Monday, September 15, 2014

Stepping a little out of our comfort zones.

Lisa and I teamed up this past Thursday for a fall shopping appointment at Saks in Boston with Claudine Eaton Lewis, personal shopper.  We've shopped with Claudine before, and every time she pulls us a little out of our comfort zone.   This time, Claudine set us up for Fall 2014!

One of the first things we tried on was this Elie Tahari blouse-detail cashmere sweater.  Not sure either of us would have pulled it off the rack.  While it wasn't a great fit for me, Lisa rocked it.  Over leather leggings or waxed jeans, I think it will become a work-horse for Lisa.  The back is pleated and totally cool.
Image from saks.com.
We've been guilty before of purchasing the same thing, and we are guilty again.  Several times over.  Egad.  We definitely have to call each other if we're at the same event.  First up?  Helmut Lang asymmetrical wool top. So cute, very flattering.  And we both had to get it.
Image from saks.com.
And I thought the top looked GREAT over these Helmut Lang bat wash leggings.  And I will wear these leggings a ton, tucked into boots, with drape-y sweaters, etc. So useful. 

And speaking of boots, the next find was really out of my comfort zone.  Originally, I went into the appointment wanting a pair of classic, black, heeled boots.  I actually don't own a pair (SHOCKING), and thought I needed to fill that big void.  Claudine said "Why?  Why not get something more hip, cooler, updated?".  Like these, Stuart Weitzman croc-embossed, knee-high boot?  At first, I balked. They are REALLY out of my comfort zone.  But I put them on.  With a dress.  With leggings.  And I thought, where have these been all my life?!?!

Image from saks.com.
When I looked to Lisa for confirmation, she stood silently.  I couldn't get a read on what she thought.  I thought, 'oh dear, she hates them' and thought back to the time in the early 2000s in New York when I was obsessed with grey, suede slouchy boots and Lisa wouldn't let me get a pair.  When I said that I thought I loved them, she smiled, and said 'YES'!  

These are the great moments when you realize what personal shopping is all about.  Claudine knows me, knows what I have, and likes to push me.  Had I walked by them on display in the shoe department, I would have kept going.  In fact, they aren't even on display because Saks Boston has about 3 pairs of them left.  She brought them out to me.  Made me try them on. And they were fabulous.

And I can't wait to wear them with this Vince dress, which is sweater on the front, and pleated silk on the back.  And Lisa bought it too.  I will be accessorizing it with the grey boots and a great scarf (a la Claudine).
Images from vince.com.
These are the highlights among our treasures.  While our wallets definitely came home a little lighter, there really is nothing like a good shop.  ~ JH

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

...you have a long, silk vest.

We love solving styling challenges and one of our readers posed a timely one, given that we're in fall transition and we're seeing a lot of looks with vests.  One of our readers needs help styling a long vest.  We rolled up our sleeves and dug in.
The Piece:  Brown silk vest.  Open on both sides with button closure in front.
The Challenge: How to style it for a fresh, modern look?
Images provided by reader.
All that's needed here is some simple styling to add some drama and keep it elegant.
  • Bottoms - Try a skinny silhouette underneath.  The unconstructed, whispy nature of the vest is begging for a minimal look.  Try tailored slim pants for a more elegant look.
  • Column of Color - Think of yourself as a column and dress head to toe in one color.  We like black a-la-Victoria Beckman (she'd look amaze in a paper bag) ....very basic.    (See below.)  Shake it up with brown in either a slightly lighter or darker shade . 
  • Casual - For more of a casual look, try try a skinny, longsleeve tee (Majestic is a great brand) underneath with skinny jeans in denim or white.  If long-sleeve is too much with it, try a sleeveless top underneath (like the black and white outfits below).
  • Shoes - On your feet, boots or booties are a MUST.  You need to be a few stories up to do justice to the look.
  • Loose - Do not button it up - let it flow lady.
  • Finish Touch - We like the minimal, no jewelry look but if you want a necklace, play on the length.  You could pair with a long necklace (Chan Luu or something from Anthropologie in earthy or golden tones). 
Check out the images below for inspiration!  Have fun with it and send us pics of how you styled it.  We'd love to see what you did with it. ~ LB
Images from pinterest.com.
Image from neimanmarcus.com.
Image from dailymail.co.uk.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My September Obsession - Brogues and Oxfords

My September obsession started back in August with a photo of a W by Worth outfit at the Fall 2014 show. This is what started it all:
Image from wbyworth.com.
I thought, well, I have a ton of jeans I can roll up just like that, and those shoes are pretty cute with that look.  Brogues, oxfords, whatever you want to call them.  They were interesting.  Hummm...

I'm always looking for something between the ballet flat and the boot.  Easy for everyday wear in the fall and cooler months.  Heck, in 2012 we discussed it!  So I made a mental note to keep an eye out while shopping and try on a pair or 2 when I saw some.  It was love at first sight at Steven Alan.  I fell in love with these Rachel Comey brogues even before they were on my feet.
Images from Jennifer Houston.
I LOVE the perforated toe box and the color.  Problem?  Steven Alan stocked them in whole sizes only.  My size?  8 and a 1/2.  Grrrr.  A very helpful salesperson told me she would call their buyer and see if she should get my size.  I left her with my phone number and crossed my fingers.

About a week later, I got the news.  Steven Alan didn't order half sizes, and while she hated to send my business elsewhere, she told me that rachelcomey.com had them online.  

I pause to say this:  When experimenting with a new 'look', I like to purchase at stores with more liberal return policies.  That way, when I get the item home and play with it, I can return it if it doesn't work out.  I put these items in the 'holding area'.  Once they make it to the closet, they are staying forever.

Rachel Comey online has a very short, 14 day return policy.  EEK. But my love for these shoes won and with a few clicks, they were mine.  

Now what do I do with them?  I texted Lisa a few times to see if I should keep them.  I had a friend over to look at me style them.  I looked around online.  I think I've figured out how to wear brogues this fall:
  • They look great with rolled up jeans - denim, black, white - any color will do.  They are an everyday, work-horse shoe.
  • Because of the structure of the shoe, they need to be paired with a less structured outfit or top.  Think silk blouse, unstructured sweater.  Pair these 'tough' shoes with something more 'delicate'.
  • The right day dress looks amazing with them. Again, stick to unstructured.  
  • If your look is still a little too masculine, add a scarf to soften the look even more.
  • Skip socks.  Just saying.
Check out these inspirational looks I found on Pinterest:
Images from pinterest.com.
I put a Polyvore set together below with more ideas.  Try on a pair next time you see one - you might be surprised! ~ JH

W2WW - Wearing Brogues

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My August Obsession - Veronica Beard Blazers

While most people I know are in beach/vacation/bathing suit mode right now, I'm in a full-blown-fall-fashion state of mind.  Call me crazy, but it's in the stores and ladies, NOW is the time to start shopping!  Especially for the hard-to-find transition outfits for fall.  I am trolling websites, stores, and trunk shows looking to fill the gaps in my wardrobe.  And as you all know, blazers have been a complete obsession for many years.  With the perfect navy blazer snugly hanging in my closet, my attention turns to finding the perfect black blazer.

My August obsession actually started back in May when Lisa and I had a 36-hour mini-break from our families, which really is a 36-hour shopping fest.  Just saying.  At any rate, we were in Viola Lovely in Boston's South End, when I happened upon a Veronica Beard blazer.  These are not 'normal' jackets.  These are super-cool and edgy jackets.  These are AWESOME.  
Images from veronicabeard.com.
Blazers with faux hoodie linings (and sometimes, faux cuffs!)!  Ok, they call them what they are: dickeys.  (And I hate that word - almost as much as I hate m-o-i-s-t.)  But think of the possibilities?!  Neat black blazer sans dickey for a cleaner look; black blazer with cool hoodie over jeans while running around town.  The options are limitless!

Here's why I'm obsessed:
1.  I need a black blazer desperately.
2.  I love the idea of a cool, multi-purpose jacket.
3.  They sell different dickeys separately, so you can change your look whenever you want.
4.  Viola Lovely didn't have my size at the time, so I'm DYING to try one on!


Basically every day, I've been going to their website waiting for the classic jacket to be in stock (pre-order only now).  And I'm waiting for the lovely ladies at Viola Lovely to call when they receive their shipment of blazers.  And I wait and wait and become more and more obsessed.

So while you are sitting on a beach reading this on your mobile device, I'm at home contemplating when I can get my hands on a Veronica Beard black classic blazer, with a grey, sweatshirt hoodie dickey.  Stay tuned. ~ JH

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

W2WW Around Town - Loving The Street's Additions

I'm not sure what happened at The Street this summer, but I LOVE it.  When we left, The Street in Chestnut Hill had a couple of good things going - Shake Shack, a huge Calypso St. Barth, Splendid (daughter's favorite), and Pinkberry.  Today, my daughters and I ran down there to have lunch (Shake Shake) and check out back-to-school stuff at Splendid.  Quick trip - an hour tops, right?

WRONG.  I'm going to have to allocate MORE time for future visits.  As I pull up to make the turn across Route 9, I see that some stores have filled in.  Helmut Lang?!?!  Vince?!?!  Holy cow.  My personal favorites all lined up.  Huge stand-alone stores.

I dutifully did lunch and Splendid with the girls.  Seeing that I had about 30 minutes left in them, I chose to visit Vince.  They have only been open 2 weeks.
This Vince store is the biggest stand-alone I've ever been in, including some of the New York stores.  It makes the Copley store look like a kiosk.  The depth of the line was so impressive to see.  I couldn't wait to dig in.  But really, I couldn't.  Why?  Because the kids were digging in!  Yes my friends, Vince has a kids clothing line.  Good news:  It's fabulous.  Bad news:  My kids LOVED it.  Small but great selection of classic mini-Vince pieces (no, they did not get the leather jacket).
But, my older daughter got a sweater and top, and my younger daughter loved a t-shirt.  Oh dear, what does this mean to me and MY clothing budget?!

As I was checking out and explaining how I would have to come back without my dear children to really dig in, they had one other trick up their sleeve.  Turns out Vince is launching a HANDBAG line this fall!  Yikes!  I can't even imagine how cool these bags will be.  The assistant manager, Chrysten (on a first-name basis already), showed me a picture of one of the bags that will be out.  Kinda love it.
Image from Chrysten Fahey, Asst. Store Manager Vince, Chestnut Hill.
If you find yourself near The Street, beware.  I'm scared for myself. ~ JH
Unless noted, all images from Jennifer Houston.

Monday, August 11, 2014

An old friend, rediscovered.

I had some time to troll around Newbury Street before a hair appointment last week and wandered into Steven Alan.  Thank goodness!  I always forget how much I LOVE this store, and I hope that by writing about it, I'll remember to visit every time I'm close by. 
Images from Jennifer Houston.
Why do I love it?  They describe themselves well:  "Steven Alan is a multi-brand retailer carrying a curated collection of clothing, accessories, apothecary, and home items for both men and women".  VERY well curated at that.  They carry some of my favorite designers - Clare Vivier, Band of Outsiders, Isabel Marant, and their in-house brand, Steven Alan.  They carry lots of designers that are new-to-me - which I love.  They have great basics.  It's a very cool vibe.  Clean lines, great materials.  Fantastic staff (at least at the Newbury location).

What did I check out this visit - these brogues by Rachel Comey.  I didn't think I was a brogue shoe girl, but maybe I am?  They are hunting for my size and I hope they find it.
Image from Jennifer Houston.
This cool dress.  It was a little short for me, but oh how I loved it.  With the shoes. 
Image from Jennifer Houston.
Image from stevenalan.com.
Next time you find yourself on Newbury, wander in.  You'll be glad you did. ~ JH