Today, I wanted to share a few quick comments on noteworthy Spring/Summer 2018 collections:
Givenchy: Clare Keller is promising, but not honed yet
Luisa Beccaria: gorgeous, light-infused collection
Dior: joltingly not good. An unfortunate showing for the iconic brand.
Haider Ackerman: the brand’s hallmark minimalism, done in an intriguing way
Mugler: some brilliant moments
Elie Saab: a nice update of the brand’s trademark beauty
Elisabetta Franchi: uneven, but the good is stunning
Armani: the freshness of color hits the brand’s trademark flawless tailoring
Dolce & Gabbana: an engaging collection, not mindblowing, but definitely appealing
Moschino: punk princess. Jeremy Scott always has at least one conversation piece. Last year, it was the chandelier dress. This year, it’s the Calla Lily dress.
Louis Vuitton: I’ve never fully understood the celeb love for this brand. This year doesn’t enlighten me.
It took me a long time to enjoy wearing very feminine looks. I always had a fear of looking too delicate. Even now, I gravitate toward tempering soft looks with tougher pieces. I put this look together for my day job (I'm kind of a fashion Batman who blogs mainly by night). It follows the "basic canvas" philosophy, starting with a simple black long-sleeved tee and beige chinos (black denim, or trousers in either neutral are alternative workable options). It's the additions that give it panache: a long crochet sweater provides femininity and beauty, while a wide leather obi belt contrasts that soft feel with a smoother, more raw vibe. Although it's un-embellished except for a touch of hardware, the bold width adds oomph, creating a much bigger statement than a more expected narrower belt. The iconic color combination of beige and black not only highlighted the artistic pattern of the crochet, but also reinforced the classic feel. Black leather peep-toe pumps finished off the look with a nod toward cooler weather, without leaving summer entirely behind.
Recreate this look with any pairing of top (or topper :)) and accessories that showcases the duality between frills and grit. If not crochet, try a knit sweater with a pretty cable, or pointelle pattern with smooth leather, add a studded belt to a floral tunic, accent a lace blouse with a spike necklace or chain-handled bag. Shade the look toward classicism by finishing it with pumps, or add more weight to the edgier side with sandal-booties or ankle boots.
For many years, I stuck with practical fashion. It's not at all hard for me to live 24/7/365 in jeans. They work for work and they work for everything else too. Topped with a tee and/or casual jacket, they were my uniform. I would look at beautiful clothes on blogs or magazines (I love to do fashion while unplugged - I feel so un-tethered! :)), and love them, but think "I have nowhere to wear that", "that's too fancy for work", "that's too fragile". And then one day I realized I wasn't having any fun. Everything I had seemed plain and boring. It was utilitarian, but little else. I missing other aesthetics, but not having explored many, I didn't realize it. Yellow was prob my gateway - I saw it loved it, had to have it, had nowhere to wear it, had to figure it out or berate myself for wasting money ( I hate doing that!). Slowly, a new world opened up: rocker glam, femme beauty, classic chic -genres that are authentic pieces of me that I wanted to explore in real life, not just in photographs. So I started searching for ways to do that. Classic movies, fashion bloggers, catalog and magazine photos, my own creativity - they all played a part in helping me to accomplish this whole not-always-practical experiment. There's something to be said for creating that moment, for living through that experience of being a girl in a beautiful dress on the balcony of skyscraper, for being a boho princess at work (who knows - maybe you'll inspire someone else to do the same;), for rocking a silk bridesmaid's gown with boots and a sweater at the symphony (done it). I've developed workarounds that make stretching fashion's limits more practical. I carry a long a jacket in my car I can throw over fancy pieces to protect them should the need arise. I carry or wear leggings under dresses and maxi skirts and flats in my bag so I can switch into and out of heels. I still sometimes fall back into practicality, but I push the envelope far more than I ever did in the past and it's a thrill. It makes me come alive. It underscores moments and gives them shades and highlights they just wouldn't have if I were living in them in something staunchly appropriate. Be fearless. I'm not saying go hiking in heels and it doesn't have to be every day. But if it moves you and you love it, find a way to work in to your wardrobe, even you find yourself coloring outside the lines or dancing outside the box. Once in awhile, ditch practicality. It's fun.
Hint: if you need an inspirational starting point, the Fabulous Muses are the Queens of wearing tangentially appropriate fashion - ball downs in a hayfield, for example ;)
The whole "no white after Labor Day" thing is a perpetual matter of debate in fashion circles. Can we? Can't we? Some like breaking the rule, some like maintaining the rule - it's a hot mess. I've read the whole theory that the "no white" rule came from snobby society ladies trying to distinguish between old money and new. It's a currently chic idea, but, personally, I feel that most clothing rules had some basis in practicality. White, because it reflects light, is one of the cooler colors (body temp-wise) to wear, making it perfect for summer. The same concept would make it somewhat less perfect for winters in fashion cultural centers like New York. I can't prove it, but I suspect that's at least part of the raison d'etre of the curtailing of white come fall. So, what about now, when we realizes that not everyone experiences frigid cold six months out of the year? And how to we reconcile modern notions of rules and their ridiculousness with the desire to pay homage to the caveats of yesteryear? Well there are a few zigzags you can take and a flagrant violation as well :). First, if you live in climates where the weather stays warm, you're free, in a practical sense, to make use of the chilling properties of white all year. Second, I consider the white blouse (not tees, mind you..real, true blouses. Wovens, not knits.) to be so iconic, so legendary that it defies all rules. While I'll put away white denim, white jackets and white shoes, I keep white blouses in easy reach all year long. Finally, if you want to circumvent the cake, but eat it too, I present to you my personal saving grace: winter white. For real. It's a thing. Basically, it's any shade of white that isn't the pure white to which the strictures apply. Ivory, eggshell, vanilla, oyster, pearl: every single one of these colors is 100% post-Labor-Day approved and you're free to indulge in them to your heart's content. Sweet, huh?
I saw this incredible jacket from Chanel's pre-Fall 2017 and it was insta-love. I can't believe how incredibly beautiful this piece is! Naturally, I wanted to give it, and the whole vibe that surrounds it, a try. Small prob: I don't own it. And am unlikely to in the near future. So, I had to improvise which, fortunately, I'm pretty decent at. There are several elements that go into creating the effect of this piece, all of them very closely linked to what I consider the classic Chanel aesthetic. First, there is texture. In this case, it's done with the bouclé fabric Chanel made iconic. But it doesn't have to be - all you really need is a textural contrast. It's currently too warm for bouclé -which is a fall fabric - where I live, so I went with an ivory denim jacket instead. Big leap, I know, but stick with me. In order to echo the magnificent floral details, I added a crocheted tank underneath. The flowers don't have the same dimension as the Chanel piece, but in this case, it's not material; I just wanted to suggest the art-garden idea. A faux floral brooch or floral appliqué blouse could give a similar effect - and that's the crux of the exercise: an homage, a riff, an echo, a personalized metamorphosis. Where the bouclé has a strong, tactile presence, here that feeling comes from the interplay between smooth denim and softer, more dimensional knit. Once the weather turns cooler, this could be swapped to a neutral, but un-embellished, bouclé piece (supply your own glamour. See below) or a light-colored tweed with a more feminine blouse/tank/came/sweater layered below. On the runway, the jacket was shown with an ivory skirt, but I chose to go with more practical black slim jeans. They maintain the iconic vibe, but also fit with this more laidback re-imagining. (Nearly any classic neutral would work nicely). To echo the metallic flower centers and pearl embroidery, I layered doubled-up necklaces: opera-length faux pearls, vintage gold chains and - because I'm me :) - a touch of crystal via a station necklace. An alternative idea I love is to use a similar mix, but include a floral statement necklace to evoke the jacket's applique. May have to try that one next time around ;). Chanel was famous for adding a subtle tough edge to her femininity, a bit of tomboy aesthetic, so I completed the look with studded sandals: dainty, but with a touch of attitude. It felt very Chanel, without being Chanel. And totally fun!
I have been on a massive broken-in, classic tee kick lately - they're so comfortable! And I've been having a blast figuring out how to make them less casual so I can wear them to work. Yeah, I could take the easy way out and wear a more polished version, but going with the ultra-casual ones is more fun and more of a styling challenge ;). One accessory (or rather accessories :)), I've been playing with is a statement necklace...or two! They make a surprisingly major upgrade to a tee's vibe. It seems so simple, but the attitude adjustment is so real! My theory is that it's because they camouflage the wide ribbing that gives the neckline it's more laidback feel. The key with this pairing is to make sure the necklace or combo are of a more formal iteration - think gemstone crystals, opulent floral pieces, ropes of pearls...or all of the above ;). The tee-jewel combo is a perfect example of two pieces with completely contrasting vibes creating that flawless, dramatic tension due to their very opposite-ness (not sure if that's actually a word, but whatever). My first foray into the look was with summer in mind. I paired a ruffled rose-hued skirt with a cobalt blue tee and two gemstone collars, layered so that the lower one was slightly longer than the top one. I wasn't fussy about colors and metals - one was a mix of blue and teal stones with silver and the other combined clear stones with gold. The mixed metals were a subtle nod to the casual-meets-polished theme. I finished the look off with coordinating, but not matching, blue espadrilles. Since we're past Labor Day now, I would probably swap the espy's for blue or denim sandals. I riffed on the look later with the same tee combined with black denim and a black, zippered cotton blazer, which made the vibe less femme, more moto and more transitional. In keeping with that concept, I completed the look with black leather sandal-booties.
I also had an idea to mix necklaces done in different materials for more of a modern-candy feel, so I used the rose pink skirt with a black tee, but then tried switching out the clear crystal collar for one with chartreuse opaque stones. I reinforced the concept with a floral ring with lemon non-transparent stone petals. The shots of bright color were super fun and the bolder, less glittery finish lent a slightly 80's pop shading to the look, but since only the accessories made the statement, it didn't feel too silly or disjointed... or like Cyndi Lauper got loose and moonlighted as my stylist for a day ;). The black leather sandal-booties were my shoe go-to's. I hope this inspires you to try playing around with your basic tees and some jewels sometime soon. Happy styling, loves!
With the recent introduction of Hanes x Karla, I got thinking about that most humble and hardworking of fashion items: the t-shirt - and how to incorporate it in daily fashion! Once relegated to being underwear for men, the style history of the t-shirt has been influenced by gents from Clark Gable (who once went tee-free. Coincidentally, the undershirt factories in America had to shut down the next day and Clark's influence as a style-setter has been blamed ever since) to James Dean, who made the garment iconic with his inimitable 50's cool. Luckily for us, the t-shirt has expanded its fashion territory and now can be worn by pretty much everyone and with pretty much everything. Hanes is an iconic purveyor and their product quality has maintained its high standards over time. Early last year, I updated my collection with a bunch of yummy colors in the classic not-overly-refined ribbed-trim style (the Beefy). I'm a fan of the fabric weight, which is thick enough to not be overly see-through even in lighter hues (like yellow :D). Note: I did not try a white as I am a stain magnet and have basically tapped out on the whole attempt to wear white tees. The colors have held up wonderfully through multiple soaks and washings and the fabric gets even softer the more its worn. And how exactly might it be worn?
Tees are so casual that they work really well as the laidback piece of a casual-formal mix. I love the idea of pairing one with high-waisted wide-leg pants - it's a modern take on the classic style. The bold statement and ultra-chic vibe of the pants is softened by the chill vibes from the tee. I went with on-trend stripes here, but nearly any variation of the wide-leg (from standard neutral twill to pink silk) will work. A super-casual rendition of the look can be done with a denim version of the silhouette. To keep the casual-formal dynamic, finish with low-heeled mules or wedge espadrilles. Or, bring the nonchalance via sneakers. I love adding a touch of contrasting color to a neutral pairing, like this powder pink with the navy. Add an oversize watch with a pink band, or a bangle to echoe the hue, carrying it through the look.
The interplay between simplicity and complexity is another fun avenue to explore. Consider pairing the pared-down tee with an intricate lace pencil skirt or floral-embellished A-line. Other possibilities include floral prints or pleated metallic pieces. Don't shy away from unusual and expressive color combinations, either! The bright teal really gives the look a pop, as would lilac, bright rose or lemon. Choose neutral accessories, or mix-without-matching by adding more colors (e.g. a powder blue bag or light aqua ring here) in the same family.
The obvious partner for the iconic t-shirt is the equally iconic blue jean. Go for a cropped (or roll your own ;)) skinny silhouette and add panache by styling with strong contrasting accessories and beauty looks: deep magenta sandals and bag, or an orange statement ring and lip shade. Heels help elevate the relaxed tee-jeans combo - don't be afraid to push the envelope with satin or be-jeweled versions. (Note: flats in those two genres will be fancy enough to work similarly).
For warm temps, and relaxed occasions, the tee works fabulously with shorts. Well, duh, right? :) Since the combination is so ubiquitous, add a spark to the look by including an unexpected twist: finish it off with ankle booties (split-shaft versions like the Jeffrey Campbell Cromwell (as modeled by Summer) are having a moment, but any pair will do. Think more 'practical', 'broken-in' and 'urban' than fierce. Stay with mid-low heels or flats. Add color and visual interest with an embroidered or intricately laser-cut belt (studs work too ;)), printed scarf, ribbon or tassel at your waist. I hope this inspires you to let the world see your Hanes sometime soon ;) Happy styling!
I love the idea of mixing without matching. It can be a little trickier than close or exact matches, but the complexity makes it modern. And it's way more practical! Imagine having to exact-match every color in your wardrobe. Ugh. I was wearing essentially the first pairing here the other day, and it gave me the idea to expand on the topic a bit more.
One of the easiest ways to make the mixy kind of pairing work is to put together similar shades in different intensities. This lilac top is much softer than the tanzanite pumps, but they are both to the blue side of the purple spectrum, so they coordinate nicely. Light aqua with teal, powder blue with cobalt and blush with coral will all work similarly. The key is in the similarity of hue. Aqua is a blue-green; hence the pairing with teal, as opposed to ,say, kelly green, which has more yellow in it. I gravitate toward doing the lighter color for my outfit and the darker shade for my shoes, but going with the lighter shade on the bottom is 100% acceptable, as is bringing in the color play with other accessories (belts, bags, scarves) or jewelry.
Another way to mix without matching is to connect different shades with colors that bridge the difference. The easiest way to do this is with colors in the same family (all blues, for example). This second look starts with a carnation pink top and peach-nude shoes. The shoes are a warm, neutral orange, while the top is a cool pink - i.e., there is a blue tone in the red it was derived from. To bridge the difference between them requires a color that's warmer (more brown or orange in it) than the carnation shade, but cooler than the shoes. The rose-nude tone of the bag works perfectly. For a little more fun, the coral-orange tone of the sunnies acts like a brighter pop of the shoe shade, carrying that hue upwards through the look (a lip shade in this hue would do the trick nicely as well). With green shades, you might blend lime, celery and mint. Lime is a yellow-green, mint is a blue-green and celery acts as the bridge color. If you don't want to try a verdigris lip shade ;), add a bit more color via your nail hue.
PS One of the best ways to get a sense of how colors work is to mix paints :).
Happy mixing, loves!
Brie (Hi!) More re: me under About. I'm the moving spirit behind this little life-meets-fashion fairy tale world, a world of my non-wrestling-related style musings and loves.