Monday, February 12, 2018

The MOTHER of Reinvention

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

What does it mean to be original? This can be an ever-changing challenge for those of us that love showing who we are by how we dress. Personally, I am constantly being inspired by the women that I surround myself with, and I also strive to be the best "me" I can be. Sometimes seeing a look on someone else can inspire me to take that and run with it in my own way, and sometimes one just wants to emulate what we admire. The way I look at it is that there is a lot to love out there.

Take this fantastic Zebra Don Drop Shoulder Coat by Annette Görtz, for example. I saw it on a woman I much admire, GRAY Magazine Editor Jennifer McCullum, in a blog post from the iconic Seattle store, Baby & Company. I mean, how lucky are we to have so many amazing local businesses that bring beautiful fashion to our city? Add an amazing woman wearing their clothing and you have fashion magic, baby. Baby & Company is the place to go if it is originality, beauty, and inspired pieces you desire. In the above-mentioned blog post, I loved how Jennifer was styled with a polka dot patterned blouse with the coat's zebra stripes. It showed its endless possibilities. And that I needed to own it.

Now that I do, I wore mine with the sparkly front J.Crew Collection Striped Shirt, because the zebra stripes, like any animal print, are a neutral. What does that mean? It means wear it with whatever you want, and if this means sequins in the daytime to you, even better! This particular shirt is sold out but you could pair a menswear striped blouse or a sequin tee and completely reinvent the look with either one. I like the idea of a pop of bold color underneath the stripes too. Endless possibilities...

Now, onto denim. Finding great fitting denim is a little bit like discovering the holy grail of fashion. A closet staple and often the cornerstone of a wardrobe for many of us, it is almost as personal as shopping for the perfect bra. The world of denim has completely exploded, and that is a great thing. Coming up for spring, denim ruled the runways in tailored jackets, cool skirts and dark denim circa the 90s. Speaking of reinvention, denim style is on the constant move, which means lots of fabulous choices.

For me, I am a tried and true FRAME denim girl, but I have favorites from Rachel Comey, Madewell, 7 for All Mankind and more. I have been on the lookout for a bit of a closet reinvention lately, so when I was in Fremont I stopped by another great local boutique, Pipe and Row. It was one of those days where I must have tried on a zillion pairs of jeans but nothing was quite right. Then, I tried the MOTHER Hustler Ankle Fray Boot in the black wash "Not Guilty". The high waist rocks, the fit hugs perfectly and the frayed slight crop boot cut is modern and cool. Sold.

My go-to black heels are this snake Miu Miu pair I bought from MBs Finds Designer Consignment. They look amazing with everything, including showing off the frayed hems on these Mother of all jeans. Some things don't need to be reinvented, and the classic pointed toe heel is one of them.

Is "necessity the mother of invention"? Or....reinvention?  If it is necessary to you to continue to grow and change and become a better version of the person you were yesterday, than yes. And not just because you have cool new jeans on. ;)

I always feel a bit reflective as I head towards another birthday and think about my previous trip around the sun. I feel grateful, I feel hopeful, and I feel strong. I continue to be inspired by a community of amazing women, and I treasure the true and real friends that I have in my life, the ones that love me for being me.

This quote is such a good one, because even though it can drive home the point of the obviousness of being disappointed by someone, it can also be the opposite. It tells us to trust in those people that bring light to your life. May you have many.

"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
 ~ Maya Angelou

Friday, February 2, 2018

Kick Up Your Heels: The Sock Sneaker

Photo by Tamara Tremain

This time of year, I am in the mood to spice things up in my closet. I have been slowly purging things over the past month and now that my closet is a little more organized I can see what I have and what I may want to add. Although I love the winter sales for snagging that coveted piece I have been considering over the past year, I usually like to invest in things now that I can transition into the next season. I am loving all the cool shoes out there and after diving headlong into the sock bootie trend this fall and winter, I was excited to rock a sock sneaker next. 

The Loeffler Randall Scout Sneakers are a stretchy metallic-knit that make them one statement-making pair of kicks. They have a striped sock topper finished and a slight platform sole, giving them that certain je ne said quoi. These cool girl shoes look as great with a skirt or dress as they do with a pair of cropped flare pants. Plus, so so very comfortable! 

It is all in the details on these kicks, down to the tri-colored wavy soles! I rocked these babies with my rag and bone Jubilee sweater and skirt and they were perfect even in this crazy Seattle rain. 

Photo courtesy of goop

Apparently Gwyneth and I have the same taste, since I saw that she has featured these sneakers on her the shop goop section of her website by the same name.  So I guess that means we are besties now. Awesome! ;)

Although I have serious disdain for people that live in their workout gear every day (I get it, its get dressed!), I love the way athleisure wear has become a legitimate part of fashion. When done well, with creative design and interesting materials and construction, athletic inspired pieces are so versatile. Sure you can dress them down, but you can also mix your more feminine pieces, like a skirt or a blouse, for an unexpected but super chic look. With so many choices out there, it is easy to find a fun sneaker shoe that reflects your personal style. Remember, fashion is fun! Happy Friday! xx

Monday, January 29, 2018

Big Love for Bold Stripes

I love originality, in all its forms. Certainly, I am inspired by so many amazing and talented women, both in fashion and other areas. I happened to live next door to Theresa Wingert, a successful director and amazing artist, who always looks effortlessly cool. Whether it is a pair of platform boots or the way she rocks her denim, I always love seeing what she has on and how she puts her personal spin on things. She is not so much a follower of trends but a trendsetter.

Photo courtesy of Where Did U Get That? 

I also love the style of Karen (featured above) from WhereDidUGetThat? so much...she's fantastic. Her take on things is so extraordinarily unique and her mix of high/low style is super inspiring. I have bought several dresses after seeing them on her and I always credit her for her stylish picks, plus I really appreciate the fact that she has taken the time to answer my questions on fit. By mere coincidence she was wearing a bold black and white skirt on her recent post, while this week I chose a similar look with my Alice + Olivia Paulette Wide Leg Pants.  My trousers are a bit hard to find now but you can find similar pairs here and here. Anyhow, great minds? I hope so...

I cannot go anywhere in these trousers without people stopping me. I love the boldness of stripes and pop of color mixed together to really make a statement. Since it is close to Valentine's Day (a favorite of mine) I chose to pair my fab trousers with a beautiful Joie Dannee Sweater. It is a combination of details that are killer....a flattering boatneck, a gorgeous cherry red, plus ruching and bow tie detailing at the wrists. You can find it at the above link, or head over to University Village to the Joie store to check it out in person. Right now at Joie they are showing lots of stripes in their latest collection. Tell Rebekah I sent you.....

Stripes make a great platform for other patterns as well. A favorite combination of mine are florals and stripes, but I also adore animal prints as well. The Manolo Blahnik Leopard Slingbacks I wore for this shoot are old favorites of mine, and my new favorites are these Prada Leopard Fringe Loafer Mules that I found on sale at Neiman Marcus.

And speaking of originality, my Tah Circle Bag, that I bought from Sway and Cake this fall is a fabulous favorite as well. I am a sucker for a round handbag. This is one of those bags you just always reach for because it is a stand out in both form and function. Plus, it is big enough to fit my things, including too many lipsticks, and has a sassy red interior. In addition to black, this cool bag also comes in Burgundy, Electric Blue, Red and Whiskey. Tah is a Portland based company, by the way, and Sway and Cake is a Seattle boutique that I am thrilled to see back as a brick and mortar as well as online.

My mismatched rose quartz and druzy earrings are Elliot Hunter NY, created by a local jewelry designer, Allison Becker. Each of her pieces are one of a kind and handmade using semi precious stones, raw stones and unique details. You can view her pieces on Instagram or go see them for yourself at her trunk show at Salua Lingerie on February 10th.

I am excited to share that I'll be talking about my love of stripes and how to style them soon on KING 5's Good Day Northwest, so stay tuned for more details. Have a great week! xx

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Changing Shape: A Dress for All Seasons

Last spring I attended an event sponsored by the Seattle Chapter of Fashion Group International featuring local designers in a Pop-Up Shop at University Village. It was really great to see so many amazing creatives in one spot and I did not go home empty handed! It was at this fashionably fun evening that I had the pleasure of meeting Rebekah Adams, the local designer behind the label Poppyseed. I was so smitten with her Zipper Dress that I bought it on the spot.

The following September at Fashion Week at The Bellevue Collection, Poppyseed won the Independent Designer Runway Show for 2017. I attended the show, and in my article for Vanguard Seattle I wrote:
"Poppyseed’s innovative designs and modern aesthetic make her pieces both wearable and completely original in their approach to dressing. While the brand is geared towards modern maternity wear, the designs has a wider focus that has created bold pieces that are can be worn by women in any stage of life. The “Zipper Dress” was her first foray into this versatile dressing and kicked off the creativity of Poppyseed that won the show this fall."

The Zipper Dress from the Poppyseed capsule collection was originally designed with a woman's pregnancy and changing body in mind. The double zipper front is sewn onto inverted pleats, which allows the dress to change its shape. Zip it open for a bell silhouette, close the zippers for a fitted look, or a bit of half and half. It has multiple and charming personalities and I love the details of the high/low hem, plus the viscose, nylon, and spandex fabric combination make it keep its shape beautifully.

That being said, I am not expecting anything other than some packages from the UPS man so I wasn't in the market for maternity wear. ;)  However, this beautifully unique dress is not only for ladies with a baby on the way, it is a fabulous and uber flattering dress no matter what your size and shape. It comes in black or navy and is equally able to look casual chic or dressed up for cocktails.

I love the dress so much that I didn't want to have it be just for warmer months, but wanted to style so I could wear it in cooler temps without freezing to death. (I am often cold!) The solution? Layers. Athleisure wear continues to be strong for Spring 2018, with cool and unique sweatshirts giving us a fun alternative to knits. I hit the sales this month here and there and found this cool Jonathan Simkhai Lace Appliqué Cropped Sweatshirt in black and blue, a favorite color combination of mine. I love this cropped sweatshirt over this dress, which doesn't hide all of its great details and creates a whole new look. It is unexpected and I like that.

I added black heeled Via Spiga booties with sparkling Emilio Cavallini Metallic Double Net Socks peeking out to them...I am obsessed with socks! Socks with booties, socks with high heels. Get yourself some super fun socks! Finally, a cool bag: this black Valentino Rockstud Garavani Bag I received from Santa gives the whole thing a bit of sass.

I have been cleaning out my closet and slowly adding things to my closet on Postmark and consigning other things to local shops. Getting things organized helps me shop in my own closet too and mix things unexpected together. Adding a jacket, sweater or sweatshirt can change up a dress you already have in your closet and give it a new perspective, all while keeping you warm in the winter months ahead. Try it with any of your favorite dresses, from florals to prints to solids, and add a layer, socks or tights and a pair of booties to get creative with both your old and new loves in your closet.
Thank you for reading! xx

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Don't Be Like The Rest of Them, Darling

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

This past year in fashion has been a significant one. At the beginning of 2017 we saw the now iconic pink pussy hat kick off a year of originality and unique voices in fashion and beyond. The Pussyhat Project was initiated by Los-Angeles based co-founders Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman for the Women's March on January 21, 2017. The pink hat that was knitted by Zweiman, which became the icon for a call on people to turn the Women’s March into a ‘sea of pink’, is now on display in the the Rapid Response Collecting Gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The gallery shows how current global events, politics and pop cultural can impact, or are influenced by, design, art, architecture and technology. In addition, The Design Museum has nominated the Pussyhat Project as a Fashion Design of the Year. The cheerful pink hat with ears kicked off the year with not a purr, but a roar.

Jana Zweiman's Pink Pussy Hat 

Other major impactful events include The Costume Institute’s “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons” show and most notably to me, Rihanna's spectacular attire at the Gala. I didn't get an invite to that fabulous event, but my daughter and I did attend the opening day of the Dior 70th Anniversary Exhibit in Paris at the Musee des Arts Decoratifis. We not only were at the front of the line on the first day it was open to the public, inside we rubbed elbows with Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, who was touring the Exhibit with a guide among we mere mortals. My 16 year old daughter actually talked to Ms. Wintour, and got a compliment on her outfit. Talk about being over the moon! The exhibit was one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen.

Over the year I have loved seeing the development of creativity from both major labels and independent designers. Mixed patterns, and interesting and unexpected combinations served as inspiration to show major style in an original way. While there is an "anything goes" feel to it, there is also a method to the madness. While things like wearing sequins in the daytime is hardly groundbreaking these days, the loosening of "rules" ( I am talking to you, "no white after Labor Day" rule followers) to non-existence is the best thing that has happened in fashion in a long time. Denim on denim? Yes, please. J.Crew Green Velvet Avery Pumps that "match" nothing else in my look, even better.

I have especially been a fan of the way denim has evolved. While the classic Levi has re-emerged as a coveted brand, almost everywhere you look you can find denim labels that are thinking and designing with a contemporary feel. Back at the beginning of December I was shopping at the Nordstrom Holiday Shopping Night when I spotted a pair of denim that stopped me in my tracks. The Rachel Comey Revel Pant consist of a frayed, cascading ruffle on one leg and a cropped, wide-leg made in dark-rinse denim. They are as fabulous with heels as they are with booties or a pair of sneakers. Best. Denim. Ever.

These epic pants have such an incredible high waist that they are the perfect pairing with a cropped sweater. The rag & bone Jubilee Crew Sweater in navy wool is a fantastic cropped knit that shows off with killer details. From the modern silhouette to the rose gold lurex thread and Waterbury hand-stamped signature dagger rose gold buttons, this little piece has serious style.

And speaking of style, I found this Zara Checked Coat with Faux Fur Cuffs in New York this past fall and loved the slouchy oversized look and the elegance of it. I have worn it again and again. It's the warmer version of the oversized plaid blazer that is one of the big looks this season.

And last but not least, these beautiful earrings are locally designed and made by Allison Becker of Elliot Hunter. They are black lace onyx and sterling silver and I adore the chic simplicity and shoulder sweeping design. The black onyx protects against negative energy of others and aids in the development of stamina, which, in addition to being beautiful, are just more good reasons to wear these constantly. You can see more Elliot Hunter pieces on Instagram. There is nothing I love more than sharing the best of the local design talent in this city, and Elliot Hunter is a prime example of this excellence.

As always, wearing what you love and being yourself is always the most authentic way to show true style. And remember...

"Don't be like the rest of them, darling." ~ Coco Chanel

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Cheer: The Not So Ugly Holiday Sweater

Back when I was in my 20s, I used to rock the holiday sweaters during the Christmas season without a hint of irony. There was so such thing as an ugly holiday sweater craze back then, it was just being festive. I even a tiny pair of candy cane post earrings that I loved...I mean, my holiday game was strong, if not a bit off the fashion mark. Eventually I came to the conclusion that these were not exactly me any longer and shipped my holiday sweaters off to my Mom, who was more than happy to have them. The apple definitely didn't fall far there. I did keep the earrings and I still love them! ;)

This fall I have been a bit obsessed with the Fair Isle sweater and have been on the look out for something that is a little different. The "ugly" holiday sweater craze has reached epic proportions at this point, with everyone from retail giants to vintage shops getting in on this little tongue in cheek trend. While surfing the web for fair isle sweaters I happened upon the most enchanting sweater ever, and I bought it. And yes, it is a holiday theme sweater! Let me defend myself here...

The Boden Fair Isle Sweater was full of British charm, with its guardsman around the neck embellished with the tiniest bit of silver thread. I wore it with a pair of rag and bone leather pants to make it more interesting and edgy. Then I added two pieces from local shops from my Queen Anne neighborhood. First, I wore a star print denim shirt that I purchased last summer from Foundation Seattle. Stars are everywhere this year, and the contrast of the print and the leather felt modern to me. This awesome black faux fur leather jacket from Peridot Boutique also gives the look some edgy fun.  Stuart Weitzman Notazzie black suede booties keep the line of the black pants going for a slimming affect. And while ugly sweaters have their place and are fun, don't be afraid to be festive with a holiday sweater that is actually cute. The key is to mix it with non holiday pieces to keep the look fresh, not kitschy.

Thank you to Leslie from Intermezzo Salon here on Queen Anne in Seattle for the hairstyling for this shoot and as always, to Krissi for making photoshoots so fun. This one in particular was at Swanson's Nursery in their Christmas tree area. I went back a couple of days later with my family and bought a tree from them and it couldn't have been a better experience. The trees were fragrant (and inside on a very rainy Saturday) and the staff was super nice and even loaded the tree up for us. We have been going to Swanson's since our children were small to see the real reindeer and pick out beautiful plants and holiday decor. It is definitely a year round Seattle treasure.

Cheers to a festive December! xx

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Little Green Dress and Fabulous Faux Fur

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

I often talk about shopping local both on this blog and on my Instagram, and I really practice what I preach. Sure, I am often enticed by surfing the web or perusing the fast fashion chain world, but when it comes down to it, knowing the shop owners by name in my neighborhood and being a regular customer feels great. After all, it is a win/win situation. You can support small businesses and local companies while finding beautiful clothes, great gifts, lovely home furnishings. I love it. Plus, no matter where you live you can participate in Shop Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 25th, right after the dreaded Black Friday, a much better option.

I am going to take one holiday at a time here, and right now I am gearing up for Thanksgiving. The green dress featured in this blog is the Tart Collection Sian Dress and it is a GOOD one. I love the green ruffle bottom and of course the pockets. Plus it is the perfect length to show off a great pair of over the knee boots. I think a neutral or black suede would be gorgeous, but my Sam Edelman snake print boots add a bit of chic personality to the whole look. I love this dress and even better, it is 30% off at Queen Anne Dispatch on Friday, November 17th, when the store holds a day long party for its 30th Anniversary. Now that's something to celebrate.

Faux fur is everywhere this season and with good reason. It is the kind way to show style with fur, and faux fur comes in as many colors and kinds as you can imagine. I am a big fan of the the Pia Rossini Snood that QA Dispatch carries--every season I give them as gifts and several have made their way home to my own closet. Add it to a dress or wear it out with a coat--no matter what you have on, a little fur makes a big impact. The knit Pia Rossini Wrap Sweater I am wearing above (also from QA Dispatch) is a super cozy way to stay warm and look cool. I like wearing this chic Pia Rossini Wrap with denim too. The faux fur is so soft and "real" looking you may get people wanting to pet've been warned.

Dries Van Noten Rimbaud Faux Fur Coat

In other faux fur news, my fantasy pick has got to be the Dries Van Noten Rimbald Faux-Fur Coat from Barneys New York. I saw it on a woman yesterday with a causal pair of jeans and it is a stunner.That may be on a Christmas list....

Free People Dolce Faux Fur Bag

On the budget friendlier side, my Free People Dolce Faux Fur Bag in Wine gets more compliments than any other bag I carry. It is so fun and super soft and comes in a rainbow of furry fun colors.  It would make a great gift too but you may be too enchanted with it to give it away. ;)

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and cheers to a festive holiday season ahead. xx