Author Archives: kate

all in the details: the nautical tote

Kate M.W. ~ Around this time of year, I start demanding something a little different from my handbags. Sure, my day-to-day work-appropriate classics still reign Monday to Friday, but I’m now looking for something that longs for casual kick-around weekends and that can stand up to the structured jackets and tendency towards layers that my wardrobe takes on. I look for duffel or hobo bags whose focus isn’t necessarily structure, and whose colour isn’t limited to black. When I came across the Sea Duffel from AANDD I immediately stopped: deep wine colour, playful rope accents, and just enough shape to keep from looking disheveled.

Sea Duffel, AANDD, $484

Inspired by the rope detailing, I immediately thought of stripes (blame the nautical connection) but opted for a sweater that could easily be a foundation for many an outfit. Though there’s a natural tendency to use dark wash denim, your favourite medium or light-wash jeans still work at this time of year and contrast nicely with the depth of the navy in the sweater and the colour of the bag. And of course, since I’m known for arguing that a good jacket is a fall fundamental, I’d look for an option that provides ample contrast: an olive green with a particularly structured nature. That, and this particular one from Emerson Fry was just too good to resist (apologies for retail indulgences!).

Etienne Bar Stripe Crew Sweater, Cardigan, $195 / Matchstick Jeans, J.Crew, $148 / Army Coat, Emerson Fry, $485

In an effort to make sure that the details of the outfit aren’t too distracting, I’d stick with one category and go from there. Since the sweater already has stripes, I’d skip a necklace and go straight for a wristful of bracelets and simple pearl studs in my ears. Mimic the olive tone of the coat with this woven chain option, a cool pearl-capped bangle, and an oversized tortoise shell link to bring in the colour of the handbag. Speaking of that colour, dare to let it nearly match when you’re choosing your footwear, in this case a pair of classic boots. Either let your jeans hang down over the tops, or unzip them slightly at the back and let your jeans rumple down into the top of the boot. On a brisk but bright day, bring in your favourite navy-based scarf and classic shades.

Monogram Plush Wrap, Banana Republic, $75 / North Country Boots, Anthropologie, $258 / Highstreet Sunglasses, Ray-Ban, $145 / Pearl-Cap Bangle, Majorica, $85 / Oversized Pearl Studs, Juliet & Company, $21 / Woven Charm Bracelet, Brooks Brothers, $68 / Tortoise Link Bracelet, Loren Hope, $40

Inspired by a bag like this, it’s easy to make sure that adjectives like playful and fun don’t get lost amongst the layers of autumn, since by now we all know that they’re easy to play up, if you keep it all in the details.

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all in the details: modern multi-strand pearls

Kate M.W. ~ As a persistent fan of the statement necklace, but also as one who may often find it hard to stray from traditional favourites, I’m always on the lookout for options that balance the two. This multi-strand pewter pearl necklace from Hazel & Marie is an excellent way to capitalize on the classic chicness of pearls, and yet truly embrace the ever-so-popular statement necklace. One part unique with the colour of the pearls (something to play well with fall and winter tones), one part classic (as pearls always are), and of course one part bold.

Signature Twist Pearls in Pewter, Hazel & Marie, $175

A default combination for this necklace would be skinny black pants, an oversized white button-down with a great skinny belt, and your hair thrown up in a nonchalant bun. That being said, the twist on a classic tone of the necklace has inspired something a little different. Though the necklace could be quite dressy, I’m inclined to go with trendy metallic thread jeans (copper and pewter are always an intriguing mix), and a casual grey borderline slouchy sweater with a wider neckline. The idea is to balance bold trendy bottoms with a laid-back top that juxtaposes the necklace.

Grey Dolman Cashmere Sweater, Only Mine, $128 / “The Skinny” in Liquid Metallic Copper, 7 for All Mankind

With two relatively bold pieces already in the styling, it wouldn’t be asking too much to make sure that the rest of the details essentially sign up for a non-compete clause. Conclusion? Serious basics. My daytime staples would be a functional full-sized black tote, easy black ballet flats, and my favourite neutral sunglasses. Feel free to swap in basic black heels and a simple clutch for the evening. Either way I’d keep jewelry category streamlined to a cocktail ring and an oversized chronometer, and perhaps adding pewter pearl or subtle copper studs. Polished fall waves work around the clock, and coppery “greige” eyeshadows really set the outfits colour palette.

Metal Trio Earring Set, Kenneth Jay Lane, $95 / Greige Palette, Dior, $59 / Chelsea Pump, Cole Haan, $298 / Foldover Clutch, Mango, $100 / Tricolor Chronograph, Michael Kors, $250 / Francisca Sunglasses Oliver Peoples, $325 / Legacy Tanner Tote, Coach, $498 / Black Patent Pirouette, London Sole, $165

When working with bold statement pieces and yet still holding tight to your favourite staples, treading the line between comfortable and polished is easy if you keep your style all in the details.

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all in the details: kate spade cassy tassel loafer

Kate M.W. ~ While last week was all about industrial chic, this week is about a way to tackle autumn in a ladylike way. Loafers are a dime a dozen in the fall, but there’s something about a bright patent purple paired with tassels that gives a lovely feminine touch to the trend. Purple is an excellent alternative to the deep wine reds that we’ve been seeing everywhere, and yet doesn’t compete with a classic fall palette.

Cassy Patent Leather Tassel Loafer, Kate Spade, $225

Because this is about playing up the ladylike nature of the loafers, I’d begin the foundations with a dress. Olive green pairs nicely with the amethyst tone, and the black pattern ensures that the colour isn’t too saturated. Adding a grey wool blazer keeps things from being too predictable, and I couldn’t resist this version that boasts purple piping and a collar to match. The foundations don’t stop here though. Given the length of the dress and the fact that it is quite definitively autumn, black tights (or if you’re a little adventurous, black thigh-high socks) are necessary to keep this properly pulled together and appropriate.

Contrast Trim Blazer, Juicy Couture, $248 / Sartorial Splendor Cutout Dress, Ruche, $49 /
Opaque Matte Tights, Commando, $34 / Thigh-Highs, J.Crew, $19

The cutout neckline on the dress and purple collar of the blazer play into the decision of how the bring together the rest of the outfit. Skip the necklace and opt for amethyst studs, letting the colour play out against a beaded bracelet of the same hue and staying subtle with a black band watch. For fear of things becoming too boring, add a little whimsy with this gold elephant bangle, and a personal touch with a monogrammed ring. If you’re so inclined, play up the whimsical nature by opting for a book clutch (Gatsby’s a classic, and the yellow plays off the gold adding an unexpected contrasting pop of colour), or go for understated function with a basic black tote. Finally, because fall tends to get brisk, logic recommends a scarf and I’d recommend black.

The Great Gatsby Book Clutch, Kate Spade, $325 / Amethys Button Earrings, Brooks Brothers, $118 / Amethyst Boheme Bracelet Anzie, $175 / Reese Elephant Bangle, Jennifer Zeuner, $187 / Metro Watch, Kate Spade, $195 / Black Silk-Cashmere Wrap, J.Crew, $75 / Swirly 3 Initial Monogram Ring, Jennifer Zeuner, $198 / Grove Court Lainey Handbag, Kate Spade, $428

Flirty and fun don’t have to be adjectives reserved for spring and summer. Finding a way to bring a touch of whimsy and ladylike elegance into your fall ensembles is all in the details.

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all in the details: threadbare bracelet

Kate ~ Occasionally I come across a detail that strikes me as the kind of piece that would work no matter your style. The Threadbare bracelet from RockLove is an example of that, from preppy (nautical knots and primary colours) to the indie chic rockers (refined leather and hardware), and with all the colours available, odds are there’s a version for you.

Comprised of an intricate leather knot, gold chain, and an anchor-and-eye clasp, this bracelet is chunky enough to be a statement on its own, yet refined enough that it could withstand a little extra arm candy. I’ve opted for the Oxblood Red, as it’s the kind of colour that could really be rocked year round.

Oxblood Threadbare Bracelet, RockLove, $115

When I first came across this, I was sitting in black cigarette pants, a khaki blazer, and that Tory Burch Scarf from a few weeks ago…quietly thinking that the Oxblood would both pick up the colours of the scarf and balance out an oversized gold watch on the opposing wrist. Nonetheless, while I have nothing against outfit repeats, this column is about being inspired by details and creative.

For the foundations, I’m reaching for end of summer staples: a cotton oxford button down (crisp and polished in shape, but soft in material), and dark denim shorts or jeans (either classic indigo or black will do). I’ve opted for neutral basics so that you’re welcome to weave in your own aesthetic in the rest of the details, whether it be rocker chic or downtown prep.

Broome Street Jeans, Kate Spade, $198 / Shrunken Oxford, Madewell, $60 / Boyfriend Shorts, Paige, $139

Playing up the arm candy of the Threadbare bracelet, I’d add a thin silk and chain wrap bracelet and bold gold studs to start out the details. Adding a patterned scarf with a touch of red ensures that the outfit doesn’t stray into monotone (eg. all bold solid colours/accents), and softens the look when just hanging casually around your neck. The bag, shoes, and belt should all pick up on either the red/gold of the bracelet, or the other tones of the scarf. Red ballet flats add a touch of fun, a thin yellow belt ties in the scarf, and a semi-structured tan bag keeps things in the light, late summer category. Now just add your favourite shades and keep your makeup fresh and minimal with extra flirty lashes.

Fish Print Scarf, J.Crew, $48 / Gold Chloe Studs, Gorjana, $40 / Silk & Chain Wrap Bracelet, Chan Luu, $98 / Yellow Belt, Gap, $30 / Regina Ballet, Frye, $128 / Biennial Satchel, J.Crew, $348

A bracelet like this allows your look to multitask, whether your style is classic or contemporary on any given morning. In addition, neutral statement pieces allow you to draw on inspiration from other accessories as well. A dash of coordination and a pinch of edge means keeps everything interesting, all in the details.

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all in the details: classic black satchel

{Editor’s Note: I love Thursdays…and not just because I get a day off. Kate always shows me something I haven’t seen before, and gives me all sorts of new wardrobe ideas. But today, she really has me scooped! I didn’t even know about Joy Gryson’s newest line, IIIBeca, until I saw today’s pick. Check out the entire IIIBeca line while you’re at it…Gryson never misses!}

For a girl who has a lot of handbags, it’s a wonder how they don’t show up on the column more often! With fall on the horizon (I’m sorry to all those who are still basking in summer’s glow, but my brain is in full leaf-changing colour mode), thoughts inevitably turn into that “back-to-school” mindset…regardless of your age or association with academics. As per usual, classic polished collegiate lines quietly find their way into fall’s inspiration, particularly with ladylike satchels. Always in the market for that great black bag, new to the scene IIIBeCa’s North Moore Satchel is right on target.

North Moore Satchel, IIIBeCa, $188

With an adjustable shoulder strap, and dual handles it works as both a true “hand”-bag and as a shoulder tote. An additional great feature is the removable nylon pouch. Though available in a variety of other colours, I’m partial to black as it never goes out of style and really suits the understated shape. It’s a substantial enough size to fit your necessities without fearing the entrance into oversized borderline briefcase land.

This bag leans more towards the side of basic, and can be countered with foundations with visual interest. A black and white herringbone sleeveless blouse with a ruffled collar balances out sapphire coloured ankle-length jeans. Working with a basis of primary colours and black, adding a mustard toned sweater either over the top or nonchalantly tied around one’s shoulders would be my solution to any sort of coolness in the air (and I am a sucker for a good elbow patch).

Nicky Herringbone Top, J.Crew, $128 / Coloured Ankle Jean, Talbots, $90 / Elbow Patch Sweater, Banana Republic, $60

Your foundations borderline on colour blocking, the remainder of the details should be clean cut and simple. Black pumps or ballet flats would be a natural fit, but a slim cut oxford plays with the quirky collegiate tone of the look. Layer a couple of oversized bracelets to bring back a little femininity, and simple gold and black studs. Grab a pair of matte black sunglasses, leave your hair with a touch of texture and movement, and sport a bold orange-red toned lip – a subtle nod to the fact that it is still in fact summer.

Lipstick in Chili Flake, Face Stockholm for J.Crew, $24 / Black Studs, Kate Spade, $38 / Joyce Oxfords, Bass, $79 / Breslin Sunglasses, Raen, $142 / Lindsey Bracelet, Loren Hope, $58 / Corrin Bracelet, Loren Hope, $65

Taking a refined school uniform cue from the bag lets you play with ladylike accents and menswear inspirations all in a single outfit. There’s a certain spontaneity with this look and a refined playfulness that one can really only achieve by remembering that it’s all in the details.  ~ Kate

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all in the details: joie day dreaming flats

Smoking slippers are all the rage for autumn. While they’ve always had a place in the preppy summer wardrobe, the style is certainly going mainstream for late summer and really gearing up for the cooler months. I’ve seen a lot of suede and velvet offerings and my fair share of animal printed ponyhair in trying to determine the right fit for my wardrobe, but the ones that I feel absolutely obliged to share with you are these excellent red/black patterned ones from Joie.

Day Dreaming Flats, Joie, $175

The colour is vivid enough to stand out, but the pattern subtle enough to blend in. I particularly enjoy an orange/red tone for fall, and the combination of a black pattern with brown leather.

I’d naturally pair clean classic lines with a shoe like this, and but can’t resist the challenge of adding an additional pattern. Start with black ankle-length pants (to show off those fabulous shoes), and either be a little adventurous pairing pattern with pattern in the form of a classic red and white stripe, or add subtle colour with a blue button-down.

Pencil Stripe Pullover, Madewell, $58 / Cafe Capri, J.Crew, $90 / Classic Dress Shirt, Brooks Brothers, $90

For either stripes or solids, you have an opportunity to play with the mix of black and brown. Picking up on the Lucy crossbody bag from Botkier that Becki mentioned a few weeks ago, the small size and gold chain handle serves as a great base. This inspires a basic tan belt, and a brown and gold double strap watch. Sporting stripes? Skip a necklace and go with interesting oversized studs with a slightly retro feel, and a gold chain-link bracelet. Basking in blue? Keep with the colour palette of the shoes and add a graphic red necklace, plain gold studs, and perhaps a scarf tied on the side of the bag that mimics the pattern on your flats.

Smooth Leather Belt, Gap, $30 / Lucy Crossbody, Botkier, $295 / Chain Link Scarf, Banana Republic, $60 / Peyton Watch, Michael Kors, $225 / Urban Link Toggle Bracelet, Kenneth Cole, $45 / Button Earrings, Trina Turk, $44 / Knot Post Studs, Trina Turk, $45 / Resin Petal Necklace, Trina Turk, $100

Think about anchoring your outfit by combining classic shapes (boat-neck tees, oxford button-downs, and smoking flats) with patterns and colours as neutrals. Keeping a sense of consistency in the way that you inject a little visual interest in the classics is all in the details.  ~ Kate

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all in the details: alexis bittar wafer earrings

{Editor’s Note: Kate knows what I like. Those earrings! That tunic! I’m obsessed. Sadly, I better move fast – the earrings are selling out everywhere!}

Understated, but striking if you take a second look. Occasionally this is how I think accessories should best be described. It’s a conclusion that I came to when I was recently chatting about the addition of a couple of Alexis Bittar pieces to my own collection over on AnonymousChic. These  white and gold wafer earrings from Alexis Bittar caught my eye, and certainly fit the bill when it comes to being characterized as light and chic.

Gold Wafer Earring, Alexis Bittar, $150

These earrings are simply stylish, and still stunning – a way to heighten the look of an outfit without going overboard. They tread the line between casual (the colour and hammered gold) and dressy, which gives the impression of having put in a little extra effort.

Given the classic style of the earrings, I would either mimic the simplicity (white button-down and jeans) or use them to counter a print. In this instance, I’ve opted for a neutral printed tie-waist tunic from Tory Burch paired with easy navy shorts. Once autumn arrives, swap the shorts for slim cut navy pants or skinny jeans for a seamless transition. When wearing patterns let the colours influence the remainder of the outfit – picking up on accent tones (navy and white) or the base colour of the print (a deep blush-nude taupe tone).

Hana Tunic, Tory Burch, $295 / Cotton Stretch Shorts, Brooks Brothers, $49

The rest of the details should play into similar tones, colour palettes, and style (both in terms of the pattern of the tunic and the simplicity of the earrings), creating a cohesive theme. When pairing accessories with a longer earring, skip the necklace and use one bold item on the wrists.  Start with oversized sunglasses, and then pair a gold watch with a navy bracelet. Use basic nude flats to ground the outfit, and a structured bag to balance to balance the casual nature. If you’re really feeling like highlighting these excellent earrings, pull your hair up into a messy ponytail, otherwise refined beachy waves will keep the outfit from looking overdone.

Oversized Sunglasses, Michael Kors, $66 / Gramercy Crystal Watch, Kate Spade, $250 / Medium Crystal Detail Bangle, Sequin, $28 / Shirley Flat, Elie Tahari, $195 / Classic Satchel, Cambridge Satchel Company, $120

This tunic would always look great, as it’s a well-designed and interesting piece all on its own. What takes it from being a great top, to being an all-together stylish outfit is how the rest of the pieces complement it. Often with style, it’s all in the details.  ~ Kate

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all in the details: kate spade kalla

{Editor’s Note: Oh, I adore these shoes! And while I have to admit, I’m usually a wee bit skeptical of khakis, I trust Kate implicitly. So, if she says khakis…well, I’ll at least try them on. Any excuse at all to sport those fabulous heels. Nice pick, Kate!}

I’m always partial to a little colour in my world, so thank goodness for colour blocking and summer trends always being in tune with that sentiment.  It looks like the trend is going to be making a subtle transition into fall as well, so even more reason to find a way to work it into one’s wardrobe.  These heels (a new pre-fall release from Kate Spade) definitely follow suit, and provide an excellent source of outfit inspiration.

Kalla Heel, Kate Spade, $328

The colour combination and styling of these shoes is incredibly classic, and yet right on trend. The teal and yellow combination makes them appropriate for late summer cocktails, and yet they’ll feel equally at home as autumn arrives and earthy, leaf-changing tones become apparent. Kate Spade heels are always one of my favourites – despite the height, I never feel like I’m teetering around. They’re sturdy, and surprisingly comfortable (though I’d still recommend breaking these in by throwing a small solo dance party in your living room while wearing thick wool socks in the shoes).

For the foundations, I’d keep it neutral.  Lighter-toned bottoms courtesy of a pencil skirt or khaki cigarette pants won’t compete with the shoes.  Remembering that it’s still summer, I’d go with a relaxed dark blue tank.  Given the style of the shoes, your outfit should aim to maintain a casual but refined nature.

Heritage Ankle Jean, Talbots, $90 / Blue Depths Tank, Trouve, $54 / No.2 Pencil Skirt, J.Crew, $70

The other details are a great place to play with extra colour, so that it becomes a series of surprise accents. Try jeweled earrings that pick up on the tones of the shoes, accented by a simple stack of interesting bangles. On the other hand, bold coloured studs and a coordinating long necklace might be more your style. In either case, if you’re in the mood to tuck in the shirt, I’d add a bright patent skinny belt – because I can’t resist a touch of fuchsia.  Add a small yellow cross-body bag, and you’re set.

Clear Sea Earrings, Anthropologie, $32 / Wire Nugget Bangles, Citrine by the Stones, $287 / New Bond Street Ettie, Kate Spade, $248 / Skinny Patent Belt, J.Crew, $40

Given the shoes, the outfit should really make an effort to string together fun summer colours.  They should inspire you to be playful yet refined…something easy to achieve when it’s all in the details.  ~Kate

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