Summer Crush: The Woven Bag

Welcome to my SUMMER CRUSH series!  Throughout the summer, I will do the occasional super short piece on something I’m totally crushing on!  This could be a specific item, look or brand.  I’m kicking it off with the WOVEN BAG!

Wicker, rattan, straw, and other woven naturals are the tell-tale sign that summer is here!  From clutches to totes and embroidery to tassels… you’re sure to find something for either a day at the pool or for cocktails at night!

Below are my current CRUSHES, with direct links to follow.  (PS- Be sure to check the dimensions of the bags before ordering since it’s difficult to tell scale from the photos.)

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  1. Joules Modena Round Straw Bag
  2. Vineyard Vines Kentucky Derby Caning Clutch
  3. Francesca’s Julianna Woven Metallic Crossbody
  4. J.McLaughlin Victoria Circluar Wicker Bag
  5. J.Crew Envelope Clutch in Rainbow Stripes
  6. Madewell Folk Fortune Bali Rattan Round Bag
  7. Anthropologie Fanciful Florals Embroidered Clutch
  8. JADEtribe (Revolve) Square Basket
  9. Filippo Catarzi (Bloomingdales) Striped Bow Tote
  10. KAYU (Revolve) Jane Shell Bag
  11. Boho Bags Aria Rattan Bag

I hope you, too, find your summer crush, and that she’s a keeper!

The (Not So) Basic Black One-Piece Swimsuit

Years ago, as my mother and I sat on a beach during our annual family vacation and looked out into the sea of colorful, sometimes-too-small string bikinis, a woman walked by in a basic black tank suit.  My mother turned to me and said “Nothing looks better than a classic black one-piece”.  I whole-heartedly agree with my mamma.

I decided to kick-off swimsuit season with an homage to my wise mother and the black one-piece… something I feel that all women should have in their summer wardrobes. In taking a look at this season’s designs, I noticed that there are SO MANY beautiful black suits, designed for ALL shapes and sizes.   I haven’t even scratched the surface here.

First you’ll need to ask yourself… are you more conservative and want something more classic and fully-covering?  Or a risk-taker who’s comfortable in a two piece and cut-outs?  Or maybe someone in between, who likes to liven things up with a little mesh?  Next, you’ll have to consider what type of neckline and top work for you.  Ugh, the whole “boob debacle” is MY biggest struggle by far (those damn kids who sucked the life out of me)!  If you’re anything like me (a.k.a. flat-chested) you’ll want to choose something with gathering, underwire and padding on the top (the twist-bandeau is my “go-to”).  A larger busted woman may want to minimize by choosing a V or scoop neckline.  (Chances are, you already have a “gut feeling” of what neckline looks best on you.)  Lastly and absolutely not the least… the BELLY!  For those of you blessed with that post-partum pooch, you’re not alone!  Diagonal seaming or ruching helps to break things up and hide a belly, and heavier-weight swimsuits (Miraclesuit or Magicsuit) take the support up a notch. I’m happy to see that they now include a wide variety of designs, and have surely upped their style factor.  Note: These suits are often quite heavy and can feel restricting, so try going up one or two sizes.

Below I’ve shown ten of my favorite black one-piece swimsuits, for a variety of body types and at a wide range of price points.  I always recommend paying a little more for a great classic swimsuit since you’ll wear it often and likely for many years.  Click on a thumbnail to open the slideshow and details, with links below.

Black is your friend ladies, and swimwear is no exception.

PS … you are responsible for your tan lines.  I am not.

 

A “Short” Story: Top Spring Picks

Okay ladies, shorts season has arrived.  While some women are celebrating its arrival, others downright dread it.  Speaking from first-hand experience, shorts can be very difficult to fit for us vertically-challenged, not-so-long-and-lean-legged ladies.  But don’t get discouraged!  This season is full of shorts in various lengths, cuts and rise options… making it much easier than in years past to find the right fit for you.

Looking for a basic chino short?  I usually point women immediately to J.Crew since their chino shorts not only come in four different length and lots of great colors, but also have a bit of stretch.  Order a few different lengths and keep the one that works best.

One trend I am loving this season is the “easy fit”, pull-on short.  Offered in a variety of fun prints and flowing fabrics, these shorts are usually a bit roomier in the leg, flattering both skinnys and curvys alike.  I’m also loving the belted-waist short trend.  You’ll find these in varying lengths and fabrics.  If they’re pleated, be sure the pleats lie fairly flat at the belly and pair them with a fitted tee or top to avoid too much overall volume.

Here are some of my favorites this spring!  Details with links are below the photo.

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  1. J.Crew Stretch Chino Shorts in Four Lengths
  2. MANGO Floral Print Shorts
  3. J.Crew Point Sur Seaside Short
  4. ZARA Palm Printed Shorts
  5. Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts
  6. H&M Soft Drawstring Patterned Shorts
  7. H&M Long Floral Patterned Shorts
  8. Alice & Olivia (Bergdorf Goodman) High Waist Sailor Short 
  9. ZARA Retro Print Bermuda Shorts
  10. 1901 (Nordstrom) Pleated Twill Bow Shorts
  11. ZARA Contrasting Velvet Bermuda Shorts

 

Want a few more inches of leg in those shorts?  Pair them with a beige slip-in sandal like this.  Tried all these styles, lengths and tricks and still not thrilled with how you look in shorts?  You’re not alone.  I’ll share a secret, but keep it between you and me. It’s been well over two decades since I’ve worn a pair of shorts.  Perhaps this summer will be different?  Probably not.

Sneakers: The “Go Anywhere” Shoe

Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE a great pair of white sneakers.  Historically, I’ve had to spend HOURS trying to find a well-made yet simple pair for both myself and my four little monsters. (My husband was smart enough to save his Stan Smiths from decades ago.)  Last year, however, this all changed.  White sneakers were everywhere I looked.  My happiness could be measured directly in dollars spent on white shoe polish.

Google any street style star and chances are you’ll find several looks that include a great pair of sneakers.  Models everywhere are pairing cool kicks with everything from jeans to dresses.  Sneakers are showing up on red carpets.  Why?  Because the desire for comfort is a REAL thing.

Although white continues to dominate, there are so many awesome “fashion” (non-athletic) sneakers available this spring, and below are just a few of my favorites. Under the sneaker collage are details with links.  I’ve also shown three very different ways to wear sneakers.

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  1. Vans Authentic Palm Print
  2. Nike Blazer Low Sneaker
  3. Frye Ivy Sneaker (at Zappos)
  4. Keds Rifle Paper Anchor Lively Floral
  5. Vince Blair 5 Slip-On Sneaker
  6. Tretorn NYLITEXAB4
  7. Chuck Taylor Shorline
  8. Tory Burch Sport Ruffle Sneaker

 

Below are three different looks that feature the ultra-versatile and reasonably priced Keds ACE Leather, with details below each look.

 

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“TO THE OFFICE” :

Madewell Cali Raw Edge Jeans (at Nordstrom)

 JCREW Parke Blazer in Stretch Linen

JCREW Mercantile Striped Studio T-Shirt

 

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“DRINKS ON THE DECK” :

Madewell Frisco Denim Skirt

H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top

Revolve Circle Bag

 

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“WEEKEND COFFEE” :

GAP Tencel Sleeveless Shift Dress

Warby Parker Ormsby Aqua Sunglasses

Anthropologie Santa Monica Woven Tote

 

No matter what your “look” may be, I will guarantee you that a basic pair of sneaks will have purpose in your wardrobe.  Besides… comfort has never been so stylish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 “Must Have” Spring Dresses!

Ahhh, the warm weather is finally here and OH did it come suddenly!  I have a variety of plastic bins open, not knowing if it’s smart to do the FULL wardrobe transition quite yet.  However… the dress bin is now officially open for business!

I LOVE DRESSES.   For three main reasons:

1. Simplicity.  In case it’s not self-explanatory, you’ve got one choice to make.  No top/bottom nonsense.  (The same reason I love jumpsuits, covered in detail in a later post.)

2.  Versatility.  I love how I can take the same midi tank dress, wear it to the playground with my white Vans and oversized denim jacket, change out my jacket for a long linen blazer and caged heels, stack some bracelets and VOILA!  I have transitioned from day to night.  Of course, not ALL dresses are equally versatile.

3.  Breeziness.  We’re not there YET but I’m sure that you, too, dread anything clingy during the hottest of months and just want to wear a lightweight, cotton mumu.  Those months will be here before we know it.

Here are 12 great dress finds, ranging in silhouette, fabric, formality and price point.  Click on small photo below to scroll through the slide show, with details below thumbnails.

 

So… go ahead and DRESS UP!  Or DRESS DOWN!  I surely will be for the next many months.

 

 

 

 

How To Wear a Wide Leg Pant

“I love the wide leg pant look, but can I pull it off?”

In a nutshell, the answer is YES, you CAN.  However, what you choose and how you wear it will make or break the look.  Here are some tips on how to pull off this sometimes tricky spring look.

Drape is key.  You really want to find a cut and fabric combination that falls nicely and just skims the hip and thigh.  Anything too wide, especially in a stiff fabric or with lots of pleating, can easily make YOU wide.  Drape is especially important when wearing cropped pants like culottes, which have flooded the stores this season.  Wear with a nude sandal, mule or wedge to elongate your leg (since crops tend to shorten you).

I do love the “paper bag waist” belted trend but by design, there are usually lots of pleats and extra fabric at the waist.  If you’re not careful, you could look, well… like a brown paper bag.  Choose lightweight, flowing fabrics with minimal pleating for the most slimming look.

And then there’s MY favorite way to wear wide legs, and what I feel is the most slimming.  Think Rachel Zoe and Victoria Beckham (and it even works for us ladies who actually have some meat on our bones). Choose a long, flowing leg and pleat-free, high waist.  Throw on a super high wedge and hem the pant so that it just skims the floor to create additional height.  And don’t forget to pair a wide leg pant with a more fitted tee or tank to offset the volume on the bottom.

Here are some of my favorites this season.  Click on an image for slideshow and details, with labeled links below.

 

And the best part?  They are the closest thing to staying in your pj’s all day.

10 Fresh Flats for Spring

Can you believe, it’s snowing AGAIN here in Upstate NY?  I haven’t put away my winter boots, so I SURELY can’t even approach the subject of sandals, or anything that will expose my toes anytime soon. Fortunately, this season is full of fun, functional flats that will help us transition smoothly to the sandal weather.

First, there are the OH-SO-CUTE mules that have made a killer comeback.  I am especially drawn to the sleek, clean lines of the pointy loafer-like designs.  The pale pink ones below are my personal favorites of this collage.  Next… espadrilles.  YES, those same ones that you wore in high school are back!  High ones, low ones, with and without backs…  they’re cool, comfortable, and feature a variety of charming summertime motifs that will look ADORBS with everything denim.  Last and definitely not least… the pointy-toe flat.  I’ve always been a fan (mostly for the SOLE reason that they elongate your leg more than a rounded-toe ballet flat).  As you can see, I love me a bold, preppy stripe (on anything, really) and this loafer’s versatility can bring you from day to night seamlessly (with some bejeweled or sparkly versions actually making their way to more formal affairs).

Here are some of my favorite flats this spring!  Links below the collage.

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  1.  Boden “Lottie” Flats
  2. SARTO by Franco Sarto “Palmer” Mule
  3. Fischer by Marc Fischer “Apala” Pointy Flat 
  4. Soludos Lemon Platform Smoking Slippers Espadrille –  SHOP LOCAL! at Caroline and Main
  5. Boden “Abbie” Loafer 
  6. Sam Edelman “Jill” Loafer
  7. Kate Spade “Maddie-Bee” Canvas Flats
  8. Tory Burch “Rosalind” Ballet Flat
  9. Patricia Green (Nordstrom) Lobster and Crab Espadrille
  10. Steve Madden “Feather” Flat

Whether they’re super-cool mules, whimsical espadrilles or sweetly-detailed loafers, you’ll surely find something for your lifestyle.  So even if it’s not yet practical, throw on a pair of these cuties but be sure to hop over those still-slushy puddles.  That is, if you want them to last until the REAL spring arrives.