Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Working Girls

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, 1977 at Viking Press offices

Gloria Steinem, 1983, at the Ms. office

Olympia Snowe, 1977,  at the Maine State Legislature

Three fabulous examples of style and substance at work. All three, pioneers who didn't feel the need to look like a man to win in a man's world. Thank heavens. There is something about this era and the emerging force of women in the workplace that still inspires today. That is, the 70s through early 80s, pre-giant shoulder pads and all things excess. Particularly inspiring are women like these three powerhouses that defied narrow definition: they wrote their own rules on all fronts. Their power comes from the combination of 'all this and brains'. It is curious, though, that for these three highly successful women, each with very different points of view and chosen career paths, it seems their style was besides the point. And yet, their style is such an essential part of what makes them stand out, even today. In fact, it is their particular combination of bold decisions and talents, style included, that makes us believe they, and ergo we, actually could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, but never let you forget...well, you know the rest. 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/Time Life Images/Getty Images; Gloria Steinem photo by Marianne Barcellona; Olympia Snowe photo care of Snowe.Senate.gov.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Take Me Away

"Prim and proper in the Montego Bay style" is how designer Duro Olowu describes his Spring 2012 collection. For those inclined towards bold prints, long 70s silhouettes and, above all, sleeves, there's a lot to love about this particular look. Like an instant island getaway. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Yes We Can-Can

What's a modern gal to wear: hose or no hose? Or, more importantly, which hose? Definitely a puzzler, the answer to which is much easier in the summer, when a bare leg is the best option. 

But what if you work in a climate-controlled, or just plain conservative-climate office?  Then what? Opaque? Middleton-girl Royal Palace protocol sheers? Or just give up and stick to pants? 

There are exceptions to any rule, most of all style rules. Let's instead call these considerations. Times and circumstances change and with that, so too will what looks right on any leg.
  • Avoid the chopping block.  The main principle for what to wear on your legs is to keep them looking as long and lean as possible. Keep the color on your legs as close to the color on your shoe and/or your skirt or dress as you can.
  • Except on purpose.  Intentionally playing with color blocking can be a fun pop. For example, wearing a fuchsia opaque tight with an otherwise neutral outfit, like a camel dress.  But stick to just one flash of bright color and keep the rest of your look fairly tone-on-tone.  
  • Opaque or sheer? After a two decade slumber, sheer hose is enjoying a resurgence care of the Middleton sisters, Pippa and the now Duchess Kate. Mostly because the Queen says they have to. Some other corporate dress code standards still say so too. But sheers are tough to pull off. They can be a quick ticket to a matronly look. Ideally, it should be hard to tell whether you are wearing any hose at all, except for the presence of an ever so slight shimmer on your gams. Think of it as an ever so slight airbrushing, never an orange-hued spray tan.
  • Patterned or not? Again, think of the role of the tights in your outfit. Patterned or, preferably, textured tights can add interest, dimension and whimsy to an otherwise monochrome or classic look. Anything sparkly will draw the eye and look larger - make sure that you want the focus on your legs. Avoid a lighter leg than the rest of your outfit or you risk looking like you're late for your nursing shift circa 1982.
  • Is going bare legged in winter ever okay? Go by the temperature, not the calendar (see previous post). Or by how much you can stand the dash from curbside to the party entrance. Does it look good? Yes, but definitely not worth it if it means getting pneumonia. Nothing is, really. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pop Goes The Satchel

A marvelous update on a highly classic leather satchel. The old-school design combined with fluorescent colors, metallics and even patent finishes is a stroke of genius. Although one doesn't have to actually attend Cambridge University to tote these gems, they certainly inspire an extra trip to the library. 

Read more about The Cambridge Satchel Company story from Fashionista.com. 
Shown - The Batchel

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Marmalade Skies

Winter's just begun and we're already dreaming of spring. Escapism? Definitely. This particular shade of orange is so refreshing. Especially on such highly flattering silhouettes, for day and evening. Now, just picture yourself in a boat on a river...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Color Is Your Parachute?

Just because the weather is bleak, doesn't mean your wardrobe has to be. Fight off the gloom of winter and have a little fun with color. Playing against type, these lighter and brighter hues can soften the otherwise abrupt landing into freezing temps. 

An unexpected choice like this marigold warms up your look, and the whole room. To avoid the choppy effect of high contrast, keep it tonal. Here the gold shoe, barely-so yellow hose and matching coat maintain the flow from head to toe. A more sophisticated look and also lengthening.  

This lavender ensemble is a very counter-intuitive color choice for fall, but all the power to you for it.

Keeping on the lighter side of things, sometimes the most dramatic color is no color at all. Instead of funereal black, you can achieve the same neutral, monochrome effect. But you will stand out from the crowd without looking like you are trying too hard.

Beyond the usual suspects of camel, ivory, beige, taupes and metallics, some of my current favorites include 'greige' (grey-beige) and blush pink. These soft, barely-there color inflections are flattering too, since they let you stand out behind the understatement.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Horsing Around

Autumn fashion seems to always include a dose of equestrian-inspired pieces. Every year. And I love the sporty romance of it all. Except, that is, the actual riding of horses part. To me, sadly, that is sheer terror. I'd rather keep my riding-boot-clad feet firmly on the ground. But that's the beauty of inspiration, isn't it?  The resulting execution doesn't have to be literal. Thank goodness.

J Crew Hacking jacket, Asos midi skirt with equestrian print, Burberry Bridle leather riding boot.