Monday, August 29, 2011

flat out fabulous

I know we all have dreams.  Owning your own home, taking flying lessons, traveling to a far away place...I have a few of those big dreams that I have hung onto over the years..some being of a adventurous nature, and some more simple, like owning a pair of Lanvin ballerina flats.  Call me shallow, (well, actually, please don't..) but its just a small dream that any fashion crazy girl might have.
Ballerina flats are the perfect shoe for more than one reason.  Oh sure, I love my sky high pumps and platform wedges as much as the next gal, but flats really are universally one of those things that can appear to be practical, but that are actually quite a bit more fun than that (kind of like me).  Ok, I don't give the appearance of practical even on my best day but anyway, back to flats.
Before our Paris trip a couple of years ago I was gifted with a pair of black Chanel ballet flats that I promptly wore almost every day of our trip and they still are my very favorite go-to shoe.  Well made, butter soft and classic.
I am a huge fan of the shoes of Anthropologie--and loved the Scarf-Topped Skimmers they introduced in their fall catalog.  And snakeskin being so prevalent this fall, I couldn't miss the fabulous J.Crew Cece ballet flat.  J.Crew has a charming assortment of ballerinas in a variety of colors, fabrics, and details.  The Reva from Tory Burch has really been another classic in the making (and I love my leopard pair), but this fall I am tending to look for ballerinas that have more of an unusual quality to them.  The Barbara Bui Stud Ballet Flat is a cool neutral with an edge that fits that bill perfectly.  And what is not to love about Attilio Giusti Leombruni's mango & fuschia pair which would jazz up your grey or black outfit in a flash.  So would Steve Madden's "Koool" flat in a sassy red patent.  Yeah, baby.
Puma has been making dressier flats for a few years and they definitely have the combination of style and comfort down, like with this cute pair of Karlie flats.
Whether you go for a patent, animal print, pattern or neutral, its easy this fall to find a pair from budget friendly to spurge worthy.  Put away those Toms and dance away in a pair of ballerinas this fall.

Monday, August 22, 2011

ring around the collar

I may be dating myself with the title of this latest blog...it is a tag line from an old laundry commercial...but I am not chatting about that necessary evil today....I am back on accessories for fall.  Nothing can update your look more quickly than adding a fun new accessory to transition from one season to the next and the latest twist on the statement necklace has me very excited--the collar necklace.
The last couple of years people have been sporting some major bling around the neck--ribbons laden heavily with gems, sparkling bib necklaces--and those are still relevant for certain.  The addition of the collar necklace can be a fresh look at having a unique and ornate piece to carry your outfit like Topshop's Chain and Tassel Collar, or you can make an impact with more simplicity, like this Alexis Bittar Freeform Collar Necklace.  And back to Topshop, I love the Python Collar...pair it with a simple black tee for some major impact.  And the price is a winner as well.
You can find these modern chokers in silk, leather, a variety of metals, ornate or simple and in every price point.  One of my favorite looks when I am not going all snakeskin on you is just a simple metal piece--a modern day choker.  The Kenneth Jay Lane Textured Chain Bib Necklace was my choice for an everyday look with my favorite grey sweater or a wow factor for a night out.  Although currently sold out, you can find your own look by hunting through ShopStyle, my go-to to research where to find something specific in fashion.  Remember, whether you keep it simple or go ornate, this is a look that everyone can wear.  And of course your best accessory is always the one you have already, confidence.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

tied up with a bow

This season's accessories have a sweet factor that has caught my attention--the bow.  Even if you are not a girly girl, you can add some sass to your look with a bow detail...its a bit like winking at someone...sweet and saucy at the same time.
The Chloe June bow-embellished leather shoulder bag kind of looks tough girl to me with its leather bow detail, and I am a big fan of the cross body style bag.  And of course Valentino has been rocking the bow on its handbags probably the longest that I have seen--the Betty Bow Tote in cherry red patent is a classic. You can find a lot of styles of Valentino bags on BlueFly.  From Marc Jacobs to Christian Louboutin to Kate Spade--bow details are on bags everywhere you look.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to Paris and had the most fun just hitting the streets and wandering.  One day I passed a little boutique and screamed to a halt.  In the window was a perfect yellow leather belt around a mannequin's waist, snapped together with a bow detail.  I promptly went in and bought two, the yellow for me and the taupe one for my fashionable friend, Caroline.  I like this Hugo Boss Artesia one, its got a toughness to it with the leather and the silky bow is pure elegance.
I am completely obsessed with bracelets right now---I recently found both a rocker leather bow cuff and a snakeskin & metal bow bangle on OpenSky, a favorite social shopping site of mine for unique finds & great gifts.  At OpenSky, you choose the ten "curators" you want to follow and they share their favorites finds with you from four types, Food, Style, Health & Design.  Anyway, this fantastic Yochi Green Ribbon Leather Cuff has a wow factor similar to the one I found on OpenSky.  Super cool baby.
I like the Juicy Couture's Pave Bow Ring too, it is a little wink of sweetness if you want just a subtle bit of sparkle.  And on a recent jaunt through my favorite shoe department I saw bows everywhere, from ballet flats to sky high heels. The list goes on and on.
Maybe all the things in my life cannot be neatly tied up with a bow, but I am all for having some lighthearted fun with my accessories this fall.  Sweet.

Monday, August 15, 2011

the red shoes

I am on vacation this week in Sun Peaks, British Columbia, Canada.  Although known for its skiing, in summer it is picturesque, with hiking, horseback riding, and major mountain biking trails.  It is quiet during the week, but on the weekend it was chosen for a wedding spot for several couples.  One wedding, on Saturday, had lots of guests and was a big festive affair.  On Sunday evening, as I peered out our deck, I spotted another couple, standing alone, except for a photographer, out in the August sunshine.  The bride had a beautiful fifties style pure white dress on, with an ankle length full skirt and fitted bodice.  Her hair was swept up in a chignon, and she had a round bouquet--she looked like something out of the show, Mad Men.  And on her feet, were the most beautiful pair of t-strap high heels, in a gorgeous shade of red.  Her groom wore a suit, with a red tie, a slash of color that bound him perfectly to his beautiful bride.
The red shoes were not only enchanting, they got me to thinking.  A lot.  I went online searching for meaning of wearing red shoes with a wedding gown.  Finally, I concluded that its meaning will remain with the beautiful bride, however I am going to venture that wearing red shoes with your white gown shows passion, an expression of individuality, and love.
I love when people chose to be themselves, even if it means standing out.  There is such a difference between fearlessly showing yourself and trying too hard.  You know what they say, if you have to try too hard to be cool, well, then you probably aren't.  Personally, I like being a little different, and sometimes that works out for me and sometimes it doesn't, but its worth it all the same.
Back to the red shoes.  I felt oddly inspired by them.  This year I have had that feeling of wanting to try new things, of scaring myself maybe just a bit by being open to things in the past that I have been too afraid to do, even though I really wanted to.  I am not talking climbing Mt. Everest here.  Just some personal challenges that make me happy I tried them.  I have never been the most athletic person in the world and I always wished I was.  I admire all these outdoorsy types.  I am just a bit more at home with exploring a boutique than REI.  My lifelong hatred of hiking is still in place, but I would hit a bike trail any time, and think a mountain bike may be replacing my cruiser with the wicker basket soon enough.  And I am proud to say I work out and train regularly, something I could not have claimed to do ten years ago.
In February I pierced my nose with a tiny diamond.  Always wanted to do it and one Tuesday, I just did, and then went grocery shopping.  That may have been anticlimactic, but it made me happy, it felt great to do something I always wished I had. Its so small that it after an entire weekend with my parents I had to ask my Dad what he thought and he had no idea what I was talking about.  My Mom said, "At least its not your belly button." Um, ok?
This year I have been trying to figure out what to do with myself, when I wasn't caring for children, being a wife, a friend, a volunteer.  I love to write, it comes out of me in the same way I get an idea for what I want to wear. All of the sudden I just know, and it comes together.  I come from a long line of writers, most notably my paternal grandfather, who was the night editor of The Billings Gazette, and my older brother, Tom, who has written Emmy winning television programs, television series, and a few blockbuster movies.  He is naturally funny, amazingly smart and articulate, as are all of my three siblings.   Although I do not possess the same writing talents as my relatives, I like to think that you are good at the things you love, and to follow that path will work in your favor.
Remember back in the 80's when David Bowie sang, "Let's dance, put on our red shoes and dance the blues"?  I am fairly certain I have got a pair of red shoes somewhere in that color coded closet of mine.  They may be just what I need to remind myself to approach my life with the same individuality, passion and love that I saw in that bride standing in the sunshine here in beautiful Canada.  Cheers.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

the tortoise and the hair

I have always seen tortoise as a somewhat summery type of thing, along the lines of turquoise jewelry if you will.  But summer is fleeting, (or non-existent this year if you live where I do) so I am excited to see it interpreted into many fall collections. It has depth in color and a rich texture to it that is pure timeless elegance.
Love the Stuart Weitzman kitten heel pumps for a daytime look with denim, or step it up with this gorgeous pair of Manolo Blahnik Pointy Toe Pumps that you can preorder from the Fall 2011 Collection.  Be still my heart.
In keeping with the look of chunky mens style watches that are so prominent, you can find tortoise in many styles as well--my friend Amy has a great big tortoise watch, similar to this Michael Kors one, which I love especially because of the chocolate brown mother of pearl dial.
I bought a tortoise box style 1950's handbag off of eBay a few years ago and it is one of my most coveted finds.  You can find tortoise details on bags, such as the clasp or handle, especially if you shop vintage or look for a ladylike top handle bag.
Tory Burch has incorporated tortoise in her collections, including her resin logo cuff , clutches and her classic Reva ballet flats, although those are sold out at the moment.  I love the look of the cuff especially, and you can find this look in many price ranges, from the reasonably priced J.Crew Factory Cuff or go all out with fabulous Kara Ackerman Adjustable Cuff.  With one major statement piece or even a small accessory, tortoise is something that you will be able to incorporate into your wardrobe year after year.
My other favorite fall detail is fur.  So happy its back in full swing.  Lots of faux, as well as rabbit, fox and other real fur details.  In addition to fur vests in leopard, cheetah, and other animal prints, there are luscious greys, deep camel, chocolate brown, snowy white.  Boots are fuzzy inside and out, pumps have fur roses, bags have fun furry details.
Be a shell seeker this fall and while your at it, make sure you keep yourself cozy with a little something fuzzy, two trends that are here to stay.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

hot pants

Denim is a wardrobe staple with many choices.  Skinny, bootcut, skinny bootcut, distressed, dark, trouser, jegging, and so on.  I am currently in love with all the jewel tone denim that has been so prominent, so add that to the choices as well, and I was happy to see that the trend is continuing into fall.
On an earlier expedition to find the perfect pair of red denim pants I found that the range in colors of "red" ran from a deep rose to a gorgeous pumpkin color.
Surprisingly, after searching for a fire engine red denim, I ended up with a lovely pair of Current/Elliott Skinny Stretch Jeans in Bright Rose Wash.  They are stretchy and comfy but fitted and flattering as well.  Its a deep enough hue that its fun with a summer white top right now but will be gorgeous this fall with a grey or black top, and lets just say I have a few of those. :)
Want a rich wine colored denim to tuck into boots?  Rich & Skinny's Legacy Zip Legging Jeans have a great fit and the perfect amount of stretch.
Flare jeans are very prominent this fall and J Brand's Mid Rise Flare Leg comes in Black Cherry & Bermuda Blue.  Be warned, the flare is big and the pants are loooooong, so you are going to need to have them hemmed for boots or rock some major heels, unless you are blessed with the legs of a giraffe.  J Brand also has a high rise version with their Ali jean, in a beautiful corduroy terracotta.
In addition to pinks, reds, & oranges, denim colors come in blue, green, yellow, purple, and prints, like leopard & snakeskin (see my blog "Snake in the Grass").  Colored denim is a great way to both update and transition your closet from summer to fall.  You'll be glad you added some color to the darker tones most of us have in our winter closets down the road, and for now, just enjoy being the bright and sassy girl you know you are.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

savvy shopping

Consignment shopping has a high end sister that any fashionista worth her Manolos knows is an essential part of building a wardrobe.  Luxury resale is a niche in the fashion world where everyone comes out a winner.  New with tags or "been to the party once" shoes, jewelry, handbags & apparel are resold at a fraction of their value both in shops popping up in neighborhoods as well as exclusive private sales.
Why would someone sell things they had never worn for a fraction of the original price, as indicated on the tags hanging off them?  Socialites who can only wear a dress once in public, estate sales, purchase regret, or a change in style, who knows, but one person's closet cleaning expedition can be of great benefit to you, if you know where to shop...
For the past five years the beautiful and fashionable Mary Bridget Pehl has been one of Seattle's best designer resale dealers.  Mary Bridget combines boutique retail experience, her personal connections into some of Seattle's most coveted closets and her own stylish intuition into gathering goods that are to die for.  Today I had the privilege of previewing her luxury goods for her biggest and best sale yet.  She has teamed with Baby & Co., a fashion institution known for their edgy, ahead of trend creativity and unique designers, to create a pop up shop, and it is going to be incredible.  
I could go on and on about the incredible luxury goods I saw that were in pristine condition--and for a moment, I will.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw just the handbags: never used Gucci, & Jimmy Choo, a Kara Ross clutch with a real amethyst on the flap, the large YSL downtowner bag ( I own the smaller version of this bag and it is classic and lovely--the best bag ever), and an amazing Alexander McQueen ostrich bag with the original tags.  Heart attack.  
Ok, we moved onto shoes.  In sizes ranging from 5 1/2 to 11, there were Manolo, Jimmy Choo boots, Dolce & Gabanna heels, Tod's driving moccasions and more.  Piles of fabulous denim, vintage jewelry, edgy cuffs, The Row & James Perse tees, Zac Pozen dresses, a Marni suede cape, Chanel jackets, a Lanvin unstructured blazer (perfect with your favorite jeans) and a buttery soft Celine leather coat....getting the idea?  Sizes range from 0-12/14.  
The cocktail party dresses were some of the best I have ever seen, and all the details including lace and or beadwork were perfect.  I was especially taken with the Oscar de la Renta 50's style dress with a circle skirt. Complete loveliness.  I was also very impressed on how much Mary Bridget has done her homework--lots of research has been made into the value of the luxury pieces, including online sales and original pricing.  
I have my eye on the YLS EPI bag in cerulean blue and a Milly faux leopard trench.  If you'd like to beat me to it, here are the details for the pop up shop location.  Don't miss out, and while you are there, get on MB's list so you can be in the know for future events.
Details:

MB Pehl and Baby & Co. Designer Closet Sale
mbpehl@comcast.net
Thursday, August 11 to Sunday August 14, 2011, 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Pop-up Shop at 2004 1st Ave., Downtown Seattle, 2004 1st Ave. Seattle, WA 98121