Monday, December 27, 2010

Outfits: One Necklace, High and Low

Oddly enough, the Teak Web Necklace from Anthropologie (reviewed in the second part of this post) is currently the most versatile piece in my wardrobe. I can wear it with anything. To prove my point, here are two outfits I wore to work for different occasions.

First: we went on a fieldtrip to the National Gallery of Art to check out classical and biblical allusions in famous works. This was right before Thanksgiving break, and a warm spell had hit. I didn't have to bundle up too much, and since we would be walking around a lot I could keep it on the casual side.

Sweater: Free People. Tunic: Gap. Pants: Anthropologie.
Bag: J. Crew. Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell. Hat: Velvet Lounge.

This outfit is built around a great neutral palette. The cream sweater has a nubby weave while the white tunic has a silky look to it. The necklace is the right finisher.

The pants are the popular World Over Cargoes from Anthropologie.

This is the gray color, I believe. The reviews are right: these stretch out, so size down. The website sells down to only 25s, so I was lucky enough to find a whole rack of 24s in one store. These cargoes are comfortable, slimming, and affordable.


Second: I wanted to return from Thanksgiving break with a bang. And what screams "schoolteacher" more than a pencil skirt? So I put my own twist on it.

Skirt and booties: Anthropologie. Shirt and tights: J. Crew

My, that's quite a mustard yellow, isn't it? The color didn't seem so aggressive in person, but I think it goes well with the autumn theme of the outfit. I have these tissue turtlenecks from J. Crew in a whole stack of colors. Next time, I think I would go with almond, which is almost a cream. If I wanted to go in the opposite direction and bring it over the top, I would pair the skirt with the Gathering Harvest Cardigan. Wool and tweed galore.

The skirt is the Higgedly-Piggedly by Eva Franco. It got bad reviews for being unforgiving to curves and being hard to walk up stairs in. Both are true; fortunately, I have no curves to speak of and only one flight of stairs at work to worry about.

The booties are my treasured Times Three by Schuler & Sons. They're gorgeous with brown tights. If you pair booties with tights or pants of the same color, they elongate your legs instead of cutting you off at the ankles.

Two different outfits, both completed by the same statement necklace. In its product shot, it doesn't look like it could go with much, does it? Appearances can be deceiving. I can't wait to style it with my spring/summer wardrobe.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Outfit: Tan Cashmere on Black Wool

December is a cold bitch. Maryland has the most miserable weather of all the states: in the summer, the humidity makes the heat unbearable; in the winter, the humidity makes the cold unbearable. And lately we're getting freezing gusts that scourge the skin from your face as you valiantly walk around downtown. I live fifteen minutes from work, and I commute on foot every morning and late afternoon. I do it, as I do everything else, in style.

From last week:

Sweater, coat, and winter accessories: J. Crew.
Trousers: Madewell. Wingtip oxfords: Jeffrey Campbell.

The overcoat is last year's Shipley cut in stadium cloth. The sweater is from this year's collection, and it has a zippered collar that falls forward in a wave. The hat, scarf, and gloves are made of delicious cashmere. I was so enamored of the color combination that I opened the coat for modeling purposes. I don't walk around, obviously, with my coat flapping open in the dead of winter.

Lovely December? Only if the wind isn't blowing.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Outfit: Cables and Chai

Shame on me, it's been over a week since my last post. Rehearsals for the school play has begun, and I'm at the stage most nights. In fact, this is what I wore to our first meeting two Mondays ago. Winter has arrived good and proper, and I wanted to be both cozy and stylish. This is a true fallback combination for me.

Sweater: BCBGMAXAZRIA. Shirt, hat, and boots: J. Crew.
Jeans: AG Stevie. Hot chai: Starbucks.

I got the sweater from BCBGMAXAZRIA on Black Friday. Normally I find the brand overpriced, but sweaters were 50% off. The cabling is gorgeous, and I like the sophisticated ease of the dolman sleeves.

Close up, I'm wearing my silver-studded wood ring from Sundance, and a one-of-a-kind Australian opal bauble I found in the gallery shop of the Textile Museum in Dupont Circle last summer. The splash of marbled blue is a little surprise for whoever happens to be looking me in the face.

Let me conclude this with a shot of me sitting and showing how my oversized sweater drapes. I really can't get enough of oversized sweaters, especially with jeans and boots. They are designed for curling up in one of the oversized leather armchairs at the coffee shop and sipping hot chai while the wind blows cold outside. Every year, I look forward to winter precisely so I can do this. Lovely December . . .


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Score: Alexander Wang Frida Booties

This is an exciting time. I've been in love with these booties by Alexander Wang ever since I laid eyes on them somewhere online, and when Shopbop ran a promo this weekend I hit them like the barn was on fire. The icy cool embossing and wrapped suede heel are dynamite. I can only hope they do fit me.


I admire Alexander Wang's sleek yet approachable modernism. He takes classic pieces and makes them casually off-kilter. These booties are the perfect way to start my collection.

Please! Let them fit!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Outfit: Better Going Than Coming

What I threw on yesterday, when I was in a mood to mix and match and in general confuse people.

Shirt and bracelet: J. Crew. Pants: AG Stevie. Shoes: Madewell.
Scarf: DeNada. Hat: Velvet Lounge.

AG Stevies must be the most universally flattering pants in existence. They feel like butter, too. I rolled the cuffs up so that the top of the boots would show. I dig the resulting military-slash-streetwear effect. Black is the more obvious color, but it can be so harsh sometimes. Brown leather and faded olive twill make a muted, earthy combination.

Torso shot, with the Rhodie satchel from J. Crew. Yes, those are sequins on the shirt. I do feel bad about how many trends this outfit is hitting at once.

And a close up.

Cuffed ankles and silly striped socks.

I need to acquire more oversized winter scarves. I see girls wearing them every which way on Lookbook, and I want to be one of them. DeNada is a great brand. This particular style is called Knit Tassel, and it's made of a supersoft non-allergenic blend. It's like wearing a warm, cozy feather boa.

Now, I also want to get an oversized winter parka to wear with all those anticipated oversized winter scarves. But I wouldn't have worn one last night. Don't want to cover that tush up in those pants, oh no.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Outfit: Cozy, Masculine Neutrals

What I did upon coming home from work this afternoon: change into my laziest clothes; put on a cup of Earl Grey, just a spot of soy creamer, please and thank you; pop dinner into the oven; then sit down at my desk (marble-top antique from my great-grandmother) and hit all my favorite style blogs. Sip tea.

Ah. This may become a ritual. I drink nowhere near enough tea.

I also squeezed in some work (though, with the tea, it was more of a pleasant diversion) on the cast list for the school play. I'm this year's assistant director, and so far I'm enjoying the sense of being responsible for such a large-scale creative project.

Now, the outfit. I've been wanting to share my getup from last Monday. I took the day off and ended up relaxing at home and going on a grocery shopping bender. I love shopping for groceries -- I feel so accomplished at the end of the trip. It was a gorgeous cold day, too, with a washed-out sun in a steely gray winter sky, and the trees were showing their old grandeur toward the end of autumn, blooming and drooping in cascades of bronze and rust and orange and an extravagant, indescribable red. What to wear on such a day? I went with a tried and true fallback: menswear-inspired.

This month's Elle UK quotes a pair of editors on their own daily outfits: "I love an androgynous look and I don't do fussy. I usually find menswear a better fit for casual wear," and, "I find the men's styles most interesting: it's actually quite feminine and looks great on women." Yes.

Sweater and bag: J. Crew. Trousers: Madewell.
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell. Watch: Sundance.

I am somewhat addicted to neutrals, really. Strong neutrals, that is, such as browns. Often I will look down at my outfit and realize that I've built it around several different shades of neutrals. That's why I have the Rhodie satchel in black as my everyday bag: it provides an instant contrast.

The shoes are my beloved Jeffrey Campbell wingtip oxfords. They have just the right amount of pointy-ness, go with about anything, and the longer I wear them and the more beat-up they become, the better they look. I need to get them resoled soon.

All in all, a cozy outfit that still has a refined touch.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Charm: Ajiri Tea Artwork

This evening I did my weekly run to the local co-op, and found a new tea on the shelves.

Perhaps the most delightful aspect of this brand is the fact that each box is an individual piece of artwork. The labels are made from banana leaves cut into colorful shapes and carefully pasted onto the corrugated white background to create various village scenes. Running your fingers over the surface, you can feel every bump and snag. I don't think you can find two labels that are exactly alike.

Complete biography of the Ajiri Tea Company on back, accompanied by helpful map.

Even the tiny figures on the tea tags are completely precious.

And how does the tea actually taste? We shall have to find out soon.

Ajiri Tea and Ajiri Foundation


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Loot: Tassels and Teak

I have my packages delivered to my parents' because someone is always there to receive it. Through a conjunction of stars, when I visited home last Friday there were not three or four but five packages waiting for me. One of these went up to my waist. It contained the Tassels Away Boots from Anthropologie.

I can announce that I have found one more pair of boots that does at least a decent approximation of meeting my skinny calves. As soon as I read a review complaining that the shaft was too narrow, I hit the checkout button. In the one week since, nearly all sizes have sold out. I'm a nine.

These boots caught my eye when they first appeared on the website, thanks to the unusual flare at the ankle. The back especially is darling.

I was unsure, though, of how the boot would look in person, until I saw the model shots.


The boots look surprisingly elegant and delicate, and even with the flare the ankle still is slimming. I especially liked how the color was able to go with black in the second photo. (Although I can now say that while the boots are built beautifully, cycling in them is out of the question.) The styling along with the review convinced me to bite.

Trying them on, I found the boots to be the perfect balance of sturdy and slender. The shaft is soft while the foot and heel are stiff. There is no annoying wiggle room at all. Here is how they looked on my first wearing:

Forgive the mess. My parents' house is under perpetual remodeling, and we haven't installed my new closet doors yet. I test-walked the boots at Trader Joe's and the bookstore, and since it was chilly I popped on my favorite hat.

These are my first pair of heeled boots, also. I can now rest content. Until I decide I need an eighth pair of boots.


Yesterday I said I'd present a closer look at this statement neckpiece. It's the Teak Web Necklace from Anthropologie.

It has sold out already. It's a terrific, show-stopping necklace. It does look odd just lying there in the photo, and I picked it up only because it went on sale and the reviews all were glowing. Once I saw it in person, I fell in love. It's dramatic yet playful, a breath of fresh air.

Description: A chunky statement strand spun of agate, jasper, moonstone, cat's eye and gracefully handcarved slabs of wood. By Pam Hiran.

Yesterday, virtually every co-worker who saw me remarked on and complimented my necklace. Fabulous. Even if I did forget to remove the tag in these close-ups:

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