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There I am, walking out of Southpark Mall in Charlotte with my cousin, when all of the sudden… BAM. No, I’m not trying to be the next Emeril. That’s truly the halting reaction I endured when I saw this show-stoppin’ diva walking toward me.

Never have I seen so many fashion rules so flawlessly followed. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for bending and breaking these “regulations” the world of fashion imposes upon us all. For example, ain’t no one gonna tell me when I can and can’t wear white. And if I want to wear a brown belt with a black dress, I’ll be darned if I’m going to let some brawd tell me otherwise. Unless it’s Anna Wintour. If she told me to burn all my clothes and shoes because going-to-class-naked-and-barefoot is the new black, I’d seriously consider it definitely do it.

However, Sam (in the picture above) could have convinced me easily that she co-wrote/edited/manned-the-printing-press-for the big book o’ fashion rules:

1. Mustard yellow is reserved strictly for brunettes, particularly brunettes of the chestnut persuasion.

2. Unless you are intentionally trying to make a statement with a non-matching, candy-colored (turquoise, bright pink, purple, etc.) bag, your purse should always match your shoes and your belt.

3. NEVER pull your tights too tight. EVER. If one can actually see the color of your skin through your tights, you seriously need to invest more time in putting them on. Take special care to evenly distribute the fabric all the way up your leg in the process. I might just have to put up another post more intricately detailing tights-protocol very soon.

The list of Sam’s exceptional behavior in the school of fashion goes on and on and on. And this is just one outfit! Oh yeah, and another thing: she goes to The Fashion Institute. Natch.

This is all good rule-following, of course. Really good. Not in the way that that kid in front of you in your philosophy class follows all the rules. How he’s always like, “Hey, that girl over there just came in late,” and “Professor! Professor! You forgot to give us homework!” One time I saw that kid coming to class and I just tripped him and blamed it on the uneven bricks. He had to go to Student Health for the whooole class. Best class of my life.

No, I’m totally kidding. I blamed it on a nearby construction site.

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It’s 10:43 p.m. on Christmas Day, and as I sit here trying to salvage what is left of this holly jolly time of year by watching Elf for the third time in 48 hours, I can’t help but see a Christmas spirit that surpasses even Buddy the Elf’s in Papa, pictured above.

Papa is the grandfather of my childhood best friends and next-door neighbors (holla holla, Carr family.) This just goes to show that no matter what age, style is timeless– especially around the Christmas season. As us young folks are agonizing over whether our Yuletides match our wassailing boots, the older generation often cares more about instilling in us the idea of what that warm, fuzzy feeling Christmas brings is all about. (I said “old-er,” not “old.” Papa obviously doesn’t look a day over 43.)

And, before you think to yourselves, “Wow, Abbey must have gotten a really sweet camera with a 4-inch telephoto lens for Christmas and then somehow acquired the ability to take professional pictures that practically make me tear up with Christmas spirit,” I must give credit where credit is due: This photo was taken by Bethany Carr, one of the aforementioned childhood best friends.

The second I saw Papa’s holly berry bow tie, I just had to have Bethany snap a pic. This should really be on a Christmas card, don’t ya think? Hallmark, paging Hallmark. Hallmark on Line 3.

Merry Christmas, GBF!

Today is Dec. 1. Yes, it is indeed a time for twinkling lights, Christmas carols, good cheer and sunbathing by the pool– wait. What?

I’m having a hard time deciding if it’s relatively amusing or freakishly unsettling that today boasts an almost-60-degree weather forecast. All signs point to the latter. We as mere blog-readers might not have the power to single-handedly reinforce the ozone layer with the point of a finger or twitch of a nose, but there are little steps we can take to do our part in the Green movement.

The inspiration for this post struck me while flipping through my new favorite mag, Nylon. A quick blurb informed readers that everyone’s favorite Internet pioneer, Al Gore, made a personal request to Costume National designer Ennio Capasa, asking him to design a special line of irresistible, limited-edition, purely organic sweaters to benefit the Climate Change Project. But, he probably didn’t use the word “irresistible” when he called up ol’ Ennio. It probably sounded a little more like this:

AG: “Hi there, Ennio, how the heck are ya?”

EC: “Hey, Al. Listen, I told you years ago. I’m not going to back you up on your whole ‘I invented the Internet’ thing, alright? You’ve got to stop calling. Really, I’ve lost three assistants already to your antics.”

AG: “Ennio, wait! Don’t hang up! This isn’t about the Internet! I’ve invented something else and, I’m telling you, E, it’s gonna rock your world. I call it–are you ready? Get this: recycling. I even made up a song! ‘R-E-C-Y-C-L-E: It begins with you and me!’ I invented that!”

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Apologies for the pic being a little blurry, but I’m in a room where the wireless isn’t too top-notch. So, I had a hard time accessing a clearer one. The Alternative Apparel t-shirt tip came from from that same sustainable page of Nylon. The mag says that the brand’s “Earth line” products are made from 100% organic materials like recycled plastic bottles and food containers, and that the materials it uses are even washed in a biodegradable rinse. Chic, no?

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I don’t know about you, but these shoes just make me happy to look at. They go by the name of Mink Shoes (insert irony here), and they’re just as fun to wear as they are to look at (trust me, I have a pair). These kicks are designed by Rebecca Brough, a former model and stylist. More importantly, she’s a long-time vegan who broke the scene with her designs in the year 2000. Here’s an excerpt from the site:

“Three years of development went into the line. Rebecca assembled materials from sustainable resources such as wood, rubber and cork and adorned them with organic cotton, linen, denim and clever detailing. She designed recyclable packaging with handles to double as a bag and avoid the necessity of plastic.”

Wow. I wish I had the will power to spend three years on something other than growing my hair out. I’m almost at the ideal length, though. Just two or three more inches. I consider it a milestone.

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What post would be complete without a little American Apparel action? OK, a lot of them. But I do tend to grace your screen with AmApp’s presence on a regular basis.

This Organic Fine Jersey Pillowcase Dress is made from 100% organic cotton, and it’s quite versatile. It can be worn as a casual summer dress or layered for a comfy fall look. I see skinny jeans and mucho accessories. Mmm, yeah.

Summary:

1.) Green looks good on everyone.

2.) I accidentally showed up 2 hours early to my shift at work this morning and wrote an obnoxiously long post to kill time.

3.) Al Gore did not invent the Internet.

Good talk.

I don’t think the “My New Haircut” YouTube video is funny. If that makes me a bad college student, so be it. OK, I suppose it has some quotable one-liners, but overall I think it goes for cheap laughs that are only truly amusing when imitated by attractive young men singing a capella music (if you attended the Clef Hangers concert at Memorial Hall Saturday night, you know what I’m talking about.)

Don’t worry, I do have a point here. Today we’re talking about men in designer jeans. Disclaimer: American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch don’t count as designer.

I personally find nothing more attractive than a man in a pair of perfectly fitting jeans– I don’t care what brand they are. I’m serious. If you ever, for some reason, need to lure me into a dark cave full of rabid bats, hypodermic needles and carbon copies of my estranged great aunt, just make sure there’s a mildly attractive man in jeans standing at the door.

But, like always, there is more than one way to go about achieving this look. Let’s get the more questionable one out of the way first.

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I have these jeans. Literally. They’re in my closet right now. I’ll show them to you if you want. Something about that just doesn’t sit right with me. Before you express your distaste and say that I don’t appreciate a man who cares about his appearance, let me explain myself. I admire men who take pride in what they wear. I think every man should. (If you think I’m just saying that, you should start reading GBF more. Really. You’ll see that I would do almost anything for a man who can dress– see needles-in-cave allusion above.)

But, I personally think that these 7 For All Mankind “A” Pocket jeans should be reserved for the ladies. When I see men in these, all that runs through my head is “greasy clubby skeezy dirty man-slutty ew.” BAM. Just like that. Kind of like last week when I saw David Beckham on E! and the first thing that popped into my head was “perfection so-pretty rippling muscles Victoria-I’ll-sneak-into-your-room-at-night-and-bind-and-gag-you.” It’s amazing how quickly these associations pop into our heads.

Let’s try this the right way:

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Now that’s what I like to see. If you are a man who has a weakness for designer jeans, GO ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF. Just put some thought into it first! These Diesel Levan jeans are the way to do it. The dark wash helps achieve the dressed up look without the added My-New-Haircut-ness. One thing for men to focus on when buying jeans is where they break. What I’m referring to is where the leg of the jeans start to fold when they hit your shoes. A little wrinkle is just fine. Also, the leg opening should reach about two to three inches from the ankle. Too wide of an opening puts you balancing on a fine line between burly mechanic and skater punk.

Let’s take a look from behind:

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This is a perfect pocket for men’s designer jeans. It has the perfect amount of originality while still keeping masculinity intact. The most important thing to keep in mind is this: keep your pants pulled UP. We are no longer in middle school. No one wants to see 8 inches of your boxers. Those are cute reindeers though.

Have you ever seen a woman across the street with the most fabulous big, brown bag you’ve ever gazed upon?

All bets are off.

You ditch your sandals, drop your dog’s leash and run head-on into oncoming traffic. Forget your little cousin you told your aunt you would guard with your life. He knows the way back to the house. He made it back just fine that day you saw the girl with the fantastically fitting high-waisted skinny jeans. Sure, he had a few bruises. And he was bleeding a little. But you can barely even see the scar from his stitches. And ERs do a lot to build character in four-year-olds.

Asking that chick where she got her perfect brown tote is SO much more important.

It can be so hard to find this coveted piece. It’s something you buy to carry every day– or at least to have to option to carry every day. So, needless to say, it’s a serious investment. Lets look at some options:

Option No. 1: I slipped off my mother’s engagement ring while she was sleeping and pawned it.

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First of all, nice job. Donna wakes up every time I try to do that. Then it’s just really awkward.

“Oh, hey! Uh, hey. I was just gonna ask if I could borrow this, but you looked so peaceful. And this ring! I mean, wow, Dad has great taste. It really brings out your eyes. But yeah, I mean it’s cool if you don’t want me to borrow it. Yeah. You just go back to sleep. Here you go.”

This Coach Felicia Leather Slim Duffle will put you $598 in the hole. But, it’s exactly what most of us are looking for in the big, brown tote department. It has the perfect level of slouchiness, and the faded leather makes it perfect for a day of shopping or a night out. So, if 600 bucks is chump change for you, go for it.

Option No. 2: Wait, I spent how much at the bar last night?!

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We don’t always have our priorities straight. Sometimes the ol’ bank account isn’t looking quite as healthy as it did yesterday afternoon. Sometimes our pride isn’t looking quite as healthy as it did yesterday afternoon. Sometimes there’s a strong correlation between the two.

Either way, it results in a serious lack of cash flow. That’s what Target is for. This is an Isaac Mizrahi for Target Tote Bag in bronze, and it’s only $39.99. Sometimes I think we forget that so many high-end designers create lines for us common folk. He-llo: Vera Wang for Kohls. Devi Kroell for Target. Take advantage of them gracing us with their presence. Especially when it leads to a perfect piece like this.

Option No. 3: I did take that skanky server’s high-paying shift last weekend.

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Now, that’s more like it. You’ve been working a lot lately. AND you passed your Poli 101 exam last week. So, let’s see: big pay check and no re-taking that coma-inducing class next semester? You definitely deserve a $148 bag.

This Lucky Brand Medium Slouchy Hobo Bag can surely fit everything you could ever possibly need. Just make sure to keep a flashlight or something strapped to the inside of your right thigh. You know, in case you and your BFF are in the disgusting public restroom one night and you have to do the typical-girl-late-night-purse-check: “Omigod, girl, do I have my-keys-my-camera-and-my-phone? I can’t see in my bag, can I use your flashlight real quick?”

So, there are a few of my picks. Happy shopping, GBFers. And be careful with your cousin. He might not come back next time. Or he might come back with a knife in his teeth, wearing a sarong that looks an awful lot like the neighbor’s cat’s fur.

Name that movie:

“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

I love Mean Girls as much as the next oh-my-God-this-is-SO-my-high-school girl, but this memorable Lohanian quote might not be is definitely not accurate.

As an RA (insert nerd-joke here), I saw a–um–variety of costumes on the much-anticipated evening. Pardon my French, but I saw slutty, skanky, raunchy and everything in between. And let me just say this: as a lover of all things fashion, I was not impressed.

Ladies, ladies, ladies. Halloween is a time to showcase your creativity. It’s the one day of the year when you can pull off literally anything you want to wear. Always wanted to wear a fluorescent pink wig? Please do! Haven’t acted out that Charlies Angels fantasy you’ve been cultivating for 3 1/2 years? By all means. Got a soft spot for Edie Sedgwick? Why not show it off today? But Halloween does not, under any circumstances, mean that you must feel social pressure to pull a B. Spears and give us all a below-the-belt flash.

A DISCLAIMER ON THIS STATEMENT: We have all been there! Well, most of us, at least. I know I certainly have. It was not until this year that I reached this much-needed epiphany. In fact, just last year I was roaming Franklin St. with the rest of the risque parade. But, it’s never too late to change. I give you all a great deal of credit; not only as GBF readers, and not only as UNC students, but as women. Men will find your originality, classy attitude and respect for yourself far more attractive than the bottom two inches of your–ahem–well, you get the picture.

Now, rarely do I put pics of my friends and/or myself on the ol’ blog. But, just for fun, here’s what stir-crazy RAs do when they’re only allowed to go out for an hour and one of them just bought a new camera:

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Oh, and in case you didn’t get it: I was not a wood nymph, nor was I Eve, nor was I A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was a tree. DUH.

Here’s what I love most about North Carolina weather: when it’s the end of October and still a sweltering 85 degrees, we all drag our feet around campus, whining and complaining that it’s not fall yet. “It’s so gross outside,” we moan as our hair obnoxiously waves in ways we didn’t think were possible for a normal, breathing (barely) human being.

Then, all of the sudden, it’s 35 degrees during our morning walk to class. Oh, but that’s just not good enough for us. Now it’s “freezing.” You know you do it, too. You know you sit there shakin’ in your Ugg boots when the afternoon temperature reaches a frigid 65 degrees. Let’s not lie to ourselves.

But, there’s one thing we have to look forward to– other than chipping off the icicles forming in our freshly showered locks.

FALL CLOTHES!

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This is one of my favorite trends for the fall. I remember when we got these slouchy beanies from Urban Outfitters in the fashion closet when I was working at JANE this summer.

I seem to recall slipping the purple one on my head and staring at its cable-knit-goodness in the mirror for hours on end. Then I remember putting it on a brown, fuzzy teddy bear and crowding around a quaint little table for some afternoon darjeeling with my closest friends, Mr. Giraffe and Mrs. Bunny Rabbit Hop Hop.

That was fun.

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There are a few things I love about these hats:

1. Greasy hair day fix. We all have them. Live it. Love it. Work it.

2. They’re so MK (see previous post).

3. Cheap cheap cheap. The hats are around 20 bucks at Urban and probably even cheaper at vintage prices. And if you don’t love vintage, it’s time to click that little “X” in the upper right hand corner of your screen. I’m just kidding please stay. Seriously I’m sorry I take it back. You know I can’t stay mad at you, look at that face.

Remember when ’90s grunge was in? OK I don’t either. Realistically speaking, we were like 10-years-old, which means that we still thought polka-dot spandex and Tevas were a good match. If you would have added a neon scrunchy to the mix, oh boy. That walk to the bus stop might as well have been a lights-flashing-beats-pulsing runway.

Anyway, from what I’ve heard, the oversized, flannel button-ups and baggy jeans were all the rage. And who else to blaze a fashion trail in the 2000s than– drum role, please– Miss Mary Kate Olsen.

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I almost wrote, “If only we could all make an ensemble like this look so good.” But, then I changed my mind. Why can’t we all pull this off? Let’s break it down:

Purse: MK’s is probably made by Versace or some other fabulous couture designer. But look in any vintage store and you’re bound to give this bag a run for its money.

T-shirt: How many ways can I say this? AMERICAN APPAREL AMERICAL APPAREL AMERICAN APPAREL.

Sunglasses: Like always, when all else fails, go Urban. I just bought these last weekend from my Mecca– aka Urban Outfitters– and I assure you, they’re serving me quite well. And I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I probably spent a LOT less money on these than my girl MK.

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Grunge no good? Dress up your MK obsession with this casual-but-still-chic look. I must say, I doubted these scrunch-waisted bottoms when I first got an eye-full of them. But, I’ll be honest with you, GBFers: as soon as I saw Mary Kate in them I changed my tune. Although I fear that if I wore this outfit I’d get a reaction somewhere along the lines of:

Preppy Friend #1: Heyyy, Abbey. What’s going on?

Me: Oh not too much, guys. I’m just on my way to class. What about you?

Preppy Friend #2: We meant with those pants. What’s– uh– what’s goin’ on there. With those pants. What’s goin’, uh. What’s goin’ on.

But, has that ever stopped us before, GBFers? It didn’t stop me with my gladiator sandals, and it won’t stop me now. Oh, you don’t know what gladiator sandals are? Have no fear, MK to the rescue.

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As any of my friends and/or acquaintances could tell you, I am a firm believer the power of gladiator sandals. Mine aren’t quite as intense as these. They do look a lot like the ones on the left, but they’re about half as tall, and they’re brown. And they’re not Chanel

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Go ahead, hit me with your best shot. I bet I’ve already gotten it. I’ve gotten most of them: Jesus sandals, 300 shoes, “This is Sparta!” etc…

But, please. By all means. That’s what the “comment” feature of the ol’ blog is for.

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I just had to add this nice, grunge-tastic pic to the post. Mostly because I tried on an American Apparel cardigan last weekend that looked just like this one, and it was the most heavenly thing I have ever put on my body. Too bad I had already bought out half the store. And, I’ll tell ya, it took all of my strength and you’re-never-going-to-realistically-wear-these convincing abilities to talk myself out of buying a pair of gold metallic leggings.

I think it had something to do with the incredibly charming Am. App. employee. When he saw me reaching for the tri-blend tee he suggested I try on the tri-blend cardigan. And I did. Then he suggested I try on the matching scarf. And I did. Then he suggested I run as fast as I can into oncoming traffic and see how many cars I can dodge while balancing a 5-feet-high stack of valuable china on the end of my nose. And I did. Then he suggested I sell my car, auction off my sister to a lonely, Czechoslovakian hermit and buy him a one-way ticket to Timbuktu.

Let’s just say he was quite charming.

So, I was in the UL (I know, shocker) and I saw this guy standing right outside on the Pit side of the window. “Hm, let’s see…” I said to myself.

“What’s more important: geology or freezing in time this young man’s impeccable style? I mean, really, am I ever going to encounter a time where I’ll need to be able to recognize a metaconglomerate rock? No, no i won’t. But I will encounter a time when recognizing a well-dressed man will certainly be to my benefit. In fact, I think I owe it to society to take his picture. Yeah, that’s right. I owe it to society. I guess I have to leave the library. What a shame.”

And then the girl behind me was like, “Um, can you stop voicing your interior monologue out-loud? It’s really irritating. And kind of weird. Actually, here’s my card. I’m a TA in the psychology department. We’d really like you to be a part of a study we’re conducting.”

Well, here was the result of my perfectly logical rationalization:

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And now for my reasoning behind the title of this post: Austin Fowler’s outfit reminds me of a smooth, ransom-collecting, drug-dealing American gangster. And if you haven’t caught on, that’s DEFINITELY a good thing. Maybe it had something to do with the way he was so casually leaning against the cement wall, or maybe it had something to do with my serious lack of concentration on what I should have been concentrating on, but Austin really caught my eye.

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He’s wearing this outfit perfectly. The light pink and white striped oxford lost any question of femininity when he paired it with the BA gray vest. What’s great about a thinly striped button-down is that it’s not too busy to add a funky tie. A tie is often the focal point of a man’s body, so it’s beyond-important to make it a good one.

And don’t even get me started on a man in jeans. I am a firm believer that almost nothing is more attractive than a man who knows how to wear a pair of jeans. Any other bottom with Austin’s vest and tie combo would have been far too dressed-up for a stroll through campus. But, the denim here creates a perfect balance between a casual day of class and an NYC hipster in SoHo.

And, not that I advocate smoking in any way, shape or form, but it does kind of add to his rough-around-the-edges image.

But–um–don’t smoke. Smoking’s bad.

Start the party, GBFers: we’ve reached 1,000 hits!! Actually, we’re officially up to 1,001 views of dailytarheelfashion.wordpress.com.

Keep it up, readers! Let’s try to be the most popular DTH blog– cough cough– I mean, not that it’s a competition or anything–cough cough– (just kidding).

Power to the fab!