Every day, the stylish staffers replenish Blush Boutique's racks with new dresses, skirts, and tanks created by indie and private-label designers. More than 80 new styles arrive weekly to keep their collections on-trend. To update shoppers on their new arrivals, the store’s personal stylists post outfits of the week online. They also offer complimentary styling services, drawing from their encyclopedic fashion knowledge to design outfits based on each clients' style, shape, size, and whether they put pants on one leg or two legs at a time.
PPG Porter Paints' team has dedicated 90 years to sprucing up homes with its revered brand of vivid, low-odor paints, stains, and primers. Multiple lines and sheens of interior paint offer to protect walls from presidential portraits painted in mustard ($25.79+/gal.). Eco-conscious shoppers can snag gallons of Pure Performance color, designed to thwart mold and mildew without angering Mother Nature's overprotective rottweiler ($33.39+/gal.). Peruse exterior paints if looking to prevent al fresco fortifications from cracking and peeling during super-soaker season ($25.79+/gal.). Effective on most surfaces, Porter's acrylic, synthetic, and alkyd Seal Grip primers also help house-wide paint jobs to stay put ($40+/gal.). Amicable staff members roam each locale's voluminous aisles and are eager to provide product recommendations for any home, office, or abandoned grain silo.
Fit-Rx’s hot yoga classes are headed by happy, healthy instructors who will motivate you to do that extra downward dog, cobra pose, and other animal-themed postures in preparation for your inevitable fight with a rogue land otter. Participants will sweat through a sequence of 26 postures in a heated room of 100–105 degrees Fahrenheit and 50–60% humidity. Classes last 90 minutes and provide an excellent opportunity to sweat out toxins while engaging forgotten muscles that have turned cranky from underuse. After class, a cool cloth with essential oil is provided to wipe down salty sweat and soothe simmering skin. Customers also gain access to Fit-Rx's state-of-the-art facilities that include striking, oak-finished locker rooms and beautifully tiled bathrooms.
Gabriel's Garden's beauteous bounty of home- and garden-oriented gifts can match your last-minute Mother's Day, or first-minute Earth Day 2011, shopping needs. Stock up on scented goodies such as the eye-catching Vance Kitira pillar candles (from $4.95) or the shea-butter-enriched Pre de Provence soaps ($1.50–$7.95) available in more than 30 fragrances—none of which, thankfully, are "Uncle Leroy's cigars" or "junior-high locker room." For long-term garden glory, plant a batch of Kalalou Botanical's recycled foam stems ($9.95–$27.95), or invite the animal kingdom into your home without even cracking a window with the pale-yellow bee charmer dishes ($2.95–$59.95) with adorable bumbling bee patterns.
A vast beauty boutique, Merle Norman stocks top-quality cosmetics and its self-titled line of skincare solutions alongside a selection of bags and accessories. Browsers can buff out the physical effects of cruel mortality with a polished perfection exfoliator ($21.99). Designer handbags ($39.99–$78.99) stylishly store lip glaze ($17.99) and lash-prep mascara ($15.99) along with an array of eyeliners, which allow travelers to outline irises in plaid or paisley on the fly ($14.99).
If you’re looking for a sleek and versatile skirt with decades of history, you might try on a pencil skirt. Read on to learn more about this hip-hugging garment.
Ever wear an H-line skirt? If that sounds not just unfamiliar but hard to envision, try bending the two vertical lines of the H together at the top. Now play that in reverse and you get, in a gesture, the genesis of the H-line skirt, better known as the pencil skirt.
For this terminology we have to thank the alphabet-obsessed French designer Christian Dior, who, after first popularizing the A-line and then the H-line in the mid-1950s, went on to develop a “Y-line” silhouette. Whereas the A-line accentuates the tiny waist and full hips of an hourglass figure, the pencil skirt stays narrow from top to bottom to hug whatever kind of curves a woman has—if any. This newly slimmed-down look (an extension of earlier pencil-type skirts of the ‘30s and ‘40s) was also dubbed the “French bean” or the “flat look” in the press.
The pencil skirt tends to stop at or just below the knee, with a vent in its back seam to allow for greater mobility. This wasn’t a concern for one of the garment’s early predecessors. The fad of the 1910s known as the hobble skirt took the shape of the pencil skirt and kept going down to the ankles—where an extremely narrow hem required tiny steps and even caused reports of traffic congestion as women supposedly had to be helped across the street. This was a far cry from the images the pencil skirt would come to evoke: the favored choice of sultry Hitchcock blondes and, today, a staple of professional women’s closets everywhere.