Sunny Side Up

I have a confession to make. When I was in first grade, I pilfered the lemon yellow crayon out of a classmate’s desk. I’d worn mine down to a nub and she hadn’t even reached the peeling-down-of-the-paper stage!  In my six year old mind, she clearly didn’t love yellow as much as I did.  I needed it.  Alas, the guilt kept me up all night so I snuck it back into her crayon box, heart racing, when she was at the pencil sharpener the next day.

I’m as crazy over yellow now as I was then, especially in spring and summer when I’m craving color and sunshine.  So many people think they can’t wear yellow, but there is a shade for everyone. My friend Stephanie, a fair skinned, flaxen haired beauty of Swedish descent, looks stunning in the pale, lemon yellow of my crayon stealing years.  As a brunette, the golden, runny egg yolk version looks best on me and I love to wear it in both bold statement making pieces (my Alberto Moretti velvet day slippers – on huge sale here) and in smaller touches (my favorite Lem Lem scarf, similar here). The best part is, wearing it never fails to elicit a smile or two. And who wouldn’t want to be a ray of sunshine in someone’s day?

Below, street style images of the mood-lifting hue, then links to pieces you can buy Continue reading

Summer Lovin’

Happy Friday!  It feels like summer is finally here to stay, thank goodness.  Don’t you love how relaxed everything becomes, from the clothes we wear to the way we entertain?  The seasonal shopping bug bit me recently, so I thought  I’d share a few of my warm-weather discoveries.  Chill the white and cue the sunshine!Does anything say summer more than seersucker?  This tablecloth arrived on my doorstep today and I can’t wait to break it out for a casual al fresco dinner.gSKj6_1-86LOCm6hLDh_YVDKc2MEz3J5ge04TLAqVvZ4G4rPmejb7HfN5jo-aEsLP2HyiGSKKLJFiLHcaxs=s1100-cThese  oyster shell salt cellars will be the perfect finishing touch to your summer table.Juliska’s rope detailed wicker caddy  is weathered and vaguely nautical without being theme-y.My official drink of summer is well chilled Lillet Blanc with a slice of orange or plum.  It’s also fantastic over ice with a big splash of Pellegrino and a little splash of Grand Marnier. But I would advise against trying to quick chill your Pellegrino by putting it in the freezer then forgetting about it.  Why, oh why, did I not set a timer?!  If anyone knows how to undo this mess, I’m all ears.  Though it is keeping me out of the ice cream, so maybe I should leave it.  I’ll be cooking from this book all summer long.  The recipes are simple, delicious, and focus on ingredients from your garden (or farmers’ market).  The roasted cherry tomato and goat cheese dip was a huge crowd pleaser at our first summer get-together.

This bad boy was my Mother’s Day present (yes, I asked for it – it was not a vacuum-cleaner-for-Christmas type situation).  So far I’ve smoked a pork shoulder and baby back ribs, both of which were amazing, the first of which took over 8 hours (getting us to the table at 11:30pm).  Lesson learned.

This raffia bag has been on my shoulder every day since the weather turned warm.  Light weight, sturdy, and roomy, it is the quintessential summer bag.Speaking of bags, I literally did a happy dance when my monogrammed clutch and laptop case arrived in the mail.  Buttery soft and beautifully made, they are the essence of simple chic.  I love the summery, grass green (obviously) but it comes in over 50 colors, monogram optional.  And the price point can’t be beat!

I picked up this striped jersey maxi skirt for a song.  Super soft and flattering (even with the horizontal stripes), it will go over my swimsuit as a quick cover up, or out to dinner with a knotted-at-the-waist white button-down.  And it’s an extra 25% off the sale price online right now with code SUMMERTIME.Warm weather begs for a LWD, and this one can go from casual Saturday night barbecue to dressed up Sunday brunch.And finally, it wouldn’t be summer to me without hydrangeas.  I’ve had great luck with the Endless Summer variety – each year I plant them in big pots on our porch, then transfer them into the ground before the first frost.

Images 1-4, 7, 8,10 & 11 from corresponding highlighted retail sites; 5, 6 & 9 via me,  12 via Martha Stewart.

Spring Style: Steal This Look

Spring Style: Steal This Look
Is anyone else desperate for color?  Stepping into spring with colorful statement loafers and wear-with-everything blue basics will be an instant mood lifter.  Topped with a neutral leather or military inspired jacket and a patterned scarf, you’ll have the perfect ensemble to combat April’s mercurial nature.  For a more polished look, pair solid dark denim with a crisp oxford and your favorite gold accessories.  Either way, your shoes will be the star!

Ray-ban aviators
revolveclothing.com

Olivia Palermo’s loafers shown in above photo (via pinterest) are by Pretty Loafers and are currently unavailable, though you can leave your e-mail address on the site for notification of future availability.  They have many great options in stock!

wardrobe workhorse: one skirt four ways

one skirt four ways
Who would’ve thought a little white skirt could be so versatile?  This cameleon goes from spring to fall, weekend day to dinner party, in the blink of an eye.  I’d wear it now with tall boots, a bomber jacket and a cable knit sweater!

Rag Bone short sleeve crew neck t
rag-bone.com

Torn by Ronny Kobo skirt
intermixonline.com

Make Me Blush

Make Me Blush
Pale blush was a favorite shade on the runways for Spring 2014, making silky underpinnings and accessories in this flattering hue the perfect choice for a Valentine’s indulgence.  What woman wouldn’t want a hint of spring next to her skin even if she’s bundled under layers of cashmere?  I am absolutely wild over those Stella knickers and the lace-trimmed silk pajamas.  The matchstick necklace is high on my wish list as well.  Such a clever way to tell her she lights your fire!

Eberjey lace trimmed robe
$180 – net-a-porter.com

Eberjey Iris thong
$42 – journelle.com

Claire Vivier leather clutch
$145 – clarevivier.com

Stella McCartney matchstick necklace
$345 – net-a-porter.com

Chloé perfume
$120 – bloomingdales.com

By Terry baume de rose lip gloss
$53 – net-a-porter.com

Eberjey Iris bralet
$54 – journelle.com

Last Minute Gift Guide for Him 2013

Yes it’s true –  only 9 shopping days left until Christmas.  Don’t panic!  Build a fire, pour a glass of wine, pull out your laptop, and shop the last minute gift guide.  I’ve got your back.

He’ll be the coolest one at the tailgate.  Smathers & Branson Lumberjack Plaid Needlepoint Flask here.

Keep him smooth and refreshed.  Kiehl’s “Ultimate Man” Soap-on-a-Rope here.

The perfect weekend watch.  Timex for J. Crew Andros Watch here.

Help him relax with this smooth and spicy small batch bourbon. Bulleit Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey here.

If the bourbon doesn’t beat back winter’s chill, this donegal wool cap will (here).

His coffee will stay hot for the whole commute.  Dean and Deluca Stainless Steel Travel Mug here.

Everyone looks better in a pair of aviators.  Ray-Ban Classic Aviators, all black and polarized here.

He may not admit it, but he loves cashmere just as much as you do.  J. Crew grey cashmere sweatshirt here.

Stuff his stocking with these not-too-tight-but-not-too-loose boxers in the softest cotton.  2xist Pima Button Fly Boxer here.

The best base layer for all of his winter activities.  Craft Active Long Sleeved Crewneck here.

So you can officially quit nagging him about what to wear.  Glenn O’Brien’s How to Be a Man (here).

Who doesn’t want to travel in style?  Billykirk Navy 20″ Water Repellent Canvas and Leather Carryall here.

Think Robert Redford in Three Days of the Condor.  Scotch & Soda Navy Peacoat here.

Couldn’t resist.

I’ve saved the best for last.  Pack his bag and surprise him with a rustic chic trip he’ll never forget.  The incomparable Blackberry Farm here.

all images from retail sites with the exception of Robert Redford (Habitually Chic) .

Fall Cravings: The Oversized Knit

The cool evening temps here in Chicago have me longing for cozy knits in soft neutrals.  Paired with everything from tone-on-tone skirts and trousers to leather leggings or lazy Sunday denim, your chunky, borrowed-from-the-boys sweater will become a fall wardrobe workhorse.  Below is my round-up of options for every budget.  I’m already dreaming of football games and bonfires…

Luxe, loose cashmere from one of my favorite knitwear lines, here.

The coziest, wear-everywhere grey cashmere crewneck, here.

Love the look AND the price tag of the above cable knit.

The Row absolutely slays me.  It is my kryptonite. If I could, I’d live most everyday in something from their mindblowingly perfect label.  Would you not wear the above sweater to death?  Cost per wear is my argument!

The Row again.  Sigh.  I am telling you though, the quality and construction are impeccable.  Love, love, love this fisherman’s knit.

This chunky cotton marled knit is a super budget-friendly option.

Who better to perfect cool weather knits than Burberry?  I’m crazy over the above creamy cashmere funnel neck.

Rag & Bone is always spot on, and I am loving the warm hue of this cotton pullover.

I am seriously tempted to size up and order this boy’s J Crew cotton cable knit sweater.  How great are the dark cuffs and the price tag?  It just may be my favorite!

First image via andrecarrara.com.

The Trouble with Boyfriend Jeans

Several weeks ago I decided to break out of my skinny denim rut and give boyfriend jeans a shot.  I don’t know about you, but trying on denim in stores is painful for me because (a) stores inevitably do not have the size you want (b) in the wash you want and (c) the sales people tend to be pushy about making you show them how they look but then are (d) completely incapable of being honest about how your backside looks.  My way around this miserable situation was to order almost every make and model of boyfriend jeans available through the great online clothing mecca, Shopbop.  The photo below shows only half of what showed up on my doorstep:

Image

Several lessons were learned while trying on 30+ pairs and wearing the ones I ultimately picked (Citizens of Humanity’s Dylan Boyfriend).  To save you time and agony, my unscientific but completely honest research is presented here:

Lesson #1: Order one size smaller than your usual  – your normal size in boyfriend will swallow you whole.  This finding was consistent with every brand.

Lesson #2: Stay away from the wildly distressed versions to avoid looking like you’ve just painted a house or laid asphalt.  I remember reading in The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style half a decade ago that you can buy a pink jacket and you can buy a motorcycle jacket, but you should never buy the pink motorcycle jacket.  In shopping lexicon that means one statement at a time, my friends.  And I bet the denim sales associates would never tell you that.

Lesson #3: You may want to carry an emergency belt in your handbag as they seem to loosen up more than fitted jeans.  I was literally – embarrassingly – centimeters from being in a low-rider situation on my way to lunch one day last week.  And hiking them up only bought me a few strides before I had to do it again, and again, and again…

Lesson #4: Pair your new baggy denim with something a bit more fitted on top.  The following is a conversation shared with my almost-11-year-old daughter on a recent Saturday morning while she sat on my bed as I dressed:

H: Um, what’s with the mommy pants?

Me: They are NOT “mommy pants” they are boyfriend jeans and they happen to be VERY popular.

H: Popular where?

Me: You see street style photos and pictures in magazines of women wearing them with their heels and blazers all the time.

H: Then you should put on heels and a blazer or change back into your skinnies because you’re looking a little…down on the farm in that button-down.

It may sound like I regret my baggy-denim purchase, but I really am loving the relaxed silhouette.  And I confess to still wearing them with my button-downs, though only in our home or when well covered by a trench.

images 1 & 3 via tumblr, image 4 via Atlantic-Pacific

Suit Up

Suit Up
Are you ready for spring break?  Now is the time to hop online and order the suits you’ve been eyeing so you can try them on in the privacy (and more forgiving light) of your own home.  With most companies offering free shipping and free returns, it’s worth it to order each suit not only in the size you think you wear but also one size up and one size down.  If you are mailing one back, you might as well mail twenty back.  I love all of the above, but my absolute favorites are the sweet, sophisticated bow embellished one-piece and the sexy, barely-there Basta Surf string bikini.  Who says you have to stick to one poolside identity?

Miu miu bow embellished one piece
$245 – net-a-porter.com

Adidas mesh swimsuit
$80 – net-a-porter.com

Brightside floral underwire bikini
$245 – zimmermannwear.com

J Crew bow bikini bottom
$42 – jcrew.com

Anxiously Awaiting Spring

A detail from Cornelis van Spaendonck’s Vase of Flowers on a Stone Table with a Nest and a Greenfinch, 1789. The Louvre

I am desperately craving everything spring.  Crocuses.  Tulips.  Daffodils.  Longer days.  Cool breezes.  Light layers.  Skin-warming sunshine.  Open windows.  Digging in the dirt.  GreenI want green.

Daffodils exploding on Martha Stewart’s Bedford Farm

Is anyone else sick to death of wearing heavy knits and of boots as the only option for your feet?  Sadly, it is going to be awhile before we can pack them away here on the Third Coast (the Weather Channel is pushing a winter weather advisory as I type), but there are ways to bring elements of spring into our lives and wardrobes now.

Pale pink hyacinth.
Pale pink hyacinth.

A high impact/low cost must is to grab a bunch of spring flowers from the market.  I bought the above bouquet at Trader Joe’s for a mere six dollars.  The fragrance was amazing and they lasted for an entire week!

The next easy way to get a spring fix is to inject color into your wardrobe.  Almost every shade of colored denim (above pair available here) looks fabulous with grey, black, or winter white, so wear your spring hued jeans with a chunky neutral sweater (don’t you think the above outfit is crying for an oversized grey cardigan?) and throw on a pair of ankle boots.  Done.  I’d add a messy updo and a thick chain link bracelet but that’s just me.

Bold black and white was a heavy hitter on the Spring 2013 runways.  This body skimming number (here) is a great transitional piece.  Wear it now with tights, booties and a jacket, then bare your arms and legs as the mercury rises.

This soft and flowy iris print blouse (available here) will look perfect peeking out from under a blazer and paired with rolled up boyfriend jeans.

I was thrilled to see ultra-feminine lace return as a spring trend.  This dress (available here) would look chic with a loose blazer or a hip length jacket now.

Spring stripes and pastel button downs are a breath of fresh air for men and women.  This cotton cashmere sweater (available here) will transition beautifully through the next three seasons.

I’m crazy over this silk tie with its pale pink back ground and graphic chain-link print (available here).  Justify it as an Easter Sunday splurge and wear it all spring and summer.

Let’s ignore the fact that the above model looks like an extra from Less Than Zero and focus on the fabulous floral prints from the Prabal Gurung for Target collection.  Run, don’t walk – it’s flying off the shelves (see the entire lookbook here).  If you’re on the fence about investing in florals, this ultra-reasonable line would be a good place to start.

J. Crew’s spring collaboration with Liberty of London showcases the latter company’s famous floral prints on everything from the above collared shirt to shoes, pajamas, swimsuits and pocket mirrors.

A spring inspired pedicure will make you smile every time you glimpse your toes.  Mint green polish (above available here) is on every beauty editor’s hit list for spring, but I say choose whatever cotton candy color makes you happiest.

My daughter has this light purple on her fingers right now and I am a little jealous.  Must copy.

Uniqlo is finally available online, and this ultralight down jacket (available in several colors here) is a steal at $69.90.

Leather is another huge trend this spring, and this muted metallic cap-sleeved top from Skaist Taylor (available here), while definitely not a steal, would be a fabulous layering piece now and an absolute stand out when the weather breaks.  It truly makes me weak in the knees.

So from now until sunshine coaxes the first crocuses through the snow, I will plan my gardens (finally getting to the landscaping this year), watch spring training games on mlb.tv (the Cubs, of course) and shop like it’s already here.  You?

Image one via The Louvre, image two via The Martha Blog, last image via The Gifts of Life Tumblr.