Monday, December 31, 2012

Graphic Sweaters

Every once in a while I am drawn to a trend that frightens me. A while ago, I had done a piece on the return of the Cosby sweater, and how despite myself, I would probably like to add one to my cache.  Like so many trends, I sort of put it to one side, and forgot about it. But it has re-emerged lately, likely because of the desperately gloomy weather here in the UK, and the ability of a graphic sweater to lighten the tone somewhat. So I have been revisiting the topic, and am in the process of narrowing-down my options. Now is the time, because the retail cycle is starting to look forward to spring, and the fall collections will be going on sale. Let's face it, if there is one thing that you probably want to get on sale, it's a graphic sweater festooned with lightning bolts, neon plaids, jumping reindeers, or whatever motif ultimately catches your fancy.

I've narrowed down my potentials into three different categories.  For starters, the checks and plaids. 



Jonathan Saunders

Then there are the mixed pattern graphic sweaters. These are still present in the spring collections, and I quite like the idea of them as a way to get more wear out of my plain black trousers that always feel like a bit of a fashion cop-out. 

Prabal Gurung at Moda Operandi

Sonia Rykiel


And finally, that old fashion staple, for better or worse, the fairisle sweater. I have been searching for one of these with just the right balance of tradition and kitsch for a while now. My favourites tend to be the ones with a nod to tradition in more modern shapes and fabrics. 

Surface to Air

Tracy Reese

Mara Hoffman intarsia pullover

Hmmm. what to do...what to do.....the search continues, but so far, I am leaning towards the grey mixed print ASOS with the striped sleeves....or do I want more colour? Hmmm....I guess you'll be the first to know. Watch this space.....

Friday, December 28, 2012

Soft Tonal Makeup Look

I figured that it is about time to road test another makeup look. Having just gotten back from some warm-weather locales, I face the conundrum of being a slightly different shade then my normal self, and in the middle of winter, no less. Although it certainly seems fitting to have a bit of a glow when you are in a warm and sunny place, upon return to the UK, it feels a bit out of place when put against the backdrop of this.

Those of you who live on the east coast and midwest regions of America will be laughing at my wimpiness right now, as you are undoubtedly up to your necks in the white stuff, and you would be right. But I digress. 

As the magazines are ousting the heavily-embellished, high-heeled, sequinned looks of the holiday season and giving way to spring collections,  I find myself looking for something that has a little bit of edge, but is still casual enough to work without a lot of fuss. So once again, I headed to makeup artist  Lisa Eldridge's site for guidance. 

I chose a tonal, taupey makeup look that Elderidge did on French actress Clémence Poésy for Vogue

I have considered this look before, then passed it over, as I figured that her colouring was so different from my own that it simply was a non-starter.  It also is comprised of browns, golds, and apricot shades, things that can be tricky with cool-toned silver hair. But after watching Eldridge's tutorial, I decided to give it a go. Here's the video. 


And here is the result...which I have to say was damn-near impossible to photograph due to the complete and utter lack of any type of natural light anywhere in the U.K. right now. 

I quite like this look, although there is something familiar about it.  I think it looks like a softer, more laid-back version of her Easy Glowy Bronze -n- Kohl Look that I did a while back, although I daresay that is more likely due to my recent travels and less to do with the actual look.  I do like the softer, taupey eyes.  The fact that there is no hard line of eyeliner makes this eye really easy to achieve. I am also thrilled that I can still use my brown and gold-based eyeshadows that have been sitting neglected in my drawer, as I have been afraid that they will make me look sallow now that my hair is salt and pepper. Apparently it's all in the application. I did find that I had to tone the lipstick (the same one she used in the video) with a touch of peach balm, as my suntan made the original nude shade just a bit too chalky for my colouring.  And I skipped the bronzer. Obviously. Here is a list of the products I used, and although it is a lot of stuff, this actually took me less than ten minutes from start to finish.  

Moisturiser:      Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
Foundation:      Tom Ford Foundation Stick in Tawny
Concealers:      Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit in Warm Beige
                         L'oreal Lumi Magique Concealer in Light
                        Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Concealer in Nude 02
Eyes:                Stila Jewel Eyeshadow in Citrine
                        Stila Shadow Pans in Mocha and Barefoot Contessa
Blush:              Nars Blush in Orgasm   
Highlighter:     Bare Escentuals Clear Radiance Highlighter
Lips:                Revlon Matte Lipstick in Nude Attitude 
                        Korres Pomegranite Lip Butter    

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Delightfully Tacky

Alrighty,  then.  I'm back everyone, and would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah,  Habari Gani for your Kwanzaa, and/or any other festive occasion that I might have missed or am currently culturally insensitive to. But before I delve head first back into fashion mode, I want (as promised) to share with you some iPhone snaps of the hotel my husband and I stayed at last week in the Canary Islands. It was really and truly delightfully tacky.  And as much as we, the fashion-obsessed, strive for chicness and good taste above all else, sometimes a bit of tack is just the thing to put a smile on your face.

On arrival, I could have sworn that we were at Caesar's Palace in Vegas, circa 1978, which of course would be the mothership of the delightfully tacky fleet. Add a touch of the Egyptian-themed Luxor, and an aesthetic sprinkling of Saddam's palace, and you have our hotel.

And everywhere, and I mean everywhere you go, there are these statues.....lurking in every fountain, behind every staircase, lining the side of the pool (my favourite).  They make you want need to take various and sundry photos with them in which you try to pose exactly like the statue. I will spare you the many, many of these that I took and just add a few highlights.

Yep, the Tibi Lobster Dress came with me.  The ashtray standing right next to the statue only
adds to the ultra-refined aura of class and distinction, doesn't it? That's a four-star ashtray, so says the sign.

Yep, this part of the building is shaped like a pyramid. That's what you were about to ask, wasn't it?

Their watchful gazes even follow you to the pool.

I know you've seen this, but I felt it was worth repeating.

Lets talk about the interior for a moment. So. Much. Marble. Even the toilets are floor to ceiling marble. Kind of like being in Dubai, only with less clothes, cheaper booze,  and way more tapas.


Chandeliers that all week were tempting me to jump off the balcony and cling to them
James Bond-style.  Just because. 

Marble staircases....a real-life Escher drawing!
Go ahead, turn your computer around, it works!

It is impossible to descend staircases like these and not make foolish grandiose gestures and poses.
Even if you are in your flip flops and on your way to the pool.  Impossible. 

All in all a great week. I will say we had some impeccable customer service in this OTT, if not downright hilarious environment. And if the super-shiny surfaces and constantly-staring statues start to get on your nerves, you can always do what I did.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Yes, yes...I know I have been absent this week. Hubby and I have a tradition of escaping for a few days right before Christmas when the weather goes mad (as do the people). This year, we are at a delightfully tacky resort in the Canary Islands. Here's a preview. See you all back here on Christmas Day.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rock Lobster!

Look, I know I did a post a while back about how wearing a literal interpretation of an icon has a tendency to look twee, but that was then.  Since then, this happened.

Tibi Lobster Silhouette Easy Dress

That's the beauty of having your own blog.  You have free reign to contradict yourself whenever you see fit. Kind of like politics, but with better clothes.

I love this. This is my kind of thing. A simple A-line shift is just so easy to wear. It is really just one piece with a big zipper up the back. Done. Made beautifully, fully-lined, and you can probably stretch it into an all season piece with some tights and boots, although it is intended as a resort piece (it was just too damn cold in the Highlands to be outside in sandals so I styled it thusly).

Nine West boots (past season)
you've seen these before...

For demonstration purposes only.
The zipper has a two-way zip on it. I don't really think this is a necessary detail as the
dress has plenty of room, but it adds interest, and that's fine.
Really, I can't imagine what business anyone would have zipping this thing up to business. 

I love, love, LOVE Tibi, and it just so happens they have a whole series of these mod-inspired colourblock Lobster pieces in their current resort collection. Their clothes are fun, chic, and really easy to wear.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Giraffe Pants!

I realized some months ago that crazy, printed pants weren't the enemy. Ever since, I have been on a sort of binge. Largely because you can find discarded fabulous printed pants really easily at secondhand vintage and consignment stores. Apparently not everyone shares my affinity. Whatever, their loss. 

Check out these Lilly Pulitzer navy giraffe-print pants I found secondhand for sixteen bucks when I was in the states. 

Lilly Pulitzer "Palm Beach" pant (secondhand), J. Crew denim oxford,
sweater made by my mother in law, Chinese Laundry shoes

I have a love-hate relationship with Lilly Pulitzer. I either really dig her pieces or they give me the heebie jeebies. I tend to go for the more retro-inspired pieces, or those that aren't so unashamedly pink, green, and ...well.....cute.  They tend to be really preppy and prim. I love a preppy look, but I like to mess its hair up a bit. Which is why I chose an untucked denim oxford and a hand-knit slouchy sweater to go with these trousers. Oh, and killer heels. Although if I were going to be walking, I would probably have chosen Bass loafers or my classic Converse sneakers. Anyway, they're fun, comfortable, and you won't be losing me in a crowd any time soon.

Some earrings made by one of my coworkers

Monday, December 10, 2012

They're Heeeere.....

They're here! It was only last week that I confessed to you that my fashion obsession has finally culminated in the perfect storm of a pair of super-high, cap-toe sparkle booties.  This means a.) that pre-holiday international shipping is awesome and an example of what is possible when the supply and demand chain is tilted in your favour, and b.) that I have fallen completely and utterly off the wagon with my short-lived pact with myself to not get another pair of boots until at least one of my existing pairs wears out. But technically.....technically these are shooties. There, justified. See how easy this is?

Behold,  their sleek, glittering, four (and a half?) inch splendour. 

Neiman Marcus Cashmere turtleneck (old), Seven for all Mankind jeans (old),
Vince Camuto shooties, there's still some left here! 

This is a look I like to think of as my Audrey Hepburn on Crack look. The black turtleneck and dark slim cropped know, if Audrey Hepburn had been like, 6'3'' in heels and about 75 kg, with a penchant for OTT footwear....

These are actually more subtle than you might think, though I think they need to be tempered by covering up a bit, just to keep the balance right. Wear these with a short, short skirt and a low-cut top, and you will look like a foregone conclusion. You know, the old thing where if one piece speaks loudly, the rest of your outfit should sit back, shut up, and let someone else have a say. But they make for a great silhouette, don't you agree? 

Highland Fashionista enourages you to visit visible Monday on Not Dead Yet Style to check out what all the other awesome gals are wearing! Click Here

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Man Gifts: The Highland Fashionista's Guide to Staying Classy

photo courtesy Eric Page

Buying "man gifts" (as I like to call them) is always a special kind of challenge. When buying for a man, I feel an extra pressure to find something that is a perfect balance of masculinity, class, and pragmatism.  With perhaps the most emphasis on the pragmatism.  Why this is so difficult I'm not sure. Perhaps it's because there is just more affordable non-pragmatic "little stuff" available to us women that we would all be happy to receive. Things like the ever-popular Korres Lip Butter in Pomegranate, a wand of Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Highlighter....all of those tried and true products that everyone might have read about in a magazine but hasn't gotten around to trying. Easy.

But guys? Even the little stuff that is marketed to us as traditional "man gift" fodder can cost a fistful of cash: gadgets, electronics, tools, weird stuff from Sharper Image that you never knew you's a Hypnotic Light Cube for $129. I rest my case.

So the other night I decided to have a search around and found some relatively affordable, pragmatic, and of course classy gifts that guys from a variety of backgrounds and tastes might enjoy. Here goes. Seven (random number) things for the guys...

1.     L.L. Bean Wicked Good Slippers  $79

Sheepskin and shearling, warm and soft as a cloud. What's not to like? No, they're not machine washable, but when was the last time you washed your slippers? Exactly. 

It's the complete collection of everything from Dr. No through Quantum of Solace. I want this too.  I probably wouldn't leave the house for days. This is very high on my list as one of those "for us" gifts. In fact, I'm getting this. There. I've talked myself into it.

3.      Tom Ford Noir   (price variable)

If you are looking for a high-end cosmetic and grooming product experience, Tom Ford is the place.  His Noir Eau de Toilette spray is a luxurious blend of black pepper, nutmeg, bergamot, patchouli, and vetvier oil. As Ron Burgundy would say, it tells the world that you have a large office containing many leather-bound books that smells of rich Corinthian leather.  Sophisticated, masculine,  luxurious, sex-in-a-bottle stuff. WARNING: this product should not be confused with Sex Panther. 

If your man is like mine, he flatly rejects the very concept of a man bag, leaving us scrambling through carry on bags and suit jacket pockets for boarding passes literally every time we fly.  But I have recently come to realize that if you can fit a computer and iPad inside of said man bag, it somehow transforms the bag enough to render the formerly rejected concept acceptable (man logic). Fossil makes a lovely variety of sturdy leather bags for this very purpose. A good investment, trust me. 

The largest, most comprehensive BBC documentary ever. Narrated of course,  by the legendary Sir David Attenborough. If you missed this one the first time around, now is the perfect opportunity to get it at a great price. This one's a keeper, and I even found it on one search for as little as nine pounds (just under twenty bucks!).  

This is for the guy who knows design, likes a bit of luxury, and can appreciate a classic. A bit pricier, yes, but you've gotta love the sleek bulbous design of the Elsa Peretti Sterling. I have always lusted after one of her flask pendants. But alas, this is not about me.  This particular pair is called the "comma" cufflink. There is also the "bean", which is quite lovely. If you live in Chicago, you might want to get the bean, as it looks like a teeny version of that giant reflecting bean in Milennium park (aka Cloud Gate).

7.     A Classic Pea Coat      (your pick)

There is nothing I like more for winter than the rugged, masculine appeal of a classic pea coat. This one is called the Bond pea coat, and is by 2012 CFDA Best Menswear Designer of the Year Billy Reid.  I believe it may have sold out (because who doesn't want to look like Bond...hell, even I want to look like Bond), but there are good Pea Coats to be had everywhere. Burberry, French Connection, Gucci....the list goes on and on. But a picture is worth a thousand words here.

I know, right?
photo courtesy imdb

Happy shopping everyone!