Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Glimpse of Fall

With the cooler weather comes the desire for fall. I love fall! The crisp mornings and cooler evenings, the clothing, pumpkins patches and hot apple cider. Yesterday gave us a taste of what we’ve been missing with highs in only the low 80s. The morning started out in the high 50s and I immediately reached for my new, Banana Republic, leather blazer purchased this summer at a very great price! Paired with black pants, a heather gray sleeveless, t-neck shell and fun new Jessica Simpson cut-out boots, I was ready to take the plunge into full fledged fall! I’m sincerely looking forward to September 7th, the official first day of fall, according to the clothing calendar. No more white, which means a smooth transition into autumnal colors and textures. Yes, it’s too early for wool, but don’t think I won’t shift my closet to reflect the change in seasons! Looking forward to it!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Trip Down Memory Lane - The 1990s

While watching Beverly Hills 90210, which I do almost every Saturday on soap net, I took another trip down the fashion memory lane. Like the 80s, the 90s weren’t all that good to us. We were introduced to school girl, plaid skirts that were paired with knee-highs and little tops that exposed the midriff. Thanks, Britney Spears, for the horrible trend! Grunge was made popular by the musicians of the era: Courtney Love, Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Grunge consisted of baggy jeans, flannel shirts, Doc Martin ankle or knee-high combat boots in black which were usually left unlaced. Very Seattle inspired. There were a few good things that come from the styles of the 1990s and some of them should make a comeback!

The crowd of 90210 was the closest thing we had to the girls of Sex and the City. I was the same age as the kids of West Beverly High, if only fictionally, so I modeled my style after theirs. Men’s inspired blazers were worn with jeans and dresses. Cat suits, or jumpsuits as we refer to them today, were worn with chunky belts at the waist. Again, a boxer blazer was worn, usually in bright colors like red, fuchsia or purple. Acid washed jeans were still in style and the baggier the better. Tops were tucked in and large belts were worn with the jeans. One of my all time favorites was my Guess overalls, an item I think should make its way back into fashion. Today it’s synonymous with pregnancy, but really, everyone could use a pair! I still have mine, not the original Guess pair from 1988, but a pair from Old Navy purchased in 1995. I’m still holding out hope!

Other notables: Sam & Libby flats with large bows, if only I had held onto those. High waisted everything! Pants, skirts and shorts contained waist bands that literally fit around the waist. Nothing sat below the belly-button. Bye-bye shoulder pads! Shirts and sweaters slung easily off the shoulders. I was working in retail by the mid to late 90s so my tastes and look changed. Skirts were worn long, to the ankle, and often paired with Keds. Denim jackets were popular and paired with skirts and dresses, much like today, but in much baggier styles. I miss those days. I enjoyed clothing that wasn’t so form fitting. They were comfortable, hid flaws and left something to the imagination, unlike most of the styles we sport today. Wonder who we can talk to at some favorite retailer design houses about bringing comfort back to fashion?

If you were a child/young adult of the 1990s, what was your style? Did you follow the trends based on your favorite television show or did you follow the trend of your favorite musician? Is there anything you would like to see from the fashion vault? I’m telling you, those overalls will stay in my closet and maybe I will try to bring back the trend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane

As I watched the kids walk to school this morning, I was reminded of my favorite time of year, back to school shopping! I loved shopping from the school supply list, but my favorite thing was clothes shopping. SHOCKER! My seventh grade year, the first year of middle school, my aunt set up an appointment for my very first personal shopper at The Jones Store. What an experience! I remember it like it was yesterday. A dressing room assigned specifically to me with clothes hanging from every inch of space. I was blessed to have that same experience for both eight and ninth grade as well.

I still remember certain outfits. There was a navy blue skirt and jacket set from Liz Claiborne that was paired with a bright yellow turtleneck. It was accessorized with a large, buffalo plaid, fringed scarf of red, navy and same yellow. Remember the 80s? Scarves were worn either at the waist or around the shoulders. That’s exactly how I wore this one! I loved my khaki skirt and jacket set from Esprit. I paired it with everything, wearing the skirt with sweaters and the jacket with jeans. My favorite item to pair both pieces with was my white button down with red, navy and khaki paisleys. Oh, and then there was the navy and white striped (almost railroad inspired) baggy, cropped pants and matching knee length jacket also from Esprit. I still have the jacket in my closet today! I just couldn’t get rid of it!

The year I turned 13, that same aunt took me on my first trip to NY. It was then that we discovered shopping on Fifth Avenue. Again, I remember those purchased outfits like they were yesterday! Remember United Colors of Benetton? I remember them fondly! I got a great cream, wool argyle dress. It was long sleeved with a turtle neck. There was another wool dress in gray with hot pink and purple argyles. It was sleeveless and I paired it with black and purple turtlenecks, tights and black flat boots. The best piece purchased was a long, denim vest in the length of a dress. I wore it all the time! Again, I still have that piece in my closet. Just another piece I couldn’t part with.

There are so many outfits of my youth that I remember and still have hanging in the closet, or should I say, hanging in one of my parents closets. I even have my homecoming court suit and homecoming/prom dresses, just to name a few. Do you remember any of your clothing from your youth? If so, take a moment to reminisce with me. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reality Television and Fashion

I’ve never been a huge fan of reality television. I never watched Survivor because I can’t stand the sight of people eating bugs. I never watched Big Brother because I just didn’t get it. The Amazing Race sounds appealing, but again I never watched. However, I changed my tune with shows like Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model and The Rachel Zoe Project. These shows spoke to me and you can probably figure out why. They are all about fashion!

Project Runway and The Rachel Zoe Project both started their new seasons and I couldn’t be happier! These two shows are vastly different, but at the same time, they are creating something. The contestants on Project Runway are creating clothing based on a concept whether it’s provided to them or something they conjure up in their minds. Rachel Zoe is also creating something, a look. It’s either a personal look based on the personality of her client or the storyboard provided to her by a magazine. Either way, it’s creativity at its fullest. After both shows aired, I can still remember pieces that struck me. On Project Runway, I loved the pantsuit designed by Gretchen. It was simple yet elegant. I loved the detail of the added hook at the v-neck. Once unhooked, it fell open for a more evening look. So small yet so significant. I also adored the red, trench coat dress designed by Valerie. With the ruffled collar, the exposed front zipper and the detailing on the skirt of the dress, it added such sophistication to a daywear dress.

On The Rachel Zoe Project, Rachel was tasked with dressing Demi Moore for a Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot. The concept was odd shaped props and Rachel chose clothing for the shoot based on texture or story. I loved the Carolina Herrarais “big top” inspired gown and it’s contrast to the stripes on the baby pool. The Oscar de la Renta gown that paid homage to the 1950s housewife, and paired with red, crystal Christian Louboutin heels, was perfect next to the small scale home. This photo shoot was laced with subtle details and equally over the top style. Just another example of how I find clothing to be works of art.

If you watch either of these shows, what are your thoughts? Have you enjoyed the designs created on Project Runway? Do you find Rachel Zoe worthy of being considered an iconic stylist? I wish I had a creative eye to design clothing or that I could spend a day learning the ropes from Rachel. Until then, I will continue to watch in awe of these artists and wonder what I would look like in their creations. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beat the Heat

I’m not one to turn against the heat, but right now summer is not my friend. My hair, which is naturally curly, is out of control and walking outside during any time of the day is just unheard of right now! I usually plan my wardrobe the night before, but I am so uninspired. I can’t fathom wearing dress pants and most of the dresses I own are fitted, contain a lining and simply feel too heavy. All I want to wear are airy, cotton dresses and cute sandals.

What do you want to do to beat the heat? Is there a piece you consider a go-to item for oppressive heat? If I didn’t have to leave my house, I wouldn’t! Instead, I am trying to be as creative as possible with my summer wardrobe while staying cute and cool! Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Now and Later

It wasn’t until working in retail that I heard the phrase Transition Wardrobe. It’s that time of year when you transition your wardrobe from spring to summer or fall to winter. You know, the time of year where it’s so hot in October that you can’t fathom wearing wool? Finding that balance of wearing fall clothing, while trying to stay cool, can be hard and I have put together three looks that I think encompass a smooth transition from summer to fall all while maintaining a trendy vibe.

Right now, military style jackets are totally in and I was so happy to stumble on one, with nice lines and at a great price, during a Banana Republic sale. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, my boyfriend jeans are the go to jean for me right now. The comfort is reason enough. On a recent trip to Crown Center, I paired my boyfriend jeans with a cute, airy top, and the other love of mine right now, my woven oxfords. As the temperature starts to change, I will reach for that military jacket. Tied around the waist for day makes it easy access for chilly nights. Also, change out your shoes. Instead of the woven oxford, I went for the full leather oxford. Perfect for jeans and slacks.

Again, those boyfriend jeans will continue their appearance throughout the fall! I got a cute little top from a darling boutique called Frankly Basic. I love how soft the cotton is and how light weight it will be for those late September days. Paired with my chocolate brown wedges, this top still feels summery while the autumnal colors transition nicely. For later in October, I will pair the whole look with a light weight, cotton cardigan in burnt orange. I love this little sweater especially, the flimsy pockets. The thin belt, with tiny silver studs scattered through out, helps maintain the bulk and add just enough definition to my waist. I kept the wedges to carry out that summer feel, but plan to also pair this entire look with skinny jeans and tall brown boots.

The last look is an adorable dress that I also found at Frankly Basic. I love the gray background and the colorful birds scattered through out. The deep v-neck of the dress is way too low for me, or anyone really, so I paired it with a cream cami. I also love the ruffle neckline. So feminine! For summer, I paired the dress with a cute pair of Seychelles sandals in a very neutral color. This time, a much thicker belt was added to help with the bulk and create that much desired waist line. I added the military jacket to show, not only its versatility, but that little dresses like this can be paired with boxier styled jackets. What I wasn’t expecting is how cute this whole ensemble would be when paired with the cowboy bootie. I just read through my July Lucky issue and thought, I don’t have anything in my closet that I could pair this look with, and look what happened! I added my mom’s vintage Levi denim jacket circa 1970 and the dress was transformed. I honestly can’t wait to wear this!

I know it seems early to start thinking about your fall wardrobe, but major retailers are currently carrying transition pieces while marking summer items to ridiculously low prices. Start investing in those fall pieces now, instead of buying up summer. Trends change and you don’t want to have a 2011 summer wardrobe that’s out of date! Start pairing your current summer items with those fun fall trends and let me know you come up with! 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How Much Longer Do I Have to Wait?

I hit the Nordstrom yearly Anniversary Pre-Sale event a couple of weeks ago and now I can’t stop thinking about the shoes I purchased! My mom and I may have gone a little crazy, but we’re worth it, right? With my birthday being in the fall, I generally ask for things well in advance, which kind of ruins the surprise, but at the same time I have to wait to get them. Trust me when I say this, but the waiting overshadows the lack of surprise!

I found two amazing pair of boots. I already have a closet full of boots, but they all serve a completely different purpose! A gray pair of Steve Madden boots await me in a rugged, dove gray leather. They have a small wedged heel, but the thing that makes these boots so unique is the wrapped leather that covers the sole. A small functioning zipper runs up the back of the boot; stopping just slightly above the ankle. These will look so cute with skinny jeans, black leggings and comfy sweaters. I might even try them with dresses. How much longer until November?

The second pair of is so out of character for me. They are a black over the knee leather boot by Sam Edelman, of the now defunct Sam & Libby. These boots have great details from an inside zipper to small buckles at the knee. At first I was leery of the over the knee boot. Was it too Pretty Woman? All fears diminished as soon as I put them on! I felt more Carrie Underwood than Vivian Ward. Even women working the floor that day told me “Those boots look hot on you!”. If that’s the case, how could I not I get them! I plan on wearing them with all the same things as the Steve Maddens above. One thing to avoid, mini skirts!

The last pair I’ll mention are the adorable gray, felt flats from Jessica Simpson. So cute that they are on back order! I plan to wear them with everything: dresses, jeans (boyfriend, skinny and possibly boot cut), skirts with tights and dress pants. I must say, there was a time where I shunned flats, and still have a hard time wearing them, but with all the mile high heels I sport on a daily basis these flats will be a nice reprieve.

These are just a few things I’m looking forward to for fall. I love the rich, autumnal tones, light weight wools, blankets of cashmere and the smell of wood burning stoves in the air. What parts of fall are you look forward to?

Monday, August 2, 2010

A business trip to San Diego and Mexico for my husband

My husband Joel just returned from a week long business trip to San Diego, CA and parts of Mexico. I hated that he was gone, however, my social calendar was packed for the entire week! I’m sure there are many of you male readers that travel quite often and probably have packing down to an art. Here’s what Joel is took with him.

The week consisted of meetings with vendors, visiting a repair facility in Mexico, dinners out and an evening at the horse track. He took two pairs of pants: khaki and black. He also threw in two pairs of jeans. His shirts consisted of: two business casual buttons downs, a long sleeved polo shirt with a deconstructed stripe down the center of the sleeve and patched shoulders, a couple of standard polo shirts especially, for trip to Mexico, and a nice pair of shorts. Shoes consisted of black lace ups, brown lace ups and brown driving moccasins. He also threw in a light weight jacket. It was unseasonable cool in San Diego this week.

Guys, what are your thoughts? Anything different you would have packed?