Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Big Coverup: Favorite Fall Jacket Trends

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

The beautiful fall weather is finally gone from downright hot to that slight chill in the air that means its time to grab a jacket. It is that time in early autumn for something that you can put layers under or wear alone to show off your favorite pair of denim.

Trends for fall have been so creative and "anything goes" this fall that it has been fantastic to revisit some classics as well as embrace some fun new looks. From oversized plaid blazers (hello 90s) to feather and embroidery embellishments, finding your look was never more fun. Plus you can mix it up again the next day.

Levis, the oldest and largest denim brand, is instantly recognizable as an iconic brand, but with the onslaught of premium denim over the past decade it has been overshadowed by the perpetual onslaught of new lines of denim. I was happy to see that Levi come to the forefront of denim once again with their collaborations and capsule collections that stay true to the brand while giving it a modern edge. I bought these Levi 721 High-Rise Skinny Jeans from the Levi store in the Meatpacking District in NYC a few weeks ago. I love the fit and the detail of the rose embroidery on the hips. It makes me really happy to see this classic brand broaden their scope but still maintain the Levi look. And denim is always a great way to show off a stylish jacket.

In addition to a great pair of denim, boots are also a versatile way to show your style. Ever since I saw the Fendi Rockoko Chelsea boots with its ribbed color-block elastic inserts and multicolor floral embroidery at the Nordstrom Season Shift Event, I have been obsessed. I have been wearing these all fall, with dresses and skirts as well as denim. These boots are one of my favorite fall purchases and although they are clearly a splurge, I plan on getting my moneys worth in wear. Sometimes when someone says something is an investment piece it sounds like an excuse for spending money on a label, but these are truly one of those boots that I am proud to own.

Faux fur is another fun trend that makes the perfect fall handbag! Intermix in the Meatpacking District in NYC had this Maison Boinet Teal Mini Crossbody Bag that totally grabbed me. You can hold it by its gold ring handles or wear it in a cross body style for a great eye popping accessory.

Not everything needs to have a designer label to be cool. H&M has really pretty blouses that showcase the dark floral trend perfectly. This one is similar to mine, because as is the way of fast fashion, the blouse I am wearing is sold out. I wore it with a half tuck in the front to show off the embroidery detail on my Levis. Here are three of my favorite jackets to wear right now and into the cooler months ahead.

The Oversized Plaid Blazer

The blouse, denim and boots are great pieces that enables me to mix up my look with the change of my jacket. The oversized long plaid blazer is updated from the 90s and it a major component of the 2017 fall wardrobe. I think this blazer looks so cool with denim but I would also wear it with a dress and a chunky knit scarf. It is a super versatile piece that has polish and street smarts, and that is why I chose the Tibi Glen Plaid Oversized Jasper Blazer. You can get also get this look from Target, ASOS, and Shopbop.

Cargo Jacket with A Twist

Judging from the amount of army green hanging in the jacket section of my closet, I may have been having a love affair with the army jacket and it's fancier cousins for the past few months. My fashionable friend Monica spied this great jacket at Zara in Paris this past summer and I jumped online and grabbed it. If feathers aren't your thing, never fear. Shopbop has a fabulous lineup of cargo jackets, from statement sleeves to patched. Check them out here.

The Bomber Jacket

The bomber continues to be a big jacket shape for fall and I love all new twists that this jacket style has. The Cinq À Sept Leia Ruffle Bomber Jacket takes a plain army green bomber to a new level with  a double row of ruffles that run across the sleeve and around the jacket. And it is on sale ladies, at Nordstrom Rack, down from the original price of $595 to $189.97.  And don't be fooled by the photo on the Nordstrom website: it is not brown, it is green.

Metallic Moto Jacket

I think that Joie makes some of the best jackets around. I am a big fan of metallic moto jackets particularly ones that have a subtle look to the leather rather than a high shine. The Joie Leolani Leather Jacket is made of distressed leather so it is not bright, but has that favorite worn jacket look that goes with absolutely everything. I bought mine from my gorgeous friend Rebekah at the University Village store. I paired it with a Miu Miu skirt from MB Finds and those favorite Fendi boots of mine while out and about in NYC, but would also wear it with denim or over a dress. The sky is the limit. It comes in a gorgeous gray color too.

Raw Edge Blazer

Raw edges take a great jacket and just make it look cooler. The raw or unfinished hem takes a done up blazer and makes an individualistic statement. This Isabel Marant Étoile Ela Blazer was another MB Finds score, but you can find it here as well. I love the raw edge on a denim jacket or blazer too, and this Alexander Wang Collarless Grey Denim Jacket is a great combo of low key high style. Love!

Denim and Patches

Whether you are looking for a low key stylish look or something of a major statement, there are some amazing choices in jackets for fall. A interesting and fun piece like a metallic or embroidered and embellished really makes an outfit. I have been adding vintage patches to my distressed cropped denim jacket over the past year, and this week I finished it with a Gucci-inspired vintage snake patch I found in an antique store in Fremont here in Seattle. It is the cherry on top of this fun project and made the jacket complete.

Cheers to covering up in style. xx

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Wear White After Labor Day: The White Hot Bootie for Fall

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

I have been a shoe fanatic since I was a little girl, and that obsession continues to this day. This year I am really loving fall's amazing boots with all the modern and unexpected colors and details. The embellishments, like pearls on heels, and details like the embroidery make boots a total kick this season. I fell in love with the sock trim of this Fendi boot at the Nordstrom Season Shift event this summer, where they were shown in a fantastic silver metallic. I love the black as well. At the recent Neiman Marcus Fall Trend Show all of the female models wore the Stuart Wetizman Clinger Bootie in white, definitely a huge trend for fall. The sock bootie is all over the place this season, in fun colors and fabrics, like velvet. Yes!

Recently I overheard a conversation between two young women about the white boot trend that was both amusing and difficult to not comment on. Luckily we were in adjacent dressing rooms so they couldn't see me or my facial expressions. One woman was really into the trend and the other was against it because "everyone knows you don't wear white after Labor Day." She also stated that "white is not a fall color." I have to whole heartedly disagree.

The origins of the fashion "rule" of not wearing white beyond Labor Day come from a very different time. Beginning in the early 1900s, clothing was more formal and there were strict guidelines regarding what was appropriate to wear as the seasons changed. The summer season began at Memorial Day and ended at Labor Day. Society families headed from the city to summer places like seaside cottages to escape the heat. City clothes were left behind in exchange for lighter, whiter attire. Come fall and the return to the city, summer clothes were put away for formal, darker clothes.  It was an age when there was a dress code for practically every occasion, and not wearing white after Labor Day was meant to mark the appropriate change between summer resort clothes and clothing worn for the rest of the year.

The “No white after Labor Day" in 2017 is now about as valid as wearing a bustle. Still, people do cling do it, for reasons unknown. For me, the decorum of dressing well is to wear what you love, and show creativity and originality, especially when following trends. White boots with cropped pants and dresses show an edgy modern style that gives fall colors a fresh pop. I love it.

I decided that the Joie Saleema Bootie in a beautiful soft white shell color were the perfect fall boot for me. I love Joie boots because they are so comfortable, even with a higher heel, and these babies have the perfect modern vibe that I was looking for. I paired it with a Veronica Beard Alpha camouflage sweater with a crisp white removable collar. (Currently on sale from $395 to $119 by the way!) With the darker J Brand pants, I liked having another pop of white to play off the boots, but you don't have to wear it that way. 

I donned a Shrimps Bingo Faux Fur Jacket for a fun contrast with the camo sweater. I found this cropped jacket with a cool brooch embellishment at the Nordstrom Rack, but you can find it on sale here too. It is a great coat that will be a lot of fun to wear with denim this fall too. 

Never one to be a rule follower, I think the only rule you should ever follow is to make your own rules. Love it or not, this boot trend is white hot and gives a fresh perspective to fall's rich hues. Happy shopping!  xx

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ballgowns On The Beach

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

The events of this past week have been devastating, and it really has made it difficult for me to talk about things like seems very trivial in the scheme of things. Pretending that this didn't happen isn't being a good citizen of the world, and it isn't being a good example for my children. The people I love are affected by these terrible events, every person with any kind of moral fiber is, and it has made me pause while I decide how to contribute to the healing, to stand up to the hate. In the meantime, I am not letting the hate take away what I love and who I am. Then they win. It's on to writing again then, and celebrating my friend Krissi's work in photographs and being me. Love Trumps Hate.

Last week Krissi and I ventured back to beautiful Carkeek Park for a shoot at the beach. I was waiting on a package for a pair of shoes I wanted to showcase and it didn't show up, so at the last minute I had to pull a completely different look together. Somewhat inspired by a high low piece I saw in the Neiman Marcus event last week, I decided to wear my own high low ball gown skirt I had bought from local boutique Foundation Seattle. 

I love contrasts and wearing a ballgown skirt to a beach at a park is definitely that. Never one to shy away from standing out, it was very fun to dash up and down the rocky beach with my skirt swishing behind me. The skirt is high waisted with a beautiful bow sash, so it pairs well with a fitted or cropped piece. The little girls at the beach were mesmerized by the fancy dress, their mother's a bit perplexed by my choice of beach attire, the whole thing was a lot of fun. :)

I decided on another contrast to a ball gown skirt, a marled knit sweater. I purchased this rag & bone Dana cold shoulder sweater at the Nordstrom sale this past summer and thought it would be a perfectly unexpected. I tucked it in the front to show off the bow sash and left the back to do its slouchy best. My necklace is from a shop in Paris, but any kind of bold statement piece would work well with this look. A pair of large fabulous earrings would also perfect....I am a big fan of FARIS jewelry.

Another purchase from the Nordstrom sale were these Stuart Weitzman Notazzie Booties. The black suede and block heel add a modern appeal to the whole look. A pair of black booties is a wardrobe essential, but these booties also come in a gorgeous amaretto color that would be fantastic with winters calmer colors.

This skirt will also be beautiful with patterned hosiery in the cooler months ahead, another trend that is back to save us from bare legs once the temps dip low. I would also wear this skirt with a sleeveless black fitted turtleneck or a fitted crisp white blouse. I would wear this sweater with just about anything, be it a ball gown or favorite denim, and of course the boots go with it all!

My family is filled with originality and personality. We are white, we are Asian, old, young, gay, straight, Jewish, Christian, and everything else in between. We check all the boxes. We celebrate diversity because we are citizens of the world, we are a modern family. One must always stand up for what you believe in and above all, be a good person. Do what is right. Love will always triumph. I must believe that and I must live it every day. 
Have a lovely week. xx

Friday, August 11, 2017

Neiman Marcus "So Crazy Good" Showcases Fall Trends

Photos by Vivian Hsu Photography

It might be 90 degrees outside, but in the cool butterfly filled Neiman Marcus at The Bravern in Bellevue, it felt a lot like fall. This week the "So Crazy Good" Event celebrated the arrival of autumn trends for both men and women for the coming season. 80s music played in the background, giving guests a hint of things to come, or shall I say, revisit.

Here are the Neiman Marcus Top Fall Trends:
For Her:

  • Red
  • The Leather Jacket
  • Modern Suiting
  • Velvet
  • The Covered Leg
  • Booties
  • The Soft Hobo
  • Charms

For Him:

  • Red
  • The Plaid Jacket
  • The Plaid Shirt
  • Velvet
  • Runners
  • Camouflage
  • Dark Denim

The 90s have certainly been in the forefront of conversations about fashion these days, but NM showed modern interpretations from the previous decade as well. The most noted trend from the Material Girl era was white booties, which made an appearance some time back and still dominate the scene for fall. Stuart Weitzman's Clinger Stretch Ankle Boot was a gorgeous pairing with dark feminine floral dresses, skinny berry colored denim, and long satin dresses. The pop of white works so incredibly well with distinctly different looks, and really showed how versatile this dramatic boot is. I have a pair of Elizabeth and James pony hair Chelsea boots in pure white, but am also really loving the chicness of the pure white sock bootie with a heel. For fall, the sock bootie is huge.

The leather jacket is always a staple of the fall closet, and this year I have seen many with a cropped silhouette and sporting lots of embroidery and embellishments. This Alice + Olivia Cody Embroidered Cropped Leather Jacket has beautiful embroidery work throughout the piece that brings any look to a whole new level. Embroidery work is everywhere, and on the modern leather jacket it is stunning.

80s plaids were updated and paired with windowpane patterns and aubergine added elegance in patterns and as solid pieces. The Etro Jacket pictured above was another favorite piece of mine.

Accessories were also full of personality with shoulder sweeping earrings in metallics, vibrant colors, and sunglasses that popped. The brilliant pinks and reds of the 80s era definitely give a modern vibe to the look. Be less concerned about "matching" your accessories and be more adventurous with the style and colors you add in to make a statement all their own. Prada's beautiful velvet bags are another perfect example of this.

Other trends to return are covered legs...yes that means hosiery...patterned, sheer, back strong. No more freezing white legs in the middle of December? Sounds rather appealing!  I saw lots of chic wide leg trousers that were a cornerstone of the modern suiting trend, paired with cropped jackets in wool and leather.

Men rocked velvet and great sneakers that gave a cool vibe to dark denim as well as camouflage and army green. I loved the mix of jackets with super casual pants and layers that included plaid shirts under blazers. For women, there was the classic leopard print, and faux and real fur. Pearls are on everything for fall, from heels of shoes to sweaters to trim on collars and cuffs. And who doesn't love red for fall? It plays off jewel tones and lends a luxurious feel to the texture of velvet, wool and cashmere. Red paired with pink made for cool retro partners in color blocking. 

The season to come definitely full of opulence, with texture, and amazing ribbon work, embroidery, studs, pearls, and suede. I loved all the trends and am looking forward to introducing fresh ideas into my current wardrobe. To see the above trends and more, visit Neiman Marcus in Bellevue at The Shops at The Bravern or go check it out online here where you can choose a gift with your $350 or more purchase! Happy Shopping! xx

Prada Bellevue Manager Allison Becker and Image Consultant Bethany Siggins

Photos by Vivian Hsu Photography

This post is my own opinion and not sponsored. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Little White Dress

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

When I went to Paris in June the beginning of the trip was full of rainy days and sunny evenings, then progressed into super hot weather.  On my second day there I met my friend Laura, who was traveling to Paris on business, and we went over to the Passy area to do some shopping. When the weather went from kind of rainy to an absolute downpour we literally dove into an agnes b. shop to escape. I became completely enchanted with this lovely crochet style knit marie dress, which luckily for me was part of the government regulated sale season. But I didn't buy it. It was the first thing I tried on during my trip and I just felt I needed to look around. I don't usually hesitate when I love something. I am blaming jet lag.

By the next day I regretted not purchasing the dress and the rest of the trip I looked for another agnés b. shop to find it. Lucky for little Miss Indecision here, my friend Monica arrived in Paris after I left and found it for me, marked down even further. A happy ending and a blog post was born. You can still find this little beauty on sale here!

White dresses are the quintessential summer look to me.  I love the freshness of a white dress and the simply chic of white itself. Layering different textures of white give it additional interest. The lovely thing about a great white dress is you can wear them to a party with sandals or summer wedges, or run around in the day with a pair of sneakers.

Speaking of sneakers, these Nike Classic Cortez Sneakers are my current favorite. I love the all white with the black swoosh. I had an original pair of the red white and blue pair back in the day when that was basically what you bought from Nike because that was their shoe. These babies are not expensive and they go with everything.

The bag I have been carrying all summer is my Issey Miyake Bao Bao Bag and it my absolute favorite tote. The classic geometric design make this a stand out piece and adds interesting texture to whatever I am wearing.  It also goes totally flat when empty so it is a great bag to pack for a trip. Coolest bag ever.

A white dress can take you from a terrific summer into fall as well. Layer it under a jacket or sweater, add a cropped leather or denim jacket and you have a modern transition piece. That rule about not wearing white after Labor Day? Old and outdated and does not apply. Toss it out the window and wear white all year long.

Here are a few of my other favorite white dresses right now.....

LoveShackFancy Rebecca Dress

I am completely in love with LoveShackFancy's Rebecca Dress. It is bohemian, it is modern vintage, it is ultra feminine. I can see this dress with wrap tie sandals or a really cool bootie and leather jacket. Love.

Alice + Olivia Rozzi Off The Shoulder Dress

Alice + Olivia always does dresses right. If you weren't wowed by the black lace detail of this beautiful Alice + Olivia Rozzi Dress then you may be enticed by the sale price. It is 60% off at Nordstrom right now. Wear it now and then stash it away for next spring!

A.L.C. Evan Dress

The A.L.C. Evan One Shoulder Dress is a pretty charming way to show off a summer shoulder in a different way. It has clean lines for those of you ladies that shy away from too much embellishment, and could easily go from day to night. It is also on sale at Intermix!

Self Portrait Monochrome Asymmetrical Wrap Dress

Self Portrait is one of those labels that has next level pieces that are distinctly them. This Monochrome Asymmetrical Wrap Dress is one of those dresses that stands out and is not typical in any way. I have seen this styled with black tights as well, making it another beautiful dress that could transition to the next season.

Anthropologie Wrapped Midi Shirt Dress

Finally, a shirt dress is a closet staple, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. I wore mine all over Europe last summer and on through the rest of the summer. This Anthropologie Wrapped Midi Shirt Dress is the perfect way to look cool but professional during office hours, and it will get you through a busy weekend. It is one of those must haves that really is a must have.

I think the above picture shows exactly how I am feeling about this summer. Despite the heat and the smoke from nearby fires, this has been an epic, crazy, wonderful, and nonstop summer for me. And I am grateful. Cheers to August and feeling the joy of living in the moment. xx

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tales from the Sales Floor: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017

photos courtesy of Nordstrom

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Early Access is in full swing, and anyone with a Nordstrom card can "pre shop" to purchase items before the sale opens to the public on July 21st. While there are those that refuse to think fall in the middle of July, I have never had anything but love for this sale. Every year I have a list that I check off, then store my purchases away until the weather cools and go back to wearing summer dresses and sandals. What is not to love about finding pieces that you are coveting and saving a little money while you are at it? Yes, please.

I also love autumn; it has been my favorite time of year since I was a girl. When I was growing up in Montana my grandmother sewed my sister and I new dresses for the school year often, which makes us sound like we were some kind of farm girls, but really it was just the 60s and people didn't have as much stuff.  We also "got to" shop at JC Penney and pick out three new dresses for school, which I thought was the coolest. Since I am a lifelong shoe addict, picking out a new pair of shoes from Vaughn Ragsdale, a local department store, was my favorite day. And I still remember my black velvet flats with colored tear drops near the laces on the top. Shades of things to come....

This year I approached the Nordstrom sale with a smaller but specific list. I have been cleaning out my closet all spring and summer in anticipation of a closet refresh. My style always changes a bit each year and each season and I definitely have my favorite things that I love to wear...that would be a gray sweater and a pair of denim...but I also love reinventing myself each new season.

I like to think I attended the sale this year with more mindfulness in my shopping. I do have a lot of clothes already, but each season things often have a new twist. Mostly I wanted to look for new silhouettes, for well made pieces that are interesting and unique, and to buy what I actually need, not just want because they are on sale. This time of year I always feel like I have enough summer things, so I only buy pieces that will transition me into fall or fall/winter pieces that are going to make me super happy come September.

Here is what I chose from this year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. There may be a lot of black, no judging please, and happy shopping!

Derek Lam 10 Crosby Parka with Fox Fur Trim

The Statement Coat

I love having one piece that stands out and this coat more than does the trick. I have been on a bit of a army jacket bender the last six months, but I couldn't resist this Derek Lam 10 Crosby Parka with its pink fox fur collar. Look for this baby on a future blog post. You can remove the collar if you like, but what would be the point of that? Pink is the surprise guest of this fall's party, so embrace it!

rag & bone Josephine Leather Front Skinny Pants

Leather Leggings

I have been wearing faux leather leggings for years but have always wanted to invest in a really great pair of actual leather leggings that were both flattering and beautifully made. The rag & bone Josephine Leather Front Skinny Pants were perfect for what I was looking for. They have a grosgrain ribbon trimmed high waist and are a split of buttery soft leather at the front and a stretchy cotton blend on the back. I consider leather leggings to be a stylish closet essential, and a great pair is always worth investing in because you can wear them season after season. Check out this pair if you are in the gorgeous!

Via Spiga Gallo Platform Loafer

Lug Sole Loafers

Platforms really give the loafer a fresh perspective.  A loafer is dressier than a sneaker but not as fussy as a pointed heel. I was totally into the beautiful burgundy color of the Paul Green Natasha Loafer, so I am hoping they get that back in stock. However, my first choice was the Via Spiga Gallo Platform Loafer, which is such a cool take on a menswear shoe and the patent leather and wide strap give it some serious chic style. And I know I will wear black a lot, especially with trousers or denim, but also with tights and a skirt or dress. Bring it, lousy weather....I am ready for style.

Tibi Oversized Glen Plaid Blazer
Image courtesy of Tibi

Oversized Blazer

I am a big fan of Tibi, which have a very modern feel to their pieces. The Tibi Oversized Glen Plaid Blazer hints at the 90s in a modern way. I'll be wearing it with skinny trousers or over a midi dress, or maybe with a graphic tee and denim. Since the silhouette is oversized, keep the rest of the outfit slimmer, both to show off the jacket and be certain you don't look like David Byrne from The Talking Heads. I haven't seen this kind of piece for fall in awhile so it is fun to see the 2017 update and how to incorporate it into a modern wardrobe.

PAIGE Transcent Hoxton High Waist Undone Hem Skinny Jeans

New Denim Perspectives 

I am giving big love to the Frame Le Nouveau Split Hem Jeans this year. The style is fresh and cool and I can wear these now with summer slides or in the fall with booties. And I had to have the Paige Transcend Hoxton High Waist Undone Hem Skinny Jeans, which are super hot. They are incredibly soft but hold their skinny shape, and the frayed slanted hem is a new version of the step fray edge. They are going to look so good with my new boots....

Stuart Weitzman Notazzie Bootie

Block Heel Booties

Block heels are where it's at, baby. They are not only cool, they are comfortable, which means you can do your daily marathon routine with major style. The luxurious suede covers even the heel on these Stuart Weitzman Notazzie Booties, and they come in black as well, and.....there is a good chance I may have purchased the noir color. ;)

rag & bone/JEAN Dana Cold Shoulder Sweater

Sweater Weather

I love sweaters and live in them, but found that it was time for a refresh on my selection. I do get my money's worth after all. There were a lot of bell sleeve sweaters at the sale but I ended up going a different direction. The Helmut Lang Distressed Merino Wool Pullover is the perfect combo of sexy distressed and super soft. Gorgeous. And the rag & bone/JEAN Dana Cole Shoulder Sweater is just a little hipper than your average cold shoulder piece. The cut of the shoulder is further down onto the arm, giving the illusion of a sweater and matching long gloves or arm warmers. I know you may find this description odd, but trust me, this sweater is very cool. Well done, you.

For me this sale was about finding pieces from my list that I know I will wear again and again in different ways. And I love Marianne, the salesperson who is a rockstar at Nordstrom Flagship. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, like many throughout the year, do not dictate my style, but enhance it. It is a bit of a treasure hunt, really, and I hold the map.

Happy Shopping! xx