Forgotten Gems

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Like most of you, I’m sure, there are certain items in my wardrobe that I gravitate towards and certain items that slowly get pushed farther back into the closet. Yesterday while rifling through my skirts I found one of those lonely, forgotten pieces and, to my excitement, it was a perfectly adorable J.Crew silk “watercolor” skirt. Since purchasing this skirt over a year ago I’ve only worn it twice, so finding it yesterday was like finding a brand new skirt! WIN.

I don’t know how this skirt became a forgotten gem because I absolutely adore the print. I’m a huge fan of impressionist art (I could spend DAYS in le Musée d’Orsay), so I love the emerald greens and deep purples blended with lighter shades of green, off-white and light pink. It reminds me of a quaint English garden from an Oscar Wilde play. (Hence why I had to wear the pearl necklace even though I’ve been over-wearing it recently.)

I paired the skirt with my green cotton Ella Moss three-quarters sleeve top, J.Crew pearl and gold chain necklace, David Yurman black onyx ring, my everyday gold bangle and gold links bracelet (passed down from my grandmothers), black leather with gold Tory Burch flats, and a high ballerina bun.

Last year I remember pairing this skirt with a black top, but I was surprised at how well the green on green combo worked. I have a whole slew of J.Crew printed skirts and I generally wear them with solid black or white tops to make the skirt the center of the outfit. However, I think the green top, as opposed to black or white, complements the skirt in a way that makes this pairing more of an outfit,in that the entire ensemble looks more complete than it would with a simple black or white top. If I had worn black tights, a black top would have completed the look, but thanks to these glorious warm New England Fall days, I was able to go bare-legged and experiment with other colors.

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Black, Navy and Brown

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Ever since I wrote my post about black & navy, I’ve been in a serious dark neutrals moment. See two recent outfits:

Top:
Zara navy blue sheer button down with waist tie.

Pants:
J.Crew black ankle-length toothpick jeans

Shoes:
Grey Nine West flats

Jacket:
J.Crew grey double-breasted wool blazer with black buttons


Also:

Top: J.Crew black silk sleeveless with asymmetrical ruffles. Sweater: Black J.Crew wool v-neck. Pants: J.Crew chestnut brown ankle-length toothpick corduroys. Shoes: Black leather Tory Burch flats with gold. Necklace: J.Crew pearl with gold chain (wrapped twice).

Even after posting about a week ago that I was into my dark red OPI nail polish, I changed to my Winter go-to Midnights in Moscow by OPI (a dark brown).

Then, I came across these gorgeous Pierre Hardy suede boots (pictured right) that sum up my love for black, navy & brown together.  The reason why these boots are a perfect combo of the 3 colors is because the light brown stripeperfectly serves as the accent color in the predominantly black and navy boot, almost as if to say, “yes, black and navy are here on purpose.” Also, notice the brown stripe separates navy from black to ensure the distinction between the two colors stands out.

Oh the places I could go with these boots.

What’s your favorite way to wear black, navy and brown?

A Night on the Town

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Lately my evening wear has been inspired by classic, romantic and feminine black and white photographs, like this one:

Photo credit: pushthemovement.tumblr.com

So, for a night on the town, I chose a relatively plain black ensemble with some classically inspired jewelry.

Top: Black with beige polka dots H&M semi-sheer button-down. Skirt: Black H&M. Shoes: Black suede platform pumps from Target. Necklace: J.Crew black “Majesty” necklace circa Fall/Winter 2009. I also wrapped a long gold-tinted pearl strand around my right wrist for a bracelet, with my black onyx David Yurman ring on my right hand and an antique red cocktail ring (hard to see in the picture) on my left hand. I also carried my new J.Crew envelope shoulder bag with the gold chain strap.

I always hesitate to wear a tight black bandage-style skirt because when worn incorrectly they can look exceedingly tacky. However, they key to wearing skirts like this one is to pair it with more conservative pieces. The loose fitting, three-quarters sleeve top balanced out the tightness and shortness of the skirt, and my jewelry gave the outfit a more feminine and timeless feel.

My goal in nighttime outfits is to look sexy and feminine, while keeping the look as close to classic and conservative as I can get away with. Balance is always the key.

What rules do you live by for nighttime outfits?

Antique Books

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This past summer, I discovered a new passion: decorating with antique books. Hardcovers without a book jacket that are one color (sometimes with a dark spine) and usually have the title written in gold.

My interest in these books began when a good friend of mine gave me his copy of The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, a story of a family who’s members separately travel around Europe during World War II. I’ve always thought that there’s something harrowingly romantic about World War II, (probably due to the time period, the fact that it takes place in Europe and my associating it with the movie Atonement) so this book’s content combined with its look, feel and weight really inspired me.

Since acquiring The Winds of War, I have slowly but surely grown my collection of antique books and recently created this bookshelf that sits above my desk.

Among the antique books are copies of books that match the color scheme, an old Frank Sinatra CD, a few issues of Vanity Fair and some jewelry, partially for the look and partially for convenience. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and a hardcover maroon with gold writing antique book entitled The Handbook of Everyday French are two standout items. The picture above the shelf is a spread from a J.Crew catalog circa Spring 2011 that I plan to frame because I love it so much.

Anchoring my room’s decoration with antique books has been one of the best decisions I’ve made because the color scheme, the vintage feeling and, of course, the gold accents inspire my outfits and mindset daily.

Black & Navy

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We’ve all been told that blasphemous phrase before: Black and navy don’t match. OOOH it pains me to just to look at it. Ever since I first became interested in style I have loved black and navy together. And I mean LOVE. Separately they are two of my favorite colors to wear. Together, they are divine.

Of course, not all black and navy outfits match. Men especially need to be careful with the two colors.

The key to wearing black and navy and making it look bold, daring and chic (read: not an accident) is to include accent colors in your outfit. Accent colors for black and navy outfits include white, grey and brown (all shades). The accent cannot be your shoes; it must be somewhere central so that people can see it and see that yes, you wore black and navy on purpose. 

Allow me to elaborate:

Top: H&M, black and white stripes. Scarf: a rich navy blue. Jeans: J.Crew ankle length toothpick jeans in midnight wash (circa Fall 2009). Belt: J.Crew skinny natural brown leather with gold buckle. Necklace: J.Crew pearl & gold chain. Flats: Tory Burch black leather with gold. Ring: David Yurman black onyx.

In this outfit, the white pearls and gold chain are the accent to the navy scarf with the black and white top. Yes, I probably could have gotten away with wearing the outfit sans necklace since there is white in the top, but it helps tie all of the colors together. In my opinion, this outfit would be incomplete without the necklace. Additionally, the thin brown belt is an accent piece because it breaks up the monotony of the navy scarf blending into the navy jeans. Finally, the outfit is wholly tied together by, once again, gold accents in the necklace, belt and flats.

Finally, to achieve the perfect harmony that can only be found in outfits featuring black, navy, brown, white and grey in an outfit at the same time, I threw on my grey J.Crew double-breasted, wool blazer (black buttons also help tie outfit together).

Remember, there will always be haters who will try to tell you that black and navy don’t match. Quick anecdote: I’ll never forget a moment during my first summer job in high school that my coworker and new friend who I still look up to and whose style I still adore to this day asked me, “are you wearing black and navy?” in a disbelieving tone that sounded more like “you are not wearing black and navy right  now.” I was wearing a short black cotton Chloe trapeze dress with a navy J.Crew Jackie cardigan, navy with white trim Jack Rogers sandals and the same pearl and gold chain J.Crew necklace pictured to the left. I was slightly taken aback as this was the first and still the only time I’ve ever been called out for wearing black and navy. I looked at her and just said “yes, because it matches.” We had a little debate, myself rattling out some version of the above argument, but I could tell she remained skeptical. Fast forward five years and last week when I tweeted “I boldly wear black & navy” she retweeted it. #win

Black and navy can and do match. Beyond that, when worn correctly, they are the ultimate embodiment of bold, daring and timelessly chic.

Expect many more black & navy outfits to come.

Halloween, the J.Crew Way

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My Halloween-inspired outfit:

  
NEW J.Crew open-front sweater in a gorgeous pumpkin spice/burnt orange hue, (incredibly warm, not itchy, comfortable, yet stylish) worn over a white H&M tank with chestnut Madewell boots and black leggings.

Jewelry:

  • J.Crew pearl & gold chain necklace
  • J.Crew black faceted stone & gold chain necklace
  • Black onyx David Yurman ring

I chose the jewelry to incorporate Halloween colors, but in an understated, non-costume way.

And to keep warm…..

I added my Anthropologie scarf.

Clearly inspired by all things Fall (see previous post), this outfit will unquestionably become my fall/winter go-to. I haven’t taken the sweater off since it arrived three days ago. It’s comfortable, its warm and it’s still bold, colorful and fun.

Happy Halloween!

Fall Inspiration

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This Fall I’ve really been feeling red, burnt orange and mossy/darker shades of green as accent colors to my outfits grounded in black, navy and brown.

For example:

Scarf: Anthropologie; top: Ella Moss; boots: Madewell; ring: David Yurman

(Yes, this is one of my few and far between outfits without a J.Crew piece. Although Madewell almost counts.)

To constantly keep myself inspired by these Fall hues I set my iPhone background to this picture I found on a random Google search. Obviously the colors in this picture inspire fabulous Fall creations, but the soft, almost iridescent look the photo has inspires mixing and matching textures. I think I’ve been really into suede partially due to the softness of this photo.

I also have kept my fingernails painted OPI “A Little Rosti at This” (a dark red like the center of the flower to the left) for the past few weeks and after finding this flower while strolling through a residential neighborhood on a perfect Fall day, don’t plan on changing anytime soon.

What’s inspiring you this Fall?

–J.Crew Outsider

Shoulder Bags & Gold Accents

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While perusing Twitter the other day, I came across this tweet from Harper’s Bazaar (@harpersbazaarus):

“Pink is the new black! Here’s some inspiring ways to wear the season’s hottest color: http://ow.ly/78fOO

This tweet caught my eye because come on, pink cannot and will not ever be the new black. I’d say nice try, but it really isn’t even a good try. As one of my favorite quotes says:

“There’s no Chanel collection without black. It will never exist. Who can live without some black clothes?”

-Karl Lagerfeld

Sorry Harper’s Bazaar.

Nevertheless I flipped through the pink pieces featured in the article and fell in love with this Giorgio Armani bag:

Side note- for my birthday (one month ago) I wanted an envelope shoulder bag with a gold chain and searched high and low for the best one (we’ll get to it in a moment). Ergo, you can imagine my sheer delight when I saw this GORGEOUS bag. The pink shade is timelessly chic and exquisitely feminine, and the gold accents are just to die for.

Unfortunately, this Armani bag does not exactly fit into my budget. However, seeing this bag endorsed by Harper’s Bazaar made me feel wholly justified in the choice I made for my new bag:

New to J.Crew’s collection, this brown leather invitation clutch is a fabulous second to the Giorgio Armani bag (and infinitely more affordable). I was initially hesitant about the color because I’m not a huge brown person, but the soft hue of the brown leather and the GLORIOUS gold chain are a visual and tactile match made in J.Crew heaven.

Lessons of the day:

  • Pink is not the new black
  • Black is the best color out there (next to navy)
  • Gold accents make everything better
Do you have cute shoulder bag suggestions? Send them over!
–The J.Crew Outsider

Fall & Corduroys

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Now that Fall is in full force and temperatures have dropped, I went searching through my stored-away Winter clothes to see what new (old) gems I could find. I came across a pair of J.Crew’s ankle-length toothpick corduroys in chestnut-brown circa Fall 2009.

I’ve always struggled with how to wear corduroys and still look chic. Probably because they remind me of my grandfather. But every time I put them on, I look in the mirror and see a mom.

Not exactly the look I’m going for.

However, I decided to give these chords another try, especially since the skinny-leg cut gives them an automatic boost on the chic scale.

I paired the chords with a light purple, semi-sheer, 3/4 sleeves, a-line blouse I found on Anthropologie’s sale rack a few years back. Even though the top is rather summery, I justified the decision because the brown detail in the top matched the color of the chords. I opted for my grey, pointed-toe Nine West flats to dress the outfit up a bit and to compliment the lighter shades in the blouse. I finished the look with my go-to long pearl and gold chain J.Crew necklace and faux-opal with a gold setting J.Crew cocktail ring.

A more stylish look, yet still featuring corduroys. And, of course, since it’s brisk out there I threw on my J.Crew wool schoolboy blazer in dark grey (circa Fall 2009), which perfectly complemented my grey flats.And I’m always in favor of more gold accents.

 

Expect more corduroy outfit experiments to come.

Stay warm!