Haute Confusion

“You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns… And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin.”

 

As Miranda Priestly so cleverly articulated to Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada, you don’t have to be a top model to wear runway looks, but re-imagining the pieces we see on the runway is not always easy. Let’s pretend Miranda Priestly chose us to go to Paris Fashion Week as we attempt to interpret the Fall 2014 Haute Couture looks that appeared on this week’s runway.

 

 1. Full Skirts

Left: Chanel, Photo Courtesy of Vogue, Right: Photo Courtesy of ModCloth
Left: Chanel, Photo Courtesy of Vogue, Right: Photo Courtesy of ModCloth

Unless you’re trying to reenact van Eyck’s Arnolfini Wedding, Chanel’s Fall 2014 skirts are probably not for you. To go from Matronly to Mod, try a high-waisted full skirt that hits the knees. This one from ModCloth styles perfectly casually with a black cropped sweater for fall, or dress it up with a knotted silk button-down.

 

2. Beaded Dresses

Left: Maison Martin Margiela, Photo Courtesy of Vogue, Right: Photo Courtesy of Asos
Left: Maison Martin Margiela, Courtesy of Vogue, Right: Photo Courtesy of Asos

Beads aren’t just for flappers and fancy dresses, they’re for fall! Turn the beaded looks seen on the Maison Martin Margiela runway into an everyday look with a beaded shift dress. This one from Asos is perfect for day and night because of its neutral background and subtle metallic beading.

 

3. Fringe

Left: Versace, Courtesy of Vogue, Right: Photo Courtesy of Asos
Left: Versace, Courtesy of Vogue, Right: Photo Courtesy of Asos

I love fringe because it’s so eccentric yet somehow so versatile too. You don’t believe me? I bet you have a fringed scarf, fringed shorts, and maybe even a fringe bathing suit if you followed this season’s  swimsuit trend. Well the possibilities don’t end there! This fringe kimono from Asos adds a touch of effortlessly chic to any outfit with its casual shape and geo-tribal print.

 

All the extravagance and theatrics of Haute Couture can sometimes cause haute confusion, but don’t let that intimidate you. Let your style be your guide and the looks will work for you!

-Anaïs

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Feature Photo: Versailles, location of the Chanel Resort 2013 show

Something Old, Something New, Something Bought for a Dollar or Two

On the rare occasion that I stay in a fancy-schmancy hotel, I get used to the five-star service pretty quickly. Last weekend at the Amstel InterContinental in Amsterdam, I got so used to the good life that I almost bought a $1000 leather jacket while shopping online (don’t try this at home)! The next day, after careful research, I got an even better one for 1/4 of the price. If you know the real me, you know that what I truly love is a bargain. How did I snag a brand-new $900 Rag & Bone blazer for just $80? Who would sell me a Dolce & Gabbana dress for $50? Where did I get two pairs of designer jeans for $30? Follow my bargain checklist and the size of your wallet—and your closet—will double.

1. If you don’t mind gently used clothing, always check out your local thrift or consignment store first (more to come on this topic in the future). Most thrift or consignment stores already reduce prices to one third of the original. If you’re lucky, you’ll have credit as a consignor, find a brand new item with tags,  or the store will be having a sale. A combination of the three will land you the jackpot, hence the designer-jean double whammy.

Photo Courtesy of Citizens of Humanity
Photo Courtesy of Citizens of Humanity

2. In a nice area, stores like Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, and even Costco will have a good selection of designer brands. Yes, I said Costco! I still regret not buying the brand-new Hunter wellies I saw at half-price last year; good news is that I was saving up for my Tom Ford sunnies I got there for 1/3 retail. Outlets are also in this category because these items tend to be overstock. One important caveat to outlet shopping is to beware of “factory” brands such a J. Crew Factory or Gap Factory. Ever since the outlet market boomed, some brands have deliberately made cheaper items for their outlets at the expense of their design and material quality.

Photo Courtesy of Hunter USA
Photo Courtesy of Hunter USA

3. If you see something you like while attempting steps 1 and 2, but are not satisfied with the price, check eBay. Keep in mind that your research will be more fruitful here when you have a specific brand or item you’re looking for. The best thing about eBay is that you can contact the seller directly. When I don’t have much competition, I message the seller to let them know that I am very interested for a lower price. Some are more than happy to oblige, my Rag & Bone blazer was well worth the correspondence.

Photo Courtesy of Rag and Bone
Photo Courtesy of Rag and Bone

4. Last but never least, discounts and coupons will get you that home run bargain. Students aren’t the only ones getting discounts these days, all you really need is an e-mail address! Online shopping tends to offer steeper discounts and more coupons, so it’s a great place to start if you consider yourself a good-buy beginner. Most stores will offer discounts just for joining their listserv. After you’ve joined, make sure to check out RetailMeNot for coupon codes to top it off. And if you’re actually in a store, never be afraid to ask about discounts you might be eligible for.

Joie Darnel Jacket, Photo Courtesy of Polyvore
Joie, Photo Courtesy of Polyvore

Finally, because this blog is all about Style and not Fashion (yes, they’re two different things that we’ll go over later!) I want to remind you to forget categories like “this season” or “last season”–your clothes are meant to last you much longer than that. Love them and they will love you back!

-Anaïs

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Photo Courtesy of Author’s personal travel photos

Beating the Heat in Style

On those unbearably hot summer days in D.C., I opt for my shapeless H&M dress and Havaianas. Why would I bother sweating through any of my nice clothes in the sticky East Coast humidity? I may obsess about my clothes on most occasions, but you’ll never hear me say “beauty is pain.” One thing I fully support, however, is being effortlessly chic. You may have heard this term from various fashion gurus such as Rachel Zoe or Nina Garcia, adding to the fancy factor. But don’t be intimidated, all it means is looking like you woke up like this. It’s okay if you didn’t–it was just one of those days for me yesterday, but when you’re in Paris you kinda have to try. Follow my cheat sheet to go from plain to posh:

1 Leather Sandal: Ditch your rubber flip-flops for a simple leather sandal. If you’re feeling lazy like me, get a pair that slips right on, like these ones at J Crew:

Photo Courtesy of J Crew
Photo Courtesy of J Crew

Cotton Dress: A loose-fitting dress will not only flatter your figure, it will also be as cozy as your pajamas. Don’t get anything too nice that you’ll worry about ruining, but do try something with a print. This Joie dress is both comfy and chic. A go-to dress like this is priceless on those steamy summer days.

Photo Courtesy of Joie
Photo Courtesy of Joie

3 Oversized Sunglasses: To add instant glam, throw on some big sunglasses. If you’re not a huge fan of wearing jewelry like me, oversized sunnies are a great substitute accessory on lazy days. For a designer pair, Tom Ford has the most classic oversized options, but you can always find a glamorous pair at H&M for much less.

Photo Courtesy of Tom Ford
Photo Courtesy of Tom Ford

Just grab your cross-body and you’re good to go! Holding a purse or fumbling to have it stay on your shoulder is so overrated on a hot summer day.

If you would never buy these items at full price (I know I wouldn’t), make sure to stay tuned for next week’s article on how to shop for the best deals.

-Anaïs

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Photo Courtesy of Author’s personal travel photos

Money Can’t Buy You Style

If you saw me walking down the street today you might think I have everything in the world–a buttery-soft leather bag, some shiny Ray-Bans, nice clothes (not to mention that today I’ll be walking down the streets of Nice, France!) Well I have everything I need and then some, that’s for sure. But don’t be fooled! We will continue to explore the meaning of Style through this blog, but today we’re going to focus on how to make the biggest misconception of Style work for you.

You don’t need big bucks to look good because money can’t buy you Style. Price and Value are extremely different measurements for all things in life, and Style is no exception. Shopping with all the money in the world wouldn’t be fun at all–you would get things you might wear when you lose 10 pounds, when you finally get invited to that obscurely-themed costume party, or something expensive that isn’t really you, only because you can afford it. Those are all no-no’s, and there is certainly nothing cheaper-looking than someone who wears all brands and no Style.

My leather bag is not the Saint Laurent Sac du Jour, but it’s my everyday bag that I bought from an quality up-and-coming Spanish brand (check out Hakei). My nice clothes were either bought on consignment or super sale, and I spent months saving up for those Ray-Bans. Because I invest in my clothes, every outfit I wear has a story and every piece of my outfit–every word of my story–has meaning and it has Value. The more cautious you are with your budget, the more curated your closet will become to your own Style. So here’s a challenge for you: set a budget the next time you go shopping and watch your true Style shine through!

-Anaïs

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Photo: View of Nice, France

Seasons Change, But Your Wardrobe Doesn’t Have To

What do you wear when you’re vacationing in the French Alps in the Spring and you’re surrounded by fields of flowers but the mountains are still covered in snow? This may not be your everyday scenario, but it brings to light an important topic: the goal of your closet should be versatility. Because this topic is so fundamental and multidimensional, we will continue to explore its many facets in the future; this week will focus on seasonal versatility. As I welcomed my white short shorts last week I challenged myself to make more use of my winter wardrobe this summer. Now that doesn’t mean that I’ll be wearing wool to the beach, but rolling up your dark winter jeans is completely innocuous and totally stylish with a light blouse and sandals. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying any piece of clothing for all seasons:

1. When investing in Jeans (a whole other topic that we’ll cover down the road), pay attention to length. I personally prefer to invest in different shades and colors of Jeans rather than different lengths. Rolling up your Jeans in June is much more feasible (and stylish) than wearing long thick socks with Capris at Christmas.

2. Your Winter wardrobe can last you all year if you choose the quality wisely. Although it’s hard not to slink into that one chunky wool sweater that keeps you warm all Winter, try looking for fabric compositions that will work in Fall and Spring as well. My personal favorites for sweaters are lightweight Merino Wool or blends with a small percentage of Wool.

3. Scarves are the ultimate swiss army knives of Style. Not only can they be worn infinite ways (another blog topic for another day!) but they can also be worn throughout all seasons. My scarf du jour (pictured above) is a black Cashmere-Silk blend from J. Crew. Cashmere is another great investment for your year-long wardrobe, a soft silk blend like mine will caress you all the way through Summer.

-Anaïs

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Photo: Author in the French Alps, Courtesy of Leila Violette @leilaviolette

Memorial Moments

Last weekend, Memorial Day weekend, is often cited in fashion as the moment when White sweeps back into our closets, offering a crisp and clean rejuvenation to the drab aesthetic of our winter hibernation. I, for one, could never truly say that I love the cold weather. After 21 years of East Coast winters (no grand feat), I can admit that I am no snow bunny! And as many of you already know, it is only a matter of time until I will be soaking up the SoCal sun on the daily. There is one thing, however, that I do like about winter: snow–from inside, of course! But enough about me, this applies to you, too!

There’s nothing I love more than White in the winter. This Memorial Day I debuted my snow-white short shorts, which brought to mind that moment every winter when I want to wear my white summer pants, but in the back of my head I’m thinking, “what would everyone think if I wore white after Labor Day?” Rules are there are no rules to being stylish. Tantamount to that is the fact that your style has nothing to do with what everyone thinks, it’s about what you look and feel good in. Of course it might not be so appropriate to wear white short shorts in the middle of winter, but there’s nothing stopping you from wearing those white pants with a warm cashmere sweater. If you really have a problem with white in winter, try white fur, there’s nothing more chic than that. Moral of the story is: the more you embrace your inner rebel, the more you’ll look like a bombshell.

 

Stay tuned for more on how to make your winter wardrobe still work for you now.

-Anaïs

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Photo: Author’s sister at Memorial Day BBQ. Courtesy of Leila Violette.

S4S November 2nd

HermesMedorWatch

Hermes never ceases to amaze me with all their clever ideas. First, it was the Kelly watch, now i’m obsessed with the Medor. A two-in-one gadget, the Medor watch doubles as an edgy bracelet. Leather and steel, this timepiece is one of a kind, but it doesn’t come cheap. At $4,300 you better start saving–will it be worth the wait? Only Hermes time will tell!

Anais Ortiz signature

Image Courtesy of Hermes