+

Velvet Crush

If a fabric can define a season, this winter it’s velvet. The definition of all things soft, sumptuous, and swank, velvet is no longer just for kings, queens, and theater curtains. No, this year, velvet belongs to us all. And it’s no wonder…is there any other textile more inviting, more elegant, more cocoon-worthy? Look around and you’ll see velvet turning up in shoes–everything from boots to brogues to tennis shoes–velvet handbags, velvet backpacks, velvet sweatshirts, velvet baseball hats, velvet earrings, velvet leggings, velvet jackets and coats, and, of course, velvet dresses. I especially love this rich material turning up in casual items; it’s the cool interplay between high and low and glitzy vs. down to earth. What remains steadfastly regal however are the colors–sapphire blue, forest green, dark, juicy burgundy, persimmon, oh, so airy blue, amber, deep purple, and more.

Green dress in feature photo is by Alexander McQueen. Find it at http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Isa Arfen Notch-lapel crushed-velvet cotton-blend jacket

Isa Arfen Crushed Velvet Blazer. $739.00. http://www.matchesfabric.com.

Single-Breasted Velvet Tailored Jacket

Self-Protrait Single-Breast Velvet Blazer. $545.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Image 7 of VELVET JACKET WITH PASSEMENTERIE from Zara

Image 1 of VELVET JACKET WITH PASSEMENTERIE from Zara

 

Velvet Blazer. $89.90 http://www.zara.com.Image 1 of VELVET FLORAL KIMONO from Zara

Velvet Kimono. $89.90. http://www.zara.com.

Rochas Bow-detail velvet derby shoes

Rochas Velvet Derby Shoes. $583.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

 

Voltaire embroidered velvet clutch bag

Brocade Velvet Clutch by Sanayi 313. $1,332.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Image 1 of HOODED SWEATSHIRT from Zara

Velvet hooded sweatshirt. $25.90. http://www.zara.com.

Racil High Windsor velvet robe

Velvet Robe by Racil. $911.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Image 1 of VELVET KAFTAN WITH BACK EMBROIDERY from Zara

Image 3 of VELVET KAFTAN WITH BACK EMBROIDERY from Zara

Blue Velvet Kaftan with Back Embroidery. $129.00. http://www.zara.com.

Gucci GG Marmont mini quilted-velvet cross-body bag

Velvet Marmont Mini Quilted Velvet Cross-Body Bag by Gucci. $2,700.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Image 1 of VELVET EARRINGS from Zara

Velvet earrings. $15.90. http://www.zara.com.

Sanayi 313 Bambolone knot-embellished velvet slipper shoes

Bambolone Knot-Embellished Slippers by Sanayi 313. $1,067.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Johanna Ortiz Lorca one-shoulder velvet and jersey bodysuit

Johanna Ortiz’s Lorca One-Shoulder Velvet Bodysuit. $955.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Muveil Floral cross-stitch velvet bomber jacket

Muveil’s Velvet Bomber Jacket. $790.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Saint Laurent Velvet City Backpack. $950.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Image 1 of MINI EMBROIDERED VELVET BACKPACK from Zara

Image 2 of MINI EMBROIDERED VELVET BACKPACK from Zara

Mibi Backpack. $39.90. http://www.zara.com.

Martiniano Glove velvet flats

Martiniano Glove Velvet Flats. $435.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Image 1 of VELVET SLINGBACK BROGUES from Zara

Velvet Brogues. $49.90. http://www.zara.com.

Attico Oversized-buckle velvet ankle straps

I love, love, love these oversized-buckle velvet ankle straps from Attico. How cool are they? You just put them with whatever shoes you like. $219.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Serena Bute Contrast-striped straight-leg velvet trousers

Velvet Trousers from Serena Bute. $375.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Image 1 of HIGH WAIST 5-POCKET VELVET JEGGINGS from Zara

Velvet Leggings. $39.90. http://www.zara.com.

Claire One-Button Belted Bonded Velvet Jacket

Rejina Pyo Velvet Blazer. $844.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Loretta Velvet Platform Sandal, Dark Green

Velvet Platform Sandals by Tory Burch. $398.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Image 1 of VELVET HIGH HEEL PLATFORM SANDALS from Zara

Velvet Platform Sandals. $55.90. http://www.zara.com. I bought these!!!!

Image 3 of FLAT VELVET ANKLE BOOTS WITH GEM DETAIL from Zara

Velvet Baseball Cap w/ Fur Pompom & HeartVe

Velvet Cap by Federica Moretti. $375.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Image 1 of VELVET CAP from Zara

Image 1 of VELVET CAP from Zara

Burgundy and Navy Blue Velvet Cap. $19.90. http://www.zara.com.

Maisie Velvet Platform Ankle Boot

Velvet Ankle Boot by Michael Kors. $225.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Moulamax Velvet 85mm Red Sole Boot

Velvet Bootie by Christian Louboutin. $945.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Clinger Stretch-Velvet Mid-Calf Boot

Stuart Weitzman Ankle Boot. $575.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Image 3 of FLAT VELVET ANKLE BOOTS WITH GEM DETAIL from Zara

Velvet boots. $89.90. http://www.zara.com.

Image 4 of VELVET OVER THE KNEE HIGH HEEL BOOTS from Zara

Image 3 of VELVET OVER THE KNEE HIGH HEEL BOOTS from Zara

Velvet Over-the-Knee Boots. $99.90. http://www.zara.com.

+

Seeing Red: Holiday Dresses for 2017

Among the big fashion trends of fall and winter 2017 is the color red. Associated with love, passion, romance, radiance, and anger, it’s a hue that never fails to rouse emotion and captivate. As we near the holidays and in advance of Valentine’s Day (It’s never too early to start dreaming of what to wear), I thought it would be fun to share crimson frocks worthy of the queen of hearts. Who wouldn’t want to wear this passionate hue to a Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holiday soiree? From pomegranate to persimmon to burgundy, ruby, fire-engine red and beyond, it’s a color that warms the heart. And guess what…anyone can wear it. You just need to find the hue that works well with your skin tone and coloring.

The featured dress above is by Cushnie Et Ochs. $1,595.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Off-the-Shoulder Slashed Knit Ruffled Midi Dress

I love the ruffled detailing on this burgundy-hued dress by Jonathan Simkhai. $595.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Jonathan Simkhai Tower tiered-skirt lace dress

Here is another by Jonathan Simkhai that I love. $895.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

 

Zafina Sleeveless V-Neck High-Low Dress

Flamenco anyone? Alexis Zafina dress. $1,144.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Main Image - Shoshanna Boswell High/Low Halter Dress

This one by Shoshanna has a similar look at a lower pricepoint–although, who am I kidding, this is still expensive. $605.00. http://www.nordstrom.com

This mini dress is by MSGM and is $327.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Vivienne Westwood always has the most interesting shapes and really quite reasonable prices. $255.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Borgo De Nor Ines Rose-print ruffle-trimmed crepe dress

 

I love the pattern on this one by Borgo de Nor, the neckline, the ruffles, the sleeves….$702.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

How beautiful is this one by Roksanda. So elegant. $1,106.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Sabina One-Shoulder Velvet Sweetheart Dress

Velvet tis the fabric of the season; it’s showing up in leggings, boots, purses, and in this gorgeous frock from Johanna Ortiz. $1,500.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Image 1 of SKIRT WITH GATHERED SIDES from Zara

This ruffled skirt is available for $89.90 at http://www.zara.com. You can get the matching blouse there too. It is also $89.90.

For those with no budgetary restrictions…this ultimate of red dresses by Prada. $2,050.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.

Pintucked Cold-Shoulder Cocktail Dress

Here is one from Tadashi Shoji. $295.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Incredibly good value…red dress from Ralph Lauren. $130.00. http://www.ralphlauren.com.

Image 1 of FRILLED ASYMMETRIC DRESS from Zara

This dress from Zara is both beautiful and cost-friendly. $49.90. http://www.zara.com.

Main Image - City Chic Textured Treat Fit & Flare Dress (Plus Size)

This fit and flare is for plus-size gals. Find it at Nordstrom for $139.00 http://www.nordstrom.com.

Off-the-Shoulder Fitted Sequin Cocktail Dress

Ever dreamed of wearing sequins? This dress, which I swear would match Dorothy’s ruby shoes, is by Theia. $595.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

 

Here is a less pricey ruffled number. $49.90. http://www.zara.com.

3-Tier-Sleeve Crepe Sheath Cocktail Dress

 

For the more demure, this red wonder by Rickie Freeman for Terri. $540.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Katell Mock-Neck Cold-Shoulder Sheath Cocktail Dress

 

There is so much to love about this Katell Mock-Neck Cold-Shoulder Dress from Alexis. $528.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Main Image - Jay by Jay Godfrey Pema Mermaid Gown

This gown by Jay by Jay Godfrey is incredibly chic. $288.00. http://www.nordstrom.com.

Lily Pad Jacquard & Velvet Midi Dress, Red/Black

And for the queen of hearts, this incredible Lily Pad Dress from Alexander McQueen. 6,245.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

 

+

Fall & Winter Floral Fashion in 2017

It turns out that in fashion, flowers can take root well beyond spring and summer. This winter, florals are quite decidedly in bloom and available in both high-end wares and more reasonably priced frocks. Whether it’s a colorful array of flowers embroidered on an ethereal tulle blouse or the artful spray of petals on a purse, flower power is le dernier cri in fall and winter 2017.

Image 1 of FLORAL PRINT DRESS from Zara

Image 7 of FLORAL PRINT DRESS from Zara

Got good gams? Check out this floral frock from Zara. $69.90. http://www.zara.com.

Gilded Floral Clip-On Earrings

Oscar de la Renta’s Gilded Floral Clip-On Earrings. $265.00. http://www.neiman.marcus.com.

Image 1 of EMBROIDERED TULLE BLOUSE from Zara

Embroidered Tulle Blouse. $39.90. http://www.zara.com.

NMF18_V3KDE

Juliette floral print purse by Tory Burch. 478.00. http://www.neiman.marcus.

 

Image 1 of EMBROIDERED VELVET BUCKET BAG from Zara

Love, love, love this embroidered velvet bucket bag. $59.90. http://www.zara.com.

NMF18_B3WR0

 

Francesco Scognamiglio Ruffle Floral Blouse. $660.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.
Image 1 of PRINTED TOP WITH BOW from Zara
FLoral print blouse from Zara. $39.90. http://www.zara.com.
Haruna Cutout Floral Sandal
Donald Pliner’s Haruna Suede Floral Cutout Sandal. They also come in black. $268.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Image 1 of PATCHWORK PRINT DRESS from Zara
Floral dress from Zara. $69.90. http://www.zara.com.
NMF18_V3FEY
Green grows Gucci’s Sylvie Purse. $2890.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Carlita Off-the-Shoulder Floral-Print Crop Top
Cushnie Et Ochs’ Carlita Off-the-Shoulder Crop Top. $795.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Pik Boat Woman Flat Red Sole Sneaker, Multi
Christian Louboutin Floral-Themed Sneakers. $995.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.
Image 4 of FLORAL FLARED JEANS from Zara
Floral print jeans from Zara. $49.90. www. zara.com.
outfit_1170462
Valentino Floral Dress. $5,900.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.
Image 2 of FLORAL PRINT T-SHIRT from Zara
Floral T from Zara. $19.90. http://www.zara.com.
Image 8 of PRINTED KIMONO from Zara
Printed Kimono from Zara. $69.90. http://www.zara.com.
Dolce & Gabbana Floral-print gathered-skirt cotton-poplin dress
Dolce & Gabbana Poplin Print Dress. $1695.00. http://www.matchesfashion.com.
Image 3 of BEADED CHECKED SHIRT WITH EMBROIDERY from Zara
Checkered Shirt with Floral and Beaded Embroidery. $39.90. http://www.zara.com.
+

Spot On

Tales abound of how the lovely leopard got its spots. Some say the leopard was awarded its spots to better veil its presence while hunting deep within the lush forest; one African tale explains that the spots came from bee stings inflicted on the leopard when he dared to attack Kalulu the Hare, who was under the protection of the Elephant King. The Elephant King had decreed that in his jungle, no one would eat the flesh of others. The spots remind the leopard of his misadventure. However the leopard came to bear its fetching flecks, we can all agree that its luxurious coat offers a most distinctive look.

For years, I have loved the leopard print from afar, never feeling confident enough to wear it and fearing its appeal would prove emphemeral. As time has passed, I have come to realize that the leopard print is a perennial favorite. While some seasons it is worn head to foot and during others only as an accessory–say featured in a purse or scarf–the leopard print never fully fades away.

Because it’s been beckoning me for so long, I have decided that it’s finally time to pull out the ole pocketbook and pull the trigger…figuratively speaking. Here are some of the best leopard-spotted offerings on the market. If you, like me, are ready to go wild for the leopard, you ought to check out my top dots.

The featured photo displays Dolce & Gabbana’s leopard print trench coat. Made of brown silk, it is available for $2,995 at http://www.farfetch.com.

Image 1 of ANIMAL PRINT BLOUSE WITH LACE from Zara

Animal print blouse from Zara. $39.90. http://www.zara.com.

J Crew. $300. http://www.jcrew.com.

Kate Spade slip-on tennis shoes. $110.00. http://www.bloomingdales.com.

Valentino Biker Jacket. $540.00. http://www.farfetch.com.

Leopard Print Bancroft Trench Coat from Pologeorgis. $4,750.00. http://www.pologeorgis.com.

Luna Tassel Earrings

Chico’s Luna Tassel Leopard Print Earrings. $35.00. http://www.chicos.com.

Dolce & Gabbana flamenco leopard print tote

Dolce & Gabbana flamenco leopard print tote

Dolce & Gabbana Leopard Print Purse. $2,395.00. http://www.farfetch.com.

Clare V. Genuine Calf Hair Leopard Print Foldover ClutchMain Image - Clare V. Genuine Calf Hair Leopard Print Foldover Clutch

Genuine Calf Hair Leopard Print Foldover Clutch from Claire V. $295.00. http://www.nordstroms.com.

Main Image - Nordstrom Ella Leather & Genuine Calf Hair Crossbody BagElla Genuine Leather and Calf Crossover Bag. $99.00. http://www.nordstrom.com.

Main Image - Saint Laurent 'Small High School' Genuine Calf Hair & Calfskin Leather Satchel

Yves Saint Laurent Small High School Genuine Calf Hair and Calfskin Leather Satchel. $1,990.00. http://www.nordstrom.com.

Main Image - Michael Kors Large Hamilton Genuine Calf Hair Satchel

Michael Kors. $398.00. http://www.nordstrom.com.

Main Image - KENDALL + KYLIE Mini Sloane Genuine Calf Hair & Leather BackpackSmall leopard print backpack from Kendall + Kylie. $190.00. http://www.nordstrom.com.

Main Image - Vince Camuto Destilly 2 Genuine Calf Hair Bootie (Women)

Vince Camuto Leopard Print Booties. $159.95. http://www.nordstrom.com.

Main Image - Cole Haan Justine Block Heel Pump (Women)

Cole Haan’s Justine Leopard Print Pump. $150.00. http://www.nordstrom.com.

Main Image - Sakroots 'Rhythm' Waterproof Rain Boot (Women)

Rhythm’ Waterproof Rain Boot

SAKROOTS. $54.95. www.nordstrom.com.Main Image - kate spade new york belgrove genuine calf hair mule (Women)

Kate Spade. $298.00. http://www.nordstrom.com.

Main Image - Joe's Sydney Genuine Calf Hair Pointy Toe Mule (Women)

Joe’s Sydney Pointy-Toe Mule. $129.95. http://www.nordstrom.

+

Loafing About

When it comes to classic style, maybe no other item rules the roost as much as leather loafers. Look back to photos of ’60s style icon and ultimate first lady Jackie Kennedy-Onassis and you will find her sporting a pair of these stylish soles.

It’s a look that never goes out of style. One reason for its enduring status is comfort. No other shoe offers up as potent a combination of good looks and good feel.

Today, the loafer is as popular as ever. You find em in every colorway and material. Some have even turned up as mules.

Take a look at my top picks for style, comfort, and price.

From Everlane–a brand fancied by Angelina Jolie–this yummy caramel-hued modern loafer retails currently for $168 at http://www.everlane.com.

Here is one from Asos. $56 http://www.asos.com.

 

Fancy a pointy toe and suede? Check out these lovelies from Lulus. Can’t you picture Lady Diana Spencer in these? She was another lady who knew the importance of style mixed with comfort. $25 http://www.lulus.com.

Want to enliven an outfit with a vibrant burst of color? These green loafers are from H & M. $49 http://www.hm.com.

Check out these lace-less brogues from Etsy. Custom-made, they are certain to attract the right kind of attention. $105 JuliaBoShoes on http://www.etsy.com.

This next pair comes courtesy of Franco Sarto. Available from Lord & Taylor, they come in a trio of hues, including black, navy, and bordeaux (Shown in navy). Currently on sale for $62.30. http://www.lordandtaylor.com.

Check out this lacy pair from Givenchy. $995 http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Two-Tone Floral Lace Derby, Black/White

Leopard-print loafer from Sam Edelman.$140.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

Augustine Low-Heel Fur Slide, Leopard

Michael Kors tasseled loafers. $97. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

 

Callahan Suede Tassel Loafer

Cole Haan Piper Grand Suede. $140.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.Piper Grand Suede Flat Loafer Mule, Black

+

Embracing Color

There is a reason Crayola crayons and jellybeans come in so many colors. Color has the power to stir our imaginations and take us from the moody blues to warm, happy “hue-mors.”

As a child, I was always drawn to color. I remember my grandpa, whom we called Papa, taking me and my brother out for some Saturday “bumming,” as he called it. Bumming was a combination of errand running–getting fresh egg bagels for lunch–and fun–the fun part was when he took us to a hardware store (how many other people were taken to hardware stores as kids and loved them or was it just me and my brother?) or a toy store and let us pick out some new treasure. One Saturday, I came away with a beautiful bright pink ball. I cannot tell you how infatuated I was with my new magenta ball. Apparently some other kid in the neighborhood liked it too because it was nicked from my yard a few days after I got it…

As a grown-up (well, at least on the exterior; the interior still carries the voice and spirit of the child), I lost that playful color lust…especially when I read somewhere that black is slimming. Ever desirous of looking my best, I jumped into the black hole with gusto. Everything I bought was black…black shoes, black purses, black sweaters, black coats…you get the bleak picture. I told myself that black was also the practical choice…an eternal classic that you can never go wrong with. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I believed that one day, when I had a complete wardrobe of basics, I’d go back to color. For years, that day never came, and I remained the women in black.

Today, I crave color. It’s like I’ve been in the desert for a long time, deprived of water. Still a wary wearer of hue, I am slowly dipping my toe in the color pool. What I’m discovering is that color, when worn near my face and neck, enlivens my skin. It’s almost like a mini-face-lift without the huge price tag and all the pain.

Let’s make a pact not to stick in the black rut. I suggest we embrace color…see it as a friend and not a foe. And keep in mind that while you may not look great in a particular shade of a color (for me it’s dusty rose; it completely washes me out), don’t give up on that color overall. Find the shade of pink that looks good on you. I believe that we can all wear the various colors; we just need to find the hue/shade that harmonizes best with our unique skin tone and coloring. I’m even considering pulling out a book of paint colors that I have for my house and standing in the mirror with it to see which swatches flatter my face.

In that spirit, I offer some of the colorful wares that I am currently loving. As always, they are a mix of high and low, pricey and affordable. See what you think, and I’d love to hear about your color stories and woes.

If you are afraid to apply color from head to toe, why not start with a pop on your feet. These fuchsia mules from Zara are just the ticket. $49.90. http://www.zara.com.

Image 1 of MONOCHROME HIGH HEEL MULES from Zara

OK, so I know this hat is black…but check out the bright band. The colors look extra swell against the noir backdrop. From Zara, it’s only $39.90.

Image 4 of CHECKED COAT WITH TEXTURED CUFFS from ZaraWhat about a snuggly scarf of pink and red. $25.90. http://www.zara.com.

GEOMETRIC JACQUARD SCARF

I love these tassel earrings from Oscar de la Renta. You can find them in a range of rainbow hues at Nordstroms for $345.00. But I am also certain, that cheaper knock-offs may be found…try Amazon or Shopstyle.com to find em.

Main Image - Oscar de la Renta 'Classic Short' Tassel Drop Clip Earrings

This crossbody purse from Tory Burch boasts a shade called “Dahlia Pink.” It also comes in green, blue, red, and, of course, black. Love it. $428 at http://www.nordstrom.com.

Main Image - Tory Burch Georgia Quilted Leather Shoulder Bag

OK, so we have dipped a toe in….now let’s jump in for a full body look.

Talk about something that will put you in a sunny mood…check out this waterfall dress from COS. With its flattering neckline and slimming ruffle, its bound to blast away the blues. http://www.cosstores.com.

COS image 1 of Woven waterfall dress in Golden yellow

I’m orange crushing on this lovely tangerine tog from Cushnie et Ochs. I find that the cold-shoulder style looks really good on all…young and old alike. I also love the neckline and the statement sleeves. If you have an ample chest, why not show a little it? You can find it at Neiman Marcus. $1595.00.

 

Aura Ruffled-Frill Cold-Shoulder Halter Silk Crepe Cocktail Dress

Again, back to magenta. Chiara Boni La Petite Robe. Here we combine color and an interesting ruffle at the waist. $695.00. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

 

Agape Boat-Neck Long-Sleeve Peplum Cocktail Dress

What about a blue coat? This faux shearling beauty in an exquisite deep sapphire blue is $149.90 at http://www.zara.com.

Image 1 of DOUBLE-SIDED COAT from Zara

As always, I could go on and on and on….I hope you dare to try out some color this season. I think you’ll find a cherished new friend.

+

For Whom the Bell Tolls

When you are a woman of a certain age…it’s not always a good idea to jump on every style trend. For instance, not too many of us fifty-somethings could pull off a romper–if you can, more power to ya and you should go for it.

One trend that works well for young and old, curvy and not so curvy alike is the bell sleeve. Anyone can wear it and wear it well. And actually, at this point, the bell sleeve has become something of a classic. Sophisticated and statement-making, it’s been hanging around for the last couple of seasons and shows no signs of disappearing.

Right now, you can find bell sleeves on everything from blouses to t-shirts to dresses, jackets, and coats. The great news is that not only do options abound, they abound in every price point. So no matter how tight your budget, you too can get some beautiful bells.

Check out my curated collection below.

The bell of the ball. No one does bell sleeves better than Roksanda. This lovely number retails for $1295 on http://www.stylebop.com.

 

Sheath Dress with Bow Sleeves | Roksanda

 

Check out the one below from Bagley Mischka. It’s $495 at Neiman Marcus. http://www.neimanmarcus.com.

 

Funnel-Collar Bell-Sleeve Sheath Crepe Cocktail Dress

 

I adore this gossamer belled blouse from Alice and Olivia. Find it at Bloomingdales for $440. http://www.bloomingdales.com.

pdpImgShortDescription

 

Here’s an incredibly versatile and affordable bell-sleeved blazer from Zara. $49. www.zara.com/us.

Image 1 of BLAZER WITH BELL SLEEVES from Zara

What’s not to like about this wedgewood blue number by Aqua. $228 at Bloomingdales.

pdpImgShortDescription

 

 

 

Need a little color. Look no further than this sweet dress from Milly. $425 at Bloomingdales. Milly also makes blouses with bells.

 

 

pdpImgShortDescription

How fetching is this yellow dress from Solace London. $675 at Neiman Marcus.

Ami Mock-Neck Bell-Sleeve Fitted Midi Dress

Ami Mock-Neck Bell-Sleeve Fitted Midi Dress

Black Halo’s version. $325 at Neiman Marcus.

Lorie 3/4 Bell-Sleeve Minidress, Agave Green

Even Herve Leger has got in on the act…$1490 Neiman Marcus.

Cold-Shoulder Bell-Sleeve Dress

 

Bell top from Milly. $375 at Bloomingdales. Love the white lining.

pdpImgShortDescription

 

If money is no object…this cowl neck from Brandon Maxwell is divine. $1995.00 at Neiman Marcus.

Cowl-Neck Bell-Sleeve Sweater, Plum

 

Why you can even get it in fur…from Adrienne Landau. $1895 at Neiman Marcus.

 

Knit Fur Bell-Sleeve Poncho, Brown

Another uber-affordable bell option from Zara. $35.90.

 

Image 1 of TOP WITH BOW DETAIL from Zara

It’s not hard to find something belled to love. I think that blazer from Zara is a no brainer. And if the money gods are kind to me one of these months, I may also go for that splendid red blouse from Alice and Olivia.

Fur and Faux Fur Stoles for Winter 2017

Every year, come holiday party time, I find myself wishing that I had a sumptuous and fetching stole to envelop myself in when temperatures drop. This year, I am going to take the big leap and actually purchase one. But before I do, I want to ensure that the one I pick is going to fulfill all my winter dreams.

It’s got to be highly versatile because I want to be able to wear it with my existing black Burberry trench coat, which is on the formal side, as well as my more casual black leather jacket. I am also hoping to pair it with gray and black maxi cardigans that I often wear with jeans in the winter. And finally, it also has to look smart when worn over a formal holiday dress because  A. one of the annual parties that I always attend (actually, it’s the only formal holiday fete that I normally attend) has cocktails and hors d’oeuvres out on a patio where wood-burning fireplaces and heaters keep the space toasty (I live in Phoenix, Arizona, so while it gets chilly, it’s never below zero and rarely is there any snow to content with) and B. I hope to wear it with either a swanky pantsuit or dress when I go to see The Nutcracker (I love this holiday tradition; it is one of the events that most puts me in a magical, merry state of mind…well, that, and perhaps a steaming mug or two of mulled wine, a glass of champagne, one of those delicious cranberry bars from Starbucks, I could go on).

Because I am practical–at least when buying an initial item that my wardrobe lacks–I’m going to stick to a classic color. For me, something in a shade of gray will provide enough contrast against the black backdrops of my outerwear so that the fur will actually be seen and really pop. I am also hoping that the lighter hue will work well with my olive skin tone. But if you already have a practical stole, why not go for a more energetic hue say ruby red, royal blue, deep purple, or jade green?

If you are also in the mood this year for a fur stole, check out the ones that caught my attention.

Fox Fur Stole from Macy’s Fur Vault. OMG! I love this one. It’s currently on sale for $1816.50. So this one is on the pricey side, but wow…wouldn’t that look fantastic.

Here is one that I also really love. This one is from Saks Fifth Avenue, where it is currently on sale for $555. Obviously it looks delicious with a black turtleneck, and I can totally see it working beautifully with both my trench coat and leather biker jacket. This one is a contender for me.

The Fur Salon Fox Fur Stole

Here is a colorful arctic fox fur stole from Marni. I actually do like it over the pale blue coat. You can find it at Barney’s for $3290.00.

Marni Fur Stole - Scarves - 504594451

The one below hails from Carolyn Rowan. Composed of mink and featuring Swarovski crystals, it is available for  $11,000 at Neiman Marcus. It comes in blue, navy (shown), and black.

Swarovski® Crystal Beaded Mink Fur Stole

By Oscar de la Renta, this wrap features a wave pattern of black and honey-hued fox fur. $4250.00. A girl can dream….

Wave-Pattern Fox Fur Stole

Now here is a real contender or me–a Mongolian fur scarf. It has all the fluff and frill that I am dreaming of and the price is actually somewhat doable…$675 at Barney’s. I know that this is something that I would wear for years to come….I’m in Mongolian fur love.

Barneys New York Mongolian Fur Scarf - Scarves - 504069422

OK, so we’ve investigated real fur options. Now, let’s look at faux fur possibilities. These are wonderful because they are kinder to our animal friends and to our pocketbooks. I also think that the faux fur that’s out there has really improved in quality over the years. It looks real and costs a fraction of the price of real fur.

This gray one is from Karen Miller. It sells for 130 pounds (British).

Karen Millen, FAUX FUR STOLE Neutral 0

Check out this lovely rich blue and black one from Bloomingdales. It’s only $68! This is one that I would consider as an additional option…after I buy the more practical gray-colored stole.

 

pdpImgShortDescriptionIf you like red and enjoy making a grand entrance, why not go for this long, lovely stole scarf from Helmut Lang. Find it at Bergdorf Goodman. $265.

Faux-Fur Long Stole Scarf

I hope this smattering of stoles inspires you and gets you thinking about your winter wish list.

+

The Classic Safari Jacket

Whether you like or dislike Donald Trump, you gotta give props to his wife, Melania, for having stellar taste. One of her favorite looks is the safari jacket. Just this past week, she wore one in black and another in khaki–the good-looking, highly functional jacket worked well for her as she traveled to Texas for Hurricane Harvey and later to Florida for Hurricane Irma.

The iconic style jacket has been around since around 1860. It first surfaced in the late-nineteenth century as part of the British military uniform in the tropics. Fabricated of cotton and outfitted with pockets, buttons, epaulets, and a belt, it made a style statement from day one.

Starting in 1900, men of the upper crust made the safari jacket a must-have item for hunting, exploring, and other outdoor activities.

By 1940, actors–including some females–and writers were sporting the style. Among the wearers were Grace Kelly and Ernest Hemingway.

In the ’60s, Yves Saint Laurent designed his own take on the safari jacket.

Today, the safari jacket is a classic piece that I believe deserves a place in everyone’s wardrobe. Available in casual forms–soft cottons–as well as more tailored, formal versions in wool, it looks sharp either way. Take a look at some of my top picks.

Here is a classic one in army green from Veronica Beard. Note how this could be dressed up or down.

$595. http://www.veronicabeard.com.

 

Here’s one in a camo fabric from Berretta. I love the belt and collar. It’s currently on sale for 455 pounds. http://estore.beretta.com

 

 

 Here is a tailored wool version from Marc Jacobs. It’s on sale for $900. http://www.matchesfashion.com.
Here is a more affordable, casual cotton version from Lord and Taylor. $76.
This one from TravelSmith comes in a lighter shade. An added bonus, it won’t wrinkle.
$96. www.travelsmith.com.
pdpImgShortDescriptionThis one is Velvet by Graham & Spencer. I found it at Bloomingdales online for $148.
Here’s another casual take on the iconic safari from Free People. $103.
Safari Jacket
This tan one is by Pendleton and is currently on sale for $76.
Excelled Belted Suede JacketHere is a suede version for an unbelievable $100. You can find it at Burlington Coat Factory. It also comes in black and tan.

Birth of a Fashionista

Hello fellow fashionistas and beautynistas! I started this blog as an outlet for my infinite love of all things sartorial and beauty based. My belief is that cultivating one’s garden means looking and feeling as good as you can, exercising your mind by reading and learning new skills (throughout life), opening your mind through meeting others and traveling to new places, and loving those close to you with wild abandon.

One message I want to put out there is that for me, beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors. I have heard too much body shaming in my lifetime. As a former ballet dancer, I was surrounded by people with eating disorders; they would share their secrets for staying reed thin–namely bulimia. Sadly, when I first learned of this at age thirteen from another dancer who had returned to class after the summer much thinner, it sounded like a good idea. Thank God, I was unable to do it…I found out later that the girls who did had destroyed the enamel on their teeth and had burn marks inside their mouths from stomach acid.

Today, my view today is that a healthy, well-fueled body is the way to go. Personally, I want to feed my brain, nurture my skin, and stay as vigorous as I can for as long as I can. A beautiful outfit on top is the icing and confetti on the cake.

My love of clothes goes way back. I am pretty sure it all started with my mom and her mom. They both loved clothes and had a sense of style throughout their lives. I remember intently watching my mother get ready for special events. First came the makeup; then the gorgeous outfit, earrings, shoes, and purse; and finally, the spritz of perfume. To me, my mom was the most beautiful woman on the planet, something of a fairy godmother or Glinda, the Good Witch, from the Wizard of Oz. My mom filled her closet, half of mine, half of my brother’s, and a full closet downstairs with all her lovely wares. There was the persimmon-colored Calvin Klein wool coat with its thick belt, the purple wool skirt and cape suit that she wore with purple suede boots, and the cork- heeled platform sandals with red and navy woven leather tops.

Despite having two clotheshorses in my life and admiring their beauty, I was a bit of a tomboy and did not have a natural eye for style. When I was 16, I got a job in a clothing store. Most of my new monies ended right back in the store’s hands as I tried to cultivate a sense of style. It wasn’t until I traveled to France at the age of 21 for a summer study program with Marquette that I realized how out of touch and style I truly was. Suddenly my pink pants and matching pink sweater weren’t looking so good. Not only were the Parisians–all of them…not kidding–incredibly stylish, so were some of the other students on the trip. One of them had an incredibly workable wardrobe. She seemed to always have just the right outfit to wear for the occasion whether it was touring the Louvre or having a pique-nique on the grounds of a chateau in Limoges. I watched her blend in effortlessly with the chic French and, dare I say, envied her sense of style. Ever since, I have been reading all I can about fashion and designers and how to put together a really smart outfit. I am, as always, a work in progress. My belief is that I will always be a work in progress…until the day I die. I think that if you think you’ve arrived at the height of knowledge, you are shutting your mind down to the many more lessons that are likely out there. So here is to sharing my sartorial journey with you and you sharing your experiences with me. Together, we can grow in leaps and bounds…of this, I am sure.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: