Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Wardrobe: Colorful Dresses & How to Wear Them

Bright, vibrant dresses are in and are so much fun.  A lot of people are afraid of bright colors because they don't know what to wear them with.  Here are a few ways to wear your colorful dresses without freaking out about how to coordinate them with other pieces.

1. Bright dress + neutral shoes + neutral jacket/sweater

This is the easiest way to wear a colorful dress.  Start with the dress (this is the Tucker Panel Dress)...

Add shoes (these are the Stuart Weitzman Sashay pumps)...

Throw on your completer piece (this is the Banana Republic Textured Ruffle Jacket)...

Your jewelry, scarves, and belts can be similarly neutral- wooden beads or metallic pieces work well.

2. Bright printed dress + matching bright shoe + neutral jacket/sweater

This is a slightly bolder- and more fun- way to wear color, but it works best with a print.  Exact matching of your shoes to your clothes very often looks dated and matronly (or, weird as it seems, juvenile), so to avoid looking dowdy or just ill-informed, don't match your shoes to your solid colored bright dresses.  On the other hand, picking up a color in a printed dress is a great way to add even more color to an outfit.

Start with the printed dress (this is another Tucker dress)...

Add shoes (this is the Auri Footwear Layla sandal)...

Throw on the neutral jacket/sweater (this is the Banana Republic Ruffled Military Jacket)...

Jewelry, scarves, and belts can be equally colorful, when done the same way- not matchy, but picking up a color in the print.  In this case, I might add something orange, like a cocktail ring, to pick up the orange detail in the dress.

3. Bright dress + contrasting shoe + complimentary jacket/sweater

This is some of the boldest way to wear color, but it doesn't have to be scary. Employ a little color theory and you can wear an even more creative outfit.  I do not profess to understand the intricacies of color theory, but knowing a couple of simple ideas could expand your horizons, wardrobe-speaking.

Let's start with the Rachel Pally Goddess Dress in teal (it's only $110 and on my wish list):

Find the dress color on the color wheel: blue-green.  Check out the colors on the other half of the color wheel, the same distance from the center: yellow, yellow-orange, orange, etc.  Those are your shoe colors.

Add a contrasting shoe (these are from BC Footwear)...
Find the dress color on the color wheel again. Check out the colors next to it, the same distance from the center: blue and green.  Those are your completer piece colors.

Throw on a complimentary jacket/sweater (this one is from Old Navy)...

Let's try this with another dress, in a more muted palette:

Start with the dress (this is the Kimchi Blue Flutter Sleeve Dress at Urban)...

Find the color on the color wheel: Pink.  Check out the colors opposite it, but which are the same distance from the center: Mint, Powder Blue, Lemon.  Those are your shoe colors.

Add shoes (these are Sam Edelman oxfords)...
Find the dress color on the color wheel again.  Check out the colors next to it, also the same distance from the center: salmon and lilac/lavender/orchid.  Those are your completer piece colors.

Throw on a jacket/sweater (this is the Banana Long Sleeve Open cardi)...

Jewelry, scarves, and belts can be equally colorful or neutral, depending on your comfort level.

Some women put colors together like this instinctively, but relying on tools like the color wheel is a fine way to navigate wearing multiple colors.  It's a modern, fun way to put outfits together. And yes, this formula works with prints, as well as solids.  

4. Colorful dress + same color, different shade jacket/sweater + neutral shoe

A subtler version of #3, this is a fairly sophisticated take on wearing color, and one I try to use often.

Start with a dress in a color you love (this is the an Ellen Tracy cowl neck knit dress in vibrant red)...

Find the color on the color wheel: red.  Check out what is on either side of it, the same distance from the center AND what is in it's section of the "pie": red-violet, red-orange, pink, and maroon.  Those are your completer piece colors.  In this case, try to stick with tones that match that of the dress (if you are wearing a bold red, find an equally bold pink and keep the pastels for something else).

Add a jacket or sweater (this is the Banana Cashmere Ruffle Edge Cardi)...

Grab some neutral shoes (this is the Nine West Rocha pump in taupe)...

I like neutral accessories with this look, but you can spice things up with some contrasting colors in a similar tone, like cobalt blue or yellow.

And now, my lovely readers, go forth and wear dresses!

Handbag of the Day: Linen Tote

This Michael Stars Tote just screams summer, doesn't it?  It's linen, it's light, it's lined in cotton.  I love the leather handle and the throw-everything-in size. It's $140.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Outfit of the Day: fLocking Friday

Outfit Details: Top: Kate Spade; Pants: Banana; Shoes: Seychelles, Belt: Anthro; Sunglasses: Kate Spade

Dress it up: add cocktail ring and long necklace, switch shoes for something higher and more colorful (maybe pink or red?)

Dress it down: lose the belt, switch heels for flats

I waited for this top to go on sale and then snagged it!  Blue birds on a white backdrop? Yes please.  The belt is the Curves and Lines Belt at Anthro.  I love it because it's super neutral and very wide, so I HAVE to have a waist in it.

I'll be back to frocking next Friday!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Printastic! Matryoshka Print

Russian nesting dolls are everywhere right now!

This site has whole pages of tees with this print:

Oh My Doll-ing socks ($8.99):

Russian Dolls Sweater ($14.99):

Russian Nesting Dolls PJs ($70):

Russian Nesting Dolls Nightshirt (pretty sure she's wearing a matching headband, too) ($52):

Even wallets aren't safe.  Nesting Dolls Wallet:

Not to mention housewares...

Drinking glasses ($16.83):

Lunch Bag ($18.99):

Measuring Cups ($9.97):

I find all of these to be too kitschy and juvenile for my taste.  Do you like them?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Wardrobe: Flare Jeans

(Note on Frocking Fridays: I've been frocking but not taking time to get pics.  When I get unlazy, I'll post more outfits, I swear.)

Dust off those bell bottoms and flares, ladies.  Word on the street is that flares are in and skinnies are out for Spring. 

I'm not a huge fan of only sporting one type of jean at a time, and the reality is that unless you particularly love flares, these probably aren't a great investment for you. 

I AM a huge fan of trying styles you've never tried before.  So if you've been clinging to your straight legs and boot cuts for dear life, do yourself a favor and check these out before you dismiss them.

A few notes on wearing flares:

1. The wider the leg, the more substantial the shoe should be.  You need something to balance the volume of the leg.  This is why so many stores and sites are showing flares with heavy wooden platforms, wedges, and clogs.  I hate clogs, but a platform or wedge will work well.  A delicate, strappy sandal or flat will be overwhelmed by the pant leg.



2. The wider the leg, the more costume-y you risk looking.  This means you should avoid pairing them with your 70s-style peasant blouses and hippie bags. Keep volume in check by belting flowy tops or stick to tops with more structure.  Use a more modern bag shape, like a structured tote or clutch.

Nay, nay, nay:

3. Proper length is key.  These jeans cannot be too short (will look absolutely ridiculous) or too long (too much volume will look like your foot has been swallowed).

Are you freaking kidding me?!:

4. As usual, avoid too many trends at once.  White flares, or those with embellishment (rhinestones, distressing, whiskering, etc.), should be avoided at all costs. A dark rinse or mid-color rinse is perfect for flares.

A thousand times nay:

Some good options:

True Religion ($172): (the flare is subtle; this is not a bell bottom)

Bird By Juicy Couture ($228): (the wider leg overall helps balance the exaggerated flare at the bottom)


Habitual ($185): (a sleeker, dressier pair with trouser details)

CJ by Cookie Johnson ($177): (a "true blue" rinse perfect for weekends, and a higher rise)

Gap Jeans ($69.50): (a less expensive way to try the trend)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spring Wardrobe: Flats, Glorious Flats

Planning my spring wardrobe is high on my list of priorities, now that the sun is out more often than my umbrella.  This is the first of several parts of a series I have planned. 

Today's topic is flats, and more specifically, places to buy them on the cheap.  (No, your nasty sneakers and the pair of sandals you've been wearing since college do not count.)


Nope, I can't wear Junior sized clothes, as you may have noticed by the fact that I have boobs and and an arse.  But shoes don't discriminate based on bra size, so to the junior department we go!

Delia's has some ridiculously cute flats, and I'm pretty sure I didn't see anything over $50.

These are $44.50:

And these bird-printed babies are also $44.50:


Also a juniors site, but one with another fun selection of inexpensive, cute flats.

These are $24.90 and come in two colors:


I buy seasonal flats from Target often.  Typically under $20, they are cute, fit pretty well, and priced to wear for 2-4 months and then discard.  These aren't investment shoes, but if you don't wear them every day, could last for a while.

These floral ballet flats for $12.99 caught my eye: did these floral D'Orsay flats for $19.99:


Not necessarily cheap, this British site often offers free shipping and great sales.  And they have something a little different than what you'll find at regular US department stores.

These are $128, come in three colors, and could be worn day or night:

Urban Outfitters

This site carries a great range of styles, many for under $50.

I have my eye on this two-tone wingtip skimmer for $34, especially since the black and white version looks almost identical to this $138 pair at J Crew that I have been lusting after for at least THREE WHOLE DAYS:


Also a British site, they have something for everyone.  I promise if you browse the site, you will find something you want.

Check out these off white t-straps for $55:

And these sweet cream crochet flats for $36:

The $15 Dollar Store

Yep, it's a whole site of stuff that is $15.

These are pretty cute and come in 2 colors:

To round off the round up, I can't resist adding my current favorite...


I'm not saying they're cheap, but they show some unique and special pieces and their sales are often fantastic.

Yes, please (Summer Kaleidoscope Flat, $98):

Want. Now. (Hue-Cobbled Flats, $198; def waiting for sale):