As you might conclude from the name, Pink Peonies does indeed present a myriad of outfits that utilize pink. Rach also works in a number of neutrals, though, as well as some other classic shades so it's not like pink overload :). It is, however, a perfect guide to building a wardrobe around a neutral palette, spiked with a signature shade. So, if that's a fashion philosophy that attracts you, Pink Peonies is sure to give you some inspiration. In addition to some beautiful, feminine and classic looks, Rach has a genius for putting together casual pieces that have just the right touches of distinction and style consequence to make them borrow-worthy. They're masterfully balanced proportionally and incorporate enough basic pieces that you don't need access to the Vogue closet to translate them with your own wardrobe. She intersperses inspiration-board style posts, as well as collected picks for fashion elements that are striking her fancy each season. She discusses beauty, accessories and home decor as well - pretty much anything she loves! :) And, if you find yourself in love with her personal style, you can check out her own fashion line, which is available online via the "Shop" link on the site. So, definitely make sure you while away some hours at Pink Peonies on your fashion explorations!
If you're looking for a little inspiration for spring accessories - we can talk about spring, now, right? ;) - how about these beauties? A little rainbow, a little saturated color, a few florals and a LOT of sparkle...because ...shiny! :) The rainbow finish on the Trina Turk pin totally calls to me - it's similar to one Eddie Borgo played around with recently, but in a more accessible design. It's just so dang cool! It's like modernity and fun had a baby ..that you can wear lol. I'm also loving all the colors showing up in jewels this spring - that's a major way to perk up an outfit of neutrals! This indigo collar necklace immediately caught my eye because of how unusual the shade is - it's so rare to find this color in jewelry. And then, we need to talk about florals: they are EVER-Ywhere this season and a floral necklace or ring is a fab way to add one (or several :)) to an outfit if you don't feel like going the full-on print route.
1. Gardenia Statement Necklace by J. Crew
2. Uno de 50 Rhinestone Ring via Lord & Taylor
3. Openwork Flower Brooch via Lord & Taylor
4. Carolee Garden Party Quartz Chandelier Earrings via Lord & Taylor
5. Magnolia Crystal Necklace by J. Crew
6. Oscar de la Renta Stone Accented Teardrop Wrap Ring via Lord & Taylor
7. Trina Turk Stick Pin Brooch via Lord & Taylor
8. Trina Turk Starburst Faceted Crystal Teardrop Cocktail Ring via Lord & Taylor
9. Givenchy Crystal Drop earrings via Lord & Taylor (the sparkle in this line is out of this world!)
10. ABS X Allen Schwartz Stone Accented Collar via Lord & Taylor
I have always loved jewelry, but I used to be the kind of girl who was all about the real. I had a special disdain for faux rocks that tried to look like massive diamond engagement rings. I didn't feel right wearing anything that wasn't real; it was as if I was cheating somehow. I smile at myself when I think of that because my sentiments and taste have changed drastically! Drama was my gateway - I enjoy making a bold statement with my rings (my go-to jewelry accessory) and with real stones, as the size goes up, so does the price! At first, since I was used to precious pieces, the more massive presence of costume rings looked too large to me. But I loved the way they felt on my hand and the way they let me say something distinctive about my style. The latter feeling triumphed and I stopped worrying about size so much and just went for it :). That decision to take a chance and experiment revealed a new benefit: because designers are less limited by availability and price and not at all limited by the real stones themselves, costume jewelry can take liberties with creativity that real jewels can't touch - at least for those of us with school loans or mortgage payments ;). Luscious, crave-worthy, insanely fierce concoctions are to be had, things that would be impossible -or nearly so- with non-costume materials. Costume jewelry is free to be about the expression, rather than about the stone and to reach a kind of art that isn't tethered to what's possible with real jewels - a boon to both designer and wearer! How many of us could style our own version of Marguerite's Jewel Song from Faust with real stones? Precious few (pun intended :)). It's one reason why Chanel was a proponent and proprietor of faux pieces, including the pearls she made iconic. If you love that kind of classic chic, you can take on that role, even without marrying a Kennedy ;). And again, how do you design a flower out of real stones? It's possible, but complicated. The endless possibilities of glass and other materials significantly broaden the options. Suddenly, wearing an open rosebud on your hand is completely do-able! And in a variety of colors. The fact that costume pieces can be art, rather than a setting is completely seductive to me. What they might lose in dollar value, they make up in aesthetic value: they might be faux stones, but they're real art!
If you're searching for one of those oh-so-seductive and lovely feminine blouses which have been taking fashion by storm, we've got ya covered! There are tons out there in designer brands like Stella McCartney, RED Valentino, Sea and Self-Portrait, which I'm wild over. On the flip side, I do have to pay attention to my budget :) So, here are some gorgeous pieces that caught my eye which you won't need to pawn a valuable for (ps if designer is in your budget or you find it to be worth saving up for - or blowing your tax refund on (not that I know anyone who does that. Nope. Def not.), by all means, go for it! ;)):
1. Elodie Tunic at Anthropologie
2. Ruffle Blouse at Nordstrom
3. Hinge Lace Peplum at Nordstrom
4. ASTR Embroidered Blouse at Nordstrom
5. Lita Lace Blouse at Anthropologie
6. English Factory Ruffle Button Down at Shopbop
7. NM Lace Front Bell Sleeve Top at Last Call
8. Max Studio Pleated Bell Sleeve Tunic at Last Call
9. Cold Shoulder Peplum by BCBG Max Azria
On one of my favorite blogs, TaySwiftStyle, Sarah - the stylish sweetheart of an owner - has a Questions section which from time to time receives specific fashion queries. A recent one got my fashion brain revving. It involved "maturing" Taylor's girly Fearless/Speak Now era fashion. As a Jackie-come-lately to super feminine style, I've tended to take the approach of adding frothy pieces to femme-ify a fairly minimalist, classic wardrobe. But, what if Swift-esque frills have always been your thing? How do you grow with the look, especially if you're taking those sensibilities to college or the workplace? And even more especially, if you are slim and/or slight of height, how do stay true to you without looking like you're twelve? Naturally, I have ideas and I wanted to expound on them here :). The secret is to incorporate a bit of structure and polish, while still keeping enough frothy detail to leave you feeling gorgeous. There are a number of really stunning, artisanal blouses out right now that are flawless for doing this (and which also happen to be spot on-trend ;)). Think lace, ruffles, florals, embroidery, appliquees. They're your new non-dress go-to. For realz. Don't fear sweet shades like blush and lavender, either! You can balance all the candy out on the bottom. Pair these crave-worthy confections with slim, polished chinos and refined knee length pencil skirts (avoid minis - they'll look either too young or as if you're trying too hard). Midi skirts are completely do-able here, as are maxis - there is something unavoidably chic and mature about a maxi skirt, done in the right materials (eschew jersey knits and crinkle cottons and choose silk, woven cottons, taffeta or georgette). (Alternatively, definitely consider going for a gives-you-heart-eyes ruffled, pleated or be-tulled maxi - just reverse the frilly-to-minimal relationship and go simple on top). Use soft neutrals like blush, pearl gray and beige to ground sentimental pastels or try out enchanting jewel tones like plum and deep pine. If you simply *have* to pair multiple colors, it can be done - just use one lighter and one darker tone. Mint and lilac looks quite young, but lilac and burgundy, blush and navy or sky blue and mustard evoke wisdom and style competence in a confidently romantic way. Lastly: shoes. This is crucial: when you're trying to grow up a girly look, stay away from bowed flats, sequins and similar youthful-in-feel footwear. Instead, think refined but vivacious styles like block-heeled ankle straps, lace-up flats, urban-leaning ankle booties and pointy-toe pumps. Happy styling, Fancies!
The term "blue period" is famous because of Picasso, who spent essentially three years of his painting life working in essentially no colors other than blue and blue-green. He then spent two following years painting predominantly in shades of pink and orange - his "rose period". I recently realized that, vaguely akin to Picasso, I go through stages in my fashion as well. It's like shifting gears. Same me, same car, same gear box, but slightly different directions. A couple of years ago, I was all about glam - pile on the sparkle and was a happy camper. Massive crystals - in bunches - were my go-to's. I was forever in dark neutrals to offset all that sparkle. My next phase was a more refined, ladylike spin, where I was loving boucle jackets and button-downs. I was all about pumps and wore them religiously, even through the chilly winter. This metamorphosis really came home to me this winter because I have been eschewing pumps for boots, especially my leather OTK's, which I often reached for in my glam period. Now, though, instead of pairing them with sparklies, they're finishing outfits that have textural interest and laidback comfort: chunky sweaters and flannel shirts. The raison d'etre for the OTK's is a the same - that shot of fierce! - but they grounded the glam outfits and ramp up my current more casual ones. It's fun to mentally scan my fashion and realize how it shifts, without diverging from authenticity. I wonder where I'll go in future? :) There are some fun color stories on the horizon for spring, which make me foresee a sorbet-shaded shift in the not-too-distant future. How does your personal style shift over time?
It's not often that I'm completely head over heels for a specific marketing campaign. Cartier's adorable panther cub totally got me, as do Budweiser's animal ads - I have a thing for furry beasties :) - but sans cute-ables, I'm generally picky about the ads I go head over heels for. One that did not escape a tumble was the new Chanel No. 5 campaign. "You know me. ...But you don't." It makes me think of a whole barrage of ideas ranging from the truth of the statement to my last ex to Lita - it reminds me of her entrance audio "You think you know me, but you have no idea". The concept resonates strongly with me - how often do people think they completely "get" us, when really they are seeing only one side of the triangle, a superficial glimpse at a much deeper cavern? The phrase encapsulates the moment of being so much more than is recognized, even by those intimately familiar with you. Take Lita. We saw the tats and the wrestling prowess and the grungy tough-as-nails-chick who could take on the boys. But it wasn't until much later that we saw her stylish side and the confident woman with clear ideas of where WWE needed to take it's Women's division. We thought we knew her. But she is so much more than we knew. I've been on the inside of that position on an individual basis, being with someone who seemed to know almost intuitively who I was, but then did things that were antithetical to the truth of me. The No. 5 campaign taps into this and the unity of paradoxes within us: we are so many opposing ideas, moments, feelings, experiences. As different as they are, they are united in us, so that - as Jane Austen wrote in Pride and Predjudice - "there is something new to be observed...for ever". The variations of No. 5 and, in particular, the original and its newest sister, capture some of this polygon-esque quality. First, there was the original: the always classic, now iconic No. 5. Then, there was Eau Premiere, a slightly lighter, fresher, perhaps a smidgeon powdery-er take on the original, but similar in essentials (e-scent-ials? ;)). Now, there is L'Eau. It echoes the elements of the original, starting with citrus top notes (the first scent to be released on the skin and generally the shortest-lasting). Ylang-ylang is the focus of middle notes (2nd to be released and of lengthier duration). No. 5 added iris, lily of the valley and rose as well before segueing into the base notes (the scent that anchors the blend and called a "fixative" because it tethers the other scents to the skin, giving them longer scent-life than they would have alone) of vetiver, patchouli and musk. L'Eau repeats the musk but incorporates cedar instead of the other two wood notes. (Fun fact: although vetiver smells like a wood oil, it actually is made from the leaves of a grass). L'Eau represents a new side of the original -similar and yet unique, familiar and yet unknown - like us.
I love me some flannel in the winter! Stylishness is an always kind of thing , but a girl's gotta be toasty warm, too! Flannel button-downs tick both those boxes. I'm a fan of dressing them up by popping them under a blazer, tucking them into a pencil skirt (lace works especially well), or knot them over a formal maxi dress. Since I've been a collector of flannels for..oh a decade...plus :)...I always have my eye out for ones that expand the genre beyond the basics. Don't get me wrong - I'm always on board for a classic red plaid or black watch! I fill any gaps in my collection there first. But then I start looking for eye candy: straightforward classy neutrals, mouth-watering colors, versatile lengths. Here are a few that have caught my eye this year:
1. Make + Model Flannel Nightshirt via Nordstrom
(OK, this one is described as a "nightshirt", but who cares! Muted red plaid in a fab tunic length that lets you belt it, or let it peek out from under jackets so you can play with proportion - I'm in! Semantics be-danged.
2. Madewell Classic Ex-Boyfriend Shirt in Akiva
3. Madewell Classic Ex-Boyfriend Shirt in Hanna
4. Freeport Flannel by LL Bean in Sapphire
5. Elizabeth & James Rowan Flannel via Nordstrom
6. Rip Curl Nightwatch Flannel via Nordstrom
7. Slightly Fitted Flannel by LL Bean in Black Stewart
With #3 and #7 , be aware that the fit runs small, so you may want to size up one.
One of the looks that I've been completely obsessed over for Fall/Winter this year is the Dark Romance trend: it's moody glamour, it's brooding florals, it's nostalgic lace. Writing about it for Trend Blast got me fired up to give the look a try. There was just one problem though. One of the look's keys is a frothy, feminine blouse - some variation of a lace and ruffle confection with elegant buttons or snippets of velvet or a high neck. Why would that be a problem? Well, I don't own one :). I've been looking! But the right combination of silhouette, material, artistry and price just hasn't crossed my path yet *insert melodramatic Victorian pout*. Then again, I'm a creative gal and when a fashion idea burns in my brain, I don't give up on it easily. My first step was to see what I do have that fits the "lacy confection" genre. (A positive spin on things always helps! :)). I rejected the idea of a crocheted caramel cardigan or a lace tank. But I have a black crocheted pullover that has the right vibe. Scalloped edges give it a frothy quality and I layered it over an ivory cami to make the pattern stand out. The skinny jeans piece of the trend was 100 percent no problem. Got. It. Covered. :) Bt then I ran into two more hiccoughs. The weather was too cold to wear the open-weave sweater alone. I tried a traditional blazer, thinking it would have a classic, but it didn't create the vibe I was hoping for. Switching to a black band jacket worked nicely though, hearkening both to the military coat-feel and injecting a bit of attitude. Then, there was the whole shoe question. You would think a shoe connoisseur like myself would have hordes of lace-up booties to choose from...aaaaand ....no. It's another of those silhouettes I've loved certain pieces of, but haven't found the right one to collect yet. Super pointy be-crystalled pumps came off a bit too 2010, so I went with simple, classic black leather pumps. Sometimes the value of simplicity is in its ability to swing easily between various genres. Lastly, I needed baubletry: the requisite choker is also not something I am yet possessed of, so the DIY option was the only way to go. I considered using a black velvet ribbon I found, loved and collected for just such an occasion, but due to using the pumps instead of boots, I felt the look was missing a bit of the attitude that helped keep the trend styling modern and complex. I decided to use a subtly fierce hematite chain instead, which I anchored with a necklace shortener (mine is from Gump's) -a handy little device for jewelry aficionados that lets you do all kinds of fun things! (If you need a super-quick, budget-friendly option, try a safety pin). My final test of a look is always 1) does it have that certain je ne se quoi when it all comes together and 2) does it make me feel the way I envisioned it would. This combination ticked yes on both those questions, despite not being an exact representation of the trend. There's a certain satisfaction and gratification to being able to create the concept of a look, even without all the you-need-these-RIGHT-NOW!-pieces. I had so much fun wearing this look and feeling moodily romantic! :)
Brie (Hi!) More re: me under About. I'm the moving spirit behind this little life-meets- fashion fairy tale world.