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Polished but not Precious.

Two Practical Reasons to Like Knee-High Socks

by Angie

Knee-high socks are an undervalued wardrobe item that deserve a bit of love. They are inexpensive yet highly practical for two reasons:

  1. They are extra warm: socks worn under trousers and jeans that provide coverage right up to the knee provide a lot more warmth than shorter socks. The toasty difference is remarkable, which is why I’ve added several more pairs to my sock drawer. 
  2. They close the gap: Boot liners, which are essentially long socks, do a great job of filling up the space at the top of mid-calf and knee-high boots that are a little wide for your calves. Scrunch up the socks above the top of the boots, and the boots fit a whole lot better. The visual effect is like a leg warmer. 

Visible knee-high socks, when worn with all sorts of footwear, can also provide textural interest in skirt, shorts and dress outfits. This is more of a visual advantage than a practical one, but a fun option nonetheless.

Frye Tabitha Pull-On Tall BootFrye Sabrina 14L Boot

Angie's latest top picks

These are Angie's picks. You can collect items for your own wishlist or shopping list using YLF Finds. If you are logged in, you can collect the items right here by clicking the icon. Read more about using YLF Finds here.

The Fast Fashion Trade-Off

by Angie

There was a time when you had to pay an exorbitant price to get the latest fashions from high-end brands. Lower price retailers were more conservative, waiting for trends to prove themselves in the mainstream before bringing them to their ranges. Fast fashion was born when some retailers noticed this hole in the market and realized that they could use modern manufacturing and supply chain technology to deliver new fashions quickly and cheaply. 

There is no question that fast fashion adds a whole lot of fun into the equation. Fast fashion stores like Zara, Topshop, H&M and Forever 21 offer exciting, fresh shopping experiences. The latest trends and silhouettes that were once exclusively available to those who could afford designer items, are now accessible to many more people. And even if designer items are within your reach, fast fashion means you can experiment with more trends and find the ones that work by trial and error.

But the benefits of inexpensive fashion that moves quickly from the catwalk to retail does come at a price. Lower price does not always mean lower quality, but it is true that a lot of fast fashion isn’t manufactured to last a long time. And the focus on keeping up with new trends means that even when items have high-quality fabric and construction, they might not be used for longer than a season. 

So trendiness and affordability leads to more consumption, which in turn leads to more production, more transportation and a bigger impact on the environment. The “fast” in fast fashion describes not only the time from catwalk to retail, but also the time from wardrobe to landfill.

I love the excitement and fun of fashion. I shop at Zara and Topshop because I enjoy the shopping experience. I like their design sensibilities and their fits work for me. But I’m also conscious of the environmental impact. So I never let my quality standards drop just to have a fashionable item. I pick the better quality pieces in their ranges. Even if I do only wear an item for one season, I want to be able to pass it on in wearable condition. I try to ensure that my items have a second life, whether that is at Goodwill, Dress for Success or in a friend’s wardrobe.

Relaxed Leopard Print Pencil Skirt

by Inge

A new outfit from Ashley of Fancy Stuff and Pretty Things, who we introduced to YLF in September 2014.

A dressy pencil skirt in a solid or pattern is a versatile classic. Here, Ashley’s relaxed version is a great way to de-bombshell the look for casual days. Combining the leopard print skirt with a fine gauge turtleneck sweater and denim jacket dresses down the look. Black booties with stacked heels relax the outfit. Matching the colour of the booties to the hosiery creates a longer leg line, plus opaque tights keep Ashley cosy in cold weather. Our blogger’s bag cleverly echoes the colours of the skirt. Chunky bracelets and a simple pendant add polish.

If you can’t wear jeans to work, switching out the denim jacket for a lightweight leather jacket or tuxedo blazer will make this Winter look appropriate for a business casual environment.

Ashley - 1

Ashley - 2

Roundups

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Top picks across a range of colours, lengths and styles.

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Statement Sweaters

A large roundup of pullovers that go beyond basic.

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Olive Items

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Sleeved Midi Dresses

Frocks that are sleeved, longer length, and fit well.

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Dressier Casual Items

Casual pieces that lean slightly towards dressy.

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Boho Chic is Back for Spring 2015

by Angie

Boho Chic is a style that is inspired by Bohemianism and the fashions of the hippie movement. It has a late ‘60s and early ‘70s flavour that is predominantly casual, although dressy versions of the style do exist too. 

Boho Chic is always in style, with retailers like Free People, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Lucky and Shopbop showcasing boho items in their ranges every season. But every so often, Boho Chic makes a fashion statement, or is “on trend”, and that’s what has happened for Spring 2015. The pictures here provide a small cross section of the Boho Chic trend retailers are showing right now. I expect the trend to carry through the year, along with other fashion influences of the ‘70s. 

Boho Chic style makes me think of bell sleeves, embroidered and smocked detailing, kimono sleeves, A-line tops and skirts, fringe, all shades of brown, high-waisted flared jeans and trousers, kaftans, tunics, velvet, peasant tops, weathered leather, drawstring necklines, lots of gathers, suede, casual maxi dresses, textured cottons, cork heels, textured knitwear, pendant necklaces, some ponchos, floppy felt hats, wooden jewellery, and empire cuts. It’s a very distinctive style, which is one of its strengths. 

I do not gravitate towards Boho Chic for my own style, but I’m happy it’s trending because we need the variation in silhouettes at retail. Something needs to give Sporty Luxe, Hard Edge, Normcore, Avant-Garde, Preppy and Modern Classics competition. Why not a bit of Boho Chic? So far, the trend hasn’t taken over the season like it did back in 2005, which I’m equally happy about. I like seeing Boho Chic alongside the Classics and Sporty Luxe (also referred to as “Athleisure”) in one department store because a successful fashion season is about VARIETY. Too much of the same is not a good thing. 

I suspect that the newness of this season’s Boho Chic will come from the juxtaposition of the trend with Sporty Luxe, and in the crispness of the items themselves. Zara’s kimono sleeve blouse is an example of a more crisp bohemian item, which is achieved by the clear vibrant colour, stiffer and heavier fabrication, and straighter drape of the volume. Combine that top with a pair of straight leg jeans rolled at the hems and fashionable sneakers, and you’ve got a look that’s “Boho Chic Lite”. Furthermore, high-waisted flared jeans needn’t be worn with a bohemian top and platforms. Pair them with a clean-cut Preppy stripe and short trapeze jacket, or Hard-Edged black drapey asymmetrical sweater, moto jacket, and pointy toe pumps. The effect is less boho and more modern, but just as chic. 

Judging by what I saw on the runways for Pre-Fall 2015 earlier this year, ‘70s inspired fashions are having their moment. Late ‘70s fashions were very glamorous, fitted, sensual and dressy (think Studio 54 and watch the movie “American Hustle”). That ‘70s look appeals to more than Boho Chic. As a trousers and coat gal, bootcut pants worn with long belted coats look particularly elegant to my eye. But more about that when the Fall 2015 shows are complete. 

Over to you. Do you have a Boho Chic element to your style? Are you excited about the Boho Chic trend and will you create interesting Boho Chic Lite juxtapositions with the pieces?

Zara Embroidered Velvet WaistcoatZara Kimono Sleeve TopZara Fringed SweaterZara Long Poncho

Just Cavalli Long Sleeve Blouse

ROBERTO CAVALLI Printed-Silk Georgette KaftanMICHAEL KORS High Rise Flared JeansETOILE ISABEL MARANT Vicky Embroidered Cotton Muslin Top

Haute Society Bell Sleeve TopWoven Heart Rose Knit Fringe Open Shawl Sweater

Rebel Chic

Jean Druesedow

The Sartorialist: Closer

Scott Schuman

The Truth About Style

Stacy London

kate spade new york

Deborah Lloyd

You Are What You Wear

Jennifer Baumgartner

Fashion News Roundup: Week 4, 2015

by Inge
A major Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in the UK, Target’s new plus-size clothing line, an interesting Clare Vivier collaboration, and other fashion news that made headlines this week.

Fun Fashion Fact

Did you know that Helmut Lang is now a visual artist. The Austrian designer, who left fashion for good in 2005, repurposed materials salvaged from a fire at his studio to create sculptures that are on view at a SoHo gallery until February, 21.