Trendspotting | The Oxford Shirt

oxford cover

Paris, photographed by Tommy Ton for Jak & Jil.

This spring, the quintessential dress shirt is making a comeback. While the Oxford shirt has always been a classic, the reworked dress shirt — in whites and blues, with unconventional tailoring and accents — will be cropping up everywhere in the coming few months. At least in my book, this comes pretty close to perfection — white shirt worn casually, a chic skirt, and pointy pumps:

whites plaid pointy shoes hbz copenhagen street

Copenhagen Street Style by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar.

Although I don’t really “do” trends, this one I’m kind of excited about — mainly because I already wear Oxford shirts on a pretty regular basis. (You know, because I’m classy like that.) There are also so many ways to wear a dress shirt beyond the conventional norms — wear a stark white shirt alone, play with a contrast collar, or go for some jeweled accenting (all of which can be found at jcrew.com, it should be mentioned). I also like this trend (if you can even call it that) because its not going out of style anytime soon — so you know anything you purchase will be a worthwhile investment.

oxford shirts

Top row: photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue Japan. Second row, left to right: Dior s/s 14 (via Harper’s Bazaar), Tod’s s/s 14 (via Harper’s Bazaar), Alexander Wang s/s 14 (via style.com). Third row: Altuzarra s/s 14 (via style.com), Balenciaga s/s 14 (via Harper’s Bazaar), Giovanna Battaglia by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar. Fourth row: New York by Tommy Ton for Jak & Jil. Fifth row: Leandra Medine by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar, Kel Markey by Diego Zuko for Harper’s Bazaar.  

The return of the Oxford, contrary to its functionality as a dress shirt, marks a decided shift towards a more relaxed approach to style. While the shirt can be styled up or down, it is chic even in its most basic and unfussy incarnations (especially as it is worn in most of the above images). The dress shirt — whether starched and pressed, or crumpled and thrown casually over a skirt (or nothing at all) is part of a larger transition to a looser structural style that many designers appeared to favor for the spring season: slouchy blazers, a more casual approach to menswear for women, and large, floaty pants were also all on trend. The Oxford, however, is truly a wardrobe classic, and super accessible — which is why I’m such a big fan of its spring comeback.

Thoughts on this trend for spring?

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Trendspotting | Sheer Genius

On the Shoulder | Caroline’s Mode

Slightly see-through tops, skirts, and the like are not the most original of trends, but stylish nonetheless and trending big time for Spring 2011. Sheer, floaty layers were seen at the likes of Prada, Miu Miu, and Chanel, and have been appearing on the street for quite some time. I love looking at the street style photos — they give you real-life interpretations of the looks seen on the runway, and they are, in my opinion, far more creative and wearable than anything seen in a fashion show. Here are a few variations on the sheer trend, showcased by some seriously stylish girls.

The Skirt. A sheer skirt can add interest to your look and add pretty, swirling layers. Just be sure to wear something underneath and make sure your skirt is longer, because, well, we all know a see-through miniskirt is bound for trouble. I really like these variations shown above. Although more geared towards winter than the upcoming spring season, they still look fabulous – come spring, just swap in a tucked-in blouse (and/or change the black for a lighter color), and you’re golden.

  1. I love the soft pleats on this skirt, seen over at Caroline’s Mode.
  2. The always-fabulous Ashley from Two Eyes in the Mirror – be sure to check out her blog for more fabulous outfits.
  3. A quick street style shot from Fashion Toast. Not a see-through skirt, but the layers of sheer tulle do the trick and I love the volume, à la Black Swan.
  4. Another sheer black skirt — a bit longer than the others, with a long coat to mask some of the sheerness, photographed by the talented Scott Schuman over at The Satorialist.

The Dress. Sheer dresses can be used perfectly for event dressing (obviously you wouldn’t want to wear one grocery shopping) — the key is to keep the look classic and a little glamorous. If baring your lingerie (like Elena Perminova, left) isn’t really your style, don’t worry! You can always go for a minidress with lots of sequin detailing (like Diana, right) or a solid dress with a few sheer insets.

  1. Definitely the boldest of the ensembles here, and not exactly practical for everyday wear. However, I think Elena — snapped for Caroline’s Mode — does an incredible job of pulling off this tough-to-master look in a very classy and elegant fashion.
  2. I like Rumi’s look from Fashion Toast because it’s very simple and the details on the dress are beautiful. Still a little see-through for everyday wear, but it could pair fabulously with some black tights and ankle boots.
  3. The gorgeous Diana from Dressed Up Alligators — in my opinion, the most wearable way to get away with a sheer dress. It has sheer details up at the top, but towards the bottom of the dress, the gold sequins cover the skirt section completely, giving you full coverage while still rocking the sheer trend.

The Blouse. In my opinion, the easiest way to wear the trend. A sheer blouse (not necessarily a completely see-through one, either) can add a level of sophistication to an outfit when tucked into, say, a simple black skirt. It’s chic and gorgeous, and the slightly sheer blouse will always be in style (making it a great closet investment piece)!

  1. Try wearing a nude tank top under a very sheer blouse, like this woman, photographed for Street Peeper.
  2. I love the length of this blouse, worn by the fabulous Tracy of The Closet Shopper. It’s not super-sheer, just the tiniest bit see-through. The tunic length is also perfect for pairing with leggings. You can also check out her working a sheer, black blouse at this post on her blog.
  3. Another semi-sheer blouse from Karla of Karla’s Closet. Bows are a great detail for sheer blouses because they help cover you up a bit (and look super-cute!).
  4. A sheer blouse worn by Kirsi Pyrhönen on Caroline’s Mode. I like the solid sleeves, shrunken fit, and beaded details on the fabric that makes this blouse perfect to wear open or buttoned up, with a black tank top underneath.

Hope this post gave you some ideas for working the sheer trend into your look this Spring! Remember, style is all about taking fashions and trends and making them your own — wearing them so you feel comfortable in them. Also be sure to check out the stylish bloggers featured (Ashley, Diana, and Tracy) in this post for more inspiration!

{Source: All images in this post via carolinesmode.com, streetpeeper.com, karlascloset.com, fashiontoast.com, 2eyesinthemirror.blogspot.com, thesartorialist.com, dressedupallligators.blogspot.com, and theclosetshopper.blogspot.com}

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Style Guide | Equestrian

There is something so wonderfully basic about a good riding-inspired ensemble. Classic, preppy and perfectly polished with lots of leather, slim pants, and chic structured blazers: the equestrian look is a uniform as well as a fashion statement. It’s refreshing to be able to take on such a classic set of style laws, while still being able to break a few rules of your own, of course. What’s not to love?

In this style guide: You’ll find essentials for creating the classic equestrian look, as well as options for making the trend your very own and corresponding shopping lists with plenty of items at a variety of price points. You’ll also find the “extras,” cute riding-inspired goodies that are optional, but never hurt to throw on if you’re feeling up to the challenge.

Essential #1: Riding Boots

Good leather riding boots (whether authentic or not) are imperative for pulling the equestrian look together — without them, you might as well forget channelling the equestrian style altogether. While a great pair of leather boots can truly be an investment, there are less expensive options out there (both real and faux leather) to help you complete your look. Just make sure your boots are a classic shape and color and have a taller shaft (but not over-the-knee).

  1. Bandolino, $90-$130.
  2. Clarks, $130.
  3. Chooka, $90.
  4. Frye, $348.
  5. Lauren by Ralph Lauren, $135.

Essential #2: The Structured Blazer

A blazer, like good boots, is one of the most critical parts to the equestrian style. While navy (with gold buttons!) is the classic color for this look, feel free to experiment with different styles, like gray tweed with elbow patches, velvet, or even a more relaxed blazer in a striped pattern. The possibilities for chic blazers are endless, although there are some tried-and-true classics that provide the perfect base for mastering the look.

  1. J. Crew, $188.
  2. Urban Outfitters, $48.
  3. Ralph Lauren Rugby, $200.
  4. Anthropologie, $98.
  5. J. Crew, $198.
  6. BDG, $78.

Essential #3: Riding Pants

Riding pants — perhaps the comfiest pants you will ever own that are still, well, pants — can be worn regardless of whether or not you intend to emulate the equestrian look. (Read: important investment for your wardrobe.) Look for them in a classic tan or olive color, or go black for an ultra-slimming and streamlined silhouette. You don’t even need all-out stretchy pants — there are versions of fitted cargos that can work just as well for this look.

  1. Milly, $188.
  2. J. Crew, $88.
  3. Gap, $60.
  4. Lauren by Ralph Lauren, $63.
  5. Daughters of the Liberation, $88.
  6. Joe’s, $158.
  7. Free People, $88.
  8. J. Crew, $75.

Essential #4: The Collared Shirt

No riding-inspired ensemble is complete without a crisp, collared shirt. For a more classic and polished look, opt for a freshly pressed version in a structured cut in white or light blue. For a more relaxed spin on the equestrian trend, try out stripes and plaids, fun colors, and looser fits.

  1. J. Crew, $70.
  2. Burberry Brit, $95.
  3. Ralph Lauren Rugby, $25.
  4. Vineyard Vines, $88.
  5. J. Crew, $70.
  6. Tory Burch, $95.

Extras!

Complete your equestrian look, or simply just add a little riding twist to a regular outfit, with these inspired extras. Be on the lookout especially for classic leather gloves and belts.

  1. J. Crew Camp Socks, $12.
  2. Ralph Lauren Rugby Plaid Tote, $110.
  3. Vineyard Vines Skinny Belt, $38.
  4. J. Crew Cashmere-lined Leather Gloves, $70-$98.
  5. Urban Outfitters Bow Tie Necklace, $28.
  6. J. Crew Classic Leather Belt, $32.
  7. Jill Stuart Plaid Belted Coat, $134.
  8. UGG Australia Equestrian Leather Hobo, $298.
  9. Ralph Lauren Rugby Gloves, $30.
  10. Anthropologie Bangle, $38.
  11. Vineyard Vines Hooded Toggle Sweater, $165.

Hope you’re feeling inspired to try out the equestrian trend! Let me know what you think of this style guide.

{Sources: Images via piperlime.com, jcrew.com, urbanoutfitters.com, rugby.com, anthropologie.com, gap.com, bloomingdales.com, freepeople.com, vineyardvines.com. All equestrian photography by me – please ask before using.}

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Trendspotting | Pleated to Perfection

Giovanna Battagalia in Alaia | Jak & Jil

As I briefly mentioned in a previous post reviewing the new Vena Cava for Aqua line, I’m loving the pleat trend for fall. Although not as prominent or obvious as the leopard prints, faux furs, and red hues that took the runways by storm this season, pleating is a trend that has been popping up on the streets, in new fall lines, and in little details on the runways. For some, the words “pleated skirt” bring on nightmares of hideous middle school uniforms or crazy kilts. However, if done right, this trend can be pulled off beautifully. The key is to look for smaller and more numerous pleats in a gauzy fabric, or look for very subtle pleating on dresses and skirts. Some runways showcased macro draping that mimicked the look of pleats (see Burberry Prorsum) without the actual folding of the fabric. Even well-placed horizontal and vertical lines recalled the pattern of pleats.

In the center is my favorite take on the trend — a beautiful pleated dress worn by Miroslava Duma. Her dress has just the right spacing for the pleats and the light fabric keeps the look from being too stiff. In addition, the color of the fabric is a beautiful combination of slate and mauve, and it is accessorized perfectly with a leather belt, a croco-embossed bag and aviators. Chic and summery without being stuffy or overly girly.

Miroslava Duma | Stockhom Street Style

As it is, Miroslava has been working this look all summer — above is another perfect way in which she has pulled off the trend. I love the navy color of the dress, but the little peek of white at the top over one of the shoulders has kept her look from becoming overwhelming and dark. And again, a leather belt and a not-so-girly accessory (in this case the fedora) keeps the look fresh and classic. {Update: Check out Tracy from The Closet Shopper‘s spin on the look … It’s similar and quite fabulous! }

Click to enlarge.

Personally, I think that the pleats rocked on the streets were the freshest embodiment of the trend (or maybe it was just Miroslava), but I’ve included a few runway looks as well. I particularly liked the pleats at Alberta Ferretti (row 2, look 1) — they were subtle and soft and reminded me of Miroslava’s chic dresses. (It might be hard to see in the photo because of the coloring, click to enlarge.) Alexander McQueen did an excellent job with the soft pleating as well, using it as a detail on a gorgeous gown.

I also think Burberry Prorsum (row 3, middle) deserved a mention here — while he did not go all out with true pleats, Christopher Bailey sent a few looks down the runway that showcased careful, tiny draped details that were incredibly similar to the gauzy pleating at Alberta Ferretti. Still just as gorgeous and just as chic! No school uniforms here.

What do you think of the pleat trend? Will you be looking to stock up on some pleated looks for your fall wardrobe?

{ Source: Images from jakandjil.com, thesartorialist.com, stockholmstreetstyle.com, and style.com }

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fall 2010 series: the essentials + where to shop them for less

For the next post in the Fall 2010 Series, I figured it was time to move onto clothes and do a post about the essentials for a fall wardrobe. The majority (or all) of these basics will be no-brainers for many, but it never hurts to review your options, now does it?

The clothes and accessories I’ve listed here are commonly referred to as “investment pieces” — wardrobe standards that you should invest a little extra money in to get the best quality, as you’ll be wearing them often. However, I believe that you still don’t need to break the bank to purchase good fall essentials — there are plenty of affordable options out there! (Especially at outlet shops, sample sale websites, and places like Neiman Marcus Last Call … the home of my new black Vera Wang dress!) Which is why, at the end of this post, I’ll do a quick list of ways to get designer pieces for a lot less. So without further preface …

Click collage to enlarge.

Part I: The Essentials

A good jacket | A fabulous jacket is the basis for every fashionista’s wardrobe. This is one area where quality definitely reigns, as a solid jacket will keep you warm and looking chic. Plus, you wear it every day (for multiple seasons!), so the cost per wear should be next to nothing. Maybe you already have a fantastic jacket, but if you’re looking for a new piece to rejuvenate your wardrobe (I certainly am), go for a camel color or basic black. Military style trenches are in for this fall (as are leather jackets, bombers, capes, and anoraks), but be sure what you’re buying is not too trendy, especially if you’re putting a lot of money into it.

A pair of perfectly fitted jeans | There is nothing better than a good pair of jeans, a pair you can always trust to fit you perfectly. We all have a ton of jeans, but if you’re anything like me, you tend to gravitate towards the same one or two pairs every time. If you’ve already found your perfect brand, that’s great! (Personally, I love J Brands … the fit is incredible, they are insanely comfortable, and the inseams are long enough for my legs.) If not, keep looking (try on several brands at an upscale department store … I promise you’ll find something that works if you look hard enough!) to find the jeans for you, and than try and snag them at a lower price (see the bottom of this post).

Tall leather boots | Buttery leather boots are a staple of any fall shoe collection and this year, they’re back in a big way with over the knee boots (which look fabulous with tights a cute dress). For those of us who don’t want to take the trend to the extreme, tall leather boots are the perfect alternative. You can wear them multiple seasons without them falling apart (if they’re good quality, that is) and they go with practically everything. I am guilty of wearing one pair of leather boots practically every day during the fall and winter for two years straight. (But again, in terms of cost per wear, they cost only a few pennies!)

An oversized silk blouse | I love this trend for fall. It’s simple, understated, and sophisticated at the same time. Plus, an oversized blouse (whether it be silk, chiffon, or some other material) is a great investment piece for your wardrobe. It can go from day (with a pair of jeweled flats and slim-fitted black pants, like the J. Crew Minnie Pant which I am currently obsessing over) to night (loosely tucked into a body con skirt with chunky jewelry and sleek pumps) quite easily. It’s a versatile piece that I’m looking to add to my wardrobe this season.

A utilitarian tote | I never liked the utilitarian trend — until J. Crew came along with their August catalogue (starring Maryna Linchuk), that is. Among the loads of cargo, silk, and sequins was this tote bag (also shown above). Simple, yet perfect for fall. It’s black color, durable fabric, and leather handles match with just about everything and are a great alternative to the increasingly trendy Longchamp “Le Pliage” bag.

The one-shoulder dress | A chic, updated version of the LBD, draped, one-shoulder dresses sprang up on the f/w 2010 runways in abundance. Despite its recent elevation to “fall trend” status, the one-shoulder dress is a standout wardrobe basic: it’s a flattering style for any special event and sets one apart from a sea of strapless cocktail dresses. Go for it in classic black, or a mauve or nude shade.

Voluminous trousers | A luxe pair of trousers are a great way to dress up any look without being, well, “dressed up.” Once you find a pair that fits nicely and flatters your figure, they’ll last forever and be a go-to piece when you simply can’t decide what to wear to work. As long as they’re not overly baggy, the extra volume helps offset a more fitted combo (like a dress shirt and blazer) up top.

A go-to pair of heels | Pumps are quite an obvious basic for any girl — a good pair will go with anything and be perfect for slipping on with any combination of dresses, trousers, and blouses. Patent is especially chic in black or nude if done correctly (too shiny, colorful, or with an overly pointed toe and you risk looking tacky). Look for a pair with a solid stacked heel that’s not too high (somewhere between 2.5 and 4 inches, depending on what you’re used too), so they’ll be comfortable for walking around.

Part II: Where to Shop

Everyone’s heard this advice before: If you’re just buying a trendy piece to supplement your seasonal wardrobe, get it for less at a store like Forever 21 or H&M. But if you’re shopping for a basic, it’s better to spend a little extra money for quality that will last you through the years.

Still, it’s always a bonus if you can get quality, designer pieces without splurging, and I’m going to quickly share a few of my favorite options here. Be sure to let me know in the comments of other ways you’ve found useful!

  • TopButton.com | A website where you can sign up for sample sale emails for new sales coming up in your city.
  • ShopItToMe.com | Sign up for emails featuring your favorite brands and styles on sale!
  • Ebay | Seriously, if you’re lusting after a specific piece, check for it on Ebay (look for NWT, or “New With Tags” items with photos from a seller with a good rating). It’s a great way to find denim — I bought a pair of brand new Hudson jeans there from this seller for $50. (Still not a total steal, but at least they were real … beware of super-cheap finds!)
  • Clothingline.com | A weekly sample sale in New York City — they stock a lot of J. Crew, Theory, Free People, and Tory Burch, among other finds.
  • TheOutNet.com | Net-A-Porter.com’s sister site, stocking tons of designer duds for less. They also have flash/pop-up sales and fabulous giveaways (which are impossible to win, but still).
  • Neiman Marcus Last Call | A cool outlet for Neiman Marcus clothes and shoes (including Louboutins, if you’re lucky). You really have to dig through the stuff in the store, but they have some incredible finds, especially on the extra-discounted clearance racks. Recently, I purchased a new Vera Wang Lavender Label dress (retail $525) for $70.
  • Outlet Shopping | Outlet malls are a great resource. Just be sure you’re buying something that you’ll wear this season and the next, and don’t get sucked into purchasing something ugly/trendy just because it’s cheap. I’ve found that Ralph Lauren, J. Crew, and Calvin Klein have especially good outlets. (With big discounts — some brands barely give you anything off!)
  • RueLaLa.com | I love sample sale websites like Gilt, Ideeli, and HauteLook, but RueLaLa is my favorite. Their site is clean and easy to use, with a great selection of high end and low end designers at heavily discounted prices (they even have special treats, like vacations and wine tastings). Note: clicking the links for RueLaLa.com, HauteLook.com, Ideeli.com, and Gilt.com will take you to my personal invite link, as these sites are invite-only.

View the full Fall 2010 Series here.

{Source: Images used in first collage via net-a-porter.com, vanmildert.com, and jcrew.com. Images used in second collage via ruelala.com, theoutnet.com, ideeli.com, gilt.com, hautelook.com, and neimanmarcus.com. Collage background image from computer-wallpaper-backgrounds.com.}

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