Thursday, April 29, 2010

Romper Rave

My fabulously stylish friend Amy emailed me today about some super adorable rompers she recently added to her wardrobe and they were far too cute for me not to share them on the blog. First, the rompers:

$48 each at Urban Outfitters

She wrote:
"Any thoughts on accessorizing the first one? I'm thinking maybe a belt around my waist...I'd like to be able to do some casual stuff and have a few dressy night-out options w/ it for the summer... Do you think the romper trend is heinous?? I know you don't support the 80's style revival but...some of them are so cute!!"

Ok, for the record, it's not that I don't support the 80's style revival, it's that 1.) We should only be reviving the style choices of the 80's that were actually good and 2.) We should be updating and modernizing them, not just regurgitating them. And now I'm stepping down off my soapbox...

To answer Amy's question, I decided to make a couple of collages.

Gladiator Sandal, Flirt Catalog, $34.50
Skinny Faux Leather Belt, Forever 21, $4.80
Jenna Hobo, Nine West, $39.99
Stringy Chain Earrings, Forever 21, $3.80
Blurred Bangle, Forever 21, $5.80

This may seem like a lot of accessories, but they are all pretty neutral and therefore allow the amazing detail on the neckline to really be the star of the outfit. That's also the reason I've left out a necklace as a styling option. With such a strong detail like the super cool pleated knot on the bodice, it's important to let it be the star and not wear anything that will compete with it.


Metallic Stripe Ombre Scarf, Old Navy, $12.50
Joan & David "Zena" Flat, Nordstrom, $99

Ok, so maybe the only thing that make this outfit hipster-esque is the Vonnegut tote bag, but I couldn't resist. Sue me.

Drop Earrings, Aldo, $10
Metal Bangles, Old Navy, $9.50
Textured Platform Pump, Make Me Chic, $26.70
Alligator Pattern Front-Flap Clutch, Stacie's Gifts, $37.50

Once again, the romper is the star of the outfit- every accessory is neutral without being too match-y. The simple gold jewelry glams up the oufit and in those platform heels, your legs will look amazing.

What do you think of the romper trend? Love it? Hate it? Have a million in your closet already?

Thanks to Amy for the inspiration for this post. I'm looking forward to seeing a picture of her in her romper to post on the blog! No pressure, Amy, but I think we'd all enjoy it!

Let's Hear it for the Boy!

How shameful that in my nearly 350 blog posts, less than 20 are dedicated to men and menswear. Well, it's not all that shameful considering the majority of my demographic is women, but seeing as I have my very first male "follower" I'm going to focus on menswear today.

The thing about menswear is that it changes very little from month to month, season to season, even year to year. And when it does change, the differences are subtle. And even with those subtle changes, the previous style is almost always still acceptable, particularly if the previous style works better for that particular man's body type/profession/lifestyle, etc. For example, one year the trend may be suit coats with one button, and a few years later that's changed to two buttons, then a couple years later, it's back to one button, and so on. Of course every now and then a trend in menswear will come around that should NEVER be repeated: "Cosby" sweaters, leisure suits, platform shoes, Z. Cavaricci jeans- you get the picture.

Since it's unreasonable to think I can cover all the menswear rules in one post, I'm going to focus specifically on dressing for the spring and summer, since it's nearly 70 degrees here today and I'm starting to get that spring fever again. Even more specifically, I'm going to narrow the focus of this post right down to shorts. Some people hate when guys wear shorts. I have no problem with guys wearing shorts, but I do have a few guidelines:

1.) Wear the appropriate length. Shorts should hit at or just barely above your knee. Below the knee? Please. No man has ever successfully pulled off capris. Don't try to be the first.
2.) Wear the appropriate footwear. Believe it or not, there ARE nice sandals and flip-flops made for men. If you must wear sneakers, and I understand this is sometimes necessary, wear those ankle socks that all but disappear inside the shoe. Tube socks? Ew. Black tube socks? Honestly, who raised you?
3.) Don't wear wrinkled shorts. Get out the iron and press out the majority of the wrinkles. I'm not saying you need to have them starched and stiff, but have you ever seen a guy walking down the street in super wrinkled cargo shorts looking practically homeless? Don't be that guy.
4.) Wear the appropriate waist size and please please please wear them high enough that when you bend over, we don't have to look at either your underwear or the fact that you aren't wearing any. Catch my drift? Plumber's crack is SO not sexy.

Now that you know my rules, here are some nice shorts options for all you gentlemen out there:

These cargo shorts are available in five colors, but my personal favorite is this "Charleston Brown." Dark fabrics hide stains well, so even if you spill your beer at the tailgating party, it won't ruin these shorts. Another thing I like about these shorts is that the cargo pocket is sewn down to the shorts. Have you ever seen cargo pockets that are bulky and stick way out from the shorts? That looks terrible. I'll prove it. Take a look at these cargo shorts from the Gap:

They look pretty sloppy compared to the Banana Republic ones, don't they? And let's be honest, how many of you guys actually use those pockets to lug stuff around? That's what I thought- not very many of you. Back to the B.R. shorts- did you notice the model is wearing a nice pair of leather flip-flops? Very manly, yet totally stylish.

A note on sandals, flip-flops and feet: There is nothing wrong with getting a pedicure to clean up your feet at the start of the warm weather season. A pedicure for a man basically involves cleaning up the feet- trimming the nails, smoothing them down, and in general just making them look neat and clean. There is no nail polish or girly-scented lotion involved, just a little maintenance. Trust me when I tell you that grooming matters most when wearing sandals. You can have on a pair of $2,000 shoes from Saks, but if you have skanky feet, there is no point.

Ok, back to the original topic of shorts. I don't want to give you the impression that I don't like the Gap because of their poor cargo-pocket design. I actually really like a lot of their clothes, including these: 


The fit is right, the length is right, the model is wearing them at an appropriate place on his waist and he's even got on a pair of sneakers that don't show any signs of a sock! This could be because he's not wearing socks, but I understand that's not always comfortable, so like I said before, be sure to wear the kind you can barely see. Not sure where to find them? Check here, here, here and here.

Finally, some people feel that shorts are not appropriate for "dressy" events, and 99% of the time, that is true. However, if there is an event that is borderline- not so dressy that you feel you need to wear pants, but also formal enough that you need to look really polished and put-together, then I recommend a crisp, seersucker short:

Whether it's a casual, backyard, afternoon summer wedding, or a company picnic where you need to maintain a certain level of professionalism, seersucker shorts are the way to go. Wear them with a nice pair of leather sandals or flip-flops and an untucked polo or short-sleeved button-front. To keep yourself from looking like too much of a "snooty-country-club-guy" wear a t-shirt under the button front, but only button the two middle buttons and leave it untucked. And definitely avoid wearing these shorts with docksiders or topsiders or loafers of any kind. Even vans should be used carefully when seersucker shorts are involved. The key to a pair of seersucker shorts like these it to keep the rest of the outfit polished but with a bit of an edge.  

Well, I hope that is has been useful to all of you gentlemen out there. Please feel free to peruse the other menswear-related posts here on the blog- just enter "menswear" in the search box to the left or click on the "menswear" label below this post. Ladies, feel free to use this information to help your man look his best this summer.

Happy Thursday, everyone! One more day until the weekend! Whoo-hoo!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mixing Prints- a little pat on the back for myself...

For the last few weeks I've seen about half a dozen blog posts and as many fashion magazines raving about the "new trend" of mixing prints this spring. It's times like these when I say, "Hey! I've been doing that forever!" I'm not saying I invented the trend or anything, but it's times like these when I feel the need to give myself a little pat on the back. Need proof? Check out this post from last September or this post from last November. I love mixed prints. Actually, the two pictured in those posts are pretty subtle mixes, but you can bet I'll be doing my best to put together some fun and funky mixed prints for all of you as soon as possible. However, before I go through my own closet, I'd like to direct your attention to the Anthropologie website where they have a whole slew of fabulous outfits using bold prints mixed together. I want to talk about WHY some of these looks are so successful. Anyone can grab a striped shirt and a floral skirt out of her closet and wear them together but making it work is the key.

First up, my favorite of all the anthro looks:

I'm SO in love with this look I may have to try to recreate it for myself. The reason this look works- polka dots and a bright floral is twofold and it mostly has to do with the dots. First, the polka dots are black on white- a nice neutral backdrop for the brightly colored cardigan. Second, the polka dots are small. From a distance, this dress will not even appear to be a print and up close, the dots are still small enough that they complement the cardigan rather than compete with it. If the dress was a large polka dot print, then we'd have a problem. The large dots and the large floral print would fight to be the star of the outfit, but because these dots are dainty, they work perfectly with the bright flowers on the cardigan. Finally, this outfit would not be nearly as successful if the accessories didn't help to create a very neat and polished look. The trim ankle-strap shoes and especially the belt cinching in the cardigan both say to the world, "This look is intentional." An open cardigan or even one that is buttoned, but not cinched with a belt might give the impression that the lady wearing this outfit was merely a little chilly and grabbed the closest thing to her to warm up a bit. Catch my drift?

Moving on...

This outfit is successful for three main reasons: 1.) The prints are very different in size which helps them to complement each other rather than compete with each other. 2.) While they are very different in size, they are extremely similar in color scheme- Red and white skirt, red and white top. 3.) Finally, they work because the skirt print is geometric and the top print is not. Complementary contrasts are key (say that one five times fast)! Vertical stripes with horizontal stripes is not such a great idea, but stripes with flowers is fabulous. Fluid or abstract prints complement linear or geometric prints- are you starting to get the idea?  Ok, back to my first point- the difference in the size of the prints. BE CAREFUL with this one. The size of the print on the skirt is rather large, even a tad exaggerated but it is NOT "busy." The print on the top is "busy" but because it's so much smaller, it's not so overwhelming. Be careful with very "busy" prints not to let them overwhelm the outfit or the person wearing the outfit. Have you ever felt like an outfit is wearing you, not the other way around? A print that is too busy and too large sometimes has that effect.


This is a perfect mix of prints for the beginner- someone who wants to try the trend but isn't willing to go all-in. The floral print on the belt is barely even noticeable, especially against those plaid walking shorts (which I am in LOVE with, btw). Once again, I'd like to point out that this works because one print is larger than the other, but they remain in the same color scheme. And yet again, the cinched belt look is ALWAYS polished and put-together, so it's very clear to the outside world that you have made a choice to mix these prints together.

Almost done...

This is another good look for the beginner because a scarf is totally non-commital. If you chicken out halfway through the day, you can just take it off. The same can't be said for your skirt or top, right? This is also a good choice for the beginner because these prints are almost identical, it's only their color scheme that has changed. And while the top is bright and multi-colored, the scarf is completely neutral- beige with more beige is still beige. And beige goes with everything.

Last one!

By now you should be totally schooled in the ways of mixing prints, so leave me a comment and tell my why this last one works. Correct answers will win... ummm... my undying devotion and respect. But seriously, you can figure it out, so do it. Better than leaving a comment would be sending me a picture of you in an outfit with mixed prints that I'll post on the blog for all of the interwebs to love and admire.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shoesday Tuesday- Shoe clips

Remember these shoes I got for a super bargain last week?

I decided to wear them with my outfit today, but I spruced them up with a little accessory. That's right- I added an accessory to my accessory:

Here's my secret: the little baubles? They're vintage clip-on earrings! No joke! I've been thinking a lot lately about the vintage shoe-clip trend and how it needs to make a comeback. Unfortunately, most of the shoe clips I've found aren't to my liking. Then as I was browsing one of my favorite local vintage shops, a lightbulb went off in my head- clip-on earrings! They work perfectly and are often a lot daintier than true shoe clips. Today I wore them on the toe, but they look just as cute on the back or the side:

So what do you think of my (brilliant) idea? And because I know you're dying to see what goes with bauble-embellished pumps, here's my outfit:

Dress: Marshalls, $49.99
Shoes: Payless, $15
"Shoe Clips": Vintage, $6
Necklace: Forever 21, $7.80

This is one of my favorite dresses- it's so elegant, but bright and fun, not to mention super comfortable! And how fun is my photo shoot location today? I'm actually at the post office in this picture, next to the hitching post. As you all know, I currently live in the heart of Amish country, so there are always horses & buggies everywhere I go. Every parking lot at every store has a hitching post for the buggies and wagons. It's kind of hilarious, actually. I was lucky that this one happened to be empty at the exact moment when I wanted to take a picture. I guess it was my lucky day!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Accessories Anonymous: More Leather Cuffs

I love days off. I get to spend them sewing things that AREN'T work-related. Not that I mind sewing at work- in fact I love it. But it's always for shows, so I don't get to reap the benefits (aside from my paycheck anyway). After announcing the winner of the giveaway, I decided I wanted to make a few more leather cuffs. Here's what I got done today:
As you can see, there are a few new color combinations available. I currently have (clockwise from upper left):
3 Navy suede cuffs with blue leather flowers
2 Light pink leather cuffs with maroon leather flowers
1 Light tan leather cuff with bright yellow flower
3 Dark tan leather cuffs, 2 with yellow flowers, 1 with light tan flower
1 Bright yellow leather cuff with dark tan flower (my personal favorite)
2 Maroon leather cuffs with light pink flowers

If you are interested in purchasing one of these cuffs, let me know. They are $15 plus $3 for shipping. If you have a different color combination in mind, let me know and I can custom-make it for you. Even if it is not a color pictured, I have access to nearly every color leather in the rainbow. Custom cuffs will be $20 plus shipping. Also, if you purchase more than one, I will combine shipping costs. Email me if you are interested- reneetbouchard at gmail dot com.


Congratulations, Tim! You'll be receiving an email from me shortly. And for anyone who did not win, but would like one of these leather cuffs, just send me an email. I'll be making more of them today- I have some new leather pieces in tan and yellow, plus plenty of left over leather from the originals I made. If you are interested in one of these cuffs, they are $15 each plus $3 shipping for US residents. I will combine shipping costs if you purchase more than one.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Lancaster County Consignment

I am a huge fan of consignment and thrift shops- I'm always on the lookout for a bargain- I suppose that's why I love stores like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Target. It's also why I love a good outlet store. But buying cheap clothes and accessories isn't nearly as exciting as buying expensive clothes and accessories for cheap. Right?

Today I decided to visit a handful of consignment and second-hand shops in the Lancaster area and review them all for you. If you don't live in the Lancaster, PA area, I'm sorry, but if you ever come to visit, at least you'll know where to go for a bargain.

I didn't really go into this review process with a formal checklist- I decided to do this at the last minute, so it wasn't exactly planned out. Despite that, I think I have a pretty good review system figured out to make this clear and easy for you. I'll rate each store on a scale of 1 to 5 (1: poor, 2: fair, 3: average, 4: above average, 5: perfect) in the following areas: presentation/cleanliness, selection, and price. I'll also give a breakdown of what you can find in each store and a brief description of my experience and impression.

A little about each category and rating to start. Presentation/cleanliness is a really important category for me. I don't like feeling like I'm in a second hand shop. Whether you admit it or not, the less you feel like you're in a discount/thrift/second hand shop, the more enjoyable the experience. I prefer stores that are bright, clean, and organized. Selection is not necessarily about high end labels, but rather about variety. In other words, is this a shop for the preppy girl, the girly girl, the rocker chick or all three and then some? Finally, the price rating is determined by what you get for your money. In other words, the prices in a shop may be very low, but they also have mostly low-end garments, so it's not that great a deal. I'll be sure to explain my ratings. Enjoy!

Deja Vu
1521 Lititz Pike, Lancaster, PA

Shop Type: Consignment
Presentation/cleanliness: 4
Selection: 3
Price: 3
Plus size: Minimal selection
Formal wear: Yes
Jewelry: Yes
Handbags: Yes, mostly new
Shoes: Yes, minimal selection
Children's clothes: No
Menswear: No
Furniture/Home Goods: No

Deja Vu is picky about the pieces they will accept to consign. As a result, their selection is of a high quality, if not a high quantity. I prefer it that way, to be honest. The prices range a great deal, but overall you are getting a relatively decent price. They average a few dollars less than what you'd pay for something similar in Marshalls or TJ Maxx, but there are also some amazing bargains. For example, I got a pair of fun, sparkly shoes for only $2. In my opinion, the jewelry is a tad overpriced, but it also appears to be mostly new, as do the handbags.

Wearhouse Consignment
329 Main Street
Landisville, PA

Shop Type: Consignment
Presentation/Cleanliness: 2
Selection: 3
Price: 3
Plus Size: Yes
Formalwear: No
Jewelry: Yes
Handbags: Yes
Shoes: Yes
Children's Clothes: Yes
Menswear: No
Furniture/Home Goods: No

This store is located in a somewhat dark space- there is little natural light, so it has that "bargain basement" vibe to it. The racks are crowded and not as organized as they could be. Also, the store itself feels cramped and crowded. I rated the price "3" because I felt that while some prices were phenomenal (less than $40 for a pair of gorgeous Frye cowboy boots), I felt that others were way too high (almost $30 for a FAUX Prada handbag). When I considered each item at face value, I often couldn't understand the logic behind the pricing. For example, there was a pair of Old Navy ballet flats that were a little bit dirty- clearly they had been worn several times before. They were priced at $8. While $8 is not a lot of money for a pair of shoes, it would seem like a much better deal if the shoes weren't low-end and worn-out to begin with. Had they been brand new, and mint condition, then $8 would have seemed appropriate.  It seems that the Wearhouse isn't as selective in terms of what they are willing to accept on consignment and maybe they should be. What I liked about this shop is that the tags clearly display when the garment or accessory will drop in price. The dressing rooms were the cleanest, brightest area in the shop.

Divine Consign
37 Market Square
Manheim, PA

Shop type: Consignment
Presentation/cleanliness: 4
Selection: 4
Price: 4
Plus Size: Yes
Formalwear: Yes
Jewelry: Yes
Handbags: Yes
Shoes: Yes
Children's clothes: Yes
Menswear: No
Furniture/Home goods: Yes

This is one of the better consignment shops I've seen. They seem to have struck a good balance between carefully selecting their items while keeping the store well-stocked. The prices were the best of the day, hands down. They were also pretty consistent. Nearly every pair of jeans was under $15 including designer labels. In fact, there wasn't a lot there that I saw over $15-$20. I'll definitely be heading back there again soon.

342 North Queen Street
Lancaster, PA
(Inside Building Character)

Shop Type: Thrift
Presentation/cleanliness: 4
Selection: 4
Price: 4
Plus Size: No
Formalwear: No
Jewelry: Yes
Handbags: Yes
Shoes: Yes
Children's clothes: No
Menswear: Yes
Furniture/Home goods: Yes

RE:Purpose is one of the many vendor "booths" located inside Building Character and is run by two lovely sisters. The shop offers not only very gently worn clothing and accessories, but also discounted new pieces from a handful of high-end designers. The selection is fun and youthful and is constantly being updated. The sisters even travel around the world and bring back fashions from the places they visit to sell in the store. It's a very cool shop and they always have some sort of special sale going on as well.

Next To New
1920 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA

Shop Type: Consignment
Presentation/cleanliness; 4
Selection: 4
Price: 4
Plus Size: Yes
Formalwear: Yes
Jewelry: Yes
Handbags: Yes
Shoes: Yes
Childrens clothes: No
Menswear: No
Furniture/Home goods: Yes- across the street

Next to New was the most impressive of the consignment/thrift shops I've visited. The organization is stellar- clothing is arranged by type and within type by size and within size by color/print. Divine Consign was also organized this way and in both stores I felt the least like I was in a second-hand shop. It's all about presentation and those two shops do it best. What struck me about Next to New was the enormous selection of accessories- there is jewelry everywhere you turn in that store! And they had the best selection of handbags by a long shot. The shoes were about on par with all the other shops, but I noticed they actually carried quite a lot of large size shoes- 10-11. This store is also the largest of all the shops I visited, and the layout feels spacious, not at all cramped or crowded.

Well, I hope this review has been helpful to those of you who live in this area. If you are from the Central PA area and would like a review of a specific shop, let me know. I'll do my best to keep you informed. Since I shop so much in my line of work, I'm a good person to ask if you're looking for something specific. I shop in person at actual shops, but I also shop online a great deal. Feel free to ask if there's something you're looking for. I'll do my best to help you out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Greenheart- Fair Trade Online Shopping

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a big fan of Fair Indigo a fair trade clothing and accessories company. Read my reviews of the company and some of their products here and here.

Since fair trade is such an important movement to support, I'm always on the lookout for more companies like Fai Indigo. I believe I may have stumbled upon another quality fair trade company- Greenheart of Chicago. To be perfectly honest, one of the issues with many of these fair trade companies is that the prices are far too high for clothing and accessories that are far too basic, or just not fashion-forward or interesting. What I like about Fair Indigo and Greenheart is that there are very reasonably priced pieces that are also fashionable and unique. Some of my favorite things I've found on Greenheart's online store are:

Paloma Statement Necklace, $30 (Also available in Teal)

I love that the jewelry is modern looking and the dresses are so colorful and bright. What do you think of these pieces? Greenheart currently offers women's clothing and accessories, children's clothing, toys and books, home and office decor and even stationery products among other things. Men's clothing wil be "coming soon" to the site. I'm curious to see the menswear once it is available.

If you are interested in learning more about Greenheart, visit their site to learn about fair trade practices, read the history of the company, find out how you can get involved, and even read Greenheart's blog.

Do you have a favorite fair trade clothing store you like to support? Tell me about it- I'm always looking for more companies like Fair Indigo and Greenheart! Happy Saturday everyone!

P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment on this post to enter to win the giveaway.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Inspiration: Maggie the Cat

Last night I saw the opening night performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Fulton Opera House here in Lancaster. It was a great production- thoroughly enjoyable. I was familiar with the play and wasn't all that surprised by the costume choices they made- everyone looked great and every costume was perfectly appropriate. If you aren't familiar with the show, you may not know that a couple of the characters in the play actually spend the majority of the show in their undergarments. But that is not my focus today. Instead, I want to talk about Maggie the Cat. She's a character with sex appeal, but also with vulnerability. She's complex. Anyway, my goal isn't to ramble on about the costumes or the character! Instead, I want to show you some fabulous dresses I found that each seem to be a modern-day version of an appropriate Maggie the Cat dress. Enjoy!

Orange Sheath Dress, eDressMe, $230

Purple floral dress, Bluefly, $119

Satin Shirt Dress, Ann Taylor, $148

And of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a selection of Maggie-inspired lingerie:

Silk Chemise, Amazon, $90

Sometimes it's fun to select a character as your style icon, as long as you don't take it to the point where you look like you are wearing a costume. Who are some of your favorite characters that inspire you in your personal style?

Don't Forget the Giveaway!

Hey all- Just 2 more days to enter to win one of these leather cuff bracelets:
Click HERE to be taken to the giveaway post. You may leave up to 3 comments as entries.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Project Runway: Season Seven, Finale

WINNER: Seth Aaron! WHOO HOO!!!

It's funny how I can feel SO strongly about certain contestants throughout the season, but once the finale hits, I genuinely want each person to experience tremendous success. I may not like their designs or their personalities, or the way they played the game, but in the end, if they've made it to Bryant Park, I feel they deserve to succeed. Of course it makes for great TV if someone bombs, but I'd rather see the competition be so close that it's a nearly impossible decision for the judges.

That being said, I was really rooting for Seth Aaron. He reminds me a lot of Jeffrey Sebalia, but a little more goth than rocker. Despite the fact that "goth" doen't in any way describe the type of clothing I like to wear, I would love to wear SO MANY of Seth Aaron's pieces. To me, they were exciting,innovative and visually interesting without being too busy or over-designed.

As for Mila, I wish she would have used some more color. I'm SO over her black and white color scheme. It's interesting for a little while and then it's just boring. Even the outfit SHE wore was black and white! I just don't see any exuberance in her collection. To me, it was not an exciting collection.

Finally, Emilio had some great pieces, but I didn't feel his collection was as complete or as striking as Seth Aaron's. I admit, it's really super cool that Emilio made his own print fabric. Also, I died for his bright blue jacket- I would LOVE to wear that jacket.

So how do you all feel about Seth Aaron's win? I'm so happy for him- he definitely deserved it. I hope to see more from him in the future. I hope to see more from Emilio, too. Mila? I don't need to see any more of her clothes. Sorry, Mila. Michael Kors may love your leggings, but I'm over it.

It's so sad when a season ends- I don't know what I'll do with myself on Thursday nights now!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

UO Oxfords- Update with an outfit

BETH N.- this post is dedicated to YOU and your hatred of the oxford trend. (Don't you feel special- you've got a blog post dedicated just to you! XOXO)

If you follow my blog, you know that I'm obsessed with the oxford shoe trend and that yesterday I received my pair of Kimchi Blue cut-out oxfords from Urban Outfitters. I immediately snapped a few photos of them:
Even looking at them now, I'm just completely enamored of these shoes. As Rachel Zoe would say, I die. Last week sometime I wrote a post about the oxford trend- how pairing it with a feminine, flirty dress creates the perfect balance of masculine and feminine. Click here to be taken to that post. If you don't feel like clicking around the blog, have no fear for I have created a very similar outfit to the one featured in that post using (you guessed it) my new oxfords!

First of all, these are the most perfect oxfords EVER because they have a large cutout on the instep that helps minimize the masculinity. It also makes them a lot more summery. They are perfect, also, because they are nude, so even though they are trendy, they're still essentially an innocuous accessory. Since they are flats, I paired them with a dress that 1.) hits slightly ABOVE the knee and 2.) floats away from the body. In other words, a dress that accentuates my legs even without heels.

So, Beth, if you weren't convinced before that oxfords can be totally fabulous, what do you think now? Have I made a good case?

And finally, for your entertainment, the out-takes on this photo shoot. You can see I'm standing on some sort of concrete tunnel wall opening. Well, the camera was on a steep incline facing down toward the concrete structure. I set the timer and then slipped and skidded down the hill, hopped up onto the concrete and then stride to "strike a pose" before the timer ran out. It must have looked pretty hilarious to my neighbors!

Oops! Didn't quite make it in time!

This one's a great shot of the shoes, but I cut off my head zooming in too far! D'oh!
I got sick of slipping up and down the hill, so finally I switched locations to in front of this tree. It's not quite as pretty as yesterday's tree, but it'll do.

Have a great day everyone! And don't forget to leave up to three comments on the giveaway post to be entered to win a cool leather cuff!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shoesday Tuesday- Redemption

Do you ever start your day off in a really foul mood for no good reason other than you're just not looking forward to what your day holds (or what you think your day holds)? That was me today. I woke up earlier than I like to in order to go to work to do the part of my job I enjoy the least. I started off the day with a bad attitude. I struggled with it all day, but in the end, I couldn't help but cheer up and here are my three reasons for why I just couldn't stay cranky. But first, my outfit today:
Jeans & t-shirt: Old Navy
Sneakers: Converse

Sometimes basic is best. It's funny because jeans and a white t-shirt actually feels kind of sexy. Well, until I layer on braids and a ball cap. The pink Converse help keep it light-hearted and girly at least. Anyway, it's not my best look, but it's comfy. After taking this photo I headed off to work where my bad mood was foiled.

Reason #1 I couldn't stay cranky: Midway through the day I ended up accompanying a few other coworkers to scout a location for a video shoot we're doing later in the week. While there, we discovered this tree:
That's my other boss, Matthew, clowning around for the camera. Isn't this tree GORGEOUS?!?! How can you NOT smile when you look at it? It's amazing!

Reason #2 I couldn't stay cranky: Ben & Jerry's Boston Cream Pie Ice Cream. Many of you may not know that I started blogging with a humble blog about ice cream. I'd say it's a bit of a passion of mine. I eat it year round and Ben & Jerry's is at the top of the list. To read my ice cream blog (which has strayed from just ice cream to include whatever I find delicious, click here.)
There is one way to describe this ice cream: life changing. After eating life-changing ice cream, how could I possibly stay cranky?

Reason #3 I could not stay cranky: New shoes! It is Shoesday Tuesday, so isn't appropriate that when I got home from work today my new Urban Outfitters cut-out oxfords were waiting? They are SO adorable! I love them!

I can't wait to wear them with one of my sundresses. What I like about these shoes is that they are barely there, much like a ballet flat, but they have the lace-up detail that makes them more oxford-esque without being masculine. The raised dots on the fabric are super cute and also help to keep them more feminine. That's the key with oxfords- you have to find a pair that is feminine and light enough that you don't look like you are actually wearing clunky chunky mens shoes.

So there you have it- the three reasons of the day why I could not possibly stay cranky. Is there anythng out there that just forces you to smile and be positive no matter how foul your mood? For me, it's obviously something pretty, something tasty and shoes.


Way bay in the beginning stages of this blog... who am I kidding- I'm STILL in the beginning stages! But seriously, way back when I first started this blog, I wrote about Diane von Furstenberg's amazing creation: the wrap dress. She's still making stunning wrap dresses, even to this day, but DVF is not limited to that one (amazing) style. She has an incredible knack for designing dresses that are oh-so flattering on a woman's body, not to mention super feminine and fun. Some of my faves:
Tie waist shirt dress, Neiman Marcus, $195 (on sale!)

Estovan print silk dress, Saks Fift Avenue, $325

I'm not necessarily an advocate of purchasing designer brands just for the sake of it, in fact, you all know that I frequently try to find the "look for less." My personal budget doesn't allow for oodles of DVF dresses (*sigh* someday, maybe), but if you can afford to shop high end, I recommend you do it for one reason: high end means high quality. The cut, the fabric, the construction- all of these will be of exceptional quality. If you're shopping for something trendy that will likely be out of fashion in a month or two, then obviously it seems silly to make an investment of $300-$400, but if you are purchasing a classic piece that you will wear for years, then it's not so silly anymore. Consider how many times you will wear an individual piece. Let's say over the next 3 years (not a very long time) you wear the tie-waist shirt dress pictured at the top ten different times (which is not very many times for a 3 year span). The cost-per-wear is now only $19.50! When shopping for investment pieces, I recommend you consider the cost-per-wear, as opposed to just the number on the price tag.

So if you had the means, which designer would you choose to indulge in? For me, it's DVF all the way- her clothing works for my body type. Leave a comment and let me know! I'm always curious as to who your favorite designers are.

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway this week. Click here to be taken to that post.

Shoesday Tuesday- Oh the shame....

So the other night was a friend's birthday party. I got dressed for the event in one of my cute skirt/top combinations, threw on some heels, some accessories and headed out a little early, thinking I would run an errand or two before going to the party. Well, my mistake because apparently it was WINTER on this particular day and the second I stepped outside I practically froze in place. I hurried back inside, shivering and overreacting (which I frequently do). I abandoned the whole outfit and started over with a pair of tights- I know, I know, I've said before that once I'm liberated from tights and socks, I don't go back. Well, on this particular day, I just knew I was going to freeze my booty off if I didn't drastrically change my outfit. On top of the tights, I layered a pair of knee-high argyle socks, and (here's where the shame comes in) my F'Uggs. Normally I try to dress to the nines, especially when it's a special social event. I'm always in heels, or at least I try to be. And here I showed up to this event in ugly winter boots.

Every other girl (including my pregnant friend Shannon) showed up in super high heels. Oh, the shame. I was mortified, but I'll eventually get over it. If you look closely at the picture, you can even tell that I'm trying to stand on my tip-toes so that I'm  not dwarfed by the other girls around me. That huge gust of wind made me so cold that all I wanted to do was curl up in a blanket, so comfy, warm clothes was the best alternative (not to mention slightly more socially acceptable).

On another shoe-related note, Andrea, standing to my right is standing in such a way that she is really showing off her fabulous new Coach heels- the ones I mentioned in this post. Aren't they FIERCE? I know "fierce" is so over-used these days, but I have to say that these shoes totally warrant the use of it. 

Finally, don't forget to visit yesterday's post and leave a comment to be entered in the GIVEAWAY! Click here to be taken to that post.  

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Accessories Anonymous: Leather Cuff GIVEAWAY!

I was at the fabric store a few weeks ago and saw a bin full of leather scraps for $1 each. I bought a handful of them and finally got around to making something with them today:
They are a bit crudely made, but for my first attempt, I am really happy. Sewing the petals on is pretty easy, but I struggled a bit with attaching the snaps. It's something that will take a little bit of practice for me to get really good at it, but once again, I feel that for a first attempt, I think I did pretty well! There are three cuffs with the petal detail- 1 maroon leather with pink leather petals, 1 pink leather with maroon leather petals and 1 navy blue suede with light blue leather petals. There's one other cuff that I made with an army green leather that is just an abstract design. It was also my very first attempt at attaching snaps and I didn't do as good a job with lining them up perfectly.

Each cuff measures about 7 1/2 inches, and will fit a 6-6 1/2 inch wrist. I think my favorite is the navy blue suede cuff, but I also love the pink and maroon ones. I like the color combinations- I guess I was pretty lucky to find these fabulous leather pieces at such a bargain price!

Anyway, for this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment and you'll be entered into the drawing which will take place next weekend. The winner may choose one of these 4 leather cuffs as their prize. You have this week to enter and I will allow up to THREE entries per person, which means you may leave up to three comments and each will be counted as a separate entry. Forward this post to your friends and tell them to enter the giveaway, too!

Have a great week!
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