Oh Là Là... the Color!

The Jil Sander Spring 2011 collection has quite possibly been the most photographed assortment of clothing that I have seen in a long time.  Why?  Because it is so refreshing!  Raf Simons, the designer behind the label, played with color, proportion, unexpected combinations and touched on just about all of the trends for the season... a-mah-zing!!!  When I think of this line, I keep hearing Bethenny Frankel... "go big or go home" and that is just what Simon did, literally!  There was no holding back and it is a good thing.  If he had second-guessed himself at all, we would not be able to drool over such a fabulous clothing!

I find this line very inspiring this season.  Especially now, as the weather really starts to change.  The temps are climbing, the flowers and trees (including my beautiful magnolia tree) are blooming, the vibrant blue skies are gorgeous... Spring is in all of it's glory.  This always reinvigorates me!  All, I want to do is get dressed up in beautiful clothing, especially long flowing dresses and skirts!  After several seasons of loading on jewelry, embellished tee's, and metallic everything... this is a much needed breath of fresh air.  Instead of loading on the jewelry or other embellishments, the color and the major pieces of clothing are the only statements needed (plus a pop on the lips)!  The original Jil Sander started her line based on minimalism and understated elegance, and Simons has stayed true to her aesthetic while also keeping the look very modern and "of the moment".

Most of us can't afford to buy this look exactly as it was shown on the runway, but we can at least try to replicate the feeling of line... maybe use some of the ideas to easily update our look this spring/summer.  Most notable to the collection is the use of color - wearing and mixing & matching bright colors -  and major skirts & dresses that make a statement.  Add a bold coat, dress, skirt to the neutrals that you already have in your closet.  If that is too much color, try a bright bag, belt or colorful shoes.  And, if you are more daring, play with your hemlines.  Indulge in a maxi dress or skirt... remember that it is all about your own personal taste and lifestyle.  A maxi does not have to hit the floor.  It can be ankle-length and worn with flip flops or motorcycle boots.  Or, you can it up with wedges or a cool platform heel.

Most importantly, have some fun with your clothing... it shouldn't be a chore!

                                        - Allison
*Photos courtesy of style.com.


Oh, Leather, I can't get you out of my head!

There is a specific topic that I have been wanting to write about for some time, and have not had a chance.  I was going to pass on it all together since it is already mid-April, but I keep dreaming about a certain Vince dress...  So, let's talk about leather.  For a few seasons and going forward, the leather jacket is as important as a blazer in a woman's wardrobe.  It has taken the place of the cardigan and gives your outfit that unexpected twist and a little edge, plus who doesn't love the feel of a fabulous buttery (real or faux) leather jacket!

Leather has been slowly moving into other wardrobe categories... first it was leggings and skinny pants and now dresses and skirts.  I can't help but covet a sleek pair of black leather skinny pants in the Fall, however, there is something even more appealing about the warm caramel tones used in leather for the Spring.

And now, the Vince dress... a beautiful leather shift that is a-mah-zing!  I can't help to dream about all of the different ways that I would wear it... layered with tights, looking sleek with pumps, add some caged sandals for a bit of edge or maybe make it more demure with a pair of pointy toe flats and a cardi...

And for those who may want a more conservative approach to the leather dress, there is an equally fabulous Tory Burch dress...

Not really a dress person, well, then try the leather skirt... just as versatile as the dress.  You just need find the appropriate style for you!  This Alice & Olivia skirt is for the fun-loving girl...

... and this Tory Burch pencil skirt is for those who would prefer a more sophisticated look.

I can't forget these very fabulous red leather skinny pants from Zara... just because I adore them!

This season leather comes in many styles and at many price points.  Leather is definitely an investment, but this style isn't going anywhere any time soon.  Therefore, it just might be worth the hefty price tag!  Other stores to try for less expensive leather looks are Urban Outfitters, Topshop, and Neiman Marcus
for more conservative pieces
                                                  - Allison

*Photos courtesy of toryburch.com, shopbop.com, bloomingdales.com & zara.com


This isn't Your Mother's Suit!

I had a baptism a few weeks ago for my irresistibly adorable neice.  My usual "go to" in these situations is a dress.  This is due to the fact that after racing around the house to get everyone ready, I usually only have a matter of minutes to get myself dressed.  At least with a dress, I know that I will look somewhat put together (as long as my shoes match!).  So, what do I do when the weather is scheduled to be cold and rainy?

So, I stressed and stressed because this in-between weather always confounds me.  I try to plan outfits with layers as well as a cold and warm weather option for shoes, but there always seems to be a catch... such as rain!  Then the suede shoes are out as well as the open toe... hmmm.  Plus, who really wants to wear a dress on a cold and rainy day, especially when you are chasing around your kids.

At this point I am mentally flipping through my clothing.  Trying to figure out what isn't too wintry but will still be okay for the weather... then, I had it.  I will wear a suit... sort of...  Now, I am not a suit person.  I owned one once (a really cute bouclé pencil skirt and jacket reminiscent of the 50's) when I first started working.  And that is it.  So, let's just say my suit isn't what you are expecting.  But, after I wore this, I realized that anyone could wear some version of this suit and it would be perfect for work or for special events.  It is also a great way to have some fun in a more conservative environment.

I started with this DVF blouse that I had gotten a few months ago (it is on sale at dvf.com).  This was a fabulous purchase for me... I absolutely love it and have been able to wear it many different ways!  Oh, and I ordered it one size larger for a more dramatic effect.

Then I added the best pair of black pants that I have ever owned, and no they are not too expensive.  They are from Club Monaco.  I bought them a couple of years ago because they were perfect, and they still are!  They have a higher waist (but not extreme) and are perfectly fitted through the hips and bum.  Then they fall into a classic trouser leg... they look good with anything (and everyone must own a pair of black pants like this!).  This is a pair from Zara that are similar... but have a bit more narrow leg.

Okay, so then I needed a jacket.  Now, I am working on my jackets.  I was never a very big jacket person, but as of late, have favored a cool blazer in place of the cardi's that used to wear day all of the time.  Thanks, to my sister (stylist extraordinaire at Jack Threads), I ended up with a very cute cropped black jacket on sale at Urban for about $20!  And, it was perfect for this occasion!  This is a blazer from Zara that is similar...

I wish that I had a picture of myself.  Just to let you know, I was very happy and comfortable with the outcome!  I will definitely start to seek out more interesting jackets and tops to create more suit-like looks because they do take you so far... daytime, out at night, special events, etc.  Something to think about when you are in a rut, or want to take advantage of something that you already own!

                                          - Allison

*Photos courtesy of needleinahaystack.blogspot.com, 1954 McCall's & Vogue, myvintagevogue.com, matchesfashion.com, zara.com.


What Would You Do Without Shoes?

I am sure by now everyone has heard of TOMS shoes.  It is the result of traveler Blake Mycoskie befriending children in Argentina, only to learn that they did not have any shoes.  He returned to the United States and officially started the "One for One" campaign, otherwise known as TOMS shoes.  When you buy one pair, one pair is given to a child in need.  What a fantastic yet simple idea... a way to buy something that you really can use at an affordable price with the added bonus of knowing that you are truly helping a child in need is genius!

The reality of the situation is that going barefoot can be very bad for your health and future.  Many diseases are transmitted through the soil, cuts caused by being barefoot can get infected and many children are not allowed in school without shoes.  So, you really are doing so much by investing in a pair of TOMS.

From a fashion standpoint, they are really cute shoes.  They have come a long way from their inception, and  I believe that this has really helped the brand become so well-known.  Think of these shoes as the keds for the 21st century.  They are casual, cool and fun.  Now available in a variety of colors, prints and textures... there is something for everyone.  TOMS even introduced a wedge this spring... fabulous!

They can be worn with your white jeans, a sundress, to the playground, running errands or out for a casual night.  The price of these shoes ranges from about $40-$70 depending on the style.  Not such a bad price when you think about what you are doing when you make that purchase.  Seriously, what you would you do without shoes?

For more information about the One for One campaign or A Day Without Shoes, visit Toms website.  And don't forget to make your investment in TOMS this spring... c'est chic!

                                    - Allison
*photos courtesy of nordstrom.com


Ooooohhh, Bamboo!

I don't know about you, but once the temps start to rise in the next couple of weeks, I will once again be turning to my warm weather uniform... v-neck tee's and white tanks.  They might be layered with sweaters and my fur vest, but I will be wearing them soon!  I have only been staring at them for how many months... who, knows... I have lost count!

Alright, onto my point before I put you to sleep!  I recently happened upon some amazing tee's!  First, they are made from bamboo.  And, why does this matter?  Well, bamboo is naturally anti-bacterial (which means no odor).  And, just like all of these athletic looking dri-fit shirts we all wear to the gym, the bamboo is a hollow fiber and does this naturally, wicking away the sweat.  Another awesome fact (like you need another one!), bamboo is highly breathable, which means it keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  So the icing on the cake, bamboo is much better for the environment and requires no pesticides to grow!  I believe it is time to join Team Bamboo!

Okay, now that we have all of the technical facts, we are down to the wire... how does it feel?  Um, well, totally soft and wonderful!  Better than cotton!  It is time to head to thebambooshirt.com and take a look.  There are v-necks, unisex crew's or maybe go with a bit of an oversize men's v-neck... oh, the possibilities...

I was lucky enough to discover these bamboo tee's the night of the Dress for Success event.  Patrick Smith, who is a member of Team Toi, has branched out with these fabulous line of tee's.  Otherwise known as P-Three Bamboo, these shirts are amazing!  I highly recommend that you add these to your wardrobe!

Just think about how good (and sexy) a soft v-neck tee will look with a bit of jewelry and a maxi skirt (sorry, my obsession) or a pair of long and lean flare jeans... just saying...

*Exciting news... enter promo code "styledirection" at thebambooshirt.com for %53 off website prices!!!

                                               - Allison
*Photos courtesy of thebambooshirt.com.