Tag Archives: tucker

test case: the best silk shirts

You know how they say a man’s wardrobe freezes in time at the moment he marries his wife? (This basically means The Hubs will be wearing polo shirts and jeans when he’s 97, but I suppose it could be worse.) I think women experience a similar phenomenon, but it’s not tied to any particular life event. It’s that eye-opening day when you realize “Hey, trends are fun, but I have 19 versions of this outfit, it’s a complete no-brainer, and I think I look pretty great in it to boot.” As Stanford’s grandmother from Sex and the City once said, if the Chanel suit still fits, and it never goes out of style, buy it in every color.

In recent months, I’ve had my “Chanel suit” realization, but it’s in the form of a silk tunic and skinny/straight jeans. Given the chance, I could easily, happily wear this combo – in its infinite variations – for the rest of my life. (And can you imagine how easy life would be if you never had to think about what you were wearing? I’d be like Michael Kors or Vera Wang…almost.) It’s easy, comfortable, figure-flattering, and works for darn near any occasion. I’m just doing a rough estimate here, but there are at least 15 silk shirts hanging in my closet right now (not counting the one from Rachel Mara that I’m wearing today).

All this to say that when it comes to silk shirts, I know of what I speak. Since the fit is different each and every time, and drape and cut really matter on a silk shirt, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned from the contents of my closet.  Read on

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best bets from the fall sales

I had other plans for today, friends, but the sales this morning…they’re just too, too good (for all of the codes, from Shopbop to J.Crew, check out my Facebook feed and its never-ending stream o’ deals). I thought I’d share a few of the many, many items lurking in my shopping cart this AM.

Read on

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trend to try: pattern mixing

Friends, I’m so excited to introduce a new Shopping’s My Cardio columnist to you: the exceedingly fabulous Kimberly Brandt, of Billede Design. Kim is a stylist extraordinaire, responsible for designing everything from magazine shoots to fashion lookbooks from some of my favorite local designers. She just radiates style in her personal life to, and – unlike me – is never afraid to take a fashion risk. So, I’ve asked her to pop in here from time to time, to help us stretch our style boundaries just a smidge. You’ll see her new “Trends to Try” column every two weeks in the new year, but she’s come up with a couple of columns now to pique your interest. I can hardly wait to see what’s next!


I’m so happy to be guest blogging today! So, I’m sure you have all spotted the ‘pattern mixing’ trend that’s absolutely everywhere right now. It’s fun and fashion-forward, but it can be a bit tricky to pull off, so I’m here today to share some of my favorite advice about how to make it work!

Pattern-mixing is a great way to update old pieces that are sitting in the back of your closet right now. Who doesn’t have stripes, plaids, and polka dots in their wardrobe? Give a good mix up, pair them together, and you have a whole new look! But how? How do you pair totally different patterns together, and how do you know what’s hot and what’s heinous? Well, you’re in luck! I have tips and examples to make it easy:

  • Stick with similar, or complementary colors.
  • Pair a soft pattern with a crisp pattern – ie, a floral with a stripe.
  • Match a round pattern with a sharp pattern – ie, dots with plaid.
  • Combine a loose pattern with a tight pattern – ie, a large-scale, graphic print with a micro print.
  • Remember that animal prints are a great first step. They work as a neutral and have endless pairing possibilities.
  • Don’t forget about silhouette and texture, which is often as powerful as pattern (think of chunky knits or bold tweeds)! Pair loose, flowing pieces with more tailored/structured choices for best results.
  • Above all, be bold! Confidence is the key to pulling off this look.

This look from Tucker is a great example of how complementary tones help pull together mixed patterns.

And these combinations from Karen Walker show how easy it is to pair a soft, loose pattern with a smaller, tighter pattern.

Images c/o Karen Walker, from Style.com

CARDIGAN New York always has the most beautiful lookbooks. This shot shows a loose, textural sweater paired with the tight, tonal pattern of the sequins to create a look that’s the perfect mix of cozy and sophisticated.

And last but not least, I went to the first of many Holiday Parties this last weekend and spotted both of these great real-life examples of pattern-mixing. The results were festive, fun and unexpected – just perfect!

Good luck applying this in your own wardrobe. Let us know how it goes!! –Kim Brandt

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the how-to: silk shirts

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with silk this spring.  I don’t know what’s come over me, but suddenly, I can’t resist a pretty silk blouse, in any incarnation.  So, when a few of you emailed me, asking various and sundry questions about how to work this trend, I couldn’t resist chalking my recent purchases up to “research”, and giving you all the info you could ever want on the best of the best.

First, don’t be scared. Silk feels so precious sometimes, but you have to let go of that.  Embrace it, acknowledge there will be drycleaning involved, and wear it with abandon.  (But maybe don’t cook dinner in it.)

Second, size up.  Or at least, size so that your silk is loose, drapey and relaxed in fit.  Fitted silk is a much harder look to pull off, it’s not comfortable, and it’s all wrong for summer.  Because silk tends to flow so well over curves, you don’t have to worry about being swallowed up by a top that isn’t form-fitting, as you would with other fabrics.  Trust me: buy loose, and let the fabric work for you!

With that said, I’ll give you a rundown of the styles that are in heavy rotation in my closet this year.  First up is Equipment.  They’re infamous for making some of the best classic silk shirts ever – soft and luxe, with the perfect amount of substance.  They come in so many colors and patterns, you’ll never have enough.  I particularly love their Signature blouse, because it’s a bit longer than some styles, which translates to more styling options.  While a long-sleeved blouse may not feel like a summer buy, just roll up the sleeves to your elbow, and pair it with a white tank and cutoffs – silk has this wonderful ability to act like built-in air conditioning when it’s left open and breezy.  I also can’t help thinking this would be amazing with a crinkled linen jacket belted over the top.  Yes, you can get the look for less from J.Crew or Madewell, but a silk shirt is only as good as its drape. It’s worth the splurge to get this one right.

Best for: Girls with busts!  The relaxed cut means more room up top, so you’ll actually be able to button it.  I do find it makes my shoulders look a bit broader, but I’m telling myself it’s not a big problem.

Sizing tip: These are supposed to have a relaxed fit, so sizes runs true – I’m a 10, and ordered a medium. It’s the teeniest bit snug in the hips, but I wouldn’t have been able to go up a size.  So, just leave the bottom button undone, and all’s well.

Equipment signature silk blouse, $188-238.

My second love of late has been Tucker.  Their tunics are just so full of color and fun, I can’t help but be happy when I’m wearing them.  Like Equipment, their pieces come in all sorts of fun shapes and patterns (though almost never a solid color).  But, as usual, I prefer their signature style – in this case, The Tunic.  If you’re on the petite side, this could even work as a mini-dress, but since I’m 5’8″, it’s not happening.  These are an investment, but if you’re watchful, you might spot them on Gilt occasionally (ahem…that may or may not be a contraband link…take advantage of it!).

Best for: Everyone! I think these are gorgeous with or without curves, and regardless of height.  (And the little bit of stretch in these styles doesn’t hurt either.)

Sizing tip: I do suggest sizing up on the tunic style if you have curves, as they run very straight.  I went for a large in this style…the medium was just barely too small for my, um, curvier areas.

Tucker Tunic in Trimpin Pond Song, $315; Tucker Tunic in Funny French Birds, $315.

Of course, with summer coming, short sleeved and sleeveless options are a must. If you’re after a loose, breezy option (that won’t break the bank), I recently checked out the styles from Show Me Your Mumu.  They’re polyester, not silk, so they’re an honorary mention here.  They don’t drape like silk, but they’re adorable…if a bit on the hippie side of life.  With unfinished hems designed to fray, and a very loose fit, you might find these best suited for beach cover-up status – but since they’re poly, they’ll do the job in plenty of style (and for under $100). I do think they can be pulled off as a layering piece, but they’re sheer and quite low cut, so you’ll definitely be happier with a tank (or a two-piece) underneath.

Best for: The girls you see here modeling.  Narrow shoulders, smaller chest – the cut adds some breadth to the shoulder/chest area, so if you’re already good in that area, this might not be for you.

Sizing tip: One size fits all…or at least up to a 14, I’d say.

Show Me Your MuMu in Turn The Corner, $80; Original Mumu in I Dream of Zebra, $98

But really, my favorite spot for short-sleeved summer layers is Anthropologie.  They have some gorgeous options this year…I swoon over each and every one.

Pellucid Wings silk blouse, $128; Blazing blouse, $98 (not pictured); Koinobori tank, $78.

So, I’d love to know whether you’ve already been embracing the silk route, or if you’re thinking about diving in now.  Talk to me in the comments, won’t you?

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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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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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friday finds

i have to say, i love these ‘friday finds’ posts…they really do turn out as random as my week typically seems.

these beautiful new chocolate bars from vosges chocolate showed up on my doorstep this week (i love my job!), and wow.  a belt notch later, i can tell you they’re positively amazing.  vosges makes some of my favorite chocolates – they do an amazing job of creating seriously unique, unbelievably delicious flavors.  the pink peppercorns in the white chocolate/lemon zest bar might have been a tad strong, but utterly unlike anything i’ve tried. and there’s nothing at all wrong with blood orange caramel!  count me in.  next on my list to try is their new bacon chocolate chip pancake mixyum!

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i ran into this skirt from the tucker for target collection during a target outing this week, and dear readers, it is utterly fantastic in person!  i am now scouring my local targets to find my size, as it’s totally sold out online (reviewers have said it runs small, so beware).  this gold and navy brocade looks so, so much more luxe in person than it gets credit for being online.  it reminds me of something j.crew or kate spade would have produced, but the $39 pricetag is no lie.  wear it now with a drapey silk top and navy belted blazer, or a sleek cream cardi…and just try to imagine the holiday potential here!

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speaking of j.crew, i was actively coveting one of the chunky bracelets from their fenton/fallon collaboration, but it sold out before i could justify the expense.  lucky for me their sister brand, madewell, has come up with a style i might even love more…and at half the price!  at $58, i’m having a very hard time finding the willpower to stop myself.

and last but not least, couldn’t resist sharing the friends & family action going on at hayden+harnett.  now through october 15, take 20% off any online order (including sale items, and pieces from other designers!) with code FALL10FRIENDS.  i checked with their designer, toni hacker, before i shared, and she assured me that she thinks of all you shoppingsmycardio readers as dear friends of hayden+harnett, so spend away!  i’d splurge on these tomtom pyramid stud earrings ($80) and the mystery scarf ($160), but i haven’t even gotten to the bags yet…

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have a great weekend, everyone!

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deal of the day: 20% off sale items at shopbop

sigh…i do adore shopbop, but why must they make their sale codes so confusing?  this time around, code BONUS20 is good for an additional 20% off sale items, but only those marked between 30-50% off.  and it’s good from now until thursday night.  

but it’s still 20% off, and it doesn’t look like they artificially inflated the sale prices like last time, so i think it’s worth the hassle.  i’d pick up this gorgeous silk pansy print dress from tucker.  it’s a great summer-to-fall transition piece (i can totally see this with tights and flats in the fall), and would be just about $120 with the discount code.

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