Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Immaturity Chic: The Funny Tee

I have a dirty little secret. I like funny T-shirts.

I know, they are supposedly the height of bad taste...I remember reading the stern warning that Nina Garcia wrote about this in one of her books (which are excellent style guides, by the way).

Well, colour me vulgar if my funny tee collection renders me the enemy of chic, because I am amassing quite a collection, and yes, I actually wear them. Not every day, mind you, but when the mood strikes. I like that it lets the world know that I don't take myself too seriously.

I think there is a way to style a funny tee that can make it into something a sartorially-minded grown-up may actually want to wear. You just have to be a little bit clever with what you pair it with, and maybe use some well-placed layering.  Or maybe I'm just tacky. Either way.


Celebrate immaturity!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Intersection of Tacky & Chic

If you've been reading for a while, you'll already know that I love a challenge. If you've just clicked on the blog for the first time....well, I guess I just told you. So now you know.  I love a challenge.

One of my favourite things to do with fashion is take something that traditionally has certain connotations associated with it and use it in a different way. Take this leopard print blouse. Although you are always hearing the fashion industry proclaiming that leopard print is a neutral, a claim which I firmly believe, it doesn't necessarily mean that leopard print is particularly easy to wear.

Leopard print is one of those things that historically, was sort of the calling card of the Loose Woman, or perhaps more recently, the ex-Vegas-showgirl-turned-barfly-cougar.  Nowadays, we can see these stereotypes as the thinly-veiled attempts at slut-shaming that they are; yet the trepidation many of us feel for dressing in leopard still does persist, if only subconsciously. After all, if I were to say to you that on a given day I was planning on wearing a silky leopard print blouse paired with a pair of short shorts, big hair, and bright orange lipstick, you might think of my choices as questionable, am I right?

And yet that is exactly what I am wearing.  It's really all down to your choice of print, fabric, and pairings. There are as many permutations of leopard print out there as there are molecules in the universe. It takes time to find just the right one that complements you in skin tone, scale, and what already exists in your wardrobe. Leopard print in and of itself tries really hard, so I find that it works best to pair it with something that is a little more carefree. I chose this loosely-tucked, casual shorts look paired with flat loafers, no jewellery, slightly messy hair, and no makeup other than a bit of orange on the lip; comfy, unassuming, and I daresay the opposite of what one might expect. Roar.

This post has been proudly shared with Not Dead Yet Style

Make it Happen.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Firmoo Frames

I received this pair or frames from global optical retailer I had been searching high and low for a proper pair of retro-inspired cat eye glasses for some time (real vintage frames are always too small for my gianormous head), but always found that design-wise, they fell just a wee bit short of what I was looking for.  To say that I am in love with these Firmoo frames is the understatement of the year. They are both bold and flexible, a perfect combination for someone like me who likes statement glasses but regularly has to pick them up off of the floor because I haphazardly stuck them through a buttonhole while playing with my dog.

Firmoo is offering a First Pair Free program on certain styles, and there are daily discounts available as well. Prices are super-duper reasonable, they can accommodate prescriptions (even bifocals and progressive lenses), and can even make you a pair or prescription sunglasses! Want to give them a whirl? Visit Firmoo here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Matchy Monochromatic Makeup

Apologies for the alliterative title. It was easy. I took the path of least resistance. Enough said.

I have always been drawn to these monochromatic tonal makeup looks that you always see in runway photos and in magazine editorials, but have discounted them as not really applicable to real life. But lately having been thinking a lot about trying new makeup looks that are both easy and different, I revisited this look, once again with the help of Lisa Eldridge's online videos (because, of course).

The look that she showcases here actually seems like it could translate pretty seamlessly into real life, and once I tried it and liked it, it made me open my mind to more unconventional eyeshadow colours that I would have probably otherwise avoided like the plague. Tawny blusher as eyeshadow on my lids and (again) no liner! Scary!

I decided to try and emulate this look as closely as possible (right down to the contacts) because the tawny colours seemed really serviceable, and probably because the model is so stunning it really makes you want to try it.

What can I say... I'm a sucker for good marketing.

What I Used.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Simple Summer Shapes

I got this white top in a sale last week, thinking it would be a great layering piece. I have been lusting after a top in the newer, boxier, cropped shapes, but have been consistently let down by bad fabrics, weird fit, and a number of other things that prevented me from pulling the trigger.

This one seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It is a thick and heavy knit fabric, virtually indestructible, and should require zero maintenance and hold its shape nicely. There is nothing so versatile as a white top, even for those of us who routinely spill coffee down the front of ourselves.

I didn't envision myself wearing it without something underneath it, but the weather has been fantastically summery this week, and it is actually just the right length to wear with a mid to high-waisted bottom and not have too much midriff (or even any) showing. Yes, it still might show if you raise your arms up over your lead, but for a casual summer vacation day, I think it's perfect. I especially like the way the wide, cropped shape of the top looks against the A-line of the skirt. You don't really need much in the way of accessories at all, because the shapes do the talking.

Stay tuned, as you will undoubtedly see a lot of this piece well into the colder months ahead.

Whistles top / Maxx Studio skirt(old), similar / Chinese Laundry shoes(old), similar / Silver cuff (old). similar

Make it Happen.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Wallis Style Advisor

When I was approached by Caroline who works with UK retailer Wallis, I knew that I wanted to participate before she even gave me the details of the collaboration. I had always thought of Wallis as a good place to go for wardrobe staples, and after learning more about the collaboration, my instincts proved correct. Not to toot my own horn or anything know.  Toot toot.

Wallis has created the Style Advisor, an app that assesses your style preferences and then creates a specially-edited collection of items for you based on your assessment. I found the Style Advisor to be pretty darn accurate in selecting silhouettes that I am drawn to, and it also helped me hone-in on what my baseline style really is. Sometimes it is hard to be objective about one's own style, and the Style Advisor lets you see your preferences in a tangible format, and allows you to edit them as well.

From my Style Advisor selections, I chose this Black Lace Insert Shell Top. It's a perfect layering piece, and has just the right amount of drape to look great underneath a jacket or worn alone over a pair of trousers.  Although I was initially going to style it with a pair of full white trousers, Wallis does this beautifully on their website,  so I decided to go in a different direction and give it a little more of a casual edge.

Wallis Black Lace Insert Shell Top / thrifted Levis jacket / thrifted white denim skirt, similar / thrifted Donald J. Pliner booties, similar / Judith Ripka watch

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

40 is the New 40 Guest Blogger: Lisa from Privilege

Today it is my distinct pleasure to have the author of one of my favourite blogs as my guest blogger. As I'm sure you are already aware, Lisa is the author of Privilege, a blog that strikes a perfect balance of great writing, insightful social commentary, and a nod to all things gracious and beautiful.  I'd like to publicly thank her for her bloggy peer support over the past few years, and give a nod to how very generous she has been in giving her time to contribute to my ongoing 40 is the New 40 series; here she gives us her take on style at 40 and beyond.

Hello everyone! And yes, since you ask, that is a pink lawn flamingo above. I'm here to talk about Style After 40, by the request of our Goddess of the Highlands. The flamingos are here to help.

Highland Fashionista Asks, "Must Your Style Change When You Reach 40?"

As you might expect of a Highland Fashionista fan, I say no. Of course not! What you wear at 40 can be exactly what you would have worn at 20, had you more of everything back then.  More defined taste, more financial resources, more confidence. More flamingos, in other words.

When I turned 40, almost 18 years ago, I threw myself a birthday party in our back yard. My family organized a caterer and bartender, 70 people showed up. We listened to Frank Sinatra, drank cocktails, and ate canapés. I planted plastic flamingos on the lawn (the photo at top), and scattered them across invitations. It was wonderful; a Mad Men party long before Don Draper was even a twinkle in Matthew Weiner's eye.

And I wore a little black dress I might have worn at 20, had I the resources. By Blumarine. Short black bouclé wool, with a little fancy B embellishment under the neckline, in back, made of glued on half pearls.

What Does Jennifer Montana, Wife To An American Football Star, And A Pretty Sharp Cookie, Say?

The birthday dress was all Jennifer Montana's doing - I wouldn't have had enough confidence on my own. You see, I shopped at a local boutique in the very fancy Stanford Shopping Center. The store was small, and set up so that 4 very small dressing rooms at the back of the store opened into a fairly small central area with a raised, um, we shall call it "dais," and a mirror. Imagine, the shoppers would bring choices into the dressing rooms, change, emerge, and check their possible purchases all together. A kind of communal, "How do I look?" I picked out a few dresses to try on, and decided that the Blumarine was worth promenading. As I looked in the mirror, I wondered if it was too short, given the 40th birthday context. I wondered this out loud. A tall, blonde, striking woman behind me said, "Your 40th birthday? Oh, then SHORTER!" I looked around, and recognized Mrs. Montana. Standing further back, her husband Joe. Our 1990's equivalent of Posh and Becks, one might say. When America's quarterback, or at least San Francisco's, smiles at your proposed costume, you may take that as a sign.

I did.

Looking back now from 57, I'd tell my 40-year old self that I had a good 10 years ahead of me to wear that dress. Maybe even 15. I'd tell myself that, yes, there would come a day when I would want a leeeeeetle more sleeve, a leeeeetle more skirt, a day when being a woman played a less starring role in my identity - but it wasn't that day, not then.

I suspect you all know this already. I was naive.

Flamingos. Impractical as foodstuffs, workers, or pets. Quite invaluable for flashes of improbable leg.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Full Skirtedness

A belated greetings on this monday afternoon. I have been crouching inside the house like a coiled spring, waiting to get outside and shoot this look in the few minutes of respite from the rain that we have been getting today. I just barely made it.

Fuller skirts have had a presence for a few seasons now, but I have been sort of approaching the situation with caution. It's not that I don't like the look, but the midi-length fuller skirts that are out there right now seem to look so lovely on other people, but when I try them on,  I just feel that it looks a bit....I don't know...Sister Wife.

I liked this one because although it is full, it is not overly so (I don't really need any extra volume, nor do I particularly want it), and the length hits just to the kneecap, so it's slightly less awkward than a midi-length skirt can be.  It's super-comfy, and has a bit of a retro vibe to it, what with the sheer windowpane material overlay. I decided to go with this vibe and style it with my cat eye glasses, pearls, and just red lipstick for makeup. Done. Easy. Incidentally, this skirt is on sale right now. There is a matching top, but I couldn't find my size. Isn't that always the way...

Warehouse skirt (on sale right now!!) / thrifted sleeveless top, similar / Kelsi Dagger shoes (old), similar ($), similar / Honora pearls (bracelet), Honora Pearl earrings

Make it Happen.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bronzer: You're Doing it Wrong

Yes, yes. At this point, there is no need to bore you with statistics and whatnot regarding the fact that there simply is no such thing as a healthy tan. Does it always stop us from indulging in the beachy pursuits? Of course not...don't be daft.  We may be older and smarter, but we're not total buzzkills, are we?  No, now we simply make sure that we are slathered in a healthy coating of 50+ and wearing a big, silly hat.

However, that inevitably means that there will be tan lines. Especially if you have colouring like matter how much sunscreen you slather on, you're going to go a bit brown. My issue is my face. Because I wear a big hat on the beach, a visor on the tennis court, etc - my face always ends up several shades lighter than the rest of me. Plus we're women. We exfoliate. It can end up looking weird.

Enter bronzer. I am a bit ambivalent about bronzer. I had always read that women with silver hair should avoid it as to not look ashen or muddy, but I think that's not true. I still like to use it in summer, and had a sneaking suspicion that the muddy-ashen look had more to do with technique and colour choice than hair colour.  My suspicions were confirmed after watching Lisa Eldridge's video. I realised that I am using the completely wrong bronzer colour for my skin (something I plan on rectifying later today with a trip to the drugstore), and I would have never thought of brushing a bit of bronzer across my neck! These, and other tips in the video below...

What I like best about these summer bronzer looks is the ease of it. It speaks to my aforementioned laziness when it comes to beauty regimens during and immediately after vacation, when you just can't be bothered.  It's quick, it's easy, and low-fuss. With this bronzer look, there isn't even any eyeliner! Life without eyeliner! That's a big step for me, and I couldn't wait to try it. I used my less-than-appropriate bronzer I already had (too red), and tried the look. Once at work, and once just around the house. No eyeliner. That's eyeliner. 

And you know what? Nothing happened. The republic still stands. Once I get a more appropriate shade of bronzer, it can only get better.

Make it Happen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Getting Nude. Again.

Did I need another pair of nude heels? Of course not! And yet...

These are Clarks Azizi Isis wedge pumps in nude. I am not even going to bore you with posting how many different iterations of nude shoes I own....let's just leave it at "a lot" and move swiftly on.

These really jumped out at me because they are a dressier wedge. I find that wedges can sometimes pose a bit of a styling conundrum, largely because most of the wedges that you see out there are the more casual cork or raffia wedges, which tend to look a bit off to me when paired with something dressier (Kate Middleton does this a lot with cork wedges, and it drives me round the bend). Cork and raffia are great with a maxi dress or cutoffs, but with a fitted or tailored look...meh.

What I liked about these is that they actually read more like a stiletto than a wedge, thereby allowing me to mix it up a bit when I feel like I have to have a nude shoe. Yes, even dressier wedges can still be a bit trickier than just your classic nude pump, but that's the fun of it, isn't it...figuring this stuff out.

Style them with...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Double Denim

So I'm back. I was only away for a handful of days, but they were glorious, warm, sunny days. Any time I return from a warm and sunny break, I become a little bit feral; I have a sort of adverse reaction to having to rejoin society where one is expected to wear clothing other than a swimsuit and flip flops, style one's hair, and otherwise give off an impression of an adult who functions perfectly and contributes to society.

I was very glad that Sacramento from Mis Papelicos decided to make today's Share-In-Style theme denim, because it was really about the only thing that I felt like I could face wearing on my first day back without tearing it straight off, scampering off into a corner, and hissing at anyone who tried to approach me with a hairbrush or a tube of lipstick.

I'm generally sort of ambivalent about the double denim, "Texas Tuxedo" look, but this skirt has a sort of finished quality to the fabric, and you really can't even tell it's denim until you get really close. It's one of those pieces that goes with everything, as is the denim jacket. This time, they are going with everything together.  Now if you'll excuse me...

*scampers off to eat bark and dig holes in the back garden*