Saturday, March 26, 2016

That 70s Show: Bohemian Summer

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

Since I was a teenager in the late 70s I have already actually lived the trend, and its resurgence again in the 90s. I remember I had the a pair of bell bottoms with the widest leg you could find, because if the bells were big enough to completely cover your shoes, and drag a bit to rough up the edges, well, then you were the coolest. Which I wasn't but I tried. I was making baby steps towards my fashion hits at that point. :)

Third time is a charm I suppose, because this spring the 70s are back in full swing for spring and summer. And I love it. Now that I am all grown up and everything I think I can get it right this time, and it is a lot easier to do with all the cool pieces out this season to give your wardrobe a laidback gorgeous 70s vibe.

One of my favorite takes on this trend is the collection of Olivia Palmero’s + Chelsea28 that debuted at Nordstrom on February 8, 2016. I talked about it in a piece I did for the magazine I write for, Vanguard Seattle, which you can see here, which includes a slideshow of some of the cool pieces. Palmero, a street style star with a coveted personal style, knows how to touch on a decade from the past and give it a modern appeal. The collection includes new stylistic silhouettes, fresh color, and retro prints with a contemporary perspective.

I especially loved this gorgeous Tie Neck Midi Dress with its pretty paisley pattern and wispy slits that make it sexy in a carefree way. The tie neck and adds to the groovy appeal, as do the ¾ sleeves. One of my favorite things about this dress is its movement. As you walk, the hem slits swing and the fabric of the dress moves in the most flattering way. It is incredibly feminine without being too sweet, sexy but not in your face…in other words, the perfect summer dress.

Normally I don’t copy a look head to toe but the photo of Olivia Palmero in the above-mentioned dress with the Joie Aubrey Suede Knee Boots was killer. I opted for the soft dove gray suede color in the boot instead of the burgundy she is wearing in the photo because gray would go with more in my wardrobe. They are so fabulous on and have a bonus—they are actually very comfortable. My go-to shades for spring and summer are always Ray-Ban, and this aviator with the pink tinted lenses is one of my very favorites this time of year. It really is super flattering on every skin tone.

I am all about wearing a leather jacket with a feminine dress to toughen it up a bit, but my darker moto jackets were too harsh. Luckily I have this great soft pink faux leather jacket from Target that is fab with my spring and summer pieces. Here is a similar one from Target. A pair of big gold hoops and some chunky rings and I am right back in the 70s again, a little older and wiser of course. ☺

It is my birthday on Sunday and I am feeling grateful and happy for all that I have been given, for my amazing friends, my beautiful family.
Be stylish, be beautiful, be you. No matter how many candles are on your birthday cake.
Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Searching for Sun: A Spring Break Packing List

We have spent the better part of the past month here in Seattle getting blown sideways by crazy wind, being relentlessly pelted by sideways rainstorms, not to mention dealing with flu bugs, chest colds, and other curses of the winter. By mid March people are a little blurry eyed from the persistent drama of it all; as for me, knowing that I am heading out for a spring break is what has kept me going. I know we are lucky to be able to take off and escape this freezing weather for a few days, and I am grateful to be headed to the warmth of beautiful La Quinta, near Palm Springs. Super grateful.

It happens to be my birthday on the day we arrive in sunny California for our spring break this year (and it is Easter) and even though I am a fifty-something I actually still love birthdays. I am always in a little bit of shock, and well, denial of my actual age, but having my own personal holiday remedies any angst I have for the most part. I know that having a birthday is a privilege, as is growing older itself, and after all, a birthday is the perfect excuse to drink champagne.
Here is my vacation hit list for wherever you end up searching for the sun this spring:

There are a few things to do before you can get to the lounge-chair umbrella-drink portion of vacation. Getting your suitcase ready means a bit of shopping, starting with swimwear. (Insert round-eyed, deer in the headlights emoji here). While this task can be intimidating, there are so many great suits that work with what you’ve got, and there really is something for everyone out there.  Retire your old suits that are more than about three years old, especially if you have worn them often, and take the plunge for a couple of new suits, depending on what you are keeping from the prior year.

Seafolly Summer Garden Boyleg Suit

The 2016 swim suit styles include cut-outs, high-waisted bikinis, athletic chic, high neck fronts, laces, and sunny stripes, gingham, and florals. I love this Seaside High Neck Maillot for a trendy one-piece look that is perfect for actual swimming and water sports as well as worn with a wrap skirt for cocktails around the pool. I find the swimwear runs on the small side so don’t be alarmed if you go up from your normal size—fit is really important and what size it says on the tag is not.

I really love the suits from SeaFolly like the one pictured above becaause they are a little retro, a little sexy and just right for those looking for a full piece suit with serious style.  The Boyleg suits are a favorite and bikini wearers will love this Goddess Keyhole top in a gorgeous poppy color.

J.Crew Gingham Moto Jacket and Ballet Flats

I am loving the gingham and seersucker that was all over the place at the J.Crew ready-to-wear show and online as well. With East coast classic vibe, gingham isn’t just for little girls. It lightens up denim and gives a sunny side to more serious silhouettes. This J.Crew gingham motorcyle jacket is going to a super cute way to cover up at the pool when I want to stray away from the usual flowy looking dress cover and I’ll be wearing it with denim and a crisp white shirt or over a floral dress too.  I may have also ordered the seersucker swimsuit and matching knotted gingham slides but don't tell anyone.

Maslin & Co. Deluxe Animal Print Beach Towel

I am a more than a little obsessed with this Maslin & Co. animal print beach towel. Its big enough for two, is shaped like an animal skin, and rolls up in to a neat bundle with its own leather carrier. How fabulous would you be strolling onto the sand with this baby in tow? Use it at the pool or for a picnic…who knew a towel could be so glamorous. For the rest of your gear, I like a big fun tote bag that fits smaller bags holding sunglasses, keys, sunscreen and the like. This beauty by Mary Y Sol from Favery is bright with sassy little pom poms that pretty much scream “vacation!”  You can pop the Elise Clutch in it if you are headed to evening cocktails or dinner.

Paul Andrew Lotus Multi Strap Sandals

My friend Kelly and I always said, “Everything looks better with a wedge” when it came to summer dressing and we were right! The one exception…the wedge flip flop…don’t make me go there. Anyhow, a wedge, in all its forms, really is the perfect summer shoe. Wedges have more personality than ever these days, including the cool flatform sandal like these Vince Marett ones (silver shoes of all types are a big deal this summer FYI), plus elaborate decorated wedges, like the Paul Andrew Lotus pair above and of course the sneaker.

Caroline Constas Striped Poplin Off The Shoulder Blouse

Zara Asymmetric Poplin Top

I was completely in love with the off the shoulder look last summer and that feeling has only increased after laying eyes on Caroline Costas Striped Poplin Off The Shoulder Blouse. I love all her designs. This Zara Asymmetric Poplin Top is also super cool. Whether it is a dress, jumpsuit, romper or top, this super flattering trend should definitely be front and center in your summer wardrobe.
Get yourself a beautiful white summer dress. White is the perfect fresh approach to summer dressing. I love Rebecca Minkoff’s take on it with the Chief Lace Dress, a combination of summer lace, boho, and sweet sophistication.  I also love this Tibi Layered Silk Dress and this See by Chloe Broderie anglaise cotton mini dress, on sale at The Outnet.

Illesteva Leonard Mask Sunglasses

I have always been a Ray-Ban girl but lately my Leonard Illesteva sunglasses have been my go-to’s when we actually see the sun around here. The super groovy Illesteva Leonard Mask sunglasses with mirrored lenses are the latest for Summer 2016 from this company and I think they are incredibly cool. Finally don't forget a hat: my favorite place to get a lid both summer and winter is Madewell. This white Madewell x Biltmore Panama Hat is perfection.

Here's hoping your week is filled with sunshine, inside you and out.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Unraveled: DIY Frayed Denim

Frayed edges are a “thing” in fashion at the moment, with the undone edges showing up on coats, collars, shoes, shirts, and of course, denim. This isn’t really a new trend by any means, but it is a cool little detail has a big style impact because it transforms a piece by giving it, well, a bit of sass and edge.

I was determined to find some really cool frayed denim back in December on a trip to NYC, but actually had a bit of trouble finding any pieces that I loved. I found one great pair of 7 For All Mankind Ankle Skinny at Saks Fifth Avenue and bought them of course, because they are incredibly flattering even without the frayed edges. That began a rather obsessive search for fringe, fray and other fashionably unraveled pieces.

My 3x1 WM3 Fringe Denim
This trend continues to be everywhere at the moment, on everything from high-end pieces to fast fashion. The 3x1 WM3 Fringe denim pair I purchased takes the idea of fringe to the next level with their heavy fringed legs, seen on Rhianna, and well, me. They have a more rock and roll vibe to me than boho, and look as killer with flats as they do with heels. I have chatted about these before here on the blog, because I think they are incredibly unique, and that is hard to find in the saturated world of denim.

Then, last week I did a MAJOR closet clean out. It was time. There were too many ghosts of fashion past and it was hard to see what I loved.  At the end of it all I had hauled 16 bags out of there, with some things going to MB’s Finds Designer Consignment, my daughter and a couple of friends, and the rest to donate.

It can be hard to part with things which I determine are for the following reasons: 1. It was originally quite expensive so there is guilt. 2. It was quite expensive but I got it for a great price, so there is guilt. 3. It represents some occasion or person that is a happy memory, like me as a size 6. Which means guilt. 4. It was an emotional purchase and I never wore it. So guilt again.
So there you have it. Be ruthless in your closet cleanout.

My Lanvin Wool Red Jacket that looks much better in person than on this white mannequin

Before I headed to the Salvation Army donation truck I swung by Buffalo Exchange Consignment in Ballard, where they pay cash on the spot or give you a larger store credit. Buffalo is more my daughter’s style than mine, but I thought I wouldn’t hurt to see if they would take anything before I donated it. By the time it was all said and done I had made enough money, just at Buffalo, to buy a gorgeous and much coveted red Lanvin coat from MB. High five to me! I am looking forward to selling my better things at MBs Spring Sale, and every time I walk by my perfectly colorized and organized closet I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. ☺

Results of a major closet again!

In the midst of my organizational frenzy I forced myself to try on all of my denim. Every. Single. Pair. Yes, it was painful, but awesome too because I knew the results would be worth it. Like a cleanse but without the starvation and anger. It just so happened that week I had read an article by my fav blogger Leandra Medine of about a little DIY Frayed Denim project, and I got really inspired. The article was originally from 2013 and had been republished recently, most likely because this trend is back in a major way once again. My closet cleanout had produced three pair of neglected but still great jeans that would be perfect for my DIY project: one inexpensive but cute pair of distressed cropped gray denim from Zara, one pair of pristine white denim that Inès de La Fressange said I must own but seem sort of boring to me now, and one pair of Joe's boyfriend jeans that are weirdly long and I never wear. Perfect. I pressed each pair with the iron and set to work. You need a pair of very sharp scissors and a seam ripper for this little adventure.

let 'er rip

I cut each pair off so that they hit about an inch or so above my ankle. Then I took my seam ripper and picked at the raw edge all the way around each leg. Some of the how-to’s I read suggested putting them in the dryer afterwards but I NEVER dry my denim in the dryer. The washer works in distressing the edges a little bit more, and over time the more they are worn the better they will look. Or the worse they will get what I mean. It was all very exciting to have at it with my neglected denim and give them a groovy new outlook on life.

The finished project

Best of all, I now have 3 new pairs of cool jeans that I love again. Another high five moment. It made me start thinking about what else I could unravel….stay tuned.

Get some scissors and get after those old jeans…and let me know how it goes.