I talk a lot about inspiration. That's because I'm constantly on the hunt for it. It's a primal need. Jack London once said "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it...with a club" :). Yep. The cool thing is that it can come from so many places - you never know where you're going to find it. Art, catalog covers, poetry, random cataclysms of clothing landing next to each other, a photo, a friend, a movie. Inspiration can literally be hiding anywhere. For example, in her song Heavy Metal Lover, Lady Gaga used the phrase "dirty pearls". It's an unusual coupling of images and while I understood the concept within the confines of the song, I started to wonder how you would actually create the idea of "dirty pearls" in real life, in an outfit. How do you find a way to convey a grittier aspect to pearls than softness and chic? How do play with the idea of a street urchin with a smoky, beautiful heart and a bit of an attitude holding on to a treasured accessory, handed down from a mother or grandmother, or wearing pearls as a reminder that you can survive tough times and as a talisman for where you're headed? How do you create an outfit that has this fierceness, but with pearls? That was a challenge I tried to take on one day in coming up with an outfit. It led to a black-on-black ensemble with slim, straight jeans, a biker-inspired jacket and a slinky tunic, finished with studded heels. To bring in the "dirty" aspect, I twisted the pearls with a hematite chain. My basic style is fairly classic, but this idea pushed me toward the boundaries of that term and helped me create a look that was fresh(water) :) and different. I really enjoyed how it came out...and that one phrase was the catalyst for the whole concept.
There are two schools of thought in handbags: you adore bags and need toooooons of them or you adore bags, but they're a practical love and you need a more curated collection. One of my best friends is in the former category (honestly, listening to her justify why she needs yet another bag is better than stand-up comedy); I fall into the latter category. My theory is that a girl can pretty much get through life with a collection that includes one bag in each of five categories. #1: The Neutral. The most basic of basics, your 101 piece, the first you should acquire. It will probably be black, but brown also runs in the realm of possibility. Pick your favorite, most appealingly useful style. I'm a fan of the tote. I am, frankly, devoted to totes and own pretty much no other style. Whatever you choose, go for a classic shape here: envelope/messenger/saddlebag, crossbody, bucket, or -as alluded to above- tote/shopper/satchel. I'm also partial to leather, as it's the most durable and this is an investment piece. #2: The 2nd Neutral. Yep. One neutral is never enough. To cover the widest variety of occasions, you'll need an alternate shade for when go-with-everything black just doesn't go :). All the above suggestions apply here as well. #3. The Statement Color. This is where you get to branch out and have a little fun. Do you have a color you go weak in the knees for? How about a color you pretty much live in? That's where you want to find your inspiration for the shade of this bag. This will be the piece that pops your all-neutral outfits, provides the exclamation point to your printed, floral or more exotic color pairings and makes you happy on rainy days. This is the bag that's pure hedonistic pleasure...spiced with the just the right amount of functionality. PS if you can't settle on that perfect color, consider red. It is the most classic of the non-neutrals, a style darling forever. #4: The Casual. No carry-all collection can be complete without one really laidback, chill bag. It's the one you need for spontaneous beach trips, ice-cream-sundae runs and that day your whole crew of best guys bought you tickets to International League baseball because they think you're awesome! (And that young, phenom pitcher just happened to be starting). This one has pockets galore (for your phone, keys, sunscreen, chapstick, toothbrush, needlenose pliers (trust me, the guys will be impressed) and twisty ties (not only practical, but a conversation-starter: "Umm..why do you carry twisty-ties in your bag?"). This is where you choose a non-fussy material like straw, possibly nylon (depending on the style. Gym bag = absolument no) or durable canvas (For real. I have a canvas tote that's over twenty years old and not frayed anywhere.). #5: The Formal. You should always, I repeat *always* have one grab-n-go dressy bag in your stash that you can reach for when you're off to a wedding, a fancy date, the Met Gala...you get the idea. Something special can happen any day, so be prepared! I like to think of it as a good karma-energetic thing that attracts fabulous opportunities to me...like, say an invite to the Met Gala ;). Choose either a multi-color or a neutral - you're looking for a piece that will go with pretty much anything. I especially love metallics (bonus points for multi-metallic like the one above) or black or white crystal-embellished pieces. Two critical caveats: make sure there's enough space for things like your phone, Kleenex, a credit card and for Gaga's sake, make sure the design offers an easy way to carry the piece! You don't want to be that chick who left her crystal-encrusted minaudiere on her seat in Sacre Coeur cathedral... or in the taxi on the way to the Met Gala ;). Happy handbag collecting!
Daylight savings time has begun and spring will be officially here in a week, making it time to have a look-see at the trends that are rocking the fashion world and get some ideas for want to dig out of storage, what to keep and what to move to the back of the closet :). For starters, keep your fit-and-flare pieces front and center. This trend is sticking around and that's fab in my book. The beautiful shape is comfortable, graceful and flatters a number of body types. Gotta love any trend that ticks all those boxes! Also, STRIPES. They are here. they are huge. They can done be via the Americana, the maritime or the French Chic facets of current trendiness, but they must be done. Navy and bright blue ones are my faves (probably because they go so well with yellow ;)). There is a lovely wave of femininity making an impact on fashion as well. Suddenly, it's hip to be girly. Ruffle blouses, handkerchief hemlines, pretty embroidery or crochet: if it speaks of delicate artistry, it's something to embrace this season..and hopefully beyond. After years of disavowing my girly-ness, I'm suddenly finding myself in love with all things femme. It's something of a revelation and a bit of an unexpected journey...but fun! After a few seasons of the high bun being a thing, now low is the way to go: the low knot is a major look to try this summer. That's one for my inspiration board, as it's not a look I tend to think of...I'm def a high pony kind of girl, since a bit of a poof is the best look for my face shape. The poof+low knot combo might be a tad tricky to reconcile, but I'll work on it. I love challenge. Knotted tees (and button downs) have always had a place in my fashion arsenal, but if you haven't given them a try yet, you'll want to this season. They're a great way to self-crop any top. Go with a sized-up piece for a looser, slouchy look. Don't put your red lipstick away just yet - it's still a big look for spring. That's a given with all the red-navy-white combos that are out and about, in keeping with the "stripes" trend referenced above. With classic colors, the most classic of lip shades rules. That being said, there's also a strong trend coming in for pastels - soft, candy-hued palettes that are the essence of spring. Be sure to give that a try with some of your soft neutral or bright outfits. The shape of denim this season is the flare, especially the high-waisted, wide leg variety. It's that 70's thing, ya know :). I love that it opens up a whole range of look options that you just don't get with skinny/slim jeans. It's a great time to take advantage of the fact that both styles are currently on-trend, letting you do whatever moves your spirit. One silhouette one day, the exact opposite the next: doesn't it make your mouth water? Speaking of salivating, perhaps my favorite trend of the season is the return of shine...particularly in SHOES. You read right: SHOES. Crystal-embellished footwear was shown by a number of designers, and not just a random glittering afterthought here and there. We're talking confections, absolute artistry, a shoe-lovers wildest daydreams kind of crystals: multiple colors blended on one shoe, interspersed within printed fabrics, or (be still my fluttering heart) at the centers and edges of leather, suede and fabric flowers strewn across the shoe. Oh. My. Crystal-speckled, floral-bedecked stilettos? Hello, Spring! (Goodbye, style budget ;)).
There are bunches of reasons to make sure you take a gander at extrapetite.com. First and foremost, if you are the small-of-stature-but-large-of-heart type, Jean fills her blog with reviews, tips and commentary on styling, brands and fits for petite sizes. She is a must-read if you need some inspiration for what works on someone less-than-tall and some notes on what doesn't. Second, there's her classic, chic style - which is why I'm a devotee of her blog. This Boston native is unfailingly proper, but always with a unique twist. Seeing the way she makes classic feel fresh is a site highlight. Thirdly, her blogging style is a joy because she shares her thoughts on the pairings she's created and gives you some of her process, adjustments and considerations. Don't you just LOVE to know how someone thinks about their fashion? Yaaaaaaaas. Lastly, she sprinkles her lookbook with tips-posts that include super-easy (like "so-easy-Brie-can-do-it-with-her-time-challenged-life") high buns that stay in place, DIY mini-alterations and make-up tutorials. It makes her blog a fun and worthwhile read, whether you're petite or not. PS if she reminds you a bit of Wendy at Wendy's Lookbook, well..that would be because they're bff's ;). So, head on over and enjoy!
Brie (Hi!) More re: me under About. I'm the moving spirit behind this little life-meets-fashion fairy tale world, the home of my non-wrestling-related style musings and loves.