Investment pieces: What’s old is new again

Getting dressed in the morning can be a royal pain in the ass. Even for a stylist. It’s easy to fall back on that steady-eddy outfit that is so easy to throw on. It usually involves jeans, a tee or tank and a jacket. Ho hum. I have a closet full of adorable clothes and seem to gravitate toward the same ones.

This morning, it was a snowy mess here in Boston. I had a big girl meeting and thought that I should get all dolled up in my Wolfords and a dress and all that jazz and then thought, “what goes with Sorel snowboots?” Right, not much, sadly. With coffee in one hand, iPhone in the other and two kids home from a snow day all piled into my closet I thought to myself, just pick something already!

Vintage DVF Jacket

On with the jeans, then a white tank. I realized this is like my canvas. From here I can put anything on top. I went to pull a black ruched-sleeve blazer when I saw my vintage DVF jacket hanging there, dying to be worn. I bought this gorgeous Diane von Furstenberg jacket for my daughter’s christening back in 2003. (Sadly, the day of the christening was so damn hot that I never wore it.) It was definitely a splurge purchase for me at the time and my post-maternity clothes status definitely had something to do with pushing me over the edge. But I remember the day I tried it on and how it fit perfectly. Jackets are meant to be an amazing fit and that’s what happened when I tried this on. It fit like a glove – no alterations necessary – and the print was retro and fun and, well, it was me.

What I realized this morning is that splurging for the right piece often becomes less about a splurge and more about an investment. When I say this to my clients they often laugh at the thought of justifying a great handbag or jacket or pair of shoes as an “investment” but it’s true. Think about this. I spent about $400 on my DVF jacket in 2003. It looked great then and when I wore it today at least 3 people said, “Wow, I love your jacket!” That’s 10 years worth of wear and it looks amazing and is now actually considered vintage. Go figure. So, instead of buying 4 $100 trendy jackets made of crappy fabric that will last 1-2 seasons, I could buy one fantastic piece that will live in my closet probably forever.

As you think Spring, think about a short list of items that will really complete your wardrobe. Maybe a pair of perfect-fitting black pants, that handbag you’ve been eyeing or a pencil skirt or those coveted designer shoes in a neutral tone. Fill in the rest of the outfit with more inexpensive pieces that can go from season to season. Your closet will thank you. Your husbands, boyfriends and partners will think you are brilliant for making an investment. And, you will look smashing, elegant and stylish. It’s a win, win, win. :)

PS: Need some help figuring out which pieces to clean out and which pieces to invest in? Now’s a great time to get your closet ready for the warm weather! Schedule an appointment today and be stylish. Get in touch michelle@thestylisheye.com.

Go forth and be stylish.

 

OpenHeARTS Launch Party…who’s in?

What are you doing on Weds May 9th? Would you love to enjoy an evening of art, philanthropy and fashion? Yeah…I thought so:)

I’ve been following Bryan Finocchio, of Boston Catwalk for a Cure fame and overall amazing, compassionate and creative guy, as he founded OpenHeARTS, a non-profit organization dedicated to organizing events that combine art, the surrounding community and philanthropy. Doesn’t get much better than that! The OpenHeARTS launch event is being held next Weds May 9 at the super-fabulous W hotel at 100 Stuart Street in Boston’s Theater District. The event is the prelude to the OpenHeARTS June fashion show and will feature fashion inspiration by designer JacquelineQuinn, hair by Salon Acote, makeup by Joanna Petit-Frere and accessories by Stella &Dot Jewelry. Tickets are a bargain at $20 and include music, dancing and hors d’ oeuvres.

Jacqueline Quinn 2012 Collection

I continue to be impressed with Bryan, Nick, Neira and the rest of the OpenHeARTS team and their commitment and pursuit of amazing causes that combine arts, fashion and entertainment…all while doing something really good (and fun) for the local community.

Get your tickets here!

Look forward to a great event and now…

…to decide…what to wear…

See you at the Launch!

 

Talking Fashion on Get a Life Radio

In case you missed it, the recording of my radio debut on the Loretta LaRoche radio show, Get a Life, with co-host and dear friend, Sue Burton, is now available online. I have to say that I am completely hooked on radio and loved every minute with Loretta and Sue. They are like the Howard and Robin of local radio!

Picture 153

Loretta LaRoche & Sue Burton

Looking for a good laugh and some great discussion on everything from pajama pants to capris, to fanny packs, to Crocs to maxi dresses? We also had some great questions from callers – maybe something you might have asked? Do tell.

You can listen here: www.lorettalaroche.com/getaliferadio

It’s the June 29, 2011: “Fashion: If It Doesnt Fit, Dont Wear It” episode.

Thanks, Loretta and Sue for having me…I hope I get invited back to talk Fall fashion!

The Stylish Eye Top 5 Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em

I often get asked “what are some of the trends you can’t stand?” or “what are the ones that you love and are here to stay?” Well, I present The Stylish Eye Top 5 Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em just in time for summer. You be the judge.

Love ‘Em.

5. Wrap belts.

Belts have been, and continue to be, a huge trend for summer. A favorite of mine that emerged last fall is the wrap belt. Think of it as Karate Kid meets high fashion. A wrap belt is great because it can transform an

Another Line Obi Inspired Belt $48

Another Line Obi Inspired Belt $48

outfit in an instant and can be found for a steal. I bought a muted gold faux-leather wrap belt at H&M in the Fall for $15. It is almost like an obi and wraps twice and is finished with tassels. (Tassels are also huge this summer.) I also love that wrap belts come in a variety of fabrics and colors so you can really change-up an outfit in an instant. There’s also no pesky belt notches and they typically come one size fits all and can be loosened or tightened depending on your shape and how high/low you wear it. Must-have accessorty for Summer and Fall.

4. Wedged sandals.

I am a HUGE fan of the wedge. I recently had a client who had major foot problems. She wanted to wear heels but comfort was key. The wedge is a stylish and comfortable solution for a hip and sassy summer sandal. I love the platform wedges, which give you more height (I can use it) but the platform evens things out and you feel more balanced than teetering on the balls of your feet. I bought a few pairs of wedges last summer and am glad to see they are still here to stay. I encourage a bright color – perhaps a vibrant coral, or maybe a cobalt blue. Mix it up and try a new texture or color and see how it can make a simple white or black skirt really pop.

3. Short denim.

We’re talking hot denim skirts, shorts and even cropped jeans that will turn Luke Duke’s head! I’m loving a short, white denim skirt for summer. Perfect for everything from a day at the park to a trip to the Vineyard.

Glam White Denim Skirt $40

Glam White Denim Skirt $40

Pair it with a simple black or navy tank for a more urban look or perhaps a pink or orange tee or kaftan for more of a laid-back island look. The one trick to buying a great denim skirt is to ALWAYS, my dear fashionista, ALWAYS sit before you buy. Sit down on a bench in the fitting room. Make sure you’re comfortable with the length – denim can be a tricky fit. Length can be deceiving and no one wants to see your bloomers when you’re getting up from the picnic table at the family reunion. :) I’m also a big fan on denim shorts – make your own from an old pair of jeans that have seen better days. Cropped jeans are a great, almost year-round, staple for your wardrobe. Just be sure they are not to wide at the bottom or they can look more like culottes and…well, those are another blog post, indeed.

2. Maxi dresses.

MaryKate & Ashley started this trend years ago. The bohemian look gone wild. Maxi dresses really hit the scene this summer and they are a great staple for your wardrobe. CAUTION: The wrong dress will make you look like a) you borrowed one of the Golden Girl’s mumus b) you’re Cher’s other lovechild or 3) you’ve been eating too many cheeseburgers for lunch. The key to the maxi dress is the fit. They can be super-flowy, which is part of the appeal, but too much flow can make you look like you’re on the grow (get my drift?). Look for cuts that are either cinched or fitted at the waist or can be belted, or are more drapey and form-fitting. Also, length is important. I prefer to the ground, can’t see my toes when I am standing still. But, that can be a challenge to walk it. Do what you’re comfortable with, but longer is better. I also prefer flats to heels with maxis. Take that Bohemian Rhapsody to it’s maxi!

1. White shirts.

Nothing says summer more than a classic white shirt. I own lots of white. White t-shirts, tank

J Lo in a classic white button down turned hot

J Lo in a classic white button down turned hot

tops, button downs – my new fave western-inspired shirt in white polka dots. White is classic, sexy and looks great with a little color during the summer. You can pair white with anything, including white. A white linen or cotton button-down does double-duty as a great day shirt or as a fun change to the usual sweater over a strapless top or dress at night. Again, fit here is key. Everyday, I watch women walk around the city in shirts that are too big: HINT: If you can take your shirt off over your head without unbuttoning it, it is too big. A more fitted style shows your curves and contours and can often take off 10lbs.

.

Leave ‘Em.

5. Boat shoes.

A.P.C Boat shoes

A.P.C Boat shoes

If you are not on a boat, forget the boat shoes. I honestly never really understood this “fashion” trend. Boat shoes are HUGE in Europe and I often see Europeans who are visiting here in Boston wearing them around town. I try to give them a free pass because they are European typically have great fashions sense but, the boat shoes are so awful! Please, pass on the boat shoes unless your manning the deck or steering the boat, ahoy matey.

4. Harem pants.

Worst. Fashion trend. Ever. These pants look good on no one! Even 6ft tall super models look like they’re ready to break down some MC Hammer. Why would you want to wear pants that are super baggy around your hips and thighs? Did it in the 80′s. Pass.

3. Crop tops.

No one needs to see your belly hanging out. I don’t care if there’s a 6-pack of abs under that little shirt. The

Runway

Runway

only way these tops are acceptable are with a tank top underneath – but they are not for everyone. The reason longer tops often work better is because they create an optical illusion. They make your torso appear longer than it is, which gives you longer slimmer legs. Crop tops cut your midriff in half and can make you look short and stumpy – who wants that? I say skip this fad.

2. Leggings.

I see them everywhere. They make me nuts! First off, leggings are NOT pants. Say it with me now. I continue to see women wearing leggings as pants and they look awful. You are basically wearing a pair of tights (sometimes even thinner material) and every bump, crinkle and crease is there for all the world to see. Walking down the street in the City the other day I was behind a rather curvaceous woman who was wearing white leggings and a crop top. It was all I could do from going right up to her and pulling a Fashion Emergency on her legging wearing backside. Ladies, please pass on this excuse for wearing a properly fitting dress or shirt. Thanks.

1. Crocs.

Picture 131Foam clogs? Enough said. See my blog post and please don’t let me catch you sporting these around town. I’m watching. :)

So, what’s on your fashion do/don’t list? Seen any fashion disasters lately? Would love to hear from you. Until then, love ‘em or leave ‘em.

Pick of the week – Ava Rose clutch

Okay, I admit it. I have a thing for these sample sites. They lure me with their great deals and saucy heels and, a while back, I fell prey to too much sample sale shopping. They need a support group for that. But alas, I am now a much pickier shopper. I look for great brands AND great bargains. I often wait a bit to make sure I really love it. And, dear fashionista, be sure to read the fine print about returns (often no returns on accessories and merch credit for clothing.)

In any case, fast forward to today. I was on Ideeli and spotted this crazy adorable black clutch by Ava Rose Handbags. I said to this supple leather beauty, you must be mine. You might be wondering why I bought it. Well, something you may not know about me is that everything I buy has “criteria”. Yeah, I mean a list of reasons why I should buy it. Why? It’s the only way to make sure it will make an impact on my wardrobe enough for me to buy it. Here’s how my stylish brain works. So, I see this bag. I look it over – alot. Zooming in and out, reading and estimating dimensions, googling the manufacturer. Then I said to myself, here’s why I think this bag is a good purchase:

1. It’s unique. You won’t see many gal pals strutting around town with this beauty.

2. It’s a great size. I can fit my iPhone, pocket mirror, lipgloss, keys, gum, camera and probably even a light sweater in this clutch.

Ava Rose "Bianca" Clutch $62 @ Ideeli

Ava Rose "Bianca" Clutch $62 @ Ideeli

3. The colors are neutral but not. It’s black but the metallic and red piping is sure to go with just about everything in my closet. So it’s a neutral bag but has really interesting accents that kick it up a notch.

4. It’s a bargain. Retail price: $198. Ideeli price: $62. I will take a 60% discount on a gorgeous leather bag that I will use all the time, any time.

5. It’s rocker chick. It is called the “Bianca” and maybe that’s why it reminds me of an underground British club and a rocker chick in leather pants and teased out hair. I like to let my inner rocker chick out every once and a while and this is a great, well-priced way to do it.

In addition to this beauty, there are 2 other styles, which I also loved. These are going to go fast, so go to Ideeli now using my fancy link (so I get some referral juice) and get yourself a stylish clutch. Do you have criteria when you shop? I’d love to hear about how you make your purchases. Do share!

Cargo pants I can dig

I hate cargo pants. Yeah, yeah, I know. They are one of the top-selling pant styles for both men and women. But I just don’t get this trend. Why would I want to wear pants with huge pockets on the sides of my hips and thighs and on my butt? Do most women want to look 10lbs heavier? Not the ones I know. And, really, what do you do with all those pockets? If you put crap in the pockets, then you’re sure to not only look 10lbs heavier, but also look 10lbs bulgier (is that even a word?). Heavy and bulgy are not words this fashion maven can stomach. As for the cargo, I’ve seen them on all types of bodies and I still don’t like ‘em.

Until now.

I found these J Brand Cargo pants a few months back in one of my style mags. I love the brand – J Brand is known for great denim and styling – and I love that they look like cargos but are more like a skinny jean with cargo-like styling. No giant, bulgy pockets to clutter up your oh so lovely frame. Just a few styled, relatively useless pockets that are more like cargos for walking down Newbury Street than hiking Mount Washington. I also adore the cropped look and zipper styling on the ankles – I am still an 80′s girl at heart, you know.

J Brand Cargo Pants $231

J Brand Cargo Pants $231

They’ve been out of stock for months and Revolve just got a fresh new shipment in. Order up! They are going fast so get them while they last. Finally, cargo pants I can dig.

A Spring Rage for the Caged Shoe

“A Rage in the Cage.” Do you remember it? Circa mid 80′s. J. Geils Band of “Freeze Frame” and “Piss on the Wall” fame (my parents’ favorite). Everything in the mid 80′s was ripped, stripped, tattered and torn. Well, it’s happening again, as these things tend to go and it’s all about the “caged shoe” for Spring.

 Yves Saint Laurent Cage Ankle Boots $1500

Yves Saint Laurent Cage Ankle Boots $1500

I wish that I could take credit for coining the term but I have a feeling someone at the House of Prada or Chanel beat me to it. So what is it, you might ask? The caged shoe is like a sandal and a shoe bootie combined. They were all over the runway and most have a leather design that looks like, well, a cage. Some more straight lines. Others geometric shapes. Most of what I saw on the runway and in the early Spring previews are stilettos and va va voom! Some teetering at over 5 inches (for those damsels who walk gingerly to their limo or sit at the club but do not stand or walk) and others more runway than run to the mall (see YSL $1500 beauties). As for the rest of us, there’s just about every style, fabric, color and heel height to choose from. I’ve seen everything from a super-slinky gold to a super-hot fuchsia suede by Linea Paolo (which I had to have).

Linea Paolo 'Jacadia' Sandal

Linea Paolo 'Jacadia' Sandal

You may wonder, what in pete’s name do I wear these caged beauties with? Here are a few wardrobing ideas. First, start with a pair in a more neutral color so you can wear it with more (black, cream, browns, tans). Yes, it’s kind of boring but, let’s face it, they go with everything. The great thing about these shoes is that you can wear them with just about everything – and I don’t say that about everything. Everything. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

The Stylish Eye caged shoes outfit ideas:

Outfit #1: Fitted dress with a wide belt.

Outfit #2: Pencil skirt, silk blouse, same wide belt.

Outift #3: Straight-leg jeans, same silk blouse or funky tee.

Outfit #4: Skinny jeans, flowy top or funky tee and shoe.

Outfit #5: Shorts (yes, I know but everyone in New York is wearing them out at night), funky tee and shoe.

Nine West Kentaro

Nine West Kentaro

The thing I love most about this shoe is that, depending on the color, you can wear them pretty much year round. Yes, I know my darling, we live in the North East along with snow, sleet and rain. The life of a sandal is typically limited to June-August. These are different. Because of the “shoe” form of these lovelies, they can stand up to patterned or opaque tights. Blasphemy you might say. I know. I already told you that I am not a big fan of tights with open-toe shoes but you also know about my obsession for Wolford hosiery, which are in a class all their own. These shoes typically have a zipper or significant buckle which makes the pairing of the tights a much better fit than a simple sandal or peep-toe. I see this style taking you right through Fall, which is why they are an excellent choice.

What’s the rage in your cage? Share your caged shoe ideas. I’m cooking up my Spring must-haves and this one is on the list!

Go forth and be caged. :)

PS: Since I posted this I came across fellow fashionista, Sabrina, who put together this amazing list of caged and cutout shoes! Enjoy!

Rue La La features L.A.M.B – ooh la la!

If you haven’t become a Rue La La addict yet, it’s bound to happen soon. Rue La La is the online shopping site for people who love famous brands, star-style and the magic of discovering a great deal. For those of you who know me, you know that I am the girl that manages to find the $750 bag for $99 at TJ Maxx. (Ah, the perils of my stylish eye.) Rue La La is the ultimate destination because of their fabulous prices, great brands and their ability to get you to act..fast. You see, a “boutique” will open for say 48 hours. The countdown begins. Love that ToyWatch? Better scoop it up or it will be gone in seconds. Want those Prada boots? Fuggedabout it. Gone in minutes.

As if that all isn’t enough, Rue La La gives members a $10 credit for inviting other members to join. Great way to incentivize people to do their marketing. Want to join? Here’s my referral link. Pay it forward, baby. :)

 L.A.M.B. "Zada" Nude & Forrest Leather Sandal

L.A.M.B. "Zada" Nude & Forrest Leather Sandal

Now, on to the ooh la la. For the next 2 hours, you’ll find one of my favorite fabulous and stylish brand on Rue La La. L.A.M.B. Who can resist the most stylish, Gwen Stefani, and her L.A.M.B line of shoes? These coveted, funky, sexy kicks get better and better each season but typically run over $350 (thus my coveting them). Until noonET today, on Rue La La, they are over 50% off. Yes, my dear fashionista, you can now make Gwen proud by strutting your stuff in your deal of the century.

My only word of caution with Rue La La? Don’t fall prey to “I’ll come back later”. I have done this before and would peruse Rue La La, look around, put a few things in my bag and…come back later only to find out that they were gone. If you love it, buy it. Don’t wait only to miss out on a terrific deal. They have a 30 day return for merchandise credit for pretty much all items. Go get yourself some ooh la la today!


Jimmy Choo and wristbands too

I have some pretty exciting news for you Jimmy Choo lovers out there who, like me, covet thy stilettos but alas cannot part with $500+ for a pair.

Your day, my fellow fashionista, has come.

H&M just announced that they are launching Jimmy Choo for H&M. Now, that’s hot.

Picture 27The launch happens on Saturday, November 14, 2009. According to the H&M website, they are expecting a crowd and are providing wrist bands to the first 160 people in line. Wrist bands to buy shoes? I’m sorry, is this 1986 and am I trying to get Bon Jovi tickets at the local music store? Holy, flashback. Okay, back to the shoes.

Here’s the deal. You need to go to this link to see the collection and find out if the pieces you like are available in your area.

Queue record scratching music. After literally clicking on every item and the “collection locator” link, I am disappointed to say that seems Boston is not worthy of Choo’. We are not on the list :( . Okay, I know we are no NYC or LA but, honestly, how can a company create a launch and get us all excited and then tell us we can’t get the product? The most frustrating part is that you can’t buy anything online at H&M. Maybe this is more a beef with H&M itself than just the Choo situation but how can you sell stuff in this day and age (man, I sound like my mother) and not have the ability for someon to buy it online?

<End rant>

So, if you do live in Cali, NYC or The Windy City, you’re in luck. Here are some of the gorgeous picks, mostly all under $200.

Jimmy Choo for H&M

Jimmy Choo for H&M

Jimmy Choo for H&M

Jimmy Choo for H&M

Jimmy Choo for H&M

Jimmy Choo for H&M

Wine & Style are on the menu

The Stylish Eye is officially on the map. Last night, I threw an amazing event at The Achilles Project with my friend and local wine enthusiast, Rebecca Rethore from Pour Favor. It was a sold out show and people were emailing and texting us up to the last minute looking for tickets. Now that is exciting and humbling.

The event was the first of its kind – a wine and style combo plate. If you haven’t been to The Achilles Project, I highly recommend it. It is a unique combination of gorgeous clothes up front and wine and food in the back (Persephone). The staff in both the the boutique and the restaurant are amazing at what they do and know how to pull together a great event.

Now on to the highlights. We had over 50 people mix and mingle while tasting new wines, sampling delicious apps and perusing the unique men’s and women’s fashions. People were shopping, wine was flowing and networking was happening. What a beautiful thing. I had the opportunity to speak with a vareity of men and women at the event and here are some things that I heard.

“Wow, that looks great on you but I could never pull it off!”

“I only buy black. Other colors don’t work on me.”

“I would rather squeeze into my size 10 pants than go up to a 12.”

“I don’t know where to start.”

“My closet is full of stuff I never wear.”

“I can’t wear this with that – it doesn’t match.”

The list goes on. What I heard in all these statements were a whole bunch of reasons that get in the way of exploring your stylish eye. When you put up a barrier like – “Blue doesn’t look good on me.” Well, blue will never look good on you. What if you said instead – “I always wear black but might consider trying blue.” Now, we’re talking possibility. Much of my philosophy about personal style is about pushing the edges, taking a risk, feeling a little outside your comfort zone, trying something new. Do it once and see what happens. I will bet you that what happens is this…People will notice. All it takes is a small change to make a big difference. Maybe it’s color, or cut or a trendy new accessory. Try one thing and change it up and see what happens. When you do, your style journey is on its way.

So, my friends, I raise my ice coffee to you all this morning. You are my inspiration and make doing what I do such a gift that keeps on giving. I encourage you to try something new today. Push your style zone just a little and see how it feels. I have a feeling you might like it.