Sunday, March 30, 2008



An unlikely pair, food and fashion sometimes DO go hand in hand. Here are some tongue-in-chic designs that will really make you salivate!

There are two ways to approach this oddball pairing.

  1. First, make your favorite confection wearable (not literally! I will not be including links in this posting of CoutureCarrie for edible undies here, gals--c'mon!).
  2. Alternatively, turn your favorite item of clothing into a delectable treat. I am a HUGE cake fan (meaning that I enjoy Black Forest and White Chocolate Mousse, not that I myself am large - beware the danger of misplaced modifiers!). In fact, I have been known to forgo dinner in favor of a sublime sweet from Magnolia or Sprinkles.

Whether it’s a a confectionery clutch (see Judith Leiber’s Cupcake Clutch above, available at – delish!), or a Designer shoe-box tower (courtesy Ron Ben-Israel Cakes in Manhattan), it is totally tantalizing to mix media!!

Bon Appetit, darlings!

Fashion Credits:
Patrick Cox Shoe by

Ben-Israel Cake photographed by Michael Keel, New York

Friday, March 28, 2008


Whether it’s a classic Rodo evening bag, or a playful Marc Jacobs number, the clutch is absolutely essential to a woman’s wardrobe, particularly in the spring and summer, since we have fewer accouterments (gloves, scarves, hats, etc.) to stow away.
The tiny totables this season run the gamut from the structured Judith Leiber Princess Box, fully beaded with aqua square-cut Austrian crystals [pictured at right and available at Bergdorf Goodman], to the soft and loose Fendi oversize "soft" Baguette, so prevalent in our fashion mags that we have committed it to memory!

These are the types of clutches you should get to know and love:

1) Envelope – having a center, foldover flap
2) Minaudiere – formal, with a snap top, usually jeweled, can be square or rounded
3) Case - generally zip-top, like a makeup bag
4) Convertible – cleverly morphs from clutch to shoulder bag
5) Flip-Top – opens like an old-fashioned hard suitcase
6) Flap – like an envelope, but the flap is not pointed and usually extends the full length of the bag
7) Roll – long and rounded, more like a long loaf
8) Dragée – rounded like a piece of candy (see Jordan Almonds at right, courtesy Wikipedia)
9) Wristlet – having a small strap worn like a bracelet
There are myriad ways to wear your clutch. The best bet for all you working women out there is to stow your lipstick and other delicate items in a gorgeous (yet durable) clutch inside your everyday handbag. This way, if your boss wants to treat you to lunch, or if you are going straight from the office to a rooftop cocktail party, you will be prepared!
A large envelope-style clutch can be practical for day, but generally, clutches should be reserved for evening. And don't be afraid to mismatch and get graphic! A clutch need not be an obvious pairing with your outfit. In fact, it's rather more clever if it is unexpected - particularly if you have a special piece you want to showcase! Behold, this exquisite Christian Louboutin Elsa Clutch, in a bold black and beige stripe with gorgeous decorative swirl center clasp. Also available at Bergdorf's (where else??).
See the left-hand column of CoutureCarrie for other lovely options. And be sure to reference my blog entry of March 11, 2008 for indispensable advice on ALL the bags to have in your closet. Be brilliant, be fabulous, be a BAG LADY!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


It's practically too ubiquitous to merit comment, but I can't help myself . . . Look at the plethora of visual artists, models, singers and actors who are designing and/or headlining for established brands. Some even have their OWN lines! I make no judgments here about the quality of their products, as some are truly awful (J-Lo; SJP). But Frank Gehry's work for Tiffany & Co. is truly breathtaking (Torque bracelet pictured below avail. at OR STORE CELEB or ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Tocca Helena Christensen
Te Casan Natalie Portman
Opening Ceremony Chloe Sevigny
Prada James Jean
Jimmy Choo Richard Phillips
Levi’s Damien Hirst
Louis Vuitton Takashi Murakami
William Rast Justin Timberlake
Lancome Daria Werbowy
Traditional Arts Prince Charles
Target Hilary Duff
Chick Nicky Hilton
Letters of Marque Stacey Dash
Kipling Fergie
Tiffany & Co.
Frank Gehry
Hair-Do Jessica Simpson
Sarah Jessica Parker Bitten

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tricks of the Trade

Here are some helpful hints for beauty and other crises that I have picked up along the way, either from personal experience, friends, or my vast repertoire of glossy magazines!

- Aspirin for pit stains
- Fabric against fabric rub – works particularly well for white deodorant marks
- White Wine on Red: You are at a party and you spill red wine on your shirt. If there’s no Oxy Clean around, just spill some white on top of the red and it will act as a pre-treater until you take care of the stain when you get home.

- Don’t you hate it when your fave black tee turns greenish-grey from too many washings? Revive your wardrobe and restore your ebony pieces to their original luster for a mere $3.00, using RIT dye. It takes about 45 minutes and the results are spectacular! Just remember to wash those dyed items separately to avoid bleeding!

- Windex for patent leather
- In a pinch, vegetable oil for leather shoes (though honestly, girls, it’s time you all invested in a home leather maintenance kit, complete with cloths, brush, buffer, and polish in black and natural). There is no excuse for scuffed-looking shoes!

- For wet shoes: do not attempt to dry by placing near heat!! Simply roll up some newspaper and tuck it inside each shoe. When it is saturated, replace with fresh paper. This will absorb the moisture without leaving water stains!

- Pasties: not just for strippers anymore! There is a time and a place for nipple-itis. I’m not sure what that is, so to be on the safe side, wear Low Beams or something of that ilk – available in the lingerie department or on ebay!
- Hemorrhoid Cream for tautness on the beach; models smear this stuff on their thighs before runway shoes to tighten the skin. Mind you, it is only a temporary fix.
- Rubbing Alcohol to clean excess hair color from brow after dyeing; this helps avoid the dreaded forehead stain. Also an alternative to astringent and a great way to sanitize nicks from shaving.
- Baby Powder. In a pinch, if you don’t have time to wash your tresses and are all out of Bumble & Bumble’s incredible Hair Powder, use baby powder on an oily scalp. This works especially well for blondes!

- Tupperware for shoes: (a) group by type--slingbacks, sandals, etc.; (b) use clear boxes and/or affix photos to the end of each to ensure ease of locating your fabulous footwear
- Pillowcases for handbags
- China plates and bowls for jewelry (See photo from Wallpaper Magazine’s Jan. 2008 issue, accompanying article entitled “Open Drawer Policy” viewable at

- To avoid wrinkling, pack delicate items in dry-cleaning bags! Then hang them in the shower in the hotel for a quick steam upon arrival! You can also invest in a travel steamer – they are inexpensive, tiny, and easy to use. There is nothing less attractive than a gorgeous dress that is sadly rumpled!
- Space saver: pack your socks INSIDE your shoes; that way, your footwear maintains its shape and you save those precious few square inches in your luggage for other essentials!
Fashion Credits: Photo of Incredible Alessandro Dell'Acqua Multicolored High Heel Sandal, courtesy

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Well, gals, if you looooove looking fabulous IRL, then you must make an effort to do the same IGL (in gym life). Looking cute while working out can be a challenge, but ultimately, it will help you on your way to your fitness goal. Wearing a snazzy spinning outfit or rocking the hottest new Nike Dri-Fit hoodie on your run can (a) get you motivated to work out; (b) give you added confidence during the workout; and (c) enable you to exercise longer and more efficiently. Here’s how.

Motivation. First off, in the same way that purchasing a new party frock can make dressing for a cocktail hour an event in itself, having a fantastic pair of running shoes or a lovely, flattering pair of yoga pants will make you revved up to hit the gym! Plan your outfit in advance; this will save you time and angst in preparing for a workout, and deprive you of any excuse to skip the gym for lack of appropriate attire. If your sports bra is looking tattered, toss it and buy a new one, not just for the sake of presentation, but because it will give you the appropriate support!

Confidence: If you go to the Reebok Sports Club wearing beat-up sweats and a pit-stained tee, people won’t (necessarily) look at you askance, but you will FEEL as if they are. All you gorgeous gals know that when you LOOK good, it radiates out, affecting all of your interactions and making your best efforts even better! This applies not only at the office, but in your Bodypump class! There are oodles of fun and flattering workout clothes out there, and they need not cost you as much as your Kooba bag! See below for ideas…

Efficiency: No, I am not a scientist, nor do I play one on TV. I am, however, an athlete and a fashionista. I can tell you with confidence that the woman wearing a sports bra and fitted, Coolmax tank and compression pants will be able to run far longer and faster than her counterpart on the next treadmill in the old gym shorts and oversize cotton tee. While natural fabrics are wonderful under certain circumstances, they are totally impractical for the gym. The innovations in wicking fabrics and comfortable body-hugging clothes have been tremendous! Avail yourself of form-fitting fitness attire. Oversize outfits will add both weight and bulk. You are not fooling anyone by wearing that sweatshirt on the Stairmaster. Take it off, and work harder and longer in a slimming, breathable ensemble by Avia, Reebok, Adidas, etc.

Where to Buy: For yoga gear, I like Christy Turlington’s collaborations with Puma. Also, try the Athleta catalog. The best places to find performance fitness gear at a discount are Marshall’s, Filene’s Basement and the like. Or, for fab deals all the time, try Target! Their C9 by Champion line is quite impressive, and very affordable!
Photo of Stella McCartney's fitness looks at right courtesy

Monday, March 24, 2008


The Importance of Being Ernest About Tailoring & Repair

Proper wardrobe maintenance is one of the touchstones of good dressing. Every gal should, at the very least, know how to sew a button or hem a pair of pants. Even better, educate yourself about how your fabulous couture is created. The most important tome on the subject of sewing is, of course, the VOGUE Sewing Book. Whether you opt for an older edition (fantastic finds on ebay, girls!) or a sparkly new one, this quintessential volume will be an indispensable to you in your lifelong love affair with fashion.
And for goodness’ sake, be on a first name, Holiday-card-sending basis with your tailor; (s)he is your best friend. There is nothing more unbecoming than the sight of a really gorgeous, ill-fitting dress. Every item in your wardrobe should fit YOU, perfectly. Trust me, it is worth the thirty bucks to nip that jacket in at the waist, or hem that frock to a flattering just-above-the-knee length. If you are going to invest in Designer duds, come to terms with the fact that RTW is not actually RTW.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Happy Easter, everyone! Rather than hitting the PAAS, may I suggest some creative makeup artistry? Check out these pics!

The green lipstick was photographed by Steven Meisel for VOGUE.

The airbrush eyes are a look from John Galliano's runway show, as photographed for WWD.

Egg artistry courtesy


Saturday, March 22, 2008


One sure way to pull your look together? A fabulous blazer. The best ones are ultra-fitted, with nice long sleeves. Try something adventurous, like an adorned, asymmetrical or multi-zippered jacket. Below, the go-to designers . . .

Best Blazers:

Christian Lacroix

Comme de Garçon

Dolce & Gabbana
Givenchy (top right)

Hedi Slimane -- model Eugenia Silva’s fave!
Hervé Leger (black ruffled, below)

L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani

La Rok


Jean Paul Gaultier

Jil Sander (small photo )

Proenza Schouler


Richard Tyler



Yves Saint Laurent

The best thing about blazers is that, if they are well-constructed, they are timeless: a gorgeous Chanel bouclé will last you a lifetime! Moreover, blazers are virtually seasonless. A lightweight wool jacket can be worn all-year round!

The choices are limitless this Spring and Fall. Just look for the PERFECT fit and PLEASE spend the few extra dollars to have a choice piece tailored, if need be. Many stores (such as Nordstrom and J. Crew, for example) will tailor full-price items for free!

The general consensus is that the construction of a blazer is in direct proportion to its retail price. But this is not always the case. I have found several surprisingly well-made little toppers at Forever 21, of all places! So keep an open mind . . .

Photographs courtesy and

Friday, March 21, 2008


Ladies, toss those tattered brassieres and get ready to stock up on gorgeous Designer underthings, because it is officially the SEASON OF THE BRA.

Lingerie-inspired looks absolutely littered the runways. And if the dress didn't look like a slip, then at the very least, a sexy satin strap was peeking out . . .

Behold, these amazing looks from the Spring and Fall 2008 shows. The first two are Blumarine, and the third is (who else!!) VPL.

Be sure to refer to the post below for instruction on how to fit yourself perfectly for a fabulous bra . . .

And see CoutureCarrie's Saturday, March 1, 2008 Post for the Top Lingerie Brands and where to buy them!



How to fit yourself for a bra. Proper measurements are essential, and there is a lot of misinformation out there. The most common mistake women make is assuming that the number in a bra size is equal to the circumference of the rib cage. This is incorrect! To get your size, measure your ribcage just below the breasts. Then ADD four inches. So if your rib cage is 28”, you are a size 32, and so on. To get your cup size, measure the circumference of your chest at the widest point of the breast, across the nipples. Then SUBTRACT the adjusted rib cage measurement from this number. The difference in inches will provide you with your cup size. 1” = A, 2” = B, 3” = C, 4” = D, 5” = E (DD), etc. So the woman with a 28” ribcage and a 35” breast circumference would be a size 32 C [35 – 32 = 3”].

Fortunately, this is the season of UNDERWEAR IS OUTERWEAR, so we can all buy fabulous bras and show them off! (If I am going to spend $275 on a Kiki De Montparnasse Muse Corset bra [see left], you can bet your sweet bippy that I am going to want people to see it!). I adore the look of a chiffon top with a lacy exposed bra underneath.

Thursday, March 20, 2008



The "Gap Girls", David Spade and Chris Farley, said it best in their hysterical 80s SNL skit: "Just cinch it!!!"

Let me reiterate: Belts are your friend! Whether it’s a delicate cincher the width of a garden snake or a super-wide corset that would make a Victorian blush, a belt pulls any look together and makes its wearer look more polished.

If you have a tiny waist, a belt will show off your best asset. If you have no waist at all, a belt will create one for you!



Ways to wear a thin belt:

- Over a coat: I love how Diane von Furstenberg paired dainty belts with blouses and unbuttoned blazers – so chic! (See photo at upper right, courtesy
- With a shirtdress or classic shift. Accentuate your waist and make that frock more interesting with a bright accent.
- With a high-waisted skirt, particularly one that has belt loops, though it can work with a simple swath of jersey material as well.
- In Multiples: If you have two or three belts of similar width in
contrasting colors, try wearing them together! I like buckling one to the other, then wrapping.

Ways to sport a wide belt:

- Over a tunic or corset top
- With a duster or overcoat
- With a minidress (and opaque tights, natch)
- With a white button-down shirt tucked into a high-waisted skirt
- Low-slung. I don’t LOVE the idea, but it can work: see Blumarine’s runway look at right...
- With a high-waisted pant
- With a ball gown! See Valentino, runway pic courtesy


The Grosgrain: A staple of the preppy diet since medieval times, this striped cincher works with jeans or a tennis dress.

The D-Ring: Again, a WASPy essential, usually printed with diminutive whales or other other marine life – good for a BBQ on the Vineyard, but don’t let me catch you wearing one more than a few miles from the beach!

The Obi: A cummerbund or sash is a daring way to shake up an average outfit. . . Check out VPL’s take on the wide fabric belt at left. Hint: you can totally use a tube top as a belt, ladies!!

The Bow: A lovely velvet or silk bow makes your look flirty and feminine. See BCBG’s bow-belted neutral dress.


As demonstrated aptly on the Fendi Runway this Spring, a colorful, chunky belt need not strand alone – feel free to combine it with other patterned pieces, as long as the designs don’t fight with one another. I love a huge 80’s-style elastic belt in bright green to offset a magenta dress, for example. See Etro's Spring 2008 Runway look, pairing a scalloped mustard corset with a wildly patterned mini! Or layer a multi-stone cincher over a striped frock, as Fendi did (see lower left).

One thing is for sure, my lovelies: The belt is not going anywhere! Waist cinchers were ubiquitous in both the Spring and Fall Collections.

So you are on a mission: Grab at least one lovely piece from each of the above categories and WAIST KNOT, WANT KNOT!!


It is not the circumference of your waist that matters, girls. It is its proportion in relationship to your hips. It has been scientifically examined and documented that the ideal waist:hip ratio for women is .70. So divide the circumference of your waist at its narrowest point, just under the ribcage, by your hip measurement, and you have your magic number!

For more fab belted looks, see the left-hand column of CoutureCarrie!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Here’s the ultimate guide to seasonless booting.

The Pseudo-Boot; The Toe-less Boot; The Strappy Boot; The Open Weave Boot: Seems an oxymoron, no? I love this look for spring, because it splits the difference between naked and covered and provides a gentle entrée to sandals! To look polished but still let your toes breathe, wear Givenchy's fabulous knee-high gladiator, pictured above on the Spring 2008 runway. For an edgy rocker chic vibe, try Gaultier’s open-toe platform (pictured at right, available at For a dressier vibe, don Manolo Blahnik’s or Miu Miu's pink patent open-toe bootie. See left hand column of CoutureCarrie for other almost-boots!


: Wellies are essential. Rely on J. Crew (I absolutely adore the Riding Wellington), Burberry (see brown rubber riding boot at left, available at Neiman Marcus), or Hunter. The Original Hunter Boot is a classic in green, but now comes in a whole rainbow of colors; my favorite is the midnight blue sparkle.

Snow: UGGS are cute, but they don’t really protect against the elements, so go with Merrell or Timberlands here. Alternatively, take an UGG fur insole and put it in your Wellie - a warm, waterproof solution to the slush pit that is New York City in February and March!

TO BOOT: What type goes with . . .
Jeans: something with a heel! I love the look of a stiletto peeking out under the cuff of boot-cut denim. For skinny jeans, opt for something less dainty, perhaps a platform bootie.

Skirts: I suggest a knee-high flat boot or an ankle boot (see Stella McCartney's patent zippered boot at left, available at Barneys).

Dresses: A high-heeled toeless bootie is perfect! And with a bare leg, a nude boot is ultra-flattering. May I recommend Christian Louboutin's open toe cutout bootie, for purchase at Bergdorf Goodman (pictured at right)?

BOOTING UP: Here are the brands you can rely on.

Classics: Loeffler Randall (See gorgeous zip-back boot at left, courtesy; Christian Louboutin; Frye (not just for cowgirls anymore!)

Miu Miu; Pedro Garcia; Givenchy; Pierre Hardy

Tuesday, March 18, 2008



As we contemplate the changing seasons and swap our winter wardrobe for our spring finery, let us take care to clean and stow things properly!

1) Hand wash all your wool sweaters, scarves and gloves in Woolite at the end of the cold weather season. Let them air dry (flat, if possible). It is not necessary to dry-clean cashmere, despite what the label inside the sweater suggests. Store clean items in an air-tight container. Tupperware or Rubbermaid are perfect for short-term (months, not years) storage, but if you are packing away your wedding gown, turn to archival quality boxes.

2) Dry clean all your overcoats, even if they are not “dirty”. Then stow them in their dry-cleaning bags.

3) Never store leather or suede in air-tight containers. Remember, they come from an animal, and likewise need to breathe. Oil glove-tanned leather and polish your shoes regularly! If you are patient, that handbag that is “SO last season” will, in no time, become VINTAGE.
Care for your clothing and accessories lovingly, and they will last you a lifetime!
Image courtesy California Closets.

Monday, March 17, 2008


You’re such a tulle!

Ladylike dressing is BACK, and that includes generous swaths of chiffon and sometimes even crinoline! I’m feelin’ the frippery! The following designers have plunged headlong (and stunningly so) into the pool of prettiness. Note that Designers in bold have accompanying photos, courtesy of New York Magazine's coverage of the Spring 2008 Runways.

Balenciaga: Though the advertising and editorial coverage of this "extreme" floral look (top left) has been rather ubiquitous, it is with good reason. The ruffled shoulder and evening short combination is a fresh take, and so daringly matched with patterned gladiator sandals.

Blugirl: The floral sheath is reinvented, with an interesting halter neckline and flirty wide lavender belt (see photo at left). Makes me want to attend a garden party post haste!

Carolina Herrera: This floor length strapless floral gown (at right) is flawless. Feminine, flattering, and understated yet eye-catching at once.

Christian Lacroix

D&G: Dolce & Gabbana's bridge line is unabashed in its kitchen sink approach to girly glamour for Spring 2008, combining an array of distinct floral prints in layers of delicate chiffon. A subtle drop-waist bodice erupts into a tiered floor-grazing skirt. Little House on the Prairie meets Big Apartment in the City (at left).





Lanvin: Strapless ruffled tangerine minidress - a vision! See Runway look at right.

Nina Ricci: In addition to her breathtaking silver strapless ball gown, which got quite a bit of press this season, Nina Ricci also had some other daring, yet feminine pieces, such as this frilly frock in a sophisticated floral print with muted mauve tones.
Philip Lim


Ralph Lauren: We knew we could count on Ralph for a lovely take on the floral motif. He showed a number of dresses which alluded to Laura Ashley's 80s drapery, but in a good way. See the sophisticated swatch of pale blue chiffon at right, so elegantly accented with tiny black gloves and an oversize Kentucky Derby hat. Genius!

Reem Acra: The designer known for bridal couture shows versatility with this incredibly multi-patterned sleeveless chiffon top and fishtail hem skirt (at left).
Roberto Cavalli

Thakoon: A delicious billowing ivory dress with wispy short sleeves and a full knee/tea length skirt crowned the runway. Perfect for a daytime bride.

Valentino: Always expert in ladylike glamour, Valentino showed a cross-section of evening looks (like this billowy strapless double-waist [empire AND drop] dress in sky blue and black lace) and daytime darlings, such as this lavender-belted yellow coat (at left).
All in all, the Spring Collections were anything but ordinary. I believe we are all ready to don our petticoats and polish our silver. To the tea party!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


DRESS FOR YOUR HEIGHT, GIRLS! This entry is not meant to offend or discriminate, merely to advise. I want us all to look our best, darlings!

Sorry, short girls, you are so adorable, but you can’t wear this:

- bracelet length coats or three quarter sleeves
- drop-waist dresses
- cropped pants
- skirts that fall just below the knee (tea length really doesn’t flatter anyone, to be honest)

Tall girls don’t catch all the breaks here. Here’s where height and fashion do not go hand in hand: If you are 5’9” or taller, I beg of you not to wear hidden platforms or five inch heels. Here’s why: though you will look absolutely stunning as you admire yourself in your full-length mirror at home, alone, you will look like a drag queen out in public. I call this the Tyra Banks Effect (photo at right courtesy msnbcmedia). Yes, Miss Tyra appears feminine and gorgeous on the runway or the pages of a glossy magazine, but stand her up next to any normal-size person and she looks like Goliath! It is sad but true that I finally had to part with my incredibly chic Miu Miu black and gold platforms when I realized that I did not look as cute as Lindsay Lohan did in the ad campaign. Tragically, when I added that 135 mm of Prada deliciousness to my nearly six feet, I appeared (even to my dear sister, who is also statuesque) giant. Tall girls always run the risk of being termed Amazonian--never a compliment, I assure you!--when they augment their already considerable height with stripper shoes.
So girls, as you should with all wardrobe decisions: know yourself and your body type, and work with it in order to WORK IT! I mean, we want to look FIERCE, not "tranny nightmare" or "mini-me".

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I am absolutely adoring the layered look. And I don’t mean the pseudo-homeless bulky sweater Mary-Kate vibe here. I am talking about the exquisite juxtaposition of a variety of your most fabulous pieces ALL AT ONCE.

My new “uniform” these days consists of (a) skinny jeans (so fitted that they look like hosiery; obviously, tights could be substituted here); (b) a T-Bags or Rachel Pally minidress, preferably backless and patterned; and (c) a snug blazer. If it doesn’t look too over-the-top (or for you more intermediate fashionistas out there), accessorize with a fabulous scarf and fedora. High-heeled booties or peep toe platforms are essential here, though flats work as well, as long as they aren’t sandals.

Check out Anna Sui's bold take on the multi-pattern layered look at upper right, courtesy Note her coy use of the waiscoat (see relevant commentary of 12 March by CoutureCarrie).

Friday, March 14, 2008



It's that time of year again, lovelies. Summon your courage and your credit card and get ready to shop for this year's two-piece of choice!

As a foreword, I must explain that I am really not a fan of the maillot, the swimskirt, or the tankini. These types of suits are an insult to our intelligence. They do not “hide” anything; instead, they call attention to the fact that a woman is uncomfortable appearing nearly nude on a beach. The way a gal looks her best on the deck of a yacht is by wearing CONFIDENCE, not a matronly suit. Bikinis ARE your friend. Here’s how to wear them, even if you are not a Size 2 [and please don’t complain to me about your cellulite; that is why God invented Clarins bronzer and Alexander McQueen kimonos].

Rules of the Pool:

1) Make sure that both pieces of your fabulous ensemble fit. The best way to ensure that you won’t appear on Glamour’s Fashion Don’ts Page is to purchase ONLY ADJUSTABLE pieces. The most flattering bottoms are side tie. And it doesn’t have to be a string, ladies. Fear not! There are some lovely O-ring suits that have a cravat on one side of the bottom piece (see Rosa Cha suit at left, available at A side tie at the top of the leg is a godsend for a number of reasons. First, you are drawing attention to your curves – guys dig that. Your hip is DEAD SEXY, so why not add a little flourish? Second, and even more important: with an adjustable bottom, you will NEVER risk that unsightly bulge. Furthermore, you will never be uncomfortable! There is no sin worse on the beach than a pinching, squeezing bikini bottom that is riding up and needs to be picked at, stared at, and discussed incessantly.
Caveat: The only exception to the SIDE TIE ONLY Rule is the Boyshort. If you really feel that this style flatters your body type, go for it.

2) When it comes to bikini tops, the same wisdom involved in the search for the perfect bra applies here. Know your body. If you are well-endowed, you need something that is going to hoist those puppies sky high. And I don’t mean a push-up. Padding on the beach should be banned. Girls with a C-cup or bigger should opt for a halter style suit or a triangle top. If you are lucky enough to have small and/or perky breasts, please wear a bandeau!! [See J. Crew polka dot bikini, below right]. They are incredibly flattering! Nothing draws attention to a small chest like two tiny little triangles of fabric. Be kind to yourself and flatter your petite frame! J. Crew makes wonderful tops for the A and B set (thought they have also branched out to include a few suits for Ds)!

3) Learn how to walk. When you are strutting down the beach, pretend you are at a photo shoot. Sway your hips, stand up straight, feel like the belle of the ball, and it will add instant hotness points to your look. Likewise, when you are exiting the surf, walk on tiptoe, as if you are wearing an invisible pair of Manolos. Make it look effortless, even if you are totally self-conscious. Pride is sexy! And for Pete’s sake, don’t pick your wedgie until you are safely back at your towel. It is far more unsightly to wrestle with your suit than it is to have a tiny bit of flesh exposed on the pilgrimage back to the umbrella-shaded beach chair.

Finally, if you insist on wearing a one-piece, may I suggest a suit cut high on the thigh, to elongate the leg. Also, if you are uncomfortable with your midsection (or even if you aren't!), ruching hides a multitude of flaws. Third, if your decollete is worthy, look for something low cut in front, perhaps coming to a "V" (much more flattering than the traditional scoop neck).

For an exhaustive list of the best bikini designers and purveyors, and for more runway hits from the Spring and Resort 2008 Collections, refer to the left-hand column of CoutureCarrie!! Also, you can rely on your favorite makers of lingerie for bikinis. See, for example, the fabulous red number by Huit at the top of today's post, available at].