Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Something Old, Something New

A new year is a great time to take stock of what is going on in your life, and well, your closet. If you are like me, by the time the flurry of holiday parties and activities has subsided, things are a bit chaotic. By January I can't even see half of what I own due to the disarray of putting things back in a hurried fashion. The thing is, you always have to make a bit of a mess in order to truly clean things up, so roll up your sleeves, invite a friend you trust over, and get going.

We all have our own system, or maybe you don't, which is easy to remedy. I am a big proponent of nicely made cloth baskets for shelves, made for storing things that will otherswise get messy on the shelf: scarves, belts (rolled up), t-shirts and delicate sweaters that shouldn't be on a hanger. Speaking of hangers, my entire closet is hung with the black velvet hangers. Best invention ever. Not only do they prevent clothes from slipping, they don't damage material, and they streamline your closet to hold more. Hurrah for that! Next, organize by color within item type. For instance, start with white sleeveless tops, then short sleeves, and then long sleeved. It makes it a lot easier to get dressed when you know exactly where to find that favorite long sleeved gray sweater. While you are doing this, toss the dry cleaning hangers and bags and make piles of give away and consignment pieces. This is where that trusted friend of yours comes in handy, and you can ply her with good wine when the task is done.

The bonus of cleaning out one's closet is there is room to see what you have, not to mention that it is incredibly freeing to get rid of the clutter. Once you have your act together in your closet, make a list of what you need...or just want, no judging here. January and early February is a great time for taking advantage of the sales. Those coveted boots or beautiful coat you have been stalking for months can be yours at a fraction of the original cost if you had the patience to wait it out. This time of year I have a couple of personal rules about sale shopping: either it has to be a killer bargain on something I can wear now and will love again in the fall, or it must be a transitional piece that will ease me into spring dressing.

The other bonus about getting yourself organized is you can now "shop" your own closet, because you will actually be able to see what you own. I have been doing that every day for the past week, combining some old favorites with a couple of new purchases, and it has breathed new life into my closet. For this post I chose a combination of something old and something new, and have been inspired to keep mixing it up every day since.

These Sam Edelman over the knee boots, the star of this look, are from Net-A-Porter, and I got them at a whopping 70% off. I noticed that they were also featured this fall on the blog, The Blonde Salad, as one of the favorite over the knee boots for Fall/Winter 2015-16. Anyway, I am feeling super pysched about them because they are perfect for now and will be killer with spring floral dresses and the like. Sweet!

One of the few things I almost never clean out are my cashmere sweaters, which I consider to be a year round closet staple. If you buy good quality cashmere they will last for years to come, they truly are an "investment piece".  I love the J. Crew Collection cashmere sweaters best and mine was paired with another favorite line of mine, Equipment. My friend Mary Bridget gave me the black Quinn silk blouse for Christmas, which has a beautiful lace shoulder and sleeve on it that is completely on trend. While mine is sold out, this Slim Signature Short Sleeve Lace Shirt is so amazing you may not want to cover it up, and the Equipment Lace Panel Tuxedo Shirt is also a big fat WOW.

Add a statement necklace, or in this case, statement earrings. I chose this pair because the pinks in it complimented the color of my sweater and stood out against the black. At the risk of sound like a J. Crew advertisement, they really do jewelry so well. I have seen lots of companies try to copy them, but none have succeeded to my liking. You many find the pair I am wearing in a sale bin in stores, but if you don't here is a similar pair. Wear these babies in the daytime to give your look some real personality.

My skirt is a faux leather poof with pockets that I continue to love, no matter what fashion dictates is the in or out of things with skirts. And finally, the Zara faux fur short sleeved jacket. Several years ago, Kacy and I went to NYC for a long weekend. We met her parents and sister there and had a wonderful time, a memory I will cherish. A memory I won't cherish is realizing at the airport that the coveted faux jacket was so enormous it amounted to the equivalent of one of those giant stuffed animals you never win at the fair. It barely fit in the suitcase and then made my bag over the weight limit and I had to repack mid airport. I ended up having to wear the puffy faux thing layered under my coat onto the plane, which let's just say was not the look I was going for. I was very hot, but not in a good way. Talk about suffering for fashion.

Whether you are closet or internet shopping, may you find many treasures to keep you looking fabulous. Cheers.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Shine A Light

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

I have to confess that I have always loved wearing pieces during the daylight hours that are thought of as more appropriate as evening attire. Not ball gowns exactly, but tulle, lace, sequins and sparkly statement earrings can really take the blah out of a plain old Tuesday outfit. Let’s face it: the months of January and February can be dark and depressing…so why should you be? Shine a little light when there is none to be found and I guarantee it will not only lift your spirits, it might inspire you to step out of your comfort zone a bit.

This week Krissi had the awesome idea of doing our photo shoot in the grocery store, so that inspired me to style pieces in unexpected combinations. I love how we work together, and what's more fun than confusing shoppers in a Trader Joes by hanging around the organic produce with a photographer, a little boy, and a miniature shopping cart? Make your own fun, people.

While sequined and other glittery items are prominent in the stores during the holidays, post-holiday is a great time to pick up these sparkly treasures on sale. I thought this sequin t-shirt from H&M was a great way to jazz up a pair of my favorite jeans. Although this particular shirt isn’t available, you can find similar here and here.

My favorite way to wear a sequin piece is with it’s opposite—like a pair of worn in or distressed denim that make a cool contrast and will prevent you from looking like you never made it home from a great party the night before.  I continue to have a love affair with Frame Denim, and liked this particular pair because they have a slim leg but aren’t actually a skinny jean. And speaking of skinny jeans, I know the Internet has been abuzz with the so-called demise of this style but I don’t agree. I believe this silhouette will continue to be around and available, although it may have a reinvention of sorts at some point, as styles tend to do.

My go-to black heels are a pair of crackle-leather Miu Miu pumps, which are the glamorous workhorse of my closet. Black pumps really elevate your look in a chic way, especially with an on-trend pair of denim.  Miu Miu has to be one of my favorite designers, and their shoes are enchanting to say the least. This pair of patent leather pumps with buckles would also be gorgeous with this look, have a slightly lower heel for those that prefer that, and come in a sassy burgundy as well.  A pointy toe flat can also give you a similar glam appeal: I wore these Miu Miu Metal Cap-toe Loafers every day when we were in Paris last year. I am not kidding. Also, these Gucci Bayadere Slingback Flats are on my wishlist even without the pointed toe. To get the look for less, try this pretty pair of Shoes of Prey flats.

Mixing patterns is always fun, so I grabbed my Chanel-inspired Maguire topcoat to play off the sequins. The tweed pattern works well with the sparkly top due to a subtle gold thread that is woven into the fabric of the coat. Find similar here and here. I like the contrast of these the dressier coat with the denim, but a black oversized denim coat would also be super cool. And finally, the true work horse of my wardrobe, my Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM Tote. My husband gave this iconic bag to me for a milestone birthday and it can fit everything short of a small child in it if I choose, or it can be made smaller with a pull of the tassels on each side. In NYC I took note that everyone seemed to have a furry Fendi inspired fur charm hanging off their bags, and since the Fendi ones are over my price range, I chose an enchanting little pom-pom by Adrienne Landau. Its all in the details, right?

Miles and I high five after our grocery store adventure

Playing with pattern and unexpected combinations can give the pieces you have from your closet a new life, and I don’t know about you, but I always feel great when I make an effort to look great. A sequin top may not turn your regular trip to the grocery store into a rock concert, but why not shine a light wherever you go? Happy MLK and beyond.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sweet '16: Six Favorite Pieces for January

Happy 2016 to everyone! It was a crazy fun holiday season around our house and we had a brief escape to the snowy mountains of Winthrop for New Years to kick off 2016.  I don't do resolutions, but I am making a promise to myself to treat my health and well being with the same care that I give to the special pieces in my closet that I treat with the kid gloves--after all, caring for the inner you is as much if not more important than the you the world sees from the outside.
That being said, I have been tweaking my winter closet, which has been quite a bit of fun. Here is a list of some of the things I am coveting and will be wearing in January....


SCHAI Snood. Photo from SCHAI

We kicked off December with a trip to NYC, and I was really happy that I was there during the Not Just A Label Pop Up at The Waldorf Astoria. I was on the hunt for another beautiful snood made by SCHAI, by Seattle based designer Suk Chai who has a studio in New York, and was chosen to have pieces featured at the Pop Up. I have a beautiful pumpkin colored snood but was coveting the one in the color Midnight, so when I found it in New York I grabbed it. The snood is soft knit alpaca blend from Italy with a partial split back that lets you wear it cozy around your neck with a favorite sweater or down over a coat. You need one of these chic and gorgeous pieces, they are perfect not only for now but any chilly night of the year. Maybe the Wine Stain color might be good as well....;)

Illesteva Sunglasses
Illesteva Leonard Sunglasses

Also on my shopping list; a pair of Illesteva sunnglasses. These Leonard half half sunnies have a top half that is black and a bottom half that is tortoise shell, with a of-the-moment round shape that works well with most face shapes, including my small one. We went to their store in Soho and it was hard to choose from all of this Italian company's styles, but the Leonard reigned supreme in the end. They have also done some cool collaborations with the likes of jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer, the great Lou Reed, and two pair made exclusively for J.Crew.

3x1 Cropped Jeans with Frayed Fringe Hems

Frayed and raw edges are on everything right now, from denim to outerwear to dresses. The dressed down aspect of the raw edge on these 3x1 Fringe Jeans make them the perfect pair to dress up with heels. The denim is heavier with a slightly higher waist which made them not only hip, but flattering as well. Because they are cropped they would also be gorgeous with a pair of cool sneakers....

Addidas x Hyke

Which brings me to this pair of Addidas sneakers, a collaboration of Addidas x Hyke, by Japanese husband-and-wife team Hideaki Yoshihara and Yukiko. Their label HYKE put their spin on adidas Originals using a version of the vintage Haillet court shoe and stylying it with python-print leather. I found these at Tomorrowland in Soho in early December and they have been a little difficult to find, but I did spot them on Amazon Fashion. You can never have too many pairs of cool sneakers. 

PLAY Comme des Garçons Striped Button Down

I have been having a thing for striped shirts this fall and its continuing on into 2016.  And no one trips my trigger like Comme des Garçons. Sometimes I order the mens because the price point is lower (what the....) like the J.Crew mens gray cardigan I got last year. J.Crew has some super fab Converse x Comme des Garçons sneakers that are really cool too. They also have a Green perfume I am anxious to try, and lots of great tshirts and sweet little bags, like this striped version.  It used to be hard to find the PLAY line but now retailers like Nordstrom and Barneys are expanding what they carry. It is a little early but it could just be the coolest valentine you give someone....or yourself. 

Intermix Libby Lace-Up Dress

Sales are everywhere this month so you can definitely score on some great pieces you have been coveting. I love dark florals for winter and this particular Intermix Libby Lace-Up Dress can be a year round favorite. The dark floral pattern on the silk material and lace up front would be gorgeous worn with over the knee boots or tights and booties this winter. When spring arrives you can wear it with a great pair of ballet flats or sandals. It is a win-win investment piece that you can get exclusively at Intermix, which means you won't spot yourself coming and going. Originality is always a good thing. 

Wishing you a peaceful and beautiful 2016.