Awhile back, I made the mistake of opening up a zillion Facebook pages spread out all over the place, and it got completely confusing and impossible to maintain. So: I’ve decided to consolidate them into just one.
Well, on Sunday I dressed up like his girlfriend from the 90210 days. (The first one, kids. It was television perfection.)
I mean…kinda, right?
I feel like this is the sort of outfit that would be worn by the new girl who just started working as a photographer at the school paper, and who makes Andrea super-jealous when she’s given the assignment of taking Brandon’s picture for an editorial and he asks her to go to the Peach Pit with him that night and they end up making out, except they don’t go too far because Brenda catches them. And then they date for a few weeks, until Brandon discovers that the New Girl’s family is hiding from a terrible tragedy in their past that ultimately forces them to move to Alaska or Indonesia, and Brandon swears he’ll always love her, and they have lots of teary kisses and then she drives off into the sunset in her flowery dress and cardigan.
Which is all to say, this is more than a little bit ’90s, don’t you think?
I like it.
I’m pretty excited to wear that dress solo with sandals once it starts warming up around these parts.
Winter, go ‘way. Brandon Walsh’s girlfriend says so.
I love hats. I would wear a hat every day if I could, but I have a problem: I can’t figure out how to wear them. Any advice?
A. Oh, I used to be so not into hats. I didn’t think they looked good on me, and besides, every time I wore one I was just so aware of the thing, and felt like everyone else was, too. “Oh, that girl? You mean the one IN THE HAT?” Sort of like that.
This is me on the way to the airport at five in the morning last March (this trip), literally in the process of discovering that Hats Are Fun. I had bought a straw fedora in a moment of wild, reckless abandon (I know: so wild! so reckless!), and then when I was packing realized that the trouble with the thing was that there was nowhere for it to go save for on my head. So I was sort of forced into wearing it with a completely ridiculous outfit, and discovered that I quite like the drama of odd hat/clothing pairings.
Anyway, in the months since, I have wholeheartedly embraced this new world of accessories, and think you should give it a shot, too.
When it comes to hat-wearing, I generally stick to three basic categories:
(This is one of my favorite outfits in my closet. I think it’s mostly the snazzy hat’s fault.)
The key to this look is choosing a hat with gorgeous details, like a beautiful ribbon around the brim, a great shape, or something a bit over-the-top like a plume or crystal accent. The rest of the outfit can be as simple or as mixed-up as you like, but it should all have the feel of being fairly done. This is not a hat to wear with your sloppy sweats.
As a finishing touch, add sunglasses (totally unnecessary; so fun) and give your hair a bit of a style - at the very least, rub product through the ends or spend a few seconds with a curling iron. If you want to get crazy with it, pull your hair into a side bun underneath your ear. That’d be pretty.
2. COMPLETELY BIZARRE
Big, furry hats - or any others that fall into the “Completely Bizarre” category - are a look you have to commit to.
It’s a new one for me, the HELLO, I AM WEARING A RIDICULOUS HAT look. But I like it.
With a hat like this, I’d keep the rest of the outfit pared-down in terms of color and pattern, and stick to minimal accessories. While in the above shot I’m wearing the hat with purple velvet lounge pants, which are sorta over-the-top themselves, the look works because the clothing is all fairly streamlined and has a simple, clean shape to it. Plus, an off-the-shoulder sweater keeps the focus right where it should be: on your face (and the thing sitting above it).
This, of course, is the easiest category, and an excellent way to get in a hat-wearing state of mind if you’re wary of the idea. Winter picks are obvious - big, chunky knits, pom-poms, things like that - but it’s a little bit more of a leap to grab a hat when it’s steamy out. But you should; it’s a great solution for hiding less-than-lovely summer locks and keeping away those terrible UV rays. And besides, it’s an easy way to give style and polish to an otherwise verging-on-boring outfit like a tee and shorts.
While we’re on the topic, want to see my Hat Party Trick? Here you go.
Click images for additional outfit info; hat product info after the jump.
I have decided to get married this spring in the yard of a beautiful country cabin. Picture mason jars…pictures clothes-pinned to twine…acoustic guitars…Chucks for the men. So I don’t know what to do for a dress. Also, I have practically no money to spend…I’m talking $200 max.
Any ideas or inspiration would be wonderful!
Q. That setting is so perfect for a romantic, casual wedding look. You can still do the long white dress, but with a few homemade touches and items pulled straight from your closet, you’ll look beautifully bridal for next-to-nothing.
Let’s take this Rebecca Taylor cotton gown as inspiration for the first look. A little country, a lot relaxed, and easy to pair with sandals for dancing or an updo for the ceremony.
1. Search vintage stores for a long cotton dress - I’ve also had luck finding beautiful satin-and-lace nightgowns at consignment shops for not too much money. Take the dress to a tailor and have it fitted and lined to give it a bit more weight (and to cover up any potentially see-through patches).
2. Try DIY-ing a lace or gauze sash (just fold a long rectangle of lace in half lengthwise and sew the edges together, turn inside-out to hide the seam, and finish the ends by cutting them into a sparrow-tail and then heat-sealing them or painting them with clear polish so that they don’t fray). Or buy a simple silver belt. That’s easier.
3. You can also pick up some trimming for the neckline for just a few dollars, or embroider the details yourself if you’re handy like that.
3. None of the accessories pictured above is over $50, but I’m willing to bet that you already have sandals and a wrap, and you can DIY that sash with a simple trip to the trimmings shop (or just go for a braided gold leather belt - that’s easy enough to find). The earrings I think you should just go ahead and buy, because they’re fantastic…bringing your grand total to just a hair over $100.
A wedding-day outfit that lets you play in the leaves. Not too shabby.
A. Hmm…weakness not so much, but heel trouble generally, yes, and it makes me feel old. I’m not sure what happened: it used to be that I was all, “Oh, an entire day of shopping downtown? Heels! Out all night dancing and taking subways to far-flung parts of the city? Heels, obviously!” etc. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me that there might be an issue of…you know, pain. Sure, my feet hurt a little towards the end of the festivities, but I just kinda dealt with it. Now? No. No more dealing with it.
Those shoes I’m wearing in the above photo? I sort of side-eye them every time I’m getting ready to go out (by which I mean out-out, not out-to-the-grocery-store), think how cute they’d look (because nude pumps tend to generally look cute with pretty much every outfit)…and then think: “Ehhhhhhggg. Can’t.”
And then I think to myself my, how responsible I’ve grown. But the truth is just that they hurt, and I’m grumpy aboutÂ pain. And once I was walking down the street wearing those heels and a very short miniskirt, and feeling all fabulous and flouncy, and then took such a ridiculously dramatic fall thanks to the cobblestone street that I ended up showing horrifying things to various passers-by while sprawled out on the sidewalk, and that was not an experience I’m looking to repeat anytime soon.
Anyway, I hear you. And while I think the answer that I’m supposed to give is to choose lower heels…nah. I don’t really like them, either. I do, however, gravitate towards stacked heels (like these) lately; I feel like they’re less likely to result in ankle-twisting than stilettos, and besides, they’re very chic. I’ve also been opening my mind to the adorableness of great flats (right now, I love pointy-toed patent styles (like these), as well as big, rugged lace-up boots (like the Clarks pair pictured above).
When I see a pair of sky-highs that I absolutely must own, I usually purchase cozy inserts for them (Aldo sells good ones; you may need to go up a half-size, so try on the shoes with the inserts in the store). And finally…yes…I wear flats to and from places where I want to wear heels if a taxi isn’t on the menu. But there is no need to do the ugly-white-sneakers thing: just keep a pair of foldable black flats handy, and you can do a (very inelegant, but whatever) switcheroo on the street before heading up to wherever it is that you’re going. (Keep a plastic bag in your purse to put the flats in so the interior doesn’t get dirty, or stash them in a cute cloth tote.) That’s actually what I did on Sunday: snowboots to and from my aunt’s place; wedges once inside. And as a bonus, this practice keeps the soles of your fancy shoes from getting too much wear and tear, so there’s that.
On Friday evening, handbag designer Alexandra Satine (you’ve seen her Brickel and Rio Limon styles here before) stopped by to show me her favorite picks from her Summer and Fall collections. The best thing about her bags: with most styles, part of the bag can be removed and carried as a separate clutch or small purse, making the piece a two-for-one investment.
On Saturday, it snowed.
So that was fun.
I took advantage of the situation to wear my new gloves. (My Urban Outfitters pair is sold out, but they’re similar to these.)
We went to Big Daddy’s and ate pancakes with bacon and banana. They were good; have to say, though, not quiiiiite as good as my Elvis Pancakes.
There was a bit of a disaster with Indy’s hat, so we swapped mine in for the twenty-foot walk home. He didn’t seem to notice much of a difference.
And on Sunday, we ate lunch (Waldorf Salad) at my Aunt Debbie’s house. Debbie’s been a food stylist and cookbook author for years, so every time I see her I pick up a trick or two; this time, what she taught me is that the way to make a really spectacular Waldorf Salad (she recommended this Ina Garten recipe) is to start with a chicken breast roasted on the bone, and then to cut it into pieces and serve when it’s still slightly warm. Once the chicken is refrigerated, it starts to dry out and isn’t nearly as good.
My boyfriend and I moved in together in August and we are almost all set up…but one of the biggest hiccups so far has been finding kitchen chairs that we like.
We want something bright (a turquoise distressed wooden chair would be awesome), and something with a vintage feel to it, but we don’t want to spend crazy amounts of money on them because, after all, they are just kitchen chairs. I was hoping you might have some suggestions for places to go or some ideas for how to create our “ideal kitchen chairs.”
I think this chair is pretty much what you have in mind, right? It’s from Anthropologie. It is NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.
And while I’m a huge fan of Anthro…I need to know what, exactly, they were smoking when they slapped on that price tag.
There is no need to spend that kind of money.
But never fear: you are going to love this next part, because the fact is that you can have exactly what you’re looking for, and it shouldn’t cost you more than…oh, say fifty bucks. Total.
How adorable is this? You can totally do this.
Start with a trip to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill. Look for chairs with interesting carved details and a great silhouette, but there’s no need to get a matched set (unless that’s what you want). Single wooden chairs - ones that aren’t part of a set - tend to be way cheaper; I’ve found them for as little as $2 apiece.
This chair, for example (which I spruced up myself with mint paint and gold leaf)? This chair was free. The guy at the Salvation Army said that it’d been knocking around for so long that he was just glad to be rid of it, and threw it in as a bonus with the rest of my purchase.
And then all you need is an afternoon to yourself to do a little wood-restoring (optional) and painting. Maybe some distressing, if you’re feeling ambitious.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Wood Refinishing Basics
First, a bit about wood-restoring: I tend not to do this on thrifted pieces unless they’re particularly high-quality, mostly because I’m impatient and don’t want to, but also because it just isn’t a big deal to have a chip or uneven spot here and there. If a distressed look is what you’re going for, such things are even desirable. But if you want to give the wood a little fixing-up, here’s what you do:
1. Strip off the old paint or sand off the old stain (start with 80 grit and move up to 150 grit or 220 grit, using a tack cloth to remove sawdust between sandings).
2. Sand again to smooth down the wood. Wipe away dust with a clean rag.
3. Fill in any damaged areas or cracks with wood putty and let dry.
4. Sand down again to create a smooth surface.
Furniture Painting Basics
This is the time-consuming part, but there’s really nothing to it: just apply three thin coats (no glopping the stuff on) using a decent brush, and you’re good. Some tips:
1. Whenever possible, strip furniture that’s already painted and sand it down along the grain of the wood.
2. Use water-based paint on wood furniture.
3. Gloss paint shows everything…only use it if the surface you’re painting is pristine (use semi-gloss or matte for a more forgiving finish.
4. Put down a (big) drop cloth, or lots and lots of newspaper.
5. Nail polish remover gets the stains off of furniture/floors that have been splattered, but spot-test first to ensure that you won’t take off anything you don’t want to.
Wood Distressing Basics
And finally, if the chairs that you find are respectably new-looking and what you’d prefer is a distressed finish (like the chair pictured above), go ahead and DIY that, as well.
1. Sand the wood lightly along the grain, concentrating on the areas that would naturally get the most wear and tear (like the armrests and corners).
2. Take a hammer and (lightly!) bang the sides of the piece, wherever denting would naturally occur.
3. Rub a few areas that you want to look extra-distressed with a wire brush or Brillo pad. You can even use an awl or chisel to make little holes in the wood, if you like.
4. If you’d prefer a stained look to paint and don’t feel like heading to the store, try pouring some strong coffee over the piece, and add more layers until you achieve the desired effect.
When I posted the shots from our trip up the Hudson a couple of weeks ago, a reader commented below the post asking me if I wouldn’t mind doing a tutorial on that hairdo. And what I said was nope, of course I wouldn’t mind…but it’s really just a loosened-up topknot with a couple of simple twists that make it a little more interesting than the kind of thing you’d wear to, say, the gym.
But then I got to thinking…you know, they’re kind of good little twists. Kinda easy and fun.
Last night I got the chance to talk wedding gowns and wardrobe malfunctions with bridal designerÂ Amsale. Her number-one piece of advice (which I agree with): your wedding day is not the day to suddenly become a trendball (although I’m not sure that she used preciselyÂ that word). Think timeless, and to get started on your search consider what you wear and what you look like on a daily basis.
Then we got to talking about how while designers had been thinking that strapless styles would experience a dip in popularity, that hasn’t been the case at all; they remain hugely beloved by brides. And I told Amsale about my own strapless wedding gown and how, though (I thought) very beautiful, it required lots of yanks upwards over the course of the night. There was even a terribly unfortunate moment in which I showed more bride than I intended to show (ifyouknowwhatI’msaying), a moment that I am aware of because, you see, sometimes there are a few photos of you taken on your wedding day. A fact that is usually good; in this particular instance, maybe not so much. Amsale was sort of horror-struck by this story, and assured me that if the internal construction is done right, a strapless gown can be worn with zero tugging and wardrobe-malfunctioning. Good to know.
One trend I noticed at the salon: lots of stunning bodice detailing, like those crystal-studded flowers above, and a touch of the ballerina. (That gown, by the way, is pretty un-me - I tend to prefer simpler, more relaxed silhouettes for wedding gowns - and yet was my favorite. Go figure.)
These are french toast bites topped with champagne-pear compote and mint. I ate many.
I spent yesterday in Dumbo, shooting a segment for Joyus.com highlighting my favorite pieces from one of my favorite jewelry brands, Chloe and Isabel (you’ve seen me wearing their stuff all over the place here). What we wanted to show was how statement pieces can transform wardrobe staples into for-real outfits, so I (mostly) chose simply-cut solids.
I’ll post the video (and all my jewelry picks) here once it’s up, but in the meantime, more looks from the shoot are after the jump.
Look 2: Vintage Revolution jeans, Forever 21 tank and blazer, Geox Keira booties, Talbots belt.
When I look at this picture, all I can think is: I need a bang trim.
But bangs aside, this is a good shopping-on-a-Saturday look, I think. Comfortable, but a bit more interesting than an ordinary jeans-and-tank ensemble because of the color and cut of the blazer (love those ruched sleeves), and of course the fabulous necklace.
Look 3: Alternative Vintage tee, leather leggings c/o Paige Denim, Forever 21 belt, Geox Keira booties (not shown).
This outfit is the most representative of my everyday style: simple, relaxed-fit tee and slim-fitting black pants (in this case, leather ones). And wait until you see the spiked hoops I’m wearing - they’re a fantastic spin on everyday earrings.
I took a break from the simply-cut solids for this outfit (one of my faves), because I also wanted to show how this cuff, despite its vintage-y feel, can work with pretty much anything. Even completely bizarre mish-moshes of pattern and color.
On the left, that’s the generally wonderful and adorable Allegra from Chloe and Isabel, whom I first met when I visited the brand’s offices last summer. You can follow her on Twitter here.
And finally, this is Allegra’s Cambridge Satchel. Arr.
If you check out my personal style posts, you’ll notice a little something that pops up over and over (and over), and that something is this:
Reading my site is like playing Ugly Old Elastic Where’s Waldo.
I’ve gotten better at remembering to take my hairtie off my wrist mostly because at this point I’ve been reminded by so many photographers and stylists that a black piece of plastic with a big fluff of blonde hair knotted around it is not particularly pretty in photos, but still: wouldn’t it be nice if your hair elastic could arguably pass for jewelry, while still looking clean and minimalist when it’s being used for its primary purpose?
Crossbody Bags Under $250 (And Many More Bags, Just For Fun)
Q. Hey Jordan!
I have had the same two Longchamps bags since 2007, and I’m ready for something new! I can’t keep my eyes off of the oversized, slightly slouchy leather cross-body bags. I don’t really know where to start looking for them, though. Any ideas?
A. I think this is an item that it’s OK to spend a little more money on - though there’s no need to go above, say, $250 - mostly because if you pick the right one it’ll wear beautifully and never go out of style. I’d go for brown or black, because the point of these slouchy cross-bodies is to convey a sort of rustic, relaxed cool, and while I love brightly-colored bags (especially red), this isn’t the place to play with rainbows. (Also, brights show their age more quickly.)
Some of my favorite styles:
My favorites are the Lucky Brand on the top left, and the Foley & Corinna top center (go for the latter if your job is a little more formal and you’d like to wear the bag to work). And I threw in a super-affordable bag (the brown Cesca on the top right is just $38!) in case you’d like to try out the look before dropping major cash, but be warned: inexpensive bags are inexpensive for a reason, and that one likely won’t last more than a couple of seasons.
And now, because we’re talking bags anyway, let’s talk about a couple that have nothing to do with your request for slouchy cross-bodies, but are too cute not to mention here.
“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”—
I’ve never really been on the boyfriend jeans train, but I tried on a pair at Paige Denim Sunday afternoon and kinda fell in love.
They’re a little tricky to wear, though; pair ‘em with the wrong things, and you have a major schlump situation. (Above, I’m wearing Paige jeans with a StyleMint tee, a Cosmic Thread necklace, and Aldo wedges.)
The key when wearing a slouchy pair of jeans, of course, is to keep the rest of your outfit neat so it doesn’t look like you were just painting your house or something. But since the look is definitely all about relaxed comfort, I like solid neutrals or stripes on top (the fanciest I’d get is a silk blouse), and simple accessories like a braided leather belt and loop scarf.
For footwear, strappy sandals and bare flats work in the warmer months, but in the winter I’d dress up the look with leopard wedges or a funner-than-black neutral (like navy).
P.S. Ashley wrote in to ask how to wear the twill Gap pants pictured above in the wintertime, and similar advice applies - I’d go for a simple (but sexy) pair of pumps, a cozy (but neatly fitted) henley, and pretty, minimal accessories.
Weekend Snapshots (& A Little Baby Shower Inspiration)
I spent Friday night - all of it - trying to get my gel manicure off. Morgan told me that at the salon they just soak cotton balls in acetone and then wrap them in tin foil for 20 minutes before scraping off whatever’s left with an orange stick…so I figured, hey, I can do that myself and save the money, right? As it turned out it was a little problematic, being as once one hand is befoiled it becomes pretty close to impossible to foil the other hand, and then once both hands are finished it becomes pretty close to impossible to do…anything.
Anyway, it eventually came off, and to my surprise my nails weren’t completely destroyed underneath. Yay.
On Saturday, I co-hosted Morgan’s baby shower over at our friend Mel’s place.
Theme: Valentine’s Day (since the baby is due mid-February)
Menu: Breakfast burrito spread (such a great, affordable way to feed your guests at a brunch-time party…plus everyone loves it)
Games: Celebrity Baby Names; The Price Is Right (guess the prices of popular baby products; plus the basket of products is an extra gift for the mom-to-be)
Favors: Heart-shaped tins full of pink-and-white candies and a heart-shaped candle
With Mom and the little one (his sweater is H&M and my favorite thing).
Haagen-Dazs, just so you’re aware, makes really spectacular ice cream cakes.
The beautiful guest of honor.
With Michelle, who was wearing an amazing crystal-and-feather fascinator-thing that you unfortunately can’t see in this photo. (But speaking of beautiful hair accessories, I love these crystal Carolina Rodriguez hair combs, available at Lock & Mane.)
We finished off the weekend with a date to see War Horse (shockingly, I cried) and a little tummy time (Virgil helped.)