Camouflage has been making its way into mainstream fashion over the past few years. Designer labels such as Valentino, Michael Kors, Burberry and Dries Van Noten have been incorporating this green and khaki-colored print into their ready-to-wear lines for a couple of years now. As it started to capture the attention of the general public, it has become more mainstream. With stylish and affordable takes on the pattern in such places as J.Crew, The Gap and Banana Republic. From skinny jeans to tailored pants, from jackets to dresses, we're seeing stylish, chic and modern takes on the battlefield uniform. From the front lines, to the runway to Fifth Avenue does Camouflage have what it takes to become a classic?
My love affair with this simple slide began decades ago when I was young - It was the late 1970s and early 1980s and the era when the bell bottom, peace love and happiness transitioned quietly into the early days of disco and jumpsuits. The shoe I'm referring to, of course, is the clog. How I so fondly remember my beloved wooden soled clogs. During the cooler season I wore my clogs and when the weather was warm out I proudly donned my Dr. Scholl exercise sandals. Over the course of several years I would own all three colors, red, white and blue... there might have even been a denim version as well.
I have two very vivid memories of these simple slide-ons. The first is quite a painful one, and still makes me flinch at the thought of my foot accidentally slipping off the back of the shoe where the tender part of my instep would land on the hard, sharp edge of the heel which resulted in shooting pains up and down and had me seeing stars...
The other memory is that of my mother yelling at me as I clomped loudly across our wood floors. I wasn't exactly the quietest or most graceful of children, and I would soon learn these shoes were best worn outside. (I grew up in an old pre-war apartment on the Upper East Side with the most spectacular wood floors. Despite the large oriental and shag area rugs I still managed to sound like an elephant walking on two-by-fours!) Eventually, my love for these most un-delicate of shoes faded into a quiet oblivion only to be replaced by something else. Fast forward ten years or so and fresh out of college and my go to shoe was a simple black kitten-heeled mule. Although that particular pair is no longer in my closet, my shoe racks are filled with countless versions of these backless shoes. Perhaps it has something just a tiny bit to do with my own laziness, but mostly it is because I find this style of shoe to be comfortable, extremely flattering and incredibly versatile. I wear my mules about 80% of the time. And now as the weather has warmed and the snow has melted we can look forwards to giving our boots a break and slipping into a pretty mule. And once again they're all the rage - from the pages of your favorite fashion magazines, to the runways to the streets.... From The Gap to Gucci, from Aldo to Valentino, the mule is is the shoe style to slip into this season.
If there's one piece of clothing that I just can't live without, it's the little black sweater. If I had a uniform, the black sweater would be it. It seems that I wear one every day - universally flattering and appealing, not to mention versatile. Due to the myriad of styles the little black sweater is such that it can be worn year round. (A black sweater in summertime? Of course, one needs to cover up in those frigid air conditioned buildings.) I don't think that one can have too many - thick, thin, long sleeved, short-sleeved, sleeveless... in cashmere, linen or cotton. Worn on their own, under jackets, coats, or over blouses, their flexibility is perhaps unrivaled. Always sophisticated, the black sweater ranges from casual to elegant and complements a wide range of accessories from pearls and baubles to scarves of assorted sizes, sizes and textures. I have lost count of all the black sweaters to grace my wardrobe, and it is quite likely this collection will continue to grow by leaps and bounds.
There's one, singularly and without exception, item that every woman's wardrobe must have that's truly ageless, timeless and versatile. It is the little white blouse. It's a style that looks well on young and old alike. It's one of the first serious pieces we purchase in our youth as we embark on our careers, and it keeps evolving throughout our lifetime. The little white blouse may sound simple by description - but by description only. It perhaps the most versatile, flexible and diverse of all the items in our wardrobes, with the exception of the little black sweater. The blouse, however, takes on many shapes and styles and forms from fitted and figure hugging to loose and forgiving thus also making it a favorite for many body types.
This simple staple is perhaps the most important item in your closet. Dress it up, dress it down, this item transitions from day to night seamlessly, from the office to a dinner party, from the casual comfort of denim to the elegant sophistication of a body-skimming black pencil skirt. Whether tailored, loosely fitting, collared or ruffled... worn with sleeves rolled up or down, with jewels or not... whether you've pulled it from your husband's closet or the boutique down the street, there is nothing quite as versatile as The Little White blouse. Casual, fun, flirty, sophisticated, elegant, youthful...
It's 7:45 on a Monday morning and as I sit on my couch piled up high with pillows, surrounded by blankets, and sipping my morning coffee with an ease and leisure of the weekend, I take a rather guilty pleasure knowing that our schools are operating on a two-hour delay due to ice and high winds. Of course I should be working... and I will... soon. But easing into the week, slowly, gracefully and with ease, isn't such a bad thing. My children are still all asleep. The sun's rays are pouring into my oversized windows casting glorious shadows all over the place.
Outside I can hear the winds howl; I can see the trees sway. My cappuccino is warm, comforting, soul soothing. I'm enjoying this purely Hygge moment. But soon it will be interrupted and I will have to begin my day in earnest. If hygge is a way of being, a way of thinking and a lifestyle, then surely it can be a way of dress too. If a hygge home is filled with furs, warm chunky knits, and soft cashmeres, then the hygge dress must be similar, surely. Below are some images that I've curated from all over the web on styles for both at home and on the street that I feel best represent this at ease, peaceful, easy feeling.
Feeling comfortable in my clothing has always been important to me - I believe it dates back to my college days, even earlier, perhaps, when oversized faded jeans and college sweatshirts worn with Tretorns or Stan Smiths were practically my uniform. Perhaps I would have swapped out my sweatshirts and jeans for my Benetton sweaters and leggings. La plus ca change, la plus c'est la meme. (The more it changes the more it stays the same.) I'm certainly tidier and more put together these days, but it's not unusual for me to be seen in a large cashmere sweater, leggings and thigh high boots. Comfortable, well- fitted jeans combined worn with comfortable tops are easily "dressed up" for client meetings when paired with a pretty pair of heels, and tailored jacket. My hygge style is, I believe, practical and functional.
Stay warm everyone!
I have a confession. I can't sew. They tried. Boy did they try. My mother. Both grandmothers. Both of my grandmothers were extraordinarily handy with a needle and thread. I can just about re-attach a button. That's it. I can't hem. I can't "darn." And yet, oddly enough when I reached a certain age I wanted a sewing machine. I wanted to learn how to stitch things together. I wanted to make my own clothes, duvet covers, napkins for the table, pillowcases for the couch. I never learned. I won't give up faith. There's still time. I think this old dog can learn a trick or two. But this has nothing to do with sewing. Quite the opposite really. It's all about deconstruction. I love to deconstruct! No needles and no thread here. Simply a pair of sharp scissors and a seam ripper. No needles! No thread!
Over the past few months I've been noticing un-hemmed jeans everywhere. Sometimes the edges look freshly cut with a few wispy threads, sometimes the bottom of the pant is completed with a tidy row of of perfectly manicured fringe, and sometimes that fringe is longer, wilder, more dramatic. I happen to love them all. I was inspired after reading how easy it was on Ridgely's Radar and went out and bought a sharp new pair of scissors and a seam ripper. We all have jeans in our closet that we either don't wear or wear less frequently for whatever reason. I have 2 pairs of skinny jeans that are almost identical. One pair, it seems, makes my legs look skinnier than the other and so the other tends to sit in the closet more often. I also have a pair of black jeans that I don't wear as often. I don't like how they look on my waist. (I can always wear a longer sweater or shirt with them - or lose a couple of pounds!)
These seemed like the two perfect pairs to try with. I started with the skinny jeans. I cut off the hemmed bottom and about a quarter of an inch more. I did the same with the black jeans. Then I started gently, carefully, picking away and tugging at the loose threads. Slowly, very slowly, the jeans started to unravel. As I needed more help and wanted to make the fringe more dramatic, I would tug more with the seam ripper util the desired effect was achieved. I love the way they turned out. Now I'm thinking I'll do this with a pair of colored jeans... I have a red pair I don't wear all that often... Does this work with corduroy too?
I hope the images below will inspire you to do the same with a pair of jeans that have been pushed all the way to the back of your closet.
I think they turned out well, don't you? The black pair were cropped with a slight flare. The dark blue pair are skinny jeans, tapered more at the ankles. Both pairs look as good with flats as they do with heels.
What I did. The dark blue pair were longer. I always rolled them slightly. So I cut 1 inch above the hem and then gently started to tub at the loose frayed edges working at them carefully and methodically until I got the look and length of fringe I desired. In some cases I went in with my hands and gently pulled sections of denim apart until they were just loose threads. The black pair were already cropped so I just cut along the hemline and not a bit more and repeated steps above. Each pair of jeans took about an hour to complete. I'm thinking I might work on the sleeves of my denim jacket. The arms seem unusually long... Note: Don't fray dark jeans on a white couch!!
There are so many "trends" en vogue today that I am absolutely mad mad mad about. We're channeling our past with echoes of the 1970s returning playfully to the fashion world. We're seeing long wavy hair, flair and bell bottomed jeans, patchworks, embellishments and embroidery, and the loose free-flowing style of boho-chic are showing no signs of being pushed to the back of our closets. Take the bell sleeves, some mildly flared, others in a great dramatic and exaggerated manner which I happen to adore. After all, if you're going to make a statement then make the statement. In terms of fashion I don't happen to subscribe to less is more. I happen to believe that more is more. Go overboard. Go big. Be playful and dramatic and most importantly, have fun! And what fun fashion is today!
The bell sleeve dresses up any top. Adds an air of elegance to even the most casual of outfits. Whether worn with jeans or a ballgown length skirt, the bell sleeve steals the show. It's playful. Dramatic. Serious. Sexy. It looks fantastic on everyone. At every age.
What do you think? Aren't they just a-door-a-bell?!!!
If there's one piece of clothing that just screams fall it's got to be the sweater. "Sweater Weather" has become synonymous with the cooler days that follow up on the heels of summer... As September draws to and end and the sight of the yellow busses is now familiar and routine, we wake up to a slight and most welcome chill in the air as the leaves rustle among the branches in the trees. There is a certain giddiness that accompanies the slight change in weather which to many means a wardrobe change. We all know there's really nothing better than re-discovering some of your favorite items that have been tucked away for a while now. It's like shopping... for free!
I happen to have a certain thing for sweaters. I love not only how they look and feel, but their significance is so much greater - it means that fall is officially underway and so are all the wonderful things that come with it - from pumpkin and apple picking to finally turning our ovens back on to prepare warm, welcoming family meals like roasts and long simmering pots of soups. The season also leads to little children dressed up in costumes in search of their favorite foil wrapped candy, then on to Thanksgiving and eventually to Christmas. With the cooler days ahead, summer is sailing further away into the distance leaving warm, fond memories in its wake and allowing us to pave the way for all the wonderful things the next season has to offer.
I'm particularly partial to the longer version of my favorite piece of clothing, the sweater dress, which can be worn on its own or even paired with leggings, jeans and tailored pants. This versatile piece of clothing has a place in every wardrobe and offers the greatest flexibility. If you've been following me for a while you know that I prefer things to be simple. I aim to cut out the many middle steps and cut right to the chase. It can be done and it can be done well. This is how I prefer to dress as well - I prefer to choose an outfit that transitions seamlessly from day to night, from work to casual or vice-versa with a simple change of accessories... Have a look at the images below and you'll quickly see why I adore my sweater dresses so much!
Every chic wardrobe needs just a few pieces to make it complete. At the very least, a black dress, a pair of well fitting jeans, a pair of pumps in a neutral color (black and beige tend to offer most versatility), a cashmere sweater in a neutral color and a white blouse will cary you far. The white blouse has perhaps the most versatility than any other garment in your wardrobe. This one item can take you from day to night, from summer to winter without a glitch, without looking out of place or inappropriate. A simple white blouse, whether button down, with ruffles or worn tied at the waist transitions seamlessly from any outfit instantaneously and can be worn for both the most casual of situations as well as the most formal. In our youth we learned quickly about the importance of the little black dress (LBD) and how every wardrobe needed at least one, yet there was never such a thing as owning too many. Once a woman hits a certain age - let's say her 30s - her wardrobe should contain a few basic, classic staples even if her style is neither basic or classic. Although my style has evolved greatly over the years, there area few things I will never part with, the LWB is one of them - it is timeless and classic for a reason, as you'll see in the images below.
If you enjoyed this piece I invite you to check out what might possibly be my most popular piece of all time, 21 Classic Must-Have Items for Every Wardrobe.
I happen to love velvet - the way it feels, the way it drapes and hangs depending on the thickness, and of course the look. It's so versatile and so luxurious and that's what precisely what this season is about. While velvet has never really disappeared from view, it hasn't taken center stage on the fashion scene in quite some time. It is, after all, quite a dramatic fabric. This season seems to be about luxury and being over the top.
As for my latest crush - You'll notice it everywhere, on suits, dresses both long and short, skirts, shoes, boots and bags. You'll see it worn simply, on its own and you'll see it dressed up with brocades, sequins, beads and all sorts of embellishments that we are also seeing with denim and tweed. It's a fun season for fashion where these days almost anything goes. As for me, I'm crushing on velvet and have a few items I can bring out from hiding - What about you? By the way, are we seeing a return of the velvet pantsuit?