Ensemble: Statement Kimono & Denim

This ensemble was inspired by some of our forum members and street style shots that I saw recently. Combine denim bottoms with a layering top and striking kimono for an arty and dramatic look. The comfortable combination can work on any body type, and strikes a wonderful balance between dramatic and casual. The sensual romance of the kimono top is a fun juxtaposition with the sturdy and rougher integrity of the denim.

Example 1Example 2

Any colour palette will work: Brights, pastels, neutrals, mid-tones, earth tones, jewel tones. Here are the components of the outfit: 

Kimono: You’re after a cotton or lightweight silky kimono topper in a pattern that drapes like a dream. Think flowing and theatrical. The length can be as short as to the hip bone, or up to ankle length. The longer the kimono, the more dramatic the look. 

Layering Top: Wear a layering shell top, silk camisole, fitted T-shirt, drapey T-shirt,  tank top, or blouse under the kimono. Neutrals like black, white and grey are a slam dunk, but matching the top to a colour in the pattern of the kimono is another way to go. Feel free to pattern mix the top with the kimono. Tuck, semi-tuck or untuck the top.

Denim Bottoms: Choose any style of jeans in any wash. Think cropped straights or flares, boyfriend jeans, culottes, skinnies, shorts, cuffed straights, bootcuts, or full-length bell-bottoms. A denim skirt will work too. Blue, white, grey or black denim is fab. 

Footwear: Choose footwear to work with the vibe of the outfit. Pumps, ankle strap pumps or cage heels for dressier looks. Gladiators, thong sandals and mules for casual renditions. Wedged sandals and espadrilles can work, and so can d’Orsay flats, dainty loafers and peep-toe booties. 

Accessories: Finish off the look with a bag that works with the outfit. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired. 

Ensemble: Statement Kimono & Jeans

This outfit is especially good in motion because of the way the breeze fills out the blowing effect of the kimono. A fun and elegant look.

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Link Love: Fashion-Themed Colouring Books

Colouring books for adults are everywhere these days. According to The New York Times “coloring is therapeutic, fosters creativity and reaps benefits associated with meditation.” Stores are offering colouring books on a vast array of topics, but today I’m bringing you a round-up of fashion-themed ones:

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments, or post images of finished coloured-in pages on the forum.

Fab Links from Our Members

Milehighstyle (Linda) thought the many animal lovers here might enjoy reading about how fur coats are being repurposed so that abandoned baby animals can snuggle in them.

Angie enjoyed reading Sally’s strategy on how to hone and develop your personal style

The recent posts on the lack of plus size and petite fashion reminded Ginger of two posts by Fashion-Incubator: What is a size break? and Grading is not morphing. Ginger adds that the technical challenges involved in a new set of sizes are much vaster than she realized.

L’Abeille feels inspired by WhoWhatWear’s article on the secret of nailing your office dress code.

Ledonna N. loves the everyday fashion images on I See A Different You, a tumblr page by a collective of Soweto born creatives who want to change the world’s view of Africa from the negative to the positive.

Narrow Ankles and Ankle Boot Fit

I have narrow ankles and I prefer a tailored fit, which makes it challenging to find ankle boots that fit well. I have become quite intolerant of the “stem in a flower pot” visual effect of my own ankles in booties when the openings are too wide. The visuals below are good examples of boot openings that look overly wide on the ankles, at least to my eye. This is definitely a personal preference.

Free People Westmont Heel BootFree People Aquarian Ankle Boot

I showcase the entire boot by wearing them with flared, straight and skinny cropped pants and jeans, or with skirts and harem pants. This makes it all the more important for the tops of the boots to fit closely around my ankle. These visuals are a good example of how I like my own ankle boots to fit.

ISABEL MARANT Etoile Deyis Leather Ankle BootsAlexander Wang Kori Booties

I have become a bit more accepting of a wider bootie fit on my ankles when I wear cropped flares, straights or culottes (see the pictures below). The wider hems of the crops seem to complement the larger bootie opening, which offsets the “stem in a flower pot” effect a little. It’s NOT perfect, and getting booties that fit more closely to my ankles (like in the pictures above) is absolutely first choice. But since I also have fussy feet, I will make the compromise.

In fact, I just did so by committing to Calvin Klein’s Narla booties. They don’t fit nearly as widely on the ankle as the examples below, but not as closely as I would like either. As long as I wear them with cropped straights and flares, culottes, or full-length flares, we’re good. I will not be wearing them with skinnies, skinny crops, skirts or dresses.

Free People Insider Step Fray Crop JeansGOLDSIGN His Boyfriend Cropped Jeans

Over to you. Do you have narrow ankles and find ankle boots hard to fit? How tolerant are you of gaping around the ankle when the bootie openings are wide?

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Roundups

Transitional Items

Start thinking about your Fall look by zoning in on a few key transitional items.

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Items Under $100

An assortment of more affordable Summer items to amp up your style.

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Summer Neutrals

A collection of trendy Summer neutrals that are easy to wear.

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Quiet Neutrals

A selection of quiet neutral pieces for Spring that can pack quite a punch.

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Summery White Items

Adding white to your wardrobe is a great way to give your outfits a more Summery vibe.

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Comfy Gold Flats

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

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Weekly Roundup: Jeans & Boots

I like that brand new Fall merchandise is trickling into stores early this year, despite our hot Summer weather. Usually, I wait until September to refresh my jeans capsule, but when you find a pair of jeans that’s perfect in every way, why wait.

AG’s Jodie Crop Side Slip Jeans are just that. My word, their fit and quality are sublime. They’re tailored, but not body-con. Their higher rise doesn’t dig into my waist, and the length is perfect at two inches above my ankle bone. The long side slits are unique, and the denim does not bag out. The fabric feels like 100% cotton denim and is not overly stretchy (bonus). I LOVE the uniform dark denim as I’ve grown tired of distressing. This is what I expect from premium denim and am glad that AG has not dropped their standards. 

Here’s a selection of items that tickled my fancy this week, most of which I’ve seen in person. Topshop continues to make fabulous and comfortable footwear. 

  • AG The Jodi Crop Side Slit Jeans: These might go down as the best jeans of the season, and it's only August. They will fit both a straighter and curvier body type just because the cut and fabric of the jeans are sublime. Streamlined, chic and very flattering. The crisp dark denim is dressy and looks fresh amidst a sea of distressing. Gorgeous dramatic side vents. Length can be shortened for petites. Not suited to an apple shaped body, and probably too much room in the thighs for inverted triangle body types.
  • Free People Chelsea Cropped Kick Flare Jeans: Much more distressed and dramatic in person. The low rise works well on a short torso. Fab for Team RATE. Good on both a curvier and straighter body. Plenty of room in the thighs. Petites will need to hack off some length.
  • A Gold E June High Rise Sailor Jeans: Fun sailor pants that are VERY long. You need to be tall if you don't want to hack off the length, and preferably not short in the waist either. The legs are streamlined and create a good fit. Very '70s. A lot more dramatic in person, and good on a straight or moderately curvy body type. Best on Team Tall.
  • Topshop ANA Elastic Ankle Boots: Comfy, and good on narrow ankles. Built-in socks have their advantages.
  • Topshop MERCURY Soft Toe Ankle Boots: SUPER soft leather. Feels like slippers on the foot. Very comfortable. The leather is quite delicate so consider yourself warned. The grey is crisp and graphic. Works for many foot types because the leather stretches over the shape of your foot.
  • Topshop **BELVOIR Chelsea Boots By Unique: Impeccable quality and very comfortable. Looks like a designer shoe. Works on low and regular volume feet. Might run big. Very dramatic on the foot, and you will need to be okay with that and the exceptionally long footbed. Makes your feet look long. I found them too hard-edged for my own style, but they are going to work beautifully on someone else.
  • Topshop 'Marilyn' Square Toe Bow Bootie (Women): A beautiful maximal girly bootie. Looks a little Valentino. The colour is a muddy blush and darker in person. Very comfortable, with a nice narrow ankle fit. Shafts are quite high. Works on a variety of foot shapes. Also available in black.
  • Jeffrey Campbell 'Saffron' Round Toe Bootie (Women): This one is for Team Arty Earthy Casual. A quirky bootie that feels like a slipper on the foot. Soft and supple, and most of the bootie is vegan. Good on a narrow ankle. The shafts are higher than usual.
  • Jeffrey Campbell 'Viggio' Brocade Bootie (Women): A fabric bootie with a unique pattern. Quite comfortable despite the lack of leather. Runs small, and read the rave reviews.

You can see the items alongside my descriptions on the collection page.

Three Ways to Prevent Pilling

The price or fabric content of a garment no longer guarantees superior quality. I’ve bought expensive and inexpensive knitwear that has pilled after a few wears, across many natural and synthetic fabrications. I’ve bought expensive and inexpensive knitwear that has not pilled at all, again, across all natural and synthetic fabrications. I have old wool coats that look as pristine as the day I bought them. I have wool jackets and coats that started piling within a month of wearing them. Garment pilling is very random and highly annoying.

The best I can do is offer three ways of addressing the pilling problem that I’ve found useful.

Take Knitwear to the Cleaners

I don’t send cotton or acrylic knitwear to the cleaners because they do fine in the washing machine on the delicates cycle at home. But I do send our woollies to the cleaners. I believe that helps knitwear stay looking pristine for longer, AND pilled woollen knitwear, jackets and coats come back from the cleaners un-pilled. It’s AMAZING. I don’t know what they do to reduce the pilling, but it’s incredible and I’m grateful.

For example, the following items in my wardrobe have gone to the cleaners pilled, but came back un-pilled and looking new. I’m much impressed.

Gleener Fuzz Remover

I haven’t used this little gadget yet, but one of my clients swears by it. The Gleener has successfully removed the fuzzy pills off the knitwear that she would otherwise have passed on. Having seen the results, I can attest to the effectiveness of the gadget. You need time and patience to put this strategy into practice. It can be quite therapeutic.

Gleener

Beware of Seat Belts and Cross-Body Bags

Prevention is better than cure. Wearing a strap across your body very frequently, like a seat belt or cross-body bag, can cause pilling. Of course, you have to wear your seatbelt. So when you start to see a garment pill in the area where you wear your belt or bag strap, cover it up with a jacket or scarf to reduce the damage.

I don’t wear cross-body bags nor do I drive all that frequently, which might be why I don’t see my own knitwear pill in the area under the position of the strap. But clients and friends who spend a lot of time in the car and/or wear heavy cross-body bags tend to have very specific pill marks on their woolies and coats.

These pilling solutions are by no means exhaustive. Please add your own strategies for preventing pilling in the comments section below.

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