Archive for November, 2009

Five Puffer Jackets With Panache

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How to brave winter in style?  Pull out a puffer jacket, of course.  These casually chic jackets are super warm (thank you, down filling), and they can add a bit of life to more formal clothes.  Try a puffer with a dress (+ tights/leggings) and boots - it’s amazing how chic this looks.  Here’s our five favorite puffer jackets to keep you warm this winter:

Pictured Clockwise from Top Left:
Ribbed Sleeve Down Jacket | $98 at Gap
Get the best of both worlds - the warmth of a puffer with the slim, trim silhouette of a sweater on your arms.  Maybe it’s not quite slimming, but it’s as close as you’re going to get with a puffer.

AE Puffer Coat | $119.50 at American Eagle
We’re enchanted by this bright orange color.  You’ll be seen wherever you go.

Puffer Jacket | $170 at Martin + Osa
This creamy slim fit puffer manages to be sophisticated, even for casual days.

Long Belted Puffer | $235 at J Crew
Warm up this winter with this rich plum colored puffer.  We love the herringbone-esque striping on the puffer; the v-shaped lines make for a slimming effect.

Bubble Sheen Jacket | $32.80 at Forever 21
When you want to make a statement, try this shiny black puffer.  Works for day with an asymmetrical top and jeans and night with a cocktail length dress. 

How would you wear a puffer jacket?  Share your style with us in the comments!

10 comments November 12th, 2009

Cable Knit Tights

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How can you wear skirts and dresses when it’s cold out? Tights! Mix things up a bit with pattern - we love this preppy cable knit.

$12.50  at American Eagle.

Add comment November 12th, 2009

You Said: No to Ponchos

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ribbed-turtleneck-poncho_111009We asked: Would you wear Ponchos?

You said:  No to Ponchos, with a 75% to 25% vote.

Style tip? Sure, Ponchos were hot in the early 2000s, and they’ve been regarded as fashion castoffs since.   But while ponchos aren’t for everyone and for every occasion, they can still be worn in style.  How do you look sophisticated in a poncho?  Look for a poncho that drapes well.  While stiffer ponchos can create an unflatteringly large silhouette up top, drapey fabrics are much more figure friendly.

Next question: Clutch Handbags are so chic, but they don’t fit very much of your stuff.  But what do you think?  Tell us, would you carry a Clutch Handbag?  Cast your vote on the sidebar!

Pictured: Ribbed Turtleneck Poncho | $27.80 at Forever 21

5 comments November 11th, 2009

Faux Leather Motorcycle Jacket

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Motorcycle jackets are at once edgy and classic - making them a supremely versatile item that works as well with a flowery dress as it does a tee and jeans. And to be kind to animals, faux is the way to go.

$72.99  at Ruche.

4 comments November 11th, 2009

5 Universal Lessons in Style from Tokyo

Tokyo style runs the gamut from schoolgirl cute to Harajuku edgy to ladylike sophisticate.  But there are more commonalities than first meets the eye.  We’ve boiled down five lessons in style to adopt from the ever design conscious Japanese.  

Lesson 1: Dress up!
You don’t need a special occasion to look good.

Culturally, the Japanese are a formal people, with an emphasis on immaculate presentation (noted in both fashion and food).  What happens is that the mere act of leaving the house is a reason to get dressed up.  After all, you want to look your best.  Both women and men fuss about the details - the perfect turn of a cuff, the correct type of shoe, the silhouette of a jacket.  Formal attire isn’t required, but it’s artfully blended into everyday outfits, for work and for the weekend.  While this fastidious attention to detail isn’t practical for everyone, it’s worth noting that it almost never hurts to dress up - whether it’s for work or for the weekend.

Lesson 2: Mix things up. 

Experiment with texture.

Japanese clothing is dominated with neutral colors - black, white, shades of grey, khaki, and olive.  What keeps the fashion interesting isn’t really the color palette.  Rather, it’s the textures that make the outfit. We love the mix of chunky cable knit with smooth, opaque tights - or the gleam of (faux) leather paired with a tailored tweed.  Even monochromatic looks can be visually interesting when the right textures are combined.

Lesson 3: Make a Statement. 
Include a statement piece in every look.

Most great styles are actually very simple.  Think of the standard blazer/white button-down/jeans combo, for example.  But depending on the pieces chosen, this iconic fashion formula can be visually boring or interesting.  The rule of thumb here is to pick the visual center of your outfit (e.g. the blazer), and choose one that makes a statement.  Maybe it’s a collegiate crest on the breast pocket, or maybe it’s a chain detail on the pocket - these details can turn an ordinary blazer into a statement piece.  But remember that it’s not necessary to make an outfit full of statement pieces; these special garments can carry a look.

Lesson 4: Think holistically. 
Consider your whole look when getting dressed.

This guideline follows from the lesson on statement pieces.  The Japanese focus on simplicity helps to balance a look between statement pieces and ordinary garments.  The idea is to consider each piece in relation to the entire outfit so that you have an look that works holistically.  That way, you have an outfit that’s more than the sum of its individual pieces.  It’s easiest to do this when you start with an idea of what you want your outfit to say about you.  Then, add and remove pieces so that your final look reflects the concept you’re trying to achieve.

Lesson 5: Be bold. 
Try on new styles, even if you don’t think they’re for you.

As Katie in Tokyo said, the Japanese are all over new fashion trends with a passion.  They’re wearing puffer jackets, chunky knits, capes, shorts with tights, foldover boots, collarless jackets, and whatever else is hot on the fashion radar.  While Tokyo’s eclectic style isn’t directly translatable in other countries, Tokyoites’ sense of fashion adventure is.  You don’t have to buy into each trend (please don’t), but do try out new styles in store, even if you don’t think they’ll work with your figure.  You’ll be amazed at what new styles you can wear, and it’s the best way to explore your sense of personal style.

6 comments November 8th, 2009

Trend Alert: The Sweaterdress

cowlneck-sweater-dress_110409Pictured: Cowlneck Sweater Dress | $98 at Banana Republic.

What’s hot in Tokyo?  The sweaterdress.  Women are wearing sweaterdresses over leggings, over trousers, over tights, and under perfectly tailored overcoats.  Wherever you live, this perfectly versatile style is a key one to invest in this winter season.

What to look for in a sweaterdress?  
Fit: IMHO, the best sweaterdresses aren’t completely form fitting; rather, they drape over your figure.  
Weight: Thicker knit sweaterdresses tend to hold their shape better over time.  Another added bonus is that they tend to be more forgiving of figure flaws (e.g. a less than flat tummy).   However, thinner knit sweaterdresses have the benefit of more elegant draping.  
Color: For the most versatile look, grey is a great go-to color.  Black and navy are also good options, but don’t feel constrained to neutrals.  If you dare, try a brighter shade, like red, mustard, or green.

Our fave?  This grey cowlneck sweaterdress from Banana Republic.  Not only is the drape beautiful, but it also has half-sleeves, which helps to camouflage heavy arms.  Pair it with opaque tights, boots, and a structured coat.

13 comments November 4th, 2009

Tokyo Style: Schoolgirl Chic

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Strolling the streets of Ginza, this young lady is embracing the fun of schoolgirl fashion. What makes her schoolgirl look tick?  Her pigtails, the stuffed animal charms on her lanyard, her lace-trimmed bloomer-style skirt, and her knee-high socks. 

While her schoolgirl chic outfit would be difficult to pull off verbatim back in America, you could work in a single element or two.  For example, pair knee high socks and Mary Janes with a sophisticated pencil skirt and blouse.

6 comments November 2nd, 2009

Tokyo Style: It’s All in the Details

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We’ve often said that when it comes to style, it’s the little things that really count.  And we’re loving that Japan is a country that is fastidious about the small details.  Just look at the methodical way Japanese shopgirls package your purchases!

Stylish guys and gals here know that in order to stand out, you need to get the details right, even with the simplest of looks.  Case in point: this sharply dressed man outfitted in the standard blazer, tee, and jeans combo.  

What makes it work so well?  The right fit of the blazer (not too loose), the v-neck tee that hits at the exact right spot (too low, and you end up looking like you’re heading to a club), and of course, the contrast gingham fabric on the cuffs of the jeans.  Well done!

2 comments November 1st, 2009

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