Thursday, September 27, 2012

Castles Made of Sand (Cotton)

I don't know why, but my outfits for this week all conjure up songs from the soundtrack of my life. The Anthropologie Flora Fortress skirt which I am wearing today brings to mind Jimi hHendrix's famous "Castles Made of Sand." The reason for this is if you look real hard, you will see tiny sketched castles on the lower half of the skirt. Overall, I think this is a great skirt due to the fact that it mixes together a potpourri of fabulous prints. You wouldn't think these prints would go together, but somehow it create a gorgeous collage of fabric!

I bought this skirt this August with my birthday promo. I ended up getting a size 4 in this skirt. I actually contemplated going bigger only because that is often what I do with short skirts to get them to sit lower on my hips, thus adding a little length. I love this skirt, but I wish it was an inch or two longer for taller girls such as myself. I am almost 5' 9" for reference and skirts like this tend to look a little short, especially for work. I think this will be a great fall/winter skirt to pair with tights and boots. I look forward to showing you all how I restyle it when the weather gets cooler.

I thought for this rather hot summer day I would pair the skirt with the J. Crew Indian Voile boy shirt. I picked this shirt up during a summer sale at J. Crew. It is a size 0 which fits just fine. The boy shirts from J.Crew always run big, I probably could take a size 00. Actually I bought the cute silk boy shirt from J. Crew with all of the hens on it last weekend in size 00.

Here is close up of the skirt with all its brilliant details. You can see the castle, roses, and abstract detailing which makes this skirt a winner in my book. While castles made of sand may fall into the sea eventually, this skirt will stand the test of time!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Piano Girl

"Sing me a song you're the piano man / sing us a song tonight / Well we're all in the mood for a melody / and you've got us feeling alright!" - Billy Joel

The "Piano Man" by Billy Joel is one of my all time favorite songs, by one of my all time favorite artists. The Kate Spade Piano clutch will have you signing this little ditty all day long. I paired my piano clutch with a striped T-shirt and cashmere sweater from J. Crew and the new corduroy pencil skirt (known as the perfect cord skirt) from Old Navy in a color they call raspberry punch.

For those of you looking for a review on the Old Navy perfect cord skirt, I'll share a few thoughts. First, I love the color. Second, it is pretty thin which can be expected given its low price. On the upside, the thinness of the fabric does make it a nice transitional piece for fall. At about $17 it's not J. Crew, but it'll work!

Now, back to the good stuff. The clutch! Kate Spade is the queen of what I would call quirky statement clutches. I have been coveting a few for quite some time now, but missed out on them or in the case of the Kate Spade book clutch, I was guilt tripped into returning it by my husband. This particular clutch was offered by the Kate Spade outlet a couple of months ago and is slightly different from the one offered in stores a few years back.

The thing I like best about this clutch is that it is pretty roomy. You could easily fit all of the essentials in it, which is a must! It is also prefect to wear as a conversation piece to any event involving musical instruments. It would have come in handy for perhaps the Huey Lewis concert I went to this summer or a night at the Hollywood Bowl. But the one place it would be absolutely perfect is a Billy Joel concert!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Walk in the Park

Once upon a time there was a calm and serene park at the end of a street. Everything was quiet until....

Colonel William van Winkle the Bard of Bardstown (William for short) arrived in the park and took note of the lush scenery. He saw the vast amount of land and decided to make it his domain!

He came to the edge of a great jungle gym and decided it would be his first conquest in the park. Jungle gyms need not be just for children thought Colonel William, they are perfect for English Springer Spaniel puppies too!

Colonel William surveyed his kingdom from atop the jungle gym. The sound of a bird captured his attention for just a moment. He looked around for signs of danger, and when it seemed that all was well he decided he could let loose and play!

It was time for Colonel William to show his mommy and daddy just how much he had learned from all of his puppy obedience/agility classes. He wanted to assure them that all the money spent on these classes went to good use. Up and down the stairs and slide he leapt, his energy knowing no bounds!

After a while Colonel William was tired. The comfort of the couch, a bowl of water and a chew toy was beckoning back home. So off he went into the sunset, ready to return another day to his beloved park and jungle gym. THE END.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mixing it Up

The thing I love about fashion lately is that it seems like almost anything goes. Disparate time periods can be mixed and matched without a second thought. Clothing that embodies and celebrates  a particular culture can be mixed with that of another. It is a big melting pot of eras and places. My outfit for today reflects this aesthetic. The skirt, as you may observe, has a distinct African influence. The shirt on the other hand, hearkens back to a Victorian England with it's ruffles and puffy sleeves. Yet, the two can be merged into a single, seamless ensemble.

The top I am wearing is Ralph Lauren. I love Ralph Lauren blouses. The fit and the style are always perfect. To me, Ralph Lauren represents the quintessential preppy American point of view. Whenever I think of Ralph Lauren I imagine people on horse back riding through the country side or relaxing in the Hamptons. The ads always suck you into to this idyllic way of life!

The skirt, on the other hand, is from Anthropologie. Anthropologie offers a more culturally diverse view on fashion. This precise name of this skirt is called the Brimming Boarders Mini. I bought it this summer and the size 4 (my usual size) fit perfectly. I love the funky beading and embroidery in this skirt.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just add lace, color and a pinch of dots

My outfit for today mixes together a lot of ingredients I love. I think it was a recipe for success! The first ingredient is rich, vibrant color. Second ingredient, lace. Last, but certainly not least, polka dots! Polka dots make any outfit amazing in my opinion.

Last summer I decided I wanted to try the trend of brightly colored fitted pants. The pants I am wearing today are from Target. I actually prefer the fit of these pants to other retailers. In fact I liked them so much that I purchased them in a few different colors. 

With all the bright colors going on in this ensemble, I thought it best to have a neutral top. The J. Crew Raindrop Lace top is a perfect neutral which goes with everything. I bought this in a size 0, because that was all they had in stock. It turns out that the size 0 was the perfect size. Lucky me!

My favorite part of this outfit is what I consider to be the icing on top, the accessories! I am wearing the J. Crew Invitation clutch in color block orange/fuchsia. My shoes are the Kate Spade "Scene" with polka dots. The real reason I wore these shoes today, besides for the fact that I love them, is I wanted to make sure they fit and were comfy because I am going to order them in the black with cream dot pattern. In fact, I think I'll do that after I post this. Maybe that is crazy, but I think these are some seriously cute shoes. Plus, the low heel makes them a perfect option for work. 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sequin Sailor

Today I wore my J. Crew sequin anchor tank and J. Crew sailor shorts out to lunch. The sequin anchor tank would fall into a category of my wardrobe which I refer to as "things my husband loathes." He tried to persuade me to return this top, but then I just pretended like I forgot. To quote Steve Martin, "I forgot!" How many times do we let ourselves get into terrible situations because we don't say "I forgot." These are words to live by. Think about how many situations you can get out of by simply saying "I forgot."

My husband wanted me to explain why he doesn't like the top. According to my husband sequins contradict the aesthetic of the nautical theme. He finds having dressy sequins in direct contrast to more laid back, beachy attire to be "ironic." Well, I understand this, but I like clothing that is quirky and unexpected. I think that is the difference between him and me. I like contemporary art and he likes the old masters. I like listening to indie music and pop and he likes Wagner and film scores. I guess that is why they say opposites attract.

Besides for going out to lunch today, I also spent time retuning some other things that my husband wasn't exactly crazy about. Namely the Kate Spade Great Gatsby book clutch and an enamel giraffe bracelet from J. Crew. I realized I didn't need these things and I am going to start working on buying just a few things each season that I really, really want.  Luckily I brought my big, roomy Prada Saffiano tote to keep all of my returns in!

One thing that my husband and I can both agree on is architectural styles. We both love Spanish, Moroccan and Craftsman style architecture. These pictures were taken outside of the Castle Green Hotel in Pasadena. We almost got married here. The building has a beautiful Moroccan influence. Here are some pictures of the Castle Green:

One of my favorite blogers, Phiphi, always asks a question at the end of her blog relating to her post. So I am going to try that today in my blog. The question for today is: What things do your husband/significant other hate in your wardrobe?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Big Apple

It's not so much a big apple, as it is a bunch of little apples! The J. Crew Jardin skirt in delicious apples offers another, great quirky print to add to my collection. This summer J. Crew came out with a whole slew of apple themed skirts, shirts and even shoes. Although I really like this print, I do think the apples look a little bit like tomatoes!

I paired this fun and quirky print with a patent leather J. Crew belt, which you have seen before and a turquoise color shirt from Target. T-shirts from Target are great, they really are. I have owned many of my T-shirts from Target for years and wash after wash they last. The true test of a great T-shirt. I wish I could say the same for knit wear from J. Crew. That's one area with major room for improvement for J. Crew.

I have way too many patent leather shoes. These are probably my favorite for work. They are the patent leather Chris wedges from Kate Spade. They are very comfy because of the wedges and not too high. The perfect combination for work!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cherry Blossoms

The following skirt is the J. Crew pencil skirt in abstract floral. The print reminds me of the cherry blossoms of spring. The description of this skirt and its print reads as follows from the J. Crew website : "Sourced from the archives of a London print house, this abstract floral had our team instantly taken, not least for its brilliant aqua and chartreuse hue" J. Crew always has such a flair for describing each item in a way that makes it sound exotic, chic and crafted from the most luxurious of fabrics. They probably could make a dumpster sound elegant. Also, their "team" literally loves everything in each item's description, however I don't blame them. I personally found it hard not to fall in love with the print of this skirt too.

I paired my skirt with (yet again) another pair of J. Crew ballet flats and my top is from H&M. I thought even though this skirt has a variety of hues in it, it would look best with basic classic neutrals. I added a yellow belt for a pop of color and to bring out some of the yellow in the print.

The print of this skirt is really pretty close up, as it combines numerous shades of robin's egg blue, teal, pale yellow and pink. The fabric, which is a silk wool twill, is surprisingly light weight. I would have been happier with a more substantial fabric, however this does allow the skirt to be worn for all seasons.

The color in my Tiffany present charm matches perfectly with this particular skirt. I have started quite an extensive collection of Tiffany charms, but this is one of my favorite and most worn pieces from my collection.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tennis Anyone?

I broke out my Kate Spade Sonja dress in honor of the U.S. Open finals. What could be a better occasion for such a dress? The dress is not only the color of a tennis ball or perhaps a tennis court, it also features tiny tennis balls! From far away or to the casual observer they appear to be just polka dots, but upon closer inspection you will see the tennis balls bouncing all over!

I used to play tennis competitively. This seems like so long ago. The Kate Spade Sonja dress brings back found memories of that chapter in my life.  The last time I played tennis was a couple of years ago with my parents. That incident made it painfully clear that I have become quite rusty with a tennis racket. Today the closest I get to playing tennis is throwing a tennis ball for William in the backyard.  My goal, perhaps once it gets cooler, is to get back in the game. It is a good stress reliever!

The fit and silhouette of the dress are both really nice. I went with my usual Kate Spade dress size which is a 4. This turned out to be perfect. For whatever reason, Kate Spade dresses always fit me a little tight in the chest area. Overall, I would say the dress is true to size.

Here is a close up of this delightfully cute tennis ball print. I really loved the tennis themed accessories offered by Kate Spade this summer. She even had a bag constructed from artificial grass (to mimic a tennis court). Perhaps I should have bought that bag and worn it with this dress to complete the motif! Although, I have always preferred clay courts to grass.

Since pink and green look so great together, I paired this dress with my J. Crew ballet flats in soft fuschia. As you may notice, the grass in our yard (in some patches) is a bit dead due to sort of a drought we are experiencing. We definitely need to hire the guy that does the courts for Wimbledon to come out here and work on the yard!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Going Baroque

No, it's not a misspelling! I mean baroque as in the artistic style that focuses on bold curving forms and elaborate ornamentation. This perfectly describes the Anthropologie Gilded Estate skirt which I wore today. I love the intricate baroque pattern on this skirt, rich blue hue, and sleek pencil skirt silhouette. The skirt is designed by Yoana Baraschi and was on sale for 69.95, plus last month's birthday discount. For that price you can look baroque without going broke!

I paired this skirt with my white Ralph Lauren blouse and J. Crew Drea patent leather pumps. I bought these pumps for work when they were on sale last spring at J. Crew. They were a part of my epic buy of made in Italy shoes from J. Crew. I think they cost a mere $50, which isn't bad for Italian craftsmanship.

I added a belt to the skirt for a more "polished" look, which, surprise, surprise, is also from J. Crew. I am happy that J. Crew is still making their belts (some of them) in the United States. I try to buy these belts whenever possible to support the U.S. and American made goods. Here is a close up of the belt and the rich baroque pattern of my skirt.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Swimming Pools

I recently purchased the In-Ground Painted shift dress from Anthropologie this August because it looked like a work of art and had a cool mod silhouette. When it went on sale I promptly ordered it in my usual size for Anthropologie, size 4. I was delighted that the fabric and print were both better in person than online, however when I went to try it on I was sorely disappointed. The dress looked like a gigantic potato sack which just happened to feature a very lovely work of art on it. Determined to get the right fit, I decided to re-order,  as it was not available at any of the stores within a 100 mile radius of me. I was torn between re-ordering the dress in a size 2 or 0. Ultimately, I went with the 0 which is what you see before you. If you are reading this for sizing advice, I advise you to size down!

The back of this dress features an artistic surprise! As you can see the back continues the pool motif started on the front. I love the close up of the pool and the colors featured throughout the print.

Apparently William wanted to get a closer look and inspect the print for himself! He has quite the artistic eye.

When I first saw this dress it reminded me of Daivid Hockney's work. He is British pop artist who has a penchant for painting swimming pools, among other subject mater. During the 60's and 70's he did a series of paintings all featuring swimming pools in Los Angeles. This one, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) reminds me of the back of my dress.

The following painting by Hockney (also featuring a swimming pool) is probably one of his most famous works. It is titled A Bigger Splash. To me this painting embodies the Southern Californian spirit, especially with the small detail of the director's chair on the patio.