Category Archives: trends

trend to try: the bold manicure

Editor’s Note: Welcome back, Kim! I have to admit, today’s trend might be a bit beyond my ken, but Kim’s here to help us push our style boundaries a bit. And there’s no question that I’ve been seeing this look absolutely everywhere this season. As always, our trusty Trends columnist has her (very well-polished) finger on the pulse.

Okay, I confess…now I’m contemplating a bit of glitter. Baby steps…


So, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not too quick on picking up manicure trends. I think I was the last person in the world to discover the power of a great nude polish. And I definitely rocked the acrylic French manicure well beyond the appropriate high school years. All of this to say that, while this may not be news to you, bold manicures are absolutely everywhere lately.

To get me started on the road to a more modern mani, my lovely friend Molly recommended that I pick up a bottle of Butter London’s matte finish top coat.  You add a coat to any color and it instantly becomes matte, and almost chalky in appearance.  I picked up a bottle at the Adorn fire sale this weekend and tried it out last night.  Pictures do not do it justice.  You’re just going to have to take my word and go try it out.  Seriously, I will never look at polish the same way again!  High-gloss solid shades suddenly feel so 2011.

Now that I’m in the mood to update my look, I thought I’d see what I could find to maximize my efforts. To scout out a few fun, bold trends, I started out on my niece’s Pinterest page, where I quickly discovered Prima Creative. Not only does this girl have mad nail painting skills, some of her designs are created based on runway trends and paired accordingly. It’s pretty amazing – check it out.

All images via Prima Creative

Some of these are clearly not for a beginner, but I love the idea of taking this photo to my favorite manicurist and seeing what magic she can work.

On the slightly more attainable side of things…

Images c/o Prima Creative / PinterestNails via Xfinity / Sweet Talk on the Spot

I just might attempt these ones on my own…rumor has it to get the ‘ombre’ french tip effect, you use a sponge eyeshadow application brush.  If you get there first, let me know if you try this and it works!

Cupcakes and Cashmere recently offered up a great tutorial to get your own mod mani, and I loved the look she came up with using glitter and paint pens (below left). You can see part way through the process all the nails are a solid color with a single sparkle finger.  I like that look too. But really, it’s all about the amazing final, graphic result.

Images c/o Cupcakes and Cashmere / Little Chief Honeybee / Hey Nice Nails

I LOVE these stripes and roses. And the stained-glass effect?? Pretty bold, but also pretty fun!

So, let’s be honest. Unless you’re crazy talented in the hand-eye coordination department, chances are you can’t do most of these manicures yourself (I know I couldn’t). Luckily, I’ve come prepared with a few tips to make these looks more attainable:

  • Adding dots is easy – just take the head of a straight pin, dip it lightly in polish, and apply the dot to your nail.
  • Stripes are a bit trickier, but there’s a new wave of nail polish paint pens on the market that would be invaluable here. Just paint on your base color, then draw the lines on with the pen. Done!
  • To get those half moons, use the stickers that come with a DIY French mani kit – they’ll give you the pefect guidelines. Just be sure to start with the lighter color, as it’s easier to cover mistakes.
  • Simplest of all, you can find all sorts of ready-made bold mani options these days. Check out the options from Sally Hansen or Butter London, or go even bolder with a site called Nail Fraud – it’s the ultimate bold mani cheat. Order a set of high impact nail decals and stick away!

Good luck…let us know how you do!

~ Kim B.

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trend to try: brights + stripes

A big welcome back to my favorite stylist, Kim of Billede Design. I so look forward to her “Trend to Try” columns – she always manages to make me look at my closet in a new way, which is something I think we can all use. I’m thrilled to say Kim will now be here every second and fourth Friday of the month, so mark your calendars!


If you want to give yourself away as a non-native Pacific Northwesterner (or, for that matter, a non-New Yorker), just wear color. Any bright color. Even though I’ve lived in Portland for over a decade now, I just can’t give up color! And this season, brights are here in a really big way. From color blocking to pattern mixing, it’s everywhere. I especially am fond of brights paired with stripes (and not just because it sort of rhymes!). Because stripes are such an easy staple to wear, they’re a great starting point to help you ease into bolder color.

This Christmas, my hubby got me an item that was at the very top of my wish list.  The Kate Spade Prize Ball Thermos. It takes me forever to finish my morning cup (or 3) of coffee and I am so excited to have this bright thermos to keep it toasty warm!

Image via Kate Spade

Pulling off brights from head to toe can be a bit tricky. The key is to always start with a neutral base and build from there. I especially love using stripes as my neutral, and building from there, but it’s not the only way to go. These looks from Christian Siriano’s Spring 2012 line are a great example.  You can see he used blush as a neutral, as well as coordinating stripes to get the look.

Images via New York Magazine

I’m not a huge fan of the cut of this Jil Sander jacket, but the color combo is another stellar example. To neutralize the tomato, fuschia, and green, the black jacket was layered over the top.

Image via Style

In this look from Loewe, the neutral is the model.  This hot pink and red combo works because the model’s hair and make up are sleek and fuss-free. The short skirt with the nude leg and neutral flat ground the look. If this was paired with a sky high bright heel, heavy make up, and over-styled hair, it would totally loose any aspect of savvy and sophistication.

Image via Style

Of course, any post about brights and stripes just wouldn’t be complete without a look from Kate Spade. In this example, you can see the neutral element is the white cardigan, white purse, and simple flats.

Image via Kate Spade

 J.Crew is another great reference source for both bold color and stripes, so they work the combo as brilliantly as you’d expect. The look at left is certainly one of the boldest we are looking at today – think of it as “brights for the advanced student”. The colors are bit off-kilter from your typical primary brights, which totally makes this look work for me. Contrasting that is a great “beginner’s” option for mixing stripes and brights – you can see that a classic navy stripe is just the thing to neutralize a bright hue.

Images via jcrew

These last three images are some of my favorite street style examples (originally found via Pinterest). Notice how each of these looks are bold, but the hair, make up, and shoe is kept simple and neutral. I especially love that bold mustard mini-dress toned down with the navy blue blazer. And I just can’t say enough about the necessity of a good nude heel – it can tie together even the boldest look seamlessly.


Images via Sterling Style & The Glamourai

What do you think? Are you ready to give bold brights and stripes a try?

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purple is the new red

I couldn’t help noticing a trend in my after-Thanksgiving shopping binge, and I do so love a good theme.

Those after-Thanksgiving sales just slayed me, friends. What’s a girl to do when the Givenchy wallet you’ve been coveting for a year is suddenly 40% off? Buy, that’s what. Though now, it’s actually 60% offsigh. Sometimes sale shopping is a big game of Chicken. And really, I blame Miss Kate for the driving mocs. I was living a blissful, loafer-less existence until she came along and showed me the light.

Anyway. Remember those red pants I just had to have this summer? They were fun, don’t get me wrong, but they’re just absolutely everywhere now, so it’s time for my pair to take a hiatus. My new love is this pretty pair in purple. At 70% off, it was an easy splurge, and they’re right at home in my closet. As it turns out, purple – especially a deep, rich purple like this – is considerably easier than red. It adds color and richness without screaming “Hey, you there!”, or straying too far from my beloved neutral palette. Neutrals are an easy pairing of course (I love this shade with navy, grey and camel), but purple also plays well with all sorts of patterns, which can get a little loud when paired with red.

If I’m honest, I’m still on the fence about those loafers, which usually means a return is imminent…but they’re awfully cute sitting in my closet.

What are you thinking about purple these days? Does it give you flashbacks from 3rd grade, or are you ready to give it another chance? And was anyone else as bad during those Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales as I was? Gluttony loves company!

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friday finds: the bold and the beautiful

i’ve decided to ignore the constant drizzle (and, ahem, yesterday’s hail?!) in my rainy city.  i’m springing forward, darn it, and i don’t care what the weather has to say about it.  this week’s list of friday finds is nothing if not bold, bright and full of spring color.

if this “pretty in prints” compact from clinique doesn’t bring out the sunshine, i don’t know what will.  they teamed up with milly to design a palette that’s pitch-perfect for spring.  the compact is etched with a classic milly pattern, and inside, you’ll find nothing but classic, useful shades of eyeshadow and blush to see you through the entire summer.  plus, that pretty drawstring pouch makes this even more fun to throw into your beach bag.  i’ll be using each and every shade until it runs dry – a bold claim from a girl who has never finished an eyeshadow in her life.

shopbop is always just hellbent on taking my money, and they’ve launched a couple of new treats this week to do just that.  first up is their new “ONE by” boutique, which features one (and only one!) signature or special piece from designers off the beaten path.  i’ll admit, most of it is more fashion-forward than i am. but i do love the thrill of having something from a designer no one else has heard of.  and it makes for excellent window-shopping.

also, their spring collection of tucker by gaby basora arrived this week, and it’s all just so lovely, i’m speechless.  all i can say is that i want nothing more than to spend every single day of spring in these bold, bright silks.

i know we just talked shoes yesterday, but i can’t resist showing you these stunning suede loafers by kubyan.  they caught my eye in the march marie claire, and i haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.  i’ve been wanting a pair of driving loafers that successfully walked the line between classic and tongue-in-cheek, and suddenly, here they are. now to come up with the $300 i’d need to make them mine.  fortunately, they’re made by hand, by single mothers in colombia who need work.  so really, it would be wrong of me not to buy them, right?

while i was in seattle last week, i took a moment to check out the go international designer collective reprise happening at target.  they did a great job of bringing back the best styles, and the timing couldn’t be better, what with wedding season on the horizon.  after trying on every several styles, and crying a bit over how short the black floral tucker dress was (it’s so lovely!), i left with this colorblocked shift from thakoon.  colorblocking will be everywhere for summer, and this is an easy style with infinite potential.

that’s it for this week, friends. i hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead of you!  i’ll be celebrating a little engagement-versary with the hubs, so hopefully some wining and dining will be involved, as well as a considerable amount of R&R.  i hope you have something equally lovely planned.

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chic on the cheap: weekend casual

* editor’s note:  last day to enter that amazing mother’s day giveaway!  don’t miss this one…i’m so loving hearing your mom stories (though i promise not to tell if you keep the prize for yourself!).

i’m tiptoeing through my bookmarks this morning, and lo and behold, i came up with a bargain-full ensemble that i’m pretty excited about.  


i’ve been searching high and low for a blazer i liked that (a) wasn’t too expensive, (b) was a little bit unexpected, and (c) was the right cut for my body type.  the reality is most boyfriend blazers are just not that flattering unless you’re very petite.  they eliminate any hint of a waist or hips, and bulk up your shoulders considerably – resulting in a look popular with linebackers the world over. but this three-button twill blazer from old navy is just $25, and i think it might be perfect.  the buttons are high enough that the lapel won’t bulge if you’re well-endowed up top.  the waist is nipped in, and the length is great for layering.  plus, it’s $25.  roll up the sleeves and leave it unbuttoned to get the boyfriend blazer look without the disfiguring side effects.

i’d pair it with a classic, liberty-style floral print top – this topshop version is a great option for $50.  the floral is a great balance against the more structured jacket, and the colors blend without being sickeningly matchy.  you could also try this top from forever 21, though i’d probably go with a floral that doesn’t include yellow if you pick the yellow blazer (the seersucker would be fun, though).  

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pair it with one of these beautiful floral tin necklaces from the little black rabbit, which i’ve been coveting something fierce. the dogwood (right) is perfect if you’re nervous about the mix-and-match, but i love mixing florals, and this is a great, safe way to give it a try!

add all of this to your favorite denim, or an a-line or pencil skirt (royal blue would be great, as would black or white), or even a slouchy cuffed short that’s already in your closet, and you have a pretty fantastic outfit for right around $100.  not a bad shopping trip at all, i’d say!

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spring canvas totes…apparently a “must have”


during my most recent evening barnes & noble outing (yes, the hubs and i lead a pretty exciting life), i grabbed instyle’s fashion tome, “secrets of style” off the bargain table, just to see what they had to say.  nothing terribly riveting, but lots of “must have” items – a list that really just stressed me out more than anything (what does it say about me as a human being if i don’t have a straw handbag, per the “required” summer handbag list?  must i immediately run to my neighborhood raffia warehouse and pick one up?).  

but, one “must have” on their list was a canvas tote for spring.  and, while i do question the “everyone needs one, without exception” mantra, a few have popped onto my radar in the last week, so i figured it must be a sign.

thomas paul is one of my favorite textile designers, and it thrills me to no end that he has just released some brand new tote bag designs.  they’re sweet, stylish, and completely affordable at $36.  in my perfect world, the handle would be just a smidge longer, so i could use it as a tote or a shoulder bag…but my world is far from perfect, and this crab tote is too cute not to share.  love the bold primary colors, love the crab…just love.

on the much more subdued end of the scale – i saw these j.crew totes right before heading to hawaii, and was instantly convinced that the world would stop turning if i didn’t have one to take on the trip.  and yet, true to my perpetual indecision, was unable to bring myself to spend $80 on a canvas tote…even if it does have leather handles.  fortunately, now it’s on sale for $49 – much more acceptable.  the natural color is classic and sophisticated, but will get dirty…i kind of like the va-va-voom of the papaya shade, especially for warmer weather.  and turns out, you can monogram these, which would be so fabulously over-the-top preppy.

i frequently chuck the teen stores off my list as a matter of course, which can be just plain wrong in the summer.  you won’t find a better source for cheap flipflops, scarves, tees…and canvas totes.  this “beachy tote” from american eagle, of all places, has a great boho style, “faux” leather detailing to give it a little structure, and the print just screams summer.  not bad for $39.

so, i have a two-part question for you:  will you be buying/do you already have a canvas tote?  and is it really something you simply can’t survive the summer without?

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spring translations: safe stripes


so, i was going to write about another spring trend that’s annoying me this week, perhaps neon, or boyfriend blazers, or…you see where i’m headed.  but i decided instead to be a bit more positive.  to find the silver lining on this sad spring fashion cloud, if you will.  and i’ve done it!  

stripes!  they’re absolutely everywhere right now, and while i’ve run screaming from them in the past, they’re a trend i’m totally willing to reconsider.  i was terrified at first – the whole concept of the stripe adding width, etc.  but, there are ways around this!  diagonal stripes, mixed-width stripes, thin stripes…basically anything other than the thick stripes we all remember from those gap rugby shirts we were all wearing in the ’90s, or anything with stripes only around your midsection.  yeah, those ones will add a little heft to your hips, it’s true.

but if you’re smart about them, stripes are such a fun way to add pattern to your life, particularly for those of you who are anti-floral.  the big rule of thumb is to break up the stripe somehow, so that you’re never left with a clean horizontal line.  so, with a striped tee, add a jacket – this cardigan/vest combo is another great, easy way to try stripes.  with a striped jacket or cardi, leave it unbuttoned to reveal a solid or other pattern beneath.  i also love taking a long-sleeved striped tee and layering a solid tee over it.

one of my favorite buys this spring was a striped jersey scarf from michael stars, a relative steal at $38.  i’m annoyed that i can’t find my color combo online (heather grey and purple), but the one above is awfully close.  you can also check out michael stars’ site and banana moon for other color options, or call one of my favorite local boutiques to see if they still have one to spare.  this is a great way to add a little stripe without fear, and even try mixing patterns a bit.  if you’re living in fear of stripes, this is a great first step.

while i was at the same lovely local boutique (yes, i get into some trouble there), i also picked up that sweet lamade striped cardigan above.  my general cardigan addiction notwithstanding, i love that the stripes on this one are subtle and neutral – i can pair them with literally everything, and mix patterns to my heart’s content.  the fabric is lightweight and supersoft for spring, and, unless i make the critical error of wearing this one buttoned up, it’s risk-free in the bulk department.  grab it at revolve, or add it to your order when you’re calling covet about the scarf.  i’m definitely in favor of keeping my fave indy stores in business.

one last rule of thumb:  keep your striped pieces trim, but not skin-tight.  too tight is just never flattering.  too loose, and well…this is what happens.  it’s not every day that even a shopbop model looks fat.

what do you think?  will you be adding stripes to your closet this spring?

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spring translations: rocker chic

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there’s an old-school fashion adage by which i fill my closet:  once is enough for any trend.  in other words, if you lived through a trend once, you shouldn’t embrace it again.  of course, this spring, that means i’m having to sit out just about everything, because the 80s are back in a big way.  so, i’m considering a slight modification to the earlier rule.  while i definitely think you shouldn’t give a great big bear hug to the trend the second time around, a little tip of the hat is just fine.

when it comes to the rocker chic trend that’s so big this year, here’s what i mean:  if, like me, you’re dying to add a dash of rocker to your wardrobe, just keep in mind that i think it works best when offset by going overboard to avoid the punk trend with the rest of your outfit.  so go ahead and buy the studded handbag, but pair it with a classic ensemble.  a studded bag with a tee and dark jeans manages to be both chic and trendy…but paired with ripped acid wash or a flashdance-style sweatshirt, the same bag just looks tired.  or take a flirty, floral dress and pair it with the edgiest dominatrix heels you can find.

if you’re looking to dabble, you can go even more subtle by adding a few studs to your jewelry routine.  i have been stalking these fabulous medor twillies from hermes for months now.  essentially, it’s a headband-length scarf paired with three stud charms.  you can use the charms with the twilly to create a wrist cuff, a headband, a choker – the options are endless.  or get creative and wear the charms solo on a chain, or slip them onto a headband of your own.  the set with the scarf is $275, but i’m pretty sure you can pick up the charms alone for $175 at your local hermes boutique.  not exactly cheap, but a bargain by H standards, to be sure.  or, grab a studded leather wrap bracelet for $32 at bebe (i can’t quite believe i just recommended bebe).  in either case, keep the rest of the ensemble preppy…almost to a fault.  these pieces will look fantastic with a white button-down, or even to edge up a suit.

so, the moral of the story:  if you’re into the rocker trend this spring, choose one piece, and keep the rest of the ensemble either simple or completely contradictory.  and, at all costs, keep it to one piece at a time, unless you want to look like courtney love‘s long lost twin.

what do you think?  will you be going punk this spring?

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