Category Archives: How to Shop For

How and where to look for the best clothes for you

Cool, understated jewelry. Yes please.

saltyfoxjewelry

Last night, I attended a trunk show for local SF jewelry brand, Salty Fox. Very cool stuff. I’ve been attracted to big, vintage-style baubles for a long time now (still am!), but have started to gravitate towards more minimal pieces for my day-to-day. Maybe it’s the West coast laid back-itude. Or maybe I just appreciate less fuss and more versatility now. Either way, I found Salty Fox’s pieces to have just enough edge to keep things interesting. Not too girly or precious, and completely wearable.

colleen mauer designs

And in a not at all seamless segue, let me take this moment to highlight another SF designer, Colleen Mauer, whose pieces will be making a debut in my upcoming video (stay tuned for deets). Her aesthetic reflects that same subtle, tasteful edge. I’m especially in love with her ridiculously awesome square stacked ring.

Salty Fox available at saltyfoxjewelry.com

Colleen Mauer designs available at colleenmauerdesigns.com

Cannes we get a sleeve up in here? And the answer is yes.

sleeved dresses

Can we take a moment to talk about the loooong overdue resurgence of sleeved dresses on the red carpet?? Case in point, Cannes. As I was scrolling through some pics this morning, I was beyond delighted to see sleeve after sleeve after sleeve attached to the gowns. Of course not all of them were necessarily attractive, but hey, it’s a start right?

Many of my clients consider sleeves to be a non-negotiable when seeking out a formal or semi-formal dress. And while there are add-on options to cover arms, it’s always nice to be able to find an incredible dress and wear as is. Personally, I find a sleeved dress to be eternally elegant, regardless of its function.

I’m liking the different ways the Cannes ladies went about a sleeve: lace, semi-sheer, off the shoulder, and even a belted jacket as part of the ensemble (my kind of look).

And a HUGE round of applause to Jane Fonda, who continues her reign as queen of the bold hued long-sleeved gown.

Follow my Pinterest board for more fierce red carpet looks (both with and without sleeves).

Spring blazer alternatives for those who don’t want structure all year round

Anyone who has worked with me, seen me, or browsed my blog knows I have a pre-occupation with blazers. If I had to choose one item of clothing to wear for the rest of my life, it would be a blazer, and maybe a bra. In fact, I love them so much, when I have a fancy schmancy occasion coming up, I rarely shop for a new dress. Instead I splurge on a dynamite blazer. That said, we all know the benefits (structure! camouflage!) the blazer provides. But I often get asked how to do a blazer when the weather warms up, and you don’t feel like wearing a fitted, structured piece. You can definitely go the linen and lightweight fabric route, but another way to think about it is in terms of spring silhouettes. Looser, more fluid pieces can achieve the layering brilliance of a blazer but with a slightly more laid-back / warm-weather ready twist.

Zara oversized women's blazer

 

I freaking love this Zara loose, oversized blazer for spring. It goes against every grain of my being to advocate on behalf of something with such little structure, BUT this gem manages to maintain a polished look. You could even do it over a fitted dress for warm-weather cocktails.

eileen fisher silk jacket

 

This Eileen Fisher silk jacket is also a really cool blazer alternative. It’s made from a cotton and silk blend, and the addition of the pointed hem in front is genius. It uses angles to create the illusion of structure.

Vince lightweight twill blazer

I wanted to include one more typical blazer, and this Vince lightweight twill captures a preppy feel while being totally chill and easy.

Joie silk bomber jacketFrench connection black petal bomber jacket

Last but not least, there’s the bomber. I was on the fence about this of-the-moment piece until, well, last night when I bought one. The silk bombers are actually quite beautiful and airy. A nice, fresh shape if you need a break from lapels. I’m loving the Joie mint one and French Connection’s petal bomber (which is the one I took home).

And for all things layered, follow my boards on Pinterest. It’s one of the few social media platforms I actually look forward to using.

What is a skinny jean, anyway?

Ah, the skinny jean. Love it or hate it, it’s pretty much here to stay. In the past few seasons, so many different types have been cropping up,  making it crazy confusing to decipher what’s what. Now instead of just plain old skinny jeans, we have ultra skinny, super skinny, jegging, slim straight, super slim straight, cigarette, ultra super skinny cropped cigarette denim legging, and the list goes on. So what the heck is the difference among them all, and how do you know what’s right for you?

The main thing to remember is that the names mostly have to do with fabric type and leg opening. Also keep in mind that there is no industry regulation here, so some companies just do what they think sounds good to their customer base. Much like a Theory 8 is not the same as a Gap 8, you’ll find one brand’s skinny jean is not the same as another’s. But below are general guidelines that can help you better navigate this scary skinny world and find what feels best for you.

citizens of humanity avedon jeans

Jeggings (sometimes referred to as denim leggings)

Jeggings will typically have the most stretch and the thinnest fabric feel. They are supposed to mimic the shape and fit of leggings but in a woven fabric. Sometimes you’ll see 5-pocket knit leggings labeled as jeggings, which is fine too I guess. I consider them to still be plain-old leggings, but it’s not uncommon to call them otherwise. Both Citizens of Humanity’s Avedon and Paige’s Verdugo styles represent a true jegging style.

Average leg opening: 10 to 11″

Best for: Women who love a super-snug fit and second-skin feel from waist to ankle. These also tend to be pretty comfortable since the fabric is stretchy and moves well with the body. Not good for ladies who needs some air circulating around their lower limbs.

JCrew toothpick jeans

Skinny (sometimes preceded by ‘ultra’ or ‘super’)

With a true skinny jean, the leg opening will be fitted around the ankle like in a jegging, but now you’re moving into a more substantial denim fabric. It can still have stretch, but not usually as much. J.Crew’s Toothpick jean is a good example of a classic skinny, although they choose to call it something else. See how confusing this can get?

Average leg opening: 12″

Best for: Women who want a super slim fit to the ankle, but need the feel of a proper jean.

jcrew matchstick jeans

Cigarette or Slim Straight

This may be the most annoying label. A slim straight jean is sometimes called a cigarette. What it’s supposed to mean is a slim leg that does not taper in and hug the ankle. Instead, there’s a slightly wider leg opening that falls straight from the knee. A cigarette jean is often cropped at the ankle, but it doesn’t have to be by definition. AG makes a good cigarette style, as does J.Crew with their Matchstick pair.

Average leg opening: 12.5″ to 13″

Best for: Women who don’t want to feel too constricted in jeans but still want the illusion of a skinny. I recommend this style to clients who are kind of over the whole tight skinny jeans thing but who still want to look current. It offers a more breathable solution from the knees down.

NYDJ straight leg jeans

Straight Leg

Lastly, a straight cut has a leg and calf opening that’s slim, but not fitted at all.  It’s the widest of the bunch. The leg will literally fall straight from the knee down, and the thigh cut tends to be a bit looser as well. NYDJ makes a true blue straight-leg jean. Narrow but not tight.

Average leg opening: 14″

Best for: Those deathly afraid of the skinny but who still want a slimmer leg. If you’re in bootcut recovery, this is a good first step.

Hard to keep straight, right? The good news is you don’t always have to. Each of these will achieve the same visual effect of slimming and streamlining your bottom half. So just choose which is most comfortable. That’s always what matters most anyway. Good luck!

Short shorts do not a power suit make.

photo from Raydene Salinas ; image from HuffPo

Huff Post Style ran an article this week highlighting the release of Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, with an interesting fashion twist. They used the opportunity to showcase new, updated versions of the power suit. This was annoying. And not because I don’t love a good power suit (I do), but because they opted for the weirdest, most inappropriate choices. Sure, they instruct you to merely ‘take inspiration’ from their looks, but let’s do one better. Here are some fierce power suits that get their ‘power’ from sleek cuts, flattering silhouettes, and colors that don’t blind people.

Instead of flaunting our sexuality or donning look at me! patterns, let’s exert our awesomeness by way of smart, chic, understated choices that highlight who we are. Not just our legs.

Here are my picks for both inspirational and practical takes on the modern power suit.

zara yellow pant suitzara tartan pant suit

By all means, embrace color and pattern. But stay away from anything that offends your co-workers’ eyes. Zara makes freaking adorable pant suits. I own two. They are fresh without being obnoxious. And the tailoring is great.

theory dusty rose suit

I also love the idea of doing a whole monochromatic look with your suit, like Theory’s dusty rose separates. This would highlight a contrast statement shoe beautifully.

LK Bennett tweed skirt suitann taylor skirt suit

If you want to ditch the pants, by all means, do it! An above-the-knee skirt in classic tweed like in this combo from LK Bennett looks contemporary yet still appropriate for work. Or stick to a knee-length and up the color ante to something fresh yet soothing like this from Ann Taylor.

jcrew grey wool suitann taylor grey suit

Most importantly, a power suit doesn’t have to be any bold color or pattern at all. As long as you have a really well-tailored, slim blazer on top, you’re going to look amazing. For added flair, go for an unexpected silver shoe (like J.Crew did) or scrunch up the sleeves (the messier the better) to give the overall look more attitude.

A little metal goes a long way (a.k.a. my fave flats for spring)

While spring is a relative term here in San Francisco (it’s kind of always a cold spring or warmish fall), I still get excited to bust out spring and summer styles come April and May. Lately, I’ve been on a flats kick. Maybe I’m just getting older and my feet are less patient? Or I’m sick of carrying commuting shoes. Regardless, my favorite flats for spring all have a common theme: metallic detail. I love this subtle addition, as it makes the flats instantly appear more edgy and dressy. Two things that flats need in general. All three of the below styles are entirely work-appropriate. And they can actually give evening heels a run for their money.

enzo angiolini danville flats

I ADORE these flats from Enzo Angiolini. White is one of my favorite colors for a spring shoe. It’s neutral in a fresh way. And the silver hardware gives just the right amount of interest. I ordered them and can’t wait to start wearing. They will go with everything. So psyched.

j crew janey patent flats

 

J.Crew’s Janey collection of patent flats is my favorite shoe of theirs in a long time. The structure and stacked metallic heel make them totally okay for the office, and the color range is darling. I’m partial to the coral, as I can see it amping up more muted clothing, like navy, denim, black, and beige. Keep in mind that warmer colors (reds, pinks) are usually easier to insert into a darker outfit than pops of blue or green. They make more of an impact.

rachel roy metallic flats

 

For something more traditionally neutral, I’m feeling these ballet flats from Rachel Roy. The thin metallic band is unusual in the best way. These will work with anything in your closet.

Join the flats revolution! Your feet will be so happy.

How to dress like a French woman when you don’t look like a model

WE’VE MOVED TO A NEW ADDRESS. PLEASE VISIT BRYNTAYLORSTYLE.COM :)

Emmanuelle Alt

Net-a-Porter’s latest e-magazine issue had a fun article about the unmistakable style of a French woman, and how to copy it. Personally, I adore the traditional Parisian style. Hair that’s a sexy mess. Makeup that’s barely there. Conservative clothes that are anything but boring. I would kill to be mistaken for a French woman. So freakin’ chic!

But what Net-a-Porter fails to highlight (they mention it briefly) is that the main reason those French ladies look fabulous is because they’re usually super thin and gorgeous. Hello? Emmanuelle. Inès. Need I say more?

I don’t mean to belittle their sense of style, as they have an incredible one, but it most certainly doesn’t hurt if you have the figure and face of a runway model. Messy hair, rumpled tees, and painted-on jeans are only enhanced by a size 2 frame and enviable cheekbones.

That said, it is possible to successfully capture Parisian style if you’re not a walking hanger. Some suggestions are touched upon in the article. But I wanted to break it down even more.

Remember these two things: shoulders and ankles. 

shoulders and ankles. shoulders and ankles.

Or more specifically, pronounced shoulders and naked ankles.

These are two areas French women like to highlight. Pronounced shoulders by way of a structured, slightly padded blazer, and naked ankles by way of a cropped trouser and pump or ballet style shoe (where the tops of the feet show). That’s it really. I mean, not totally, but it will get you close. The rest you can fake.

The blazer doesn’t have to be high-end, but it does have to have structure and slim tailoring, preferably in both the body and arms. Zara does a nice job with blazers, and offers more reasonable prices than Balmain.

And the pants don’t have to be sprayed-on skinnies, which don’t work on every body type. Instead, try any slim-leg pant, and finish by either rolling or hemming the leg to hit above the ankle.

After you’ve got those points nailed down, you can add a leopard scarf and sleek shoe and be on your kickass French way.

Au revoir, people.

 

Oscars 2013: Another year, another batch of dresses to critique

You guys rock for keeping the Oscar style commentary afloat on the TRS Facebook page last night as I was mid-air and sans wifi. Looks like Jessica Chastain was a fan favorite, with Anne Hathaway’s nipples coming in not far behind.

I’ve had a chance to pour over pics from last night’s awards, and here’s what I think. My best-dressed accolades go to Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, and….. Jane Fonda!

Charlize Theron oscars gownjennifer lawrence

Both Charlize and Jennifer looked polished and perfect in Dior without overdoing it with big bling or messy details. Yes, JLawr’s dress was pouffy, but the neckline and color made for an elegant choice.

kerry washington

Kerry Washington’s Miu Miu just seemed like a fresh departure from standard red carpet fare, without trying too hard. And I appreciate that.

Jane Fonda

Lastly–and I know I’ll catch flak for this–I adored Jane Fonda’s Versace look! It was a bit Dynasty, I get it. BUT it was well-fitted, sexy without being slutty, and edgy in a fun way. Plus it had sleeves. I loved it.

Unfortunately, I just can’t get onboard the Chastain train. I think she always looks fine, but just not amazing. I don’t know. She bothers me. Maybe it’s something I need to work out with my therapist.

And btw, I don’t think enough praise/attention is paid to the dresses that show up to the after parties. Some of them I liked better than the awards gowns. Check out the Pinterest board I created to showcase my faves. What do you think?

 

 

Breaking news: Coats are in for next fall. Lots of them.

I guess it’s not surprising that during a week full of shows for fall fashion, one would see a lot of outerwear. Or at least one would hope. New York Fashion Week for Fall 2013 concluded last week, which means the designers premiered a bunch of stuff you won’t get to see in stores until July. But I’m happy to report that in five months, we will have an influx of fabulous coats. Which makes me a bit giddy, I have to say. Lots of new colors and patterns, as well as plenty of your go-to blacks and greys. And I’m loving the oversized lapels, because, really, who doesn’t want some drama as they head out into the world?

Here are my favorite coats of the week. None of which I can afford.

the New York uniform of blacks and greys (JBrand, DKNY)

oddly soothing hues (Narciso Rodriguez, 3.1 Phillip Lim)

less soothing hues, but still pretty (Eudon Choi, Jason Wu)
cropped and awesome (Proenza Schouler, Helmut Lang)

 

 

colorblocking at its finest (Alexander Wang, DKNY)

print happy (DVF, Elie Tahari)

 

For more of my NYFW picks, check out my super amazing Pinterest board. And follow me while you’re at it. :)

Just let the Spanx be, people.

1341979185153_3242709

One of my favorite snarky gossip sites, Gawker, recently ran a post about Spanx. They had two of their writers (one female, one male) attend a showcase of the brand’s Fall 2013 line, and offer up their thoughts. The lady writer compared Spanx to a” Thundershirt for your thunder thighs”, going on to tongue-in-cheekly point out that “Spanx combine the appearance of a slightly trimmer body with the effort of lying on the couch eating bon-bons”. Sure she was being very Gawker-y (read: 90% sarcastic) with her observations, but the overall opinion was that Spanx were cool. The man writer , however, had another point of view, insisting that Spanx are inherently deceitful, anti-feminist, and send the message” ‘I am painfully insecure about my body, but please, by all means, f** me.’ ”

Oh lordie.

While I know this review was done mostly in jest, I can’t help but be reminded of the Spanx-related rage that boiled up inside of me years ago when I was the managing editor of SheFinds. I wrote this piece in response to a NY Observer writer’s tirade on how Spanx are dumb, and de-sexualize women, and should be banished. He’s a man.

I said it then and I will say it now. I believe Spanx benefit women who want to look more seamless (literally) in clothes that are often unforgiving. Spanx won’t make you lose 10 pounds instantly and we know that. But they will smooth out our silhouettes nicely, get rid of panty lines, and even band-aid the occasional muffin top. Yes, the shapewear line has gone a bit overboard with swimwear and lingerie. We don’t need to be lycra happy all the time with every facet of our wardrobes. However, when us gals do want a little help, Spanx are there for us if we so choose. I get my panties in a bunch whenever someone–male or female–passes judgement on why women choose to wear what they do. I know PLENTY of super confident, kickass women who wear Spanx. And none of them are insecure about their bodies. Plus, I agree with Caity Weaver that the compression does make me feel a little like I’m being hugged all day. I secretly love it. Until I have to use the bathroom, but that’s a whole other conversation.

What do you think about Spanx? Do you wear them? What purpose do they serve for you? Share your Spanx sentiments!