Tag Archives: banana republic

all in the details: brahmin bryn clutch

{Editor’s Note: Sometimes Brahmin can be a little too much for me, but Kate’s found the exception to the rule. The clean lines and the fresh navy keep this from going too “mature”, as some of their styles do, and I love the size (and the crossbody/clutch versatility). Mostly though, I love the shirtdress she found (esp. the price!), and I’m pretty sure it’s headed for my closet. Enjoy!}

Kate ~ There are few things more versatile than a mid-sized handbag; however, there are often times few things more boring than a mid-sized handbag. This is why I’m always on the lookout for options to keep what I cart around in check but still maintain some visual interest. With a crocodile print and a navy blue colour, this bag from Brahmin is reminiscent of the shape of others that I swoon over (a little Celine or Hermes per chance?), and a great size for day, but is a much more reasonable purchase that builds on that “transition” mindset that we’re all still thinking of.

Bryn Clutch, Brahmin, $225

Shirtdresses always find their way into regular rotation come this time of year, and when presented in a pattern they can be an outfit all on their own. The navy tone of the bag inspired the base colour of the pattern, while light blue, yellow, and taupe keep the dress from appearing too heavy at this point in the year. Whether to make the dress work for work, or just to combat autumn’s cool evenings, I’ll always be a fan of a good navy blazer. Considering polka dots are all the rage, the lining of this one (…always thinking details!) makes it a great find.

Blouson Shirtdress, Vince Camuto, $128 / Lambswool Blazer, Brooks Brothers, $348

The advantage of a classic bag and printed dress is that you have an endless supply of options to bring the rest of the outfit together. Navy and taupe make a great early autumn combination, and benefit from mixed metal accents. Add gold bent feather hoops, a delicate necklace, and a stack of thin gold and silver rings. A cozy neutral scarf is also such a wardrobe staple that I nearly should have listed it with the foundations! But where this outfit also shines is the shoes. Nude embossed smoking slippers with a metal toe-cap are phenomenally on trend, helping to ground a fairly flirty dress and echoing the embossed leather of the bag. Or, if you’re already in the mood for boots, these tonal colour-blocked boots with zipper detailing from Cole Haan are positively stunning but not too heavy for the look – a small dash of edge for a feminine bag and dress.

Hollis Boot, Cole Haan, $398 / London Two Charm Necklace, Gorjana, $97 / Stackable Band Rings, Stella & Dot, $39 / Aster Flats, Sam Edelman, $150 / Bent Feather Hoops, Erica Weiner, $50 / Monogram Plush Wrap, Banana Republic, $90

The mantra for this week: classic in shape but interesting in detail. As always, from the embossed bag to the polka dot lining of the blazer, it’s all in the details.

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fall’s must-haves (and a word on trends)

Happy Tuesday, friends! And more importantly, Happy Fashion Week! If I’m honest, I get a little exhausted by all the coverage out there – and I’m never ready to think about spring when I’m just getting excited to pull my sweaters and boots out of storage.

That said, there are some advantages to checking out the shows from a few of your favorite brands. I use this time to get an idea of what trends from fall have staying power. It makes it so much easier to figure out whether buying those jacquard ankle pants is a good decision. Colors are always completely different in spring, but watch silhouettes – are pants still slim and ankle-grazing? Are jackets still clean, simple and structured? Get an idea of what you’ll be coveting come April, and you’ll have a much better feel for what to splurge on now.

Speaking of, I thought I’d show you a few things on my list for the fall season. I never embrace every trend – it’s exhausting, unflattering, and makes for a disjointed closet. But if there’s a piece or two that fits in seamlessly, and won’t be hopelessly awful in a year or two? Well worth it. And on the flip slide, if something’s on trend that is just perfectly you, stock up. Those smoking slippers are going to be really hard to track down in a year or two.

If there’s a piece that’s just too fun to say no to, sometimes I’ll throw that in for good measure…though that’ll be the piece I buy at Zara, not at Barneys. Splurge on the styles that feel like an organic addition to your closet, add in a piece or two that feels fun, and skip anything that doesn’t make you look and feel amazing.

Eveline top, Allsaints, $130 / French hen sweater, J.Crew, $95 / Floral brocade skirt, J.Crew Collection, $119

Oxblood: Or “burgundy” to the rest of us. I picked up a silk Vince tunic in oxblood at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and I can already tell it’ll be a workhorse this season. Great with neutrals, but also try it with cobalt, red, mustard yellow or even pink.
Character count: Fall has a sense of humor this season, so treat yourself to a few things to make you happy – like the ’80s-era character sweaters that every brand’s releasing. Yes, I know I’m going to see J.Crew’s French hen sweater on 85 different people before the season’s out. But I bought it anyway. It made me smile, and I know it will keep on doing that right through the winter.
Go baroque: Jacquard, embroidery, brocade…make like you’re fresh from King Henry’s court and you’ll be right on trend for fall. I have a great brocade pencil skirt from Rachel Mara I’ll be taking out of hiding, and I can’t wait to bust out some of my vintage cameos and my grandmother’s old brooches to pile onto my classic flannel blazers.

Jacquard trousers, Zara, $60 / Pixel pants, Helmut Lang, $370 (or Banana Republic for a steal) / Pea Coat, Gerald & Stewart, $300 / Tabitha smoking flat, Kelsi Dagger, $92 / Kitty flats, Charlotte Olympia, $660

Ankle pants: I kind of love them. They eliminate the issue of whether to hem for flats or heels, and they’re surprisingly flattering on a lot of figures. If you buy: remember they should graze the ankle. These are not capris. I repeat, these are not capris. Also, as with any slim pant, beware of saggy butt syndrome. A good tailor can install darts to eliminate the problem. I tried on this version from Zara over the weekend, and they’d be amazing with an ankle-strap heel.
The winter coat question: Those oversized, cocoon-like shapes that are the silhouette of the season are tough to pull off and have zero longevity. Instead, if you want an investment piece this season, go classic and buy the best navy pea coat you can afford. You’ll never, ever regret it.
Smoking slippers: If you haven’t already, buy a pair. They’re fun, practical, and a great way to update your fall look.

Now, more importantly…styles to skip: I’d steer clear of those wild geometric patterns and the psychedelic suits. But I might take advantage of the return of the Power Suit to find a classic one to hold onto. Also, camouflage. Unless you’re under 25 and are completely confident you can wear it with the appropriate amount of irony, please don’t. And while I adore leather on all those It Girls, I think it’s dicey territory for mere mortals like me. If you’re an edgy girl with an anything-goes sense of style (and I know a few!), I’d love to see what you do with it. As for me, I’m sticking with my classic moto jacket and calling it good. Last, but certainly not least, I’m skipping the peplum. One of our fantastic columnists is going to try to talk me (and you) out of it next week, but for now…it’s fashion ground I’m just not willing to break. (Also, I saw Betty White wearing one on a Golden Girls re-run recently, which didn’t help.)

What are you excited about for fall? Any trends you have questions about? As always, I’m here to help!

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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: perfect summer tote

{Editor’s Note: A big welcome back to our accessories columnist extraordinaire, Ms. Kate of Anonymous Chic!}

It seems as though every summer I end up on a hunt for the perfect weekend tote. You know, that bright catch-all that seamlessly transitions between being a great bag to drag heels back and forth to work in, but that feels equally at home when browsing through farmers’ markets on the weekend.

Canvas, nylon, or even burlap versions are completely acceptable – but this year I’m leaning more toward something in the light to mid-weight leather category. One of my go-to’s when I’m in the market for reasonably priced and perpetually sturdy leather is always Roots, a Canadian brand that’s recently gone international. The particular tote that I’m more than a little partial to is the French Tote in Prince leather with the lovely combination of a great saddle brown and a bright sunshine yellow.

French Tote in Prince/Norwegian Leather, Roots, $150

Roots’ leather goods are essentially indestructible, and this bag should be no exception. The bag is also surprisingly lightweight, a reasonable size to make it functional without being overwhelming, and has a soft but ever-so-slightly structured shape. Plus, there’s that saturated, smile-inducing yellow to consider. Paired with the neutral upper, it’s the perfect way to try colour-blocking with confidence. Leather totes can often come in very unremarkable colours, so this primary yellow is a find…and a surprisingly easy colour to work with.

While the style is polished enough for work, I’ve got visions of it weaselling its way into my weekend wardrobe. Spring and summer foundations in my world, and with this bag, would include lightweight white button downs (with a preference for mandarin collar tunic-styles), and great dark denim shorts (rolled-cuffs completely optional and style-dependent).

White End-on-End Tunic, J.Crew, $60 / Rolled Denim Short, Banana Republic, $70

Keeping with a simple and fuss-free aesthetic, I’d add casual fabric bracelets, great sunglasses, and a punchy nail polish. For a funky statement necklace with a soul and a story, I’d add the original Falling Whistle. Shoes for this outfit are whatever screams summer to you, and works for your chosen activity: sandals, sneakers, or flats that echo that saddle brown colour in the tote are all viable options, though my inner preppy still advocates for a great boat shoe.

Lights, Essie, $8 / Falling Whistle, $34 / Indego Africa, J.Crew, $23 / Belle Sunglasses, Selima Sun for J.Crew, $118 / Kimry Sandal, Cole Haan, $158 / Regina Ballet, Frye, $128 / Woven Original Boat Shoe, Sperry, $125

Whatever you choose to pair with this summery tote, be sure it reflects your personal style – granted this bag really does give you license to be bright and playful. Just keep in mind…it’s all in the details! ~Kate

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for the girl you just started seeing (also excellent for hanukkah and/or christmas stockings)

you know, because there are so many single men reading my blog. but just in case you have a male friend or little brother in potential peril over this very dilemma, i thought i’d offer some aid.  for that girl you’ve gone out with a few times, and are agonizing over whether you should even get her a gift, let alone what the gift should be, the answer is, first, yes – always get a gift.  err on the side of generosity.  it will come back to you, trust me.

as to what the gift should be, i’m going with costume jewelry.  something inexpensive and a little less lovey-dovey than, say, a heart-shaped pendant encrusted with CZ gems.  you want to go relatively classic – after all, you probably don’t know her style that well yet – but not boring.  tricky business, i know.  and so, may i suggest this scaled cuff bracelet:

i can’t think of many women i know that wouldn’t happily add this to their jewelry collection. it’s classic and tailored enough for the office, but also a great way to dress up a date dress (most men i know aren’t a fan of the huge jewelry trend as a rule).  banana republic does costume jewelry extremely well, and this is a piece she’ll wear for many, many dates to come.  and if the dates (and the girl) fade away, well, you only spent $36.

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deal of the day: 30% off at gap & co this weekend!


here’s some exciting friday news:  gap is running its annual “give and get” event this weekend, in which you get 30% off at old navy, gap, banana republic and piperlime (this is a new, and very exciting addition!). plus, for every dollar you spend, gap donates 5% to one of several associated charities, and you get to choose which charity.  just head to the give and get website, sign up, choose your charity, and get shopping – use your discount online or in-store, as many times as you want!

while all of the charities are amazing, i’m going with the global fund, which works to eliminate AIDS in africa.  last year, gap was able to give $585,000 to the global fund via the “give and get,” so you’re definitely shopping for a worthy cause.

so, get signed up, and let me know what you’re buying!  i’m still stuck in piperlime heaven, deciding just how many shoes i can reasonably justify.  but i’ll be on to old navy next…time to stock up on some necessities.

happy hunting!

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what i’m giving today: sequined clutch from banana republic

i had to squint a little to see what was going on here, but this lovely copper clutch is covered with tiny sequins – the perfect holiday bling for just about any woman on your gifting list!  best of all, it’s only $49 on sale at banana republic, who is still shipping for the holidays (not to mention their presence in nearly every mall in america).

for the men out there who are still desperate for ideas, here’s a perfect one.  head to your nearest banana republic, pick up this stunning clutch, and put tickets to some fabulous new year’s eve event inside.  trust me – she’ll love it.  this clutch is the perfect holiday accent, and you’ll score serious points for planning the perfect date and accessorizing it.

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