What the Golden Globes Gets Right

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ won best film drama at Sunday’s Golden Globes, one of the evening’s highest-profile awards.
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ won best film drama at Sunday’s Golden Globes, one of the evening’s highest-profile awards. Photo: Handout/Getty Images

The morning after the Golden Globe Awards is a time for two questions: “They gave the award to WHAT?” and “Why can’t the Oscars be more like this?”

The Golden Globes has long been Hollywood’s least credible awards show and also its most fun. That was true once again this year, with head-scratching wins for the critically panned “Bohemian Rhapsody” as dramatic motion picture and, as best motion picture, musical or comedy, “Green Book,” a movie that’s not a musical, not a comedy, and not the best of anything.

Yet the show floated along on its own lack of pretension. So what if hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh’s jokes were as inconsistent as the choices of winners? Ms. Oh’s palpable nervousness was endearing, Carol Burnett’s acceptance of a lifetime achievement award was touching, Glenn Close’s speech was stirring, and the hugging and chatting and cheering by film and television stars packed together at tables right in front of the stage made viewers feel like they’re part of a party.

The Globes does everything right that the Oscars does wrong. It doesn’t give awards to below-the-line categories like sound editing and costume design that, while important, don’t belong on a prime-time TV event. It still gives lifetime-achievement awards during the ceremony to aging stars whom audiences love. It mixes film and TV awards, which makes more sense every year as the lines between different types of content and the caliber of stars who make them blur on our digital devices.

Most important, the Globes doesn’t take itself seriously. How could it, when the winners are selected by about 90 foreign entertainment journalists who write celebrity profiles when they’re not being aggressively lobbied by Hollywood publicists and schmoozed by stars in the months leading up the show? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made some dubious choices over the years—does anyone look back and think “Forrest Gump” was the best picture in a year that also delivered “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Pulp Fiction?”—but at least the Oscars are voted on by 9,000-plus professionals who know what it takes to make a great movie.

And if the trends of the past few years continue, ratings for the Golden Globes could eventually exceed those of the Oscars. (Preliminary ratings indicated that Sunday night’s Globes viewership was slightly down from the previous year.)

That’s because the Globes’s frivolity and popularity aren’t a contradiction. They go hand-in-hand. The atmosphere in the hotel ballroom is jovial and lighthearted because everyone in Hollywood knows that winning, or losing, doesn’t actually signify anything about their artistic merit.

The fun is evident on-screen, which makes for a better experience than the high stakes and occasional smugness of the Oscars. Because the Academy is trying so hard to honor the art and craft of filmmaking, it packs the prime-time Oscars full of categories that simply aren’t interesting to most people and has relegated lifetime-achievement honors for stars many of us would love to see reflect on their careers, like Cicely Tyson and Donald Sutherland, to an untelevised event held months earlier.

With its near-manic efforts to diversify and lower the average age of its membership, as well as the aborted attempt to create a “best popular film” category, the organizers of the Oscars are desperate to find ways to honor more movies that people actually watch.

The Globes got around that this year by honoring a movie of questionable greatness. Say what you will about “Bohemian Rhapsody,” more people have watched it than any Oscar-winning best picture since 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

It isn’t like anybody’s going to spend time wringing their hands over how “Bohemian Rhapsody” got that prize. After all, it’s just what 90 foreign entertainment journalists thought.

The Oscars has the credibility that the Golden Globes lack but can’t manage to put on a show that’s nearly as good. While the Academy hems and haws about whether it can trim at least one of the three short-film categories from its show or what to do about movies that premiere on streaming platforms, the Globes are eating the Oscars’ lunch.

Is it too much to ask that in an industry devoted to giving audiences what they want, we could get an awards show that’s fun to watch and whose choices we can take seriously?

Write to Ben Fritz at ben.fritz@wsj.com

Appeared in the January 8, 2019, print edition as ‘Should the oscars BE MORE LIKE the Golden Globes?.’

How the Humble Fleece Jacket Became High Fashion

FUZZY FLEECE jackets, an old standby of the Clif-Bar crowd, have made an abrupt leap from your local REI’s outdoor-gear offerings to the pricey heights of fashion. In 2018, big-ticket labels such as Balenciaga, Lanvin and Moncler produced fleece jackets with four-figure price tags while celebrities like Shia LaBeouf, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and Kendall Jenner were all photographed in their own napped coats. And this trend has trickled down particularly swiftly. Today, a budget-conscious shopper can get a stylish $29.90 fleece from Uniqlo or a $50 plush bomber from Zara. “We’re seeing [fleece] across the board from…

Behind the Scenes of Ghetto Gastro’s New HQ in the Bronx

A LOT OF PEOPLE think that we just do events, and I’m cool with that, because I like the element of surprise,” says Jon Gray. “But we’re ready to spread our wings.” Gray, 32, is talking about the future of Ghetto Gastro, a six-year-old culinary collective he co-founded in New York and runs with a trio of chefs: Malcolm Livingston II, 32, Pierre Serrao, 30, and Lester Walker, 37. Livingston, Serrao and Walker have worked in kitchens with chefs like René Redzepi, Carlo Cracco and José Andrés, among others, but it’s Gray, who studied marketing at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, who functions as the group’s CEO.

Golden Globes Honor ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘Green Book’

Rami Malek accepts the Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama Golden Globe for his role as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” Sunday.
Rami Malek accepts the Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama Golden Globe for his role as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” Sunday. Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES—Two surprise winners—“Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Green Book”—took the top film honors at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, winning best drama and best comedy, respectively. FX’s “The Americans” was named best TV drama, while Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method” won best TV comedy.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Green Book” both won multiple awards. Rami Malek won best actor in a drama for playing Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, while “Green Book” also won best screenplay and best supporting actor for star Mahershala Ali.

Each winner took prizes over edgier fare like “A Star Is Born” and “The Favourite,” and the entire event, in contrast with last year’s storm-the-barricades affair, largely returned to its usual role as a lighthearted kickoff to Hollywood’s awards season.

Hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh didn’t target President Donald Trump, instead “roasting” their fellow celebrities with outrageous compliments. The Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement, last year given to a righteous Oprah Winfrey, was this year awarded to Jeff Bridges, who used the time on stage to tell career stories and thank associates like his longtime stand-in.

“We’re alive, man!” Mr. Bridges shouted at one point.

His optimism was on theme. But even if the hosts seemed committed to sticking with more family-friendly fare, some favorite targets of Hollywood—Dick Cheney among them—were still invoked from the stage.

Alfonso Cuarón accepting the Golden Globe for best director; his “Roma” also won for best foreign-language film.
Alfonso Cuarón accepting the Golden Globe for best director; his “Roma” also won for best foreign-language film. Photo: Associated Press

Netflix won for the first time in major film categories, picking up trophies for foreign film and director for “Roma.” The TV awards were divided among new shows like Netflix’s “The Kominsky Method” and those that have already won Emmy Awards, such as “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.”

In the film categories, the Golden Globes isn’t always a barometer of how the Academy Awards might go when that higher-profile event rolls around in eight weeks. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an idiosyncratic association behind the Globes, splits the categories into drama and comedy/musical, and the group has a reputation among entertainment-industry insiders for valuing celebrity over credibility when it comes to deciding nominations.

“Vice,” the satirical retelling of Dick Cheney’s career, led the film contenders with six nominations. Christian Bale, who gained 45 pounds to play the vice president, won best actor and skewered the real-life Mr. Cheney upon accepting the award.

“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role,” he said.

Voting for the Oscars opens on Monday, and this year’s race is considered especially tight, with “A Star Is Born,” “Roma” and even “Black Panther” considered to have a shot at the top prize. Neither “Green Book” nor “Bohemian Rhapsody” were considered sure-fire contenders. Their performance on Sunday may change that.

Christian Bale won the Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture musical or comedy for his role as Dick Cheney in "Vice."
Christian Bale won the Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture musical or comedy for his role as Dick Cheney in “Vice.” Photo: Paul Drinkwater/Associated Press

The Globes will do little to clarify which of those three might ultimately prevail, since “Roma” was excluded from the Globes’s best film category due to Foreign Press guidelines.

Olivia Colman won best actress in a comedy for her turn as Queen Anne in “The Favourite.”

Heading into the evening, awards prognosticators expected acting wins in the film drama categories to go to the stars of “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The only prize that movie won was best song for “Shallow,” and the lead stars were passed over for Mr. Malek and Glenn Close, who played the oft-ignored spouse of a Nobel Prize laureate in “The Wife.”

A visibly shocked Ms. Close accepted the award. “It was called ‘The Wife.’ I think that’s why it took 14 years to get made,” she said, before launching into a call for women’s rights that drew a standing ovation.

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” the television miniseries about the murder of the fashion designer that has already picked up many awards, scored four nominations, the most of any TV show and won best limited series and best actor for star Darren Criss.

Glenn Close won the Best Actress Golden Globe for her role as an oft-ignored spouse in “The Wife.” Awards prognosticators had expected Lady Gaga to win for her role in “A Star Is Born.”
Glenn Close won the Best Actress Golden Globe for her role as an oft-ignored spouse in “The Wife.” Awards prognosticators had expected Lady Gaga to win for her role in “A Star Is Born.” Photo: handout/Reuters

This year’s diverse group of potential nominees—“Crazy Rich Asians” and “Black Panther” among them—was a recurring theme. Near tears, Ms. Oh said she agreed to host the Globes for the chance to stand on stage and “witness this moment of change.”

“Trust me, it is real, because I see you, and I see you, all these faces of change. And now, so will everyone else,” she said.

Regina King won best supporting actress for her performance in the James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk,” setting the star up for what is expected to be sweep toward the Academy Awards. In her speech, Ms. King pledged to star in projects produced by a team that is 50% women.

In the TV categories, “The Americans,” the FX spy drama that wrapped up its run last season, won best drama. Another Emmy winner, Rachel Brosnahan, won best actress in a TV comedy for her role on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh hosted this year’s Golden Globes. Ms. Oh also won a Golden Globe for best actress in a television drama for her role in “Killing Eve.”
Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh hosted this year’s Golden Globes. Ms. Oh also won a Golden Globe for best actress in a television drama for her role in “Killing Eve.” Photo: NBC
Lady Gaga won the prize for best original song for “Shallow” in “A Star Is Born.”
Lady Gaga won the prize for best original song for “Shallow” in “A Star Is Born.” Photo: mark ralston/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

But several contenders from new shows were awarded, including Ms. Oh as best actress in a drama for her turn in “Killing Eve” and Patricia Arquette, who won best actress in a limited series for “Escape at Dannemora.”

The leads of two new Netflix shows took home best-actor honors. Michael Douglas, star of “The Kominsky Method,” won best actor in a comedy, and Richard Madden of “Bodyguard” won in drama.

Ben Whishaw, most recently seen as a younger Mr. Banks in “Mary Poppins Returns,” won best supporting actor in a TV series for his role in “A Very English Scandal,” about a romantic entanglement at the height of British government.

The comedian Carol Burnett won the inaugural Carol Burnett Award, a new television honor created by the Foreign Press.

“Does this mean I get to accept it every year?” she joked.

In an occasionally pointed speech, Ms. Burnett pointed out that her namesake variety show would never be made today. With a 28-piece live orchestra, 12 dancers and 65 costume changes a week, the networks would consider it too expensive, she said, “so here’s to reruns and YouTube.”

Write to Erich Schwartzel at erich.schwartzel@wsj.com

Appeared in the January 7, 2019, print edition as ‘‘Rhapsody,’ ‘Green Book’ Honored.’

The Case for Buying Less Clothing

The Case for Buying Less Clothing
Photo: David Chow for The Wall Street Journal

IF ANY MAN reading this wants a down jacket, email me: I have four. I discovered this when I found a forgotten L.L. Bean puffer smushed in the nether regions of my closet. Why, you might ask, did I buy a jacket I didn’t need? The eternal reason: because it was on sale. Last February, I’d wandered into an L.L. Bean in suburban Maryland to kill some time before dinner with zero intention to buy anything. Then I stumbled on a deal that felt too good to pass up and, just like that, I was down $75 and pointlessly up a down coat.

Thanks to other similarly discounted missteps, along with my enthusiasm for buying secondhand, my closet is impossibly bloated with stuff. More white shirts than I could wear in a week. More suits than I need for the handful of formal events I attend each year. So, please, help me out: Take this puffer off my hands so I can relieve my closet of at least one coat.

Your closet, however, is likely as overstuffed as mine. “There seems to be more clothing for men than before,” said Ayako Homma, a senior consultant at market research provider Euromonitor International. According to Euromonitor, the global men’s fashion market has grown 38% between 2008 and 2017, ballooning to a $419.4 billion dollar industry, up from $303.5 billion in 2008. We’re collectively buying more, yet are continually confronted with the dilemma of what to wear, because these teeming closets often lack organization. The solution: Winnow down our existing wardrobes and then buy less, and with more clarity.

BIG BAG THEORY The first step toward a more intentional wardrobe is trashing inessentials.
BIG BAG THEORY The first step toward a more intentional wardrobe is trashing inessentials. Photo: David Chow for The Wall Street Journal

Though challenging, the winnowing part of this strategy is hardly a radical move these days. As clothing consumption has ramped up, so has an equal and opposite movement toward austerity, or at least moderation. John Peabody, a 37-year-old Brooklyn creative strategist, used to leaf through his hangers and marvel at how much he spent on clothes he didn’t wear. He eventually came to his senses and pared his closet down to a mostly-blue uniform. As Mr. Peabody found, life with less clothing and greater strategy can be liberating.

This widespread urge to edit can be traced in part to Japanese author Marie Kondo’s best-seller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” which popularized a less-is-more mentality when it arrived in the U.S. in 2014. “We have collectively realized that more does not equal better,” Ms. Kondo, whose new Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” debuts this week, wrote over email. With the internet shopping boom and discount stores that sell cheap goods, Ms. Kondo believes many people have just “finally grown weary of it all.” Her fellow evangelists, internet broadcasters Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as the Minimalists, have since 2010 preached a shed-it-all message to millions through YouTube videos and podcasts. Tap #MinimalWardrobe into Instagram and you’ll find over 10,000 posts, many showing a single steel rack with a week’s work of clothes, an aesthetically pleasing if strict way to plan one’s wardrobe.

“An over-full closet makes me feel mentally cluttered whereas being pared-down gives me clarity,” said Chris Dolan, 42, the director of data platforms at a software company in Newton, Mass. Chris Dam, 33, an account executive at an education startup in Cincinnati, took an extreme approach last year by purging half his clothing. He did so by eliminating the things that “didn’t match cohesively with my wardrobe as a whole.” Gone, for example, were the cream jeans which he bought on sale, intending to wear them rakishly with a navy blazer in the summer, yet ultimately never wore.

‘An over-full closet can make me feel mentally cluttered.’

“The closet should reflect the person’s current lifestyle,” recommended Barbara Reich, owner of Resourceful Consultants, a life- and home-organizing service in New York. Eliminate what she calls “aspirational clutter” in both office-wear (don’t hoard 16 suits if you work at a casual office) and hobby attire (if your cycling days are behind you, give up the spandex).

Nostalgic items can be hardest to shed. Edwin Zee, 32, a marketing analytics manager for Zendesk in Berkeley, Calif., was hoarding clothes he’d inherited from his father but never wore and concert T-shirts for bands he didn’t listen to anymore. With a cramped two-bedroom apartment and a newborn due, he finally summoned the will to purge these items, but others lack motivation. Linda Rothschild, who runs a moving-management and organizing business in New York, recommends a rip-off-the-Band-Aid approach for cherished clutter: “Take a picture of it if you need to remember it for some reason, but if you don’t have the room for it, don’t waste the space.”

The Case for Buying Less Clothing
Illustration: James Gulliver Hancock

When we say “throw it out” we don’t mean it literally. According to the EPA, 10.5 million tons of textiles wound up in landfills in 2015, so it’s best to donate or recycle instead of adding to that mound. Ms. Rothschild noted that mass-market retailer H&M will take any clothing item and recycle it, and Nike will recycle its old sneakers. Madewell takes old jeans back in exchange for a discount on new ones. Designer resale sites like the Real Real and Grailed, which launched in 2011 and 2014 respectively, have made it easier to get a return on the high-ticket items that you splurged on. In the past couple of years I’ve used Grailed to sell Junya Watanabe jeans that were too big and decades-old Jil Sander suits given to me by a friend.

However, buying less in the first place is even more sustainable. Once you’ve ruthlessly culled your closet, don’t race to fill it again—easier said than done in a world in which round-the-clock shopping has become near-inescapable. The click-and-ship ease of e-commerce has contributed to our clothing overload. Without ever getting into your car or dealing with a salesperson, you can have shirts, sneakers and even bespoke suits spirited to your doorstep. Meanwhile, cookies and algorithms weaponize your online queries and badger you into buying. “I do a search for [pants] and now I’m seeing them everywhere,” said the platforms director Mr. Dolan. The clothes we Google or the ads we click on Facebook can trail us around the internet until finally we snap and click “Buy now!”

To buy less impulsively, closet organizer Ms. Reich suggests grouping items in your existing wardrobe by category and color, so you easily spot a hole or imbalance—say, you own two gray trousers but 11 navy. She also advises a “one-in-one-out” mentality: Buy a new black sweater to replace an old one.

Keep a shopping list on hand, as Mr. Zee does, to ensure you buy only clothing you need during sale season. Thanks to this approach he is satisfied with his pared-down closet, though yields to the occasional splurge. “It’s [like] when you’re dieting,” he said. Just as you feel entitled to indulge in a few bites of cake after you’ve reached your goal weight, buy those reissued Nikes you’ve been eyeing once your closet is sufficiently airy again.

To keep those splurges from spiraling out of control, Mr. Peabody ponders clothing in the context of his larger goals. “I think of things [in terms of] surfboards or plane tickets,” he said. “Like, I could take a trip to Italy for a week or I could have this jacket.” Good advice for the next time I’m staring down that sales sign in L.L. Bean.

The Case for Buying Less Clothing
Illustration: James Gulliver Hancock
Ransom Riggs

Author, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” series

Berluti Suede Field Jacket (pictured) When I heard that [designer Haider Ackermann] was leaving [Berluti] I decided to go for this blue suede field jacket that I’d been thinking about for a while. It’s beautiful and sort of rugged. I wore that thing every day for three weeks straight in about 25 cities, and it’s still somehow in great shape.

Saint Laurent Jodphur Boots These boots are a saddle-leather tan and liven up any outfit. They also have a lot of give. They have completely molded to the shape of my feet and become the most comfortable shoes I own.

By Robert James Suit Robert James has a little shop on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, and he custom-made me the suit I got married in. It’s a dark wool jacket with matching pants and a darkish Japanese denim vest. There’s nothing like clothes that have been tailored for you.

The Case for Buying Less Clothing
Illustration: James Gulliver Hancock
Aurel Bacs

Senior Consultant, Phillips Watches in association with Bacs & Russo

Loro Piana Red Tie (pictured) I wore this tie in November when buying, on behalf of a client, the world’s most expensive watch [sold] at auction—$24 million for a Patek Philippe. We didn’t publicly make a statement, so for about a week, I was the mysterious “man in the red tie” on watch blogs. I wear it now when I need good luck.

Et Al Design Sneakers My daughter, when she was maybe 10, said “Daddy, I never see you in sneakers,” so she went on her own without checking with anyone and bought me a pair of sneakers. It was an amazing surprise to receive shoes from a 10-year-old.

Cesare Attolini Suit In 2001, I bought a pinstripe suit from Attolini in Naples. It cost back then nearly the equivalent of a month’s salary. Not only in terms of the quality—it has survived 18 years—but in terms of style, it looks exactly as timeless as it did 18 years ago.

The Case for Buying Less Clothing
Illustration: James Gulliver Hancock
Kevin Kwan

Author, “Crazy Rich Asians

Edward Green Banbury Chukka Boots (pictured) When I bought these boots three years ago I thought they were insanely expensive, but I wear them probably five days a week. They’re so well-made, and the golden suede color—I swear the older it gets, the nicer it gets. I’ve never had to have them resoled. They were an amazing investment.

Crombie Herringbone Blazer I bought this blazer from Crombie, one of the oldest [brands] on Savile Row, 20 years ago. I can wear it with jeans and it looks like I’m going for a ride in the country in my vintage Jag, or I can put it on with corduroys to dress things up. It’s never going to go away.

Sergio Nesci Cashmere Sweater Sergio Nesci has this beautiful boutique on Via Margutta [in Rome], and he does the most amazing things with cashmere. This basic black long-sleeve polo-neck sweater is made of pure cashmere and feels like butter on your skin. I could just live in it.

More in Style & Fashion

Appeared in the January 5, 2019, print edition as ‘A Case For Less Clothing.’

Can You Pull Off a Beret if You’re Not French?

FRANCO, MY DEAR English model Twiggy in a Gallic beret in 1968.
FRANCO, MY DEAR English model Twiggy in a Gallic beret in 1968. Photo: Getty Images

BERETS REPRESENT three things I’ve always aspired to be: French, chic and confident. The first is a lost cause, given my Italian heritage and American upbringing. I’m working on the latter two. I’ve worn berets with varying degrees of success since childhood and sported a black iteration with a crystal-encrusted band to dine with my father just last month. He told me I looked “very French”—a high compliment coming from a man who proposed to his wife in the City of Lights.

Twiggy, the lanky model who defined the look of swinging 1960s London, is not French; she’s English. Yet, throughout her life Twiggy, now 69, has excelled in the art of beret-wearing. “I’ve always thought the beret is the epitome of chic,” Twiggy, aka Lesley Lawson, told me. “It’s a timeless classic and never goes out of fashion. I’ve been wearing a beret for as long as I can remember and will continue to do so.” There are multiple photos of the icon posing nonchalantly with a beret perched atop her perfectly coiffed pixie or bob. In each, she exudes attitude, but it is in this 1968 image—with her fresh face and loose wisps of hair—that Twiggy captures the beret’s essence: elegant rebellion.

Revolution is built into this charged hat’s DNA. French legend goes that Noah (the one with the ark) made the first beret out of his boat’s wool lining, which had been trampled into felt by his amorous animals. More concretely, it was worn as protection from the elements by Béarnais and Basque shepherds in Pyrenees region. Its accessible fabric and practical design—warm, unfussy—endeared it to Europeans throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, and later, it was adopted by military groups and revolutionaries. Soldiers in the Second Carlist War, in mid-19th-century Spain, wore red ones; French Resistance members donned them during World War II; Che Guevara is known for his black beret; they were a signature of the Black Panther uniform; Beatniks and other midcentury countercultures embraced the style.

‘If you’re not used to it, this style of cap can feel like a costume.’

No wonder, then, that the beret has re-emerged in these politically turbulent times, with high-end designers including Versace and Christian Dior featuring the hats on their runways in the past few years. High street brands followed suit— H&M showed a pink wool style with a T-shirt in a 2018 trend image. “Berets suit everybody whether rich or poor, young or old, male, female or anything in between,” said milliner Stephen Jones, who collaborates with Dior’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri on the house’s headpieces. For that reason, he dubbed berets “the T-shirt of hats” backstage after the brand’s fall 2017 show.

It’s berets’ rebellious undertones that attract Masha Orlov. “Berets have such great nostalgia,” said the New York-based stylist and editor, who owns over a dozen. “They’re classic and timeless but also have this military history.”

Clockwise from top left: A LUXE ONE Dior Beret, $570, 212-931-2950; A SPARKLY ONE Beret, $125, achevalpampa.com; A HERITAGE ONE Beret, $62, lockhatters.co.uk; A BASIC ONE Beret, $38, hatattack.com
Clockwise from top left: A LUXE ONE Dior Beret, $570, 212-931-2950; A SPARKLY ONE Beret, $125, achevalpampa.com; A HERITAGE ONE Beret, $62, lockhatters.co.uk; A BASIC ONE Beret, $38, hatattack.com

While the hat is oft associated with quintessentially French women (think Brigitte Bardot), its sweeping background proves you needn’t be Parisian to pull one off. In fact, Mr. Jones cites German silver-screen siren Marlene Dietrich as the ultimate beret wearer. The actress used them to top off her then-subversive menswear ensembles and, per Mr. Jones, had over 100 in her collection.

The beret is a humble hat—simple and easy to pull on—but it’s one that many women are reluctant to wear. Although the recent glut of books on French women’s style make it clear that we all dream of looking French, a beret can make that desire painfully evident. The line between adorable Francophile (Twiggy) and desperate Francophile (Ellen Griswold in National Lampoon’s “European Vacation”) can be murky. Ms. Orlov likens the fear of berets to that of red lipstick—if you’re not used to the style, it can feel like a costume. She offers this advice: “Just throw it on and own it.” Mr. Jones serves up similar wisdom: “A beret is for playing with. There is no right or wrong way of wearing it. A beret is a party on your head.” In other words, wear it with confidence. And party on.

More in Style & Fashion

How Magnetic Lashes Became the Biggest Thing in Beauty

How Magnetic Lashes Became the Biggest Thing in Beauty
Illustration: Verónica Grech

IF YOU CONSIDER a quick swipe of mascara sufficient lash enhancement, this news may confound you, but among a growing segment of America’s female population, false lashes are a daily staple. Touted by influencers like “Shahs of Sunset” star and Lilly Lashes founder Lilly Ghalichi, fake fringes are no longer fringe, with U.S. sales reaching nearly $270 million in 2018, up 31% from 2017, according to polling firm Nielsen. Fans of fake lashes value their exaggerated, eye-opening drama, but, with their messy, irritating glue, applying them has always been a pain.

The even bigger news for lash lovers: Reusable magnetic fake lashes—which attach via a thin strip of magnets at the base instead of glue—have recently come on the scene. Intriguingly, I received a kit as a gift, but after one frustrating session trying to master the tweezer-like applicator, I understood why “how to apply magnetic lashes” was Google’s top trending beauty search in 2018. The struggle to get them on has spawned a subgenre of YouTube videos offering either clever hacks or brokenhearted reviews.

APPLY YOURSELF! Uptown Lashes’s applicator and lashes.
APPLY YOURSELF! Uptown Lashes’s applicator and lashes.

These polarized (and polarizing) temporary lashes consist of a set of two lash strips studded with tiny magnets that adhere to each other, sandwiching the wearer’s own upper lashes. They’re typically made of synthetic or human hair, and for a luxe option Uptown Lashes sells a mink set ($30, uptownlashes.com). Some kits, such as the one from One Two Cosmetics, are sold with a tweezer-like applicator included ($69, onetwocosmetics.com). Ardell’s popular lashes are more of a deal starting at $14 a kit, with an applicator sold separately for $4 (ardellshop.com). Some women use tweezers or their fingers to apply the lashes. Though simple in concept, the process is difficult in practice due to the magnets’ minute size and the exacting placement required.

New York-based makeup artist Mary Irwin said that a magnifying mirror could help, and recommends looking down into the mirror so you can see the underside of the lash. Then, dexterous users can “gently drop the top part of the magnetic lash above the natural lash,” which is the step that requires extensive practice. However, Ms. Irwin conceded that “for everyday wear, I don’t think they’re the most practical.” Having studied online tutorials carefully and still failed to apply my own set, I would have to agree.

More in Style & Fashion

Two Strategic Days in Singapore: Where to Splurge, Where to Save

Blow-Out Budget: $1,684 a day

Regularly rated as southeast Asia’s most expensive city, Singapore has a hefty supply of fine hotels and designer shopping enclaves as well as 39 Michelin-starred restaurants. Just slightly larger in area than Chicago, with twice the population, this city-state is a mecca for luxury lovers.

SLEEPING QUARTERS: Singapore’s newest luxury hotel, the Capitol Kempinski, sits smack in the center of the happening Civic and Cultural District. Gawk-worthy city views and an art deco aesthetic rendered…

The Top 10 Upgrades to Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

The chef’s kitchen of April and Anh-Tuan Truongs’ new Chicago home, which they bought in September for $1.5 million, has a double-oven, gray custom cabinetry and quartzite waterfall countertops.
The chef’s kitchen of April and Anh-Tuan Truongs’ new Chicago home, which they bought in September for $1.5 million, has a double-oven, gray custom cabinetry and quartzite waterfall countertops. Photo: Katrina Wittkamp for The Wall Street Journal

Want to know what it takes to sell a luxury home in a softening market? Ask Anh-Tuan and April Truong. In the fall, Dr. Truong, a cosmetic surgeon, and Ms. Truong, a stay-at-home mother to their two children, sold their 3,200-square-foot townhome in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood for $1.175 million after just 40 days on the market—while similar homes in the same condominium development languished for months.

What gave the Truongs the edge? New quartzite countertops, new hardwood floors and a neutral, uncluttered décor—all part of a $30,000 upgrade in 2014.

“Sales have been slow over the last six months—you really have to stand out. Their place showed like a model unit,” said Lauren Schuh-Dayton, the couple’s real-estate agent and vice president of sales for Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty. Within weeks of accepting the winning bid on their townhome, the Truongs bought an updated 1888 greystone house in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood for $1.5 million—$49,000 below the asking price.

Style & Design Choices That Sell Houses

Chef’s kitchens, retractable glass walls, spa bathrooms and other amenities that help sell luxury homes.

Retractable glass-wall systems that fold into accordion pleats or disappear into recessed pockets make for a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces—and are popular with luxury home buyers.
Herman Ekendahl-Dreyer for The Wall Street Journal

With the luxury market cooling, home sellers may have to invest in upgrades to get top dollar. According to an analysis by Realtor.com, high-end home sales rose 7% in October over the same month in 2017—the second-slowest increase in over two years. Meanwhile, the total number of properties listed at or above $1 million increased by over twice that rate—indicating that the supply of luxury homes may be outstripping demand.

“Inventory starts to pile up because buyers don’t see value at that price level,” said Javier Vivas, Realtor.com’s director of economic research. “Buyers are being more demanding.” (News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.)

To uncover the secrets of selling a luxury home in a softening market—and find out which amenities are attracting buyers—Mansion reached out to brokers, real-estate analysts, developers and designers. Here are their picks, in no particular order. One takeaway: A $10,000 Japanese toilet can clinch a sale.

Retractable Glass Walls

“Light-filled,” “bright,” “southern” and “exposure” are among the most frequent keywords used to describe the luxury homes priced at $1 million and above that sold most quickly, according to a Realtor.com analysis of more than 45,000 luxury listings. For brokers and developers, all those words mean just one thing: glass.

“When [clients] talk about ‘bright’ they are talking about big windows and sliding glass walls that open to the outside,” said Billy Rose, founder and president of The Agency in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Newsletter Sign-up

At the Preserve at Upper Saddle River, N.J., a new Toll Brothers community, retractable glass walls are luring buyers to single-family homes priced from $1.4 million. “People love the glass,” said Jed Gibson, president of Toll Architecture, noting that over a third of new owners in its four upscale New Jersey developments opted for various movable glass-wall systems.

“One thing I advise my clients to do if they can afford it, is to rip out french doors to an outdoor living space and put in accordion glass doors,” said Collette McDonald, a Re/Max agent in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. “They give traditional floorplans that contemporary, updated look.”

High Ceilings

“Ten-foot ceilings, cathedral ceilings, vaulted ceilings” are all in demand, said Susie O. Johnson, a real-estate agent with Coldwell Banker Gundaker in metro St. Louis.

Paul Schumacher of custom home-builder Schumacher Homes said his clients willingly pay a premium for loftier master bedrooms and great rooms. “We always tell clients, ‘Let’s put the money and the investment in things you can’t change later. I can change the finish on the floors, but I can’t give you extra volume on ceilings,’” he said.

In New York’s pricey condo market, 13-foot ceilings are now in vogue, according to John Gomes and Fredrik Eklund, who head a team at Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “The first thing buyers ask when they walk in—before they ask about square footage—is, ‘How high are the ceilings?’” Mr. Gomes said.

Anh-Tuan and April Truong with children Lola, 6, and Jonah, 10.
Anh-Tuan and April Truong with children Lola, 6, and Jonah, 10. Photo: Katrina Wittkamp for The Wall Street Journal
Quartzite Countertops

Quartzite, a lustrous natural stone that’s harder than granite and less prone to staining than marble, is the new star of the chef’s kitchen.

“Light whites and grays are replacing darker granites. Buyers like to see a light, neutral countertop, not something so personalized or so busy that it’s competing with the tile on the backsplash,” said Susan Boss, a broker-associate with Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty in Houston who sells homes in the city’s Rivercrest and Memorial neighborhoods.

Butler’s Pantry

A tricked-out butler’s pantry with an extra wine fridge, icemaker or dishwasher can serve as an extension of the home’s entertaining space—or hide the messy prep work. And according to Realtor.com’s analysis, they are very popular with home buyers. “We looked at luxury properties with, say, a butler’s pantry, and compared that to luxury properties without in the same area,” said Mr. Vivas. “These homes are spending 40 to 60 fewer days on the market.”

Spa Bathrooms

To hook a buyer willing to spend well over $1 million on a New York City condo, a master bathroom must have a steam shower and a high-tech Japanese toilet—“two things I will never ever live without,” Mr. Eklund said.

In San Francisco, the spa bathroom makeover has become standard in high-end remodels, according to designer Cindy Bayon. “Steam showers, heated floors—you assume that’s in the project going in,” she said.

Toll Brothers has gone all-in with tubs. “It’s a big trend for us. Our buyers told us they wanted free-standing tubs,” Mr. Gibson said. In Houston, clients also show a preference for master bathrooms with dual toilets, said Ms. Boss. The status commode today, according to several agents: the Toto Neorest dual-flush model, which has a heated seat, multiple wash modes and an automatic air-purifying system. Retail price: $10,200.

What Luxury Buyers Look for in 2019

Want to know what buyers want in a luxury home? Exhibit A: April and Anh-Tuan Truong’s 1888 Greystone house in Chicago.

April and Anh-Tuan Truong’s 1888 Greystone house in Chicago has been impeccably restored; original solid-wood pocket doors separate the dining room, pictured, from a formal living room.
Katrina Wittkamp for The Wall Street Journal

Smart-Home Systems

App-based home-automation systems that can play music, control lighting systems and window treatments, regulate thermostats and access security cameras are gaining in popularity. “It is now expected that a home has an ample amount of technology,” said Gary Gold, executive vice president at Hilton & Hyland,

Four-Car Garage

In areas where the cost of square-footage is high, a garage that can accommodate three or four cars is a prized amenity.

More from Mansion

“Buyers love garages. That’s really what turns a lot of guys on—their eyes light up,” said Michael Costello, an associate with Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Palm Beach, Fla. “Most of our buyers, even if it’s just a couple, tend to have three, four, five, six cars.”

“In the garage itself, people are looking for electric car hookups, as well as the ability to add a lift if they are a car collector,” Ms. McDonald said.

Barn, Carriage House or In-Law Apartment

Barns aren’t just for horses. Outbuildings that have been remodeled as party spaces, home offices or guest cottages lure buyers. “Having a barn on the property can be really valuable—whether it’s used as a studio or as a guesthouse or cottage for family,” said Sally Slater, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman in Bedford, N.Y. “And you can get income from it.”


More buyers are asking about home generators, particularly in hurricane-prone areas. “It has become much more important than it was 10 years ago,” said Ms. Boss, whose clients learned to love generators in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Adding a small generator for backup power to protect a valuable wine collection can cost as much as $50,000, she said, while larger systems for the home can cost $100,000 or more.

“It’s one of those undervalued things, but use it once, and you’re the happiest person,” said Judy Gibbons, a broker associate with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago.

Neutral Decor

“Light grays are really popular—whether it’s flooring, or wall colors,” Mr. Costello said. He advises clients ditch heavy drapes and put antique furnishings in storage. “Heavy brown furniture is out. It’s not easy telling a client that buyers are turned off by that look.”

And never underestimate a good coat of paint. Mr. Gold swears by a Dunn-Edwards hue called “Swiss Coffee.” “When in doubt, white it out,” he said.

Turn-offs to luxury-home buyers

Agents and designers say what’s passe in home design.

1. Granite

2. Jetted bathtubs

3. French doors with mullions

4. Unsightly built-in entertainment systems

5. Bidets

6. Heavy brown furniture

Appeared in the January 4, 2019, print edition as ‘The TOP 10 Things That Sell Your House.’