Friday, November 28, 2014

Jewelry: How to Dress Up a Starting From Scratch Wardrobe

Jewelry is the most obvious, and the easiest, way to dress up basic garments. If you look around at some of the less "expected" stores, you can find things that you've never before seen - nobody at your event will be wearing an identical item! These items can easily be worn with a number of different Starting From Scratch Wardrobes, and many of these pieces could be used during the day, as well.

And don't forget that the Starting From Scratch Wardrobes already had quite a few pieces of jewelry in them - many of those pieces are well-suited for evening wear, just as many of the pieces shown below could be worn during the day.

I've opted to include brooches instead of necklaces, just because brooches are so doggone UNCOMMON. If you're wearing a brooch, you might very well be the only person in the room wearing one. And they're really easy to wear - once they're pinned in place, you can forget about them!

And let's bear in mind that part of getting dressed up is to FEEL more dressy. I find that an earring with any sort of size or movement completely changes the way I feel when I move my head. I'm aware of my earrings in a way that never happens during a normal work day, and that awareness translates into an overall sense of occasion. And the ultimate goal, really, is for you to feel festive and in the mood for a party; if you appearance is a bit more suited to the event, all the better!

Grey moonstone earrings – Vivien Frank Designs, hematite and feather bracelet – Leivankash, grey crystal covered hoops – Worthington, crystal drop earrings – Alexis Bittar, encrusted oxidized brass cuff – Milena Zu, crystal deco brooch – Heidi Daus, three pearl earrings – Majorica, pave pearl stud earrings -  Brook Brothers, silver cuff with pearl – Flake, smoky quartz bracelet – Lennebelle, gold hoop earring with crystal charms – Brooks Brothers, three stone smoky quartz earrings – toosis, black link brooch – Mila Schon, rose gold abstract leaf bracelet – Alicia Marilyn Designs, rose gold and crystal dangling spike earrings – Alexis Bittar, dripping gold brooch – Jung ee eun, Feldspar and smoky quartz drop earrings – SFA, agate and turquoise earrings – Kasturjewels, three crocheted bangles – Yoola, foliage brooch – Brooks Brothers

  • The Brown and Beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
Just a touch of gold, and a bit of the translucent beauty of smoky quartz! The feldspar in the second pair of earrings complements the beige in your wardrobe perfectly.

three stone smoky quartz earrings – toosis,dripping gold brooch – Jung ee eun Feldspar and smoky quartz drop earrings – SFA, three crocheted bangles – Yoola, gold hoop earring with crystal charms – Brooks Brothersbrooch – Luisa Viaroma,smoky quartz bracelet – Lennebelle

  • The Navy and Beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
A single brooch, in a memorable design, is often all you need. But the power of an earring with a bit of movement shouldn't be discounted, either!

dripping gold brooch – Jung ee eun, navy round earrings – Dorothy Perkinsfoliage brooch – Brooks Brothersrose gold and crystal dangling spike earrings – Alexis Bittar,three crocheted bangles – Yoola 

  • The Black and Grey Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
Many of these pieces of jewelry were already in this wardrobe - but sparkly hoops, or dangly ones, or a simple hoop with a stone pendant - who could resist?

grey crystal covered hoops – Worthington, grey moonstone earrings – Vivien Frank Designs, brooch – Alexis Bittarcrystal drop earrings – Alexis Bittar,bracelet – Alexis Bittar

  • The Caramel and Black Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
Smoky quartz is also a perfect semi-precious stone for this wardrobe. Just make sure that you find some that has the golden warmth that's characteristic of your caramel neutral.

three stone smoky quartz earrings – toosisrose gold abstract leaf bracelet – Alicia Marilyn Designs, round earrings– Michael Michael Korsbrooch – Lanvingold hoop earrings – Lauren Ralph Laurennecklace – John and Pearl

  • The Grey and Navy Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
Larger earrings that move when you do are ALWAYS dressy! and the bracelets... oh my goodness, the bracelets...

I would seriously wear two of those silver cuffs with the pearl cufflinks - how much fun is that?
crystal drop earrings – Alexis Bittarencrusted oxidized brass cuff – Milena Zu,  grey moonstone earrings – Vivien Frank Designs, three pearl earrings – Majoricasilver cuff with pearl – Flake

  • The Khaki and Olive Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
A little bit of turquoise in some gorgeous earrings is perfect for these outfits - especially the turquoise silk shirt! And a brooch on your cardigan - why not? Nobody else ever does! And sometimes, a simple dress, a pretty necklace, and eye-catching earrings are all you need to look perfect for the party!

agate and turquoise earrings – Kasturjewelsbracelet – Argento Vivofeldspar and smoky quartz drop earrings – SFA, foliage brooch – Brooks Brothersrose gold and crystal dangling spike earrings – Alexis Bittarnecklace – Maria Calderara

Links to all of the clothes and shoes (which may or may not work - they are old links) can be found HERE.

                        THE OUTNET.COM

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

No Black Friday offers, no Black Saturday sales, no Cyber Monday links. Just a message from my heart, on this Thanksgiving in the United States. You all make my days delightful, and my work feels like fun when I know you're reading. Thank you.

My posts through this winter holiday season may be somewhat irregular, but never doubt that you ALL are in my thoughts. I'm always planning more delights for us to share...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to Wear a Red Coat

FIRST UP: Please check out my page Scarves and Things for Sale. I just added a couple of necklaces that are NOT getting the attention they deserve in my closet, and should belong to one of you. And there are still some lovely Hermes scarves going unclaimed...  Thanks!  Janice

Nothing seems like a better idea this time of year than a red coat - it's bright, on these darkest of days, it stands out in a forest of black, and it throws a flattering rosiness onto any complexion. But how do you make a red coat work well with your chosen neutral color?  As always, I have suggestion!

  • Grey Neutrals
I believe that any of us who deal with long winters deserve at least a couple of pairs of gloves, a couple of scarves, and more than one hat, so I'm showing multiples which can be worn in a variety of combinations. 

For gloves or mittens, it makes sense to me to have one pair that matches your coat as closely as possible, and another pair that are your neutral.

I think patterned scarves that pull the colors of your wardrobe together are handy, and they bring a touch of focus and attention to your face (which is always where you want people to be looking!). There are a WORLD of scarves available - if you're looking for a particular color combination, just be patient and keep thinking of new ways to describe your online search. I believe that there is no combination that doesn't exist somewhere in the scarf world!

And hats? I'm a big fan of earmuffs, because I have voluminous fluffy hair that is crushed horrendously by regular hats. But I of course will show you some cool hats too, in a wide variety of styles. Again, it makes sense to look for both your neutral color and a color to match your coat, if you see them available and sufficiently irresistible.

Grey wool baseball cap – Stella McCartney, fringed scarf – Yasuyuki Machida, red gloves – Brooks Brothers, coat – Eastexgrey crew sweater - Dear Cashmeresilver grey trousers – Viyellaearmuffs – Lauren Ralph Lauren, silver grey trousers – Viyella, plaid scarf – Mr Start Woman, grey knit gloves – Stefanel
  • Navy Neutrals
As with all things navy, make sure you've got a swatch or something with you when shopping so that your "navies" blend well. 

While I'm not usually a big fan of leather coats, this one was impossible to pass up...

Navy knit cap – Comme des Garcons, square silk scarf – Valentino, red leather gloves – Isotoner, leather coat – Current/Elliott,navy cashmere turtleneck – Jil Sandernavy trousers – Viyellanavy faux fur earmuffs – Ted Baker, checked scarf – Linea, navy leather gloves – Brooks Brothers
  • Black Neutrals
Always the easiest to find! If you're in the market for a duffle coat, make certain that the very pronounced trim on the front of the coat is in a color that will work well in your wardrobe. For example, if you don't wear black, this coat is NOT going to be happy in your wardrobe. There are coats made that have beige, tan, or horn trim - they would be much better with brown and beige neutrals.

Rippled silk scarf – KathKath, red beret – Armani Collezioniblack mittens – Dorothy Perkins, duffle coat – Gucci,black v-neck sweater – Vince black linen trousers – Viyella shearling earmuffs – Ugggraphic print scarf – Etro, black gloves – Lauren Ralph Lauren

  • Camel Neutrals
Red does a great job brightening up camel! Remember, if you're really stuck for a scarf, to consider both Missoni and Etro; they're expensive, but often available at deep discounts, and they do an amazing job with colors. Keep an eye on Yoox, the Outnet, and Girissima for markdowns - they move fast, but the discounts are significant.

Camel hat – Portolano, checked scarf – Jaeger,tan mittens – Ralph Lauren, coat – Dashcaramel tee – Hallhuber, copper twill trousers – Lands’ Endshearling earmuffs – Ugg, zigzag scarf – Missoni, fleece lined gloves – Dents

  • Brown Neutrals
Fake furs, and some of the best paisleys around... plus you have the benefit of wearing a color combination that's always unexpected, and always tasteful. Stand out in that crowd!

Faux fur hat – Harvey Faircloth, striped scarf – Artillerylane, brown leather gloves – Apt. 9, parka – Woolrichbrown sweater – Gestuz, brown jeans – Viyella, red trilby – Planet, paisley scarf – Rosamunda in Blu, red leather gloves – UR

  • Olive Neutrals
Anything involving olive green is going to be difficult to find - it's just not a color that's available frequently. But when you do find something, it's always so deep and rich looking, and so just plain different from usual that you realize that it was worth the hunt. Don't forget to check men's stores for scarves and hats - they often carry a different array of colors, and the quality that you get for the price is generally better than you would get in a women's store.

Kangol cap, print scarf – Chesca, wool gloves – Barbour, coat – Dorothy Perkinsgreen cashmere sweater – Jason Wu olive trousers – Isabel Marant Etoile red beanie – Schah, fringed scarf – Yasuyuki Machida, red cashmere gloves – Armand Diradourian


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Metallic Shoes and a Small Bag: How to Dress Up a Starting From Scratch Wardrobe

The first thing I noticed when I was looking for beautiful shoes and bags for you: there are absolutely RIDICULOUS, and sometimes positively dangerous, dress shoes out there. Heels that would only be suitable for walking from the limo into the nightclub, where you will be sitting for the entire evening...

But worse than that are the spikes and other lethal implements that now adorn shoes. If you're attracted to shoes with spikes, or even just with buckles or large jewels, make ABSOLUTELY sure that you've checked out how sharp all such things are, and be aware that crossing your legs, or even having your foot brush against your leg, could bruise you, tear your clothing, or even cut your flesh. I saw someone recent rip the daylights out of a pair of pants when she crossed her legs and a buckle on her shoes caught the fabric of her trousers. Ruined, they were, as Yoda would calmly notice. 

So if you hate shoes in which you can stand for an entire cocktail party without wincing, I'm not your girl today. Even the heels that I included are only 2 inches; that's the absolute limit I will consider.

As with so many things, if you think of something you'd like, make certain that you shop around on the internet A LOT. There are identical items available at prices that vary by as much as 50%. I try to link to the lowest priced versions that I can find, but as you know, that's always in flux. For a high-priced item, it can be well worth your time.

Another bit of advice: if you see something you like, BOOKMARK IT. Because you can do the identical search a day later and the item will not be where it used to be. I often create your lovely images over a period of 2 or 3 days, and when it comes time to actually put the links on the blog post, I wander aimlessly through the digital marketplace, searching pathetically for the same Chloe flats I saw less than 48 hours again. Don't imitate my sad state...

That said, I found some perfectly delightful, simple evening bags at very delightful, simple prices!

  • The bags and shoes:
Silver evening bag – Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock, dark blue and silver ballet flats – Lanvin, navy and gold flats – DeSiena, perforated patent wallet – Artessorio, black d’Orsay pumps – J. Renee, ombre python bag – Zagliani, bronze ballet flats – Giuseppe Zanotti, gold woven bag – Sandra Cadavid, gold ballet flats – Saint Laurent, gold wristlet – Another Line, scalloped ballet flats – Chloe

  • The Navy and Grey Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
Yes, this bag is from Kohl's. I love the juxtaposition of the bag with Lanvin flats. I'm sure some designer somewhere would pull out their hair over it...

These outfits range from reasonably casual sweater and trousers with a fabric necklace and your dressy goods, to your best dress, dolled up with sparkly earrings and a nice scarf. Everything from cocktails with friends to a lovely holiday dinner is covered here.

  • The Navy and Beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
Yes, your khakis can be sort of dressy - at least dressy enough to run over to the neighbor's for some eggnog and jollity. The shoes make a lot of difference! And your lovely skirt and silk blouse step it up a notch with comfortable but dressy shoes, and some good jewelry. This won't get you to the Inaugural Ball, but these choices will handle most of what many of us face through the winter holidays.

  • The Black and Grey Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
This probably looks the most like "normal" dressy clothing, because it's black! Don't forget about your summer dresses this time of year. If the fabric and color are suitable, they can be really useful for parties - many parties are crowded and hot, so sleeveless will feel cool, and you'll stand out in the crowd.

  • The Caramel and Black Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
This handbag would make anything look good... but as with all of our other Starting From Scratch Wardrobes, a couple of simple additions and you're good for a range of activities. These warm accessories really look gorgeous...

  • The Brown and Beige Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
NOBODY wears brown for the holidays! If it's your best color, wear it with pride and revel in the distinctiveness that you bring to the crowd. Floral prints can be pretty this time of year, and as you're not wearing a poinsettia, your beauty which will be a relief to many people.

  • The Khaki and Olive Starting From Scratch Wardrobe
Another color that's unexpected this time of year, and we cheer that distinctiveness! Here's a case in which a summer sleeveless top looks perfect with khakis and metallic accessories for a casual get-together with friends. And your best dress benefits from the metallics, while your feet benefit from being able to stand all evening. If you're going to make the rounds of chatting with EVERY member of the Executive Committee, comfy shoes will be essential.

As before, all of the garment links can be found HERE. I was thinking of doing this one last time with some new jewelry as the "dressing up" factor - do you want to see it?