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Laura Dahl’s decorated T-shirts put a glam twist on a classic

Jennifer Henry

Closets stuffed to capacity with garments, each painstakingly selected and genuinely treasured—the catalog of our fashion consciousness, the material realization of our aesthetic sensibilities, proof that we have taste and style! And wading through the abundance, what glorious combination of vestments does our inner fashionista achieve? Jeans and a T-shirt. The modern uniform, appropriate for all occasions and only slightly more varied than the '80's cinematic prediction of trends in the dystopian future. See Michael Radford's 1984: No one looks hot in navy canvas overalls.

Undaunted by the homogeneity of our fashion demands, designers across the globe continue to concoct new and not-so-different variations on the theme. A Las Vegas native and no-nonsense New Yorker, Laura Dahl isn't interested in reinventing the essentials, she just makes them prettier. And although not exactly new or novel, her decorated tanks and tees are certainly attractive, approaching addictive.

Wife Beader, Laura's first independent fashion line (launched in 2004), is a collection of swank Swarovski-encrusted and seed-beaded racer-back tanks. Artful application is Dahl's signature, and while she employs the very same cotton basics and Austrian crystal of her contemporaries, Laura's designs are uniquely flattering and subtle, the very antithesis of that infamous be-sparkled "Mrs. Federline" fiasco.

Whether it's a delicate combination of garnet and glass in seaside hues cascading between the shoulders or heavy caviar-like clusters at the collarbone, Laura's details promise to transcend the country-club-to-nightclub boundaries. Her newest collection of below-the-belt tank and sweatshirt dresses puts chrome washers and pewter nail heads to proper use, enhancing the outermost edges in natural curves and making the most of asymmetrical accents.

Dahl's freshly christened Laura Dahl line is a mature mix of the basics. Be it beaded constellations at the shoulders or rings of washers about the neck, this new line of tops is for both the prim professional and pretty punk alike. Her foray into functional jackets is the very best Laura Dahl has to offer. With reversible capelets in fanciful Italian wools and her sensibly tailored sweat jersey jackets, each replete with pewter broaches, they're the kind of classic pieces you'll never part with no matter how packed your closet.

To shop Dahl's lines see her retail home at C-level in Boca Park, her website,—or better yet, Laura invites you to drop by next time you're in New York to shop at her design studio.

Jennifer Henry's got the goods on what to get & where. E-mail her at

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