Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Breton Striped Shirt!

"The striped Breton shirt as we know it today came into being shortly following the 27th March, 1858 Act of France, which introduced the navy and white striped knitted shirt as the uniform for all French navy seaman in Brittany. The shirt was originally known as marinière or matelot. The original design featured 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon's victories." ~ Wikifashion

Ah, striped shirt. I wear mine so often that I wonder what I would wear instead if it hadn't been invented!*** Thanks, France!

***Ok, not really. I have a crap-ton of clothes, I'm sure I'd find something.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spring (Closet) Cleaning with GOOP

Gwyneth Paltrow's Tops

"Wait, you're linking to another GOOP post?"

Yes. I have loved GP since 1994, haters gon' hate, deal with it, etc.

Mainly I'm linking to this post about Spring Cleaning for your closet HERE because me and everyone else I know went on a cleaning bender this past weekend due to "Springing Forward" and I came *thisclose* to switching out my cold weather wardrobe for my warm weather one (it's already Springtime in GA), but I decided to give it another week or two. In other words, this post was just too timely not to share.

Not to toot my own horn, but I could get a black belt in closet purging and organization. I wasn't always this way, but moving 7 times in 10 years has a tendency to make a person want to streamline as much as possible so that you're not toting around stuff that you don't need/want/doesn't fit. I purge my closet 2 or 3 times a season, separating discarded items into 4 piles: Don't Like, Doesn't Fit, Needs Drycleaning/Mending, Worn Out. The first pile goes into a plastic bag, where it stays for a few months and then gets re-evaluated to see if there are items that can go back into rotation or whether they need to be donated. Pile 2 goes to Goodwill, pile 3 is taken care of accordingly, and pile 4 is trashed. I find that the more often I closet-purge, the more manageable the task becomes (Captain Obvious is obvious). Here are the editing rules that GOOP lays out, and I particularly agree w/ numbers 3 and 6:

1. “If you hold up the garment and can see any body part imprinted in it - i.e. elbows, knees, saggy bums, etc. - it goes out.”

2. “Pay particular attention to collars - these are near your face and right in people’s eye line, so any fraying, wear-and-tear or make-up/fake tan stains, etc. means it goes.”

3. “Consider the ‘two tries rule:’ if you have put on a garment and then immediately taken it off to wear something else two or more times, let it go. I know, you spent good money on it and have never worn it, but you are not getting that money back by keeping it in your closet. Smile and enjoy the cathartic feeling of de-cluttering.”

4. “Nostalgia / gift boxes: Before you begin editing, get at least two substantial storage boxes. Allocate appropriate names for each, such as costume / nostalgia / presents etc. I have seen amazing Burberry suits hung next to Halloween costumes. I know - this is the dress you were wearing when your husband proposed to you, or this is your college sweatshirt that everyone signed... by all means keep it, as it’s a nice part of your history. But why is it in amongst your work blouses?! This makes your closet feel and look completely disorganized, which in turn makes you feel disorganized.”

“Box these items up and store them away from your everyday options. You'll be amazed how much extra space and order you'll win back just from this one simple step.”

“Same goes for the million pieces of jewelry, scarves and wallets that are not your style. Because they were gifts, you keep them out of guilt. This leaves your jewelry box and closet cluttered full of items that you'll never wear - separate all of these out.”

5. “Anything more than 6 months old that still has tags on it was a mistake. It doesn't excite you and/or it doesn't work with your other pieces. We live and learn. Assess what doesn't work, and let it go.”

6. “All, and I mean every single thing you own, should make you feel great, from your cashmere sweaters and jeans, to your evening wear.”

How about you? Are you a closet-purging master or more of a closet hoarder? Do you have any tried-and-true closet organizing rules that you stick with?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sticker Shock: Rad Ring

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this little ring costs $1550.00 since I saw it on freaking GOOP:

Darn that Gwyneth Paltrow and her fabulous taste. I love it but I can't afford that price tag. Somebody on Etsy has probably created a knockoff already for between $50-$75, right?

If you have the scratch to pick one up, you can find it on Gwyneth's GOOP website HERE.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Real Lee Radziwill

In a world of passing celebrity, Lee Radziwill, 79, possesses a timeless aura that radiates nowness. Her bang up-to-date personal style, her laid-back — to say pared down would be to demean its ordered luxury — apartment in Paris (“the favorite of any home I’ve ever had”), in this, her favored city, shows how subtly she has lived, lives now, without the attendant glare of past pomp and present self-glorification that others crave. She is utterly content, and it shows. What she is not is casual. She regulates her life by standards inbuilt by experience, by nurturing her friendships, by staying true, by her irony, by her humor — all qualities that show she is the real deal. That past sorrows and joys have merged into an elegance that permeates her presence, that “something in the air” that indicates class and courage and composure. Though she now rigorously guards her privacy, her free spirit surfaces easily, and her thoughts come crystal clear. A figure of her time, our history, Lee is her own harbinger for an iconic future. Ours, and hers.

I loved reading this article about Lee Radziwill HERE on the New York Times T Blog. I also love her Paris Apartment:

Oh, that pink sofa....

The fabric on the chairs is by Le Manach, and it's one of Lee's favorite patterns.

Her bedroom; simple and inviting.

The interview goes on to discuss more of Lee's style, her lovers and friends, and she also talks a bit about her family:

“Were you always aware of your beauty?”

“From the word go,” she answers simply and honestly. “But no one else was, then. My mother endlessly told me I was too fat, that I wasn’t a patch on my sister. It wasn’t much fun growing up with her and her almost irrational social climbing in that huge house of my dull stepfather Hughdie Auchincloss in Washington. I longed to be back in East Hampton, running along the beaches, through the dunes and the miles of potato fields my father’s family had owned. And even in summer, when we’d go to to Hammersmith Farm . . . the Auchincloss place in Newport, a house more Victorian or stranger you can’t imagine . . . it wasn’t much better. Well, at least there was the ocean, but naturally my sister claimed the room overlooking Narragansett Bay, where all the boats passed out. All I could see from my window was the cows named Caroline and Jacqueline. (My real first name is Caroline.) Oh, I longed to go back, to be with my father. He was a wonderful man, you’d have loved him. He had such funny idiosyncrasies, like always wearing his black patent evening shoes with his swimming trunks. One thing which infuriates me is how he’s always labeled the drunk black prince. He was never drunk with me, though I’m sure he sometimes drank, due to my mother’s constant nagging. You would, and I would. The only time I ever saw him really drunk was at Jackie’s wedding. He was to give her away, but my mother refused to let him come to the family dinner the night before. So he went to his hotel and drank from misery and loneliness. It was clear in the morning that he was in no state to do anything, and I remember my mother screaming with joy, ‘Hughdie, Hughdie, now you can give Jackie away.’ During the wedding party I had to get him onto a plane back to New York. Accompanied by my first husband, also drunk. It was a nightmare."

Janet Lee and Black Jack Bouvier. How did they ever get together?

Lee and Rudolf Nureyev.

"Perhaps the most depressing part was that whatever I did, or tried to do, got disproportionate coverage purely because of Jackie being my sister. But you learn to deal with the scrutiny, even the lies, as long as it’s not malicious."

"We had this divine house on Buckingham Place behind the palace, and the prettiest country place in Oxfordshire . . . Turville Grange . . . that Mongiardino decorated. He glued the walls of the dining room with Sicilian scarves, and asked Lila di Nobili to paint each child with their favorite animals crisscrossed by bands of flowers. It was enchanting."

"I’ve been happy, and am happy now. My life has been exciting, active, changeable. At my age, one is lucky to have old friends, and, fortunately, most of them, like me, can’t seriously work a computer and the phone is our link. So I’m not lonely. I have this apartment, this view, my bursting-with-light New York apartment . . . yes, and you, Zinny . . . this ‘douceur de vivre,’ this city.”

WOW. It's a fascinating read - go check it out!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wise Words

One of the best parties I ever attended took place because some friends were moving to Germany and they needed help finishing off the contents of their liquor cabinet. Moonshine tastes like what I would imagine rubbing alcohol to taste like, btw.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

J.Crew Style Guide, February 2013 - Finally Some Pretty Things!

It feels like forever since J.Crew has updated their website with anything new, and practically an ETERNITY since I've seen anything that I really like, so I was really pleased to see a lot of pretty things in the February 2013 Style Guide that came in the mail today. I'm just posting pictures of the pages that I really personally like since A) I'm pressed for time and B) I'm selfish.

Liberty print rash guards - adorable. All I do at the beach is read under an umbrella, though, so that would be money wasted.

Punching myself in the face over those Windowpane Cashmere cardigans, but they're featherweight and I've found those to pill like WHOA. Maybe if I could weave another sweater from all of the pills I shaved off, then it would be worth the money.

Oh, heaven help me, I've never met a pair of sailor pants I didn't like!

Or a sailor skirt!!!

Green. Silk. BUTTERFLIES. How adorable!!!

New items should roll out online this Thursday, 1/31 (I think).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wise Words

That's good stuff. Especially if you're the kind of person who usually sees failure as an indication that you suck and you don't deserve to own cashmere.

*raises hand slowly*

Friday, January 18, 2013

White Jeans in Winter

So you're rolling along, middle of  winter, secure in your belief that white denim is not appropriate from September to March when BAM!:

This picture of Emmanuelle Alt, Editor in Chief at French VOGUE, pops up on your Pinterest feed and, out of nowhere, you decide you gotta get summa them white jeans asap. Here are more images of Alt in her white skinny jeans:

These pictures aren't new, they've been floating around fashion blogs for the past year, but I guess I didn't really pay much attention since the voice in my head was saying "She's the only person alive who can pull that off." But then her influence started trickling down the fashion food chain, first to the Voguettes in Paris, NYC, and Milan...

...and then to various gorgeous fashionistas everywhere.

The secret to pulling off white jeans in the winter appears to be combining them with dark boots on the bottom and dark layers on top. I love the white/black/gray combinations most of all since I have a lot of black and gray in my wardrobe to begin with, but I also like this lady's biker/bohemian take in earthier tones:

And then, when the weather warms up, you have your white jeans that transition perfectly from Winter to Spring or from Summer to Fall.

I bought a pair of J.Crew cropped white denim pants last year, but they lost their shape in the butt and thighs after 2 wears and looked awful, so I donated them to Goodwill and planned to shop for another pair this Summer. However, inspired by these images and a stretch of 75 degree weather, I decided to take advantage of the recent sales at Madewell and bought a pair of their white denim Skinny Skinny jeans at nearly 60% off the original price.

The only size left available was 2 sizes bigger than my own, but I ordered them anyway because a) Madewell has a free shipping/returns guarantee on jeans, and b) I had planned to go up a size in any pair of white jeans I might have found to try since white pants have the potential to be VERY unflattering if they are too tight. 

I tried them on immediately after they arrived and they were definitely too big all over, but I decided to use the mistakes I've made with denim over the years to my advantage. That's right: I washed them on hot and dried them twice on the super hot speed dry cycle. When I pulled them out of the dryer and tried them on again, they were an absolutely perfect fit (and smelled like fresh mountain air)! Now I just need a date night with the BF or a day trip to Atlanta to properly show off my winter whites.

What do you think? Would you wear white jeans in the winter? Have you already been wearing white jeans in the winter for years and are rolling your eyes like, "Whatevs, Emmanuelle Alt"?

All images pinched off of Pinterest.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Madewell Review: Texting with My Mother

Mom was slow to warm up to texting ("Just call me!"), but when I pointed out that I can't call her from work but I can text, she embraced it like a 14-year-old cheerleader and we text almost every day, sometimes all day long. Often our discussions turn to fashion. Here is a conversation from last week.

Me: Hi. Madewell just rolled out this shirt this morning:

Silk. It's loud but I think I love it. Or maybe I just love the print and the shirt would look stupid on me. What do you think?

Mom: Very interesting. Pretty. If paired with white or navy (I think it's navy?) it would be great.

Me: I think it's black. I'd wear it with black pencil skirts/jackets/cardis for work and black skinny jeans + ballet flats on the weekends. Is it TOO MUCH for my personality?

Mom: No. It's very femme.

Me: That's what I mean, haha. Is it too Laura Ashley? I'm hoping more for Dorothy Draper/Carleton Varney. Or maybe I should just buy a scarf :p

Dorothy Draper/Carleton Varney, Fazenda Lily

Laura Ashley, Wiseley Floral

Mom: It's more Dorothy Draper than Laura Ashley. I really don't like what they have done to The Greenbrier, though. Dorothy Draper on crack!

Me: That's because of the casino. Nouveau riche gamblers don't speak "subtle". I imagine that Carleton Varney was given the the order to combine Dorothy Draper w/ Vegas, so this was actually a pretty good outcome. Could be worse.

Mom: Ya think? Look at it.

Me: It could *always* be worse.



Well, I knew that the Rose Print blouse was one that I'd have to try on to know for sure if I would love it or hate it, so I used Madewell's free ship over $100 promo and it arrived in the mail today.

I'll be darned - I love it (note presence of nosy dog at lower left). I'm not sure why I love it, but it might have something to do with the fact that I'm a child of the 80's and, now that I live 90 minutes away from Atlanta, this blouse is the closest I've ever been to becoming one of the cast of Designing Women:

I ordered the Medium, which is my usual size for Madewell's silk Boy Shirts (I also have the Horseplay Silk Boy Shirt, naturally). The print is LOUD, and I'm usually not drawn to loud prints. Once when I was ironing my shirts during study abroad in London, my flatmate said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I've never seen so many plain black tee shirts in my life."

The blouse has a beautiful, fluid drape. Knotted at the waist with the sleeves rolled up, it helps to lessen the impact of ALL THOSE ROSES. I love it with my faded black skinnies, but I can definitely see it with white shorts or cropped trousers and espadrilles in the summer.

It looks great under a tailored black blazer (note presence of nosy dog in lower right corner). I feel like I should wait until Spring to wear such a punchy floral to work, but I have a huge urge to wear it tomorrow! That's how I know I really love something; I can't wait to wear it someplace. If you ever see me at the grocery store and I look a bit overdressed, you can be sure that whatever I'm wearing is brand new. Obviously I need to work on the whole "instant gratification" thing.

Or...maybe I should wait a day or two before I decide to keep it, just until I'm sure that I'm not just feeling the emotional high that comes with buying new clothes.

What do you think? Too much? Too much in a good way?