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January 01, 2010

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Best Dress
March 5 | Favorite Things

The early bird gets the worm – or in the case, gets the dress.  Net-a-porter is having a mid-season sale and they are offering some nice things for a decent discount.  I’m always on the lookout for a dress – even though I have few reasons to wear them lately – and this one is my favorites.

Rebecca Taylor Dress
Rebecca Taylor color block dress

I'd wear it now with a cozy, chunky cardigan and tights and wear it in warmer weather with a lighter layer or just on its own.  Mmm, can’t wait for warm, dry weather.

Stylish Travels
January 30 | Favorite Things

Inhabitat HoodieA recent trip made me realize black is the worst color to travel in.  It attracts all kinds of crap and by the time you get to your destination, you need a rub down with duct tape to look presentable. So whatʼs a girl to do when she wants to be comfortable while staying away from Juicy Couture track suits?  (Iʼm still amazed when I see this, by the way.) 

Iʼve decided to put together my perfect travel outfit.  Iʼll start with a comfy, but elegant hoodie like the one from Inhabits new spring collection.  I know elegant doesnʼt seem like the right word to describe a knit hoodie, but the fitted shape and extra-long sleeves makes it right.  While Iʼm at it, Iʼll pair it with an Inhabit tank underneath. 

See Stretch PantsInstead of jeans, which can get uncomfortable during long sitting stints, stretch cotton pants are better bet.  I like these See by Chloe ones for their rich color. 

When it comes to shoes, I learned my lesson a while ago when I wore ballet flats and then hated having to take off my shoes to get through security.  Bare feet on airport carpet.  Yuck.  I also rubbed the skin on my feet raw when I had to walk a very long concourse to get to my gate.  Double yuck.  So close toed shoes with socks at airports, always.  (I keep leather flip flops in a carry-on if Iʼm going somewhere warm.) So I think classic oxfords like the ones by Repetto work with this outfit.  So do my reliable low top Chucks.  Iʼm hoping to get the whole flying routine down to a science.  Getting the outfit right is a good start.

Jumpsuit Redux
January 12 | Favorite Things

I was going through some old clothes and I was actually mortified and delighted to find a black jumpsuit circa 1992 or thereabouts.  Whoa!  Jumpsuits are big for spring.  If I cut off the sleeves it might actually work now, I thought.  Maybe I could even get it to look like this…

Dries Jumpsuit
Dries Van Noten Spring 2009

Then I returned to reality.   My old jumpsuit wouldn’t look anything like the Dries Van Noten version because my sewing skills wouldn’t get me past the first round on Project Runway… or even Trading Spaces for that matter.  I could take it to a tailor, but why bother?  I like the idea of a breezy, resort-worthy jumpsuit, but the reality of my life does not include something so glamorously insouciant.  Besides, pulling off a jumpsuit isn’t for amateurs.  But this is one spring trend I’m going to stand behind because it is fun, and we could all use a bit of fun these days.  Even if it comes in the form of a glorified onesie for grown-ups.

Color Me Blah
January 9, 2009 | Favorite Things

After my third straight day of wearing gray – the other black – I’ve decided a little color is in order.  Never mind that it’s only January and I still have a few more months of rain to get through.  I need color in my wardrobe!  And a good bronzer.  But I’ll start with the clothes.

Alice Olvia
Alice + Oliviasilk top

I saw this top last week at Nordstrom and it’s just lovely.  The color combination made me wish I was hopping on a plane to the Caribbean.  For now I’ll just have to dream… and splurge on some good bronzer.

Favorite Things | December 2
When was the last time you paid 60 or 70 dollars for new designer jeans?   Right now Barneys is having their designer sale and there are some great deals on denim, like Stella McCartney and Earnest Sewn to name just two.  Act fast because these are sure to go quick.  At those prices, you can always buy for your sister and pick one up for yourself.

Sample This
Favorite Things
| December 1

Inhabit SaleKnit lovers rejoice!  Inhabit is having an online sample sale.  Yay!  These beautiful pieces are investment worthy but now you donʼt have to make a huge investment to own a gorgeous cashmere or cotton sweater.  Each are great for layering or just wearing on its own.   The online sample sale happens today and tomorrow. Hooray!  Have I mentioned how excited I am?

Cape Cheer
November 30 | Favorite Things

Thinking about tough economic times is a real downer, especially during the holidays.  But by now resourceful fashion plates have figured out that it doesn’t cost a million bucks to look it.  Besides, there are so many sales that if you plan wisely and look often, you can find many gift options to keep your family, friends and you looking fabulous as always.  I do think that local boutiques are good places to start.  These stores are hit hardest when the economy tanks so you can find deals and be a do-gooder by supporting local merchants.  But it’s not always possible to find everything you need at smaller shops, so that’s why from now until Christmas, I’m going to focus on finding deals online and passing them along.

Right now I am nearly done with a knitted cape that I started over a month ago – it never goes fast with a toddler around – and I’m excited to put the finishing touches on it.  I am a little bit obsessed with capes because it’s a vintage-y alternative to a coat.  It’s also a pretty way to top a holiday party dress.  Times may be tough, but it’s no excuse to avoid socializing.  This is an option that’s under a hundred bucks:

Steve Madden Cape
Steve Madden herringbone cape at Bloomingdales for $86.99

This cape would look great with a pencil skirt, but I also like the idea of putting it together with a thin black turtleneck and dark jeans for a casual night out.  At this price, what’s not to love?

Check Please
Favorite Things | July 28

One trend I am definitely embracing this fall is plaid.  It makes me feel nostalgic yet of-the-moment at the same time.  I had a serious love affair with plaid when I was ripping up my tights, listening to moody music and was into all things British.  Ninth grade… good times.  But the fun doesn’t have to start once the weather gets cold.  I like this lovely summer dress from Built By Wendy.


It’s a nice look to throw on with flat sandals and an over the shoulder flap bag.  The dress is on sale, which makes it all the more tempting.

The Color Purple
June 18 | Favorite Things

It seems I am hyper-focused on handbags and shoes lately,  maybe because this yearʼs spring/summer clothes, for the most part, have been less than exciting.  It could also be the fact that we see this stuff so far in advance that when the season arrives, everything feels old.  Maybe itʼs because with a baby, the clothes Iʼve worn on a day to day basis has been some combination of cardigan or hoodie, t-shirt and jeans.   

No wonder accessories hold a tight grip on my fashion-loving heart.  What I am finding fresh and inspirational is the color purple.  While itʼs not my best color to wear as far as clothing, I love the idea of getting a rich colored bag and shoes in my new favorite shade.  Iʼm already looking toward fall for some tempting looks, especially on the bag front.

Balenciaga Clutch

I could wallpaper my side of the closet with pictures of that bag.  Not that Iʼd do it.  My 16-year old self would definitely have done that but Iʼve got a husband to think about now.  And while I wanted to hang on to my first Balenciaga bag like a security blanket while I slept at night, I refrained.  Even I have limits.

Gem & I
June 10 | Favorite Things

Statement jewelry has never been my aesthetic but I just might change my tune this summer, especially since there are so many interesting pieces on sale… yes, I’m still babbling about all these sales.

Westwood Necklace

Love this bold look!  The green Swarovski crystal sea monster motif looks tough but somehow also manages to look graphic.  Jewelry is not well represented in my wardrobe and it’s a shame because it can punch up a basic outfit or add some personality without trying too hard.  I say bring on the shiny!

Going with Flo
May 16 | Favorite Things

I don’t know about you, but the vast improvement in weather in my neck of the woods has me feeling so cheerful.  It also makes me want to put on light, feel-good clothes including – gasp! – florals.

It seems like designers, editors and retailers are all conspiring against the floral-phobic in me.  Flower motifs are everywhere.  I've always been a little dubious.  Small prints can be prissy while large flower prints come off as muumuu-esque.  But now I’m feeling the flo.  Maybe it’s all the real flowers that I’m surrounded by lately.  Maybe I’m getting soft.  Whatever it is, I’ve turned around to this wearable garden party.  Here’s one of my faves:


The silhouette is casual but the open back gives it a bit more sex appeal.  The best part for me is that the floral print is a bit more graphic than girly.  How sweet it is.

Hopelessly Devoted
May 2 | Favorite Things

I was recently shopping with my husband and baby in tow – he was sweet enough to wheel the little one around in the stroller while I trolled the downtown Nordstrom here in Portland for handbags.  The selection is fantastic at this location, with many of the requisite luxury brands: Yves Saint Laurent, Chloé, Marc Jacobs.  It was fun to look but I was having a hard time even finding anything that really caught my eye.  At the prices handbags are going for these days, the bags better make me look taller, hotter and infinitely more stylish than everyone else around.
Then I noticed the Chanel boutique within the Nordstrom over in the corner.  The lure was too strong.  I had to check out the goods.  Here’s where I got a little lightheaded.  First of all, it is about ten times brighter in that part of the store so it felt like handbag heaven.  The sales woman who helped me was so incredibly attentive and helpful that I wanted to say “I’ll take everything!” in the throws of my bag high.  Of course I had to snap out of it, but not before my lust for luxury was permanently cemented in the shape of this bag:

Chanel Perforated Metallic Calfskin Flap Bag

This picture from the Chanel website makes the bag look flashier than it actually looks in person.  But Perforated Metallic bag has attitude while being classic enough to steal the show from the prim little quilted bags.  The gold metal accents contrast nicely with the silver leather and the inside is lined with the most beautiful silvery-blue satin.  I am officially in love.  But with a $2,195 price tag it will have to be a long-distance courtship.  But don’t think I’m not scheming of ways to be with my true handbag love.

Why Dye?
March 30 | Favorite Things

I used to make fun of my husband for listening to the Grateful Dead because for me, the whole scene conjured up images of dirty hair and bad tie-dye.  Whether thatʼs a fair assessment or not, it doesnʼt matter.  I have now official gone over to the dark side and know plenty of Grateful Dead songs by heart (from years of being a captive audience on road trips) and have even caught myself singing a tune to the baby.  *Sigh*

While I wonʼt be sporting a tie-dye t-shirt any time soon, I have seen some nice tie-dye looks that doesnʼt look too, um, crunchy.  Here a look I really like:

St Tropez

It almost looks like an ethnic print, which is a big trend this season.  I say a little tie-dye goes a long way and this light, airy look is perfect for spring.

YSL Majorelle
March 25 | Favorite Things

At first I wasnʼt that into this bag.  It seemed too old lady-ish for me.  But after further review, Iʼve changed my mind.


How else can you pull off purple patent leather but as a bright bit of arm candy?  It also helps punch up a rather staid design.  Iʼm all for classic looks but accessories are a great way to think outside the box.

Speaking of Yves Saint Laurent, I read The Beautiful Fallduring my vacation and now have a new appreciation for the designer and the brand.  That goes for Karl Lagerfeld too, who is the other main subject of the book.  I learned more than I ever needed to know about Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeldʼs personal and professional lives, and their titanic rivalry.  For fashion addicts, this book is a must since the all-encompassing scope of the book and the juicy tidbits make you feel like an insider.  And yes, Karl Lagerfeld had a signature look before the famous fan.  I'm glad he moved on.

The Sweetest Thing
February 22 | Favorite Things

I donʼt know if itʼs the fact that a cupcake is involved or just that the top is adorable but I am loving this bright little number from Boden.

Boden Gypsy

I recently got a Boden womenʼs catalogue, not really knowing much about the brand.  I lingered over every page.  Thereʼs a sense of fun and whimsy to the designs, which lean toward the comfortable yet on trend.  This top in particular speaks to my craving for color and the picture most definitely speaks to my craving for sweets.  The pull is hard to resist.


Give a Girl a Handbag
February 13 | Favorite Things

Earlier today my brother called me for advice on a Valentine’s Day gift for his wife.  I like hearing about last minute scrambles to find gifts.  It makes me feel less like a loser when I do the same thing.   He thought a new handbag was the way to go – good choice – and wanted some suggestions at the right price point.

That got me thinking… I always have room in my heart and closet for a new bag and this would make the perfect addition!


I’ll try not to gush in admiration.  Normally ruffles aren’t my thing, but the ultra girly detail is offset with the metal hardware and chain strap, which is removable for when you prefer a clutch.  Love it! 

Undercover and Underexposed
February 1 | Favorite Things

While the cold, rain and occasional snow still batters Portland, I refuse to let the weather get me down.  I’ve got a Bahamas vacation coming up dammit!  Gotta keep my eyes on the prize.

Part of the prize, besides the obvious improvement in the weather, is I’ll actually have a reason to shave my legs.  Right now it’s like remembering to floss… I do it because I should.  My husband is the only one who sees my bare legs and sometimes has the misfortune of rubbing up against a slightly hairy shin while we’re in bed.  Poor guy.  My laziness with the razor is even less fun for him.

Soon, I’ll happily shave my legs because they will be free of jeans, tights and long pajama bottoms!  And I’ve found the perfect little dress to celebrate the liberation.

Abbey Dress

C&C is the originator of the soft, lived-in looking t-shirt.  I like that their t-shirts look a bit more refined and come in an incredible range of colors.  I wish the Abbey came in more colors reminiscent of spring, but for now I’d be happy with white.  All the better to show off my tanned and stubble free legs.

Body Conscious
Favorite Things | January 13

Does anyone like to shop for swimwear?  Maybe a Brazilian swimsuit model, but the rest of us mere mortals would rather not face our bikini-clad backsides in a three way mirror.

Continuing on with the vacation theme (I’m counting down the days in case you couldn’t guess) I need a new swimsuit but I’m not really looking forward to shopping for one.  I’m tempted to just order something online and hope for the best but that’s about as wise as ordering a fish sandwich at a roadside bar in Reno.

While I’ll have to cut myself some slack and add an extra set of crunches every day, there’s no doubt the suit I spend money on will be the one that makes me feel good.  Whether it’s a flattering color or cut - or extra powerful Lycra - it’s all about the extra confidence that comes from keeping the jiggle under control.  An all important factor when ordering another pina colada or snacking on something deep fried.  This is a beach vacation after all.

Here’s a picture of a simple but simply gorgeous Eres swimsuit.  Guess I’ll go start those crunches now.

Eres Swimsuit

Flare Thee Well
January 6 | Favorite Things

I’m not into resolutions but the one thing I wanted to improve on this year was not always relying on jeans to get me through an outfit crisis.  While I’ve added a few new dresses to my repertoire but I keep going back to dark denim for most of my outings.  It doesn’t help that now I am totally obsessed with wide leg jeans.  I’m constantly looking for another pair.

With a warm weather vacation looming – to save me from the rain God help me – I’m looking forward to packing light.  Light in weight and color that is.  So when I saw these jeans in the latest Anthropologie catalogue, I was instantly smitten.

Joe’s Lola wide leg chambray jeans

Not only will these work for dinners and night walks on the beach topped with a tank and lightweight sweater, they will also protect my legs from mosquitoes!  And these jeans would be perfect for the flight back when covering up is a must on those cold flights.  Give me a cashmere hoodie and I’m golden.  So what was that about not always wearing jeans?  



All that Glitters
Favorite Things | December 13

With my attraction to all things glittery even more pronounced these days (must be all the holiday cheer), I went digging around for a sequined top I bought a few years back but thought I put away because it had run its course in my wardrobe.  Well, it seems I gave it away because I can’t find it anywhere.   Darn.  When will I learn?  Sometimes I’m too hasty about giving things away. 

Sequins are everywhere right now.  Whether you want a little bit of sparkle or the full bedazzled effect, it’s totally wearable and so much fun.  Right now I am loving this little number.

Alicia Olivia
Alice + Olivia sequin dress

I like the idea of taking a sporty racerback dress and kicking up the pretty with sequins.  I love pairing it with opaque tights or skinny trousers and you can always throw on a blouse or a light turtleneck underneath for a ladylike look.  Nice no?

Jumpsuit Redux
January 12 | Favorite Things

I was going through some old clothes and I was actually mortified and delighted to find a black jumpsuit circa 1992 or thereabouts.  Whoa!  Jumpsuits are big for spring.  If I cut off the sleeves it might actually work now, I thought.  Maybe I could even get it to look like this…

Dries Jumpsuit
Dries Van Noten Spring 2009

Then I returned to reality.   My old jumpsuit wouldn’t look anything like the Dries Van Noten version because my sewing skills wouldn’t get me past the first round on Project Runway… or even Trading Spaces for that matter.  I could take it to a tailor, but why bother?  I like the idea of a breezy, resort-worthy jumpsuit, but the reality of my life does not include something so glamorously insouciant.  Besides, pulling off a jumpsuit isn’t for amateurs.  But this is one spring trend I’m going to stand behind because it is fun, and we could all use a bit of fun these days.  Even if it comes in the form of a glorified onesie for grown-ups.

Busting Out: Agent Provocateur
July 27 | Favorite Things

I was at the bookstore last night and did my usual rounds at the magazine racks.  The cover of Bust Magazine caught my eye because Tara Subkoff was on the cover with the words Fall Fashion Issue.

I’ve never bought Bust, though I love Debbie Stoller, the magazine’s creator and Editor-in-Chief.  Her Stitch-n-Bitch knitting books are smart, funny and above all useful.  If you even have the slightest interest in knitting you should go out and buy her first book right now.

What caught my eye with the latest edition of Bust was the fact that a feminist magazine had a fashion issue.  I’m not saying I’m not a feminist, but I wonder how to reconcile my love of fashion with some of the negative aspects associated with the whole industry.  So with a Fall Fashion Issue featuring a female designer who firmly follows her own rules, I had to take a closer look.

Easy Spirit by Tara Subkoff open-toe pump

Since I am a shoe fanatic, I was interesting in Subkoff’s collaboration with Easy Spirit, the comfort shoe line that somehow got hip to this so-called indie queen.  But I also wanted to read more about Imitation of Christ, her one-of-a-kind line of remade vintage fashions, and her unflinching view of the mainstream fashion industry.


Last night was the first time I was unable to put a magazine down.  The Subkoff interview, profiles on emerging independent designers, an article about indescribable appeal of Real Simple; I was hooked.  It doesn’t mean I’ll cancel my subscription to Vogue.  But it’s nice to know there’s a glossy that that can still intrigue me.

It doesn’t mean I’ll cancel my subscription to Vogue.  But it’s nice to know there is still a magazine that offers a little intrigue.


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