Fashion News Roundup: April 2016

Yves Saint Laurent’s new creative director, a history of underwear exhibition, the U.S. uniforms for the Olympic Opening Ceremony, and more fashion news that made the rounds in April.

Fun Fashion Fact

Did you know that in the 18th century umbrellas were much larger and heavier because of their whalebone and brass construction. They were carried almost exclusively by doormen and coachmen. That’s why British philantrophist Jonas Hanway caused an uproar when he was allegedly the first Londoner to carry his own umbrella — crowds mobbed him because they feared he was putting them out of their jobs.

How to Create a Mix & Match Capsule

Thinking of your wardrobe in terms of capsules is an easy, efficient and effective strategy once you get the hang of it. Wardrobe capsules force you to think of your items and outfits in groups, which means analyzing how the items work together. There is little point in having a wardrobe full of fabulous items that cannot be combined to create fabulous outfits.

There are three types of wardrobe capsules: 1) mix-and-match capsules, 2) category capsules, and 3) activity capsules. The category and activity capsules are more straightforward because they’re smaller with fewer moving parts. It’s the mix-and-match capsules that my clients struggle with most because they are hard to create if you aren’t purchasing the entire capsule from scratch (which is seldom the case). In this post I’m going to illustrate the process with two examples from my client Bridget’s Spring and Summer wardrobe refresh. Both capsules combine new and old items.

First, a little about Bridget so that you can understand why the items and pieces work for her. Bridget is tall, blonde, and has bright blue eyes. As a stay-at-home Mum, she wears casual outfits every day. She has a high affinity for colour and pattern mixing, likes casual Sporty Luxe combinations, and has a strong ‘70s streak in her style. Bridget likes her wardrobe to be simple and relatively small. She will not compromise on comfort, especially when it comes to footwear. She loves to wear jeans and casual bottoms all year long. Along with her stunning eyes and gorgeous smile, her sporty white apple watch and retro sunnies are her statement accessories. Occasionally, she’ll wear a necklace. 

The collection below shows eleven of the pieces Bridget bought on a recent shopping trip. She fell in love with Santuary’s cropped camo print utility pants because they were a fab alternative to jeans. The length is fab for warm weather and the pattern is subtle. She also loves citron, so Vince Camuto’s mixed media crewneck tunic was a no-brainer. T-shirts and ‘70s style tops are wardrobe essentials for Bridget, so we refresh those category capsules every season. Trendy cropped jeans were a new item on her shopping list, and a great way to refresh Bridget’s look. We got a pair in white and pink, and two in blue across different silhouettes. Bridget also ordered two pairs of Ecco Soft sneakers — a pair in citron and another in white — as her go-to shoes for the season. She ordered a ‘70s pleather tote in cream to be her bag for the season (Bridget does not swap out her bags regularly). These are the exact items.

We built several mix-and-match capsules when we got back home, making sure that the items that she bought worked with here current wardrobe. We also made sure that they were in line with the internal and external factors that affect her style. No shopping for imaginary lifestyles!

Here I will share two of those capsules: Casual Sporty Luxe and Relaxed ‘70s.

Casual Sporty Luxe Mix & Match Capsule

We started by laying out eight of the eleven new items: camo pants, white flared cropped jeans, blue cuffed cropped jeans, citron tunic, navy tee, citron sneakers, white sneakers, and cream tote. Obviously, there were too few tops to wear with three bottoms in this grouping. Fab pieces but no outfits. We needed to add tops and toppers (for chilly Seattle mornings) to create many mix-and-match outfits within the capsule.

Bridget tried on one outfit from the grouping — camo pants, citron top and citron sneakers —  to get our creative juices flowing. I went into Bridget’s closet and grabbed items that I thought could work with the camo pants so that they would not be orphaned. I found a citron sweatshirt, ink blue and white striped tops, solid white, grey, black, tomato red and fuschia tops, a white denim jacket, and ink moto jacket. All these tops and toppers worked well with the camo pants and either pair of sneakers because Bridget tried on each of the combinations to make sure she liked them. We also tried some other tops and toppers that didn’t work quite as well, and promptly hung them back in her closet to keep things organized. 

Once we knew which tops and toppers worked well with the camo pants, it was easy to slot the blue and white cropped jeans into the capsule because you can wear anything with blue jeans, and almost anything with white jeans. Bridget also tried on those combinations to make sure she liked them. She used her phone to take a photo of each of the outfits for easy reference, and also took a photo of the capsule as a whole. 

I’ve put similar pieces to hers in the Polyvore set below so that you can see how the mix-and-match capsule of new and old items came together. The sneakers and bag are the exact items in Bridget’s wardrobe.

Mix and Match Capsule

Relaxed ‘70s Mix & Match Capsule 

After putting together Bridget’s casual sporty look, it was time to pander to her ‘70s style and pattern cravings. We put this capsule together in two ticks because it’s very much in Bridget’s comfort zone. We gathered four of the eleven new items: teal V-neck blouse, pink cropped jeans, blue flared cropped jeans, and cream tote.

After laying out the pieces we saw the gaps. Fun pieces but no outfits. We needed tops, toppers and footwear to create mix-and-match outfits within the capsule. I went back to Bridget’s closet and grabbed all her dramatic ‘70s blouses. Over the years, she’s acquired quite the assortment and she loves these tops dearly. They worked flawlessly well with the new flared cropped jeans from Banana Republic, and an old pair of faded blue Resolution skimmers from the Gap. And since Bridget has a high affinity for colour matching, she had no problem matching the blouses with the new pink jeans. Pairing the old blouses with the new cropped jeans made for a nice change. 

The footwear was an easy addition because Bridget likes to wear ultra supportive and sturdy Dansko sandals in warm weather. The two pairs that she has (orange & brown, and tan), along with the tasseled cream tote completed the wearable ‘70s look to perfection. Her floppy straw hat worked well with the outfits too.

In Seattle you normally need a topper at some point during the day, so I grabbed two old cocoon style cardigans from the closet — one cream and one ink blue — because they worked best over the billowing silhouettes of the blouses. Bridget’s denim jackets and ink moto from the Casual Sporty Capsule can work over some of these blouses too. She took pictures with her phone of each of the outfits for easy reference, and also took a photo of the capsule as a whole. 

I’ve put similar pieces in a Polyvore set so that you can see how the mix-and-match capsule of new and old items came together. Each of the tops can be worn with each of the bottoms. The sandals and bag are the exact items in Bridget’s wardrobe.

Mix and Match Capsule

We built one more mix-and-match capsule around a pair of casual black culottes and wrap jersey skirt, which I will share another time. We also put together a dressier capsule for events with a few stand-alone outfits. Apart from gear for sporting activities and camping, this is most of Bridget’s Spring and Summer wardrobe. She shan’t be purchasing anything else for the season unless she finds a wardrobe hole or laundry bottleneck. 

All you need is a little bit of time in your closet to create effective mix-and-match capsules with new and old wardrobe items. And once you’ve done that, you’ll have outfits ready to go for all aspects of your lifestyle. You’ll also find glaring wardrobe holes, as well as return items that do not relate to the rest of your pieces. It sounds like a very involved process, but it’s fast and efficient once you get the hang of it. And over time it becomes quite intuitive, which is the best part of all. 

Link Love: Sunglasses Trends for S/S 2016

Avant-garde frames and oversized sunnies with a touch of sporty are among the five new sunglasses trends Yahoo! Style spotted at the largest international eyewear show in Milan.

The Guardian shows us ten of the best sunglasses for Spring 2016.

Popsugar identifies six more trends and provides shopping inspiration if you are in the market for a new pair of sunnies.

Fab Links from Our Members

Following Angie’s blog post on Gen X and Peak Denim, Celia came across this article that shows what modern American teenagers are wearing. She adds that it will be interesting to see how these teens will get dressed when they become adults.

Sally gets the ball rolling on how to dress for a serious academic setting: Add structure, colour or bold shape, and fun footwear to adjust your style to academia. Personally, Angie thinks that jackets are important too. 

Vildy enjoyed learning more about Sandra Garratt, the creator of modular clothing lines Units and Multiples and how she persisted with her vision.

Shevia found this article about how Mary Bears, author and a professor at the university of Cambridge, handles internet trolls and their criticism that has often “focussed on her appearance, and her unusual willingness to be age-appropriate.”

“It’s not the cost of the suit that counts. It’s the worth of the man inside it.” Ledonna N. would like to share this video documentary about the Congolese Sapeurs.


Comfy Gold Flats

A selection of comfy and casual gold flats for low and high volume feet.

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Sleeved Casual Dresses

An assortment of nice casual dresses, some of which are on sale.

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A list of my top picks from the comfortable and well-made Spanish footwear brand.

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Skirts & Dresses

Greet the warmer weather with these tried-and-tested skirt and dress styles.

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Relaxed Items

Some top picks that have a casual edge to them which means that they can be dressed up or down.

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Comfy Shoes in Light Neutrals

A collection of trendy and smart causal Spring footwear in light and mid-tone neutrals.

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Weekly Roundup: Peasant Blouses & Sneakers

Many of my clients have been into wearing peasant blouses with jeans and pencil skirts lately, which has surprised them and me. Clients are craving garment detail and putting some “pretty” back in their styles after five seasons of simple tomboy minimalism. With its gathers, neck-tie, eyelet detailing, lace and flounce, the ‘70s peasant blouse is satisfying the need for something new, and looks fresh. Looks nice and Summer-y too. 

Peasant blouses used to look very voluminous. But alongside the ultra boxy and oversized silhouettes that are flooding the market, they’re looking surprisingly streamlined. It’s all relative, isn’t it.

I bought the Ditsy Floral Print Handkerchief Hem Blouse a few months ago as my version of the peasant blouse. I LOVE it. I’ve worn it a lot and reach for it often. It has a higher neckline, which works better for me than the V-necks and scoop necks on most of the peasant blouse styles. 

Upscale sneakers that can be worn with just about any outfit are also a popular item with my clients at the moment. And some are wearing their peasant blouses with fashionable sneakers because these types of juxtapositions in 2016 are right on trend. I’ve added the ECCO Touch Modern Sneaker in metallic to my sneaker capsule because it’s streamlined and fits well without socks. I have a hard time fitting sneakers because they’re usually too wide and chunky for my narrow ankle and low volume feet, but this one is perfect. The thin laces tuck away easily, which is how I prefer to wear my sneakers. And the best part is that they look Modern Retro. 

Here’s a selection of winning peasant blouses and sneakers. The blouses are breezy, feminine, Modern Retro, mostly V-neck, and very forgiving on the midsection. Some of the styles are shaped on the torso to showcase a little curve, which is quite refreshing. Pop a camisole under the blouse if it’s too breezy. Many of the styles are available in an assortment of colours so do take a look at the different options.

  • Lace Inset Tank: A sleeveless tunic with inset ruffle. The top tank portion of the top fits quite closely to the body and the armholes aren't wide. A great layering piece too.
  • Cold Shoulder Lace Top: Cold shoulders are an alluring yet covered alternative to sleeveless. Pretty lace and runs big.
  • Print Knit Split Neck Top: A KNITTED peasant top is extra soft against the skin. The torso is shaped and the curved hemline adds structure. The neckline is not overly low either. Fun pattern placement. Good on a curvy hourglass.
  • Chevron Print Split Neck Top: A KNITTED peasant top is extra soft against the skin and easy to launder. The torso is shaped and the curved hemline adds structure. The neckline stays put when you bend over. Good on a curvy hourglass. The chevron pattern is bold, so consider yourself warned.
  • Floral Print Blouson Top: The banded bottom gives the peasant blouse a good amount of structure. Delicately shaped on the torso and good on a curvy figure. Works well with skirts.
  • Print Split Neck Peasant Top (Regular & Petite): A good peasant blouse for a straighter figure with a shorter neck. Great drape despite its lack of structure.
  • Cotton Eyelet Top: A pretty 100% cotton option. Works well with a white camisole if the holes are too much exposure. Might run a little big.
  • 'Sienna' Blouse: Flirty Floral Cold Shoulder Fabness. A little '50s and just as trendy today. The sleeve ties are large and make quite a statement.
  • 'Daybreak' Eyelet Dress: A dress that works well on Team Tall as a tunic. Glorious fabric and side entry pockets. Quite voluminous on the midsection. The ties on the sleeves are neat and subtle. Wearing a bra with the cut-out detailing is no problem. Runs big.
  • Ecco Soft VII Sneaker: Extremely comfortable and well made leather sneakers with great arch support. Works on regular and high volume feet. A little wide on low volume feet. Very cushioning and stable. High quality, simple, clean cut and modern. Quite chunky too. Comes in a greyed white and a few other colours. Read the rave reviews.
  • Ecco Soft VII Slip-On: A high quality floral slip-on sneaker with amazing comfort. Best on regular and high volume feet. A little wide on low volume feet. Quite chunky, but feels like you're walking on air. Read the rave reviews.
  • 'F-Pop' Skate Slip-On (Women): A great slip-on style with a low wedge heel. Streamlined. Very comfortable. The brand usually works for wide feet, but this style runs a little narrower in the toe box.
  • Clarks Glove Puppet: Easy perforated slip-ons that look sporty and crisp. Works on lower and higher volume feet, although inserting an insole is best for low volume feet. The white looks very bright on the feet so you have to be at peace with that. Comes in a few colours.
  • Ecco Touch Modern Sneaker: Very comfortable, sleek, polished and Modern Retro. Enough arch support too. Excellent for low volume feet. The metallic looks a little dressier than the rest. The dainty laces fold away easily too. Might run a size big. Read the rave reviews.
  • Isabella Sinclair Belia Peplum Top: A peplum blouse that works well on inverted triangles and curvy hourglasses. Delicate and different. Well worth the praise in the reviews.
  • ALL BLACK All Black Beyond Slip-On Sneakers: A sassy pointy toe slip-on that's moderately comfortable. Fun pattern and foot lengthening.
  • Ecco Bluma Summer Sneaker: A very comfortable classic. Good arch support. Good for low and high volume feet. The dainty laces fold away easily. As cute in the other colours. Read the rave reviews.
  • Silk Off the Shoulder Peasant Top: '70s Gypsy Chic, and selling like hot cakes because it's comfortable and looks fresh. Runs big.
  • Tie Neck Peasant Blouse (Regular & Petite): A semi-fitted peasant blouse at a great price. Good on petites. Love the back yoke and gather detailing.
  • Eyelet Lace Yoke Top: Casually elegant and pretty. A bra and camisole works with the cut-out detailing. Might run small.
  • Print V-Neck Top: A great blouse for Team Tall. I vote teal pattern best. The bodice drapes quite closely to the body which provides a nice bit of structure. Looks best UN-tucked, and not like the photo. Might run a little big.
  • Boden Broderie Top: The flutter sleeves are adorable and look good on sloping shoulders. A streamlined fit on apple shaped body types. Great in both the blue and white. Runs a size small.
  • 'Joan' Cotton Peasant Blouse: Flouncy Fabness for Team Tall. Great length and drape. Runs big.
  • Clarks Glick Resseta: Extremely comfy sneaker-oxford hybrid. Great on higher volume feet. Fun to wear with skirts and dresses, as well as jeans.
  • 'Yael' Soft-Air Sneaker (Women): An extremely comfortable fashion sneaker for low AND high volume feet. Supportive and quite streamlined for a chunkier style. Looks best in the black & white, metallic white and silver.

Browse the collection page to see the items alongside my descriptions.

Clarks Glove Puppet
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Top Pick
Broderie Top
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Top Pick
Glick Resseta
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Top Pick

Fab Find: Cayanne Peep Toe Sandal

The Cayanne Peep Toe Sandal (or “sandal bootie”) is one of Nordstrom’s bestselling shoes of all time. It’s a repeat style that continues to fly out of stores, despite the steep price. And for good reason. It’s trendy, beautifully made, extremely comfortable, super soft, cushioning, supportive and amazingly lightweight. You can barely feel them on your feet despite the three inch heel. They also work surprisingly well for both low and high volume feet, although the former might need to size down half a size. 

Paul Green Cayanne Leather Peep Toe Sandal

It is available in four colours, but metallic has been the most popular option. As soon as one of my clients tries on this shoe, she wants it. It’s versatile and can be worn with trousers, jeans, skirts, culottes and dresses. It can also be dressed up or down. It’s no surprise that the Cayanne has received a 100 glowing reviews.