Truly Zac Posen

Wedding season is ending. What to do with those half dozen bridesmaids dresses? Caroline A. Wong turned to Truly Zac Posen at David’s Bridal for inspiration.

merican designer Zac Posen is an enigmatic persona to be sure. Yes, he’s allowed us more intimate glimpses of his personality as a judge on Project Runway, but what do we really know about Posen? We know he has a reputation for being “famously well-connected”—to the point that some has questioned whether his launch to fame was due to talent or networking—and that Ashley Olsen interned with him the year before her line with sister Mary-Kate, The Row, first appered in Vogue. We know that his fan base includes such notables as Beyonce, Natalie Portman, Rihanna, and Amanda Seyfried and that his gowns are red carpet regulars. And we also know that he’s not above collaborations. He worked with Target in 2008 and, just this February, joined the ranks Vera Wang as a designer collaborator for David’s Bridal.

One of the reasons I was excited to pull looks from the Truly Zac Posen line is that I am a total Coco Rocha fan and the lithe model showcased Posen’s gowns on the cover of Brides when the line first launched. Rocha wore one of the mermaid-shape pieces, and she wore it well. Posen has since released new bridal looks for the line, but what of the bridesmaids’ dresses in the collection? I decided to explore.

While Posen’s bridal collection for David’s Bridal ranges anywhere north of $1250, his bridesmaids’ dresses are decidedly more flexible for formal occasions in the $200 range. The pieces are well made—I’d say more so than the White by Vera Wang bridesmaids’ dresses at David’s Bridal—but do run on the smaller side so if you’re concerned, order one size up and tailor if necessary. The exceptional point of Posen’s designs is that they are not strictly bridal, and the shorter dresses would work perfectly for a special dinner out on the town or for seeing a show. Thanks, Posen!

Whether or not your bride selected Posen for her nuptials, you undoubtedly still have your bridesmaids’ and/or guest dresses from the never-ending cycle of weddings this past summer. They don’t have to go to waste a la Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses—I promise! Here’s one of my tips for taking your formal dresses beyond wedding season: the crop top.

Short, boxy tees are so in right now, as I’m sure you’re well aware. Women are wearing them everywhere and in a multitude of ways, from pairings with cutoffs for brunch to matching crop/skirt ensembles at the office. The secret is to keep the top loose and to go with a high-waisted bottom or slip it on over a dress like I did with the Posen dress here. With a dress under the crop top, no skin shows so the look is still appropriate for more conservative work environments. Switch out different cropped tees and you’ll get many more miles out of that bridesmaids’ dress, especially with a versatile piece like Posen’s!

How Many Calories Should You Be Eating?

By Lisa Eberly

Letter Y Dropcapour calorie intake can be confusing. Essentially, it should equal your BMR + a factor of your exercise.

BMR is your basal metabolic rate. Your basal what a who now rate? Your basal metabolic rate refers to the number of calories your body burns just by living. Breathing, sitting, standing, sleeping, eating, just living your life. It is the amount of energy you burn through daily.

So, if you eat the same number of calories you’re burning through, you will maintain your weight. If you eat more calories than you’re burning, you will gain weight. If you eat less, lose weight. It’s really actually very simple. Once you exceed the calories you burn by 3,500 calories, you gain one pound of fat. If you burn 3,500 calories more than you’re eating, you lose one pound of fat. So, if you’re burning 1,700 calories a day and eating 2,200 calories per day (without working out), you will gain one pound in one week.

A lot of people think that everyone’s BMR is 2,000 calories/day. That’s where the notion of a 2,000 calorie diet comes from. That’s wrong. Everyone has a different BMR based on gender, age, height, weight, muscle, genetics, and the list goes on.

Here’s how to (roughly) calculate yours using something called the Harris-Benedict Equation:

Age in years = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.7 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age)
Men = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)

This equation uses height in centimeters and weight in kilograms. To convert for weight, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. To convert for height, multiply your height in inches by 2.54 to get your height in centimeters.

Example: A 5’7’’, 140 pound, 22-year-old girl:
Height: 67 inches x 2.54 = 170.18 cm
Weight: 140 lbs ÷ 2.2 = 63.64 kg
655 + (9.6 x 63.64) + (1.7 x 170.18) – (4.7 x 22) = 1,452 calories/day

Therefore, she should not eat more than 1,452 calories per day to lose weight. This should get you on track for your nutrition goals!.


Sword & Plough

Repurposed for a Purpose

By Rosie Ryan

We live in a world full of waste. Fortunately, there are many savvy people out there who are able to turn something that most people would throw away into something of use and beauty. Then, there are those who go even further and turn it into a meaningful business like the folks at Sword & Plough. Except they don’t use just any old item. Sword & Plough takes surplus military gear that would otherwise be discarded and turns it into fashionable bags and accessories.
Sword & Plough is the brainchild of Emily and Betsy Nuñez, who grew up in a military family. While at college, they found it hard to relate to some of their classmates, many of whom were unfamiliar with military life. That’s why they wanted to find a physical way to bring awareness to everyone about the challenges that those in the military face.

The name Sword & Plough comes from the ancient saying “To turn swords into plough shares.” It means to apply military technology and material to peaceful purposes. To make its products, the company combines military gear with eco-leather accents and other American-made textiles. They take it one step further and employ veteran-run manufacturers to create their products. And they also give 10 percent of their profits to veteran initiatives. It’s safe to say the military is the heart of this operation.

We spoke with Emily Nuñez, co-founder and an active-duty Army officer, to learn more about this inspiring company.

Tastevin Magazine: What was the first piece you ever made?
Emily Nuñez: The first Sword & Plough piece ever made was a beautiful tote bag that was made by my mom, Judy. Our team needed a prototype with one week’s notice for an important pitch at the Dell Social Innovation Lab. I called my mom with this plea and she immediately and enthusiastically rose to the challenge. She designed and sewed the green canvas bag and also worked with a local Amish leather worker to sew on the leather handles. She mailed it to Massachusetts just in time! The bag was a huge hit with the audience as it was passed around during my pitch. This first prototype was so important because it turned the idea of Sword & Plough into a physical reality.

TM: What about runway trends? Do your products echo them?
EN: We keep an eye out for new runway trends, but to be honest, most of our inspiration comes from what we see around us and what we are looking for in a product. We often draw inspiration from old military gear and we try to improve on what we know already works. The end goal is to effortlessly blend functionality and aesthetic.

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GX by Gwen Stefani

The gx by Gwen Stefani line for ShoeDazzle is a “Sweet Escape” into a graphic world of tribal prints and Japanese street style. No question here—this designer collaboration is “Hella Good.”

By Caroline A. Wong
Photos by Alexander Herman

When I received news that Gwen Stefani would be launching a shoe and handbag line with one of my favorite brands, I squealed out loud in the middle of my local Starbucks. Not necessarily one to lose her cool, I composed myself…but still did a little jig on the inside. Gwen Stefani! For ShoeDazzle! But the real question would be whether Stefani could translate her punk queen cool into an independent accessories line for the shoe powerhouse.

The No Doubt songstress carved a name for herself in the fashion world with the launch of her clothing line L.A.M.B. eleven years ago. Stefani has been on an uphill trajectory ever since. Her Japanese-inspired Harajuku Lovers line followed two years later, and a similar Asian influence is apparent in her gx by Gwen Stefani collection. Stefani’s ShoeDazzle collection is infused with that kawaii sass in its punchy style and edgy silhouettes. Not for the faint of heart, the collaboration is a bold accessories line in vibrant tones, from saturated royal blues and show-stopping reds to graphic blacks and whites.

It may be an unusual pick for spring, but I’m a huge fan of a minimalist palette for the season. In daring black and white, you’ll stand out from the pastel pack, much like you will with pieces from Stefani’s line. Or, let your accessories shout with their loud red or blue hues by pairing them with a basic jumpsuit in a neutral. The gx by Gwen Stefani collaboration is not your typical choice for an Easter brunch—but it’ll surely make for a sexy spring!

Check out the photoshoot!

Peter Pilotto x Target

The designer duo behind the Peter Pilotto brand—Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos—have recently made its bed with that force to be reckoned with: Target. With yet another designer collaboration following closely on the heels of the megastore’s successful partnership with Phillip Lim last fall, is Target just bombarding an already-saturated market with—dare we say it—too much fashion?

By Caroline A. Wong

Nope. It’s not just another designer collaboration for Target. Not just another run-of-the-mill let’s-make-a-quick-buck situation. Peter Pilotto for Target is simply record-breaking.

Now, part of that might be due to the fact that the “exclusive” Target collection was also sold on e-tail megalodon, a move which allowed the Target collection pieces to be sold internationally (a first for a Target partnership). The Pilotto pieces sold out more quickly than Karl Lagerfeld and Christopher Kane’s respective collaborations with the e-tail site, with two styles selling out within the first hour of release and another eight following in the eight hours after that.

As per usual, I had my trepidations about the collection. After all, Peter Pilotto is not as well known in the states as is, say, Phillip Lim. But the pieces held their own, showcasing the brand’s signature sculptural draping married with distinctive bold prints, often even featuring multiple print patterns within one garment. In all honesty, I was blown away.

The quality of the fabrics and construction surpassed all other Target collaborations to date. While the fit of certain pieces in the line was questionable—the most discussed flop amongst the fashion-savvy crowd being the bustier swim top with the decidedly over-sized cups—the overall caliber of the collection made up for its few-and-far-between disappointments. The coveted garments have been spotted on style icons like Alexa Chung and, one of my favorite fashion goddesses, Diane Kruger.

Though the fanfare still continues weeks after the collaboration’s launch, a few select pieces are still available in Target stores and, of course, on eBay—for an inflated price. Beside the media buzz and the must-have aura surrounding the collection, the best feature of the collaboration is the array of vibrant prints. Fashion is emerging from its don’t-mess-with-me-black shell and exploding into a colorful hodge-podge peppered on skirts and dresses and jackets. If there’s one thing to love about the Peter Pilotto for Target line, it’s that it forces you to be bold. No wallflowers here—just lots and lots of floral patterns!

From Weekend Day to Nighttime Play

How utterly mind-blowing of me to mix not only print and pattern but also collaboration with collaboration (hah!). Cheeky, printed sweatshirts are not going away anytime soon, so I took this Philip Lim for Target sweatshirt and paired it with the Peter Pilotto skirt. The loud sweatshirt print is showcased by the neutral color palette of the skirt, and the clash of patterns works because the prints are all evenly bold. Take the skirt to night with a daring rash-guard-crop-top worn as a shirt. You could get even more adventurous with a patterned bustier—maybe in a houndstooth or other wild print—or you could tone it down with a solid crop top. Whatever you choose, the Peter Pilotto line is rich with prints, so it’s the perfect excuse to try a radically different look!

Sweet Looks

There’s a disaster-proof manual for holiday fashion, especially for Valentine’s Day: Start simple and celebrate the holiday’s traditional colors! Get creative by finding new ways to wear reds and pinks! If you’re struggling with what to wear, consider two options: The Little Red Dress and The Little Mix and Match.

Fashion February 2

The Little Red Dress is just as important as the LBD. Sure it’s a little bolder and outside of comfort zones for some, but red evokes passion, power, and love. It is a staple piece that translates from Valentine’s Day onward! And with countless styles to choose from, there’s a little red dress for anyone who dares to wear one. Get inspired by these gorgeous dresses!

Where to Buy:

1. Motel Vanessa Skater Dress, $55 at

2. Nasty Gal Duplicity Maxi Dress, $70 at

3. Jolie Moi Ruffle Lace Bodice Skater Dress, $75 at

4. AKIRA Jacquard Print Strapless Party Dress, $40 at

5. Jane Norma Fold Sleeve Ponti Dress, $40 at


The Left Shoe Company

Interview by Rosie Ryan

Shoes are one of the most important articles of clothing that you can put on. Not only can they take an outfit to the next level, but they’re also essential—even required—for living a functional life. After all, no shoes, no service! Just as no two people have the same fingerprint, every one has unique feet. So why purchase a mass produced pair, hoping it fits correctly, when you can have a pair that’s made specifically for you? That’s the question that The Left Shoe Company answers with their custom creations.

Founded in Helsinki in 1998, The Left Shoe Company was brought stateside after Gordon Clune became fascinated with the state-of-the-art technology used to create the perfect-fitting pair of high quality shoes. He learned their methods and opened the Los Angeles flagship location.

Enter the LA location, and attentive shoe connoisseurs will do a digital foot scan, which takes a perfect 360-degree picture of your feet and captures hundreds of measurements to calculate volume as well other dimensions. Then, you can select your desired shoe style from a wide variety of options, from loafers to boat shoes. There’s also the choice to personalize your pair further with different leathers and suede color or even an inscription in the heel. Once done selecting, master craftsmen in their European factories turn your shoe dream into your shoe reality.

We chatted with Clune to find out more about the inner workings of the company.

Tastevin Magazine: Why should men—or anyone for that matter—get customized shoes?
Gordon Clune: You get incredible fit and the benefits that come with that, which [include] comfort and happier, healthier feet. There’s also the ability for customization in terms of style, color, material, and more.

TM: To what kind of men do you target your styles?
GC: Men with a sense of fashion, but who also want a beautifully made shoe from the finest materials. Men who appreciate quality and the advantages [provided by] technology wedded with fine craftsmanship. Men with style who know what they want and therefore [have] the ability to customize their shoes in terms of style, leather, stitching, sole, and the personal inscription.

TM: How long did it take to develop the technology behind the company?
GC: The technology began in 1998 and has been evolving since then. Improvements in scanning and on the software side are constantly evolving. The company continues to invest to keep on the forefront of technology.

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A Tipsy Twist on Cupcakes

Interview by Rosie Ryan

Cupcake shops used to be a novelty. They were something you would travel miles for to get your fix or even make it a must-do when traveling to another city. But now cupcake shops seem to be popping up on every corner to the point that they’ve lost their alluring luster. That’s where Prohibition Bakery comes in to assure us that all hope is not lost.
This Manhattan cupcake shop is turning our favorite boozy beverages into tasty confections. We talked with the brains behind the operation, Brooke Siem and Leslie Feinberg, to find out more about their tipsy creations.

Tastevin Magazine: Why booze? Why cupcakes?
Leslie Feinberg: It started out as a gift for a friend, then became a way to make some extra money, then we were catering for Google—it really happened that quickly. As evidenced by all of the other food-stuff-plus-alcohol businesses popping up all over the city, New York City loves booze all the time, at every meal, in every form. Cupcakes are the perfect ratio for interpreting cocktails. Think of the cake as the mixer and then you go from there. 

TM: What’s a typical day at the bakery like?
Brooke Siem: I’m not sure what it looks like to an outsider, but I can tell you that it smells really good.
LF: At this point, it’s a well-choreographed dance of baking, emailing, invoicing, filing, scheduling, and whatever else comes up. [It’s all] often punctuated by one of us dropping or spilling something, very often all over ourselves. It’s pretty entertaining. 

TM: With so much craziness going on, how do you divide up the responsibilities?
BS: Everything started so small that it was easy for both of us to know everything that was going on. As we grew and kept trying to both know everything, it got problematic and tense since we were each unnecessarily doing our job and also the other person’s job. We eventually realized that was very, very stupid and that we both just needed to trust each other and bring necessary issues to each other when we need to but that it’s also okay to make decisions without always checking in and discussing.  
LF: It took us a year and some change, but eventually we realized the divisions we had planned on were not going to work. As it turns out, the business stuff is pretty boring to me, while Brooke loves it. Although I don’t have the culinary training, I have a lot more interest in the baking and recipe creation.

TM: With all the experimenting that you’ve done, what’s each of your favorite cupcake creations so far?
LF: Maybe the Mint Julep or the Shiny Apple. Really, all of our fall and winter flavors are fantastic.  
BS: I’m pretty proud of the Pretzels & Beer and Scotch & Cigar. I particularly enjoy creating conceptual cupcakes. 

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Luminaries: Claire Thomas

Interview by Breana Powell

Claire Thomas, star of ABC’s Food for Thought with Claire Thomas and food blogger for The Kitchy Kitchen, is more than just a culinary star—she’s an all-around creative powerhouse. Breana Powell sits down with Thomas to get the scoop on what it’s like to handle all the success—and to have a piece of cake or two!

After spending a mere hour with Claire Thomas, I’m daydreaming about being invited to one of her dinner parties. I’m certain that there would be good food, good wine, and Claire—presumably decked out in a stylish ensemble, as she is when she opens the door to greet me (her dress is vintage, she shares)—charming her guests with endless conversations about old movies, books, and anecdotes from her jam-packed, daily adventures. It also doesn’t hurt that her home is the ideal location to host such an event—each room has its own vibe, a perfect union of contemporary and classic, of rugged and chic. Art adorns the walls, the kitchen has a massive island (the biggest I’ve ever seen), and the living room, accessorized with a wall filled with books tucked into shelves, looks out over a sweeping deck and backyard. Party central indeed. At the beginning of our photo shoot at her home, Claire, with her background in design, food, and directing, seems a bit unsure about one of the shots that our photographer wants to get. But she graciously takes on the challenge, mapping it out and then posing for us. After the pictures are taken, Claire offers us a piece of the cake that she has made that day, removing it from the platter on the table where she typically photographs her food. I pause for a second before I say anything, and Claire jokes that she knows that hesitation—that’s the hesitation of someone who wants a piece! As soon as I take a bite, I’m a goner. It’s heavenly—moist, rich, and full of sweet, buttery flavor. When we sit down in her comfy living room to chat, I’m already sold on Claire Thomas as food extraordinaire. But when she opens her mouth, she confirms that she really is a do-it-all, dedicated creative marvel as well.
Claire’s career tale begins with The Kitchy Kitchen, a food blog. Bored by her job as an assistant in Hollywood, Claire says she started the blog “as a fun thing to do creatively. I just needed an outlet, and my mom saw how into food I was getting.” But Claire—a self-proclaimed nerd who fell in love with cooking through food history—wanted to take the proper steps to prepare for her new project. “I did research [on blogs] and practiced and picked up a camera and learned how to do food photography and did recipe testing not realizing that the internet doesn’t care. No one’s there to watch you fail.” She laughs. “It’s one of those things where I could have failed in silence, and it would have been an embarrassing relic of my past. But I took it very seriously.” Her hard work and preparation proved effectual because the blog took off. Soon, Claire was getting work as a food stylist and food photographer in LA. She also worked as a personal chef and a food writer for The Huffington Post.

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BodyRock Sport

Interview by Caroline A. Wong

Tastevin Magazine: I first heard about you and BodyRock Sport through your appearance on Say Yes to the Dress. On the show, you were depicted as a high fashion queen and bought a $34,000 silver Pnina Tornai gown from her runway show for your wedding. Has fashion always been an influence in your life?
Kelly Dooley: Oh yeah, for sure! Since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with fashion. When I was like three…there’s this Christmas video where I got new underwear or something for Christmas from my parents, and I had to try them on right there, right by the Christmas tree. I was always obsessed.

TM: How would you say your fashion has developed over the years?
KD: When I first started [BodyRock], I honestly didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t go to design school; I just had a really good idea and a marketing background. I kind of went into the industry a little insecure because I kind of had to teach myself everything. But now, fast forward three years, it’s like I’ve learned so much. I understand textiles! That definitely influenced my designs a lot because, I would say, it’s much more sophisticated than it was when I first started. If [I had] to describe my taste now and my designs compared to three years ago, it’s just that it’s evolved a lot. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is that I totally just follow my instincts when I design. I don’t really watch what other people are doing. I just do what I want to do. That’s served me well because now [BodyRock] is considered an innovator in the industry.

TM: When you learned new techniques, did you do your own research or were there people that you consulted?
KD: Definitely a combination between teaching myself and just working with people. I didn’t really know the right people when I started. I had some friends in the industry but not specifically in active. [What I was doing] was completely different than designing for the contemporary or couture market where you’re working with different fabrics. But now, I have a little family, so to speak, that I can really rely [on] and trust to help me do what’s best. If something’s not going to work, I’m always happy to change it.

TM: Why did you feel it was important to focus on fitness and functionality in fashion?
KD: I was always into fitness fashion. Before the days of BodyRock, I would go online searching for cute clothes that I could call active wear. I did wear those horrendous Nike capris, but there was nothing else. [Laughs] That was at

the time when Ed Hardy was popular so I would order these $300 hoodies and rock them at Equinox, and I thought I was so cool. But then I decided to train for a marathon. The race was January 2009 in Walt Disney World. I was looking for a really cool outfit. I wanted a really cool sports bra. I wanted it to have an iPod pocket because I didn’t want that farmer’s tan that you get from the armband [made for working out with an iPod]. I had tried to wear this Gucci fanny pack thing, but it was flopping around so that wasn’t going to work. I was like, ‘I need a pocket for my Motrin and my hotel key!’ The bra made the most sense because it’s right there. It’s easily accessible, and there’s no flop. For the race, I ended up wearing a Nike sports bra with a New Balance tank, and the outfit was fine. It played its functional role, but it didn’t make me feel the way I wanted to feel and I wanted to feel fabulous! That was where the name BodyRock Sport came from. It’s based on “Rock Your Body,” which is all about the confidence.

TM: How was BodyRock received in the beginning?
KD: My goal was to launch within a year, so I launched January 2010 with twelve sports bras under four different names based on your needs and body type. There was Keep ‘Em In, Lock ‘Em Down, Show ‘Em Off, and Zip ‘Em Up. About four months before my launch, we did a soft PR launch, which was great because from the beginning, we had a lot of press coming in. Everyone was wondering who in the hell was this crazy girl making these crazy bras. From there, I had all these fab options for the top and ugly bottoms, so the line naturally evolved. Initially, my intention was to just do an online e-commerce website, but there was so much wholesale interest that we started working with stores. Really, to be honest, when I started, my idea was much smaller than what it has become. And now my vision is to be the worldwide leader in crossover apparel, so it’s happening slowly but surely. Maybe not so slowly!

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