Tag Archives: frye

the how-to: frye engineer 8R

I’ve had a crush on Frye’s Engineer 8R boots ($208) for years. That distressed leather, the buckles…it all creates a tough, take-no-prisoners, vastly-more-hip-than-I-appear style I long for every now and then. But I’ve never taken the plunge, mostly because I wasn’t quite sure what to do with these beautiful boots once I got them home. That downtown vibe is just what I’m after, but I wasn’t sure how to make it mesh with my eternally preppy style. Plus, the height throws me a bit. They’re too high to be “short boots,” and too low to be “tall boots,” giving me serious concerns about the boot height falling in the danger zone of making my calves look like sausages.

But despite all this, my crush persisted. So, when Frye offered to let me try out some styling ideas, I jumped at the chance to test out these bad boys. And I learned a few things.

{The Frye Engineer 8R in sand…so pretty, right?}

First, these are amazing with jeans of all shapes and sizes. You’ll see some wearing them with skinny jeans, and that’s all well and good.

{Left: Keira Knightly, Coolspotters; Right, BlueJeanBruises, whose head I removed in case she doesn’t want to be here!}

(Technically, those boots on the right are the Engineer 12R, but you get my drift.)

But my preferred method is to pair them with a straight-leg jean, cuffed at the bottom. The end result is the perfect balance of prep and rock…or so I told myself.

(Once again, my feet make a SMC cameo…I think all this celebrity is going to their toes.)

Good, right? They also work well with a boot-cut jean, though I think in that case, you have to be careful about keeping the rest of the look more young and fun, or they risk looking woefully out of place. Think moto jacket, not cardigan.

That said, of course, there’s another option for these beautiful boots, and it’s one I’ve always favored in theory but feared in reality. Pair these bad boys with your girliest, frilliest summer dress, and watch them instantly add that dose of edge you’ve been wanting (it also does a great job of translating the look to fall, especially when topped with that same moto jacket…or even a cardigan). Tights are optional – personally, I prefer a bare leg with this look. But in any case, this isn’t a look to attempt if you’re at all self-conscious about your calves – it does bring a bit more attention to that area, and you should never spend the day in an ensemble that stresses you out!

{Clockwise from top left: Evangeline Lilly, Coolspotters; Hailee Steinfeld, Apega/WENN;
Keira Knightly for
Vogue, 2007, via habitually chic}

One last tip: if you’ve been trying to figure out how to pull off the maxi-skirt trend for fall, these are your ticket in. Again, go for floaty fabrics like chiffon or silk – paired with these rugged boots, it’s a match made in fashion heaven.

What do you think? Are you ready to give these downtown classics their due?

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currently coveting: milly’s brijitte dress

I’m craving a great dress this fall. Something I can dress up or down, that will look amazing solo but has enough versatility to be styled a dozen different ways. I hadn’t seen anything that really fit the bill…until I spotted the Brijitte from Milly’s fall collection.

Yes, that’s exactly what I had in mind. The big, bold print is strong enough to stand on its own (just leave that neckline open a bit, so there’s some skin to break up the pattern), but will be easy to mix into all sorts of styling options. And I’m so grateful to finally see a dress I love with a knee-length hem.

For work, styling is simple. Loosen up the neckline, and pair it with a classic blazer with a perfectly nipped-in waist – something in black, navy, even chocolate brown is easy, but I’m feeling tweed for this look too. Keep the leg bare, or add an opaque tight and a great jewel-toned pump (suede if you have it). If you have a less conservative office, a heeled bootie would be amazing too. You don’t need much jewelry with the neck tie on this dress, but a classic gold hoop would be a perfect pairing.

But then, of course, there’s the weekend…and the thing I love about this dress is its 24/7 appeal. Ditch the blazer and add a long cardigan or vest – oh how I love this herringbone vest from Elizabeth & James. You could even funk it up with one of the fur vests you’re seeing everywhere (I know, I know…but trust me – but the fur vests aren’t as scary once you try them on). Keep the ankle booties or try a riding boot* for a bolder choice. Push up the sleeves, add a long pendant necklace in gold (I’m thinking of that pretty chevron locket from Acanthus) or something bolder (perhaps from that amazing Elva Fields), and you’re ready for just about anything.

*Speaking of beautiful riding boots, I have to take a moment to tell you about these. I’ve been wearing those very boots, the Frye Amelia in cognac, nonstop. I cannot get over how much I adore them. The fit is perfect (size down a half size), the color is so striking, and they’re ridiculously comfortable. Best new boot this season, if you ask me.

How would you style this beautiful dress?

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friday finds: spring in my step

Happy Friday, friends!  This week’s list has a definite theme, though I’m not totally ready to examine what it says about me. All of the spring shoes I’m loving lately have just the tiniest touch of granny chic. Sure, maybe I’m getting sensible in my old age (and really, doesn’t a nice moderate heel and an orthopedic comfy footbed sound really, really good right about now?), but I could also be way ahead of the fashion curve. Regardless, I’m pretty sure these just might be adorable.

I actually tried out this cute little Tova style by Naya recently. I was nervous…they definitely walk the “hippie crunchy” line, but they’re so fun in person, I’m willing to forgive them. The pale pink/lavender shade is a surprising neutral – makes a great stand-in for nude, and is ultra-flattering even if you aren’t tan ever yet. There’s enough substance to this strappy style to stand up to being worn with jeans, but the heel’s short enough that you can pull these off with shorts (without looking like a streetwalker). And ohhh, the comfy. Seriously…wearing a shoe like this reminds that maybe the hippie crowd has a point. Maybe.

Frye never lets me down…they hit it out of the park every single time. This sweet little Emma woven flat reminds me of those huarache sandals I used to wear when I was young. They come in a rainbow of fruit flavors colors, but my favorite is this red. It’s more brick than cherry in person, which tones it down just enough to make it work with, well, everything. Plus, they’re a great option for those of you who can’t wear sandals to work (or who are just in dire need of a pedicure). A little tip: I’d go down at least a half size on these.

And now we get to the really scary part. The part where I tell you that I’m pretty sure the next shoe I buy this season will be from Kork-Ease. But look how cute!

Right? I also quite like the pale grey version. And I’m sorry, but they look an awful lot like the K.Jacques I’ve been wanting for two years, but for which I refuse to shell out $250. At $99, I’m thinking these could be an excellent substitute.

This sweet little fuchsia espadrille is by a designer called Eric Michael, who I’ve never heard of. I’m having a hard time deciding whether these are Sophia Loren or Sophia from The Golden Girls…but either way, I think they’re adorable. I’m highly finicky when it comes to espadrilles – wedges in general, really – but these feel like they’re just begging to salsa their way through a street fair. Or, you know, carry me down to Starbucks for a cappuccino.

So, friends, what’s the verdict? Have I lost my mind? Been in Portland too long? Or am I just so far ahead of the trend, I’m starting one of my own?

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this just in: nordstrom anniversary sale preview!

Well, this is exciting. I got a hot tip over the weekend that the first preview catalog for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale had gone out to the VVIP customers, and I nabbed a sneak peek!

First, a little down-and-dirty on what’s happening with the sale this year. The official start date is July 15, but pre-sale shopping begins July 5. The pre-sale shopping option that’s typically been open to Nordstrom cardholders and other VIP customers is now only open to cardholders, allegedly. This means that no matter how much your salesperson loves you, they can’t let you pre-shop without a Nordstrom card. But, the upside, according to my sources, is that you get to take your goods home with you the day you shop, instead of having to head back to the store on opening day to pick up your pre-sale goods.

So, with that done, how about a little peek at my picks from the sale?

First up, shoes – since I know you’re all shoe nuts like me. Not much in the way of heels and flats, but there are some good boots to choose from.

Far right: Frye “Melissa” button-back boot, $219

Far right: Via Spiga “Kacey” riding boot, $259

Tory Burch riding boot, $299

The coats are really lacking this season…Nordstrom seems to have abandoned coats for capes, which is unfortunate, as they’re hard to wear – both literally and figuratively. But, if you must cape, there is one style I actually love – it has enough tailoring to keep the look clean and easily wearable:

Right: Helene Berman wool cape, $165

This Mackage coat is the other winner from the catalog. It’s still not something I’d love enough to nab, but the clean tailoring is nice, as is the leather detail at the sleeves. I do have a feeling this one’s going to be popular…so you’ll be seeing it out and about.

Mackage “Tessa” wool-blend coat with knit & leather trim, $389

As for the rest of the apparel, there are the usual suspects: a few highly-identifiable, under-$100 picks that everyone will be snatching up…and then a few special pieces that are worth a second look.

That Halogen pencil skirt on the first three models comes in 6 colors and is $45, so expect to see it on everyone in your office come August. The little cuffed ankle pant on the far right is by Amber Sun, and is also $45. I’m cautiously optimistic about the pants – they’re cute on the model, but atrocious in another image I saw, so it could definitely go either way.

Left 3: Halogen seamed pencil skirt, $45; Right: Amber Sun “Aubrey” pant, $45.

And, a few standout pieces that are perfect for giving your fall closet a little kick-start:

McGinn “Elizabeth” tweed jacket, $229

This silk blouse by Joie is one of maybe three pieces I’ll actually be nabbing from the sale. I love the bright teal, and it’s a perfect tunic shape, so you can easily dress it up or down. It’s hard to imagine beneath that fugly chunky knit vest, I realize…but try.

Joie “Marlo” blouse, in peacock, beige or grey, $145

If you’re not quite over the faux-fur trend, this Trina Turk cardigan is a great way to give it a try. While the photo doesn’t really provide much help, it’s a long, wrap-style cardigan, and the fur collar is removable. So, when you’re ready to retire the trend, you still have a classic camel cashmere cardigan in your closet.

Trina Turk “Deville” cardigan, $198

There’s always one killer splurge in the sale. Last year, it was a classic Burberry trench. This year, it’s this black faux-wrap dress by St. John. It’s a classic long-sleeved wrap cut (without the wardrobe malfunction potential), and it will be in your closet forever, making it a bargain by any standard.

St. John faux-wrap dress, $399

(Love those shoes she’s wearing too, by the way…Michael by Michael Kors, $99, but they have a 5-inch heel.)

Last but certainly not least, a few accessories to tie all this fun together. There are two big “splurge” bags this year – one by Chloe, which I thought was boring, and this one by Marc Jacobs. It’s hard not to love that pink, which is actually a bit more mauve in other photos.

Marc Jacobs “Karlie” shoulder bag, $866

And on the more reasonable end of the spectrum, I found myself quite liking the bag on the top left, below. The brand is “Roccatella,” which meant nothing to me until I saw it was a new diffusion line from Be&D, which makes amazing bags.  I also love the Rebecca Minkoff bag in the bottom right image, though I’ve found the quality on RM bags a bit spotty lately. Love the ostrich-embossed leather, though, and it comes in 3 colors.

Top left: Roccatella by Be&D “Jane” belted leather satchel, $264; Bottom right: Rebecca Minkoff “Covet” flap bag, $282.

And my bracelet obsession continues with these options from Ippolita and Lagos. The Ippolita styles are the bangles in the center with the solid-set semi-precious stones, and the Lagos is that rope-style silver bracelet with the diamond X in the center.

Center: Ippolita bangles, set of 3, $394; Bottom, far right: Lagos Caviar X Diamond bracelet, $299.

That’s it, friends! Of course, if you see something else in these images that you’re dying for details on, just leave a comment, and I’ll give you all the info I can. In the meantime, give your favorite salesperson a call, and get a pre-shop date scheduled!

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virtual shopping spree: shopbop winter clearance

i can hardly believe it’s that time, but shopbop announced this morning they’ve made their final winter markdowns. as i spent way too much time browsing the clearance section, i thought i might as well share a few of my favorites with you.

elizabeth & james silk explorer blouse, $137; theory dolson top, $70 (i’m having a silk shirt moment, what can i say?)

free people boardwalk tunic, $49; vince inside-out striped sweater, $136

tucker classic tunic, $154; elizabeth and james fur-collared poe blazer, $535

frye harlow campus booties, $129; obakki ombre cardigan, $305

anything you have your eye on?

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get gifting: fashion-obsessed

because i so hate the dreaded “-ista” word, let’s just say this guide is for the girl who thrills when the latest issue of vogue hits her mailbox, never says no to a trip to barneys, and is always the first in your crowd to buy into the latest trend.  i’ll admit she’s not the easiest (or the cheapest) giftee on your list, but rest assured she gives as good as she gets.  so gift your fashion-obsessed friends well…they’re sure to return the favor!

prada keychainPicture 1armani watch

joyaPicture 3

Picture 2

Picture 4Picture 5

left to right, from top: prada vespa keychain, $165; frye reagan campus moccasins (especially this shearling-lined version), $138/148; emporio armani white ceramic watch, $545; däv fleece-lined equestrian rainboot, $98; the ELLEments of personal style: 25 modern fashion icons on how to dress, shop, and live, $17; joya solid perfume lockets, $38-68; diane von furstenberg lytton minaudiere, $325; echo touch ruffled gloves, $35; lafayette 148 faux leopard scarf, $98; chance striped boatneck tee, $60; all saints kadian jacket, $500 (and a very close second).

{FTC disclaimer: some product samples were provided to help me compile this guide, but as usual, there’s no pay-for-play here.}

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styled alternatives: the riding boot

at my house, the surest sign it’s fall is when the boots come out of my closet.  this year, i’ve been especially anxious to try to round out my closet, and make sure i was covering all of the bases for classic, clean boot styles. enter the riding boot – really, the fairest of them all when it comes to the tall boot, riding boots are just full of styling possibility.

the trick with a tall riding boot, for me, is to really branch out with styling ideas.  there’s more to life than boots with skinny jeans, after all.  and so, i’ve spent the last few weeks playing with all sorts of clever combinations, and i’ve come up with a few tips, tricks and stylish cocktails to share.

if you’re still looking to fill the riding boot gap in your wardrobe, the hands-down best options are from frye.  they make all manner of gorgeous riding boots that are beautifully crafted, fit perfectly, and will last literally forever.  while i love just about every style they have, my current favorite is the dorado inside zip, a new style for frye.  for once, i have a riding boot that doesn’t require all of my bodily strength to remove, thanks to the very subtle inside zipper.  plus, i love the buckle detail at the top, and the clean, classic styling.

Picture 3

(a sizing note: these run a little on the big side, so buy accordingly.  plus, they have a slightly roomier calf, which means they’re built perfectly for layering over denim, and for those of you that are always complaining about boots being too narrow.)

now, on to the styling! of course, you can go with the classic skinny jean, but if you do, try edging up the style quotient a bit with a blazer and a great slouchy sweater layered underneath.  keep the colors neutral, add a bold pattern with a bag or a scarf, and you’re as classic as can be.  but don’t be afraid of getting a little creative with a riding boot – it has the potential to go from dressy to casual in a blink.  try it with a great shirtdress, a chic coat of the same length and some bold jewelry, and you have a look that would work in most casual offices, or is perfect for a weekend outing.

Picture 1

(get the details on all of these gorgeous pieces right here)

i’d also love to see these beautiful boots with a a sleek cowl or turtleneck sweater (though these styles only if you’re less busty…otherwise, stick to a v-neck!) and a pretty wide-legged trouser or full knee-length skirt for a little play on volume.  just keep the fabrics lush and textured…nothing too light or flowy for this style.

(from left: chloe fall 2010, lanvin fall 2010, both from style.com)

in the end, a great classic riding boot should work with just about anything in your fall wardrobe – that’s the genius of a classic.  the trick, i think, is to know they’re a staple and not be afraid to branch out a bit when you’re styling your own alternatives!

(i’d like to offer a very serious thank you to the frye company for providing a pair of those beautiful dorado inside zip boots to help me develop these styled alternatives.  i couldn’t have done it without their help!)

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random fall finds

since we’re a bit behind, i thought i’d do a quick mega-post of some things i’ve come across recently and thought “i have to show those to my readers when i’m back!”

it’s finally, officially fall where i live – it’s my favorite season, and i can hardly wait to break out the scarves, cashmere sweaters and boots (yes, the flat boots have finally won my heart).  i have a respectable collection of both after last year’s gluttony, but there are a few pieces i just know i’ll need sooner than later.

i fell hard for this beautiful patchwork scarf by echo designs ($78) when i saw the above photo in a catalog recently.  in fact, i adored it so much that i honestly couldn’t believe it was the same scarf when i looked it up on echo’s website – from those pics, i’d have never given this one a second glance.  to settle the score, i asked echo to send it along so i could check it out in person (a dirty job, i know).  readers, in person, this scarf is absolutely gorgeous.  perfect color palette, great patterns, and lightweight, gauzy wool i can hardly wait to bundle up in.  trust me on this! (for better pics, go here. also, a great picture of the red & yellow version here.)

Picture 1

splendid actually makes a quite good cashmere, and their prices aren’t horrible ($209 for this one).  this shadow stripe v-neck breaks all of the rules about horizontal stripes – the neutral color combo is sure to keep the look flattering.  and wouldn’t you love to see this under a blazer?

Picture 2

this season, i’ve abandoned (or, have made up my mind to abandon) my grey cardigan obsession, and am now after a camel version*.  camel can stand up to grey any day as an unexpected, classic neutral, and it goes with literally everything. this option by brochu walker ($325) doesn’t really qualify as a cardi, as it’ only a half-buttoned option.  but i adore the soft, drapey neckline and the thumbholes on the sleeves – both seriously cozy features, which is what i’m after this time of year.

(*in a perfect world, i’ve actually found my camel cardigan…now i just need to find the $500 to bring it home!)

and, yes, boots.  so far, these are the style i’m most loving for fall.  i’ve loved frye’s paige boot for years, but this season’s distressed grey version ($345) might just be too much for me to resist.  the only thing holding me back is the fact that that gorgeous front detail will never see the light of day, as i still refuse to tuck my jeans into my boots (a trend best left to ladies without hips).

so, what are you craving for fall?

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