Monday, April 27, 2009

Essentials for Spring

photo by Nick Krug; boyfriend blazer-Gap

The winter changeover into spring is always a tricky dressing situation. I have previously highlighted new spring clothing shapes, fun accessories, and girly special-occasion dresses.
Still, preparing a winter-to-spring wardrobe can be helpful when you're busy or on-the-go.
Check out my favorite transition items that fill my closet, coat-racks, bins, boxes, bags, bedroom floor...

With these items, you can easily stay warm, bright, and ready for spring!

Bright Trench Coat:
Trenches are fabulous for the warm daytime, chilly night time, and quick changing temperatures that are common in Lawrence. By throwing on a brilliantly bold jacket, you will feel fabulous no matter how gloomy and grey the sky.

Versatile Jean Jacket:
Jean jackets have been a classic for decades. Jackets in black, dark blue, acid wash, and light denim all deserve a spot in your closet. A fancy dress is friendlier in an instant, and a boxy shape perfectly balances either fitted or flowing bottoms. Plus, individual details--such as embroidery, jewels, pins, or studs will reflect your fashion sense or mindset.

Retro Shades:
A pair of nice shades or refurbished aviators are great to have around year-round. If you have sensitive eyes, even cloudy weather appears too bright-white! Look for a pair that is unique--not just another mass produced spin-off. Some companies are known for reproducing retro sunglasses with newly installed lenses, and others allow you to choose the pattern, color, and shape of your sunglasses to create a custom sun-blocking accessory.

Paisley Scarves
A paisley scarf--or any scarf, be it bright or patterned--will add instant pop to your outfit. A scarf draws attention to the glow around your face and looks worldly. Scarves always remind me of a convertible on a perfectly breezy day.

Bold, Skinny Belts:
Skinny belts add shape to everyday sweaters and flowing tops. Whether a dress is fitted or not, a belt works to distinguish your top and bottom halves, gives the eye a break from a monochrome-colored dress, and adds fun color and details on its own. Plus, a skinny belt is often more flattering than the chunky, thicker belts that seem ubiquitous nowadays; a skinny belt won't smash your belly in, but it highlights the shape of your real waist without looking or feeling uncomfortable.

Brown Shoes:
Spring and Fall are perfect for wearing brown shoes! Brown shoes match the damp ground and all of the plant energies that seem to hum underground, waiting to spring up. Brown looks great on all skin tones, too. Bring out the warmth in your brown wedges or heels with gold earrings, rings, and necklaces.

Graphic Dress:
A graphic dress is a spring wardrobe staple. If you do not have a comfortable, flattering dress pick one up now! Dresses feel feminine and flowy, which are essential for spring. If it is chilly, throw on a boyfriend blazer or jean-jacket for some warmth and contrast in shape. I often hear women say that they favor wearing dresses because it is easier than picking out an entire outfit; frankly, I don't know believe this--shoes, bracelets, jackets, stockings/no stockings, earrings, lipstick, hat...I am not listing these options to seem high-maitenance, but rather to emphasize that a dress is easy, but don't just stop at the dress! A dress can be worn so many different ways, so play with each one and discover which additional pieces bring out your best style.

Unique Umbrella
Don't let a rainy day ruin your mood--if you have a fun, funky umbrella, you'll be uplifted instantly. Think about purchasing one with a flower-print pattern, rainbow stripes, unique shape, or adorned wooden handle. Or, grab a trendy, clear see-through umbrealla and watch the raindrops be blocked right above you! Taking an extra moment to pop up an umbrella always makes me feel energetic and youthful. There is something about walking around like a Londoner that brings a smile.

Don't stop there! Think about what clothing speaks spring to you and think of stylish pieces that would make the transition into spring a bit easier. What else is on my list? A chain-strap purse, fun patterns, a boyfriend blazer, and sparkly jewelry.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lawrence, KS--Fashion Hot-Spot

In April and May, Lawrence takes off as the fashion hot spot of Kansas.
Check out two shows in the next 10 days in Lawrence for a personal dose of home-town, high-fashion:

• The Drunken Sailor’s Tailor — A Benefit Fashion Show

9:30 p.m. Thursday, Abe and Jake’s, 8 E. Sixth St. If you are interested in donating to either Americana Music Academy or Burmese refugees but are unable to attend the fashion show, please drop off checks at Wildman Vintage, 939 Mass.

• Douglas County Medical Alliance Fashion and Jewelry Show

April 29, Signs of Life Gallery, 722 Mass. Proceeds benefit Health Care Access and Van Go Mobile Arts.

After a healthy dose of fashion week in New York and Paris, identifying a few runway trends with short life expectancies is vital.
Let’s face it folks, some things should be left on the runway.

Bloomers were originally manufactured as athletic-drawers for tom-boys. These scrunchy, ruffly, granny-like panties are to be worn under your skirt. Still, bloomers seem to be popping up all over fashion blogs in the UK, in the pages of Nylon magazine, and on models styled in all-over Americana. So, should we embrace this trend, at least happy it’s not as tight as a hot-short despite its teensy length?
I just don’t know…
Longer, denim bloomers are one thing, and equipped with a decent pair of patterned tights or lacey, embroidered leggings, a courageous young thing may chance it. Just be prepared for staring men and catcalls, a cold booty and purple knees. And then there’s the volatile Kansas weather…

Midriff Baring Tops:
In 1999, it was all about Clueless, Madonna remixed, and Britney Spears. Halters, bandeau tops, and crop tops made the naked tummy all the rage. I distinctly remember being sent to the principal’s office because when I leaned over—gasp!—my back along with my belly was showing!
Bare bellies always look good on the runway and on thin 14 year-old girls, but really? Is your middle classy at any other age?

These one-piece jumpsuits can look excellent on the runway, frumpy in real life. If a romper is not styled or fitted appropriately, it may end up looking like an old pair of hand-me-down overalls from a cousin two sizes wrong. Try to find rompers that highlight your waistline. And if you’ve got the legs for it—short, short, shorter! Short is slightly daring when appropriate, perfectly sassy when confident. If you are nervous, pair your romper with patterned tights that add to and distract from your body woes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fairytale Dresses

photo from; Jenny Packham, London Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2009

Right after Easter, I gear up for the long-haul. April showers don’t just bring May flowers…I prepare myself for a whirlwind of receptions, awards, graduation ceremonies, family gatherings, summer parties, and backyard barbeques. Don’t let dressing up for these events get you down or stress you out. This spring, the hottest dresses are simply gorgeous. “Pretty in pink” is about to take on a whole new meaning. Grandmother-approved frocks in fairytale pink and beachside coral are adorned with chiffon, sparkle, lace, and ruffles to boot. Poofy, billowing dresses feature soft ruching and fabric flowers.

Unless it’s prom night, stick to something short and sweet. A full length, flowing, bejeweled, ethereal gown is certainly award-show—or even wedding—worthy, but it is over-the-top for a school function or party where Bud Light and bratwursts will likely be served. Pick a mini-dress that hits above the knee. By choosing a shorter dress, onlookers will not be overwhelmed by the details, layered fabrics, and piled on jewels. A gown that covers you head-to-toe in silk flower petals would be a bit much, you know?

Everyday Wear:
Fancy, fairytale dresses are not for everyday wear—I don’t bank on seeing too many shoppers on Mass Street ready for the Ball. Still, such extravagant dresses are perfect for special events, evening-wear, or even graduation ceremonies. When you slip into such a romantic, played-up dress you will feel like a million bucks. A princess.

Fantastical Dressing can be toned down. An everyday, more casual incorporation is perfectly doable. Pick one detailed, adorned, lacy, layered item and pair it with a more casual wardrobe staple. For example, wear a full, ruffled skirt with a fitted tank top and gladiator sandals. Or choose a ruffled, sparkly top—or one with very puffy sleeves—and pair it with your favorite going-out jeans and heels. You will instantly turn rocker-chic.
Also, depending on the dress, you might try throwing on a leather biker jacket and some sleek black boots for a little more edge and a little more wear out of your Cinderella dress.

Keep in mind that elements of this trend can be found in other runway fashions. If dressing like a princess makes you want to puke, look for other ways to jazz up a special-occasion dress. Grecian draping, one-shouldered tops, and bejeweled dresses are often all thrown in one fairytale dress, but these elements are unique and attention-grabbing on their own as well.

Check out Roberto Cavalli and Nina Ricci for more examples of ready-to-wear fairytale dresses.
Also, my favorite example right now is Jenny Packham’s Spring/Summer 2009 ready-to-wear. She perfectly designs the short, fairytale dresses I crave.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Urban Cowboy

photo by Philip Heying,

This season, Western clothing and accessories are country-chic and anything but hokey. The Midwest is known for its rural, low-key attitude. The heartland is stealing the runway, finally making waves with its very own, in-the-now, urban-country fashions that are catching on in herds from coast to coast. New Yorkers and California kids alike are incorporating our home-style clothing and jewelry into their big city wardrobes with a modern twist. So, folks, show ‘em how we do in Kansas!

Cowgirls make better outlaws:
Ladies, look for leather vests, fringed jackets, beaded accessories, turquoise rings, silver bangles, cowboy hats, tassle purses, and cut-off shorts. Mix and match your western pieces—wearing a few together is fabulous, not over the top. For a modern look, incorporate black lace, sheer tops, smoky eye make-up, studded accessories, clothing and shoes with zippers, black denim, fitted vests, and metallic scarves, tights, or shirts. Think about raiding your parents’ closet, but mix each vintage find with your own updated apparel. This new Urban Cowboy fashion concept is all about home-spun country, edgy rock ‘n’ roll, and the contemporary embrace of our profoundly American lifestyle.

Rodeo Stars and Good Ole Boys:
Gentlemen, this fashion trend highlights the simplicity of a country life full of big-city style; still, such classic, Western dressing expresses the dangerous spontaneity of a cowboy lifestyle without flamboyancy. Use outerwear, detailed blazers, and denim, to add effortless style to your ensemble. Pick out a fabulous pair of boots and beat ‘em to hell. A distressed pair of work jeans, plain t-shirt, and rockin’ jacket can easily transform your look. Your style can be updated with a crisp, vintage Western shirt for the evening, too. For an urban look, do make certain your color palette includes more strong greys and bold blacks than the neutrals associated with Western-wear. Avoid brown leather jackets and over-the-top embroidery on dress shirts. Basically, I am not telling you to pull on your Wranglers (which are one size too small), strap on your chaps, or top the whole thing off with an out-of-shape cowboy hat. Your look should emphasize a transition—a country man turned European turned New Yorker—never turning his back on his roots, more rocker than cowboy, more trendsetter than herd-member.

Down to the Knitty Gritty:
-clothing should focus on more urban, industrial elements
-down-home colors (tan, brown, taupe, etc.) are a NO unless lightly incorporated…
-…think Black, White, Grey, Metal, Silver, and Bright!
-include Western jewelry, hats, scarves, vests, boots, etc.—just be sure they fit into a rock ‘n’ roll genre also