The Caped Crusader Strikes Winter Style


POP CULTURE: Realtor Vicki Tapp taps into pop-art façade at the historic Circle Cinema Theater in winter white cape shawl.)

AYN ROBBINS for GTR Newspapers

“Actually, I’m surprised there aren’t more celebrities in burqas. You wouldn’t have to work out. You could let yourself go.”

-Kate Beckinsale, actress

At last a “must have” equal-opportunity frock to be worn by any woman, any height, any weight, any age, any frame – for that matter – any frame of mind: THE SHAWL. The shawl is known by many names and a myriad of designs and designers such as Chloe and Donna Karan. There is the cape, the stole, the poncho, the chador, and the burqa. Rosie O’Donnell and the Olsen twins wear the same size alone or together.

“Slumdog Millionaire” (my pick for several Oscars) features a fetching Freida Pinto (who coincidentally hails from Mumbai, the location of the movie). Her character, Latika, wears a shawl at the end that is essential to the evolution of the young victim/victor. Designer Suttirat Larlarb explains: “I wanted to bookend the journey – to tie her childhood yellow dress to her final look.”

Who can forget Martha Stewart’s humble attire as she deplaned her not-so-humble private jet aircraft wearing a loosely knitted poncho crafted by a cellmate? The Ugg poncho is a bit more trendy. eLuxury carries a Louis Vuitton shawl favored by Jessica Simpson who has loved shawls longer than she loved Nick. A Minnie Rose white cashmere shawl is Britney Spears’ main squeeze these days. Kirsten Dunst and Sienna Miller are also pundits of the season’s comfy trend. Angelina Jolie visits Third World countries regularly wearing a simple burqa.

As I write this column, I have the windows open on this gloriously sunny atypical winter day and am wearing a black wool shawl from Talbot’s, made in Italy, and purchased sometime around the fall of the Roman Empire. Still works for me.

I caught up with my friend, Vicki Tapp, yesterday and bribed her with dinner at McGill’s to be my model. To my delight, the Vickster showed up in the exact “look” I was aspiring to find on our fashion quest. She wore jeans and black boots with a fabulous white fleece cape, which begged to be photographed with the Circle Cinema pop-art façade as a backdrop. Vicki is a real estate broker for McGraw Realtors and has lent her heart to many worthwhile charities and causes such as Laura Dester, Friends of Riverparks, Meals On Wheels, and campaigns to elect Barack Obama and Karen Keith.

We found a great sweater shawl (an oxymoron to be sure) by I.N.C. with graduating colors from purple to grey at Macy’s for $79 without any of the holiday discounts. The standard plaid cape by Burberry at Miss Jackson’s was $500. Not a red tag in sight. The sales associate at Saks wore the greatest fashion essential of all – an elegant smile. She provided a plethora of fashion information as well and advised us that their brightly colored Pashmina shawls of cashmere and silk in purples and blues were quite popular and look great over the basic colors of winter. They were $300.

She also let us in on a little secret: Several local luminaries have been purchasing ball gowns for the Presidential Inauguration and many planned to wear fur stoles so as not to crinkle and wrinkle their finery.

Some couture designers actually have Web sites to register gowns (not by an individual’s name, of course) to avoid duplication at any of the many formal celebrations. I’ll let you know if anyone else shows up in what I wear! For sure, I won’t be wearing fur.

While making light, let’s not forget those who still require warmth as the days turn bitter cold. Project Warmth is a wonderful way to donate new and gently used blankets to individuals, shelters, and volunteer agencies. Spearheaded by KOTV Channel 6 and supported by wonderfully giving local companies like Alamode Cleaners, Western Sun, Mathis Brothers Furniture, and Volunteers of America, you can find donation locations listed at or call any of the sponsors listed.

Thank you from the bottom of my hearth for a joyful year of doing what I love most – learning, writing, living and giving.

Thanks also to the many volunteers associated with charities and events we have mentioned in this column in 2008. You make my column relevant. I couldn’t do it without you, and I wouldn’t want to.

My heartfelt gratitude to my mentors, Forrest and Sharon, for giving my crazy little world a platform and a voice. As long as I am at it, I’d like to thank the Academy for the Oscar and the ulcer.

“Yes we can.” We really can, you know.

That’s a wrap.

Ciao for now!

Updated 02-12-2009

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