Thursday, April 29, 2010

NEUTRAL TERRITORY

Celine Spring/Summer 2010
Some of the winning looks this spring were spare, minimal and in neutral hues.  Phoebe Philo for Celine characterized this less-is-more aesthetic in her beautiful collections.
Celine Spring/Summer 2010

What woman wouldn't look great and instantly put-together in these outfits?  You can mix and match anything!  These shapes are closet staples.  But due to the simplicity, perfect fit and quality fabrics are key.


Isabel Marant 2010
For those who like frills, I love how Isabel Marant makes neutrals so hip and chic! No wonder the Cool Crowd from Paris to NYC have been causing shortages despite Marant's hefty price tag.  (What ever happened to the Recessionista?!)   This look is more studied and defies matching:
  • Neutral short, ruffly chiffon dress
  • Camouflage fringe boots add heft to the short length
  • Silver tie wound around neck adds edge
  • Accessorize with non-neutral earrings
There are many ways to take Spring's Neutral look.  Which way would you choose?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

GAMINE GLAM

I'm just about to run into an outdoor ballet performance this gorgeous spring day - enough time to post one of my favorite looks inspired by the dance world!

During springtime, we shed our more formal layers and start unbuttoning our jackets.  Still, there's no need to get sloppy.  We can still look put-together without our boots and coats keeping us upright.  For this transition, Gamine Glam is a great option!  It's pulled together comfort.  Ballet flats are the go-to accessory along with black stove pipe pants.  Think Audrey Hepburn and you will know what I mean.


Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face"

  • Stove pipe pants or skinny black jeans can end at the ankle or be cropped like pedal pushers.  If cropped, make sure it looks cropped rather than pants that you just outgrew.
  • For a sleek look, a fitted but simple top works, like Audrey's signature black turtleneck.
  • Ballet flats can also go with skirts.  Audrey was known to bike around town with them in voluminous skirts!

Custom flats from Elephant and Chickpea


Have fun with color and texture!

Those of you who have a hard time wearing flats (like me) can put gel inserts on the heels.  They provide lift and cushioning.
Miu Miu velvet ballet flats






Enjoy the break from high-heeled shoes!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

STYLISHLY FIT

What makes some women so chic even when they've just got jeans and a t-shirt on?  Most likely, the answer is that they are physically fit.  It flows through to their confident posture and how clothes drape on them perfectly.

My stylishly fit friend on a hill
For many people's busy lives, going to the gym just doesn't make their daily to-do list.  But instead of being a to-do, fitness can be part of an active lifestyle.

The key is finding something you love to do.   Mentally, it should feel like taking a break.
  • For several people I know, taking a walk, run or bike ride outdoors, even for a 1/2 hour, is a terrific way to de-stress and get fit.  
  • Many moms push their strollers up hills (the added 20 lbs. is a terrific fat burner!) on nearby hiking trails.
  • Doing power moves on the trails can add intensity to your walk.
Power moves
If you're not into nature trails:
  • Instead of drinks or dinner, make appointments with friends for badminton or  tennis.  Team sports (beach volleyball!) for large groups!
  • Try a new skill.  While my "sport" is ballet, martial arts provides very similar physical challenges and benefits.
  • Yoga and Pilates have become trendy in the past decade.  One huge benefit I've noticed is that more Americans have better postures - from the East to the West Coasts!  
So find an activity you love and make it part of your life.

While you're at it, great-fitting workout clothes can be an incentive.  My friends and I swear by Lululemon Athletic gear (tell us when there's a sale!).  It truly makes everyone look leaner instantly - and they last forever!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

I apologize for not blogging sooner but there seem to be some technical difficulties with the Photo Upload functions.  I will update as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience.  Meanwhile, stay chic!

Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga Resort 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

SCENTSATIONAL

Jo Malone counter at Neiman Marcus
Finding your own signature scent is a lot like defining your individual style.  You want to be unique.

In this sense, celebrity fragrances, or even fragrances from design houses, do a poor job.  You can do better by going to the source - a specialty perfumer where you can blend your own fragrance.


  • Perfume houses carry a whole line of scents: from subtle to overpowering
  • Find your base scent, then layer other fragrances around to add nuance
  • Continuous sniffing can confuse your olfactory senses.  Whiff coffee beans in-between to cleanse.
  • Paper is not the same as your body.  Spray on your arm and walk around for a while to see if you like it.
  • Tip: purchase a bottle of your favorite base layer, but ask for samples of others so you can play around with layered scents!  
If you don't know where to begin, a few of my favorite perfume houses are Creed (making scents in Europe since the Empire Period), Annick Goutal, Bond No. 9 with their New York-centric fragrances, and Jo Malone of London.  Happy Mixing!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

MILITARY MANIA

Many spring fashion spreads showed the Military trend: Sgt. Pepper jackets and olive and khaki hues from top to bottom.

Cargo pants and flak jackets are a laid back interpretation.  If you want to go beyond that, here's a feminine twist on military mania:

Military Trend

  • Keep to the olive or khaki color scheme
  • Epaulets and brass buttons on the jacket keep with the theme; the belt defines the waist line
  • The flared skirt is in contrast to the more fitted jacket.  This is a good camouflage trick for bottom-heavy ladies!
  • The fur and brass detail on the halter top's neckline keeps the focus up on top.
Add color
If you are feeling too drab in olive, you can add a pop of color within the same family.  Here, I've shown a mustard-colored bag with gold closures and tassels.

Forward march!

Monday, April 5, 2010

ECO-FRIENDLY FASHION

The world is becoming more conscious of going Green.  What does this mean for Style and Fashion, particularly in the world of "disposable" trendiness from places like Forever 21?

from Sophia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" film
Let's actually take a lesson from the history of Haute Couture.  Couture was meant to last and be passed down.  Royalty would use a gown once, then pass it down to their ladies-in-waiting.  The items could even get a second or third life, re-sold in dressmaker shops.

'60s Courreges dress, from Powerhouse Museum
Today, Eco-conscious dressing can mean stocking our closets with less but higher quality items to be used for years - even decades.  For example, I want to raid my mom's closet for her '60s and '70s era tops and gowns!  Vintage shops also specialize in top quality outfits from specific eras.


Vintage Chanel from Vintage Textiles
Some designers have another take on Conscience Dressing.  They use existing materials (like the example in the link of vintage Balmain scarves) and create beautiful new outfits from it:

Re-worked Vintage

Perhaps the most common take on Eco-friendly fashion is using organic and low-carbon footprint materials.  This is harder to keep track of as you have to research the origins of the fibers for the label you are looking at.  But some designers, like Stella McCartney, embrace this ideal and even create luxury capsule collections using green and cruelty-free (no leather or fur) fabrics.

Perhaps we should all think twice about purchasing that cheap trend which might end up in the bin a year or two later?

I would love to hear what you all think about this!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

EASTER CHARM

Easter-time always makes me think of ladies in wispy florals and pretty garden hats.  But what if you are not the type who "does" florals?  You can still look ladylike without frills by wearing spring colors instead.


  • The princess coat shown here gets its ladylike charm from the bright color and the contrast ribbon.  
  • Tiny, black bows make it more feminine without steering away from the straight lines of the design.
  • The back collar detail also shows more of the contrast ribbon and bows - a visible detail in case you are wearing your hair up.


To avoid making it overly girly, skip the traditional pumps and opt for edgier booties instead.  Just ensure visual harmony by keeping your shoes in the same color as the contrast - that is, if you don't want to be mistaken for an Easter egg!
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