white stripe, pink with a black stripe, and yellow with a black stripe. And it's made of 70% nylon and 30% rayon, so it's soft and stretchy too. $78.00.

Okay, Okay, although the Old Navy ads are pretty darn irritating, and I  wonder how they can get away with selling things so cheap, I do find myself
in Old Navy sometimes not being able to help but like the stuff there. Despite their mission to be mainstream, they do manage to sneak in items that are pretty inventive and quirky, albeit in a mainstream kind of way.

Take for example, this nylon, gray, hooded rain poncho with orange mesh lining. Basically, it's a large square piece of fabric folded in half with a hole for the head and snap buttons on the edge to close it, but that's what makes it great -- it IS just a square piece of fabric folded in half with a hole for the head and snap buttons on the edge to close it. The extra fabric just drapes really nicely. It also has a zip pocket in the middle for keeping things readily available. $48.00.
The next pick is this roll turtleneck sweater. It's 100% cotton, a very, very soft cotton may I add, and comes in a great aqua blue color, as well as in pink, and navy. $30.00.

Now we have the "dirty" Boarder Jeans that would give Calvin Klein a run for his money. They are flared and have cool stitching at the knees. I
know they look muddy and dirty, but I think the idea is kind of cool. They're clean, but look dirty, and when they look dirty, they won't look as dirty, and you won't feel as bad getting them dirty, so you won't hesitate  getting them dirty, which advocates running around, playing, and getting  dirty. I'm obviously putting in way too much time thinking about this. Ouch, I
think I hurt myself. $36.00.

Here is Old Navy's offering in the dark denim department: a dark denim  jacket with three-quarter length sleeves. I admit to not having seen a  three-quarter length sleeved denim jacket before, and I'm a bit surprised to see it here (I know, I'm such a snob! But I'm impressed). $32.00.

The last item I found at Old Navy is this very bohemian, girly, fuschia pink polyester skirt in floral print. It's a nice shade of pink, and the print is not too flowery; I'd say it's a serious flower print. $26.00.

Well, that's it for February. Enjoy the flowers and the chocolates, and all the smooches, n' all that good stuff, and the rest of the month too. Until next month!
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