Three vest trends and how to wear them

Monday, November 30th, 2015

The menswear trend in women’s fashion is all the rage this season. Ask any classic or chic dresser and they will tell you that they prefer wearing timeless pieces that epitomize simplicity and sartorial excellence. Nothing spells sophistication like flared trousers and a silk blouse, paired with either a beautifully tailored single or double breasted jacket.

Those who gravitate to menswear-inspired styles also appreciate the power of a great vest. A lifelong vest lover myself, I routinely scour sales racks and online sites for this “third piece”. In the mid 90’s I bought a hip length black suede vest trimmed in black leather at Nordstrom Rack. From a cost per wear perspective, this purchase stands as the best investment I ever made. My collection also includes a full-length faux fur vest by Betsey Johnson. A cozy and fun companion, it looks smashing with jeans and a tunic top or over a coat to provide an extra layer of protection from the elements. I found my latest acquisition on EBay, a chocolate brown suede and leather Cache vest with zippered pockets. What a score.

Why am I such a devotee of this accessory? Simply, vests elevate an outfit’s style quotient by adding visual interest and a seamless presence. Wear a puffer vest on the weekends running errands or a long sweater vest to work with an interesting top and you will always look pulled together. Why not wear an eye-catching vest to one of your holiday gatherings, as long as it isn’t of the Christmas theme variety!

Three  trending menswear vests

RED Valentino striped shirt
$550 – redvalentino.com

Polo Ralph Lauren vest
$195 – stylebop.com

Topshop vest
nordstrom.com

Theory wide leg pants
$390 – net-a-porter.com

NYDJ denim legging
$210 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Aerosoles brown shoes
bloomingdales.com

Spring 2015 fashion trends

Friday, March 27th, 2015

After this winter’s prolonged stay, South Carolina women from the Lowcountry to the Upstate are ready to break out their sundresses and sandals. The word variety sums up this spring’s fashion trends. Bohemian dressers welcome the return of fringe, maxi skirts, and peasant blouses. Classic types have their eyes on shirtwaist dresses, whereas fashion trendsetters probably already own moto style jackets and sneakers.

Could you see yourself wearing any of these trends?

Denim on Denim

Hallhuber top
$105 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Topshop paisley print pants
$60 – topshop.com

Yves Saint Laurent clothing
$1,410 – farfetch.com

How to stay on track to achieve your new year’s resolutions

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Believe it or not the new year is already 38 days old. Time races by; days run into weeks and before you know it February will fade from memory. If you’ve read my blog postings lately, you know that I made a few resolutions for 2015 that I’m serious about achieving. I committed to getting in shape after an injury wreaked havoc with my fitness level. I also vowed to further streamline my wardrobe and stock up on casual and activewear wardrobe basics.

Experts advise that regular check-ins help keep us on track to achieving our goals. These check-ins provide us an opportunity to honestly assess our progress and also fine tune our strategies for success. Today I listened to the experts and paused to consider how well I’m doing. This exercise yielded positive results. I tweaked my fitness regimen to include daily stretching exercises and longer aerobic workouts. I also collected additional clothes to donate and consign, and made a list of items to purchase for spring.

If you’ve commited to enhancing your style in 2015, then check out “Ten steps to a stellar style” in 2015″, which appears in the January issue of Palmetto Parent. In this article I offer tips for advancing your style, such as adding two new trends to your wardrobe and breaking up black with touches of color. Trending colors for spring include soft shades such as aquamarine and yellow. Sports inspired clothing and colorful suede pieces rank high on the list of top spring trends.

Have you put style on the back burner so far this year in spite of your desire to look more polished and put together? Don’t despair. The path to success includes setbacks, and taking little style steps each day could lead to transformative image changes. How about spending some time this week in your closet to help you decide what you need for spring? This will ready you to shop during Presidents’ Day weekend for new wardrobe basics, like the ones featured in this set.

Casual spring wardrobe essentials

NIC ZOE cuff shirt
nicandzoe.com

Tulchan blue floral cardigan
$75 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Topshop short sleeve tee
$25 – topshop.com

Joseph pants
$225 – farfetch.com

L K Bennett pleated midi skirt
$140 – johnlewis.com

The activewear revolution

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

I watched What Not to Wear religiously throughout the show’s ten season run and can still see Stacy London’s disapproving frown at the sight of someone standing in front of the show’s infamous three way mirror in baggy sweat pants. She not only disliked sweat pants but she also felt that exercise clothing should only be worn when working out. Those days are gone. No longer reserved for the gym or yoga class, workout apparel has become the latest chic men and womenswear trend. As I see it, the amazing evolution of activewear designs combined with our increasingly casual lifestyle account for this phenomenon.

Whether you are young or old, a marathoner or a couch potato, the love of activewear is universal because it is comfortable and affordable. Designers like Alexander Wang, who recently created an activewear inspired collection for H&M, have their fingers on the pulse of what people want. Elie Tahari’s Designation collection for Kohl’s is flavored with a French terry jogger pant and faux fur sweatshirt. Retailers everywhere have enhanced their activewear offerings in response to the surge in sales of this clothing category. I recently discovered Nordstrom’s line called Zella. My sister gave me two pairs of Zella pants, two tops and a jacket for my birthday this year. All the pieces fit like a dream and also have fabulous features like ruching and strategically placed mesh inserts that give them an ultra–hip look.

Active wear is such a formidable fashion force that it has influenced how we dress on a daily basis. Instead of reaching for my skinny jeans, I now put on my yoga pants to run errands. Although I still love my ballet flats, I’ve become quite attached to my puma sneakers. The line between active wear and street wear is so blurry that we might just start referring to activewear as “everywear”.

Active Wear is now Everywear

Fall 2014 fashion trends

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

Many fashions could steal your heart this season. All eyes are on plush wrap coats with large shawl colors, cozy sweaters, oversized scarves, and satchel purses. The color navy appears front and center again this fall, as does orchid, maroon, rust and orange. Spice up your wardrobe by throwing an autumn color scarf over your denim jacket or neutral trench, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Fall in Love 2014

Favored footwear at New York Fashion Week

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

If you doubted the wisdom of your decision to stock up on a few pairs of boots after the holidays, then find comfort in knowing that boots of every kind reigned this week at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Models walked the runway in taupe suede high heeled tall ones, and short flat ones that buckled and tied. This favored footwear noticeably took center stage at the BCBG, Koonhor and Emerson shows.

Boots, like blue jeans, endure because of their functionality, comfort, and versatility. I start wearing boots as soon as I feel a slight nip in the air, and wear them until the trees start blooming. Boot wearers everywhere have discovered that they often make an outfit.

New Yorkers love their boots, especially this week as the temps plunge into the teens. Even their furry companions follow suit. Check out this adorable Corgi in his pop of red booties.

Even furry friends in New York love their boots.

Even furry friends in New York love their boots.

Fur unfurled at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

Monday, February 10th, 2014

I am currently in New York City for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. This mega style extravaganza at Lincoln Center features the lines of 69 iconic as well as emerging designers. Snow and freezing temperatures here cast a perfect backdrop for the unveiling of fashions for fall and winter 2014. Judging from the abundance of fur on the runway in the form of oversized jackets, scarves, capes, and vests, it is clear that Mother Nature acted as the creative muse for designers from the likes of BCBG to Herve Leger. Menswear inspired coats adorned with fur and leather embellishments, also made a strong showing this week. If climate change continues to deal us brutally cold winters, you can be sure that clothes that keep us warm and dry will dominate future fashion weeks throughout the world.

Wherever I looked this week, I saw fur, both faux and real. I also wrapped myself up in fur for my long walks around the city. Here are a few pics of fur wearing folks.

nyfwfurgroup

nyfwlady3

Ushering in orchid

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Radiant orchid gets top billing as the color of the year. If you are having trouble visualizing this shade belonging to the purple family, it is a tad darker and rosier than lavender. According to The Pantone Color Institute’s Executive Director, radiant orchid “emanates great joy, love and health. It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.”

The list of those who love purple is long and includes followers like free – spirited folks and ethereal, romantic types. Thanks to the popular poem, “When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple”, wearing purple is now emblematic of a fearless attitude toward aging. Perhaps purple’s connection with spirituality also accounts for its enduring popularity.

I’m eager to get on the radiant purple band wagon for several reasons. First of all, I can see it against core colors like navy, black, grey, green and brown. One of the guests at a party I went to in celebration of King’s Day looked gorgeous in a radiant orchid sweater set with black leggings. The color illuminated her large brown eyes and brunette hair. Although orchid may not wear well on everyone, chances are most people can find a shade of purple that flatters them. I also look forward to seeing print tops and scarves formed from accent colors like yellow, deep purple and teal. Since my husband and I just bought a house in Greenville, SC, I can’t wait to add an orchid print throw pillow to our grey couch or paint an occasional table in orchid.

If you’re timid about donning this year’s “it” color, then I suggest you test the waters by accessorizing with orchid. Now that much of the country is engulfed in arctic like weather, a bit of orchid may be what we need to keep our spirits lifted as we trudge through snow, feeling the sting of icy wind against our faces.

I wish you a Happy 2014, and may radiant orchid comfort you and keep you healthy this year.

Ushering in orchid

Thanksgiving holiday travel outfit

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

My faithful green Subaru will join the other 100 million vehicles on the road during this Thanksgiving holiday. An estimated 25 million people will also fly to their holiday destinations.

If you ever wonder what not to wear when traveling, just spend time in any airport or roadside rest stop. I’ll never understand why so many travelers look like something the cat dragged in when today’s fashions offer both style and comfort. For my nine hour car trip back to Washington, DC, I’ve chosen an outfit that closely resembles this one. For me, the word comfort conjures up images of soft leggings and cozy sweater tunics. Because layering provides extra warmth without the bulkiness of a coat, I will wear a long sweater or sweater vest as my outer layer. You will never see me in athletic shoes unless I’m on a treadmill or walking my dog Chloe on the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, South Carolina. My comfy travel shoe of choice is a John Fluevog short brown boot, a recent acquisition from Clothes Mentor, a consignment store in Greenville. The answer to a sojourner’s prayer, these supple leather flat boots sell for $289 online, and I found them for $48.00.

What do you typically wear when you fly the friendly skies or take your road trip?

Holiday travel outfit

Fall boot bonanza

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

I just returned from a nine day stay in Washington, DC, my second home. Highlights of the visit included my grandson’s birthday party at Earth Trek’s Climbing Center in Rockville, Maryland. This state of the art rock climbing facility provided the perfect party venue for highly charged ten year olds. I also enjoyed a birthday celebration with my sister at one of our favorite haunts, Lyon Hall, my buddy Lynn’s glorious quiche, and dinner with friend Anneliese at Chez Billy, a French bistro in the Petworth neighborhood of DC.

Naturally I found time to do a little shopping with my daughter. O.K., I confess that the word “little” might not exactly describe my retail experience. In truth, I restocked my closet with fall clothing basics and boots. How could I resist the unbelievable boot bargains at Nordstrom Rack and the latest trends from H&M? My shopping good fortune continued on the drive back to Greenville, where I hit pay dirt at the Gaffney, South Carolina outlet mall. Those of you who watch the T.V. series House of Cards will appreciate the mall’s proximity to the infamous “Mr. Peach” – a 135 foot tall peach shaped water tower that some say resembles giant buttocks. I stopped at the BCBG store there to check out evening gowns for a client, and ended up buying a taupe suede cropped jacket and a stunning grey blazer, each for $72.

Sam Edelman biker/equestrian boot hits the runway.

Sam Edelman biker/equestrian boot hits the runway.

Since I wear boots constantly during the fall and winter, I choose them carefully and keep them for many seasons. I bought my last pair of tall black riding boots in 2007, and they still have life left in them. I purchased the two tone biker equestrian hybrid boots by Sam Edelman pictured below because they fit like a glove, stood out from all the other boots, and were reduced from $275.00 to $44.97. I admit that these kickers also bring out my inner rockstar. I also found another short black boot with two side buckles by Franco Sarto at Nordstrom Rack. I love the boot’s 2 ¾ inch heel height, and I foresee wearing them with just about everything I own.

Have you landed any amazing boot buys lately?