Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ebony and Ivory: Wearing Black and White

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse
I don't normally do big cheesy smiles for my blog photos but I was so entertained by the reactions to my outfit at Greenlake for our photoshoot I couldn't contain my amusement. It was a sunny day at the lake, a popular place for walkers, joggers, moms with strollers and those who love to get outside and exercise. Which means I had to park a million miles away, then walk on the busy path to meet Krissi at our designated meeting spot for photos. So there I was, strolling in Chanel flats, piles of pearls swinging away as I tried to hurry out of the way of the Nike clad crowd. I do love standing out in a crowd, but perhaps not this one? It was pretty funny.

Which brings me to the topic of what to wear this time of year...not over winter but not quite spring. The weather can swing wildly between snowstorm and sunny day, and even if that big round ball of warmth comes out, it still is quite chilly around here. Which is why I am more often that not reaching for my black and white pieces.

I mentioned on my recent segment (shameless plug ahead here) on KING 5's New Day Northwest, wearing white in the winter is not only ok, it is super chic. That old rule about "no white after Labor Day"? Forget about it. What you should know about wearing white jeans in the winter is this: it is all about the weight and the fabric. Lightweight cotton or linen whites? Yes, leave those for the warmer months. But a good regular denim in a white, especially when paired with a cool good.

The Current/Elliot The Stiletto white jeans I am wearing were pretty with heels, but I also loved just a pair of classic ballet flats. The fashion gods have proclaimed that ballet flats are "back", but I am fairly sure they never went anywhere. That's the beauty of investing in a beautiful classic piece, be it a coat, a set of pearls, or a perfect pair of Chanel flats. You will have them forever.

As far as accessories go, I got inspired by a Neiman Marcus runway show I attended where I saw long ribbons attached to necklaces that hung down the back. I decided to make my own, so I went to Nancy's Sewing Basket up on Queen Anne and bought several yards of beautiful black and white ribbon. I also bought a velvet flower to make a choker necklace, then attached it to the ribbon. I also added all the pearls I could get my hands on because there is nothing more chic than a pile of pearls. The J.Crew Pearl Twisted Hammock Necklace adds the perfect pile of more, more, more pearls!

My sweater is a beautiful Claudie Pierlot piece that I bought in Paris a couple of years ago. It is a black cotton cardigan with a accordion silk blouse back sewed into it, giving it the illusion of having a blouse underneath it. You could easily achieve this by layering a silk blouse underneath an open back sweater, or layer a crisp white blouse underneath a black cardigan.

I think what I love most about this look is it seems a bit Parisian, wearing classic black and white but in a decidedly unclassic combination. Yes, I am wearing pearls, but with distressed denim. The messy bun and mixed together accessories make for an undone look that isn't the least bit stuffy, just like me. Can't figure out what to wear this time of year? Mix your black and white pieces to create the perfect chic look, straight from your own closet.

Have a great week! xx

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Weekend Winner: JAG x Fitcode Denim Fit Lab is Feb 18th

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

Last week I attended The Denim Fit Lab at My Style Suite at Westfield Southcenter to get a sneak peak at a cool new denim concept debuting over Presidents Day weekend. The Denim Fit Lab is designed to help customers find the perfect denim with the help of fit experts, Fitcode, Fitcode takes the guesswork out of getting a pair (or two) of jeans that are perfect for your specific body type and your personal style. No stress, all fashionable fun!

Here is how it works: You take a short online fit quiz to find your personal Fitcode, no measurements required. So easy. Once you have been assigned a "Fitcode number" you can shop your personalized denim recommendations. The Style Suite is full of racks of great denim that have tags with corresponding numbers and the knowledgable staff can get you the details on fit, stretch and answer any questions.

I was looking for a skinny boyfriend style that was more fitted than the other pairs of boyfriend denim I already had. The JAG Sheridan Skinny in Blue Carbon not only had the perfect amount of distressing, but it fit my body like a glove. A soft comfy glove at that! And an extra bonus...I went down two sizes in this jean! Thanks to Fitcode and the great ladies from Styled Seattle and Fitcode, I found exactly what I was looking for.  It was easy and fun, and I walked out with a great fitting pair of denim. Yay!

I paired my new jeans with my J. Crew Collection Chelsea Glitter Boots because I love mixing distressed denim with dressier pieces. I rolled the hems to show off the boots, and since the wind was blowing a thousand miles an hour, I layered my pieces. I wore a tie neck silk blouse from the Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa Collection underneath my PLAY Comme de Garçon Mens Cardigan Sweater, which incidentally is less expensive than the women's version. My favorite bomber jacket to date has to be the stunning Free People Floral Embroidered Bomber. It has panels of silk and velvet with gorgeous embroidery work, and even the pockets are lined in velvet. It is a heavier bomber and therefore quite cozy. Coolest jacket ever.

Now it is your turn to find the perfect denim!  On Saturday, February 18, Styled Seattle, a local fashion consulting and personal styling business, is partnering with JAG jeans and Fitcode to host a complimentary Denim Fit Lab.  The one-day-only event is open to the public from 12-5 on a first-come, first-serve basis. Guests will receive exclusive discounts from JAG and if they like, have the opportunity to book a session with a personal stylist at Styled Seattle. Also, check online for Fitcode's new collaborations, including AG Jeans and more.

You can also shop online using my custom 30% off promo code FITLABWestFultonStreet, good through March 31, 2017.

JAG Jeans x Fitcode Denim Fit Lab
When: Saturday, February 18, from noon to 5 pm
Where: The Style Suite, Westfield Southcenter, 2800 Southcenter Mall Seattle, WA 98188

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Denim Edit: Five Favorite Looks

Photo by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

On Monday I had the pleasure of appearing for the second time on Seattle's KING 5 television's New Day Northwest. I did a "Stylish at Any Age" segment last spring and other than wearing a dress on camera that made me look like a large pumpkin, I loved doing it. When the producer reached out to me again a couple weeks ago I was ready to go with some ideas on what I wanted to talk about next: denim. Local boutique Canopy Blue generously supplied the clothes for the show, and five gorgeous fashion friends agreed to model. "Stylish at Any Age: The Denim Edit" was so much fun to do. I loved it!

New Day Northwest with Jennifer Lovin, Kirsty Papadopulos, Mary Bridget Pehl, Kirsten Lear & Chardon Dankers
Denim styles have become so much fun this past year and they just keep getting better. Gone are the hard to wear low rise styles and the awkward combos of either too much or not enough stretch to your denim. Sometimes it has felt like finding the perfect pair of jeans could be nearly as terrifying (although not quite) as finding a swimsuit. But now we have the 'step fray". We have the "girlfriend' and "boyfriend" and we have high waisted and cropped flares. There is so much great denim out there, it makes me want to yell, "I'll take one of each!", but then again I often feel like that when it comes to fashion. Let's explore the five styles I focused on the television show. Here's hoping you are inspired to try something new, because there is a lot to love about denim these days.

The Step Fray or Step Hem

The hem design on these is a stair step looking bottom, with the back of the hem longer than the front, like a little step. It can come in a hemmed style, like these Frame High Rise Step Hem Skinny Jeans, or even in a cropped hem, like the MOTHER Inside Crop Step Fray. It is a modern take on denim that gives a major cool factor to any style of denim.  Dressed up with heels or down with a cool pair of sneakers, this edge has an edge.

Winter Whites

Actually, not just winter whites, but white period is fresh looking, especially this time of year. It matters what weight of denim you are wearing, not the color. If you have got a lightweight white jean, save it for the warmer months. but if it is a heavier weight denim, get those babies out! I love the look of my white jeans with a black sweater and black boots for a look that is sleek and modern. On the show today we paired the MOTHER Insider Crop in a cream color with a blue denim jacket and blue suede Joseph Altuzarra Blue Suede Pump and it was so chic. White before Labor Day, white after Labor Day, white denim all year round!

MARZdenim courtesy of Hitchcock Madrona

Vintage Upcycled

Upcycled denim is recycling at its fashionable best. Taking old denim and giving it a new and fabulous life is what MARZdenim is all about and it is my favorite company that is doing this right now. I have written about MARZdenim in a previous blog post, and it was a no brainer to include it in my list of favorites. For the segment on New Day Northwest, blogger and fabulous fashion girl Kirsty from The Kirsty Files modeled the Criss Cross Globe Trotter. This killer jean was a pair of plain Levi's in its previous life. The jeans were recycled and resewed into a boyfriend style jean complete with vintage pages, embroidery, paint dipped hems and grosgrain ribbon details. Kirsty wore it with fun floral heels and a white silk blouse, knocking it out of the fashion park.

MOTHER Denim - The Stunner

High Waist Skinny

The high waist and the skinny is a match made in heaven. I am constantly reading about the demise of the skinny jean, but instead of dominating the jean scene, I think it has now just become another choice. Having a high waist gives you more variety with what top you can choose. A cropped sweater or jacket that nips at the waist are just all the more flattering, or you can do the famous "half tuck" with your blouse and show off a cool belt, as was featured on Kristin on the show. Also, the MOTHER Looker Crop in Graffiti Girl was amazing on stylist Jennifer Lovin. You can find all these at Canopy Blue here in Seattle. Yay for the high takes the scary out of the skinny.

Photo by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

Cropped Flares

This is a denim style that I am head over heels in love with. I have cropped flares in a frayed edge style, like my rag & bone pair pictured above, as well as a finished edge in black and a high waisted pair. So, yes, I love them. Rock a pair of chunky heeled boots or a pair of on trend slides; either way the cropped flare shows off your cool shoes perfectly. The fitted leg that flares out just above the ankle is truly flattering on everyone. It is a go-to for me, no matter what the season.

Denim is a year round wardrobe staple and adding a new style to your rotation is an easy way to up your style game. Like I said, there is a lot to LOVE, so get out there and try something new and let me know what becomes your new favorite! Happy Valentine's Day! xx

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Making February Fun

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

We are on to a new month and I do love February. I love that it isn't January any longer, but I also adore Valentine's Day, which gave me an idea. Since I need things to look forward to, I have decided that my new motto is "Make February Fun". That means I am going to plan fun activities and do new things, starting with throwing a Hawaiian dinner party this weekend. Planning the food and decor has distracting me from all the politics and worry that is such a part of our world these days. I need to do something positive and spending time with friends is just that.

The Pineapple Co. Tumblers

I am going to serve a signature cocktail, The Pineapple Swizzle, from my The Pineapple Co. Tumblers, not only because it is a Hawaiian themed dinner soirée, but because the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality. I found a vintage metal Hawaiian tray on Etsy, and have my tropical flowers and subtle print napkins to keep things more elegant than kitschy. Coconut shrimp appshummingbird cake and the great company will certainly start "February Fun" in just the right way.

Photo by Charlie Morse of Solve for (x) School

During February we still need to keep warm and bundled for the most part, but there is the promise of a season change around the corner. I am not willing to give up my layers quite yet, but giving things a new perspective with an on-trend piece or two is an easy closet refresh. Last week I went poking about in one of my favorite neighborhood spots, Queen Anne Dispatch, and found the perfect pieces to do just that.

O2 Collection Lace Cropped Top and Sheer Tank

Layers needn't be bulky, they can be pretty as well. I love a cropped piece as much as the next girl but being in my 50s means I have to wear them my own way. I took the trends; sheer details, cropped silhouettes, and lace, and made them my own. I layered this gray half sheer O2 Collection Tank over a camisole, then added the cropped lace O2 Collection Cropped Lace Top. Both of these pieces are available at Queen Anne Dispatch.

Photo by Charlie Morse
I wore my look with a pair of 3x1 waxed denim trousers but a pencil skirt would also be fab. Leopard shoes give a pop of attitude, and my Miu Miu mini bag works for a night out. This outfit is a neutral, so I paired it with different coats to change the look up.  The green leather J.Crew Collection Bomber Jacket felt edgy while a blue faux fur from Zara made it ready for a night out.

Photo by Isabella of Solve for (x) School

My photographer is Kirsten Beeksma Morse (Krissi), and her daughter, Charlie, attends a small private middle school, Solve for X School.  Last week I was asked to participate in a cool learning experience with the kids from the middle school. Krissi spent time talking with the class about her photography and teaching them about the fundamentals of her work. I met the class at University Village afterwards where each child had scouted out photo locations and had written ideas about their vision for photos. They all had such a unique take on things and it was really cool to see these young creative minds at work. I couldn't print them all, but have credited the photos of a few of the students shots. Good stuff.

Photo by Aiden of Solve For (x) School

Do what you love and love what you do. Hope your February is full of fashion, friends, food, and fun. xx