It is a very dreary day today in DC… perfect weather for the brightest pieces in my closet! I got this tee at the Ann Taylor Friends and Family event the other week and have to admit it is the only thing I liked. While at first glance this season’s Ann Taylor collection is right up my alley, I find many of the fabrics to not be nice enough for the pricepoints, the silhouettes a bit too racy for the workplace, but the styles not trendy enough to make them be right for after hours. I’m not really sure who the current Ann Taylor woman is, but it doesn’t seem any more to be me. Did you buy anything at the recent Ann Taylor Friends and Family event? How do you feel about their current season collection?
Search Results for: label/Colorblocking
Today it’s gloomy, cold, rainy. I had an outfit set to wear but I just didn’t want to waste it on such a craptastic day. Instead I went with some really basic pieces in colors that would give a bit of cheer to this gray Monday. Also… wanted to wear my new shoes! This weekend I stopped in Marshalls purely to purchase some new bed pillows but the shoe department was so tempting I had to take a peek. These babies were on the clearance wall for only $30! They are Nine West and are uber comfortable. I was looking for a nude shoe for this spring and summer that had an accent color – I was hoping for black for versatility, but I think this bright coral is a nice choice, and will be a fun accent with all the brights in my wardrobe.
And how cute is this bag from Handbag Heaven? I love the mini satchel style – it’s the perfect size to hold an iPad or netbook and it’s vegan. While it has the flap closure, it also has a zipper closure, an inside zipper pocket and two inner pouch pockets for small items like phones. There’s also a zipper pocket on the back to hold quick-access items like a SmarTrip card or lip balm. You can easily tuck in the adjustable strap to make it a handbag, or lengthen the strap and wear it as a crossbody. I was able to fit my wallet, umbrella, cosmetic bag, calendar, two smartphones, and even a paperback novel into this bag with room to spare!
This evening I am going out right after work, needed an outfit that could survive all day sitting at my desk and shoes that could handle a night on my feet; this outfit fits the bill with a comfy wrinkle-resistant knit and my trusty Miss Sixty booties. I planned on wearing this dress with black opaque tights and my black suede platform pumps, but it’s in the 70s in DC today so that combo will just have to wait! BTW, if you like the dress it’s only $44… and who can resist one-step colorblocking?
I am writing with a request for help… A couple of weeks ago I got a great skirt from Ann Taylor [see above, but the stripe is blue instead of coral], but I’m having a hard time figuring out what to do with it. This is my first venture into color blocking and I’m a bit unsure about what will work. I tried it on with a black sweater at the store, and liked that; I even tried it with a great shirt that was the same blue, but it felt a little too matchy/blocky. I have no idea of the “rules” for colorblocking, any thoughts?
Ah colorblocking, one of the strongest trends of the past year. As you know, I am a huge fan of this trend – I am thrilled to see bright hues back in the stores, and that wearing more than one color has become acceptable and even fashionable! However, this isn’t a trend for the timid, and it’s hard to know how much can be stylish or if you go too far and look like a clown.
What is Colorblocking?
To make an ensemble colorblocked, it means incorporating two colors, and in my opinion, those colors are not neutrals (gray, tan, beige, cream), nor are they black or white. While the types of colors can vary, I think a true colorblocking is mixing unexpected colors together – many would expect pink with navy, but one wouldn’t expect pink with bright turquoise, or navy with orange.
What is Monoblocking?
Monoblocking is having an entire ensemble in one shade. This past fall, red monoblocking was a hot look – wearing a red blouse, red pants, and red shoes. Another variation on monoblocking is to wear an entire outfit in one color story (magenta blouse, red trousers, hot pink belt, berry shoes).
With such a skirt that already has a bold look, it’s not boring to wear it with black. Keeping the top simple and understated will highlight the bold choice of the skirt. You could even keep the simple look going with black opaque tights and black shoes or boots.
Choosing a blue top could end up looking too matchy, unless you incorporate another color. You could do this with a skinny belt in a warm color like orange or pink, or maybe a green statement necklace or heels. That unexpected pop of contrast will break up the monotony.
If you’re feeling bold, such a skirt could work with a top of a completely different color. I would steer clear of thematic color combinations (red and blue, red and green, red and yellow, black and orange) until you have a colorblocking comfort level. Instead, choose a color with the same level of intensity and clarity – such a blue would look great with hot pink, Kelly green, orange, a green-tinted turquoise, orchid. Pick a piece with a complementary fabric – this skirt has stretch, so it would pair better with a fluid fabric with a similar finish (another knit, merino or cotton sweater, Ponte de Roma, etc.).
To not have it look as though you dressed in the dark, it’s important to pull in one of the colors from the skirt – a necklace or scarf at the throat with blue or black in it, black hosiery and shoes, a bag with black or blue. This small detail along with the right type of color and fabric will create cohesion and an ensemble.
Growing up, my mom would have us use her painter’s color wheel to choose complementary colors – I can recall having a purple sweater and skirt, and using the color wheel to choose a green necklace to balance the ensemble. If you fear mixing colors, you may want to pick one of these up at an art supply store to help you create your colorblocking outfits.
Yesterday as I left the office my boss stopped me, “I have to ask since you know more than I… pink with red? Is that now a THING?”
Yes… and no. We got into a discussion about how fun fashion is right now – most rules have been broken and you can really do what you want as long as you have a sense of style, sense of self, and confidence. And with that, you can mix pink with red, or wear previously-feared color combinations like red and green without looking like Kris Kringle’s helper.
You can also incorporate more than two colors, though I really feel that if you add more than three you can easily end up looking like a box of Crayons. If you feel you have too much color going on, adding a print (leopard or polka dots are popular choices) or a metal (lots of bangles or chains, a metallic shoe) can balance the color and make it look more purposeful and cohesive.
Advanced colorblocking, you can get outside of the same color tone. Mix bright red with a muted plum, pumpkin orange with lavender, forest green with candy pink. This can be more tricky, it’s important to have a good eye for color and texture. With your black and blue Ann Taylor skirt, you could pair it with a pumpkin-colored silk blouse and a pair of purple suede shoes, connecting the ensemble with brushed gold bangles and chain necklaces.
- Choose similar or complementary fabrics for your separates
- If new to colorblocking, choose colors with similar intensity
- Use a pop of a contrast color to break up a matchy-matchy ensemble
- Consider a color wheel to find complementary colors
- Break up a high-intensity colorblocking ensemble with a classic print or metal
- Have fun with color!
Lightweight Sweater – Ann Taylor (no longer available – similar)
Side-zipper Skirt - Ann Taylor (no longer online but still in stores)
Leopard Calfhair Pumps - Nine West (no longer available – similar)
Brushed Gold Bracelet - Ann Taylor (no longer available)
Gold Necklace - J. Crew (no longer available – similar)
Tortoiseshell Necklace – Boutique in Rehoboth Beach
Summer will soon be gone, so I better get all my summer-color colorblocking out of my system before it’s all about leather, faux fur, scarves and monoblocking (not sure if I can pull of this trend but I sure am loving how it looks). Shocker, I am almost completely in Ann Taylor – that store fits my body and life so well and their fall collection is dangerously awesome. The green they have is one of my favorite colors – can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I can pull out my emerald silk blouse from AT circa 2007!
It’s back to work for me! I went in the office the day after Christmas and did a few hours at home over the past week or so, but otherwise have been off and it was GLORIOUS! I feel recharged and ready for work, though spending so much QT with Emerson made it SUPER hard to leave her today. Last night she said she was scared of the dark even with her Twilight Turtle so she got in bed with us for a couple hours. I slept fine, but I guess she kept kicking and scratching Karl so he took her back to her room where she slept soundly the rest of the night. Guess she just needed a bit of reassurance!
Lately I have just wanted to wear a lot of black, don’t know if it’s my inner rock star crying out, a bit of laziness, or color overload. When I did my outfit recap post, I realized how very much color I have worn this year. While I adore color and think people look better in colors they love, I think I was fighting something with the color – fighting depression, anger, jealousy, the blogosphere… something. Lately I just want to chill and enjoy the moment and am finding it easier in darker shades and an attention to detail, shapes, and fabrics. We’ll see how 2013 goes… I know color won’t disappear any time soon, but I think I’ve outgrown colorblocking and Rainbow Brite-esque ensembles. I’m not gloomy, I’m just reassessing!
I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!
You can check out the interview here.
I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)
Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!
Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog
Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.
Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!
Favorite Web site to visit: FabSugar.com. They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.
Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:
1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.
2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.
3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.
Fur is on trend this year… and it disgusts me. I can’t believe that it’s 2014 and people are comfortable wearing new fur garments and that magazines (WTF latest issue of Lucky) are still promoting it. I think by now we are all too aware how fur coats are made, and thanks to technology and improvements in fabrics we don’t need to wear the pelt of an animal to protect ourselves from the elements. In fact, faux fur has come such a long way there’s no need for real fur to achieve fun and fabulous fashion.
When it comes to low-cost but high-fashion faux furs, ASOS is the site to visit. They always have the greatest ideas – fun pieces, on-trend details and colors, and looks that will stand out in a crowd. I love shopping ASOS – shipping is free on orders over $25, returns are super simple and free, and if you get on their email list you’re notified of their regular sales and promotions. And international readers – a company that ships to most of you! These are the fab faux at ASOS that stood out to me:
For the leopard fans, head thee to ASOS! Every year they come out with at least one covetable faux leopard and I love their choices this fall.
- This faux leopard fur coat from River Island is classic cool and a great length and cut that will flatter everything from jeans to trousers to skirts. $189.50.
- The stand collar of this faux leopard coat from Only gives a vintage vibe and ups the glam factor. I like that it’s a softer print, making it easier to dress up. $170.55
- This leopard faux fur coat from New Look is the type that looks so chic thrown over your casual weekend attire. Simple jeans and sweater? Not any more when it’s topped with this glam baby! $104.21
- The subtle leopard print on this fluffy faux fur coat from ASOS’ house brand is utterly adorable and the type that will still be fun to wear years from now. The oversized collar adds glamour and fits with its vintage vibe. $161.08
My favorite look for faux fur this season is the use of color. While previous seasons had chubbies in candy colors, this year has brought stripes, colorblocking, and patchworks in rainbow hues. Ans as expected, ASOS delivers this trend.
- Oh this collarless faux fur is utterly badass, from the hook and eye closure to the boxy fit to that amazing color combination. While I love how they styled it over a casual look, imagine this over an LBD for the holiday season! $151.60
- Be Cruella without hurting a single puppy in this black and white striped faux fur from Story of Lola. Zoom in on the detail of this coat, the mixing of textures and you’ll fall in love. What a statement piece! $151.60
- I’ll admit, seeing this coat on the ASOS site is what inspired this post! What a fun mix of colors and textures, and the length adds drama. Pastels are so hot this year for winter, but the addition of gray makes it a piece that won’t be dated come 2015. $189.50
- Oh this vest is so cool and unique. I adore the unexpected color combination, the unusual print, and the clean lines. Pair over a leather jacket or sweater coat for winter warmth, or belt over a turtleneck dress for a chic day look. $123.18
Vintage-inspired faux are in style and are a look that will still be chic seasons from now. ASOS not only has vintage-inspired faux furs but actual vintages pieces for sale (and no they’re not insanely priced!).
- I adore this pale gray faux monkey fur jacket. It’s the perfect topper for all your holiday dresses, but don’t be afraid to pair with jeans and boots for a downtown cool look. $113.70
- This plush camel-toned faux fur from ASOS’ plus size line Curve has that vintage vibe that will always make it look chic. This would look amazing paired with a turtleneck, dark jeans and boots, or a camel and cream wool dress. $123.18
- Pink isn’t what you’d usually consider a neutral, but this blush oversized faux fur from River Island is the shade that will go with absolute everything and the vintage look and oversized shape means it will look as chic with jeans as it does with a cocktail dress. $189.50
- Some trends are harder to carry off when you’re petite, and faux furs are one of them. Luckily ASOS realizes this and offers this vintage coat just for us shorties. With shorter sleeves and a trim fit, it won’t overwhelm a petite frame and will look classic for many winters to come. $132.65
Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?
If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.
If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.
Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.
If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the
We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.
If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.
Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.
Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.
At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.
In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.
I don’t believe you need to purchase anything to look stylish each season. Fashion has become so all-encompassing, it really is possible to be true to your personal style and look great no matter the trends. However, I have had many of you contact me asking for a post where I break down the fashion trends for Fall 2011 – what I like, and what I don’t. There’s very little I don’t like for Fall 2011, and many trends I find to be easy to incorporate into most anyone’s wardrobe. Below I share some of my favorite general trends for the season, along with a few very specific trends for fall that may be just right for your specific wardrobe!
Animal Magnetism. Animal prints are back, and I couldn’t be happier. I love animal prints, especially cheetah and leopard because they add a touch of elegance, class and still some whimsy to an ensemble. I already own a pair of classic leopard-print haircalf pumps, but if I didn’t I would totally be purchasing a pair this season. I have also embraced this trend by purchasing a skinny cheetah-print belt. Ann Taylor has a cheetah-print silk blouse that I adore, and a faux fur short jacket that is utterly divine. A leopard-print pencil skirt would look amazing with all the jewel tones on trend this fall, and is a piece that will still be stylish after this fall.
If you’re new to animal prints, I recommend choosing an accessory to get started. My pumps work with everything from dark denim jeans to little black dresses. A skinny belt is a great addition to many wardrobes – use it to cinch your dresses and cardigans from last fall to give them a 2011 look; I like wearing them over pencil skirts to add a level of interest and depth to a simple ensemble. Replace the self-belt in your dress or tunic with an animal print belt for a completely different look.
Leopard and cheetah prints incorporate black and brown so they can match most everything in your wardrobe, and really highlight colors like teal, pumpkin, red, merlot, purple, and bright pink. Zebra isn’t as prevalent this fall and can be a bit too graphic for the season’s colors and silhouettes – an ivory/brown variation would look fresh and on trend. For this fall, the best animal print is one with black and brown in it, something that will work equally well with denim and leather as it would with ladylike fabrics and silhouettes.
Seeing Red. Red is THE color for Fall 2011. Whether it’s the color of a fire engine, or a deep shade of wine, the more red the better. A popular trend this fall is called monoblocking – this spring was about wearing multiple strong solid colors together (colorblocking), but this trend is to wear head-to-toe color. Some do this by different shades in the same color story (magenta with red with berry), and others do it by wearing the same shade throughout (seen above by the blogger Atlantic-Pacific).
If monoblocking is too strong of a look for you, don’t discount red this season. Red is a phenomenal accent color that can give a much-needed pop to neutral-based wardrobes. A red shell under a black jacket, a red belt over your cardigan, a pair of red pumps peeking out under gray trousers. Red also looks great with other colors for a fall version of colorblocking – a red blouse with a purple pencil skirt, red trousers with a teal blouse, a red dress with a mustard belt.
If red fits your personal style, by all means take advantage of this trend this season and stock up. You can’t go wrong with a pair of red trousers or a red skirt to mix with what you already own. If you wish to try red for the first time, you can go small with a belt or pair of heels, or maybe try a blouse or sweater in your favorite shade of red to wear with your current clothes.
Going Mad. If you haven’t seen Mad Men, you’re not alone (I have only seen one episide myself); however you’d have to be living under a rock to not realize how this show has affected style. From home décor to fashion, Mad Men has taken over. For fashion, this means ladylike silhouettes, tweeds, capes, sweater sets, and skirts galore.
If you have an hourglass figure, you’re in sartorial heaven. However if you have a straighter or a softer frame you may find these defined shapes difficult to wear. The thing is you don’t have to wear this trend (or any trend for that matter) to be stylish. You can also use this trend as inspiration and adapt it to fit your figure and lifestyle. Rock the red lipstick, wear a similar silhouette in a softer fabric or embrace the Mad Men-eque fabrics and colors in a different silhouette. Polka dots and lace are ways to bring the vintage vibe to your wardrobe without looking like an extra from the show; just wear these prints on your terms in your own personal way.
Talking Texture. This season is about tactile fashion. Faux fur and feathered trim, buttery soft and glazed leathers, velvet and suede, embroidery and beading. Even everyday fabrics are getting the luxe touch with quilting, accent fabrics, and embellishments. I find this to be the most unique trend of fall – after many seasons of focusing on silhouettes and colors, we’re back to how things feel, how fabrics play with one another… and I couldn’t be happier.
This is a trend that like red, is good to stock up on when en vogue. I think this is a trend that is stylish most any year, so when it is mass-produced it makes it easier to build your wardrobe. Adding unique textures and rich fabrics to your wardrobe gives your closet depth and makes your staples more versatile. A black merino v-neck can have one life with jeans, another with tweed trousers, another with a leather pencil skirt, another with a feathered mini skirt. Take your LBD – imagine it with silk D’orsay pumps and a beaded clutch. Now imagine it with tall suede boots and a fitted jacket with faux fur collar. Now envision it with opaque tights, T-strap heels and a long brocade jacket over it. What makes these drastically different looks work with a simple piece is the addition of interesting textures.
Instead of a simple pair of leopard print pumps, look for a version in suede or haircalf. Consider a faux fur “chubby” coat, or even a collar you can attach to your classic black wool winter coat. Amp up your after-five wardrobe with a simple skirt in an unexpected fabric like feathers, metallic brocade, buttery leather, or piled-on paillettes.
I usually don’t delve into specific trends on Wardrobe Oxygen because they don’t work for every person. However, there are some very cool trends for this fall – if these are items or trends that work with your personal style, by all means stock up!
- Capes. Back and better than ever, capes are coming in all lengths and fabrics and with some beautiful details. Capes are part of that Mad Men-esque trend, but can work for so many different personal styles, for day or night. I love the idea of a tweed cape with suits for the work week and jeans for the weekend. While a cape may seem very prim and proper, in the right fabric (hello leather!) it can be tough and very modern.
- Leather. This is a trend I have always embraced (have a pair of leather pants and a pencil skirt waiting at the back of my closet for when I am back to that size). While classic styles like pencil and a-line skirts and jackets are available at every retailer, designers have gotten creative with the fabric and have made full skirts, midi-length skirts, and all styles of dresses and toppers. Black is the most popular color of leather this fall, but you can also find pieces in cognac, olive, gray, russet, and many richer colors like purple and forest green.
- Menswear. The Le Smoking, cigarette pants, tailored trousers a la Katherine Hepburn, elegant suits… this season has some of the most elegant and graceful versions of suiting and trousers. If this is your thing, head to a department store or favorite retailer pronto! Be sure to have these pieces properly tailored – this season is about well-fitting, flattering clothes.
- Bright Pants. Crayola-red jeans, acid green cropped pants, fuchsia full trousers… this is the season if you like trousers that get noticed. A skinny jean in a bright hue is a great addition to a casual wardrobe – pair with chunky knit sweaters or a blazer and booties. A flowing trouser in an eye-catching color can rev up a work wardrobe – pair with simple blouses and refined knits in subtle colors for simple elegance or get bold with some colorblocking and choose a solid-colored blouse in a similar or complementary hue.
- Maxi Skirts. A trend that doesn’t fit my personal style, but I admire on others. Maxi skirts make sense in the cooler months – they keep your legs warm while still giving a feminine look. Pair with figure-grazing knits and chunky boots or clogs to balance out the volume; adding a belt can also help balance out all that fabric. Designers have shown maxi skirts in all sorts of colors and fabrics for fall, but be sure to keep the skirt as a true maxi – there are midi lengths currently on trend and if you hover somewhere between the two you will head into Little House on the Prairie territory.
What are your favorite fashion trends for Fall 2011? What will you be adding to your closet this season?
With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.
And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.
I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!
Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!
I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape. How can they move their arms? Why not just put on the coat? Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures. This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair. Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).
I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!
And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.
Tee - LOFT
Skirt – Ann Taylor (bought on eBay 5 years ago for $14.99, no clue how old, label style unfamiliar to me)
Tights – Nordstrom
Booties – Cole Haan
Scarf – c/o Nordstrom Rack
Bag – Sabina
I forgot to set my alarm last night. My body woke me up at 7:15 (glad it wasn’t 8:15) and I had 45 minutes to get myself together and out the door. I had pulled this skirt out of my stash of potential winter things and a month ago it was just too tight, too short, and I thought I would re-eBay it. I pulled it on this morning since it was sitting on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed… and it fit! Only thing wrong is I guess the hem dry rotted and has fallen out while wearing (easy to fix). Very excited to have another leather skirt in my arsenal!
New bag – I had $40 in Nordstrom rewards, saw this bag for $129 and decided to try it. I have wanted a bigger bag to carry my netbook and such, and wanted a soft black purse (currently have my Banana Republic one which is that textured hard leather like a football). Love the bag, so soft, holds so much, necessary front pocket (with magnet closure) and hey… gotta love such a quality bag for only $89!
Sorry for the delay in posting, work has gotten really hectic. Glad I stocked the office fridge with Lean Cuisines because that’s the only way I get to eat anything. The only time I have left my desk is to hit the printer or the bathroom (and refill my water bottle!). Whew, what a crazy couple of weeks!
Tuesday’s post about white tee shirts got me thinking. I believe we all have a number, that price we won’t cross for certain items for our closet. I often read interviews with style icons and they’ll say how they scrimp for X but splurge for Y, and often I feel the complete opposite about those items. That our numbers are personal based upon our age, our figure, our lifestyle, our budget. They are as unique as our personal styles.
While I wouldn’t have spent over $30 for a tee shirt two years ago (maybe $45 if striped or embellished), I now obviously will drop $80 for a plain white v-neck to stop the hunt and finally be satisfied. I couldn’t imagine spending more than $75 on a pair of jeans (but owned over a dozen pairs), but now don’t even blink at a $100 pricetag; though I now only own a handful of pairs.
On the other hand, some things I won’t pay as much for now that I used to. I can recall putting designer wool and leather coats on layaway because I considered them a worthy investment; now I buy my coats on clearance in the spring and don’t care the label inside as long as I like how it looks on me. Most of my makeup bag contents are from CVS, and I’ve learned some natural budget-friendly products like witch hazel, coconut oil, and jojoba oil do just as well as the high-end skincare lines.
The part missing from the tee shirt conversation was lifestyle and budget. What are the white tee shirts worn for, and how much can you spend on clothing in general? For some people $150 is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s the food budget for a month. For some, a white tee shirt is a piece of fashion as important as an It Bag or designer jeans while others just see it as what they slip on under their sweaters or wear on weekends with shorts.
So I ask you, what are your numbers? What’s the max you’d pay for a pair of jeans? A winter coat? A pair of tall boots? A handbag? A dress to wear to a wedding or gala event? Where do you scrimp and where do you splurge? I know there’s such a variety of people who read this blog, this conversation would be interesting to highlight your unique lives and personal styles, but also help me know what to share on Wardrobe Oxygen in the future!
One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.
The Tolani scarf is courtesy of chickdowntown.com, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.
I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!
How to enter:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.
Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from chickdowntown.com. Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.
Get to know chickdowntown.com:
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
YouTube (chickdowntownTV.com or youtube.com/chickdowntowntv)
Black cashmere tank from Banana Republic, black ponte jacket from Banana Republic Outlet, Chinese red shantung skirt from Banana Republic (definite theme here!), leopard peeptoe heels from BCBGirls, gold necklace from Express, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren.
Hair was washed and conditioned, dried with my Croc wet-to-dry iron. No products.’
Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, Benefit’s That Gal, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory over whole lid. Lashes curled, two coats Cover Girl Lash Blast and one of Imju Fiberwig. Maybelline Ultraliner in black on top lash line and on lips is some Revlon Shiny Sheers in a sheer red that I left at home by accident so do not have to read the label.
I am not really sure what is going on with the layout of my posts; I have not done anything different so it must be that Blogger is being stupid again.
This outfit is inspired by Catie’s contest at Cuffington. This outfit makes me fabulous inside… though notsomuch when I walk past my reflection in a window. I adore this skirt, it is so much fun and the color is awesome. The cashmere tank is really thick and I have had it for years and got it for like $10 on the clearance rack. Jacket has given me many miles and I love its versatility and the shoes… oh I love these shoes so much I have two pairs of them! All that is missing is my silver cuff, this great green ring I bought at a Ren Fest and my wedding tiara and I would be wearing almost all my favorite things! Too bad this skirt isn’t the most flattering (the one my husband says makes me look like Mimi from Drew Carey) or I would wear it every week!
Black stretch v-neck from Banana Republic, white twill cuffed cropped pants from Casual Corner, black leather thong heeled sandals from Mossimo, multiple skinny silver bangles from Ann Taylor Loft, black leather and silver necklace from Chico’s.
Hair is weird. In the shower I was considering loose messy waves and the front feathered out. Yeah, I watched Jessica Simpson’s stupid new video and was slightly inspired. So I added Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Spray, blew hair straight letting it do as it pleased, twisting some pieces. It ended up looking damaged and gross. I continued blowing, using a paddle brush, that made some difference. I then blew the front with a round boar bristle brush and then applied bioSilk so it didn’t look as much like straw…. not my best hair day.
Makeup is L’Oreal True match foundation in C3, MAC Studio Stick concealer, Physician’s Formula Magical Mosaics bronzer for color and powder, a bit of Nars Orgasm blush. Eyes is the ivory shadow from Revlon’s ColorStay Neutral shadow quad, then The Body Shop’s 08 (Granite) in the lids and along the lash line. lashes curled via Shu Eumura and two coats of L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in black applied. On lips is Sally Hansen’s diamond lipgloss in a hot pink (the label with the name fell off).
Dear Alison, I don’t feel comfortable in any heel over 2” but I really want a fun shoe wardrobe. It seems that every low heel is frumpy and boring. Where does a shoe lover find sexy and stylish low heels?
Dear fellow shoe lover, sexy, fashionable, and fun shoes do exist without sky-high heels! Here’s some that have been on my radar:
1/5” kitten heel, softly pointed toe, and fabulous fabrics like tan dotted pony hair and pewter glitter make this shoe a fun addition to any wardrobe. I love the interesting textiles, which add interest and depth to any ensemble. The heel is perfect for trousers as well as fuller skirts.
The electric pink color of these suede pumps will bring sunshine to any gray fall or winter day. This color is so intense it makes a perfect accent – pair with neutrals for a fun pop of color, or wear with a solid colored blouse for quick colorblocking. This shade would be fun with all the dark reds that are on trend for the upcoming season.
I believe a leopard-print shoe is an unexpected neutral that pairs great with solids as well as other prints. This pump in leopard-print pony hair is fun, funky, but also quite classic. It would look great with tweed trousers, jeans, or even a traditional skirt suit. If you like this silhouette, the Diema also comes many different solid colors in patent, leather, and suede.
Shiny patent leather and a sweet bow make this shoe fun, the thick heel makes it very wearable for long days on your feet. This style has sass, but is still quite work-appropriate. The bow would look adorable peeking out from under trousers, but would also look great with all styles of skirts and dresses. The camel/black combo is versatile and a twist on the spectator/cap toe trend of the past year, the red is a classic statement-maker that will work with most any wardrobe.
A very flattering and classic style with an almond-shaped toe and slender 2” heel, but unexpected in the leopard patent material which almost looks like tortoiseshell. And incredibly versatile and sophisticated shoe that still knows how to have fun, pair with everything from dark trouser jeans to your power suit.
A classic almond-shaped toe and a 1” wooden heel makes this shoe elegant and stylish, but the variety of colorful snakeskin finishes also makes it fun and memorable. In green, red, and pewter snakeskin, this shoe would look chic with work trousers or on weekends with cords or denim.
I love the lace detail and the sweet peeptoe, but what I adore is the fabulous color combinations that will have strangers asking you where you bought your shoes. The chocolate suede with wine leather is sophisticated, the black/tan patent combo is classic, the tan leather with orange detail is surprisingly versatile and adds a tiny pop of color that will amp up any workday ensemble.
An incredibly classic silhouette is made playful with houndstooth accents. I love the heel which will have people stop you on the street asking where you got your shoes. This shoe would look fantastic with the classic menswear and collegiate chic trends that are hot for the upcoming season; you’ll have instant pattern mixing if paired with tweed or Glen plaid. This shoe also comes in an amazing green combination that could be an unexpected neutral in your existing wardrobe.
Scalloped edge, pointed toe, and the coolest combinations of textiles makes this shoe a must-have. While I love the glossy black with the gray leopard calfhair for myself, the blue suede/gray snakeskin combo is a winner and would look fantastic with everything from soft neutrals to brights to crisp dark denim.
Where do you find fashionable and fun low heels? Any brands or styles I missed?
Everywhere you look, chiffon is taking center stage. From see-through tee shirts to maxi skirts with short slips, the sheer trend is hot for summer. One of the most popular variations of this trend is the sheer blouse; it can be an easy way to incorporate this trend into your daily wardrobe. However, without proper planning a sheer blouse could prove to be a wardrobe mistake.
Here are some tips on how to wear a sheer blouse this summer and make it appropriate for day or for play.
Lace trim, puffed sleeves, pussy bow at the throat – these are blouses that evoke an earlier time. The silhouette is perfect for pairing with a pencil skirt for the office or with jeans and heels for happy hour. How you wear it determines whether it ends up looking appropriate for either situation.
For Day: If the blouse is a solid color, a camisole in the same color will offer modesty and intensify the hue. If it is a print, a nude camisole or one in a lighter color in the print will offer coverage without sacrificing the pattern in the fabric.
To keep things professional, choose a bra that either matches your skin or else the color of the camisole so that it doesn’t show. A camisole in a silky fabric will keep the blouse from sticking to it or bunching. Even though the blouse covers your décolleté, be sure the camisole provides proper coverage – no extreme cleavage, cropped styles, or backs lower than your bra strap. While your blouse may be sheer, it isn’t invisible and your skin will show. On the other hand, a wide-strapped or tank-style layer can ruin the line of the blouse – choose a camisole with straps no wider than a bra or slip to maintain the vintage vibe.
For Play: A solid black bra with full coverage is a sexy way to wear such a blouse – it’s also a cheeky way to play up the prim, vintage silhouette. If you have one, you could also wear a solid bustier. A black or nude camisole is a good option for those who desire more coverage. As with the day option, a slim strap and silky fabric will provide the best effect.
A tee shirt in chiffon, gauze, or a very weathered jersey is a fun addition to the wardrobe. It’s a creative alternative to a classic shell under a work blazer, and is more sexy and stylish than a traditional knit jersey. Here’s how to make such a garment look chic.
For Day: If you work in a creative or casual office, a classic tank top is a great base layer for such a shirt. Choosing a tank in the same color is a safe bet, but this is a great opportunity to try a variation of colorblocking with a tank in a contrast shade or a shade slightly lighter or darker than the tee. The transparency of the tee will create a fun third color for the torso. If you wear the tee untucked, you can either wear the tank untucked for a continuation of the color, or tuck in the tank for a different effect over the color of your skirt or trousers. If you’re wearing under a suit, both the tank or camisole and the tee should be tucked in for a more classic effect.
For Play: As seen in the image above, a bandeau or tube top in the same color will give the necessary modesty without sacrificing the style of the sheer top. The graphic line of a tube or bandeau will complement the sporty cut of a tee shirt and keep it fun and feminine. If the top is off the shoulder, you could also choose a tank top in most any color for a “Flashdance” feel.
Maybe it’s a lacy babydoll dress or a gauzy peasant blouse, possibly it’s a menswear-inspired shirt or an oversized tank – the sheer tunic is a hot look this summer. In a creative office, such a piece could be worn with skinny pants or leggings and for evening or weekend it would look fresh with distressed denim shorts or a pair of denim stovepipes.
For Day: Wearing a tank or camisole in the same color will make an otherwise sultry piece look day-friendly. A gray lace peplum top with gray tank and narrow black trousers could work in many corporate settings if the tank has good coverage and is of a refined fabric (not a ribbed cotton tank, something smooth and possibly with a bit of poly or Lycra to give a silky finish). You could also match the base layer to your skirt or pants, such as a teal sheer tunic with a navy shell and navy trousers. If the piece is printed, stick to the tips for a vintage-inspired blouse and go with a base layer that doesn’t compete with the pattern. Even with these tips, sheer tunics can often be inappropriate for the office – one doesn’t want to look like a fortune teller, a hippie, or a club kid in the workplace. If you aren’t sure, keep the piece for play.
For Play: With such a piece, all things are go. A boho-inspired peasant top would look best with a delicate or feminine base layer (solid bra, skinny-strap camisole, lacy spaghetti-strap tank). Vintage-inspired and modern pieces look great with most anything – this is the time when pattern and color mixing can really work. Consider wearing a floral-print tunic over a leopard-print cami, a sheer red top over a blue tank and green mini skirt, a black lace tunic over a paisley-print tube dress. If you wish to play up the silhouette or fabric of the tunic, consider a bra or camisole free of details and in the same color, black, or a color close to your skin.
Do you like the sheer trend? What is your favorite way to wear such a wardrobe piece?