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A Pretty Plaid for Anywhere
This shirt reminds me of a confident “city girl” who always keeps her country roots close to her heart. She’s full of life, living it up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and riding the L Train into Manhattan every morning with her fellow stylists, bloggers, researchers, call center mavens and marketers. A carload of folks doing the daily grind and, every now and then, making dreams come true. The daytime is all business and street style. But when she returns home in the evening the laptop hits the floor. This girl rolls up her sleeves and goes to town making a London Broil and a batch of Guinness cupcakes for her roommates. She strategizes which weekend, exactly, she’ll pack up her pickup with pup Nigel and head back to her chestnut Appaloosa and chicken coop on a little patch of land in Somewhere, Virginia.
When you spy this extra sweet Rails Britt Button Down Shirt, in a myriad of pretty color combinations (we’re partial to the Pink/Marine) and 100% Rayon, your first instinct may be “toss it on over cutoffs and grab the hobo bag”. That works. Of course it does. But now look a little closer: this easygoing button-up with double chest pockets will go almost anywhere you go. The tender, rolled short-sleeve adds panache (and we love what a good cap sleeve does to our arms!) while the semi-relaxed fit paints a sophisticated silhouette for an ensemble that can traverse urban boulevards or down-home country lanes.
Lifestyle brand Rails Clothing has made the radar of fashion bloggers and celebrities for years now. Mila Kunis wore the Rails Britt Shirt when she had little Wyatt Isabelle in utero. And Kourtney K. (a devoted fan of Los Angeles native Jeff Abrams and his tailored designs) sported the Britt while filming on Keeping Up.
Fashion bloggers seem to be in love with the easy wearability of Rails and this sinfully soft topper in particular. Throw on an A-line skirt over the top of the Britt, step into some short suede booties, and don your aviators and fave fall bag ala Arielle Nachmani of the haute blog Something Navy.
This is one of those pieces that manages to be classic and comfortable. A timeless top that feels good to put on over and over … and over again. Once again, wearable proof that a little simplicity can feel so rich.Read More
Nation Ltd. Clothing is a fun, laid-back brand on a mission. You can see it in the precise perfection behind every Nation Ltd. dress, Nation Ltd. tank and of course, Nation Ltd. t-shirt. Nation’s founder, Jen Menchaca, claims that after studying PR in school, waitressing in NYC, and working for Hollywood in LA, she finally segued into the fashion and design biz (naturally) by looking to recreate her dad’s uber soft, white (in theory), v-neck tees. So she toiled and toiled until she got it just right. A noble pursuit indeed. Because let’s be honest, like a modern-day Cinderella, we are all looking for our own ‘perfect white tee’.
Menchada says the 100% cotton jersey Classic V-Neck Fall tee is “the shirt I’m most proud of … my friends say it’s like Dad’s old tee shirt (minus the yellow underarm stains and smell of Pierre Cardin).” Hm. Sounds (smells?) like success! And this baby is machine wash and tumble dry so that makes life a tad easier, too.
It doesn’t end with shirts, though. Nation Ltd. dresses keep the theme of comfy goodness going in dress format, too. The Cassidy Dress short sleeved mini with its deep-v and ruched sides is 38% cotton and has a burnout wash. This one comes in heather gray, marsala or moss. Cassidy would no doubt be awesome with booties and bracelets ...maybe a long, warm wrap sweater over the top.
I can’t get enough of a Dolman silhouette and the Nation Ltd. brand has those, too. The Ginny Dolman Mini makes for a super comfortable option to wear for drinks and dinner at someone’s house or decked out with jewels at a nicer restaurant. Always appreciate the longer sleeves paired with a short, sassy skirt.
Nation Ltd.tanks are good, solid staples in everyday neutrals. The Lulu Tank is one of those you’d be bummed to find in the dirty clothes pile because it would get so much wear alone or underneath a blazer.
In short, Nation makes a v-neck you can feel really, really good about. The brand’s vibrant website, instagram, etc. tell the story of a fun, fashionable company that has tons of good intuition and even better goodwill vives. Check them out for behind-the-scenes fashion shoots and to learn about the company’s use of eco-friendly fabric and blends.
Viva la v-neck!
Are You Still a Little Bit Wild?
A little leopard is always in style! Last season it was leopard ballet flats. The season before that it was LP fur swing coats. The leopard print-du-jour is this generous Tolani infinity scarf . Consider it the perfect vehicle for a sophisticated animal print. Like all Tolani scarves, it is crafted with quality fabrics and an eye for detail. And apparently, Jessica Alba and Vanessa Hudgens are already big fans...they wear it everywhere (paired with neutrals, natch)! The tan, brown and dark brown Tolani Leopard Print Infinity Scarf is handmade in India with a soft silk blend.
Giant infinity scarves are the best because 1) You know you won’t lose it should one end get caught somewhere (God forbid). 2) You don’t have to worry about which method of the gazillion methods you will use to tie your scarf (if you’re kind of lazy like I am). 3) Infinity scarves always looks perfect with a messy top knot (again easy) and 4) They can go loose if you’re feeling easy breezy or tight if you’re looking for a little warmth. Just wrap it up two times or three. Wrap your Tolani scarf four times if you’re a thrill-seeker who is always on safari for a good time.Read More
We’ve all considered:
How do I accessorize this amazing dress without feeling weighed down?
How am I going to secure tonight’s essentials (phone, wallet, keys, lip stain) without the spinal commitment? (After all, I did just lug around a giant tote all day long).
How can I compliment this playful blazer and heels combo I’ve got going on without looking over-done?
Answer: Sometimes a great clutch is the only reasonable solution.
Designers at LA-based JJ Winters have caught on with the versatility of this must-have accessory that was at one time super-formal. Now, thankfully, you can have a clutch that is not dripping with beadwork, lace or other dainties. You can in fact find clutches with a perfectly attractive (and optional) chain strap, chic design, and even surprisingly generous storage capacity (this is a shout-out to you, fold overs!!)
JJ Clutches stood out recently on the pages of People, InStyle, Lucky and Lash mags. The Chain Croco Miley Clutch was one of Rank & Style’s “Ten Best Winter Clutches” … winter candy, indeed. Heidi Klum dubbed her bag a “Red Carpet Essential” on her fashion/lifestyle site, and Kourtney Kardashian was snapped in her signature blazer-shorts combo cradling a large tan JJ Winters clutch. Love or hate the Kardashian ladies, Kourtney’s style is always spot on!
JJ Winters clutches are pretty much so good and so versatile you could eat them up. (But why would you do that? Seriously.) A large snakeskin clutch makes the perfect home for your tablet and smaller sundries while the simple Bree Chain Clutch (which also doubles as a cross body with a gold chain) does the job at 4.75 inches high and 11 inches wide with a magnetic snap closure and interior pocket/card slot. The Nikki Clutch is a cinch for special outings. With is streamlined details and unfussy shape you never have to despair about hauling a clunky handbag to a wedding or dinner again.
Some JJ Winters clutches feature an “optional handle” which is actually a super cute detail and pretty clever. Slide your hand into the handle to give the pits a break when you want to go sans shoulder strap. The Sherry Clutch (in Brite Blue Croco, Yellow Croco or Black Cobra) has the
handle, as well as a silk/satin lining. All JJ Winters bags are made in the U.S. with Italian imported leather.
It’s pretty obvious the clutch is having a major moment. Proves once again simplifying can be so satisfying.Read More
Here’s the Long and Short of it
It’s easy to dress in your best when the dress you’re in checks all the boxes. We suggest you don’t give up quite yet on the summer dress stock-up until you’ve had a good look at the new merch Blue Life Clothing has to offer. The California-girl brand has a talent for making the perfect piece to match up with a memorable occasion. They pull out the big guns in particular when it comes to stitching daytime dresses. You’ve got painfully cute minis and beautiful, free-flowing maxis. Sometimes they throw in a super high slit, and quite often you’ll find hand-created tie-dye designs. Caution: There is a lot to love here.
So really, all you have to do is make sure you have enough places to wear these delectable frocks! Are you headed to the jam fest down the street or a picnic beside the waves? The Blue Life Exile Dress is so fun with its different variations of colors and patterns. Take your pick. The short tie-dye number features a hi-low hem and V-neck in a lightweight fabric. It has a very beachy, easy-going feel and flavor. Pile on necklaces and wear with boots/booties or all manner of sandals. We love this dress in its stripe variation, too.
Maybe you’re headed to that rooftop bar with the great band and after-hours taco truck. The ¾ sleeve bb dress in “Margy” gray mixes a comfortable, form-fitting shape, deep V-neck and back cut out for that little something-something. It would be great on a date paired with heels and ideal for daytime brunch with a pair of canvass sneaks.
And then you have The High Tide Maxi dress. Just look at it—what more is there to say?? This would be g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s for a night out. It’s got that kind of Grecian elegance to it that’s begging to be paired with a rare gemstone necklace and silver cuffs. What you’ve got here is a very low-cut neckline and very high slit. You can choose from a light citrus color or blue tie-dye …. or a great black floral. For some reason this feels like something you would mambo in until the wee hours of the evening, no?
On the next dress hunt remember the checklist. Is it comfortable? Is it flattering? Is it versatile? But most of all…do you love it??! In our humble opinion life’s too short to settle for anything less than “check, check, check aaaaand check.”Read More
JJ Winters Handbags
We love our bags. A carefully chosen, well-loved satchel is definitely one of the easiest ways to transform the day’s look. Consider the power of contrast: Ripped jeans and a comfy neutral tee classed-up with a flawless, structured bag in a standout color. Or an all-white ensemble paired with a sleek, black envelope clutch. Congratulations—you’ve managed to take your look from incidental to editorial. What could be simpler? (Or more fun??)
Los Angeles brand JJ Winters understands the power of the perfect accessory to set the right tone from season to season. The LA-based brand offers a generous selection of lovely investment pieces that you are sure to covet. Designer Keila Carmer kicked off her luxury line of gorgeous JJ Winters handbags, purses and shoulder bags in spring of 2004. Each piece in the collection is constructed with fine Italian leather and manufactured in the U.S.
The first detail that caught our eye was a playful dose of fringe. The brand demonstrates over and over … and over again … that this boho trademark need not be relegated to festival grounds. Take a cue from JJ Winters bags like the beautifully blue Vanessa mini for a more refined fringe. The very lady-like Emma Messenger cross body with black fringe is in a class of its own with a little brushed gold detail. With its easy-wear and ideal size, this little gem would be a daily go-to for sure. And the Jane Messenger with its soft, elephant gray suede and braided handle is perfection.
JJ Winters Clutches are sure to get a lot of play, too. Alessandra Ambrosia recently paired a JJ Winters clutch with strappy sandals and a sweet off-white, satin dress. Brittany Snow did up her black clutch with a black top, red blazer, red and white patterned pants and black flats in a ready-to-wear ensemble.
Stars Blake Lively, Adriana Lima, Alexa Vega, Amanda Bynes, Zooey Deschanel are all devotees of JJ Winters.
Carmer doesn’t stop at hobos, clutches and cross bodies; she also offers chic leather backpacks for those days of trekking around town or stashing a night’s worth of essentials.
The most recent JJ Lookbook features even more unexpectedly clever totes, flavorful hobos and wearable clutches, one with a very ‘mod’ violet pop of color.
Now is the time to muse just how, exactly, to punctuate that new fall back-to-school/back-to-work/back-to-basics outfit. And with bags like these, we betcha can’t ogle just one.Read More
All Hail the Tunic
Summer time is easy time. It’s whimsical, too. Tolani clothing’s line of India-inspired vestments and scarves suit the most visionary—and modern—of dressers. Nicole Richie, with her incredible style sense, has hand-selected the brand, as have celebs Halle Berry, Lauren Conrad and Leighton Meester (to name just a few). If you’re looking at Tolani for your boho fix, you would do well to begin at the tunic.
So, tunics are old as the hills. It’s always been a simple styled garment, reaching from the shoulders to somewhere between the hips and ankles. The ancient Romans wore the crap out of these … followed by Greeks and Medieval surfs. And hey, tunics have always been unisex! So that’s pretty sweet. They could be simple and utilitarian or adorned with ornate fabric and golden details. For hundreds and hundreds of years the lowly tunic has been something of a time-honored fashion must-have. And now Tolani clothing has one of the most wearable iterations of this piece we’ve seen.
The colorful, attention-to-detail brand does the tunic in two ways. Tolani tunic dresses are sexy and sweet … and brilliantly patterned. The Chandra Tomato Tunic Dress with its V-neck and red/pink/purple/gold hues connotes Far Eastern royalty. The Chloe Gray Tunic Dress (like the Chandra) is all silk and has amazing cerulean blue and coral accents, as well as long, black tassel ties around the collar. The three-quarter sleeves and short hemline are killer. There are so many different colors and styles that Tolani definitely wins points for creativity. Top ways to dress up a Tolani Tunic dress: 1. With a sweet headband and gladiator flats. 2. With black rain boots and a fringed hobo bag 3. With some booties and a wide, black felt hat.
When it comes to the Tolani Tunic Top (think maybe a foot or so shorter than the tunic dress) we’re seeing it paired with cutoffs, crisp white shorts or even weathered flares. The Monika Black Tunic Top is another stunning example of unique colors and design. The long-sleeved, 100% silk top is (like most Tolani goods) crafted in India and would do the job for a romantic evening date or for a morning stroll through town. The pattern is timeless and the neckline, with its slightly dipped V, is enchanting.
Go ahead and invest in a gorgeous tunic. It will likely be in style for the next three hundred years or so.Read More
Business by Day, Barefoot Dancing by Night
Joan Holloway Harris knew what she was doing as she sashayed through that Midtown Manhattan office with her fiery red hair piled high, her gold pen pendant anchoring a great blouse, and of course, “the skirt”. Ok. So Janie Bryant (Mad Men’s celebrated costume designer) knew what she was doing. The show definitely brought the sleek, tailored duds of the late 1950s/early 1960s we yearned for back into public conscience—and closets. We miss Joan. But even after the Kennedy era and Mad Men the truth remains: very few clothes transition from day to night as handsomely as the pencil skirt. Depending on the color, fabric, pattern and details, the pencil (or mid-length or “midi”) is a deceptively simple piece that can easily signal either “business lunch” or “dinner and a bar … and a bar and a club”. It all really just depends on the hour of the day and the company you keep!
Chic L.A. designer Donna Mizani’s take on the midi is fearless with its body hugging Nylon/Spandex blend and classic silhouette. True to form, she manages to throw in some subtle—but cute—details, too … lest anyone get too complacent in this business of everyday fashion. While any Donna Mizani Skirt has the potential to turn heads, we think the Midi holds an unfair advantage over all the others in terms of versatility. For starters, the at- or below-the knee hem and impeccable form fitting shape is voluptuous without being too young or trendy. And the options! At Shop Opal the Donna Mizani Midi Skirt is available in Burgundy, Caviar (a pretty, nearly black hue) or White. It is available as a solid option, or a jazzed up asymmetrical version that shows a little knee behind some mesh (a fun theme in the entire Donna Mizani Clothing line).
Wear it with a chunky heeled sandal and cropped top in the dog days of summer. Any other time of the year pair it with your favorite pumps and a slightly loose sweater or three-quarter sleeve Dolman top and thick gold bracelet. Throw in a structured bag for good measure.
As the weather turns cool this ladylike skirt would be ultra feminine (and ultra Joan) beneath a trench. And when the sun goes down, wouldn’t it be fun to amp up your God-given curves in this skirt, paired with Mizani’s Basic Baby T or Racer Front Crop Top and that well-worn denim jacket that you can never seem to part with?
All things considered, what other items in your closet let you travel through time and place and state of mind so effortlessly?Read More
Level 99 Jeans—A Little Bit of Magic
What is something that Alessandra Ambrosio, Rachel Zoe, Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Wilde have in common? The answer: They all wear Level 99 jeans. Since 2004 Level 99 has been making jeans chicer, smarter and insanely more comfortable. A healthy strategy of consumer research plus fine craftsmanship, sustainability practices, and top quality materials ensure your next denims are your best denims.
Level 99 innovators are introducing resilient new fabrics and a ton of style variations to this everyday staple—from wide leg to cargo pants, skinnies and boyfriend cut jeans. Truth be told, we think there may be a little bit of magic at work, too. The brand’s new Forever Black collection for example is said to withstand 20+home laundry cycles with no color loss. Think about that. We’ve all experienced the underwhelming reality of black jeans gone faded and tattered. ‘Tis a very sad day. The thought of a black pant that keeps its hue long after purchase date is definitely exciting. In the same manner, thanks to Tencel and Modal fabrics (which also happen to be eco-friendly) Level 99’s Forever White collection resists stains from daily wear and tear, returning to its brilliant white wash after wash. Again…sounds like magic, right?
It sounds like magic, but we acknowledge there’s some real talent at work here. Case in point, the fine French leather pant from Fall 2014 still packs a punch (at an affordable price). And things don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon. From the Spring/Summer 2015 Lookbook we were quite taken with the Tanya High Rise Flare 9 which gives the perfect ratio of flare to fit, with its vintage wide leg in Tencel denim. Festival wear at its best, folks. And if flare’s not your flavor of the day, the Sienna Tomboy blizzard with a signature tomboy fit has a flawlessly cool low rise and just-above-the-ankle cuff. On the non-pant front, Level 99’s Pepper Pencil Skirt featured in Spring/Summer 2015 is kind of a sweet bonus piece. This would definitely fall into regular rotation at the office paired with an oxford or cropped sweater and pumps. It’s to be noted, too, this brand appears to be getting into giving great graphic with the Jackie Jogger relaxed pant, Janice Ultra Skinny (with a sweet tuxedo pinstripe down the side) and Claire Tux Striped Short. We love it when a mainstay gets inspired.
Take Me Back to Art Class
A shoulder-hugging shift… a racer back mini ….which style of dress makes you feel flawless? Is it something that shows just the right amount of leg or has a surprising detail? Donna Mizani Dresses, by the visionary 27-year-old L.A. designer, have got a film noire/postmodern art scene thing going on that would work (gorgeously we might add) in your everyday lineup.
For the first clue you’re about to enter the one-of-a-kind world of Donna Mizani Clothing, check for well-crafted cutouts. Mizani is unmistakably obsessed with form. That is, the gorgeous curved line of the female body … AND the geometric triangles and squares she summons out of pretty, high-quality fabrics. It isn’t hard to believe Mizani reportedly fell in love with fashion and design after her first “life drawing” class as a teen. Following that experience, the young entrepreneur was all about hatching ways to elevate a stunning bod through clothes.
Her line of original dresses traverses from structured and sporty to flowy and flirtatious. For example, the Banded Fitted Mini Dress in White somehow manages to be conservative and daring, too. It’s got a completely respectable late-Fifties era shape: thick crewneck, cap sleeve, pencil-shaped bottom. Happily, however, the references to Mid-Century Modern end there. Mizani finishes the number off with a large fishnet-style cutout that comprises the landscape of a playful bandeau up top. This is not your grandmother’s LWD!
Also check out the Paneled Halter Mini Dress in Titanium. Slightly less revealing than the Fitted Mini, the paneled halter shines in its ingenuity and sophisticated neutral hue.
Another structured fave that channels Mizani’s inner Warhol is the Donna Mizani Boatneck Midi Dress in Black. This could definitely become your new favorite LBD … with a couple fun updates, to boot. Once again, the sheer hemline hits right at the knee, while the opaque hem hints at about a mini. Go ahead and think of it as two dresses in one. We will! (Everyone likes a two-fer.) Transparent cap sleeves coupled with a sweetheart neckline offer up a retro-turned-contemporary feel (this dress is also available in a sizzling red).
Mizani’s got a softer, side, too. The paneled Flounce Dress in Navy, for example. Or the Spice Flounce Dress with the designer’s unmistakable peek-a-boo details. This time she offsets a short, gently pleated skirt with a sleeveless, geometric, asymmetric top and crew neckline. This one plays like futuristic Barbie…and with a little accessorizing could go as soft or as edgy as one pleases.
No matter its flavor, a Donna Mizani dress is pure art. Who can resist stepping out of the house, feeling likes she’s really just hopped off the wall at the MOMA?Read More