Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fashion from the Feet Up

Shoes (Poetic License); Blue Topaz ring (Ross-Simons); Mandarin Garnet and Diamond Ring (Aronstam Jewelers); Earrings (Erica Lyons); Scarf (H&M); Bag (Brahmin); Carnelian and Blue Topaz necklace (Laura Gibson)
There are shoes you buy to complete an outfit, and there are shoes you buy to build an outfit around.  These turquoise suede and orange leather Poetic License platforms fit squarely in the latter camp.  They're not for everyone - when my stepfather saw them, he just shook his head.  But, I was smitten.  I NEEDED orange and turquoise platforms with a faux crocodile heel!  And they were on clearance!

Of course, I had no idea what I would wear with them.  Orange and turquoise was not a color combination common to my closet.  No matter - these shoes were definitely worthy of a "fashion from the feet up" approach - meaning shoes first, outfit(s) to follow!  And so it began - a quest for a wardrobe of orange and turquoise that would span seasons and make what was, I admit, a most impractical purchase practical.  In the three years since these slightly over the top shoes came into my life, I've built a multitude of season spanning outfits around them, and never fail to notice and consider items that reflect the color combination (though I draw the line at Miami Dolphins gear).  

These wearable works of art also began my love affair with the Poetic License line, and I've become a collector of sorts.  They're incredibly unique, well-made and reliably true to size, though somewhat difficult to find locally.  I've waxed poetic about other styles from this British brand here, herehere and here, and they were featured in my "guest post" here.

Do you ever take a "fashion from the feet up" approach, or are shoes just another finishing touch in your wardrobe?
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

I'm linked up with Bella's Shoe Shine - check it out for scads of fab shoes!

Friday, September 20, 2013

IN Fashion Friday: Retro 101 Redux!

Necklace and shawl (Retro 101); Bag (Brahmin); Boots (ShoeDazzle); Tanzanite and Diamond Ring (Master Jewelers, St. Martin) 
I first discovered Retro 101 back in July, and had a great time perusing the eclectic mix of kitsch, fashion, and local artisanal goods offered by "Indy's First Mobile Boutique" (see my prior post about this unique mobile shopping experience here).  As I discovered when I visited "Ellie" (that's the name of the bus!) at the Vintage Arts & Antique Market on Labor Day, owner Heather Pirowski is constantly offering new inventory, and works hard to find pieces that go beyond the ordinary.

This sheer printed shawl and statement necklace are both from Retro 101, and they play together well.  The shawl is extraordinary in its versatility.  Made by Shawl Dawls, it can be worn no less than 15 different ways, and comes with a "style guide" that demonstrates the multiple options!  The Shawl Dawls website also has a video that demonstrates the seemingly endless ways it can be worn.  Here, I've given it a bit of an Indian sari vibe, but I'm already looking forward to styling it differently next time.  After playing with several different looks for the vibrant blue, green and brown color-scheme of this shawl (the perfect excuse to pull out my blue suede boots as we head into fall), I'm really hoping to pick up another one in a different print the next time I visit Retro 101, and I may pick up a few as gifts, too.  They are just that cool!

Want to know where Ellie the bus is headed next, or want it to roll into your next event?  Get all the details here.  

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kiltie Pleasures

I love golf shoes.  I've loved them since I took my first golf lesson at Green Acres in the third grade.  I love the preppy formality of them. I love the clicky sound they make when you wear them on hard surfaces you probably shouldn't.  And most of all, I love the perforations, wingtips, kilties and other classic details that recall historical Irish and Scottish brogues.  Of course, today's pro shops carry plenty of golf shoes that don't have any of these wonderful details - shoes that, save for their utilitarian bottoms, look like run of the mill tennis shoes or sandals.  It's actually getting more difficult to find golf shoes with real personality; golf shoes that reflect my personality; golf shoes that coordinate well with the rest of my golf course attire but don't cost an arm and a leg...  So, I decided to customize my own!

These Callaway shoes actually come with white, black, navy, and pink interchangeable kilties.  Though white and black essentially "go" with pretty much anything, I wanted more options.  With a little internet searching, I discovered a few fabric sites that will send very healthy-sized samples of leather and vinyl for one dollar each, and a single sample is more than enough to make a pair of kilties.  Using one of the originals as a pattern, I've been able to inexpensively and quickly create multiple pairs that are easy to switch out using industrial sticky back velcro.  They're like a golf version of my beloved Lindsay Phillips SwitchFlops!   Though these are not my only golf shoes (I have 4 others, all of which have classic details and varied color schemes), I love being able to create endless color combos with a single, comfortable pair.  When I took lessons again last year, I'm pretty sure my pro was taking bets on what color combo I'd be wearing any given week, and offered more than once to invest in the designer golf accessory business he suggested I should start.  I'd definitely name it "Kiltie Pleasures!"

Dave Barry once quipped that, “although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.”  I prefer to think of golf attire as "clothing with personality" and fully embrace it.  It's part of the appeal of the game and, as with all other endeavors, I enjoy it just a little more when I'm wearing snazzy shoes....  

 Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Monday, September 16, 2013

That 70s Show

Dress and Hoodie (Vintage 70s, USA made by the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union); Boots (Diba); Bag (Mary Frances Collection)
The popular media's celebrity gossip-column style coverage of the recent New York Fashion Week makes it hard to imagine that a fashion show of any sort would be worthy of an award winning full-length documentary that premiered at Cannes.  But, Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution shatters the notion that fashion is trivial frivolity worthy of coverage only in the "Who Wore It Best" column of magazines perused in grocery check-out lines or as fodder for Joan Rivers' Fashion Police on E.  The film, produced by Coffee Bluff Pictures, tells the behind-the-scenes story of a now historical fashion show created as a fundraiser for the Palace of Versailles that morphed into a full-on battle between iconic French and American designers.  Sometimes referred to as "The Battle of Versailles," the show was a landmark victory for the Americans; changed the way the entire world thought about American fashion; and broke the color barrier for African American models.  

The Indianapolis Museum of Art showed Versaille '73 last week to a packed house that exploded with applause as the credits rolled.  Participation in the Q and A session that followed with the film's writer and director, Deborah Riley Draper, was so vigorous it spilled over into the after-party hosted by the IMA's Fashion Arts Society.  The discussion ranged from from lighthearted bits of gossip that didn't make it into the film to meaningful and thought-provoking dialogue on race and fashion in contemporary society.

I was fortunate to spend a little time chatting one on one with Ms. Riley Draper, and humbled when she told me I "killed it" in my vintage 70s ensemble!  I was also impressed that so many attendees took advantage of the opportunity to don the "swanky early 70s attire" encouraged by the invitation.  Some of the other looks were featured in the Indianapolis Star's coverage of the event, here.

If you have a chance to see the film, I highly recommend it.  It's a really interesting commentary on politics, society (both French and American) and race, in addition to providing a glimpse into the genius of designers like Bill Blass, Halston, Stephen Burrows, Anne Klein, and Oscar de la Renta (the first two of whom are from Indiana).  You can also learn more about the Fashion Arts Society and take advantage of opportunities to participate in future FAS events here.   
A still shot from the film, Versaille '73: American Runway Revolution
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Friday, September 13, 2013

September's Swan Song for the Sundress

Boots and a bright denim jacket extend the life of a dark chambray sundress for an early September outdoor picnic and movie at dusk.  Dress and Jacket (Butterfly Consignment); Boots (Justin).

September slips in silently
Stealing Summer with a sigh
As sun sets on the sundress,
The Autumn burn grows nigh

Swath shoulders bare in denim
Swap sandals out for boots
Give the sundress two more nights
As fall puts down its roots

A music fest on Labor Day
An outdoor film at dusk
The sundress sings its swan song
in shades of brown and rust

Air still warm but growing crisp
Leaves green start turning red
The sundress made for Summer's heat
Slinks off to Winter's bed.
A sundress in autumnal hues felt just right for a warm Labor Day weekend at an outdoor Music Fest headlined by Michael Franti and Spearhead.  Dress (Macy's); Bag and Hat (Nine West); Sandals (Lindsay Phillips SwitchFlops with homemade button detail); Watch (Fossil); Bracelet (Lenny & Eva); Petrified Wood and Silver Pendant (a gift from my fabulous mom).
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Hump Day Hue: Camel of a Different Stripe

Navy Linen Blouse (Steinmart); Skirt (Focus 2000, Steinmart); Belt (Ralph Lauren, Macy's); Shoes (Candies, Kohls); Bag (Dooney & Bourke)
When I slipped on these navy, white, and camel striped pumps, I was reminded of a memorable gaffe by an incredibly smart engineer I used to work with, who referred to a novel problem as "a camel of a different stripe."  Huh?  This man, despite his high IQ, managed to mangle multiple idioms on a monthly basis.  This delighted me no end, though I'm fairly certain he mixed metaphors on purpose.  In a meeting he once declared a topic as "a whole different kettle of wax."  When we neared the end of the discussion, I couldn't resist asking whether we'd covered the "whole ball of fish."  Of course, he took my good natured ribbing with a smile and retorted that working with me was more fun than a "barrel of worms."  I think I'd have preferred being compared to a "can of monkeys...."

Anyway, another Hump Day brings another way to wear camel.  I don't think I've ever paired this skirt with the same thing twice!  See other looks here and here.  It's the perfect neutral to take a wardrobe over the hump from summer to fall.  Is camel a staple in your closet?

Happy Hump Day!

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Going Coastal

Skirt (Steinmart); Red & White Jacket (Steinmart); Red, White & Blue Jacket (Jones New York, Macy's); Sandals (Talbots); Anchor Bracelet (Kiel James Patrick)
It may be September, but we're finally having a run of 90 degree weather.  I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to sport sandals and stripes just a little bit longer before saying bon voyage to summer.  When do you switch out your wardrobe for the season?

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dress It Up, Dress It Down

Lace tops (Boston Proper); Flipflops (Macys); Watches (Michael Kors); Spectator Pumps (Bandolino)
You've got to love a top versatile enough to wear with jeans and flipflops on the weekend, or with dress pants and pumps on Wednesdays.  Since I spend the majority of my time in "work appropriate" clothing, I look for items that can pull double duty on my time off.  This heavy crocheted lace top fits the bill.  I bought the orange version first, and liked it so much I ordered it in ivory, too. 

Do you keep your work and weekend wardrobes separate, or invest in crossover pieces?

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mint Meltaway

My husband's unsolicited comment on this outfit:  "You look very mint chocolate chippy today."  I guess that's appropriate since I bought the skirt in a grocery store. For eleven dollars.  Seriously.  

There is a Meijer on my way home from the office.  I'm a Kroger girl, so I usually visit Meijer only when they have great sales on Diet Coke (and they do have great sales on DC.  I'm addicted to DC).  While feeding my habit this spring, I spied this mint polka dot fabric in my peripheral vision as I was walking to the check out lane.  I knew it was a match for a mint green enamel anchor pendant,  mint green pumps, and mint green suede loafers I already owned. It was on clearance.  It came home with me.  

And then I wore it.  The fabric is thin.  The waistband kept riding up.  Static cling was a real issue, and all day long I wished I had a slip on underneath it, or at least a can of Static Guard.  I think the clothes you wear should make you feel good.  This one was just kind of "meh."  I wore it on a day that required lots of walking, so I was at least glad I'd tucked the super comfy Lands' End suede loafers into my bag for a late afternoon shoe change.  I love a bargain, but sometimes you really do get what you pay for.  I think I should probably confine my grocery store purchases to mint chocolate chip of the edible kind from now on, and let this one melt away.

Do you ever make spur of the moment purchases that didn't turn out to be what you hoped?

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Art of Motoring

Dress (Worth New York); Clutch (Jack Rogers); Watch (Michael Kors); Sandals (Nina); Necklace (Tatty Devine)
Last week I had the good fortune to attend The Art of Motoring, a fundraiser for Art with a Heart that combined two of my favorite things:  art and automobiles.  The dress code for the event was another one of those vague phrases that is open to a wide range of interpretation, but I decided it was the perfect opportunity to wear racing stripes.  I paired my navy and ivory colorblock Worth sheath with pumps and pearls for work, but spiced it up a bit for Friday night cocktails with ivory and champagne gold metallic sandals and a snakeskin Jack Rogers clutch with champagne gold metallic leather whipstitch details.  In place of the classic double-strand of pearls, I had a lot of fun with a matte gold dinosaur skeleton necklace by off-beat British designer Tatty Devine.  I really can't explain why this necklace appealed to me so much, but I've loved it since the first time I saw it on a trip to London in 2011.  Tatty Devine is not widely available in the US, but Nordstrom sometimes carries the line, and online retailer Asos is also a good resource for hard to find British designers.

 The inaugural Art of Motoring was held in an airplane hangar that had been transformed for the festivities with dramatic uplighting and several enormous crystal chandeliers that complemented a fleet of automobiles that can only be considered works of art.  From a fully restored Duesenberg to a classic Corvette convertible to a Carroll Shelby autographed Cobra in British racing green, and every model of Aston Martin available, there was something for every enthusiast to appreciate.  Of course, the only thing better than admiring the sleek lines and creative styling of the beauties on display would have been to drive them!  I went to performance driving school a couple of years ago and loved every second I spent on the track testing both my car's limits and my own.   Chatting with other aficionados and hearing the roar of fine engines has me itching to get back out there!  
The crystal chandeliers and dramatic uplighting made an airplane hangar the perfect setting to display the Art of Motoring.
A few shots from performance driving school in 2011.  Track driving is one of the most exhilarating and stress-relieving things I've ever done, and  I learned so much about handling a car even in normal conditions.  
Fashion is why you buy; Style is what you do with it!