Tag Archives: zara

all in the details: grey mixed-media clutch

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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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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fall boot covets, part one

I thought I’d just be honest right there in the title, since you know this is going to be a fearfully long list by October.

Fall boots…I can’t get enough. Since I fulfilled the “need” on my boot list (black riding boots) at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, it’s time to buckle down and pick a fun pair to get me through the bleak winter months ahead. I’ve been imagining myself with the Rag & Bone Durham for so long, I’m sort of surprised they haven’t magically appeared in my closet, a la The Secret-slash-Field of Dreams.

Durham in grey or brown, $525

But, since they haven’t, and since I’m going to have to hem and haw for another few months (most likely until they’re sold out) before I’m willing to shell out $525 for them, I’m trying to move on to a new love.

What do you all think about studded boots?

I know, I’m a skeptic. I’m the least edgy girl I know, for starters. I’m also over 30. Both of these facts should immediately disqualify me from owning studded anything. But I have such a bizarre fascination with these Chloe Susanna boots…

1 / 2 / 3 / 4

Give them a minute. They’ll grow on you…like those hidden-picture posters from the ’80s (which I never could master). Which they’ll need to do if you’re going to spend $1,300 on them. Anyway, they’re hands-down the “boot of the season” if you ask a fashion editor (or if you check Zara and Topshop for knockoffs, which is the surest sign of “it” status). Ahem:

Alvin, Topshop, $180 / Ankle boot, Zara, $189 / Pete, Laurence Dacade, $397 (not really knockoffs, but still good.)

I could find more, but I’m lazy. They’re all cute, but honestly…am I going to wear those to bop over to Target? Probs not. But! I’m thinking I may have found the perfect middle ground. What do you think of these?

Amplify studded boots, Topshop, $160

It’s like the Chloe boots and the Rag & Bone boots had a little drunken-prom-night romp in the dressing room at Topshop. Still a little edgy for me, but I’m thinking maybe these are subtle enough to try. Hey, even Hermes puts studs on things…there must be a way to make them classy.

What do you think? Can a preppy girl ever pull off studs?

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all in the details: geometric statements!

{Editor’s Note: Oh, summer…the only time of the year I’d even consider trying to pull off this stunning statement-maker. Thanks for making me dream big, Kate!}

Bold necklaces are one of the easiest ways to transform an outfit, and a great way to add saturated pops of colour.  If you can find a reasonably priced trendy necklace, it makes appearing pulled together and completely contemporary an absolute breeze.  Geometry, a touch of tribal, and concentrated pastels all come together in this particular necklace from Zara.

Necklace with Coloured Geometric Panels, Zara, $20

It’s easy to overdo the feminine vibe in summer, so the slight touch of edginess in this necklace is a great counterpoint, and the fresh seasonal colours keep it current. It’s an excellent “no-thought” piece. You could even accessorize with just this, and let earrings, bracelets, and the rest of the works be completely optional (…not that I’d ever be caught advocating for that…). Given the colours, length of the necklace, and size of the piece, though bold, it’s not going to look the same on everyone. There are a phenomenal number of ways to style this that move from day to night, and casual to corporate.

Black Blazer, Zara, $80 / Molly Mid-Rise Jeans, Mavi, $55 / Denim Shirt, Lands’ End, $40

Since white jeans are such a summer staple (the finer points of which were discussed by our dear editor not long ago), this week’s foundation uses those as a base. What works about using this as a foundation to your outfit is that they balance out the necklace as opposed to either one taking centre stage. Paired either with a black blazer (this particular one from Zara has a little stretch and is great for summer) and white tee for a more polished look, or a classic denim shirt, the jeans can really take on your own personal style. Either option gives off that cool and confident vibe, letting the necklace speak volumes without competing with the other components of your outfit.

Ball Studs, Ralph Lauren, $24 / Ball & Chain Bracelet, Carol Marie, $58 / Woven Hobo, Sondra Roberts, $268 / Kimry Wedge, Cole Haan, $198 / Achilees, Steve Madden, $60

I know I said you could get away with absolutely no other accessories, but I wouldn’t be living up to my job as a details junkie if I didn’t include at least a few picks.  Add oversized silver bead studs, a coral lip, and a bold but refined brushed silver bracelet that echoes the chain and bead detail of the necklace. Shoes should be of the black, strappy, and full of attitude variety, whether you go with a flat gladiator or something with a bit of a heel. Add a casual black hobo bag, and easy summer waves in your hair, and nonchalance might just become your middle name.

This week is about balance, about adding striking details to classic pieces. As always, it’s all in the details.  ~Kate

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off the rack: zara basic T

I recently indulged in a pretty serious Zara shopping spree – perhaps you saw the purple pants debate over on Facebook? Well, the pants are going back, as I realized they were quickly going from sleek to sleepwear once they’d been worn for a few minutes. And so is this jacket, though I’m utterly in love with it (if you’re flat-chested, please, please buy one. It’s fantastic.). But what stayed was this striped linen tee:

I already have one in another color, and it’s a favorite. I’ve had a devil of a time tracking down a striped tee without a boatneck collar (so unflattering on broad-shouldered girls like me). The linen is much, much lighter than that wonderful Eileen Fisher tee…but it’s also $20, so there’s that. I picked one up in black as well, and that one was a bust…the sheer, nubby linen just didn’t work in a dark color. But this stripe will be perfect for no-brainer summer style.

Just take my advice and use a needle and thread to go all the way around those folded cuffs and tack them down while it’s still new. Once you wash it, there’s no recovering.

Have you come across any fabulous finds so far this summer?

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sunshine on my soles: the best spring sandals so far

I’m jumping the gun, I know, but the sun is finally out today in Portland! Who can say how long it’ll last, but for today, I’m dreaming of a closet filled with pretty new spring sandals. Since I am generally loathe to spend big bucks on summer shoes, you’ll find some pretty fantastic cheap thrills mixed in here (along with one splurge so lovely, it’s the exception that proves the rule).

1. ASOS Field Trip, $29 / 2. Topshop Hunt, $50 / 3. Zara strappy sandal, $50 /
4. ASOS Fearne, $36 / 5. Loeffler Randall Fawn, $295

I think I’ve let all this sunshine go to my head…would you look at all that color?! Truly, though, if you’re going to go bold with color, footwear (and, for that matter, toe polish) is the perfect place to start.

On a related note, an open letter to Zara and ASOS: start offering your pretty, pretty shoes in size 11. Please. You’re killing me!

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resolved: branching out

So, we’ve talked about beauty resolutions and splurge-y resolutions. But what about a resolution that (at least on its face) won’t cost you a cent? I’m talking about a fashion resolution…one that’s built to help you look your best in 2012 with only a minimum of effort.

Every year, I make a fashion resolution for myself. Just a little something to help me step out of the same old sartorial box, so to speak. My first fashion resolution was to wear more scarves. They’d always felt daunting to me – like I didn’t have that effortless something that consummate scarf-wearers you see out in the world (mostly in Paris) seem to have. But they bring so much color and style to a look, plus they’re just gorgeous to look at. So, I committed to spending a year getting to know scarves. And by the end of that year, I had a healthy new scarf collection (and a mild obsession with Epice). But I also had something less tangible: no more scarf-related anxiety. And that, it turns out, is exactly what that “effortless something” was. Scarf-wearing people just do it. Throw them on without a care, without worrying too much about matching or tying or perfecting, et voila.

The next year it was ankle boots. I hadn’t owned a single pair, but I was intent. And now? Total short boot aficionado – it’s an illness, really. And then, last year was jewelry. Sure enough, by the end of 2011, not only had my jewelry box expanded considerably, but I actually taught myself (well, with the help of certain talented friends) to make a few pieces on my own, which has proven to be immensely satisfying, in that “Told you I could do it” sort of way.

The key is to keep it small, and specific. Pick one particular thing you’d like to do better in your sartorial life, and decide to make it happen. Are you envious of a friend who always has the most stunningly creative up-dos in her hair (Kim Brandt, our style-savvy new columnist is one such person for me)? Commit to wearing your hair up more in 2012. Are scarves still scary for you? Trust me – they’re not. Resolve to give it a try.

As for me, my BFF has mentioned on more than one occasion that I might be a little too reliant on denim in my wardrobe (I believe her exact words were something like “I can’t remember the last time I saw you wear something other than jeans.”). My initial reaction was that she should be glad I wear anything other than a ratty tee and yoga pants, given the fact that I work from home 90% of the time. Plus, the chasm between denim and work-ready trousers is deep, and mighty hard to traverse (khakis? cropped skinnies?). But after the initial defensiveness wore off, I gave it some more thought. Why not branch out a bit? Sure, denim is wonderful, and I have no intention of banning it from my closet. But maybe I could try a few alternatives, and see what happens. It’s worth a shot, surely.

All this to say that 2012 may well be the year of the pant. A few ideas that are already brewing in my head:

{Options from: Zara / Sonia Rykiel / Zara again / Tory Burch / More Tory Burch}

(Do you like how I used the fancy graphic to turn this into an “Official Resolution”? Mind games – I tell you, they work.)

I’ll keep you posted on this little experiment, naturally. But in the meantime, are there any fashion resolutions you’re thinking of undertaking? The “Year of the Tiara” perhaps?

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entertaining in style

Today’s guest is Connie, the wonder woman behind The Daily Obsession. TDO is one of the first blogs I ever read religiously – I loved it so much, I was an editor there for years. Connie is always impeccably dressed, knows the perfect gift for any occasion, and can instantly make anyone feel at ease. It’s no wonder she’s our expert on how to entertain with style.

Thanks for being patient, friends…I’ll be back Monday morning, with bells on!


With the upcoming holidays, many of us will be turning into hostesses and entertaining up a storm! To save myself a lot of last-minute stress, I have a checklist of items to track down now, so I’m fully prepared when the festivities begin.

Let’s start with fashion! Dressing when you’re a hostess can be a bit of a challenge. Between moving through the kitchen and re-filling everyone’s wine glasses – not to mention probably not having enough time to get truly decked out before guests arrive – the key is to keep it basic, easy and flattering.

Made of soft, comfortable jersey, this Diane von Furstenberg dress fits the bill. It’s got a sexy scoop in the back, and ruching around the waist – perfect if you accidentally overindulge. Most importantly, it’s going to be easy to thrown on last minute and make you feel great all night. Simply throw on some fun accessories – like a statement necklace from Elva Fields and a pair of festive heels (love this glittery version from Zara!).  Plus, you can easily wear this dress beyond the holiday season, and who doesn’t love that?

For the home, it’s nice to pick some special items to make entertaining a bit more fun and again, easier! Start with a classic serving tray. Whether it’s sleek or rustic, it will make your life a lot easier when you need to cart dishes – from appetitizers to the post-dinner clean up.

If you’re planning on having a cocktail/drink station where guests can refill drinks at their leisure, make sure to set out an ice bucket and a cocktail shaker, along with simple glasses. Plus, your guests won’t be able to resist shaking up their favorite cocktail in these gorgeous shiny Nick Munro designs.

Along with dessert, coffee or tea service is a must for any party, so pick out beautiful new versions to ensure every guest will be impressed. Our favorites? This festive red Stelton Coffee Press is just the thing for the holiday season. For tea lovers, it doesn’t get prettier than the New Norm Kettle Teapot, and its clever built-in tea egg ensures your tea will never over-steep.

However you entertain this season, be sure you keep it casual and cozy – if you’re relaxed and stylish, your guests will be as well. Happy holidays! — Connie

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