This post is a tip of the hat to European styling and designers. As I write this, I realize there’s a lot to talk about when you think about American vs European designers and the different approach to design and style. Hmm, I’m thinking this could be the topic of another blog post, but I digress.
This very simple outfit shown is a little bit outside of my comfort zone in that the top is flowy (where I usually prefer more fitted clothing) and the shoes are lug soles, which I’ve blogged about before (and a little higher than I would choose for every day wear). It’s a casual outfit, yet it has some details that make it more stylized.
I gravitated towards this top because it’s navy and because it’s soft, made of silk. It’s also not plain, having some raw edging and tie-dye detailing which I like. The back has a keyhole button and loop closure and the slightly elasticized hem is a separate piece of fabric with more subtle tie-dye detailing along the seam. I paired it with classic white pants because I liked the contrast with the blue. This top is by Repeat Cashmere, a 40 year old clothing company based in Holland that I was familiar with because I love their winter sweaters and cotton blazers. Continue reading →
Lug-soled fashion shoes have been around for the last couple of years and for good reason: they’re sturdy, comfortable, and now come in many styles and options. According to The Free Dictionary, a lug sole is ‘a thick rubber sole with deep indentations that improve the stability and traction of utility footwear such as work boots’. Lug soles are common on hiking boots and other utility shoes but are a big part of the fashion scene now. You can find them on dressy as well as casual shoes, from boots to ballet flats.
I only recently jumped on this trend because I’ve seen them in all the shoe stores and they looked comfortable as well as fashionable. Not something I would normally wear, I decided to try these lug-soled shoes to add a little glamour to my favorite jean outfits. They’re growing on me! I’d also wear these with tights and a skirt or a dress, and I’d wear them with a dressy pant.
The lug-soled pair in this post is made of lightweight rubber, is very easy to wear, and puts a fun twist on a classic leather wing-tip loafer. With the fringe and buckle, it’s a bit dressy and feminine. From above, they look like a regular shoe, but the lug soles extend the perimeter of the shoe just a bit and give it a casual flare. The indentations in the sole provide traction and security when walking. And, the heel is graduated slightly to give an element of ‘high-heeled’ fashion – perfect for me because I’m petite. Continue reading →
It’s summer and wearing white jeans seems, well, so obvious. But, this wasn’t the case for me until last summer. I used to think white jeans were impractical, meaning hard to keep clean and just too ‘fancy’ for every day wear.
Well, I was wrong because I’ve practically lived in white jeans for the past two summers. Here are a few reasons why:
White jeans just spell summer. What comes to mind are photos of people boating and walking along the beach, wearing white jeans with navy tops, striped tops, boat shoes, running shoes, etc. You get the picture.
Note that when I say white jeans, I mean white jeans, not white pants. What I like about white denim is that it’s thicker than linen or other cotton pants, giving the pants a sturdier feel. You don’t have to worry about ripping or snagging the jeans because of their thicker material. Plus, you don’t have to worry about them being as delicate or as see-through as linen or thin cotton pants.
For those of you who know me well, you know I don’t wear a lot of dresses. There’s a simple reason: when I got my first job and wore skirts, I would rip the pantyhose on the bottom of my desk and I was always buying new ones. Another reason is that I just feel more comfortable in pants. When I shop, though, I take a quick look at dresses and sometimes I even buy one!
This dress is from Marc Cain, one of my favorite European designers. Based in Germany, Marc Cain has a reputation for stylish and on-trend clothing that is made of quality fabrics. In particular, most of their t-shirts and jersey cardigans are made of 94% cotton and 6% elastane. This finely woven cotton fabric washes and wears well. Marc Cain makes their clothes to last and look good for years.
Close-up of pleather along faux pocket
Close-up of large stitch on dress
When I first saw this in the window, I noticed the cotton top for which Marc Cain is famous. Even though the cotton/polyester bottom of the dress has an A-line silhouette, it still manages to be slim-like and figure-hugging. Marc Cain also added pleather patent accents on the skirt to make it look like there are pockets. And, there’s top-stitching along the hem and front of the dress that make this plain dress look more tailored. It’s these little touches that Marc Cain does really well.
There is something about mesh clothing that I’ve always liked. It’s sexy while trying to appear conservative. It’s interesting to the eye. Long sleeved pieces appear lighter with mesh. And, it feels cool and breathable to wear. By mesh, I mean clothing made of material that is see-through, finely woven, or netted. You see a lot of it in stores and in magazines. Take a look:
Bailey 44 @ Bloomingdales
Cynthia Steffe @ Neiman Marcus
I own a few pieces of mesh clothing, some more see-through than others. For this post, published on one of the warmest November days we are seeing in Toronto, I am wearing a navy woven cotton sweater with mesh inserts in the yolk and sleeves and down the center of the back. No jacket required. This sweater and mesh detailing are perfect for days like today.
Monochromatic dressing, or dressing in colors and hues that are very similar, keeps cropping up on the runways. Both InStyle magazine and The Globe and Mailhave covered this trend for fall.
It’s pretty easy to pull off this trend by choosing a color that you like and that looks good on you, then finding items in the same hue or tone. Of course, you can break up the look with a color very close to the one you have chosen, or a neutral, like I did in the feature image.
I like monochromatic dressing for a few reasons. It’s relatively easy to find items that are the same color, especially if you purchase them from the same store or designer or go through your closet looking for that one color. Also, wearing one color palette gives an outfit a look of elegance and style. The outfit feels simple because the color flows from one part of the outfit to the other. It is also sophisticated because it can indicate a certain effort has gone into putting together the outfit to make a statement. People notice when you are wearing one color!
Altuzarra at Vogue.com
Brunello Cucinelli at Vogue.com
Elie Tahari at Vogue.com
In the photos below, I am wearing a khaki blazer, with a tank top in the same color. When you choose pieces from the same designer, monochromatic dressing is that much easier. The blazer has two textures, a smooth twill in the body of the jacket, and a ribbed t-shirt fabric in the sleeves. The tank top is made of the same fine ribbed cotton as the jacket sleeves. You give interest to your look when you mix textures within the same color. The statement necklace, another way to add interest to mono-color dressing, is brushed nickel and is in the same tone as the rest of the outfit. To tie it all together, even though there are white pants featured, the shoes are khaki/taupe toned and the bag is in the same color family.
Photo: Lauren R
Photo: Lauren R
Photo: Lauren R
Photo: Lauren R
So, I thought I would sneak in this one last summer-styled post, even though Fall officially arrived early this morning. When you live in Toronto and the weather is still summer-like in late September, you just go with it!
Let me know if you have a favorite monochromatic look, and…stay tuned for a fall/winter post as well.