Monthly Archives: June 2012

Style inspiration: the incomparable Iris Apfel

One of my undergrad profs used to admonish us not to quote someone unless we absolutely could not phrase something differently than the original source.  Well, when on the subject of accessorizing, none can hold a candle to Iris Apfel, who rocks the fashion world daily with her un-ignorable accessories. In deference to her, therefore, let’s kick off the weekend with some inspiration from the Empress of Embellishment herself.

“I’m a hopeless romantic. I buy things because I fall in love with them. I never buy anything just because it’s valuable. My husband used to say I look at a piece of fabric and listen to the threads. It tells me a story. It sings me a song. I have to get a physical reaction when I buy something. A coup de foudre – a bolt of lightning. It’s fun to get knocked out that way!”

“If you put something together and it doesn’t look so good, the fashion police are not going to come a take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail.”

“To find out who you are is like putting yourself on a psychiatric couch, but you have nobody to help you. Really it isn’t easy. I was talking with my nephew this morning and he gave me one of the best quotes I’ve heard in years… ‘Personal style is curiosity about oneself.’”

“When the fun is taken out of dressing, you might as well be dead!”

“…it’s not about money. People with a lot of money don’t dress as well as people who have to make do, who have to be inventive. Those are the people who are always more interestingly dressed, I think. Everything I do, I do with gut instinct. If I think too much, it won’t come out right.”


To Real or Not Too Real? Part 2

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Sublime sparklers

My friend Elyse is tall and therefore, her frame can handle larger accessories. Elyse moves in the art world and possesses an air of mystery and sometimes sly mischief, so I chose larger accessories with a artistic/global vibe that make a bit more visual impact on Elyse’s taller frame.

Adventurous Elyse

For a casual Friday at the office or a Saturday of errands, I chose bright accessories toned down with grey (you could also use camel to the same effect with orange). The large stone earrings and cuff bracelet combined with the striped scarf (remember our chilly offices) look put together but unstudied with a classic tee and cropped jeans.

Elyse Out on the Town

For the opening of a local art exhibit (Invisible Elephant, anyone?), I chose sculptural shoes and jewelry in analogous colors (here I go with the mint and navy again) with a sophisticated bag to give jeans a bit of understated elegance and polish.

A word on price:  While I heartily believe that you usually (usually!) get what you pay for, you might have noticed that in this post, I seem to have entered a dream world where a stylish girl of modest means can somehow afford to drop over 1k on earrings and nearly that on shoes.  While I won’t deny that those Neil Barrett stunners are totally sacrifice-worthy (yes, even the level of sacrifice that involves eating ramen for a week), my personal style strategy would be to look for a similar pair at Marshall’s or (in cases where it. must. be. mine.) follow Stephanie’s tips and attempt to locate them at a lower price online.

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Petite Perfection

Now that we’ve begun to build wardrobes that flatter us and work with our lifestyles, let’s add some icing to the cake! Accessories are a super-fun (that’s the technical term) way to tsuzj up any outfit, and they can be acquired on any budget. And while there aren’t too many ways to go wrong with accessories these days, some pointers can make it easier if you can only purchase a few pieces.

Stature is one thing to consider when building your accessories collection. If you’re petite, you may wish to choose accessories (this includes bags) that are on the smaller end of the spectrum to avoid overwhelming your delicate frame. Conversely, if you’re tall or larger-framed, you may wish to increase your accessories’ visual impact by choosing what I like to term “statement pieces.”

Check out my friend, Jes, who’s a cutie patootie petite with a megawatt smile. She was gracious enough to allow me to accessorize the outfit she’s sporting below for work and weekend.

Jes at work

I sometimes find it easiest to accessorize with analogous colors (next to each other on the color wheel), so with Jes’s navy skirt, I couldn’t resist choosing the mint that’s so popular right now and a purple-tinted blue bag to pop a subtle hint of color that’s still appropriate for even a conservative office. Also, since we Floridians tend to combat the sweltering summer heat by cranking the A/C, I’ve added a scarf for a chilly office.

Weekend Jes

For the weekend, I chose bright hits of color and a playful attitude to match Jes’s cheery smile. However, the scale of the individual pieces is kept small to harmonize with her petite frame. Keeping our proximity to the equator in mind, I’ve included a lightweight straw hat in case the farmer’s market is one of her Saturday destinations.

What do you think?  Do you prefer to accessorize with analogous colors, complementary colors (opposite each other on the color wheel), or just by feel?

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To A Tee

We Americans have come to expect three things from newly-acquired T-shirts:

1. They can’t have those annoying tags that scratch your neck.
2. They have to look like we’ve been wearing them into that undeniably cool, lived-in state for years.
3. They have to FEEL like we’ve been wearing them into that undeniably cool, lived-in state for years (in fabric-speak, that’s called having a nice hand).

L to R: Christina, Will (Founder of Trinitee Apparel), and his gorg wife, Andrea
All wearing Trinitee Apparel
Photo by Mike Nykile

And so imagine my (very pleasant) surprise when my friend announced the launch of his recent creative venture, Trinitee Apparel.

Will is known for excellence in all his endeavors, and his most recent one does not disappoint.  If your guy lives in tees like mine does, he’ll be happy to know that not only do Trinitee’s tees meet the aforementioned requirements for pure T-shirt bliss, they also come at a very reasonable price, so you can stock up his entire closet for the summer in one fell swoop.

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“When you are well dressed and fierce, it’s life enhancing for you and all the people around you.”

Simon Doonan

The cute little topper Rachael’s sporting was a find from Marshalls.

Just dotty

“There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.”

Helena Rubinstein


Okay, so this outfit took a bit of finagling.  When I found the blouse, it was picked on the outer layer, but I loved the inside layer (the outer and inner layer are made of the same type of fabric). Since the price was right ($5!), I purchased it, removed the tag, and re-sewed the buttons to the other side. Voila! A fabulous polka dot blouse.

Blouse: Anne Klein via What’s New Consignment
Shoes: T.J. Maxx a long, long time ago
Bag: B. Makowsky via T.J. Maxx
Enamel cuff bracelet: What’s New Consignment
Necklace: Goodwill

Wear your clothes

“The fashionable woman wears clothes.

The clothes don’t wear her.”

Mary Quant

Bargain elements of this outfit:
Dress: Calvin Klein via Ross
Bag: B. Makowsky via T.J. Maxx

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Live zesty!

“Zest is the secret of all beauty.”

There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.”

Christian Dior

This outfit is almost entirely composed of bargain, thrift, consignment, and vintage purchases.

Shirt: What’s New Consignment, $1 
Shoes: Nine West via Marshall’s
Bag: B. Makowsky via T.J. Maxx
Necklace: Rae’s Retro (local vintage store)

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