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 was 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 jacket in my car that 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 it in to your wardrobe, even if 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!
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.