December 19, 2014

F2014 14: Urban Elegance

Urban Elegance

Inspiration Image Source

This inspiration photo immediately caught my eye; it's such a great representation of my ultimate style. The pleated drapey skirt and button-down blouse are classically chic, while the tough leather jacket, buckle boots, and aviators give the outfit an edge. Classic-with-an-edge is just my cup of tea!

The chambray blouse, leather jacket, and brown heeled booties were pulled directly from the source, but I wasn't sure how to capture the look of the maxi skirt. Since the weather called for some slightly warmer additions, I incorporated the original army green color (which I just love against this shade of blue) in my winter accessories. Since my other two skirt options are on the short side, I used these cognac skinnies to mimic the long stretch of color on the bottom-half.

Swapping the skirt for pants took some of the elegance out of the outfit, so I upped the class factor with a dainty leather crossbody, Ray-Ban wayfarers, and stacked pearl bracelets. The effect was polished, yet comfy. Perhaps my favorite creation thus far!

December 17, 2014

F2014 14: Equestrian Cool

F14 - 14 (Equestrian Cool)

Inspiration Image Source

Back in November, when Annex Theater's Horse Girls was in full-swing, I was really feeling the equestrian style. Although it’s been nearly a month since the show’s closing, I’m still running with the vibe. There’s something so effortlessly chic about this look – and yet, when you think about it, it’s really only (fancy) sportswear!

This is a simple one to create. If you’re living in this decade, chances are you’ve probably already paired a blazer with skinny jeans before. You may even have made the tremendous discovery that knee boots pair incredibly well with these two items. (You Fashion Einstein, you!) All that’s left is to raise the neckline. Try a turtleneck, scarf, or high-collared blouse in a contrasting shade to your blazer. It will emphasize the tailored lines of the coat and ensure your shape isn’t lost in the mix!

Boots will, of course, finish off the outfit. And don’t forget your favorite bag! The representation you see above is Burberry, which means its costs your entire paycheck. In reality, I found my roomy, rectangular beauty for $1.00 (ONE DOLLAR!!) at a community rummage sale. In two years of everyday use, it hasn’t failed me once.
Be yourself and ride on.

December 15, 2014

F2014 13: Unexpected Pairings

F14 - 13 (Graveyard Secretary)

Inspiration Image Source

In living with a capsule wardrobe these past six months, I've discovered a strange paradox: creating unique outfits has only become easier. You would think that having less items would make wardrobe variety difficult, but in reality the decision process has become simpler with less choice.*

Last winter, before my wardrobe was streamlined, I probably would've scrolled right past this inspiration photo. It wouldn't have struck me as something I was capable of creating. But now that I'm in-tune to the color palette, silhouettes, and the individual pieces in my closet, an outfit like this doesn't seem nearly as challenging.

Silhouette: The photo shows a dress layered under a turtleneck, but I know the same bulky-on-top, form-fitting-on-bottom look can be achieved with my oversized cable knit sweater and pencil skirt.

Color: Choosing the items above changed the main palette -- eggplant and beige instead of black and olive. Another option would have been maintaining the color scheme with my black v-neck sweater and olive down vest, but in this case I was more interested in silhouette than color. Since my color palette was still on the cool side, I stuck with silver jewelry, rather than gold or bronze.

Individual Pieces: The items that struck me in this photo were the knee boots and long pendant necklace. "I have those things!" I thought excitedly. If you find yourself recognizing minor details like these, start small and work outward. Ask yourself what items might work with these accessories. Pinpoint why they were used in the original outfit. In this case, the long necklace lengthens out a bulky torso, while the knee boots provide balance to the lower half of the body. (Not to mention warmth!)

When in doubt, approach inspiration via one of these categories. Chances are, you'll find an outfit you never would have thought of otherwise!

*If you're interested in learning more about this strange reality, check out Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice.

December 12, 2014

F2014 12: Spicy Date

F14 - 12 (Spicy Date)

Inspiration Image Source

I wore this little getup last month for an anniversary dinner with my studmuffin. It paired oh-so-nicely with our champagne!  

If you've got a hot date of your own on the calendar tonight, why not make the most of autumn's wonderful spicy hues? Every year, winter brings icy metallics, cool jewel tones, and blues back on the scene, and we must bid our reds and golds farewell til' next year. Fall never seems to last quite long enough, does it? (I still blame the lack of snow... It's really the only thing that gives winter an edge over the other seasons.)

To keep this look on the subtle side, stick to two or three spice tones and mix them with warm neutrals, like the chocolate booties and beige trench shown above. I chose cumin (scarf), paprika (dress), and sumac (gloves), but you might also incorporate sage, saffron, tumeric, cinnamon, ginger... Just open your spice cabinet and get inspired!

December 8, 2014

F2014 11: Dress Over Blouse

F14 - 11 (First Snow)

Inspiration Image Source

Well, it's back to rainy days here in Seattle, and I'm thinking wistfully back to the Saturday after Thanksgiving -- this year's first snowfall! While it's nice not having to worry about ice on the street or wearing socks to bed, there's nothing like seeing that little snowflake in my weather app. It just doesn't seem like Christmas without snow...

That said, you don't need the white stuff to rock this outfit. In fact, wearing it on a temperate day will ensure it doesn't hide beneath your coat all day long!

In the past, I've been wary about layering blouses and dresses. For one thing, I associate this look with Catholic schoolgirls, which I'm probably beyond the age of imitating with dignity. Secondly, I just can't stand seeing wrinkles under outer fabrics. Like the VLP, that sort of thing can really spoil an outfit.

Fortunately, the printed dress I chose for this capsule wardrobe is made of a thick material -- perfect for concealing pesky fabric folds and buttons! (It also keeps me wonderfully warm, for a dress.) To make this outfit more seasonal, I added some layered tights & knee socks under my favorite boots, a funky Victorian-looking brooch, and a belt with a smart little bow. BAM! I'm a Christmas present.