Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest posting again today!

I'm back over at A Femme d'un Certain Age today, talking about how to elevate basic clothing into the much more alluring bistro attire; come visit!


  1. I'm visiting via Tish's blog. So glad to find you. I'm your latest follower.

  2. So excited that I "knew" you before you were famous.

  3. A couple of things I would like to hear you address in your blog, if you would, since I love your taste and aesthetic.

    First, what do you think of the trend of mis-matching colors? Is it a fresh, cool thing that just takes training the eye to get used to, like new proportions in, say, hems or shoulders? Or is it just a fashion victim trend?

    I see magazines and street style photos showing, say, a floral print dress of lavender, magenta, yellow, and spring green on white, topped by a true red coat with a true red bag (or belt or shoe). This is what I mean by mismatching. A definite color is used to set off a a print or multicolor garment, but the definite color is not only not in the garment, it is what we would have once called a clashing color. It's not true red over a print of, say other primaries like navy/white/gold. I don't know what to think about this.

    The other thing I wonder about is what brands you would recommend as a step up from the Banana Republic / Ann Taylor level, in terms of quality and style. You frequently acknowledge that the items you often show in your posts are aspirational and often more expensive than most people can afford that. I can appreciate that. But if I can't afford, say, a Stella McCartney outfit, but I want to rise to better design and fabric than the typical chain store like Talbots or Lauren Ralph Lauren (which I've found to have surprisingly cheap fabrics, trim and construction much of the time), what do I look for? Where do I shop?

    I like to shop online when I can, because I'm not near a lot of shopping options.

    I want a contemporary classic look. I don't want the shapeless, or staid traditional, or "older" looks that are sometimes popular at slightly higher price points than, say, Banana Republic. I want the well-designed, contemporary but classic feel that you tend to feature.

    I want value. I'm willing to save and reach a bit, to shop sales wisely, and all that, and to look for classic quality pieces here and there (like cashmere sweaters or jersey tees at Lands End though most of their styles are too sporty/staid for me, or a silk See by Chloe dress on mega sale at Nordstrom,or a more fitted sweater at Eileen Fisher or shaped linen top at J Jill when most of the pieces in those lines are too artsy/shapeless for my size, figure, and style).

    I sometimes look at better department stores online, like Nordstroms, but unless I happen on a stunning sale with lots of availability, what I find is either over-priced stuff as cheap in fabric and design as the typical chain brand, or out-of-reach higher end stuff, with nothing much in between. And I have to say that it doesn't help at all that I'm a petite, and while I can have pant or skirt shortened, you know what it's like to try alter a jacket or sweater that's not petite--you really can't.

    I honestly don't know what brands to start looking at as some real go-to brands for a bit more quality and style in grown-up contemporary classic. Can you help? Are there brands that would cater to the mid-range contemporary classic, or do I just need to change my expectations--either by being satisfied with what I can find in the typical chain brands or digging much, much deeper for more satisfying quality and design?

    Thanks for all the inspiration at your blog. You have a wonderful sensibility for style and wardrobe and balanced view of all.

    1. I will chime in regarding the first style question. I find what you have described to be a most-interesting and beautiful way to dress but you have to have confidence in both what you are putting together AND to then leave the house;) Personally, I think you really have to know what you are doing or you should side-step this style of dressing altogether.

      Vivenne, if you happen to have the magical answer to the much-asked question of where to buy quality at the mid-level these better offer it at a price! I find the general consensus is that this is almost a nonexistent beast. It seems the best one can do is try to save for a very high-end piece once it hits sale..if it ever does. True quality hardly exists at the moderate price-point.

    2. Anonymous, thanks for sharing your perspective. Any advice on developing an eye for non-traditional color mixes, especially when "clashing" with defined color scheme in a multi-colored garmet? I'd like to understand more about how this aesthetic works, whether or not I ever adopt it.

      I assume there is more to it than reaching blindly into an eclectically-colored wardrobe and putting any two garments together at random, color-wise (though to the untrained eye it sometimes looks like that's exactly the strategy).

      I get that this is an extension of the un-matching perspective of recent decades. We used to match furniture suites, shoes/bags/belts, formality levels (no denim and chiffon together) and so forth with so much care and rigor. Now such matching is either dating, terribly unhip and uptight, or has to be done with great irony or a reactionary rebellious streak. Mix it up, show them you know how to work the contrast.

      I pretty much get all that now, just don't ask me how skilled I am with it.

      But this color thing is a tough one. I'm not visual or artistic, though obviously interested. I'd love it if anyone could give hints about deconstructing how it works.