Friday, November 7, 2014

sofia coppola

My latest style inspiration..Sofia Coppola. 
I am not sure how the director never made it on my fashion radar. She has amazing taste and I would wear nearly all of her looks!

ballet flats, loafers, wedges - ankle straps preferred.
 classic button-ups & blouses.
slim trousers.
 nautical stripes.
 party outfits including playful dresses, fur, and sequins.
  structured handbags.
black, navy, and white - with a punch of pink, when necessary. 
 cuffs & gold bracelets.
pops of leopard .
effortless, signature hairstyle. 

For a more complete collection of her outfits visit NY magazine

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Is This the Beginning of the End for Skinny Jeans? - WSJ

For nearly a decade, skinny jeans have ruled the fashion world. Even for regions a little bit behind the eight-ball on some of these trends (the Midwest), the look has still had a pretty strong 6-year run. I have worked at a boutique for over three years and throughout my entire time at the store, it has always been "skinny jeans, skinny black pants, super skinny, etc." 
When I wear skinny pants, I prefer having a long blazer, cape, or trench coat to complete the look. I feel that's the most polished way to style. Even when I went through my leggings phase in college, I tried to incorporate some of the same pieces (coats, button downs, etc.) to make me feel more put-together - with the understanding that I wasn't wearing pants...
The entire fashion industry has morphed to accommodate for the style. Oversized sweaters, long blouses, billowy tanks - the problem? it's hard to find tops made to be worn with anything other than skinny pants. When customers ask for recommendations on how to style a top we have in our store, skinny pants is always the go-to...granted, I try and provide other recommendations as well. But skinny pants are the staple and designers have created tops to work with that look. 
Lately, I have gotten sick and tired of seeing people in super skinny pants because, at risk of offending anyone, a lot of people do not style skinny pants in a flattering way and it's just not a good look... 
There are many other fashion options that I think can be more flattering, but they're just not available. Although today's industry has more selections for dressing than ever before, sometimes it's hard to find other options and have the confidence to wear them. 
I am ready/have been ready for a fashion industry change for a long time. And there seems to finally be a little wake-up call. 
Throughout this year's September fashion week, fashion blogger Man Repeller wore straight legged distressed denim almost everyday. I had a feeling she'd be one of the instrumental influencers in crafting a new look and it appears she helped move the needle. While this particular denim look might not be the most flattering option (if such a thing can exist in the denim category) - it still will cause some must-needed disruption. Everything in life needs a little change and I think we're long overdue for an update. 
I will probably still wear skinny pants for many occasions, as I think they do look great paired with certain pieces, but I am excited to see people trying something else! Personally, I think the looks below have a more sophisticated flair (wider-legged pants with tucked-in blouses) than a lot of what we have seen lately....any thoughts?

This past weekend, The Wall Street Journal had a great editorial on the new wave of denim. Read the complete piece below. 

High-waisted, faded and decidedly not skinny, an unlikely new style of jeans—often inspired by Levi's classic 501s—is being adopted by the most fashionable women.

On the final day of Paris fashion week in October, art director Sofia Sanchez Barrenechea wore what she had habitually referred to as her “crappy jeans”—old Levi’s, which she bought at a vintage store. Somehow, that day, they felt crappy no more. Pairing them with a structured crop-top, low-heeled boots and a polished handbag, she achieved a look that could survive even the French fashion gauntlet. “I started feeling like I could pull them off,” said Ms Sanchez Barrenechea.

No doubt. In the past few months, many women on the leading edge of the fashion curve have been seeking out vintage (or vintage-looking) denim that’s derived largely from Levi’s iconic straight-leg, long-rise and pale wash 501 style—last popular in the 1990s. Even Vogue Paris editor Emmanuelle Alt recently wore looser, straight-leg, faded jeans—a shift away from her signature skinny crop.

“It does feel new after a decade of skinny jeans,” said Laurie Trott, fashion editorial director of e-commerce site Piperlime, who’s been living in a pair of vintage Levi’s 505s—a straight-leg fit with a slightly lower rise than 501s—that she had tapered by a tailor. Ms. Trott wears them with Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers button-downs and low-heeled sandals. With such an otherwise tomboyish look, she said, “I like a high-waisted silhouette. It shows I have a waist and hips.”

The new direction is part of the natural cycle of fashion, when the pendulum inevitably swings away from a supremely popular style. Florence Kane and Jane Herman Bishop, founders of the denim blog Jean Stories, think the preference for the newly chic classic jeans over the ubiquitous “jegging” lies in individuality. “You don’t want to wear the same black skinny as everyone else in your office or all of your friends,” said Ms. Herman Bishop, whose favorite jeans are currently an old Japanese pair she found at Los Angeles vintage shop Mister Freedom and had altered at Denim Revival, a company that specializes in jean reconstruction.
And if that means adopting clothing that once belonged to somebody else, so be it. “Each [vintage] pair has a story because someone before you has worn them in a certain way or tailored them in a certain way,” said stylist Vanessa Traina Snow, who has a few pairs of vintage jeans, including her mother Danielle Steel’s old 501s. (“I mean, they really are ‘mom jeans,’ ” she joked.) She wears them elegantly with an oversize Céline sweater and pointy Manolo Blahnik pumps.
Since few women have the patience to sift through piles of used clothes, people like Ms. Traina Snow are doing it for them. Recently, the Line, the e-commerce site she co-founded, partnered with Manhattan vintage shop What Goes Around Comes Around to offer a selection of vintage jeans. The online inventory of Levi’s 501s was quickly snatched up, but you can find a similar faded, five-pocket style by 6397, a two-year-old denim brand, on the site.
At the more mainstream end of the retail spectrum, Urban Outfitters’ Urban Renewal website features decades-old denim selected from dead-stock by its buyers. A pair of generously cut French workwear jeans is available for $398, for instance, but Jean Stories’ Ms. Kane recently snagged a pair of Levi’s 517s—a high-rise, boot-cut style—on the site at a more accessible price. “I’m a very lazy vintage- jeans shopper,” said Ms. Kane, who came across the site while working late one night. She wears her 517s with black pumps for meetings or flat loafers for a casually chic American-sportswear feel.
Other denim brands are also looking to fill the need. Denim behemoth Citizens of Humanity has a faux-old Premium Vintage collection whose slouchy boyfriend-fits might please a 501-fixated shopper. The line's women's creative director Catherine Ryu scours Tokyo thrift shop BerBer Jin, which has a huge denim stock, for ideas to keep things authentic.
Some upstarts are getting in on the action as well. AMO, a label launching next spring, started by industry vets Kelly Urban and Misty Zollars, will offer five old-school styles with updated touches like a pitched-forward side seam that slims and lengthens the leg. "We wanted to create something that didn't exist - something that looked vintage and cool, but fit a woman's body," said Ms. Zollars. "We picked the fabric because it literally looks like the Levi's 501s we're obsessed with. It's an open weave with beautiful twill and a shade of pure indigo."
For all that work, the jeans are still priced the same as your skinny, spandex-boosted Acnes and J Brands - between $200 and $300, but 100% cotton jeans like Re/Dun's or great vintage scores may be a better buy. Stretch denim will eventually sag, and any tears will curl up, not artfully shred and fray. And with high-waist and looser leg, you don't necessarily require that body-hugging, stick-to-your-hips stretch factor. Meanwhile, Re/Dun, a brand started by Sean Barron, who co-founded Joie, and Jamie Mazur, who founded denim flash sale company Underground Denim, also strikes a balance between vintage and new. Messrs, Barron and Mazur source old jeans from private dealers - anything with paint splatters and distinctive nicks or fades ranks highly - then resew the fabric into one of three contemporary (read: not quite so retro and high-waisted) silhouettes: "relaxed skinny," relaxed straight," and "repaired," which "look like someone's grandmother mended them at home with another piece of denim, thread and a needle," said Mr. Barron. 
"The skinny was designed to de-accentuate the butt, to make it look smaller and narrower," said Jean Stories' Ms. Kane. "I think now women are not afraid to accentuate their behinds, and real denim is going to do that. It's a really nice change,"
Levi’s has shrewdly taken note of the kicked-up demand for these styles. (This isn’t the first time. The brand launched its Levi’s Vintage Clothing program, in 1996, with reissues of 501s because the jeans were so sought after then.) In January, as part of its main collection, the company will introduce the 501CT, with a slightly narrowed—but not-skinny—leg. “Tapering was the second most requested alteration, second only to shortening,” said Levi’s senior vice president of global design, Jonathan Cheung. “It’s almost as if we crowdfunded the design.”

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween - party time!

Enjoy these helpful reminders from entertainer Diane Gottsman when throwing a monster bash!

A beautiful illustration from pve design.

Start with the perfect invitation
 From e-vite to hand delivered card, invitations are a great way to let everyone know what type of fun to expect. Make sure and include all of the information guests will need. You don’t want to leave your guests questioning if they should or should not dress up in costume.
Be clear about the kids. 
When you are making your guest list, do a “kid count”. If you come up with a large number of little goblins, consider having a kid friendly party to make it easier for parents to attend. With interactive games, yummy treats, great party favors, and a fun neighborhood chaperone (a.k.a. responsible high school students supervising the children in order to make some extra cash), the children won’t want to leave.
Good taste and smart judgment. 
Choose your costume and decorations based on who is on your guest list. Kids may be frightened by the sight of fake blood and spooky ghosts and your boss may not appreciate your choice of French maid costume 
Clare's PSA - the 'skank' factor is my least favorite part of Halloween. 
Make good choices, keep it classy or creative, and respect yourself & others!
Download music to your iPod – not just scary noise. 
Limiting the party to spooky background noise will start to drain the energy out of the celebration. Once the mood is in full swing, mix it up with great dance music. Make sure to open up space in your living room for people to move freely without knocking over your lamps and picture frames.
Set lighting carefully. 
Make sure there is appropriate lighting in the parts of the house with high traffic. The restroom, kitchen or spare bedroom where coats and purses are kept will need to be adequately lit. You don’t want your guests feeling as if they are in a dark, haunted house.
Finger food. 
When hosting a Halloween party it’s important to offer food more substantial than candy and sugary treats.
Halloween games. 
Incorporating games into the evening is a great way to involve guests in conversation and encourage new friendships. Make sure to organize it before hand and have concise directions; nothing kills a party game faster than a confused and bored guest.
Don’t forget the Trick-or-Treaters. 
If you are doing something at home, you don’t want to ignore the doorbell. Since your house is decorated and the lights are on, people will assume that you are offering candy. Enlist a high school neighbor to help hand out treats, or leave a cute sign by a basket or cauldron full of candy saying, “Excuse our absence, ghoulish party underway: Please help yourself to one handful of candy.” Leave a bag of candy inside close to the front door allowing you to easily replenish the basket throughout the evening.
Party Favors. 
When it’s time to say goodbye, send your guests home with a cute goodie bag to remember the night.
Relax and have fun. 
It’s your party and you should enjoy it as much as your ghoulish guests! Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, toodles!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How to drink champagne like an expert

Tuesday toast!!
Here's how to drink your bubbly...dancing on tables is optional :)

From the editors of Town & Country Magazine, Winemaker and Champagne expert Elise Losfelt of Moët & Chandon shares 10 tips to drinking champagne like a bubbly enthusiast. 

1. The glass - The best way to enjoy champagne is in a white wine glass. A white wine glass's larger bowl enables the wine to open up in the glass, allowing you to better enjoy all the aromas and to savor the complexity of the champagne. Traditional champagne flutes are perfect for showcasing champagne's stream of bubbles, but their narrow share limits the drinker's experience of aromas and flavors. Coupe glasses, on the other hand, create the opposite experience; the glass's extra-wide mouth amply exposes the champagne in the air allowing the bubbles and aromas to escape quickly.

2. Best way to open - When opening your bottle, make sure you keep the cage on. The cage helps you control the cork so it doesn't fly out when it pops, and also gives you leverage to help separate the cork from the bottle. When removing the cork, hold the top of the cage with your thumb to keep the cork in place and untwist the wire six times. Then, hold the cage and cork together in one hand while using the other to twist the bottle's base in a circular direction away from the cork to slowly work out the cork out. Twisting the bottle instead of the cork allows you to more gently remove the cork and have more control.

3. Where to store - A common misconception when storing champagne is to leave it in the fridge. If you're planning to enjoy your bottle of champagne immediately (within three or four days after buying it) storing it in the refrigerator is fine. But if it sits there for a week or more the cork can dry out, as there is no humidity in refrigerators. As corks dry out, the seal between the bottle and the cork loosen up and the champagne will oxidize faster, changing its aromas. Instead, keep it in a cool place in your home, away from any light, and where the temperature is consistent.

4. The ideal temperature - Once you're ready to enjoy your champagne, the best way to chill your bottle is to fill an ice bucket with ice and one-third water and allow your bottle to cook from around 15-20 minutes.

5. Pouring - When pouring champagne, only fill your glass about one-third of the way full. If you over-pour, it will warm up too quickly.

6. Hold the stem - Remember to hold your glass by the stem and not by the bowl because your hands will warm the champagne up too quickly. And, holding the glass by the stem will make you look more sophisticated!

7. The stopper - In between pours, don't forget to use a good champagne stopper to preserve all the delicious bubbles! A stopper will keep your open bottle fresh for about one day - in case you don't finish in one sitting :)

8. Drink champagne with your dinner - Many people think they should only use champagne as an aperitif, but that is not the only way to drink it. Champagne pairs beautifully with foods like fish, meat, grilled vegetables, and risotto, and can bring out new flavors you've never tasted in these foods.

9. Best foods to pair with bubbly - Also, don't be afraid to experiment with food pairings. Oysters and caviar are fantastic with champagne, and more casual foods like truffle fries, fried chicken, and cheese are equally as delicious with champagne. Champagne loves oily, salty, and fatty foods, as they bring out the wine's frutiness and freshness, so foods like burgers, tacos, BBQ sauce, and lobster (who would have thought?!) are exciting new pairings to try that champagne connoisseurs have been enjoying for years.

10. Celebrate every day - If you have a bottle of champagne in your refrigerator, don't wait for a special occasion to enjoy it. You will see that by opening the bottle, the special occasion will come to you. Celebrate life everyday!

Write-up via Harper's Bazaar.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

What a preview...

From Sunday evening to Thursday afternoon I sampled the life of a superhero. And by superhero, I mean, a full-time working mom. 

For the second half of my aunt and uncle's trip (grandma covered last week), I watched my 10, 15, and 16 year old cousins. It was a really good "preview" of what might be my reality one day. 
There is no denying that I totally lucked out on a lot of fronts. The kids were well-behaved; transportation was taken care of, thanks to a licensed driver, carpools, and grandma; my office wasn't too far away; dinners were flexible (a couple at home, a couple out); and I still remembered long division!
But there were a fair share of less than perfect moments...
after school detention, traffic on the way to school = late slip, alarms not going off, not understanding the purpose of a planner to write down homework assignments (we had to ask people what the homework was every night...not even kidding),  cancelled after school yoga class, evening basketball practice, after work client meetings...yes, there were a number of far from ideal scenarios. 

I didn't have time to read, write, jog, or even shower...if I really wanted to get everything done, there really wouldn't be any time for sleep.
-- I really don't know how moms do it, they are truly wonder women. I am officially in awe --
If I ever become a mother, 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. will have to my magic 'productive' hour. (I still have a hard time waking up at 7:00, so thank goodness having to factor that into my routine is a loooong way away...) If Hermione decided to share her time turner, that would be a slightly different story. Alas, the life of muggles. 

 I have always been so charmed by this kate spade advertisement. Not only is it seasonally appropriate, but it captures an entire maternal lifestyle in one moment.
Modern & Traditional. Cosmopolitan & Suburban. Professional & Domestic. Organized & Fun. Stylish & Casual. 
Effortless Motherhood (with a kate spade tote).

My little "working mother" preview ensured me that it definitely looks easier in a kate spade ad :) 
Have a nice weekend, toodles!

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