Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Celebrity to real life: Leather pants week?

Photo credit: via Pinterest

Ok, this is for the boys who requested "boobs" when I asked for blog ideas on Facebook. ;) This is Millie Mackintosh, who is apparently an actress in the UK. (?) Well, whatever, she's lovely, and technically she's a celebrity even tho I've never heard of her. And apparently this week, Alisa and I are obsessed with leather pants. (irony)

But I ran across this on Pinterest, of course, and it's very glam, but I like the idea....

Why is she so cute?

  • One main area of focus - The plunging lace shirt is the complete focus of this outfit. I barely notice that she's wearing leather pants. Everything in this outfit lets that blouse stand out, and doesn't compete or pull it over the edge from sexy to slutty. If she had bright red lipstick, cat eyes, big hair and red pants, it would be really Peg Bundy. But she keeps it toned down with beach hair, glowy 'day' makeup, and simple jewelry (note: no necklace, and possibly no earrings. I think she's only wearing a watch.).
  • Ankle-straps are camouflaged by the pants hem - Ankle straps can be really really awful, visually cutting your leg into a stub and giving you cankles. Not all ankle straps, but thick black leather against a pale skin tone? Ouch. It creates a horizontal line, when we're trying to create a long, lean vertical to look as tall and goddess-like as possible. In a skirt, your leg is the perfect vertical line, so try not to cut it in half. But here, the strap almost disappears underneath the pant leg. Brilliant.
  • Fake-n-bake - Someone hit the tanner - hard. I happen to think it looks great, and definitely adds to the 'beachy' quality. But you wouldn't need that to wear an outfit inspired by this. (Her skin actually kind of matches her hair too. Coincidence? hmm...)   
  • 3/4 length sleeves - I just love them. They're purdy.

How can I wear this?

  • Camisole,  camisole, camisole - Either in your skin tone, or in black, this would rock with a cami. Or you could be daring and go just for a nude or black bra. But, uhm... that's outside my comfort zone. But you could! 
  • Non-leather pants - I think you could mimic this look with almost any black pants. (But please feel free to disagree.) Black skinnies? Black jeans? Even black trousers. It would just tone it down out of the 'starlet' category and make it reasonable. 
  • Simple everywhere else - Definitely wear heels, but keep your makeup, jewelry and hair very simple and natural. Glowy if you know how. I tend to look sweaty when I try for too much shine, but rock the shimmer if you can.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I love you Kate Middleton

Psst. I love you Kate. She is understated and gorgeous here as always, tho she kind of looks hungry, I think. Great Kate slideshow. Which look should I try to break down?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bad to the bone

 Photo credit: Views, by Laura

I might be alone in this, but I find that my own personal style is different from my dream style.  My dream style is "badass rocker chick" - masculine, tough, and a little scary, the kind of girl who kicks ass in the moshpit and in the office.  But the sad truth is that I don't think I can pull it off: I don't have the attitude or the body.  But Laura from Views, by Laura has both in spades.  Let's see how she does it...

Why is she so cute?
  • Commit to the look: head-to-toe leather is a whole lotta look, but you need to dive in fully if you're going to attempt this look.  This just wouldn't work as well with a pair of jeans, but you could probably pull it off with black leggings. 
  • Color counterpoint: I'm a big fan of monochromatic dressing - it makes an outfit look instantly pulled-together - but typically wouldn't recommend it in black for anyone who doesn't work at the MAC counter*.  What makes this look work is the bright berry blouse.  It creates a focal point and does double-duty to break up all the black when the cuffs peak out from jacket sleeves.  The rich red is strong enough to stand up to all that black leather.
  • Feminine details: When dealing with a tough, male-inspired look, you want to pull in some special touches to keep it firmly in the lady territory.  The puff sleeves and swingy shape of the jacket elevate it beyond the standard biker jacket and Laura's gauzy and airy blouse (the hem almost looks ruffled) softens the look.
  • Major shoes: Like I said, this is a whole lotta look, so you need serious shoes to balance the outfit.  Flats or pumps would be out of place, moto boots would work - but they're pretty expected.  The wedge booties like Laura's are the perfect thing.  They're substantial enough to go with the tough vibe, but they are feminine and visually interesting.  And let's be honest: when you're wearing tight leather pants, you take height where you can get it.
  • Beauty routine compliments the look: Laura's low-key makeup keeps the outfit from being over-the-top.  And I've never paid attention to whether sunglasses match the hair, but she's doing that here and I absolutely love it!
  • Surprisingly wearable: I'm a very timid dresser in real life, but this look is surprisingly wearable.  The leather pants are the scariest part, but as long as you're comfortable in jeggings or leggings, you can pull them off.  Fit is key, of course: make sure that there is no pulling at the seams and that the fabric doesn't pucker anywhere.  Go a size up if you need to - no one is going to see the tag!  The longer hem of the shirt is a godsend for anyone with a little junko in el trunko and the shoes are fantastic in that they blend with the leather pants and create one loooong line.  Bonus cute points: they look like you could walk in them!   

*If you DO work at the MAC counter, can you hook me up with the friends & family discount?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Haterade: Attack of the giant pants

Photo credit: Stockholm Street Style


Why would someone do this to themselves? And she is so cute, but this is ... omg... so awful.... Please click through to Stockholm Street Style to see some action shots. This photo doesn't do justice to the tragic nature of these pants.

"Stop being evil, Emily. You want to fill the world with LOVE, not HATE. Look for the positive..."

Some positives...
  • I would totally wear that jacket, even though my waist would disappear. I really like it.
  • Love the snazzy chain strap neon purse, want to steal it from her. 
  • Super fun color pairing! It feels like flowers and spring and laughing and joy. Love love love.
  • Platform heels (You can see the shoes better in the other pics.) - Yes!!! Make yourself as tall as possible! Giant pants definitely necessitate heels. As far as this concept goes at least, she has the right idea: the bigger the pants, the taller the heels need to be.  Tall model types can get away with pairing wide leg pants with flats; the rest of us need to wear heels to keep the right proportions. And when you wear pants like these... break out the stripper heels.
How cute would this be with LITERALLY ANY OTHER PANTS? (but seriously, skinny jeans in the same blue color? So adorable.)

What if she HAS to wear the pants?
Ok... just for the sake of argument, let's say her grandma made her those pants. And she had no choice but to wear them. Or she made a Faustian deal and this was her alternative to selling her soul. We've all been there. It happens. How could she have done this better?
  1. Ask grandma to hem them properly. Rolled massively-wide leg? Ack. Those don't even count as a cuff - they are clearly hand-rolled.
  2. Wear a tight and/or cropped top or jacket. Balance baby. You do not need to look like you were swallowed by a giant bag. (I can't get over how cute she could/should be.)
  3. Can you think of anything else? Because I can't. Her makeup is great, and so is her bed-head hair. There's just only so much that can be done with pants like that.
Ok, I couldn't help myself. More love tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Michelle Dockery on Letterman

Photo credit: Daily Mail via Pinterest

Are you as obsessed with Downton Abbey as I am? I have a girl-crush on Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, and who recently appeared on Letterman. (you can watch the interview via the Daily Mail link above) While I didn't love the dress she wore for the interview, the outfit she wore to meet fans outside the building was a winner.

Why is she so cute? 
  • Masculine/feminine balance - Michelle is wearing a boxy blazer, paired with a button-up blouse and jeans. This look could be very heavy, and very masculine if not styled and fitted carefully. First, the blouse is very light, and the collar doesn't protrude above the jacket (like a man's suit). Then, she is wearing skinny jeans and sky-high heels. This combo keeps the outfit from being either overly sexy/girly on one end of the spectrum, or too square/masculine on the other. 
  • Effortless - Michelle looks effortless because she isn't over dressed. She is put together, playful, wearing amazing colors against her skin, but more importantly she is balancing cool and feminine
To explain a little better, let's look at a few ways she could have styled this outfit: 

What if she wore... ?
  • ...wide-legged pants, instead of skinny? The whole outfit could turn very Diane Keaton circa Annie Hall - extremely cool, but not a look I particularly like. She had a masculine, androgynous silhouette, which can be very stylish if done right. But you could also lose the shape of your figure. If androgyny is your style, go for it. But if you're looking to retain a feminine silhouette, try to balance the masculine with the feminine in your outfits. 
  • ...a bustier/corset top, instead of a boxy jacket? Tooooooo much. With a very fitted or revealing top, Michelle would be more appropriate for a dance club than for an afternoon interview in February. Way too sexy for the occasion. Trying too hard. The boxy shape of the jacket tones it down and makes it appear as if she just tossed something on and looks amazing. 
  • ...ballet flats, instead of heels? Ballet flats are very feminine, and I think the outfit would still look great, but it would be more casual and less sexy. 
  • ...oxford flats, instead of heels? Lace-up oxford flats are very masculine, and I think you would lose the feminine balance with those. But oxford flats with a floaty sundress? Cute!  
What do you think? Does that make sense? I would love to hear from you. Are you into the androgynous look? Girly-girl? Different style every day?

Thanks for reading!!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

(Not so) Casual Friday

Another guest post from Miss Alisa Neymark...

Photo credit:

Thanks to Chictopia, I've discovered Kitty Cotten, an adorable blogger from MN whose style resonates with this California girl.  I want to wear this exact outfit.  It's laid-back without sacrificing style points because of the unexpected touches: lady-like bag with a decidedly casual outfit, a peek of striped blazer under the jacket, bright pop of color from the expertly-tied scarf, and grey suede boots instead of the standard cognac. 

Thanks everyone! Let me know what you think. Happy to be guest posting.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Subtle trends, Vertical lines & Finding YOUR color

Photo credit: Fab Finds Under 50

This is Kimberly, who has a great fashion blog called Fab Finds Under 50. Please go take a look at her site - I read it all the time and get lots of ideas from her. She is really talented at mixing new trends in with her wardrobe staples, and finding great deals, especially at Goodwill (I have serious envy).

Why is she so cute?

Kimberly is doing a lot of things right in this outfit, which caught my eye after a friend tagged it in Pinterest.
  • Pop of color - The pink scarf explodes out of the picture, and brings your attention to her face. This is the focal point, with the rest of her outfit creating a neutral backdrop. It is also her color. I'm sure she looks amazing in more than just this one color, but the point is that it looks simply beautiful with her skin and coloring. I personally always feel prettier when I wear red next to my face. So I have recently been targeting red scarves/necklaces and tops when I'm shopping. Maybe it's not the color of the season, but it is my color. Figure out your color - then put it next to your face and you'll glow.
  • Subtle trends - She has mixed a few very on trend pieces into this outfit, such as the over-sized gold watch and the knee boots. You almost don't see them immediately, but she looks very current because they are included.
  • Knee boots over skinnies - These boots add a lot to this outfit - a subtle wedge adds height and interest, the suede adds texture, and the slight contrast in color against her jeans breaks up the line of her jeans and balances out all of the bright elements she has above the waist. And the black color is repeated in the accent trim on the jacket, which ties the outfit together.
  • Vertical Line - If you blur your eyes a bit, you can see that this outfit contains tons of vertical lines. The lines draw your eyes upward and make you appear taller. Kimberly is rocking this trick, and she has no horizontal lines cutting her at awkward spots either. She simply looks great.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Celebrity to Real Life: Champagne Lace

Photo Credits: Vogue UK, She Knows, RCFA

A friend of mine was recently lusting after two legendary dresses worn by celebrities:
  • the cream silk worn by Kim Basinger in LA Confidential (best image I can find)
  • the champagne lace worn by Drew Barrymore at the Grey Gardens premiere (above)
  • ...and I threw in a few more dresses with a similar style (above)
In the middle of this conversation, my dear, beautiful friend went into self-criticism mode, lamenting that she needed to go on a diet. Women repeat this negative mantra all the time, and I'm guilty of it too. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Why is she so cute?
These ladies all look great because they are wearing impeccably fitted pieces that accent their bodies in really flattering ways and are appropriate to the occasion. The deep v-neck looks amazing on Drew, the black lace contrast at the waist defines and accentuates the hourglass on Catherine Z-J, and the full skirt is age-appropriate and playful on Miley and hits her at a great spot above the knee. Also, I happen to love lace, and there's something special about champagne. It's a little bridal, but not too much, with an antique quality that feels really rich and feminine. And the color complements their skin tones without washing them out.

How can I wear that?
First, please don't compare yourself to a celebrity, or to custom-fitted couture gowns. A good stylist gets absolutely everything tailored. And it's also literally these ladies' job to maintain that body size. Just try to keep things in perspective. You don't need to wear the same exact dress to get the look, either. Try to identify the elements you like, and then translate it to flatter your own body.
  1. What flatters your body? - A deep v-neck or a surplice/mock wrap neckline are really flattering for me, and a full skirt. But what works for you? What are some of the qualities of the clothing pieces that you wear all the time because they make you feel pretty? Do you prefer sleeves? What hem length? Fitted waist? Belt-able? A-line, full or pencil skirt?
  2. What elements do not flatter your body? - Silk/satin shows too much lumpy-bumpy. Midi-length skirts cut me off right in the middle of my calf. I cannot and will not ever wear a drop-waist again. (Like Chanel circa the 20s-30s - I'll show you how it looks on me sometime, it's pretty awful.)
  3. Where would you wear it? - What is your lifestyle life? A floor length gown might not be the best way for me to invest, considering that my calendar is severely lacking in black-tie events... Honestly, I would probably wear it to the office, so any dresses I buy need to be long enough, not skin-tight, with either a high-ish neckline, or I'd need to wear a camisole under it. (I can look slutty in just about anything. It's a talent. I own about 50 camis.) And probably not in satin, just because it is so dressy/formal. Cocktail dresses in my closet tend to get 1-2 wears - ever. I need to stop pouring money into those.
  4. Find a dress that flatters you and includes an echo of the style - Lots of manufacturers translate celebrity styles to normal sized bodies, including plus. I included some below that I really like. I tried to put in a variety, many aren't even lace, but do you see how you might be able to make one of these work? I think you can. :)
We can discuss how to style it in another post...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Casual Romance

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'd like to introduce a guest post from my fabulous friend Alisa Neymark. She has an eye for the casual cool style, and dressing cute any day of the year. 

Thank you Alisa!

Photo credit: The Fancy Teacup

I dedicate this guest post to Emily, who taught me everything I know about looking feminine and lovely.  Anyone who knows me knows that I don't have a romantic bone in my body (I had them removed - along with a couple of ribs - so I could fit into a smaller size), but I see Emily often enough to pick up some expert tips that I'm happy to pass along to you.  

Why is she so cute?
  • Just enough skin: It's Valentine's day, so you want to be a little sexy.  Jamie, from The Fancy Teacup, is doing it perfectly by highlighting her legs in a full miniskirt and baring her wrists.  3/4 sleeves are the easiest way to sexify a sweater.  Fit matters, too: if you want to show off your legs with a mini, choose one that is full; if you want to spotlight your curves and go skintight, pick a longer hem.
  • Romantic details: The flower print is gorgeous and it's a sophisticated way to reference the holiday without being too twee.  The soft hair and makeup look 'done' but still touchable and natural.  Coral blush and matching lipstick give Jamie that 'I'm in love' glow.
  • Color balance: The coral of the skirt is repeated in the floral print of the sweater and in Jamie's makeup.  Repeating the same color above and below the waist ties the outfit together and makes your choices look intentional.  Similarly, the black toes of the heels echo the background of the sweater and the black clutch.
  • Shoes to die for: I'm obsessed with these heels and for good reason.  Pointy-toe nude heels elongate the leg like no other, but they can get boring.  This cap toe pair keeps things interesting and the dark pointy toe stretches the visual line of the leg even more than a solid nude shoe would by bringing the eye downward.  When shopping for nude heels, make sure the color of the shoe closely matches your skin.

Monday, February 13, 2012

How I shop: Part 1 - Planning

Where did you find that?

I get asked this a lot, and the answer is usually RossMarshalls, or Goodwill. They can be a little hard to take if you're not a retail addict like I am. So I wanted to walk through my process. It's going to be a multi-part answer. :) 

  • What is missing in my wardrobe? - When an outfit almost works, but not quite, I go into analysis mode. What would make it work? This outfit would be perfect, if ...x.  If it's a piece that's missing, I try to note it somewhere - usually by sending myself an email from my phone. I also do a lot of analysis when I'm cruising around Pinterest envying all the great outfits. Some items that I've noted in recent months have been:  shrunken black blazer, black jersey sundress, pink or coral skirt or dress, red sweater, oatmeal cable knit, floral blouse, red pencil skirt, brown leather wedge knee boots, leopard blouse, long gray cami... 
  • What trends do I want to try? - Ross is great for experimenting with trends because the prices are so low. Even if I buy something and it turns out to be a disaster, I might only waste $10. Some trends I wanted to try recently were: studded shoulders, neon accents, fur vest, full midi skirt, Sperry's, raglan sleeves, lace blouse, Kate Middleton shimmer nylons...
Just try to get into an exploratory mindset. When you see an outfit that really works, try to figure out Why is she so cute? Every time I watch What Not to Wear, I become obsessed with finding fitted blazers and wrap dresses. Start thinking about what pieces you might want to aim for. You might not find anything even close at Ross, but it's good to start with a goal.

More on how to navigate Ross in the next part. :)


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Collarless jacket

Photo credit: Zimbio via Pinterest

Yes, it's Olivia Palermo who has model proportions, but I picked this outfit because it's completely wearable. And you should totally try it. 

Why is she so cute?
  • Eliminates bulk from torso - This type of jacket has no lapels and no collar, and is a beautiful option to have in your closet especially if you have athletic shoulders/arms or an apple shape (heavier on top with slim legs). In general, try not to add extra bulk up top, which can just make you look wider than you are. The 3/4 length sleeve adds to the slimming effect, exposing more skin and creating a horizontal line at your natural waist - but you could also scrunch or roll the sleeves to get the same look.
  • Elongates neck - Olivia has her hair up, and the low cut collar of the jacket and her camisole make her neck seem to go on for miles. Important to this look, however, is that her camisole has the same neckline as the jacket. A v-neck would not work under this jacket, and anything with a higher neckline would ruin the elongating effect. Matching necklines makes it work perfectly together. A bold statement necklace is completely optional - if you really want to elongate your neck, just wear your hair up with bold earrings. 
  • Proportion balance - The hem of the jacket hits her at her hipbone, which is a flattering length for most women. If it were even 2 inches longer, it would hit at a wide spot. Wide leg trousers are also essential if you're an apple, otherwise your bottom half will not appear to be in balance with your upper half. 
  • Oops... Disappearing feet - I wish I could see her shoes - pointed toed shoes might help with that.

Great hair, great fit

Photo credit: Thrift & Shout

This is Lindsay who has a great blog called Thrift and Shout. The fact that she finds most of her items at goodwill is unreal, but she has a great eye for stylish items that suit her.

Why is She So Cute?
  • Amazing hair - Lindsay has a great hairstyle that is polished and she obviously put a lot of thought into. It is very flattering to her face shape, gives her a signature look, and is stylish without being overly trendy. I am personally guilty of waiting too long between haircuts, and always have a week or so where I wonder why I don't feel as pretty before I remember that it's time to hit the salon. It makes an enormous difference and is worth the money. Even the cutest outfit will look blah with blah hair.
  • Fit - These pieces fit her beautifully. Nothing is pulling, and nothing is sloppy. 
  • Natural waist - I love that she has positioned this pencil skirt so it fits at her natural waist, just under her rib cage. It was out of fashion for a while, with everything needing to be 'low-rise', but I'm glad it's back. It's the smallest part of the torso for most women, and adding a horizontal line here accentuates that. You could get a similar effect with a full or A-line skirt, if a fitted pencil isn't your thing.
  • Sense of adventure - The color pairing, the leopard, the statement necklace - it completely works, but you need to be bold enough to try it. Have some fun, and don't be afraid of trying something that might stand out.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Black & brown

Photo credit: Pinterest 

I found this picture floating around pinterest, and I wish I could find the original source. Please leave me a comment if you know. Thank you! This outfit is gorgeous, totally wearable, simple, and you probably already have the components in your closet. It also proves the point that you can definitely wear brown and black together - it's all in how you put them together. The same concepts apply to blue & navy, which have been verboten for seemingly ever.

Why is she so cute?
  • Intention - This looks put together because it looks like she thought about it and planned it out. Brown and black get a bad rap because it can look like you got dressed in the dark if your entire outfit is black except your shoes, which are brown. However, if you repeat the same brown in the form of a belt, necklace, blazer, cardigan, or even a handbag, it shows that you did it on purpose, and it ties it together. And I love the color combination, especially with tortoiseshell or multi-shaded brown wood jewelry - without the heavy glasses, you could totally rock some big earrings or a big necklace.
  • Tone - There are a lot of different shades of brown, and this outfit would not work as well if you didn't match the tone. For example, if the boots were a warm nutty brown like here, but the belt was a cool dark umber. In this same outfit, you might be able to get away with two different shades of blue shoes and belt, for example. But I don't think that would work as well with brown. 
  • Color balance - The black of the dress is repeated in her glasses, and in the dark color of her hair. Her legs are bare, which balances the tone of her face and neck. And the warm brown accent color is repeated both above and below the waist. This balances things out.
  • Fit - The dress is cut somewhat loosely, and the belt creates a waistline and a blousing effect. She is very slender, but any body type could wear this. Just try to keep it a little loose and blousy to get the same look. You could even wear a black top and black skirt instead of a dress.
  • Horizontal lines - The hem of her dress is a little short for me, but with knee boots the hem of your skirt should land above the knee or you risk looking like a flashback to the 70s.  If you were wearing brown pumps or flats with this outfit, your hem could land right below the knee. But unless you have stick straight legs, don't let the hem cut you off directly at the knee, or at the wide part of your calf. Frump-a-dump.

Balancing visual lines

Photo credit: Poppy NYC

I know this blouse is sold out, but I saw this floating around pinterest, and it is just a really nice example of a simple silhouette that you can easily replicate. I have a blouse like this that I found vintage. Keep your eyes peeled.

Why is she so cute?
  • Pointed/semi-pointed shoes - With wide-legged pants, your shoes can tend to disappear if you wear round toes or ballet flats etc. Go for pointy.
  • The jeans - The model is wearing flares, which look pretty wearable considering her frame. Beware. I am a pear shape with short legs, and flares are hard for me to wear. But a good boot-cut would be beautiful here. Try skinny only if you're comfortable with them already, otherwise as long as they're a very dark wash, this will work. They also aren't crazy low-rise, which would require more of a tunic- length top to be appropriate in most situations.
  • Lace with denim - You already know about pairing a soft texture, like lace, with something tougher, like denim. It makes it looks cooler, and balances what could be too much frilly all at once (ex. tutu skirt + lace top =  toddlers & tiaras). But that's not the only option. Just remember, if you're using something frilly in one part of the outfit, try to balance it with something more streamlined elsewhere.
  • Balancing widths using horizontal lines - Use the lines created by your clothing to your advantage. I have skinny arms, and a boat neck helps me draw the eye upward and visually widening that area (to balance out, ahem, wider parts elsewhere). The hem of the blouse also lands at a great spot - a few inches longer, and it would hit her at the widest part of her hips - creating a visual line where most women don't need one. Any shorter, and it would be a crop top. 
  • Bookending - Consider your hair and skin tone to be part of your outfit. Angie on You Look Fab may have coined this concept, which she calls 'bookending'. Basically, if you have dark hair, you can usually get away with dark shoes. And blondes can wear tan or light.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Repeating colors

Photo credit: Economy of style

I just ran across this outfit on pinterest, and found my way onto Psyche's gorgeous style blog  I wanted to look at a few of the details that she put into the outfit that makes me love it so much.