Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hello Autumn: The Embroidered Bomber Jacket

While I love anything with embroidery, combining it with luxurious fabrics like silk and velvet and making it into a cool bomber jacket might just be one of the best, and most fun things to happen to closets this fall. The embroidered bomber jacket isn't a new concept, (I saw it walk the runways last year as well) but its sporty chic appeal has made it a standout fall piece. I have seen a version from almost every designer, and every concept, from the fast to high fashion.

I have several favorites, although when this Zara bomber jacket caught my eye last week as I zipped through the store. What did I love about it? The combination of blue and brilliant red really caught my eye, and even is reversible. The opposite side of the silky embroidered red and blue side is a beautiful cream and aqua that is free of any embroidery work, should you want to change up your look.

Bombers are more often than not worn a bit oversized, like you have borrowed it from the boys. But I  wanted it to be a little more fitted and bought the extra small, which I don't normally wear. I loved how it fit just right, and found it was more flattering on me to size down since many bombers can typically have a generous cut. You can go either direction with the fit, like this very oversized piece from Stella McCartney, or a more cropped silhouette, like this Glamorous one from Nordstrom.

Zara leather bow tie flats
The other great thing I love about these jackets? They aren't just for denim and sneakers. I pulled out my Joie maxi skirt and blouse and a pair of red Zara bow tie flats to make it dressy and fun. I threw on a pair of sparkly statement earrings to make it even more interesting. I actually think it better to wear a bomber with something unexpected, so I'll be pairing mine with dresses for a night out, holiday looks, oh, and my favorite denim too. They are definitely a cool alternative to the little black jacket that is a go-to for throwing over dresses and blouses to jazz up your look.

Zara seems to have a constant stream of bombers that come and go, like this one, and this pretty floral one.  But be warned, it is fast fashion so once it it is sold out you may not see it again. Jump on it if you are smitten. I have to admit I might have freaked out just a bit when I saw this Free People Floral Embroidered Bomber last week at Bellevue Square. The velvet and gorgeous details and the fact that it was an actual heavier jacket won me over, and well, it will be a great addition to my fall closet. The Maje Basla Duchesse Satin Bomber is a bit of a splurge, but its cropped silhouette makes it a standout piece. No matter which one you choose, the result might just make you almost as cool at The Beatles.

The Look: Zara Reversible Silk Bomber Jacket, sold out, (similar here),  Miu Miu MatelassĂ© Little Bag, Joie Traluna Printed Silk Maxi Skirt and Silk Top, Zara Flat Leather Bow Shoes, J. Crew earrings (another great pair here)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Recycled Paint Dipped Denim: MARZdenim Trunk Show At hitchcock Madrona

I follow a few bloggers and stylish people on various social media sites, but my very favorite blogger/photographer is Karen from Where Did U Get That? She has incredible style and originality, and I completely adore her picks, whether they are vintage, fast fashion, or Gucci. She's amazing. And I love the premise behind her blog, because after all, how often have you looked at someone walking down the street, at an event or even in an elevator and thought, "Where did you get that?"

This Saturday you have a chance to be one of those people who get stopped for their incredible style, and in particular, for your uber cool denim. At hitchcock Madrona on Saturday, August 27, Marion Zaniello, creator of MARZdenim, will be holding a trunk show of her denim line, which consists of vintage and recycled denim that have been hand dipped in paint. While on vacation in Mexico this past year Zaniello was inspired by the white painted trunks of the palm trees all around the resort and decided to try it on her denim. The effect? Amazing?

MARZdenim. Photo courtesy of Hitchcock Madrona

How does it work? Bring in a pair of your favorite 100% cotton denim; the paint can crack if they have stretch in them.  Zaniello will be in store to custom alter and/or paint dip your favorite pair of jeans, or you can choose from her already completed selection, or from hitchcock Madrona’s vintage 501 collection. Altering the 501 denim to have a more custom fit is also offered: $50 for tapering half the legs of the denim and $100 for tapering the full legs. The whole process takes approximately two weeks. I am not sure I am going to be able to wait that long...

While you are at hitchcock Madrona don't forget to check out this boutique's beautiful and unique collections of jewelry. HM is one of the great gems of Seattle.

MARZdenim Trunk Show, Saturday, August 27, 2016, 12-5 pm.
hitchcock Madrona, 1422 34th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122, 206-838-7173
Champagne will be served!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Be Mine: The Art of The Handbag Collection

Our trip to Europe this past June included a special trip to the Gucci store in Rome, a total candy store for those of us who have a handbag obsession. I have been coveting Gucci again since the Alessandro Michele took over as creative director at the fashion house in 2015. Since Michele has been at the helm of the brand, he has given Gucci a multifaceted depth that gives a nod to its history while creating a unique future. The brand is iconic, sure, but now it is also modern and eclectic.

The Gucci Bee Web Shoulder Bag, image courtesy of Gucci
The Gucci GG Blooms Collection is a real stunner, as is the Arabesque Collection; taking stand-out style to the next level. But I longed for the classic red and green stripe of Gucci, and when I saw the Gucci Bee Web Shoulder Bag, well, I was smitten. The original GG canvas, iconic stripes and little embroidered gold bee made it the perfect cross body bag--my go-to bag for when I am a busy bee. :)

My vintage zebra bag from eBay and Zara box clutch

I have always viewed my handbags as a little extension of myself and the cherry on top of my look for the day. I have a stash of vintage bags, large totes, small clutches, trendy pieces and a few iconic bags. Stella McCartney, Chanel, Chloe, Celine, and Marni are some of my pieces that I hope will someday be cherished by my daughter as much as they are by me. I didn't buy them overnight either; it is a collection that has grown over years, sometimes made through a consignment find, purchased for a special occasion, or chosen because it had a unique element to it. My current Gucci obsession aside, a bag doesn't need a designer price tag to win me over, but it does have to have be cool in its own unique way. Every bag I have has a story that is part of my own story, like my mother's beaded handbag I inherited or the Louis Vuitton I got for my 50th birthday.

Photo by Theresa Wingert

A really beautifully made bag will remain a integral part of your wardrobe your whole life, and can even be passed on to future generations, making it a worthy investment whose value increases both in sentiment and dollars. That being said, finding cool vintage bags and fun trendy pieces is important in creating a collection of bags that are well rounded, useful and fun. What is the best way to have a great collection of bags? Keep your eye out for vintage bags on eBay, check out designer consignment sales, and look into fun, yet inexpensive pieces for trends. Most importantly, think about your lifestyle and what you need most in a bag before you make an investment. A thoughtful purchase is usually one without regrets. Happy hunting.

p.s. Don't forget to like and follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

DIY and The Ribbon Tie Ballet Flat

The last thing I am is the queen of DIY. I actually dislike crafty sorts of projects even though I am artistic. I have successfully dodged being in charge of any type of art project for my children's grade and middle school for the past dozen years. I never scrap booked or sewed or modge podged. My Pinterest boards are gathering dust. That is not to say I couldn't do it....I just often don't want to. Do It Yourself for me usually ends up a little less than at standard, mostly because while I don't lack the talent, I do lack the patience. Anyway, somehow over the past couple of weeks I keep coming up with these little DIY ideas that are related to things I covet for fall. And the staff is starting to recognize me at the nearby fabric things must be getting bad.

I am in love with the ballet inspired trend for fall and last week I bought a sweet pair of ballets, the Free People's Degas Flats, which are a traditional little round toe ballet with thick grosgrain ribbon ties that go around your ankles. They are lovely and I know I will wear them a lot, but once I received them in the mail I got to thinking, "I could easily make these!" Trouble.

I tore down to Nancy's Sewing Basket and dashed for the ribbon room. After choosing a beautiful bias cut silk ribbon in dark blue with black edges I headed for home to look for a pair of neglected ballet flats from my closet. Believe it or not I have a pair of Lanvin black ballet flats with silk roses on the toe that I have not worn in over a year. Shameful. :) I pulled them from their box and got out the Unique Stitch fabric glue yet again. Was I really going to put fabric glue on my Lanvins? Yes, I was. And did. I measured the blue silk ribbon and glued the ribbon similar to where it was placed on my Free People Pair, right on the inside sole of the shoe above the label, which is right past the heel.

And the result? I LOVE them. They are beautiful and it was so crazy easy it hardly qualifies as a DIY "project" at all. The silk ribbon also has a bit of stretch, so the ribbons stay tied and move with my legs without falling down.  I like them tied double right above my ankle and the blue ribbon against the black shoe is quite chic. I think I did Jeanne Lanvin proud.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Make A Statement: My Three Favorite Things

 Photography by Theresa Wingert

My friend and neighbor Theresa Wingert happens to not only be an extremely accomplished person, she is also incredibly lovely to spend time with. My photographer Krissi and I have had opposite travel plans over the summer, so rather than let the blog sit, I asked Theresa if she wouldn’t mind doing some photos with me. Theresa isn’t just any old neighbor, she is a director of commercials, music videos and short films as well as an accomplished printmaker, photographer and multi-media artist. She not only agreed, she came with ideas for great spots for photos and her intuitive creativity going full board. We even grabbed my daughter Gracie, whom Theresa adores, to help us Instagram some shots. We dashed to places Theresa had noticed on her walks through Queen Anne and ended up at what turned out to be my favorite spot, a wood shop near Fremont with the most incredible spaces and light in the midst of a very down to earth work space.

The magic of Theresa’s eye and the setting made for some great shots, and it got me to thinking about what it is like to model as an older woman. After all, this blog isn't only a celebration of style, it is a very personal diary of what it looks and feels like to be a fashion writer in the middle of my aging. Recently, while reading the runway reports for Fall 2016, I came across a Vogue article on Jun Takahashi of Undercover. He presented his collection on models in a wide variety of age groups, from the young to the silver haired. I am not launching a career in modeling, but at the same time I would love to see it as the norm that women my age and beyond appear in amazing clothes as part of print and live runway.  That being said, I am available for your next photo shoot. ☺

Over the past seasons there are certain kinds of things that I gravitate to again and again for my closet (like perhaps the bracelet I am wearing that has shown up in almost every photo shoot this summer) While the pieces may alter, the love never does for these three favorites of mine.


Leather pants and skirts are my favorite way to look chic and pulled together in an edgy way. Fit is huge when you wear leather, it has to be just the right amount of not too tight, not too loose. Since the 2014 Fashion Week at The Bellevue Collection where designer Deborah Roberts and her line, Silvae, were the winners of the Independent Designer Runway Show, I have been a fan. I bought this Beckley Grid Skirt from Silvae this past year and it has been a favorite of mine. The grid leather skirt has a longer outer shell and a silk crepe chine printed lining. I paired it with another favorite, leather perforated Noelle booties by rag & bone. Here is a similar pair.

 Off The Shoulder

Shoulders don’t age, right? And the off the shoulder trend is a very flattering one, and can easily move from summer into fall. This black off the shoulder silk blouse by Rebecca Minkoff has made a lot of appearances and with good reason. It is sexy and sweet and super chic. When the cooler weather hits look for a cold shoulder sweater or long sleeved off the shoulder blouse. This type of blouse is a great background for a killer necklace.Which leads us to my third favorite closet item...

Statement Jewelry

I love, love, love statement jewelry. Whether it is a pair of go-big-or-go-home earrings or a off the hook necklace, there is not better way to make an impact than a statement accessory. That being said, make sure you don’t compete with a big look like this with the rest of your outfit. Even though each of the pieces I am wearing have personality, I let the necklace shine by keeping the whole look monochromatic. It makes it simple but chic. I had an afternoon by myself when we were in Rome this summer and this necklace was in the window of a Malloni store, pulling me right in. The leather collar and chain and leather fringe are magnificent. It is beautiful with a summer blouse but I will definitely be wearing this piece all winter. I cannot find mine online but there are others here, here and here.

I usually have a gut feeling about something that I know will be a great addition to my closet, but often it is in taking a risk that I have had some of my greatest successes. Having favorites doesn't limit you or make you "stuck" in a certain look. It is what makes a statement about YOU. It is also a platform for trying new things; after all, what makes you look great is what makes you feel great too. xx

Thursday, August 4, 2016

DIY Denim Part Deux: The Patch Jean Jacket

Photography by Theresa Wingert

I love all the cool embroidery and patches that are on outerwear this year, particularly denim jackets. I wasn't really in the market for one that had emoji style patches and after searching in vain for what I really had in mind, I decided once again to take the DIY path.

I have two denim jackets; one is a Paper Denim & Cloth one with a mandarin style collar that has been a wardrobe staple for me, no matter what the season. The other jacket is a cropped, distressed AllSaints piece that is my go-to when I want an edgier look, and I decided that this would really be the perfect style jacket for my project.

Nancy's Sewing Basket on Queen Anne is a great fabric store, a locally owned family business that has been around for 38 years. Nancy's has a stellar staff, beautiful fabrics, and even a "ribbon room" that holds some of the most beautiful ribbons, silk and fur flowers and other cool notions. I went there looking for patches, and a staff member and I ended up digging through boxes and boxes of vintage pieces. I bought several vintage patches in silver and black that I thought would be great with the distressed denim. Treasure hunting!

Checking out the photo shoot results
After several attempts at actual sewing, I purchased a tube of Unique Stitch Fabric Glue from Nancy's, a liquid fabric adhesive that works like a charm. Mark your area with a pin where you want the patch to go, cover the back of the patch well with the glue and apply, allowing a couple of hours to overnight for drying. While I chose to do a patch on each jacket shoulder and front pockets, I have yet to do the back of the jacket. I have ordered a large black and silver dragon to add to it, and will post a picture if I like it enough to add it. I am usually an instant gratification kind of girl but on this project I am doing it in stages to get it right. I love how it turned out so far, and I especially love that the vintage patches make it a unique piece.

Hipanema Bracelets 

Since being in Paris in June, I have been obsessing about finding a metallic pleated midi skirt and was happy to find this Zara one. The rose gold is a bit distressed and the fabric has a heavier feel that makes it appear more high end than it is. This cool skirt will be great paired with boots and a chunky cropped sweater in the fall. For now, I paired it with my new Grocerie's Apparel black tee from Mercer, and a pair of CĂ©line wedges. To play off the blingy patches I added a stack of sparkling bracelets from Hipanema, the ultimate summer bracelets.

This is honestly one of the easiest DIY projects ever, it just is a matter of finding the right things to embellish your jacket. If you are wary of sacrificing a beloved piece to a DIY project than buy a inexpensive but trendy denim jacket to experiment on. It is worth taking the time to find patches and embellishments that you love, and the result is a on-trend jacket that is uniquely yours.