Tuesday, May 31, 2011

{reader request} august wedding in Jackson Hole...

My friend Anna (of Working Women Wednesday fame) recently tweeted at/@ me for some dressing advice. She's attending the wedding of "earthy Seattle rock climbers" in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this August. The affair promises to be rather casual, as weddings go, but that is no reason not to embrace the occasion. Any celebration is cause for a special outfit and a little bit of fancy. And whimsy. And this summer, maxi.

I am totally, utterly obsessed with the idea of wearing a long dress to an outdoor, summer wedding this season. I have this vision of Anna wandering between Aspen trees and through tall grasses, holding champagne in one hand and her dress hems in the other, following the sounds of a live folk band to a tent in twilight. (Obviously I have no idea what the venue of this wedding is, or if it's at twilight, or if they will have a band, but the mind wanders...)

Since I have no such invitation, I am proposing to live vicariously through Miss Imperati. I want to see pictures all over Facebook of her in a long, lovely dress with a smile on her face and pretty little shoes  on her feet.

wedding chic

wedding chic

I've presented here for Anna a few different ways to sport a long dress, a few choice accessories and some chic summer footwear. How much fun could Anna have twirling on the dance floor in the simplest black one-shoulder cotton gown and flat patent leather sandals? Or a printed pink number that needs not one piece of jewelry? The key is to tuck just the bare essentials into a small clutch with a big attitude, then immediately toss it on your table and get to boogie-ing. In between congratulating the bride and sipping champagne, perhaps let a statement necklace and a swath of floor-skimming fabric do the rest of the talking.

Monday, May 30, 2011

{wallet warning} Cutler & Gross shades...

Hello, gorgeous. 

You are the most beautiful and offensively expensive sunglasses I have ever laid eyes on. You're British and Old Hollywood and glamorous and tortoise and I love you. Seeing you all over the J. Crew catalog on the faces of really darling, well-dressed brunettes with side-parted hair and low ponytails has caused me to contemplate what I would have to give up to make you mine:

1. Cold-pressed coffee
2. Most foods and cocktails
3. My half of a bedroom in Chelsea

Ugh, life is unfair. Am I right? 

Actually, let's be real for a second. It's true that this is a classic, elegant pair of sunglasses that were hand-crafted in Italy. They could last a lifetime. I could pass them down to my daughter (really, she would pry them from my cold, dead, hands). Maybe the luxurious creation process is deserving of the nearly $500 price tag. 

However (and this is the big however), it's just not necessary to splurge this wildly on a face accessory that is not made of gold and/or diamonds. At least, not at age 25 whilst job-searching in New York City. It is absolutely possible to pay $30, $50 or even $150 on a pair of shades that look excellent, protect your peepers and deserve to be worn on a vacation you can afford because you did not pay $420 plus shipping for the most gorgeous sunglasses ever.

Later in life, when I am a fabulous power lady, I will spend this much green on sunglasses. Then, I will send Jenna Lyons a hand-written thank you note for single-handedly skewing my perception of what is and is not an acceptable amount of money to spend on sunglasses. In the meantime though, let's enjoy more pictures of the undeniable beauty of Cutler and Gross #0930:

 *Seriously, J. Crew has this aspirational styling thing down to a science. You see the girl in the sunglasses, you see the car, the man, the hair, the smile. You think to yourself, me + these sunglasses = that life, no problem! Rawr.

Friday, May 27, 2011

getaway girl: the perfect weekender

I'm actually staying in town this Memorial Day weekend (shudder), but I have a couple of great weekend trips lined up already for the upcoming summer months. That seems to be my jam when it comes to travel these days since I can't really afford to take extended vacations. I treat myself to weekend jaunts every now and then to feel refreshed and renew my love for this urban jungle I now call home.

Currently, I use a pretty standard one-two combination of my beat up Longchamp shopper and my Le Sport Sac weekend duffel or The North Face backpack. The shopper and the backpack are both black, which is fine of course, but I have grown tired of the floral print of my Le Sport Sac. I want something that matches my more East Coast-infused life/style. Personally, I am craving a new weekend bag that's not too feminine, can get dirtied if it needs to, and will help limit my over-packing tendencies. Oh, and no wheels, please.

Since I'm aware that not all my readers are looking for the same style of bag, but we're probably all looking to get away for a bit this summer, I've compiled some selections of different duffels and totes that should perfectly fit everything from bikinis, board shorts, and boat shoes to books, button downs, and basically anything else.

(PS: The image above is of course by Inslee, and is rather how I imagine I will look during my various beach getaways...)

The Traditionalist:

The Girly-Girl

The Coastal Kid

{summer staple} that aviator lens...

Then. Now. Always.
Words can't really express how much I love this picture of my parents.
Summer officially arrives this weekend.
Let's do this.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

{delayed} mid-week music moment...

This is Mount Moriah, "Lament." It's another one of those videos that looks like the band was said to their friends, "Hey you guys, help us make this video. Mostly we'll just hang out and shake tambourines." I absolutely love this woman's voice, and enjoy the general rhythm of the song. Hope you guys do, too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the best top knots...

I am working on getting my top knot tutorial down pat for my inquiring readers, but it's just not quite ready, yet! I don't want to leave you totally in the lurch, so here is a collection of great top knots of our time. I'm a little miffed that they are mostly blond, but obviously, I'm here to change all that.

Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port both rock a pretty huge, messy up-do, but the effect is still sophisticated. I think Whit is overdoing the glam here a little with the eyes, lips, earrings and strapless dress; I prefer to mix an up-do with a much more casual look.

Kate Bosworth and Carrie Bradshaw have much more sleek styles, similar to what I prefer.

So this picture of Lea Michele frightens me because I think she looks a little terrifying for some reason. But my hair looks exactly like that, just with more bangs. I'm going to blame her bold lips. Miranda Kerr looks gorgeous and fresh. What's new.

 I love both of these too, especially how sleek and neat her hair on the right looks with a center part; a variation I definitely want to try out.

The 5-minute bun in the June issue of Glamour; messy and amazing.

Terry's Diary: the sisters olsen


Friday, May 20, 2011

postcards from home...

My dad was up near Vancouver Island yestderday for work and sent me a couple pictures.
I love New York, but wow, do I miss this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

mid-week music moment...

Chet Faker, "No Diggity" (Blackstreet Cover)
Ok, so let's all be honest and realize that nothing will ever measure up to the original Blackstreet version of this song. It makes it onto just about every party playlist I make in iTunes; it's a true classic and guaranteed to get people dancing and reminiscing about 8th grade dances.
I can appreciate this version though, it's a little more raspy and sultry, and rather fits the moody, grey days we are having in New York right now.
What do you think?
Additionally, in case you forgot, watch the Blackstreet video below. Note that the "cool factor" for the moment is a bunch of girls dancing in front of four stretch limos and wearing white overalls with black tee shirts. They were simpler times indeed.

Zoe in Cannes...

 Zoe Saldana perfectly pulls off this gorgeous and unique floral print dress by Vionnet.
Image from Vogue.com, taken May 16th at The Tree of Life party.

a quote to brighten up your wednesday morning...

Miranda: Man, I've had a lot of scuzzy apartments. Why do I think living in Manhattan is so fantastic?
Carrie: Because it is.

(Sex & the City season 6)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

rainy day DIY: neon & hex nuts

Ugh, we're in the middle of one of the realities of spring here in New York: rain. So. Much. Rain. We've been a bit spoiled with sunshine these past few weeks, so I probably shouldn't complain too much. One good thing that comes out of weather like this? Creativity!

Yesterday, one of those days where you could only see 15 blocks uptown instead of 70, Gina and I ventured out to run a couple errands, and I was aching to try a DIY jewelry project I saw on this blog. (The whole thing is so cute, by the way, lots of great projects and fashion inspiration.) We trudged up to Home Depot, and eventually found the aisle brimming with ropes, cords, lug nuts and nails. I didn't want to get too ahead of myself in case the results turned out to be sort of lame, so I selected a few bags of tiny gold hex nuts and a roll of neon pink cord. 

Once I got started braiding, looping and knotting, I couldn't stop. I tried and re-tried some different techniques (thank you, 10 years of summer camp friendship bracelets) and eventually created some bracelets I really love!


So for this first one, I just did a simple braid, but instead of using just three strands, I doubled up and used six. This created a thicker, stronger band, and held the hex nuts in place perfectly. I pulled two strings through each one, then just braided normally while pulling very tightly.

One thing to know about me is that when I feel crafty, I feel really crafty. Making one Valentine card becomes 50, and making one bracelet became four. I now feel an uncontrolable urge to go back to Home Depot and buy some more cord (Yellow! Orange!) and perhaps some silver hex nuts too, and just go to town. I have a feeling the hardware store cold become a wealth of inspiration! These little treats will make excellent gifts and be perfect to mix and match for some added zest in my summer wardrobe.

*I think you can find these supplies at any hardware store. The cord was about $5, and the bags of 8 hex nuts are about $1.20 each. (Keep in mind these could also be inflated NYC prices, so you might be able to try this for even less!

Monday, May 16, 2011

summer shoe must: Soludos

My friend Parker told me to check out this brand the other day, and I'm already convinced I need a pair of these sweet little Soludos espadrilles come summer. Now, before this season I had never really considered a flat espadrille. But now that I'm living in a metropolitan area that isn't always supportive of ultra casual footwear, they feel like an obvious  choice. They're a great substitute for sandals and at a price of about $28, they're perfect for even the most limited of budgets. If you're in NYC today, I'm sorry to do this to you, but look at this video:

A Perfect Summer Day - Soludos from SOLUDOS on Vimeo.

Wasn't that a magical little thing? Now just try not to look out your window at the cloud-encased high rises and also don't look at the 5-day forecast that shows nothing but rain all week.

Friday, May 13, 2011

a love note to my future boyfriend (watch)...

Dear Michael Kors Chronograph Bracelet Watch,

        Hi, it's me, Taylor. I just wanted to let you know that I think you're the most handsome mid-level priced watch I have ever laid eyes on. Your face is gorgeous; you're masculine and sexy. Now, I know your all-gold cousin currently takes up residence on my right wrist, but, between us? I'm ready for a change. 

Anyway, I am really, really into your contrasting metal band and navy blue dial. Since I am currently stacking up an eclectic mix of gold and silver bracelets, I think you could make yourself right at home amongst the Tiffany, the vintage and the H&M.

Now, I don't want you to feel like you wouldn't be special if you were mine. Sometimes it would be just the two of us. Picture it: you and I, alone on the beach (with a Breton striped top & crisp white shorts, of course) strolling in the ocean breeze. I'd let you tell me the time whenever you want. Doesn't that sound nice?

Le sigh, future boyfriend watch. Your $250 price tag (at Nordstrom) keeps you just out of my reach. Though I'll admit that the more you play hard to get, the more I want you. If you go on sale, I'll still be attracted, I may even take you as my own, but I probably won't introduce you to my parents.



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

{reader request} Lizzie goes to Rome...

If I could pick one time in my life I most wish I could relive, it would be the five months I spent abroad in college, in the town of Aix-en-Provence. In that bubble of existence, I lived in a dream. Each weekend held a new adventure; a new town, a new country, a train, a bus, a flight, a ferry, or maybe just a new street in Aix. I met the most wonderful people and experienced an amount of growth, joy, adventure and wonder that I didn't feel again until I arrived in New York.

I will stop my gushing at this point, because I don't think I could possibly convey here how strongly I advocate studying abroad, and how much the experience meant to me. If someone gave me a soapbox, I could tour the country promoting it and be totally content. However I don't have a soapbox, I have blog. And as fate would have it, that has allowed me a wonderful platform to pass on some advice and wisdom (instead of just wildly enthusiastic raving about things like renting a bicycle in Sevilla. (Do it!))

Longer ago than I want to admit (I'm sorry it took so long, Lizzie!) a darling reader sent me an email, asking for some advice on how to pack for her upcoming Fall semester in Rome, Italy. Needless to say, I was struck with nostalgia and thrilled to be able to impart a little of the sartorial direction that I wish someone had given me prior to my months in France. I'll start with a visual:

Lizzie goes to Rome

Lizzie goes to Rome 

Alright. This is what I would call, "The Study Abroad Starter Set." Classic pieces in colors that really like each other and are extremely easy to layer. I think if you take off from the USA with most of these items, you will be prepared for most any city, any adventure, any weather.

Now Lizzie, I can tell you two things right off the bat:
1. You will shop. You will shop, and shop, and shop. You will return to college a chicer, more worldly version of yourself, and of this you can be sure. So, don't be afraid to under-pack a little. Everything and anything you could possibly want to add to your wardrobe will be available to you.
2. In Europe, you simply cannot have enough black. When I arrived in Aix-en-Provence in the dead of a Mediterranean winter, every, single woman was clad in black from head-to-toe. Building from black basics will allow you to jump right in with the locals, and the pieces will likely last you long after your Roman holiday.

Shoes: Indeed, packing for such a long time can be overwhelming and daunting. The seasons will change, you'll visit places with polar opposite attitudes towards dressing, and your feet will be killing you for the first few weeks. This is why footwear is the most important element of your essentials. Finding what brands and styles fit you best is quite personal, so I wont get specific, but don't shy away from splurging on a great pair of boots (black or brown) and a pair of neutral (or black) flats. Also, in hindsight I wish I had brought a great pair of wedges for dressing up, because a heel will get destroyed in the cobblestones and probably drive you crazy. Something in black with a peep-toe will transition nicely from the bare legs to the tights months easily.

Tops & Jackets: If I were to do it all over again, I would have only brought a few choice tops, and filled in the gaps once arriving in Europe. You will be inundated with amazing fashion everywhere you turn, so budgeting both your wallet and your return suitcase for new purchases is key. Your own taste preferences will obviously rule, but I think a breezy silk button down -- that can be worn with literally everything from jeans to shorts to tucked in with a skirt or even over your swim suit -- is essential. Same goes for a nautical striped shirt. Here's the other ultimate element of a successful abroad kit: layering. Choosing pieces that can be worn together in any number of ways will keep your look fresh even if your host family only lets you launder your belongings once a month. To achieve this, I would make sure you have a great navy or black blazer, an olive green military-style jacket, and a trench coat. Do not forget the trench. If it gets extra chilly, just buy a warm jacket from H&M. Don't waste your packing space on something that bulky, trust me. Use it, then toss it before you head home.

Pants, etc: Black skinny jeans. Dark denim skinny jeans. Black leggings. A couple pairs of shorts. Two or three of your most favorite skirts. You will be tucking your pants, tights and leggings into boots a lot, I can assure you. If you're not a skinny jeans gal, at least look into straight leg. True that flares are trendy right now, but leave that as a game time decision once the fall rolls around. It's sort of an old myth that women don't wear shorts in Europe, and in certain cases it can give you away as a visitor. However, they're practical and comfortable, so I say keep 'em classy and not too short.

Miscellany: A pashmina will be your best friend in Europe. Scarf, shawl, pillow, blanket - it is all these things. Again black is always great, but you can always use it as a color pop. Bring two pairs of classic sunglasses, one metal rimmed, one plastic. The Longchamp shopper tote functions as both a book-bag and a weekender when necessary. Don't carry a backpack to school, Lizzie. Just don't. A small cross body bag is practical (and Mom will think it's safe) and on-trend right now; find one that easily fits your passport, camera, maybe a guide book and a small wallet. A watch will be your best friend abroad, do not trust those crazy European cell phones. A cool hat will also serve you well in Europe, they love hats. Additionally, they're brilliant for when you've been out at a discotheque til 6 a.m. and are running late with no time to shower before your 9 a.m. Roman History class. Finally, a simple little black swimsuit. Hopefully you will find yourself on a yacht off the Amalfi Coast, and black, again, is always classic and perfect.

Alright, I hope this helps, Lizzie. If anyone else out there wants to chime in with some helpful tips from experiences abroad, please do! Anyone out there been to Rome? Anyone study abroad recently and have some glorious tid-bit on the advances of to-go coffee in places that don't have Starbucks? Inquiring minds want to know...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

today's arm candy...

I got a few colorful new baubles from H&M yesterday that are perfect for livening up my super-stacked spring wrists.
The best part is that each one was $4.

Ashley Olsen: embodying spring...

None of the items she's wearing are particularly extraordinary, but the way she's put them together here is breezy and perfectly suited for this amazing weather we've been having in NYC.
The great thing about this look is how easy it is to dublicate or riff off of in your own closet. You probably have a big light-weight scarf and long cardigan, and no doubt some flat sandals and oversize sunglasses. Voila.

Same glasses, same sandals, same jewelry.
Seen here leaving the Greenwich Hotel, Ash is making a strong case for an unusually colored suit. It's definitely bold, but something about the pairing of navy stripes with the peach is working for me. It doesn't hurt though, that she's about half the size of a normal person, so her proportions are never really very grand.

(images via Olsens Anonymous)

Monday, May 9, 2011

a little peek at cinco de mayo...

I often look at nights like Cinco de Mayo with the same balance of hope and pessimism that I do New Years Eve. It always sounds like a night of great promise and epic fiestas; tequila, sombreros and what not. Then one thing doesn't lead to another, and you're eating chips and salsa on the couch watching Brad Pitt in The Mexican, by yourself, again.

Luckily though - as has been the case with this type of occasion since my move to New York - this year's Cinco de Mayo really was an epic fiesta of tequila, sombreros and what not. We kicked off the night at our apartment, and hosted some friends and neighbors for homemade guacamole and "skinny girl" margaritas made from scratch. The guacamole was sort of terrible (blame the unripe avocados and amateur chefs), but the drinks were perfectly dangerous. My darling friend and fellow style blogger Meghan joined us for the first half of the festivities, wearing her new and absolutely amazing Madewell dress.

Me: H&M blouse; (Gina's) Urban Outfitters skirt; vintage necklace; MK watch & Tiffany bangle.
Meghan: Urban Outfitters Ecote Surplus jacket; Madewell dress; Rebecca Minkoff bag.

Once we were all feeling sufficiently festive and the themed playlist had run it's course, we hopped in cabs and made our way down to the main event - a show at Tammany Hall on the LES featuring my favs, The Knocks, who were DJ-ing with the different acts all night. Needless to say, we danced until the early hours and Friday night was spent in; recapping all the fun and watching a terrible movie called Frozen. (Don't see it, even though it's streaming on Netflix. People act like idiots on a chairlift and get eaten by wolves. It's just - awful.)

Most of the cinco crowd @ Tammany, complete with sombreros, colorful ensembles and cheesy faces.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

happy mother's day...

From top left, moving clockwise:
My mom and myself
My mom and her mother, Evangeline
My mom and myself
My dad's mother, Joyce

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, grandma and all the mamas out there!

Friday, May 6, 2011

can you tell i'm having a thing for tassels?

I mean, is it obvious? I find tassels to be such a whimsical but rather classic detail on everything from bags to blouses. If your look is more tailored, the DV Dolce Vita tassel flats or Ralph Lauren heels would be a great infusion of attitude in your laced-up wardrobe. If you lean more towards a free-spirited style, well, the rest of it should be right up your alley. Can you imagine those dangling tassel earrings with a top-knot? Crazytown amazing.

The Sunglasses by House of Harlow 1960 are a little much, but still too fun not to post. I would absolutely wear any other of these colorful treats, just probably not all together.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

{outfit post} fashion 140...

I feel so overwhelmed with love this week! I got a wonderful shout out (and huge traffic boost) from my menswear-blogging/tumblr-ing friend L.A.S. and about 30 new Twitter followers during the Fashion 140 conference yesterday. I'm so glad people had such a positive response to my Always & Never list. I mean, what can I do next to keep you guys so interested and excited? (Seriously. Suggestions welcome and encouraged.)

I'll post more later about everything amazing that went on at the conference, but for now I figured I could at least give you a little bit of an outfit post. Wednesday started out pretty rainy, and coupled with the fact that I'd be sitting in an auditorium for hours and hours, I aimed for a comfortable-yet-chic look that would hold up all day.

Schott NYC Perfecto lambskin jacket; vintage Missoni for Nordstrom tunic; BP black tank; BDG jeggings; Jessica Simpson ballet flats; c/o Amanda Pearl Gobstopper pearl earrings.

This is that amazing Missoni tunic I wore to NYFW earlier this year but was totally hidden by my fur coat. It's incredibly fragile and a treasured piece inherited from my mom. It has those distinctive Missoni stripes - and in perfect-for-spring colors. I have no idea what year it's from, and I'm sure if she could figure out how, Mrs. Davies would leave a comment letting us all know. (The 90's, Mom?) Anyway, after a Tweet-spiration from my friends at Schott, I knew my Perfecto had to come out for the conference as well. 

The rest of my look just sort of fell into place. My Amanda Pearl earrings have become a staple with my top-knot, though I'll be the first to admit that after looking at these pictures I'm really peeved that it was so smooshed on one side. Ugh, #whitegirlproblems. Additionally, I'm hyper-aware that jeggings are on their way out, but they are so incredibly comfortable I may never give them up. (Breaking my own rules, 'cause that's how I roll.) As for the ballet flats, did you expect anything else?

 Oh, and in case you were worried - don't be. I wore seven bracelets.

Various baubles from Marc by Marc Jacobs; J. Crew; Tiffany & Co.; Kenneth Jay Lane; vintage; that Michael Kors watch and F21 owl ring.
It's like I pulled up my sleeve and surprised even myself at how many of them I was wearing!