- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 16, 2006

In a perfect world, you would conduct your fall fashion shopping spree with style. You would do it with elegance, with sophistication, maybe even with panache.

How about doing it with Glamour? Glamour magazine’s executive fashion editor at large, Suze Yalof Schwartz, recently spent a morning visiting three stores — each representing a different price range — picking out her favorite seasonal items and offering advice on getting the best bang for your buck.

Her advice is timeless: Splurge on accessories; scrimp on very trendy items. Her top picks: dresses, platform boots and a new tan handbag.

Mrs. Yalof Schwartz’s own style is classic — for a fashion editor. She wears a wrap-style top with bell sleeves in a black-and-white floral print edged with red to jazz up crisp white pants and a cropped black blazer. If it weren’t for her belly, one would hardly notice she is eight months pregnant with her third son.

No frumpy Peter Pan collars and smocked tops in her maternity wardrobe — but she’s already doing some window-shopping (and even buying a few things) for when she’s back to her petite frame.

Bergdorf Goodman

The landmark spot on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan gives Bergdorf the space to carry a wide selection of merchandise, but the high price tags allow the store to maintain its exclusive feel. It does exude luxury, whether you’re buying a gown or a lipstick.

It’s the place to invest in good handbags, fine jewelry and shoes that are meant to impress, Mrs. Yalof Schwartz says.

First, she eyes the purses. A Marc Jacobs bag that’s a twist on a classic quilted Chanel style is a contender. She likes the thicker chain. Trends for this season include quilting, appliques, python, thick chains and knits.

Another bonus? The Marc Jacobs bag comes in tan, which is even more versatile than black, Mrs. Yalof Schwartz says, because it can be worn with navy and brown — colors that sometimes are tricky with black.

“I carry the same bag all season. I stuff it until I can’t carry any more,” she says, pointing to her summer bag, a white leather Tod’s stretch satchel.

Because purses can have a long life, she says they’re one of the best investments.

“Get one great bag, a new coat and great boots. They’ll absolutely make you feel updated.”

Mrs. Yalof Schwartz warns, though, that “it” bags aren’t a wise buy unless you have a big budget. Anything that is too well known, too talked about and covered in too many logos would be hard to pull out of your closet a year from now.

You should “try on a bag,” she says, just as you do clothes or shoes. “A big bag can make you look smaller, but a small bag on a big girl is a don’t.”

She adds: “Any bag that can’t hold your cell phone, wallet, notebook, makeup bag and picture of the kids isn’t worth it.”

If the bag is fabulous, you don’t have to splurge on a pricey wallet or makeup case because they’ll always be encased in luxury, notes Mrs. Yalof Schwartz, who says she has carried the same wallet for five years.

Next up — jewelry. A wood bangle with diamonds by Lorraine Schwartz captures her eye right away. She clearly likes funky jewelry — she next tries on an oversized ring and a chunky necklace.

“Break out the jewelry from years past, from the ‘80s. Enamel cuffs, wood cuffs — they’re all right for right now,” she says.

Moving on to coats, Mrs. Yalof Schwartz stops at a leather trench by Tracy Reese. It’s tan, and, she says, the same argument for tan purses applies to coats — you can wear it with anything.

“A great coat is the only thing you can wear every single day and get away with it.”

The contemporary shoe department is nearby, and she goes right for the Loeffler Randal metallic ballet flats, another chameleon accessory because they go with dresses or skinny jeans.

“It’s a good year for shoes. Platform shoes are more comfortable because of their pitch. Rounded-toe shoes are in the comfort zone. Ballet flats are comfortable,” Mrs. Yalof Schwartz observes.

Once in the designer shoe department, she makes a beeline for a stunning but impractical and possibly uncomfortable black suede Prada platform boot.

“This is like candy for women,” Mrs. Yalof Schwartz says.

She then swirls around to find the classic Jimmy Choo sling-back pump with a 3-inch heel that she calls “the editor’s choice.” The fashion industry loves this $495 shoe because it works with dresses, pants, skirts and jeans, she says. It transitions from summer dresses to fall. And it comes in tan.

Old Navy

“I hate shorts but love gauchos,” Mrs. Yalof Schwartz says as soon as she sees the store’s front-and-center display. “You can dress up a gaucho.”

She proceeds to demonstrate with a slim jacket with a ribbon around the waist and an embellished camisole that she holds above a pair of green gauchos plucked from a dizzying array of cropped-pant choices. “You have to wear them with really high heels, maybe gold or silver heels,” she says.

As for the rows of skinny jeans nearby, Mrs. Yalof Schwartz says if you want to get in on the trend, buy them now and buy inexpensive ones — such as Old Navy’s $30 version. They’re definitely a trend, but they’re unlikely to be a lasting trend, she explains, so you want to be able to wear them this fall and then to toss them without feeling guilty about how much you spent.

Use Sienna Miller or Kate Hudson as a fashion role model when it comes to skinny jeans, she adds. She predicts they will tuck the jeans into boots and wear a menswear-style vest — there’s one here with lace trim that Mrs. Yalof Schwartz likes.

She also is hot on a buttery leather cropped motorcycle jacket with a flouncy, rufflelike front that seems like a steal for $139.

Sweater vests are cool right now, Mrs. Yalof Schwartz says. As proof, she offers up Carolina Herrera’s fall runway show, which offered sweater vests over crisp white shirts. It’s a look that also plays into the menswear movement, she says.

Maternity Mall

This is a four-in-one store that includes a maternity spa, Motherhood, Mimi Maternity and Pea in the Pod.

“Maternity clothes are not what maternity clothes used to be,” Mrs. Yalof Schwartz says, admiring a navy cable sweater and cream-color pants on a mannequin.

She rattles off designer and hipster brands that literally have expanded their line to accommodate pregnant women: 7 for All Mankind, Diane von Furstenberg, Juicy Couture, Chaiken and Joe’s Jeans, among them. Prices seem in line with what these names normally charge, $185 for a pair of Joe’s Jeans, for example.

Also, Mrs. Yalof Schwartz says, the overall shift in fashion’s proportion — from wide legs and narrow tops to skinny legs and voluminous tops — is a godsend for style-conscious moms-to-be.

Things to look for are dark tops, which minimize the appearance of the belly bump; tailored blazers that can be worn with flowy halters or camisoles; and a black wrap dress that will do double duty for work or evening.

The looks to avoid are tops that show too much cleavage or are skin-tight. “I know it’s a trend for women to wear tight things when they’re pregnant, but I think you look smaller in loose things.”

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