Category Archives: How to Wear It

Learn how to incorporate certain items into your wardrobe

Thanks, Refinery!

 

 

refinery29 bryn taylor

refinery29 Bryn Taylor

So psyched to have been featured on Refinery29 today! They caught me in my pre-brunch, sleepy Sunday ensemble wandering around SF’s Hayes Valley. The sunglasses helped hide the puffy eyes.

I also have to give my pants their very own shout-out. These puppies have become my go-to summer staple. They’re from Mango, and are one of the most versatile pieces in my current wardrobe. I took them with me on my last vacation, and will be flaunting them for the rest of the summer for sure. Just something to keep in mind the next time you want to try printed pants, but are nervous you won’t know what to wear them with. As long as they are in a muted or neutral color palette (i.e. olive and black), your pairing options are nearly endless.

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Here’s a pic from a recent photo shoot (more info soon) where I paired the magic pants with a white blazer and drapey top. Perfect for a night out.

For more printed awesomeness , check out my crazy (but cool) pants Pinterest board.

all photos by Ashley Batz

 

Why navy should be your black for spring

Vince navy blazer

I’ve been on a huge navy kick so far this season. As crucial as black is in the cooler months, it’s equally important to have a grounding color for spring and summer. Enter navy. It’s rich, classic, and surprisingly compatible with almost any spring hue. And it won’t weigh down light ensembles like black or brown can.

Here are some ways to wear navy:

spring navy

Navy and green are a match made in sartorial heaven. Such a fresh spring combo that can be accented with white or metallic. Try a green shift dress under a navy blazer.

I also adore the concept of a navy blazer over a crisp white summer dress. A perfect warm-weather office look.

For guys, I suggest a deep navy sport coat in lieu of their go-to black one. For warmer months, it will go with khakis, olives, and light greys brilliantly.

And for something a bit more adventurous, try slim navy pants topped by a coral or mint top, and yellow accessories. Just remember to keep footwear neutral.

Go navy! Love what you got goin’ on.

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.

Color in January (or, how to fake a bright mood)

Yes, we all probably feel like donning black and grey as we ride out the nasty that is the month of January. I’m with ya. But maybe, just maybe, a pop of color here and there can have some sort of anti-SAD effect? I was completely inspired by a recent client to re-introduce some color into my winter wardrobe. And I think we should all to the same! But if you’re not usually a color person come winter, here are some baby steps you can take that won’t make it so glaring.

FOR OUTDOORS:

An obvious way to inject a pop of color is to go the bright coat, scarf or gloves route (a la Michelle). This is perfectly fine, but if you’re looking for some another way to do it, I suggest busting out your colored bag usually reserved for spring. This spot of color will look fierce next to a canvas of blacks and other neutrals. All winter I’ve been carrying around this bad boy, and it instantly livens up all of my dark winter looks.

 

image from itsmydarlin.com

image from itsmydarlin.com

image from no-5.tumblr.com

image from no-5.tumblr.com

FOR INSIDE TIMES:

For indoors looks, I love the idea of a single colorful garment among blacks, greys, and whites. Instead of falling back on the easy colored top/black pants safety net, try a bold skirt or pants, or even a bright three-quarter sleeved top under a darker dress.  Below are two ideas I suggested to a recent client…

IMG_2581bold skirt

And remember, you can always do a colorful shoe, belt, or piece of jewelry too. Whatever gets you through the ice cold day. :)

 

 

Here’s the thing with high black boots (part one)

Last night, instead of reaching for my sleeping pill, I used the Zappos app to calm the brain. It worked brilliantly! And while scrolling through an endless number of shoes, I started to develop a strong feeling towards high boots… and felt inspired to write.

Let’s break the topic down into heeled high boots and flat high boots.  The latter will come in another post.

So here’s the thing with high boots (that are heeled). They’ve been on the fashion scene forever, and I know a lot of women who count them as absolute essentials. That said, there’s a fine line between looking chic  and polished, and looking hooker.

While black boots may seem to all look the same, that’s not the case. There are subtle differences to look out for when seeking out the most flattering and elegant of the bunch. I’ve broken down heeled boots into my two favorite sub-categories: the 70s structured style and the sleek ‘n’ sexy (but not slutty).

loeffler randall boots from zappos dolce vita boots from piperlime

The structured 70s style tends to look more retro, with a stiffer shaft and chunkier heel.

Kate Spade wedge bootsvia spiga boots from nordstrom

The sleeker types offer a very slim, fitted shaft that contours to the ankle and calf, and a thin, stiletto style heel, or sometimes a skinny wedge.

In both cases, there are some pitfalls to avoid in order to remain on that chic and polished side of the fence:

1. Make sure the boot fits you at the top! This means the top of the boot should hit below the knee. If a boot hits you at the knee-cap (or above) it is too big. Furthermore, the top should fit snugly or semi-snugly around your leg. For 70s styles, it will not be as snug due to the design, but it should never ever resemble a moat around your leg.

2. Avoid boots that unintentionally bag or slouch near the ankle. This looks messy. Of course, with most leather or leather-like boots, some pouching will occur, but with a good boot, it should be minimal.

3. Not everyone can pair with a shorter skirt. Some can, but this is not the norm. If you can rock it, do it. Just remember to wear opaque tights. As an alternative, try a knee-grazing pencil or swing skirt.

4. If you’re gonna do them with jeans, make sure those jeans (or leggings) are FITTED AT THE KNEE AND CALF. Otherwise, you’ll get all sorts of sloppiness coming out of the top of the boot. And if you’re going the pants/boots route, think about adding some volume to your top half to balance out the severely streamlined feel of the jeans/boots. This means a chunky sweater, or a longer blazer.

Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll tackle the weird world of flat boots. It’s gonna be awesome.

UPDATE:

These chunky retro style beauties from Elizabeth and James are currently on sale at Gilt. Happy early xmas, all. 

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Is cleavage ever okay?

While I’m away, I’ll be re-posting some favorites from the TRS archives. Be back soon! 

I got a request over the weekend to write a post about cleavage. When it’s appropriate, when it’s not, and how much is too much. So here it goes!

Let me start by stating that I don’t think all cleavage is wrong. However, like a lot of things in life, it has to be done tastefully and in moderation. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking… well, you know.

Here are some guidelines I put together if you ever find yourself wanting to unleash the ladies, so to speak.

When in doubt, cover up.

Cleavage has a time and a place. And that time and place should not include the office, school, or pretty much any other daytime activity (i.e. grocery shopping, walking the dog, or going to the bank). Stick to nights on the town, cocktail parties, or formal events (notice how cleavage runs rampant on the red carpet). If you are questioning whether to show some skin for a certain occasion, always err on the side of caution and go with no. You won’t ever be wrong.

If you’re going to do it, do it right.

Every woman’s bust shape is different, which means cleavage can be all over the map. However, there is a right way to do it that can apply to most women. Start with a supportive bra that pushes the chest up. Then, keep the girls up and out in order to avoid the butt effect. Cleavage is sexier when the boobs aren’t smooshed and floppy.

There are other (more tasteful) ways to show off what you’ve got. 

Instead of outright cleavage, it’s often sexier to highlight the shape of your bust with a fitted top or dress. This draws attention while keeping things classy. Or, experiment with showing off other parts of your upper body: neck, clavicle, shoulders, or back. All of these can come across as sultry (but not raunchy), when highlighted by the right clothes.

Remember, leaving something to the imagination is often sexier than displaying your business for everyone to see.

What do you think about cleavage? Is it always, sometimes, or never okay? Let loose in the comments section, or through Facebook or Twitter!

And for suggestions on how to dress for your chest, check out my tips on Dr. Oz’s YouBeauty.

Jewelry that works for the office (because not all does)

While I’m away, I’ll be re-posting some favorites from the TRS archives. Be back soon! 

Jewelry can add sheer amazingness to an otherwise ho-hum ensemble. Statement necklaces, bold cuffs, and fabulous earrings all do wonders to personalize and jazz up wardrobe basics. But when it comes to the office, not all jewelry will do. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the fun stuff at home, just know how to pick and choose correctly.

Most importantly, if it makes noise, it’s not office-friendly. This is especially true for stacked bracelets. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stacked effect, but if it jingles and jangles, then you’ll become that annoying distraction to anyone who sits near you. Opt instead for a chunky watch, or a single bold cuff. This allows for a silent, yet equally strong, statement.

Long earrings are acceptable, but don’t make them too fancy. After watching Serena Williams play tennis in blinged out chandelier diamonds, I must stress more than ever that there’s a time and place for everything. And for eight-foot-long diamond earrings, that place is not the tennis court. Oh, Serena. Reserve sparkly things for evening and more formal occasions. For the office, try out geometric shapes, or earrings that have a retro feel.

Necklaces are your safest bet. Because they tend to blend into an ensemble (since they’re placed on the clothes, as opposed to a ring or bracelet which sits away from the outfit), you can get away with working bigger statement necklaces into your office look. Above are some beautiful pieces from a new jewelry site, Love Her Madly. (Full disclosure: the creator of LHM is a dear friend of mine, but I would feature her jewelry ANYWAY, as she is one of the chicest ladies I know!)

Full skirts on the brain

I was in Bloomingdale’s today and spotted these two darling looks. I’m kind of loving the fuller skirt for spring! It’s ladylike, comfortable, and generally flattering. While I would probably shorten both of these to be more knee-length, I’m still really into them. And check out those pops of yellow. Perfection.

Full skirts have a cool retro feel to them. And they’re considered flattering because they create the illusion of a small waist, while blossoming out at the hem (which helps to cover any below-the-waist areas you’re not too keen on). If you’re going to rock one of these, keep in mind this general rule: when you have volume in one place, keep it slimmer elsewhere. Therefore, if you’re going with a fuller skirt, the top should be more slim-fitting, and probably tucked in. And a belt never hurts!

Other than that, anything goes. These look fantastic with heels, chic summer sandals or simple ballet flats.

I’m still e-searching for the skirts above, but in the meantime, you can browse some fun full skirt options here,  here, and here.

Yellow is where it’s at

I’m in the midst of re-decorating my home right now, and am knee-deep in the accent/chachka portion of the process. It’s a lot of fun.. but also a lot of work. Anyway, today we focused on adding pops of color to the different rooms. And a recurring theme was yellow! I just talked about yellow being a ‘new’ neutral when it comes to wardrobes… looks like the color’s magical superpowers extend beyond the closet.

Since I’m having a general love affair with mr. yellow right now, I thought I’d share some more ways to incorporate it into your spring/summer look. It’s true that yellow can be a tricky color to wear. But, if you use it in small doses, it can be an incredible ensemble-enhancing super tool.

Shoes are a great way to add yellow. I love bold sandals, but you can also try out just a hint of yellow in an espadrille, or something more casual, like a slip-on.

You can also go with bold yellow jewelry. Again, a small dose can go a long way.

I’m a big fan of the skinny yellow belt. Pair it with colored pants for a very J.Crew look (nothing wrong with that), or over a printed day dress.

 

For those still on the fence, try a yellow bag. You get to try the color, without the commitment of wearing it. Win win!

Spring scarves are my new best friend

I’ve been on a huge scarf kick lately. This may seem counterintuitive as the weather is gradually warming up, and scarves tend to be cooler-weather accessories. However, I don’t see it that way. Spring and summer scarves are quite a brilliant concept, and I’m thrilled that there are so many lightweight options out there to choose from.

I posted this pic on my Facebook page last week (you should like me!). It’s a scarf I picked up at BellJar in San Francisco. (They have an online store, too.) I’ve been wearing it with basically everything I own.

Then on a recent shopping trip with Karen, we scored some of these fantastic colored scarves at Loehmann’s. They’re available online here.

When deciding on a spring/summer scarf, first make sure it’s an appropriate fabric. My favorites are the super duper ultra lightweight gauzy cottons. As far as colors and patterns, you can’t go wrong with a bold color like the ones above. This can offer a fun pop to a casual weekend look. Just treat it like you would a statement necklace and make it part of the outfit.

Or, you can have some fun with patterns. This is another one of Karen’s purchases from JCPenney. Because the polka dots are in neutral colors, it will go with just about anything. (This is no longer on their site, but here’s a similar style.)

Check out some unique ways to wear your scarf here.