Category Archives: dress

in pursuit of perfect

helmut lang sonar wool dress

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “perfect” pieces. Probably because I’m tired of gazing listlessly into my closet for (what feels like) hours on end, being overwhelmed by a sea of “fine” – rows of options that are overplayed, uninspiring, or just not quite right for one reason or another.

This year, I’m making a conscious effort to reprogram myself. I want to be a person who buys less, even if that means spending more. I’m willing myself to actually buy that perfect dress at full price, instead of buying 4 not-quite-perfect-but-they-were-on-sale stand-ins. Because after all, doesn’t a closet filled with pieces you love, and can’t wait to wear, sound pretty divine? Read on

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cheap thrill: one very easy red dress

zara red dress cheap thrill: one very easy red dress

As I said yesterday, dresses are a major shortcoming in my closet. But I picked up this little red shift at Zara the other day (on mega-sale), and am quite a fan. It plays well with cardis and blazers now, but I can easily wear it solo when the weather warms up. It doesn’t look like much on that stick-straight model, but add some curves to the mix, and good things happen. Plus, it has those drapey front pockets which do a fine job of camouflaging tummies.

Turns out, there are quite a few excellent (and under-$30) dresses happening at Zara right now (I’m particularly optimistic about this one). Worth a look – just remember, watch those hemlines (Zara does love their minis). And when in doubt, size up.

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four perfect spring dresses (and how to style them)

preview

I’m not much of a dress person. I buy them, mind you. I buy them in bushels, in every color and fabric, convinced they’ll be a snap to throw on when I’m feeling uninspired, and keep me stylish all summer with zero effort.

But in truth, sometimes dresses feel like a lot more work. Better undergarments, more accessories, uncomfortable belts (because we can never wear the belt it came with, of course), more fussing over length and covering up to hide my pasty white arms. In the end, more often than not, I spend 20 minutes frowning into the mirror, then give up and go back to my jeans-and-silk-shirt routine.

This year, I’m going to master dresses, friends. If it’s the last thing I do. So today, I’ll show off a few of my favorites so far this season. And then, we’ll talk styling. Read on

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all in the details: grey mixed-media clutch

RROversizeClutch-19

Kate M.W. ~ Despite my best efforts to maintain a healthy injection of colour, occasionally I quietly nestle back into neutrals, particularly when it’s overcast outside. This week I was inspired by the grey sky outside my window and this oversized clutch from Rachel Roy. Given its size and the presence of multi-function pockets, it’s the clutch’s answer to the small cross body bag. The mix of the midnight dusky blue, two-toned grey, and the subtle stripe of dull mint green is quiet enough not be overbearing but just graphic enough to not get lost in an outfit, setting the parameters as simple, easy, and refined.

Read on

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friday finds

Is there anything better than a summer Friday? I’m awfully excited about this week’s list of finds, so let’s get right to it, shall we?

I spent some time at Tiffany & Co last week checking out some top-secret goods you’re going to love…and managed to fall head over heels for these sunnies. The truth is that I’ve been coveting a pair of their sunglasses since they launched, but they were maybe a smidge too blingy. But these? Perfection…right down to the Tiffany blue flecks in the tortoiseshell.

tiffany locks friday finds

Tiffany Locks sunglasses, $430

Too soon for fall? Never! For the first time since she branched into apparel, I find myself coveting a look from Rebecca Minkoff. Check out the drape on this shearling-lined trench…so, so versatile. And the dress (which, I’ll admit, I’d wear as a tunic) has one of those prints I’ll dream about.

RM Henry coat friday finds

Henry coat ($798) and Wednesday Dress ($368); both, Rebecca Minkoff

After those splurges, I owe you some steals, don’t you think? Spotted this spotted tunic (surely they aren’t serious about it being a dress) at Forever 21, of all places. Sure, it’s polyester, but it’s $20, and looks a lot like my Tucker tunics. Worth the gamble, I think.

polka dot dress friday finds

Polka-dot dress/tunic, Forever 21, $20

I got the loveliest-smelling hand soap in the mail yesterday! It’s Neroli & Clementine by Mor, and it is heaven. The packaging is a little ’80s Asian, but I’m willing to call it kitschy and forgive them if it means I get to have this light, sweet/tart citrus fragrance in my life.

mor neroli friday finds

Neroli & Clementine body products, Mor, starting at $10

And last, of course, my Pinterest pick for the week. My new favorite way to save magazine clips is to use the Pinterest app to snap a quick pic of them. Be gone, cluttery inspiration board which I have nowhere to hang! Maybe this amazeballs Miu Miu jacquard jacket will materialize in its place.

pinterest friday finds

via Elle, June 2012

Oh, and! While we’re talking Pinterest, you must check out Picnic, a genius new Pinterest tool that launched this week. Picnic lets you shop pins or find similar images. Things it’s great at: tracking down that polka dot tee someone pinned from a dead link; tracking down a decent substitute for that vintage YSL necklace your style icon pinned; finding more wedding bouquets like the one your BFF pinned. It’s also perfect for tracking down the source of a photo online, so you can credit things properly. Hallelujah! Install it, use it, love it.

That’s it for me, friends. If you’re in Portland this weekend, you might want to stop by Mercantile and check out their Lafayette 148 trunk show, by the way. I was pleasantly surprised by the direction they’ve taken this season. Very mod-chic, with loads of staples you’ll wear to threads.

Have a fantastic weekend!

 

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cheap thrill: the perfect caftan

Summer is about the only time of year during which I open myself up to “cheap” pieces. Those espadrilles that will inevitably wind up speckled with cherry Slurpee stains, the tank tops that lose their shape from all that sun and sweat, and the sundress you’ll be wearing so often, the very sight of it will hurt your eyes come September – none of them warrant splurges. Instead, I’m perpetually on the hunt for the pieces I’ll use and abuse for the next three months, then be perfectly content to send off to greener pastures, or pleasantly surprised if they manage to survive.

Over the weekend, I popped into Cost Plus World Market in search of patio furniture for my new digs. Instead, I found the cutest little section of summer apparel! Who knew? Loads of pitch-perfect tunics, maxidresses and sarongs, all in actual cotton (no polyester that I saw), so they’ll be as light and airy as you’re hoping. I nabbed this adorable kaftan, took it home, and…friends, it’s pretty fantastic for $20.

cpwm cheap thrill: the perfect caftan

One size really does fit all, the waist cinches in at just the right spot, and it’s long enough to be worn solo (it hits right above my knee). Sure, I might not win a sexpot award, but all that draping is actually pretty flattering. It’s going to be just the thing for those sweltering summer days when I don’t want a thing touching me…and it would make a dream cover-up for your next poolside vacation. All of their apparel is 20% off this week, so head in (plus, you get a free subscription to Martha Stewart Living with a $30 purchase). But you’ll have to beat me there – I’m off to buy one in another color.

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asked and answered: job interview attire

Friends, last week I asked for reader questions, and boy, did you deliver! I have so many great questions (and hopefully some good answers) ahead…I think it should make for some quality programming.

I hardly knew where to start, but this question from a sweet reader who’s headed off for a job interview got first dibs, just because her interview is tomorrow!

Hi, Becki! I’m a loyal follower of your blog, and I have a wardrobe challenge/question for you. I’m interviewing at an environmental non-profit and meeting with “senior management.” The atmosphere is very different from my current corporate job. I went to my last interview dressed in a suit and was met by the hiring supervisor in jeans and a sweater. I need a professional, non-suit outfit that reflects me. Are you up for the challenge? ~ EB

Oh, you know I am! It’s tricky, to be sure. Unless you’re looking for work at a law firm or a bank, the reality is that most business dress codes have taken a step down in recent years. Personally, I don’t think a great suit ever does you a disservice, but there are definitely interviews for which you’ll want to put a slightly less formal foot forward. The bonus here is that it’s also a great chance to show off a little bit of personality, as well as your ability to embrace a casual dress code with class.

The trick is to still be the best-dressed woman in the office, without looking like you’ll be woefully out of place if they give you the job. My favorite option for a non-suit environment is a classic silk shirt with a great pair of trousers in a straight or wideleg cut (no skinnies, please). I’m always more likely to embrace solid colors for an interview – prints are highly subjective, and you never know what little detail will turn an inteviewer on or off.  To accessorize, skip big earrings and scarves in favor of a necklace that adds a little bit of personality (nothing too long or too bold). Add a great pointed-toe flat or kitten heel and a classic tote, and you’re set.

interview1 asked and answered: job interview attire

Madewell silk shirt, $80 / Alberta Ferretti trousers, $300 or Gap trousers, $60 / Dahlia dress belt, $3 /
Madewell necklace
, $33 / Loeffler Randall Quinnie flat, $250 / J.Crew bag, $328

The other way to go, if you’re after a more ladylike look, is a dress. Steer clear of wrap styles (you’re just asking for a wardrobe malfunction), and instead look for a sheath or a classic shirtdress. If the fabric is dressy enough, it’s definitely work-appropriate, but still reads a bit more casual than a suit. Make sure it’s not too body-conscious, at least knee-length, and if you go the shirtdress route, steer clear of shirttail hems. With a dress, keep jewelry minimal, just a simple belt and a classic pump (3.5 inches or under!) will send you straight to the head of the class.

interview2 asked and answered: job interview attire

Talbots Sash dress, $160 / Talbots Olivia dress, $150 / Ann Taylor belt, $30 / Graf + Lantz tote, $229 / LK Bennett pumps, $250

So, E, I hope this helps…and I’m crossing my fingers that you get the job!

Got a pressing query of your own? Tell me all about it: editor{at{shoppingsmycardio{dot}com!

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friday finds

Oh, I am so ready for the weekend! True, working from home (and I use that “working” word oh so loosely) means I have a fair bit of bumming around time, but for some reason it doesn’t feel like a weekend until the hubs is home, bumming around right along with me. What kicks off the weekend for you?

I spent a little time playing over at EmersonMade this week, and managed to fall in love – just as I do every time I check their site. They have the perfect summer look down to a science – every piece makes me want to be sitting on a bench in a park somewhere (maybe Paris?), or playing tourist, wandering the streets of a faraway town. This simple red bicycle dress just screams summer, doesn’t it?

 friday finds

And speaking of dresses, I just saw that a new crop from Modaspia made their way to one of my favorite Portland shops: Una. Put this shop on your must-do-in-Portland list, ladies…it’s a good one. And don’t these simple linen dresses just make you want a vacation? If you can’t get here to buy in person, the lovely Giovanna owns the shop, and would be more than happy to ship one of these pretties to you.

modaspia2 friday findsmodaspia3 friday finds

Of course, to go with all these lovely dresses, I’m going to need some jewelry. I spotted this Ben-Amun enamel bangle in a magazine recently, and something about its chic simplicity is really calling to me. Also, the fact that it’s $80, but looks infinitely pricier doesn’t hurt.

benamun friday finds

And then there are these resin bangles from Marc by Marc Jacobs, which give me visions of vintage Bakelite jewelry, without the pricetag or the thrift-store hunts. Wouldn’t they be amazing stacked on your wrist to adorn that yellow Modaspia dress, above?

marc all friday finds

In case you haven’t found them yet, Topshop has a fabulous line of cosmetics. I got to try a few out recently, and they’re pretty wonderful, in fact. They’re fun-grade, so they’re not overly saturated, just light, easy to apply, and fun to wear. I’m oddly smitten with their new pale yellow “Bee’s Knees” nail polish (which you can only buy in-store…heartbreaking!), and this silvery eye crayon in Equinox from their new, limited edition Sandstorm collection, which has a barely-there shimmer you can wear all summer long. Plus, eyeshadow on a stick…what took so long? Application takes about 3 seconds, which even my lazy self can handle.

20T03YROS large friday finds friday finds

To go with all this summer color, I’m feeling the need for a very summery, easy-as-pie clutch to hold it all together. I’m sure I have mentioned these soft-as-silk leather pouches from Sammy before, but now they’re on sale, and every bit as lovely. I may finally need to take the plunge.

sammy bags friday finds

Wow, that is a list packed with summery goodness if ever I saw one. And with that, I’m off! I have promised the husband that I’d make him some caramels this weekend…what are you up to?

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