The fashion master cleanse contradictions are palpable every September and October, when 80-degree days collide with 50-degree fronts and sandals bump boots on the morning commute.

But irony hangs even heavier in the air this year, with the approach of a second round of what started as a double dare between Kenosha native Heidi Hackemer, who works in advertising in New York, and colleague Tamsin Davies. Through Twitter and Facebook banter, the two became intrigued by the notion of a uniform — as a means of enhancing creativity.

“My friend and I got into a conversation about how much superfluous time we spend on what we wear,” Hackemer, 31, said. “We were looking at Tom Ford and Steve Jobs, who have these uniforms that remove that stress from their life. Tamsin Davies said, ‘Do you want to wear one outfit for a year?’ I said, ‘Are you crazy? No!'”

Reasoning their way to six items or less, Hackemer and Davies pledged themselves to that number of garments for 31 days. Exceptions and exclusions applied, including undergarments, pajamas, workout clothes — “items we wear out of necessity,” Hackemer said — as well

Old-Fashioned debate 2 cocktails with 1 name drinks are as steeped in controversy as the Old-Fashioned, particularly since the name refers to two different drinks.

One is a drink at its most austere — just a brown spirit, typically but not always whiskey, along with bitters, sugar and maybe a few drops of water and/or a twist of lemon or orange — that harks back to the very earliest cocktails.

The other — featuring muddled fruit, most often an orange and cherry, along with whiskey, bitters, sugar, a splash of soda water and ice — is a throwback to the post-Prohibition era or perhaps earlier. Robert Simonson’s new book, “The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail, With Recipes and Lore,” suggests that even though a recipe calling for muddled fruit first appeared in print in 1934, the cocktail may stem from Prohibition when drinkers used muddled fruit to mask the flavors of bad booze.

And depending on where you are and who’s behind the bar when you order an Old-Fashioned — say a bartender at the Coq D’Or at Chicago’s old-school Drake Hotel or Charles

Fashion collaborations worth waiting for

Topshop at Nordstrom

Nordstrom has announced that 14 of its stores across the country and will begin carrying a broad assortment from British juggernauts Topshop and Topman the week of Sept. 9.

Known for a tip-of-the-trend assortment that changes at head-turning speed, Topshop’s 90,000-square-foot store in London’s Oxford Circus attracts 200,000 shoppers a week. Topshop began opening flagship stores in the U.S. just a couple of years ago, in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas. A Los Angeles store is scheduled to open in spring. It also has e-commerce on and Still, Nordstrom represents an opportunity to reach a new population.

“I believe Topshop and Topman offer the Nordstrom customer something very different and unique with our signature British fashion authority,” Topshop executive Sir Philip Green said in a press release. “The ability to buy fresh, must-have looks every time a customer visits is key to our brands’ point of difference.”

The Topshop and Topman departments at Nordstrom will have mannequins, visual merchandising and fixtures supplied from their London headquarters, and will reside in high-profile locations within the men’s and

The Best Laptop for a Life on the Go

If you live a life on the go, you know how important it is to keep everything compact and lightweight. Living life on the go all the time can be tricky- you need to make sure that your life is compartmentalized. Have your sedentary life things to one side of the closet, and your travel-ready gear to the other side. Make sure your fancy clothes are in one spot, your casual wear in another. Your fast-food in one cabinet, your gourmet spices in another. This way you can easily pick out what you need in a flash- because you need to- time is precious.

Well, if your time is precious, you obviously need to make use of every second you have available. And if every second is precious, you need a computer that is going to help you while you are on the go, not just when you have time to sit down at a desktop. For that reason, you obviously want a laptop that is going to serve you well. But since you live life on the go, you need a durable laptop as well.

Don’t get yourself just any laptop- you need a laptop that can take a hit or

Average-sized models could sell more fashion, research suggests

New research from the University of Kent suggests the fashion industry could benefit from using average-sized models rather than size zero in marketing campaigns.

The research, led by Dr Xuemei Bian, of Kent Business School, considered the impact of using average and zero-sized models in marketing campaigns for both established and fictitious new fashion brands.

In three studies, the researchers asked women aged 18-25 which size of model they preferred. The studies also considered the role the women’s self-esteem played in their preference.

Dr Bian and her team found that when it came to established brands, average-sized models could be used interchangeably with size zero models, with little or no impact on product or model evaluation.

However, in the case of the ‘new’ fashion brands, the women in the studies preferred the use of average-sized models over those sized zero. This was because the women had no prior knowledge of the brand on which to base their judgment on.

The research found that this preference was even more pronounced among the women taking part in the studies who considered themselves to have low self-esteem.

Dr Bian said: ‘The issue of fashion industry use of skinny models is a very controversial and we have

Fenwick, Stevenson, St. Ignatius, Mother McAuley advance to girls water polo semifinals

Fenwick did not lose to an Illinois team all season, though they were losing to one Friday.

Naperville North had just one loss all season, but the Huskies had not yet faced Fenwick.

The Friars had no trouble playing from behind, recovering from a one-goal halftime deficit with a dominant second half in their 11-8 victory in the girls state water polo quarterfinals at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

Colleen Barron scored five times and Janette Angelini netted the tying and go-ahead goals in the third quarter to erase Naperville North’s 6-5 lead.

It was the first close game of the tournament — girls or boys — after six consecutive lopsided quarterfinals.

“We knew they were a strong team,” Barron said. “We’ve never played them in-season. They had a great sectional game against Naperville Central. We expected them to come out strong after the big win they had.

“We’re usually a second-half team. We’ve had some very close games. We played teams in Florida and Michigan and we learned how to keep up that intensity throughout the game.”

Dani DiMatteo scored four goals for Naperville North (30-2).

Fenwick (29-2) will face Mother McAuley

My family’s kind of town

For Chicago fashion designer Cheikh Lam, life isn’t all about runway shows and model fittings. While he does spend a lot of time and energy on his successful menswear line, J.Cheikh (his sixth collection launches this summer), he’s also a family man who loves to explore Chicago with his wife, Sophie Lin, and their two children, Sylvie, 7, and Rhys, 5.

The Children’s Farm
I’m always scrambling to find things for my kids to do that do not involve them sitting in front of a screen. This farm is absolutely charming and has so much to offer. They run around, tire themselves out and have a blast doing it. 12700 Southwest Highway, Palos Park, 708-361-3650.

Freedom Woods
My daughter and I love going to lessons, and if there’s availability it’s always nice to go on a trail ride together afterward. 9501 Austin Ave., Morton Grove, 847-967-9800.

Lake Shore Park
The playground here still has wood chips! Yes, the ones that get all stuck on your clothes and fall out of your shoes when you take them off. I actually get nostalgic for that. 808 N. Lake Shore Drive, 312-742-7891.

Sky High Sports
You know when

Fashion’s good sports

Sports and fashion have long played off each other. Sneaker wedges are the current MVP, but there are countless other ways to give your look an athletic lift, particularly in America, the cradle of sportswear. Tommy Hilfiger immersed his spring/summer collection in nautical themes, anchored in red, white and blue. Skateboard inspiration led to jeans with shiny black tape at the ankles at Diesel Black Gold. Proenza Schouler, Peter Pilotto, Ohne Titel and other designers made liberal use of perforation and mesh, sometimes to lighten up leather for the weather. Consider it all your warmup for fall.

Check out the looks above, clockwise from bottom right:

Legacy perforated leather swingpack, $178 at

Gray and electric blue elastic strap sandals, $49.95, at

Mesh sporty lace-up sandal with platform sole, $70, at

Diesel Black Gold mesh dress over a one-piece bodysuit, for similar.

Tommy Hilfiger collegiate-style sweater dress,, for stores.

Leave shoulder pads to football field

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Are shoulder pads in blouses still “in”? If so, does the size of the pad matter? Also when wearing a shirt/overblouse, is the length critical, and does it make a difference if the hem line is straight or curved like a shirttail?

— Mary Anne E

Dear Mary Anne E.: Shoulder pads are out of fashion right now. They’ll be back. Everything comes back. (Platform shoes, maxi dresses, demure lady purses to name but three.) However, at this fashion moment, you’ll want to lose the pads. “Yank those bad boys out. Then insert them into your bra for a little boost,” advised fashion expert Susan Swimmer, who was only half kidding. “Reuse, recycle.” Swimmer, contributing fashion features editor for More magazine and my go-to resource when it comes to practical advice on what to wear, said you occasionally still find garments with shoulder pads in stores (mostly in structured jackets). But she says to remove the pads when you get your jacket home. As for the shirttail issue, both curved and straight are fine. But, either way, you do not want it to hit mid-butt since that’s the widest

Five fashion flops for summer interviews

DEAR JOYCE: My daughter is between her junior and senior years in college and has several office job interviews scheduled for summer employment. Ihave been working in offices for a number of years and hear criticism about how some of the young women dress when they come in looking for employment. Can you back me up? — T.A.L.

Best-selling career development author Vicky Oliver ( can help you out. Oliver says you’re spot on, Mom. The New York-based image consultant and career coach spotlights five forget-me-fast fashion goofs when dressing for summer job interviews:

— TONE DOWN NAILS. For a summer position, your nails don’t belong in the Museum of Modern Art. Four nails on one hand in turquoise and one nail in rose adorned with sparkles are too creative for most office environments. You don’t want your interviewer mesmerized more by your fingertips than by what comes out of your mouth.

— COVER UP. Women should avoid tiny tank tops, sheer blouses with lacy underwear and hemlines that show leg and more leg. For men, leave muscle tees, unbuttoned shirts and shorts at home. Cleavage, arm muscles, chest hair or midriffs work for

Unflattering Dad Pants

In the spirit of Father’s Day, fashion’s mass market has turned its attention to men, parenthood and style. A new Dockers advertising campaign stars Sarah Harbaugh lamenting the fashion crisis facing her husband, San Francisco 49ers football coach Jim Harbaugh. He is the victim, Sarah intones, of Dad Pants — those terribly unflattering, ill-fitting, excessively pleated trousers that are often favored by men who relish comfort in their clothes above all else. They are saggy trousers that do nothing to flatter a man’s physique — particularly his tush — and, indeed, they can make an athletic man resemble a schlump. Famously, President Barack Obama wore a pair of his beloved Dad Jeans in 2009 when he threw out the first pitch at baseball’s All-Star Game. Specifically, they were a pair of baggy, faded dungarees that were a few inches too short. He has since reassured the country that the first lady has seen to their disposal.

The advertisement positions Dockers as the remedy for Dad Pants. Buy a pair of Dockers and restore your father, your husband, your significant other to a state of fashion savvy, according to the commercial.

Eye on fashion

This fall, designers are laying eyes on their creations — literally. From the evil eye to the third eye, the human eye is a prominent motif cross-culturally, and it’s popping up in fall collections by designers like Jeremy Scott, Libertine and Phillip Lim, along with shoe brands like Del Toro and Chiara Ferragni.

Kenzo creative directors Carol Lim and Humberto Leon incorporated the eye as a staple print in this season’s collection by stamping it on coats, denim, shoes and other accessories.

The founders of New York-based retailer Opening Ceremony, who joined the Kenzo design house in 2011, kept with the brand’s traditions of bold prints this fall. The collection is inspired by “the skies, the Asian gods and their earthly temples,” according to the Kenzo blog, and the eye signifies protection.

No matter the meaning behind the eye, it’s certainly trending this fall.

Martin Kaymer handles his nerves to win U.S. Open in 8-shot rout

PINEHURST, N.C. — Martin Kaymer arrived at Pinehurst No. 2 on Sunday afternoon and ducked into the clubhouse with everything he could have asked for. Three days of masterful golf had given Kaymer a five-shot cushion in the U.S. Open and the needed confidence to close out his second major.

But Kaymer also knew what came with that.

The spotlight. The nerves. The pressure.

So he forecast for caddie Craig Connolly what they were in for.

“This round will be very, very difficult,” Kaymer warned. “Probably the toughest round we have ever played. It’s the expectations you have on yourself and those that other people have as well. It’s very difficult to go through that, playing on a different continent.”

Kaymer knew he would face an early stretch of holes that would quickly shape his round. He knew his brain would be more active than usual.

“The challenge today was not to think too much about the trophy,” he said, “not to think too much about sitting (after the round) and what you’re going to say, not to think too much about how you’re going to celebrate on 18. It goes

Fashion, Art, and Gloria Vanderbilt

“DON’T you think fashion is basically over?” asked the humorist and expert Cynthia Heimel, back in 2004.

Well, fashion happens to be the biggest item in what we laughingly call “the civilized world” right now and it is the second-biggest business in New York City — bigger than philanthropy, theater, culture, skyscrapers — everything.

Fashion was happening last week at the New York Design Center where everybody went to see Gloria Vanderbilt’s beautiful art works. (I did love this show and it runs until Oct. 24 at 200 Lexington Avenue.) One of the works of art at this happening was Gloria herself, looking in her 80s better even than she looked in her 50s, 60s and 70s.

She was fabulous, kissing Diane von Furstenberg, who was murmuring of the beautiful collages: “I must have one of these.”

I won’t bother to list the many “somebodies” who attended, but my favorite of all was the designer Adolfo who used to make clothes for the likes of Nancy Reagan. He and I like to trade interesting, offbeat books usually seen only in the U.K.

I also enjoyed seeing Sam Peabody of the famous Massachusetts/N.Y. families, who put on

Banned headphones, a World Cup fashion beat

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Neymar likes them Brazil-green. England’s Wayne Rooney, white. Luis Suarez, blue.

Banned from the pitch by FIFA for licensing reasons, the bulky Beats headphones are a favorite for many of the world’s top players, making the World Cup a huge unofficial ad for the company acquired by Apple Inc last month.

The colorful high-end headphones created by rapper Dr Dre have become a ubiquitous soccer accessory.

Neymar wore them as he stepped off the bus at the Castelao stadium of Fortaleza for Brazil’s last training season on the eve of their match with Mexico on Tuesday.

Suarez had them wrapped around his neck as he joked with his Uruguay team mates during a break at a recent practice.

But soccer world governing body FIFA’s licensing agreement with rival electronics maker Sony Corp means players have to take them off when they are in World Cup stadiums for official matches and media events.

Marketing experts say that probably only amplifies their appeal.

“When fans see World Cup athletes wearing Beats in their downtime, by choice, it has as much impact as seeing them lace their Adidas (boots) or sip

Fashion foodward

Tell me about your outfit: “My grandma (Grandma Rose) got a dress for me for my birthday.”

Do you feel comfortable? (shyly) “Yeah.”

Pretty? “Yeah.”

How else do you feel? “Happy.”

And the pink backpack? “My grandma (Grandma Lehto) made it to hold my (American Girl) doll.”

The back story: It’s a family tradition. Ken and Kelly Lehto have taken each of their three daughters — Grace is the youngest — to Chicago for their 8th birthdays and a shopping trip to the American Girl store.

Why it works: A little girl in a sundress always rocks.

2 Joyce Tam

21, graduate student, Chicago

Opening statement: “I just prefer skirts in the summer. It’s a fun season for clothing. … When spring and summer roll around, my wardrobe gets a lot more comfortable.” (She sewed the skirt herself!)

Why it works: Cute flats are comfy. (Target, bought two years ago.) A denim vest is a nice finishing touch. (From a friend “digging through her closet; she said it didn’t fit anymore.”)

3 Duncan Hall

62, on a grand tour of the U.S. with his wife (Joan, 57) and mother (Fiona, 83), from Staindrop, County Durham,

Kinnevik heiress defies sceptics with tech savvy, fashion sense

LONDON (Reuters) – Cristina Stenbeck sounds more like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur than the head of one of Sweden’s most venerable family-controlled investment groups, Kinnevik.

She speaks of hunting for technological “disrupters” and is paranoid about missing out in the hunt for entrepreneurs who have the next big thing. “Often, if they find you it’s a bit late,” says the 36-year-old.

Stenbeck is one of the most powerful business names in Sweden, heard in the same breath as the Wallenberg family or the Perssons behind fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz.

Yet Cristina Stenbeck was born in New York and speaks Swedish with an American accent, having learned the language of her father Jan only as a teenager.

She inherited Kinnevik at the age of just 24, not long after she had finished her studies at Washington’s Georgetown University, on Jan’s sudden death from a heart attack in 2002.

In little more than a decade, she has transformed the group into one of Europe’s leading investors in e-commerce, including in the continent’s biggest online fashion retailer, Zalando.

No stranger to fashion, her first job out of university was in Ralph Lauren’s direct

Fall for fashion

You don’t want to think about it and neither do I: the end of summer. Bummer.

However, there are some people — fashion experts, for instance — who actually enjoy thinking about fall and the things they (or we) can buy to stay in style for the new season.

I know it won’t ease the pain of the end of vacation, packing up the flip-flops or going back to school or the office, but at least distract yourself by fantasizing over additions to your closet.

To get you started, I asked five trend watchers to tell me their three top wardrobe musts for fall.

Gregg Andrews
Nordstrom fashion creative director

• Something in a luxe fabric like lace or a brocade (Ellen says: If a lace dress, top or skirt isn’t your style, consider a scarf, a clutch or even a lace-look cellphone cover — Marc Jacobs for iPhone 5, $38,

• Knee-high boots: “With a mid to high heel. She’s going to be able to do so much with that. In black. Or a flat equestrian boot, like a riding boot.”

• Colorful coat: “They’re so beautiful. Swing coats. Lots

Belgium ousts U.S. 2-1 in dramatic fashion

Seabiscuit pulled up lame on the backstretch. Kirk Gibson’s long drive died on the warning track.

After a remarkable underdog run through four games and one overtime period, the U.S. soccer team’s World Cup magic finally ran out in the round of 16 Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to Belgium.

The first goal came three minutes into extra time after Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku pushed past Matt Besler along the right touchline, raced into the penalty area alone and sent the ball forward for Kevin De Bruyne, who spun away from two defenders and rolled the ball into the far corner.

And with the U.S. pushing hard for the tying goal Lukaku, who didn’t come off the bench until the 91st minute, added what appeared to be an insurance goal on a counterattack near the end of the first 15-minute overtime.

That goal proved to be important, though, when U.S. teenager Julian Green beat Belgium’s all-world goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on a right-footed volley just seconds after stepping on to a World Cup field for the first.

The only other goal Courtois has allowed in Brazil came on a penalty kick in Belgium’s first game.

But Green’s goal

Fashion for the ages

If your fashion curiosity runs deeper than a desire to revisit the skeletons in Carrie’s closet in the new “Sex and the City” movie, kick off your heels in a lawn chair and wrap your hands around three new fashion advice books. Packed with solutions for everyone from new graduates to the newly pregnant to the newly retired, these volumes just might put new polish on an entire population of women.

Back boobs, be gone

Back boobs, melon calves, kissing thighs, menopots and Buddha bellies — Charla Krupp’s new book, “How to Never Look Fat Again: Over 1,000 Ways to Dress Thinner — Without Dieting!” (Springboard Press, $26.99) trots out all the current disparaging terms for less-than-perfect bodies. But then she sets out to make sure those terms are never applied to you.

The “Summer” chapter recommends making a uniform of three looks: white or khaki pants with a crisp tunic; summer-weight cashmere V-necks or long cardigans in yummy colors over body-shaper camisoles, bare tops or dresses; and a fresh dress in a pretty pattern. One vow for summer, Krupp writes, should be to have one great cover-up for every bathing suit.