Monday, August 30, 2010

Real Housewives of the 1950s

All over runways for Fall 2010 we've been seeing looks inspired by the 1950s. When one thinks of 1950s fashion, you hardly think youthful or modern - but as trends are proving, it is possible! A specifically youthful interpretation is a bustier top tucked into a full circle skirt and pointy-toe pumps. Here are three wonderful outfits inspired by the updated 1950s trend.

A colorful and fun look for day time:

1. Loeffler Randall Bustier Top 98. This clean and crisp white top is classy not trashy and can be worn with a variety of outfits.It would even look great with skinny jeans, embellished sandals, and some stacked bangles.

2. ModCloth Contra Dance Skirt 95. This skirt is classic fifties, and paired with a thick sweater or peter pan collar top it could look like a costume. However, with a modern and summery bustier top it looks young and pretty.

3. Joan and David Cisca Pump 99. A black pointy toe pump completes this look with classic polish.

A look that's wonderful for work, and could transition easily into night.

1. Leonardo Salinas Wool Bustier 129. This top, unlike the last one, will not work with a variety of outfits. It ends a bit below the waist and would probably be a crop-top paired with jeans, which is NOT okay. It needs to be tucked into a skirt to work. For a more night time long, go for a tight black pencil skirt.

2. ModCloth Lucarne Skirt 65. This shimmery slate with navy and peach accents is both fun and appropriate for work as it is that perfect just above the knee length.

3. Ann Taylor Perfect Covered Platform Pump 178. This light gray compliments the slate of the skirt and the deep purple bustier.

And finally, a look for nighttime.

1. Plenty by Tracy Reese Black Floral Bustier 87. I love the print of this top - it is so fun, feminine, modern, and sexy. The bold colors against a black backdrop definitely make a statement.

2. ModCloth Pretty Pleats Skirt 70. I love the two tiers of pleats on this skirt, it gives the skirt a little something special.

3. RSVP Katrina Nude Patent Pump 83. Nude pumps are a wonderful show to own. It elongates the leg in an incredibly flattering way, and peep-toe only helps with that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Craving Collegiate Clothes

 As we reach the end of August, school starts up again. Inspired by collegiate prepsters, I’ve decided to do a post on preppy skirts – plaid, pleated, and wool. You don’t have to look like you attend an Ivy League university while wearing these skirts. Preppy staples pair nicely with feminine pieces as well as more boy-meets-girl items. Here are some great skirts out there right now:

1. SEE by Chloe Tweed Pleated Mini Skirt 215.
2. JCrew Wool Bell Skirt 79.50.
3. DKNY Pleated Mini-Skirt 295.

Any of these skirts on its own, and paired with the wrong things, could look like a high schoolers' uniform - think collared shirts and thick navy cardigans that hit awkwardly above the hip. That's why I would wear this with that:

1. JCrew Merino Boyfriend Sweatshirt 69.50. This pine color will look wonderful with the gray tweed, and the boyfriend fit makes the look modern instead of stuffy.

2. Topshop Praline High-Heel Loafers 160. I love these caramel high heeled loafers, their color will make the leg look long and lean and not weigh down the look (if you chose a black shoe).

1. Eddie Bauer Marled Cardigan 79. A long and chunky grandpa cardigan will bring this sweater to a cozy but still flattering look.

2. Banana Republic Silk Chevron Tank 69.50. I love pairing a pretty feminine blouse under a thick knit such as the above sweater, it's a fun contrast and perfect for fall.

3. SM Luxe Zappa Bootie 89.95. These boots are so cool. I love how the zippers perfectly match the color of the skirt. They make the outfit more edgy and steer it away from frumpy.

1. Delia's Devin Brass Button Peacoat 89.50. A classic navy peacoat is a fall must. It's straight lines are so flattering on top of jeans, or in this case, a pleated skirt with a little volume.

2. Delia's Bethany Solid Thermal 9.99. A thick thermal makes this nice skirt appear more casual, and I love the idea of having the navy peacoat open over the gray thermal.

3. Bloch Basic Ballet Flat 130. Since this is classified as a "mini-skirt" I think it is appropriate to stick with flats. And to pick up on the black in the color blocking of the skirt, a black flat is perfectly lovely.

Among all these outfits there is a theme of mixing neutrals. Dark green, gray and caramel, ivory, gray and brown, and navy, gray, brown and black. A lot of people might tell you to steer away from brown and black, or navy and black, whatever. I say go for it. I think it looks very chic when a woman can successfully mix neutrals (emphasis on successfully). And fall is the perfect time to explore collegiate basics as well as a palette of neutrals.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Unseasoned Series: Part 3

Welcome to the final installment of the trilogy. Bittersweet. The final theme is: citrus colored skirts! I love bright colors for summer. When the sun is out I want to wear oranges, reds and yellows. But when the leaves start to change, we tend to switch to browns, greens, grays and black. Why should we? The leaves change to orange, red, and yellow - so let's keep on wearing those colors too!

1. Lela Rose Draped Front Skirt 192.
2. Urban Outfitters Cooperative Solid Pull-On Skirt 38.
3. Whitney Eve Red Silk Tie Front Skirt 119.

These skirts will look great with nautical strips tucked into the skirt, wedges, or sandals through the end of August and even into September when the weather is still warm. 

1. Old Navy V-Neck Tee 10.
2. Taryn Rose Kaelyn Wedge 99.95.
5. Joseph Slash Neck Sailor Tee 145.
6. Talbots Patent Wedge Heels 53.99.

No need to change your skirts when the weather changes! Just switch to blouses, sweaters, leather jackets, tights, flats and heels in complimentary browns grays and blacks.

1. Eddie Bauer Leather Bomber Jacket 249.
2. Anthropologie Archaeologist Button Up 19.95.
3. JCrew Jayne Platform Heels 228. 
4. JCrew Cashmere Crewneck Tee 145.
5. Express Body Shaping Full Tights 22.50.
6. Miss Me Rae-4 Oxford 35.95.
7. The Limited Moto Jacket 128.
8. Marc Jacobs Lame Piped Sweater 223.75
9. Joe’s Jeans Ideal Nubuck Booties 210.

And that wraps up our summer to fall trilogy! Enjoy the last month or so of heat, and if you're like me - start to look forward to snuggly sweaters and rich colored brown boots.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Unseasoned Series: Part 2

Part 2 in the series, or, the trilogy if you will, as there will be three. More epic than the Lord of the Rings trilogy? Obviously.

So today it's all about lace tops. I Wikipediaed the history of lace, and traditionally it is used for doilies and tablecloths, but the Wiki does mention that today it is often used in clothing - perish the thought! And so I will celebrate lace's valiant leap from clothing tables to clothing humans - definitely an upgrade. 

Lace often gets lumped in with vintage or Victorian inspired clothing, but the right lace tops can look modern, feminine and chic. One of the tops I have here is definitely more of a bohemian style than anything else. Each of these lace tops is created to flatter your body, not a table (even though I've heard they have great legs!).

1. Beyond Vintage Lace Detail Blouse 330. 
2. Joie Lace Blouse 198.
3. Charlotte Russe Scalloped Lace Top 20.

I love that numbers 2 and 3 are essentially the same blouse and yet the price difference is shocking. Number 1 has some more length to it than 2 and 3 - those two are more boxy and would hit a person higher on the hip-bone.

Regardless, here is how to wear lace tops in the summer time.  

1. Banana Republic Stippled Leather Belt 59.50. I love brown leather with blue, I think it is so fresh looking. 

2. ModCloth Basic Principles Skirt 44.99. This skirt is such a lovely hue of blue. Not navy, not baby blue. It reminds me of the blues used on houses in Malibu. Also, with a boxy straight up-and-down lace blouse, it needs to be tucked in to a fuller circle skirt. This skirt is the perfect silhouette. 

3. Daniblack India Flat 140. I love that the stitching and bow on this flat aren't actually stitching or a bow at all - they are drawn on. I think that's a very clever and modern way to update the old-school classic quilted ballet flat.

So that's for wearing now. But how can you carry these lovely lace blouses past Labor Day (especially since they are white!)? Here is how I would do it. 

1. Daftbird Back Zipper Woven Skirt 105. Another great circle skirt to pair with the boxy lace top. Black means fall to me, or nighttime. 

2. Urban Outfitters Sheer Black Tights 12. Since the skirt is black, and the shoes are black, I would keep the tights a sheer black. If you do an opaque black tight it wil start to look way too bottom heavy. 

3. BCBGirls Tinas Pump 89. This can of course be paired with a black flat as well. Trust me, I am not trapsing around in these heels day to day. But if you have the stamina, the outfit would look great with black pumps.

I have often been turned off from lace because it can look kitschy, but doing the research for this post has made me totally fall in love with these tops and I want to buy every single one. That is the trouble with this blog, it's encouraging my already rampant consumerism. Well, at least it's a great excuse. I need to shop so I can blog! Anyhow. Look for part 3 tomorrow!

The Unseasoned Series: Part 1

As we are now solidly into August, we are at an interesting point in the seasons, and in fashion. It is still horribly hot - especially in the South and on the East, but all the fall clothes are starting to come out. When it's this hot, who wants to think about jackets, tights and sweaters? Not me. I sweat just thinking about putting those articles on. Well, to ease you in, I have a series of clothes that will carry you from summer to fall, so no need to panic about what to wear in the future, because you can find things for fall in your closet today! Hence the title: Unseasoned - these pieces have no season!

First in the series: army jackets. Army jackets are super on-trend right now. I've seen military themed clothing popping up everywhere, and the army jacket is a great element of this trend to jump on because its shape is flattering to almost everyone. I bought mine from Gap Kids boys section - size XXL. Kids clothing is so much cheaper! But here are some great army jackets actually made for women.

1. Vince Cotton Twill Parka 395.
2. Topshop Washed Army Jacket 125.
3. Urban Renewal Vintage Cinch Waist Army Jacket 48.

Each of these are great army jackets, and another reason that they are a trend I am happy about is that you really don't need to drop a wad of cash on it. Exhibit A: my own Gap Kids boys jacket - $44. Anytime I can jump on a trend and spend $44 on it? Duh, I'm so there!

So how will you wear this during the summer? This is how:

1. BCBG Maxazria White Stretch Poplin Ruffle Trim V-Neck Dress 131.99. I love the idea of putting a white summer dress under a tough army jacket. What makes it all the better? The ruffles! The feminine touch offsets the masculinity of the jacket. I also love that it's a v-neck, becuase army jackets are boxy - the jacket isn't showing off your shape, the ruffles around the v-neck can show off some cleavage.

2. Alex And Ani Shoto Expandable Wire Bangle 38. I love this bangle with the wood embellishments, it's earthy but also so pretty. 

3. Matisse Rita Espadrille Wedge 29.99. A brown espadrille is perfectly summery and the browns in the shoe and the bangle compliment the white and the olive nicely.

And after the dog days of summer are over, the army jacket leads you directly into fall. Although the crisp fall weather feels so far away, I have a basic fondness for fall clothes. I love luxurious cashmere, thick scarves, boots and jackets, and I can't wait until the weather permits their use again.

In the spirit of planning ahead, the army jacket into fall:

1. Bop Basics Thick Knit Eternity Scarf 68. I love eternity scarves, especially American Apparel circle scarves. I love they way they sit so close to your neck and keep you so snuggly and warm. 

2. Patterson J. Kincaid Plaid Buttondown 68.60. Patterson blouses are super flattering, and I love the idea of plaid with the army jacket. It's a totally rustic look.

3. Frye Melissa Button Boot 288. Frye boots are so durable and comfortable, definitely worth the investment as you will wear them for years. I like the equestrian look of these, and the cognac color is slightly different but so rich looking.

4. AG Stilt Jeans 130-250.  
So now, go forth and rock the army jacket from summer to fall. And Part 2 of the series will be posted tomorrow!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tiers of Joy

Besides sequins, tiers always call to me. Dresses and tops, if they have tiers of fabric, I will like them. My dream wedding dress has tiers – that is how serious this is.

I defined my style previously as classic with a touch of feminine and a touch of edgy. Tiers are where I embrace the feminine aspect of my style. Tiers can be taken too far into the feminine style and start to look juvenile, but tiers can actually fit into essentially any style scheme:

feminine, classic, edgy, over the top, or minimalist, they can take you from day to night, everything. There is a way to work tiers into your style!

And below, I will show you tiers for each style, and suggest what I would wear each one with.

Personal Anecdote: A friend of mine was a water polo player from childhood through college, and therefore she has a swimmers upper body – aka broad. Whenever I suggest tiers to her she laughs in my face, but she just has to go with the minimalist tiers, she shouldn’t wear a tiered shirt that has sleeves, that’s for sure, it needs to be a tank top so she doesn’t add to the broadness of her shoulders.

Here are Tiers for Everyone!

1. Feminine: Forever 21 Floral Tiered Top 24.80. This top’s color and print are so nice and girly – and summery! Wear with a pair of denim shorts or your favorite pair of jeans.
2. Classic: Topshop Tiered Blouse Tee 70. This classic cream color and boxy shape is so flattering. Wear with skinny jeans, black cigarette pants, or a black skirt – pencil is best, since the tiers create volume on top, you want to streamline your bottom
3. Edgy: Urban Outfitters Silence & Noise Mixed Media Tier Tank Top 42. This top is not something that I could pull off, but if this is your style, I would say wear it with black leggings or a pair of skinny jeans.
4. Over-the-top: Catherine Malandrino Tiered Flutter Sleeve Top 345. This is a lot of look. But if you want to go for it, this is the way. The top is flowy and gorgeous, and you could wear it with skinny jeans, olive shorts, khaki shorts, or a pencil skirt in any of those colors.
5. Minimalist: Eileen Fischer Layered Tank 158. These flat tiers in silver are a perfect minimalist look if you feel like you can’t quite pull-off the tier. It’s like a gateway drug. And what I would recommened to my swimmer friend. So if you think your upper body is too broad, go for flat tiers like these. Wear with black slacks or jeans.
6. Day-to-Night: BCBG Maxazria Tiered Cropped Blouse 198. This BCBG top can easily be taken from day to night. In the day time, wear khakis or jeans and boots, at night, a black skirt and heels will take this top to a nice dinner out.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

He Loves A Girl in Uniform

I read an article that Tim Gunn had written once, or perhaps it was an interview with Tim Gunn, well either way, I cannot say what it was generally about other than “fashion.” But the best thing that I gleaned from it was the idea of finding a uniform. Now, this does NOT mean falling into a fashion rut. It means finding a basic outfit that you know looks good on you, that you feel confident in. God knows we girls wake up some mornings and for one reason or another don’t feel we look as good as we actually do. To illustrate this point, I would like to quote the noted philosopher Lorelai Gilmore.
Lorelai: Am I more beautiful today than I was yesterday?
Rory: Oh boy.
Lorelai: I'm just not sure. 'Cause at first, I looked in the mirror and I thought, 'Yes, definitely a huge improvement!'
Rory: Can I have my pillow back?
Lorelai: And then I thought, 'Maybe it's not that I'm more beautiful today, maybe I was just as beautiful yesterday, only I lacked the self-esteem to recognize it!'
So on these days, when we don’t feel as confident as we should, we can pull on the uniform! Because we know it looks good on us.

Disclaimer: having a uniform does not mean that you can’t follow trends or have fun with tons of styles, like I said uniform does not equal rut.

My mother is the master of the uniform. Hers is a striped Saint James shirt, boyfriend jeans, and basic sandals.

1. Saint James Meridien II Nautical Tee 85. These structured tops are very flattering, not sloppy. My mother loves them to wear to the grocery store, to travel in, just about everything.
2. JCrew Vintage Matchstick Selvedge Jean 148. She also loves these jeans, how soft and thin the material is, the slight distressing, and on her they are totally flattering. I tried them on once - trainwreck.
2. Bernardo Mistral Sandal 110.These t-strap sandals are a great purchase even if you throw out the other two pieces of my mother's uniform. T-strap sandals are a great summer staple.

I would say that I have two uniforms. Both involve the AG jeans that I have sung the praises of here. And both involve flats – see previous post for my favorite brands. The difference is in the top.

One would be: a long v-neck tee with a cardigan and a scarf.

1. Splendid V-Neck Jersey Tee 46. Really any basic tee is good by me, but the length is VERY important. Like I've said, I have a long torso, so I need that length in my tees. Sometimes I try one on and if I lift my hands above my head it becomes way inappropriate.
2. Madewell Legere Cardigan 68. Again, length is key! I have a whole variety of long cardigans in various colors and wear them almost every day. JCrew and Madewell are definitely my go-to stores.
3. The Limited Pretty Pearls Scarf 20.93. I love the fullness of this scarf and the simple but pretty pattern. I have drawers of scarfs at home, ranging from silk Hermes to the $5 pashminas you find on street corners in New York.
4. AG Stilt Jeans in any wash 130-250. I think no more needs to be said about how wonderful these are.
5. Tory Burch Eddie Ballet Flat 178. These. are. so. comfortable. They have tons of padding in the sole and it's like walking on marshmallows. They come in natural leather and patent in a whole series of colors.

And the second uniform would be a flowy blouse tucked in just in the front with a simple pendant necklace.

1. Forever 21 In The Wind Floral Top 22.80. Forever 21 is one of those places where you need to commit to searching. Not everything will fit or be flattering, but every once in a while you are able to find a fabulous piece. This top has become my absolute favorite this summer - movie nights with friends, July 4th BBQ, it's gone everywhere.
2. Marc by Marc Jacobs Daisy Pendent Necklace 58. I love simple pendents on long chains, and this one is so fun and cute!
3. AG Stilt Jeans in any wash 130-250
4. Bloch Basic Ballet Flats 130. Simple black ballet flats are an absolute must. And these have the comfort to boot!

There is no saying whether or not these uniforms are for you. The silhouettes may not work for your body type, or perhaps you work in an office and these are just not acceptable wear for your lifestyle. Or maybe this is exactly what you've been looking for! Either way, I encourage to think about your style. Are you preppy? classic? edgy? feminine? sporty? You get it. Now from there, what pieces in your closet do you feel the most confident and comfortable in - and I don't mean the sweats you pull on when watching trashy reality TV - I mean to go out in public. And you're on your way to creating your uniform. Make it work.