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… and stop shopping for “lingerie” at Wal-Mart! Happy New Year, everyone!

SurDeAsia
SECOND OF TWO PARTS

Okay, gather round all you pilgrims, seekers, wanderers and lost souls.

Eat, Pray, Love opens on Friday and many of you will be flocking to movie theaters with your girlfriends, &#224 la Sex and the City, dressed in tunics, sarongs and flip-flops to mark the occasion. And all of you will leave the theater wishing that, like Elizabeth Gilbert, you could just drop out and hit the road for a year, and not come back till your head is screwed on a bit tighter.

Well, if you DO give in to your wanderlust, we’ve sourced a few fashion essentials to take along for the journey. But before we jump in, a few explanatory notes:

First, we are NOT recommending the “official” EPL-approved merchandise being flogged on the Home Shopping Network. Seriously, doesn’t “home shopping” seem like the opposite of an EPL experience? Besides, it’s just wrong to load up on faux-ethnic costumery before you take the first steps on your odyssey.

Second, all of the pieces we highlight fit in with the Eat, Pray, Love Rules of the Road that we wrote about yesterday. Simple, small, light items only.

Finally, there are a lot of great fashion lines out there, but we’ve decided to choose three that we think best represent the culture and spirt of Eat, Pray, Love, its author and its intended audience. This is not fake ethnicwear, although you’ll see a lot of Asian influence in the designs. And it’s all VERY practical.

And by the way, these are NOT strictly lingerie pieces — after all, we’re entitled to a little holiday ourselves!

1. SURDEASIA
Surdeasia is a true fashion hybrid: a travel-inspired pret-a-porter label born in Italy but with its showroom in Buenos Aires. They produce truly magnificent tunics, beach coverups, light dresses and other pieces intended for hot climates. You’ll need to check out their website to find out how to order. (That’s SurdeAsia featured in the photo above).

SurDeAsia | Sudan top, Angola pant

SURdeASIA
Sudan top, Angola pant

SurDeAsia | Madagascar Poncho

SURdeASIA
Madagascar Poncho

SurDeAsia | Dreamland top, Grecia pant

SURdeASIA
Dreamland top, Grecia pant

SurDeAsia | Etiopia T-shirt

SURdeASIA
Etiopia T-shirt

SurDeAsia | Malasia Cami

SURdeASIA
Malasia Cami

SurDeAsia | Kenia Monosuit

SURdeASIA
Kenia Monosuit


2. NATORI
The venerable New York label got its start making Asian peasant blouses, and there’s still an abundance of lingerie, loungewear and ready-to-wear items in the extensive Natori catalogue that would serve the EPL wanderer with deeper pockets.

Natori | Splendid Suzani Chemise

NATORI
Splendid Suzani Chemise

Natori | Gala Caftan

NATORI
Gala Caftan

Natori | Josie Asian Paradise PJs

NATORI
Josie Asian Paradise PJs

Natori | Josie Asian Paradise Robe

NATORI
Josie Asian Paradise Robe

Natori | Cruz Aristocrat Sleepshirt

NATORI
Cruz Aristocrat Sleepshirt

Natori | Splendid Suzani Robe

NATORI
Splendid Suzani Robe


3. FREE PEOPLE
This youth-oriented label is adored by street-wise fashionistas with a touch of hippie sentimentality. Skip the bags, belts, jewellery and shoes and go straight to the awesome line of easy-care tunics, skirts and even bras.

Free People | Journey on the Horizon Dress

FREE PEOPLE
Journey on the Horizon Dress

Free People | Oo La La Lace Top

FREE PEOPLE
Oo La La Lace Top

Free People | Songbird Tunic

FREE PEOPLE
Songbird Tunic

Free People | Long Sleeve Lace Buttondown Tunic

FREE PEOPLE
Lace Buttondown Tunic

Free People | Crinkle Tunic

FREE PEOPLE
Crinkle Tunic

Free People | Open Circle Sweater Dress

FREE PEOPLE
Open Circle Sweater Dress


Eat Pray Love | Julia Roberts

Millions of women around the world were moved by Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of healing, self-discovery and so much more while visiting Naples, India and Bali during a year-long mental health break.

Anyone who has gone through an ugly divorce, suffered depression, questioned their faith, struggled with their weight or despaired about finding true love — in other words, just about everyone — could find plenty to relate to in Eat, Pray, Love.

When the movie version lands in theaters on Friday, it will arrive with some seriously heavy baggage — the huge expectations of a devoted fanbase eager to see what Julia Roberts can do with one of the trickiest female film roles in recent memory.

Personally, I have high hopes for EPL: The Movie, and I’m counting on it to help us forget the abominable Sex and the City 2, which coincidentally involved another sort of female odyssey of vain self-discovery. (If Eat, Pray, Love can erase the memory of Carrie and the girls doing their full-length karaoke version of I Am Woman, it’ll have done us all a service!)

Eat, Pray, Love has almost nothing to do with fashion, but its globe-trotting storyline opens up a world of wardrobe possibilities for other women — and there will be many — who decide to follow in Elizabeth Gilbert’s footsteps.

But before you buy a one-way RTW ticket and cash in your 401(k) to finance your wanderlust, we’ve put together a list of fashion rules for the road to help lighten your load. Believe me, if you haven’t done this sort of thing before, you’ll thank us.

And stay tuned: tomorrow we’ll have a second piece on some incredible fashion choices for your Eat, Pray, Love-inspired wanderings. Don’t miss it!

Lingerie Talk’s RULES FOR THE ROAD
  • UNpack Before You Go — Yes, you read that right. Take as little as possible. You can buy most clothing items you’ll need at your destination, and much cheaper. Exceptions = shoes (see below) and a Gore-tex jacket.
  • Bra Basics — Find a decent travel bra, perhaps even a sports bra that can do double-duty. Must be easy to wash, and quick-drying. Absolutely no molded cups or underwires, because they will get crushed and lose their shape.
  • Weight Matters — Everything you take with you will feel twice as heavy when it’s on your back. Pack only light clothing items, and minimal jewelry.
  • Think Layers — Tops, skirts, leggings, lingerie …. if you mix it up a bit, you can stretch a small wardrobe a long way.
  • Head in Clouds, Feet on Ground — Where shoes are concerned, all the rules go out the window. But try to overcome your obsessive footwear fetish and take only two pairs — a decent-looking set of runners/trail shoes that will keep you moving in all kinds of terrain; and a pair of rubberized sandals like Keens or Tevas, which are absolutely indispensable for beaches, jungles and for when your runners get soaked, and can be hard to find in some foreign ports-of-call.
  • Spoil Yourself — But just a little. Pack one elegant piece for special occasions (like that impromptu romantic riverside dinner in Naples with a handsome stranger). A light, wrinkle-free slip dress is all it takes. You can pick up some heels from a street vendor.
  • Kiss Your Luggage Goodbye — I’ve traveled a LOT, and I tell this to everyone. The number one way you can minimize travel hassles is to carry everything in one bag, and NEVER CHECK YOUR LUGGAGE. It will get lost, damaged, rerouted, delayed, stolen … you name it. I have a good friend who traveled around the world for 18 MONTHS carrying a knit backpack not much larger than a handbag. Everything fit it — meaning everything necessary. She mailed souvenirs home, and bought anything she needed along the way. And she never lost her bag once.
Venus Enhancer Bra flag bikini

Americans love to wrap themselves in the flag — literally, metaphorically, politically … any way imaginable.

And marketers love to capitalize on Yanks’ fondness for Old Glory. If there’s a consumer product out there that hasn’t at some point been sold in a special Stars and Stripes edition, I haven’t seen it. And it’s not just consumer items: pets, buildings, fire hydrants, you name it: everything at some point gets the full flag treatment.

Nowhere is this more noticeable than in the fashion industry, where the Stars and Stripes are ubiquitous. Don’t get me wrong — I really don’t have anything against flag fashions. But we’re Canadians — and, while we love our maple leaf ensign as much as Americans love theirs, I’ve never actually known anyone who owns an item of clothing based on the Canadian flag (not counting those red-and-white Olympics mittens, of course!)

Which brings me to summertime and the 4th of July and the coming invasion on public beaches across the USA of that most iconic fashion piece — the American flag bikini.

Though once a kitschy novelty piece, the American flag bikini got a dramatic status upgrade last year, courtesy of GQ magazine, which ran this image on its cover:

Jessica Simpson Flag Bikini

Make no mistake: that Jessica Simpson image can now be found on the walls of every military bunk, barracks and bivouac from Baghdad to Kandahar, not to mention boys’ bedroom walls from San Diego to Boston and all points in between.

It also spawned a mini-boom in the manufacture and sale of American flag bikinis. There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of variations of the flag bikini available these days, so finding one isn’t a problem.

Sadly, most flag bikinis are found in costume shops or erotic novelty stores; the kind of thing that strippers wear on Independence Day, know what I mean?

However, some swimwear labels take this stuff seriously, and we found a few flag bikinis worth saluting this holiday weekend and throughout the summer.

Ujena.com has been offering decent flag bikinis for several years, and now offers 4 styles for under $100. The American Dream Bikini (below left) makes nice use of a waist band for control, all for $79. The American Spirit Halter bikini (right) is another worthy choice at $59.

Ujena_Amerian Dream Bikini
Ujena_American Spirit bikini


The online label Venus Fashion has come up with a couple of interesting variations on the flag bikini this year. The American Pride banded halter bikini (below left) has a wide elastic band under the bust for support, and comes in both low-rise and scoop bottoms, all for $65. Venus uses the same red-and-white pattern for its American Pride enhanced bra bikini (right) which offers molded foam cups for added oomph, and is priced at $68 for two pieces.

American Pride Halter Bikini - Venus
American Pride Enhancer Bikini - Venus


Enjoy the holiday weekend and remember: all those lusty stares you’re getting on the beach are simply patriotic pride!

American Flag towel - Venus
Stella McCartney

Yes, today I am supposed to feel wiser and more mature for another year has come and gone and today marks the beginning of a new one — my birthday!

To be honest, I sometimes still feel like my gawky, awkward 16-year-old former self, but one thing that does seem to evolve as I blow out the candles year after year is my personal fashion style.

Okay, so I still look back on my wardrobe choices and gasp, “What was I thinking?!” every now and then. But I am beginning to feel more at ease in my skin and know what works and flatters my body.

So what if the Alex Wang-inspired sweat-short trend didn’t work on me this season (thank you, Kristin, for your brutal honesty)? I know I can still look stylish and current without draping myself in trends.

The same theory applies to lingerie; I prefer cheeky briefs to thongs and soft-cup bras to va-va-voom push-ups. Because I know what flatters my figure best, I feel more confident and thus come across as sexier. Well, I like to think so anyway.

So in honor of my birthday I’ve compiled a wish list of the prettiest pieces I would like to acquire (ahem, take note boyfriend).

Funny enough, after reading my daily horoscope (a must-do, especially on your birthday) I learned that Cancer’s colors are silver, smoky gray, blues and whites. Considering my lingerie selections, perhaps there is some truth to astrological profiles and predictions. Hmm, we’ll see if Jupiter does in fact bestow me with prosperity this year.

Oh, and BF, if you’re reading this: I’ll always willingly accept something from Lake and Stars or AP…just saying.

Now, without further ado, Lingerie Talk‘s Make Melanie Happy birthday shopping guide for every budget:

1. ONLY HEARTS
Item: Lazuli lace bralette and tap shorts
Price: Half-a-day’s wages (all prices in CDN $)
Where: Anthropologie.com

Only Hearts


2. LAYLA L’OBATTI
Item: ‘Nadia’ deco-inspired silk bralette and tap shorts
Price: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it
Where: Anthropologie.com

Layla L'Obatti


3. FLEUR OF ENGLAND
Item: Lace cup balcony bra and high-waisted Shortie
Price: MUCH cheaper than a ring
Where: FleurofEngland.com

4. FLEUR OF ENGLAND
Item: Silk and lace backless kimono
Price: A BIT cheaper than a ring
Where: FleurofEngland.com

5. STELLA McCARTNEY
Item: Happy Birthday Brief
Price: C’mon, it’s just a pair of underwear!
Where: Net-a-Porter

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