Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Imperfect Print Mix

Sometimes, you're just in a hurry. I know that they say that you're not supposed to take blog photos when you're in a hurry, instead focusing on creating professional-quality masterpieces so beautiful that they would make Mario Testino slit his wrists in a fit of jealousy, but then, this is not that kind of blog. Seeing as though I get to make the rules, this is a blog where imperfection (if not outright calamity) is not only allowed, it is openly encouraged. This is a blog where you don't always brush your hair or put on makeup for a photo simply because you are too lazy. This is a blog where sometimes you stayed on the tennis court a bit longer than you thought you were going to because the second set ran long, and you had to rush home and get dressed in a hurry because it looks like rain, and you may or may not have showered.  It's an imperfect world.

And what better way to celebrate our imperfections than with a little subtle summer print mixing? (Sorry everyone….sorry……cheesiest segue ever.) Print mixing with pastels somehow takes on a different, less aggressive vibe than when using black and white or strong colour prints. Sure, I suppose the same rules apply,  but somehow it just seems a little more lighthearted when you are using summer pastels.  Maybe it's because you have to get right up close to see what's going on.

The Stuff

Lilly Pulitzer Blouse (old), here's a cute Tommy Hilfiger checked blouse.
Tommy Hilfiger shorts (old), similar
Dune sandals (past season), very similar
and yes, those are tennis sock lines around my ankles
Honora freshwater pearl bracelet, similar

Monday, July 29, 2013

What to Wear When: Sailing

Sailing is one of those things that invites all sorts of sartorial opinion, for better or worse. I suppose this is likely because so much of what we consider to be classic, preppy style is grounded in clothing that was historically associated with the perceived elitism of sailing; the lifestyle,  the socioeconomic status…all of these things were, and to an extent perhaps still are, strongly reflected in the clothes.

Photo Life

When it comes to the pursuit of the high seas however, things are changing. The classic styles once associated with sailing have been adopted (some might say hijacked, but that is a different post for a different day) by the masses. Classic, nautical styles are now available to us all in varying permutations.

This weekend, Himself and I took part in the opening of the West Highland Yachting Week festivities on our friends' boat. The weather was absolutely perfect on race day. So perfect that we came in dead last in our class, forgoing tactical navigation strategy for lively conversation against the backdrop of a leisurely jaunt through the waters of the Scottish West Highlands, a lovely pinot grigio, and some amazing makarel pate.  Sometimes it just seems a shame to tack the boat when you have this beautiful spread in front of you and a nice tailwind. Too much like work. That's how we roll.

Our rather relaxed approach to the event also gave me time to reflect on the whole experience from a self-proclaimed fashionista's perspective; what does one really need on a boat anyway? You are existing in a small space, in a mostly casual, if not downright outdoorsy environment (depending on the boat), yet there may be the odd occasion to have a lovely dinner out, boat-hopping at the marina, and other opportunities to socialise. You want to look sharp (as we always do), but not in the same way you might if you were at home or in the city. Me, I tend to stick with the classics; polos, a wool crew neck for night or when it is rainy or cold (most of the time…it's Scotland).  My ideal look is to still look like me, just my minimalist, sporty version of me; not some version of me that has pasted-on so much nautical-looking preppy stuff that I look like an extra from Caddyshack…no, just enough of a balance  to know that I can get salty and damp with impunity but still pull it together if need be.  So what does one really need in a pinch?

Waterproof Outerwear 

Though you can skip these in tropical places, the waterproof trousers and jacket plus wellyboots combo are a necessity in colder places, or when the weather is bad.  If you get invited on a boat and don't have your own, ask your host if you feel that you can. More than likely you will be able to borrow. 


                          Non-Marking Shoes                           

You don't have to go all old-school boat shoe here (unless you want to). Light-coloured soles that won't mark the deck will do. I love my converse. They have light soles, are comfy, and keep the classic clothes from looking too buttoned-down. It also won't break my heart if when they get wet. Leave the pointy heels at home on this trip, you'll just feel ridiculous trying to step ashore.

A Good Sweater

This is a wool sweater that my mother in law knit a while ago. I always wear it for outdoorsy stuff because it is pure wool, really warm, and still breathes. Great to throw on when the clouds come or under the waterproof stuff when it is really cold. 

A Sturdy Tote

You'll be schlepping loads of stuff to and fro, from food to linens to groceries. These L.L. Bean totes are perfect. This is the extra large one, and it fits just about all of the stuff we need for a weekend. These last forever too, and they look nice.

Classic, Relaxed Clothes

They have clean lines, they're easy to pack, and you will always have something appropriate. I leave all my frou-frou at home on a trip like this. No Strange Funky Shirt, no studded platform heels. The hair straightener should stay home, as should most of your beauty products. Minimal makeup, sunscreen, and a few classic pieces that fit well are all you need. Choose wisely. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Discover Boticca

If you've been following for a while, you'll know that I love jewellery. In particular, I have a deep love of unique jewellery that has been inspired by all manners of organic stuff; from animals to primordial ooze, I can't get enough.  That's why when Anibha from Boticca.com contacted me last week to see if I would be interested in working with them, I literally lunged right out of my Manolos at the chance. If you are unfamiliar with Boticca, the time to get acquainted is nigh.

An online boutique showcasing jewellery and accessories from emerging independent designers, Boticca has unique pieces to suit every taste; from big to bitty, statement to understated. The designers are chosen from all around the world, and the online marketplace is edited by a team of hand-picked designers, editors, bloggers, and collectors. Not only do they offer-up some astonishingly beautiful pieces at even more astonishingly affordable prices, you also get to know a little bit about the designers, their inspirations, and the mediums with which they work. Their summer sale is underway right now until the 28th, and starting this friday the 26th, they will be offering free worldwide shipping that will last until the 31st!

But wait, there's more! (I've always wanted to have a reason to write that line) Frequenters of Highland Fashionista can enter the code HIGHLAND15 to receive a discount on anything purchased. I know, right!? Here is a small sampling of my Boticca shortlist.

One of my very favourite designers on Boticca,  Tessa Metcalfe's pieces effortlessly bridge the gap between Edgar Allan Poe grade creepiness and outright ethereal beauty. Her background in taxidermy, yes you heard me right, taxidermy, is evident in the detailing, as is her affinity for myths and legends. She achieves a perfect balance between the cringe-worthy and the sublime. But don't take it from me. You can read her complete profile here

A Bermuda native, De Anna Kiernan came to London to study architecture. But then, looking at the bold, sweeping lines and streamlined curves of her designs, you probably wouldn't need to be told that. She lists her inspirations as the clean lines of modernist architecture and the elegance of the female form, and manages to frame both of these inspirations beautifully in pieces that are sleek, minimalistic, and edgy. Click here to read more about De Anna Kiernan Jewellery

Lubochka is the brainchild of Russian born Olga Dubovik, who is now living and designing in Barcelona, Spain.  Her inspiration comes from the traditions of her native Siberia, and her leather bags are crafted using artisanal techniques in a small workshop. Bold colours, clean lines, tassels….I am so getting one of these. You can read the designer's full profile here. 

Elizabeth Bloom,  the British-born designer behind Chicago based Dorus Mhor,  finds her inspiration in colourful tweed fabrics, like the ones she remembers from a famous tweed mill in her hometown of Cumbria, England. She has perfected a technique of adhering fabrics to wooden beads, creating tactile gems. Her vintage silk Liberty Print pieces are colourful, feminine, and utterly unique. Read more about Dorus Mhor here.  

 photo boticca-logo-home2_zps09146406.png

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Strange Funky Shirt

I found this at a thrift shop, and though it was made from this wild, cheesy, faux 80's Versace (Fauxsace) print, something about this shirt tickled me. The print made me smile, the fabric is actually super comfy, and those sporty bands around the neck and sleeves kept it from taking itself too seriously. It's like the shirt is saying, "yes, I know I am not a super-refined and elegant tailored wool gabardine garment, and as proof of this, I will show you my stretchy sports-inspired crew neck and sleeve holes, see?"

I also like the shape. It is a bit of a cropped a-line cut and therefore, a bit boxy. Normally, this might give me pause, but this is actually very modern again at the moment, and its a nice nod to the whole crop top trend without actually having to go there full-stop, which is just silly when you live in Scotland.  Even in summer, if you are wearing a crop-top in Scotland, you might as well leave an advance directive to your next of kin as to what you want them to do with your cryogenically frozen body.  Maybe you and Elvis might hang out in like, 200 years or something. That might be fun.

The Stuff

Thrifted top
Old Navy shorts (very old), similar
Kelsi Dagger shoes (old), these Santana ones are The Business!!
Kenneth Jay Lane "Ravishing Ram"bracelet (old), here is his Monkey Head bracelet and it's awesome.
Hot Diamonds watch, similar

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vacation Workhorse No. 1

I know I've talked about this before, but there are certain pieces that I'm sure all of us have in our closets that we haul out year after year for whatever purpose they are intended. For me, living in Scotland, I tend to use the same pieces year after year when I go on vacation to a warm climate. Not only do I not have to think about what I am packing for more than about ten minutes, but I also can allow myself the occasional high-end splurge on something from a resort collection, as I know I will use it until it dies. That is my rule for everything shopping, really. If something comes in, something must go out, if it hasn't already died of natural causes.

This is a Michael Kors linen tunic dress that I got off of Ebay (yes, again) about two or three years ago. It is oversized, arguably too big, but when you are in a hot place it is fantastic. The beading on the chest raises its game a bit, so that you can wear it to dinner with some dressy shoes and jewellery. This thing has seen more trips than I care to remember. And the shoes…. I have had these shoes for a zillion years. Okay, maybe three or four, and I think they may be showing their age, but they are the most comfortable heeled sandals ever.  I walked around Milan in these shoes for three straight days, all day, and never felt a twinge.  They get worn all. The. Time. This stuff is Old Faithful. Exactly what you want in a suitcase.

The Stuff

Michael Kors linen dress via Ebay (old)
Aerosoles heeled sandals (old), similar pair from comfy brand Sofft
Belt gifted from my sister

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Totey Wee Bag and The Cheaps

In Scotland, when something is "totey" and "wee", it is cute, small, and delicate. Nothing pictured above is either totey or wee, but by definition, I suppose the bag is a tote, and therefore… totey? Anyway.  This is my tennis bag. Cute, non? It is made by Jetpac, who make all manners of cute tennis bags with a kind of a tote look to them so you don't have to haul a big huge thing around with you. This bag is called the small sling. It comfortably holds 2 racquets and light gear (read: anything that's not shoes).

Why am I telling you this? Because I was considering my racquet bag today, and came to the realisation that it is probably one of the few cute sporting accessories or garments that I have ever splurged on. As much as I love clothes (and you know I do), I seem to get an attack of The Cheaps every time I need to buy new sports clothes or accessories. My old tennis sneakers were waaaaaay past their expiry date when I recently replaced them, I buy insoles to try to get more mileage out of running shoes, my sports bras are so old they actually are simultaneously disintegrating and walking away of their own accord, and I have a pair of exercise shorts that I bought at Target in or around 1995 that are still in my rotation. Perhaps it is my Wisconsin pragmatism that won't let me spend too much money or effort on something that I am going to sweat in…who knows?

I'm going to start making more of an effort. Here is my running start at improving my sartorial sporting game.

Sporting Wishlist

Make it Happen

Friday, July 19, 2013

Not Your Rainy Day Dress

The rain has once again chased me inside, forcing me to show you my latest Ebay find in a less than optimal photographic setting. This silk Ralph Lauren dress fit like a glove right from the start, which is always a plus when you buy a dress having only seen it on the internet. I took an inch and a half off of the hem (well, the alterations guy did) so that it fell just above the knee, but other than that, no other changes necessary. I imagine that this dress is circa 1990-something based on the design, but I find it fits like a classic, and it is definitely well-made. Silk fabric (as well as a silk overlay and tie that makes up the halter bit), fully-lined, and super comfy, this one is a definite score.  Oh, and that's my tomato plant. If you listen closely, you can hear it whispering…feeeeeeed meeeeee...

The Stuff

Ralph Lauren dress via Ebay
Old Navy bangle (old), similar
HSN gold-plated byzantine coin  ring (old), similar