Monday, August 27, 2012

Olive sweater, pink floral skirt

My Closet Saga - The Olive Sweater, part 1:
So here's what happened...
I bought this sweater on mega-super-amazing-sale from J.Crew, in just about every color. Yes, including the electric yellow you see here. And then I freaked when it arrived and was even more yellow than I could have believed. So instead of trying to make it work somehow, or return it like a sane person.... I tried to dye it black. Unsuccessfully. Maybe I should have used two boxes? Not sure of what happened exactly, but I ended up with a delightful olive color, a little splotchy in parts, but I actually like it.
Then I went on pinterest to see if I could find anything inspiring to pair it with. And ta da!
The Inspiration:

She even has brown hair and bangs like I do! I hate the shoes, but I have a pink floral skirt that I made out of an old curtain from my mom's rag bag. And she's wearing black tights! I LIVE in black tights. This is fate.

So, after a little experimentation, I came up with...

My Outfit:
Olive sweater, pink floral skirt
Everything in this outfit is the closest match I could find for pieces I already had in my closet - except the purse. That is a new acquisition. I just bought this exact Michael Kors bag. And it's beautiful. And I think it will even fit my laptop, we shall see.
Anyways, let's see what went on here.
  • Olive green with pink/floral - The color pairing is fresh, very now, looks spring-y.
  • Heavy sweater with short, poofy skirt - Has a girlish, playful quality, and the skirt takes this heavy sweater out of the winter.
  • Girly hair helps - I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to try this with a different hairstyle, and not just because I was copying the inspiration pic. But an on-trend hairstyle helps me feel more with it, in just about everything.
  • Black tights balanced with black cropped military jacket - In the inspiration pic, she balances the black tights with a black bag, and her shoes (kind of) go with her skirt. But I absolutely cannot plan an outfit without thinking about what kind of jacket to wear, because I'm constantly walking around San Francisco freezing. The jacket I have is INC from Macy's which I bought a few years ago on a whim while hanging out at the mall, waiting for my car to be repaired. I wear it all the time, so it was a lucky little breakdown I guess. ;) And it's a stretchy material, kind of sweatshirt-y, so it's actually comfortable.
  • Warm brown leather shoes and bag - I have a pair of Nine West heels with a round capped toe, and a deco-type ankle strap that I have probably had for 8 years or more. I couldn't find a picture of anything even close, so just try to imagine these without the mega-platform. But, the warm, reddish tone kind of ties into the colors in the skirt, and matches my fabulous new purse, not to mention tones of my hair.
How successful was the oufit?
That is somewhat debatable. I'm not the same size as the girl in my inspiration pic, and so the sweater doesn't hang in quite the same way.... I can tend to feel dumpy in that particular cut of cotton cable sweater. But overall, I liked it, and I'll definitely wear it again. And the combination of the olive green and the pink floral is going to make another appearance here shortly. Stay tuned. Would love your thoughts. :)


Friday, August 24, 2012

My Closet Saga

I may have overestimated the amount of effort it would take to rock a fashion blog. :) But I haven't disappeared. And I wanted to let you know what I've been up to.

My Closet Saga
Sooooo.... I recently moved in with my boyfriend, which has been a wonderful experience so far. Buuuuut..... during this process, I discovered that the size of my previous closet was not exactly compatible with another person....  At least not in a one-bedroom in San Francisco. And also that I suck at getting rid of anything....

Well, I had a little challenge on my hands.

Step 1: Do not buy anything else. For a while.
This has actually been a decent success. Black and white rules work fairly well for me. It's not exactly a workable solution forever, but for now... I have plenty to work with already. Not to mention saving money in the middle of the move was kind of necessary.

Step 2: Stop constanting reading fashion blogs and magazines
I was really feeling the pull to consume consume consume, and it kind of freaked me out. But I do love fashion, so this only worked for a while. But I'm really trying to keep it in check. Just because leopard slipper loafers are on trend right now, does not mean I'm losing the fashion race because I don't have a pair. Gotta chill.

Step 3: Replace crap with quality
I tend to buy based on price, but have been actually purchasing a few items that are really nice quality. For example, I noticed that I was only using one purse. Why? Because it had a top zipper, was big enough to fit a book, and had a single, long shoulder strap. The one I was using was $20 from Ross and falling apart... So I let myself buy a nice one with the same characteristics. And lo and behold, I use it EVERY DAY. I had to face the bitter reality that I no longer need flashy "clubbing" purses in a variety of colors to match my sequin tube tops.... those are now heading to Goodwill. Same story with ballet flats vs. strappy stilettos. That just isn't my life right now. (sob! pour out a little 40 for my lost party days)

Step 4: Shop my closet, and keep track of the best outfits
Use pieces that I already have, get creative, and try to remember my favorite outfits. I am awful at this. I really actually need a memory aide for my own clothes. Sorta sad.... So that's what I've been doing. And I wanted to post about that here.

Enter... the Polyvore virtual closet
Polyvore is an online "collage" site, where you can tag items you like and build "sets" by using images and products. Which are essentially collages. And you can explore sets created by other people. It's main function is as a shopping site, directing internet traffic to retailers, but I've been using Polyvore to build a "virtual" closet. I find pictures of items I actually own, or find a really close match. Then I use those pictures to build outfits. Might sound weird, but I like it. (I did try simply taking pictures of the actual outfits on me, but nothing looked right. I am not a photographer, unfortunately. So this is the alternative.) Be forewarned if you start exploring Polyvore - there are a lot of Twilight themes.... but there are a lot of creative, stylish posts too.

Anyhoo... things have mostly settled down after the move, so look for some posts to come of my actual outfits... I may try to post inspiration pics too if I can. **

xoxo ~emily

** You might have noticed that ACTUALLY just getting rid of clothing isn't listed here. It's too hard. I'm working on that part still. Replacement, and tossing a few things here and there is how I can deal...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kirsten Dunst in a striped tee and full skirt

Hi there! I'm not dead. Just got busy... :) also sick. But all better! New goal of one post per week.
This is also my first post from my new iPad, so we shall see... Here you go!


Photo credit: Sterling style

Kirsten Dunst has her moments. I don't love everything she wears, but she definitely has the knack of looking put together even when she's running errands. I like this outfit a lot because I happen to be obsessed with bateau stripe tops right now, and this outfit gives a nod in that direction, without looking as "sailor" as they usually do.

Why is she so cute?

  • Not too casual - Everything she is wearing is easy and comfortable, but nothing is sloppy, and she also added in details that take it up a notch. The shiny sandals are walkable flats, but definitely not $2 flip flops from Rite aid. And her leather bag is totally functional, but adds in a little bad-assitude. Imagine if she had a bag that were pink and frilly. If would definitely not be the same look.
  • Not grubby - Everything fits her nicely, and is crisp and new. One problem with casual clothing is that it tends to get worn out, or nicer items get relegated to the casual pile when they lose some of the shine. But if you can try to keep your casual clothing crisp, you'll look more put together even when you're in your sweats.
  • Flirty full skirt - Why are so many of my gorgeous female friends afraid of full skirts? I don't get it. They're very flattering, they tend to fit more body types, they don't pull in conspicuous places, and they are really really comfortable! The only problem I have with full skirts is on windy days.... Ahem. I have more than once wished longingly that the "bike shorts under skirt" trend from the 90s would come back... But I found a fitted slip that solves that particular worry for me. And in San Francisco, I'm almost always wearing tights or leggings anyways. But these are so fun! And they create such a pretty 50s silhouette. I understand that full skirts can be overwhelming if you don't watch the hem line. Above the knee is probably the best length for most women, and it's a really easy alteration if you're a shortie. (YOU could do this yourself) If you can't find a skirt that you like, you might also try wearing a sweater or tee over a dress with a full or flared skirt.
  • Boat neck, 3/4 sleeve top - Go buy one now. Love love love love. The stripes are adorable, and make you look like Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. Love love love.
Thank you to everyone for harassing me to start posting again. You're great. :)





Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nicole Richie pushes the limits in pink

I don't know about this one. I generally really like Nicole Richie's style, but... hmmm. From some angles, this is a 'win'. But from others, not so much. So, I'm discussing both sides today.

Why is she so cute?
  • Colors are great on her - The powder pink palette she's using in her clothes and makeup are really pretty with her hair and skin tone. And the strong eyeliner is a really nice balance to the soft colors.
  • Rockin hair - Trendy bangs - check. Goldie Hawn glow - check. Cut just different enough to be new - check.
  • Nude heels - Pretty much always going to work. They not only make her legs look longer, but they are the same tone as the pink. This helps create a monochromatic look without wearing the exact same color head to toe.
  • Blazer fit & length - The blazer is a bit of a Golden Girls nod, which I kind of love. But the lapels are nice, it fits her well at the shoulders, it's the right length on her arms, and I like the hem length. Especially with leggings. Longer is trendy while offering some rear-end coverage - classy. And the boxy blazer balances out the skinny leggings nicely.
  • Gold minaudiere clutch - Entirely impractical, completely fabulous.

What could be better?
  • Patterned leggings? - This isn't my favorite style, but I can kind of see why people like them. But why are they only patterned on the front half? To protect innocent chairs from the danger of ass-mounted sequins? I don't get it, and I definitely don't like it. Beige or pale gray skinnies would markedly improve my opinion of this outfit. But sharing the pattern with her backside would help a lot.
  • The Giant V - Does anyone else notice what her jacket is doing in the crotchal area? Double-breasted jackets can be hard to wear because they trap you in a cocoon of fabric and don't let any of your female-ness escape from the depths. So, my guess is that the designer took some liberties and chopped away some fabric... to reveal... the goods. It's possible that the way she's standing is accentuating this as well.
What do you think? Will you tell me I'm wrong and that I need to wear one-sided patterned leggings right now? I'll listen politely, then may tell you to stuff it in your minaudiere.  ;) 


Photo credit: Pop Sugar

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jennifer Hudson can rock a mini

Jennifer Hudson might be making quite a few appearances on here, because I can't get over how beautiful she is. And I know that she recently lost a lot of weight, but she has ALWAYS looked great. I admire her a ton, and I really really like her style.

Why is she so cute?
This is a fun, spring-y outfit that is playful and fun, but still totally put together. And she balances out the cutesy with neutral make-up, and "un-done" hair (which I'm sure still took a lot of time...).
  • Repeated accent color - The bright blue statement necklace just explodes right out at you, and Jennifer repeats the color in her peep-toe bow platforms. So cute.
  • Knife pleat mini - This skirt is way shorter than I would probably wear, but Miss Hollywood here looks amazing in it. I have been seeing knife pleats mostly in the form of midi skirts recently, but I love that this skirt incorporates that trend into something that is really flattering to Jennifer. Look at those legs! Miles long! And the beige color looks amazing against her skin.
  • Thin ankle strap - Ankle strap shoes can be a really disastrous end to an otherwise great outfit, because that horizontal line can be eeeeevil. But if it's really thin strap like this one, it can give you that mary-jane look (and keep your shoes from flying off) without completely stumpifying your legs. 
  • Natural waist - I like natural waists, it's no secret. I think it really adds to the girly quality of this whole look. If she were untucked, the look would be much more casual. It could still look cute, but the length of the top would be really important with a skirt this short. 
How can I wear that?
This outfit should be pretty easy to replicate. You probably already have a fitted white tee that you like, and I added some items below in case you're in a shopping mood. You definitely wouldn't need to make it as cutesy, if for example you already have blue heels without a bow. Go for it. I think a beige skirt would also work, but I love the yellow-blue color pairing. I couldn't find any skirt that combined being and yellow quite like hers does, but I did find several really adorable skirts in yellow and a ton of amazing blue statement necklaces. And I have an acute physical need for those Betsey Johnson pumps. 

Thank you!!
Photo credit: People

Monday, March 5, 2012

Summer Maxis & Wedge Sandals

What shoes do I wear with a Maxi dress?
I was asked by my friend Jamie for some tips on what shoes to wear with a maxi dress. And lo and behold, she doesn't even own a maxi dress yet. So I picked out a few dresses that I like, and then picked out some fun shoes that I think would go well with them. Let me know what you think. You can click on any of the items below to purchase.

Jamie lives in sunny Orange County, California, so she luckily doesn't need to worry about winter weather. Not to mention we're having unseasonably warm weather right now on the west coast, so I know I'm in a summer mindset already. But Jamie is a mom on the go, and needs something cute that she can walk in. My advice: wedge sandals. Dressy flat sandals could also work, but if you're short, wide or hippy at all (as so many of us are...), try to give yourself a little help by increasing your vertical. Or if you need proof, try it on with both types of shoe, and see which one makes you look slimmer. Trust me.

Just make sure to get really comfortable wedges, or you won't wear them. But fortunately the retail gods have smiled upon us, and lines like Aerosoles and Dr. Scholls actually have some really really cute options. I included some of those below, as well as some sky-high crazy shoes for the more daring. :)

Old Navy Floral Sundress
Old Navy has some seriously cute Hawaiian prints in stock right now, but this dress is by far my favorite. The pattern is bold and pretty, but not overpowering, and you don't look like you just got off a cruise ship. But more to the point, the shape of the dress is really flattering. The straps are wide enough that you could wear a bra underneath, and the V-neck and shirred elastic waist are very figure flattering. You could dress this up or down, depending on what shoes you want to pair with it. The floral pattern offers a bunch of complementary colors to choose from, but metallics match just about anything. I think you could also get away with black, chunky wedge with this dress as well, to give it more of an urban feel. My favorite are probably the ankle strap Bandolino's with the cork wedge and the beige rosette. But I kind of die for the orange Chinese Laundry's...

Yasmeen Vertical Print Maxi
This next dress is a little lower cut, but it would look great with a cami or tank underneath. Something like a wife-beater to dress it down, or something lacy to dress it up. This also has a V-neck, but with a banded waist, which gives the effect of a belt, drawing attention to the slimmest part of your torso. The vertical/horizontal play of the stripes helps that effect as well. I also like that the pattern is interesting and on trend, but not over the top. Sometimes I will fall in love with a dress that is a complete "wow", but then I won't feel comfortable wearing it all the time because it's too bold. A dress like this could be in your closet for years, and I think you'd get a lot of versatility out of it. I like it with brown leather shoes, but there are a lot of options. I also die over the strappy Vince Camuto's at the top right. Want want want. Only size left as of posting is a 10, but I'm sure they're at another store... (hope)

Merona Black Ruffle Front Dress
A simple, flattering, black maxi would be a great starter piece if you haven't ever worn maxis before. I also think that buying one from Target is a good idea, because then if it doesn't work out, at least you haven't dropped a ton of cash. But this is a really cute dress, and comes in lots of colors. I like the ruffle detail, and the surplice top and banded waist. Any bra would work under this dress. The only danger with this dress is that it's a solid jersey knit which can show VPL and bumps more than a woven fabric or a print. Just be careful to wear the appropriate undergarments and/or a slip. But think of the poetic license that black gives you! Color! Fun! Patterns! The red/pink Artist Deco shoes from Mod Cloth (top right) aren't even really sandals, but look how much fun they are! What will you wear crazy statement shoes with? A little black dress, that's right. I think my faves are the gingham Ralph Lauren's at the bottom - amazing, totally wearable, and very Kate Middleton. :)

Mia One-Shoulder Tribal Print Dress
I think this is my favorite dress, tho I do understand that not everyone will be comfortable wearing a one-shoulder. But look how sexy it is! And playful, and day-appropriate. It's in a fun on-trend pattern, that I think I would wear all the time. Because this dress is so vibrant, I would definitely choose a light neutral shoe, like beige, gold or gray. Tho the brown leather would also look really cute. (With a wide brown belt? Yes please!) The Andrew Geller's (bottom right), or the Aerosoles (middle right) look like the most comfortable, but don't discount Charlotte Russe (top left). I bought an almost identical pair a few years ago, and I love them and wear them all the time. But if that wedge is too high for you, they have lots of other options.

Let me know what you think! I may have taken too long to post this, so some of the items might not be available anymore. I'll be quicker in the future. :) I'm going to go see if those Vince Camuto's are available in a 9 anywhere....


Friday, March 2, 2012

So you want to wear a midi skirt?

What is a Midi?
Midi is the term used for a skirt or dress with a hem falling anywhere from just under the knee to the ankle. Not a mini, and not a maxi. People aren't very consistent with the definition. I've noticed some catalogs using the term for just about any length. But I'm going to try to talk about the hems that fall between the knee and mid-calf.

Why do we love them?
This is easy. They are twirly delights of swirling fabric, that make you think of Audrey Hepburn, Christian Dior and the glamour of the 40s and 50s. So pretty, so feminine. Bonus: you're less likely to display 'the goods' getting out of a car, more fabric = warmer, and they don't show VPL....  


And there's also Carrie...

Pat Fields and Sex and the City changed the fashion-scape, inspiring and encouraging whimsy and adventure. (And the love of Manolos...) Carrie wore some crazy outfits, but she also wore beautiful vintage-inspired looks with longer hemlines.

And now there's Urban Outfitters...

In the past year or so, midi hemlines are everywhere. They aren't as full as New Look Dior, and also tend to be paired with other pieces that counterbalance the feminine, such as chunky or masculine-influenced shoes. Urban Outfitters didn't start this trend, but they're definitely involved.

Why are they so hard to wear? 
Midi length skirts tend to hit right in the middle of the widest part of your calf, which can make you look wide, short and dumpy. Just what every girl wants. I'm not sure why the brain makes that leap, but it does. A fuller skirt would help, but a lot of the trends out there now aren't very poofy. 

I feel personally that vintage dresses can be easier to wear than some of the current styles. The 50s looks included a very defined waist (you would definitely have been wearing a girdle), and dresses were built to include structure such as boning and princess seams to accent the waist and the curve of the body. Separates were also often designed as a unit with a matching top/bottom, so there wasn't as much stress to mix and match as we have now.  

My personal midi saga...
I was pretty excited about the midi trend when I first started seeing them show up. I even found a great vintage wool skirt that was really on trend, but I struggled trying to make it work into an outfit. ANY outfit. Nothing. It was time for the sewing machine. When I can't make something work, I turn to alterations. I can sew a bit, and fix a few common issues. First I nipped in the waist so it would land right under my rib cage. That helped.  It raised the hem by about an inch, which was better. But not quite. Next, I attacked the hem itself. I raised it by about an inch. Then another. Then another. Until it was above my knee and not a midi skirt anymore. Oh well, I tried. I have dresses that I love that hit below the knee, but for some reason, skirts are harder.  

How can I wear that?
I was asked by my friend Amna for some tips on how to make a midi skirt work, she had the same problems I did. But she also had some qualifiers: no belts, no tucked in shirts, no high waist. Hmmm. I may have to break some of her rules, but here's my attempt. :)

I found some outfits that I liked around the interwebs:

This is probably my favorite of the looks I found. How amazing is that skirt? I'd feel like a ballerina and spend all day twirling. 

Why is she so cute?
- Heels (height helps)
- Defined waist (BELT)
- Tucked in shirt (sorry!)
- Natural waist, not low-slung
- Denim menswear shirt + frilly girly tulle
- The skirt isn't really a midi. But I think it would look cute even a couple inches longer. Tho it would start to look like a ball gown.

My next favorite, which I think is more of a match for the skirt Amna has. It's also more of the true midi length that is in style right now. 

Why is she so cute?
- Defined waist (belt)
- Tucked in fitted top (baggy would not work with a skirt like this) 
- Leather blazer + frilly girly knife pleated skirt (are you detecting a theme here? Hard plus soft.)
- Heels (these ankle booties happen to work, but they also present their own set of challenges... more on that in another post...)

This is a really fun outfit, with more pleats. The striped boat neck 3/4 sleeve tee is really cute, and is more casual, so it tones down the very strong fuchsia of the skirt.

Why is she so cute?
- Defined waist
- Belt
- Tucked in fitted top
- Heels (I don't love those shoes, but they have height, and match her belt)


Here's an example with a less frilly skirt, but is still working the trend. The top has kind of a ballet leotard look to it, which I think works nicely. 

Why is she so cute?
- Defined waist
- Skirt has a built in belt! (or she matched colors exactly...)
- Tucked in top
- Heels

Now here's a different take. My personal styles tend to lean toward more girly, less rocker. Usually, if it's not Stepford Wives, I'm not that into it. But I really like this outfit.

Why is she so cute?
- Defined waist (can't tell if there's a belt, I don't think so)
- Tucked in top 
- Heels
- Black color repeats, tying it together
- Rocker shirt + girly skirt (hard/soft)

Amna already vetoed bustiers, due to the laws of physics and general public safety. But I'm including this just to prove a point. The bigger the skirt, the slimmer the top should be. 

Why is she so cute?
- Defined waist
- Belt
- Fitted top
- Heels (omg, do not buy these shoes. Or these.)
- Hard + soft (she's doing 'video vixen meets Heidi of the Alps', but using the same concept.)

Bottom line
To make this look work, I really think you'll want to tuck in your top, and belt it if you can. Even if you don't think your waist is skinny enough for it, try it anyways. A belt can cover some of the bunching from tucking in your blouse. I personally have problems with belts because my posture is terrible; the buckle continually stabs me in the stomach. Belts have a tendency to end up in my purse by the end of the day... 

And keep your top as slim and fitted as possible. It will look better and also be easier to tuck in. Keep your jacket streamlined as well - this would be a great opportunity for something kind of cropped. I am perpetually cold, so most of my jackets need to cover the hem of the cardigan I'm inevitably wearing underneath. But I do have a couple shorter length jackets that I never wear which would be perfect for this! (and I discovered cropped cardigans. Godsends!) But a completer piece like the fitted blazer in the second look above could really put this together, and might help if you aren't comfortable creating a line across your midsection.

(But really, what's wrong with shorter hems?)
Aren't these cute? Above the knee.... Just for the sake of argument....? :)

ASOSCute or Not

I'd love to hear what you think. I know everyone has a different take on things, especially when it comes down to body shape. So, if you have a favorite midi skirt, let me know how you put your outfits together. :)

Thanks everyone!