Lovely Loose Layers for Summer

Designer Eileen Fisher is known for her fashionable and somewhat avant-garde, unstructured silhouettes made of natural fibres. The palette is generally neutral, but pastels and brights feature in every Spring and Summer collection. The outfit below is a typical Summer Eileen Fisher outfit. I think it’s fabulous. 

The outfit is an excellent way of keeping covered AND cool on a hot, sunny day. It’s made of a soft linen, but a version in cotton, silk or blends of those fabrics would work equally well. Of course, you have to be at peace with the crease and the casualness of the vibe.

Lovely Loose Layers

This is not a traditionally flattering outfit because it conceals the shape of the body. In fact, it’s a look that’s beyond body type. When the proportions are right — anyone can wear it. Here’s why the outfit works well:

  • A Tonal Colour Palette: The white and pearl grey are low contrast to one another, creating an elongating and harmonious effect. The key word here is TONAL, and you can create the same effect with any colour palette. Think of it in black and navy linen with black sandals, for example.
  • Perfect Pant Lengths: The shorter length of the wide crops — two to four inches above the ankle bone — goes a long way to creating just enough structure in the outfit. 
  • The Open Topper: The unfastened topper creates a vertical line down the front of the body, drawing the eye up and down and visually streamlining the look.

If I were to nitpick about lengths — which I am infamous for doing — I’d have shortened the length of the tunic so that it’s a couple of inches longer than the topper, but not as long as it’s shown here. That would create a slightly more polished appearance. 

Petites can absolutely wear the combination when they keep the lengths of the tunic and topper a little shorter. In cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong, these types of outfits are not uncommon, and the women that wear them are typically very petite. But they adjust the proportions, which makes the difference. Casual flats look fab so no need for heels. A slubby linen scarf in the same tonal palette would be a nice addition, as would some casual jewellery. 

Although I personally prefer to wear a linen, silk or cotton casual shirt dress or sack dress with sleeves and collar for sun protection when it’s hot and sunny, I like this look on others. How about you?

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The Relentless Sneaker Trend

The sneaker in all its forms — athletic, fashion and hybrid — is the shoe of our fashion eraIt’s worn across all genders, body types, and ages, across the globe. I can’t think of another style of shoe that has made a bigger impact on modern fashion. The trend has gone way beyond the iconic Converse, Adidas and Puma. There are millions of styles of sneakers to choose from these days, and it’s fashionably acceptable to style them into just about any outfit. We live in a sneaker obsessed world. 

The Sporty Luxe Trend, which mixes luxurious and dressy pieces with sporty accents like fashion sneakers, was born about four years ago and is still going strong. The Athleisure Trend, which encourages us to sport uber casual athletic wear as regular casual wear, was born at about the same time and is as popular as ever. Now there’s the trend that dress-code-wise fits in between the two. It simply encourages us to wear fun fashion sneakers with any regular casual outfit. For lack of a better description, I’m calling it the “Modern Casual Trend”.

Sneakers are the most worn shoe on the street in urban and suburban settings. Workplace dress codes have relaxed right up to the point that sneakers are becoming more and more acceptable. You can wear sneakers to work at most tech and software companies these days. Commuting by foot, public transport or bicycle often means that you’ll wear sneakers for the commute and change into dressy shoes at the office. If you lead a casual lifestyle, you might  wear sneakers several times a week. If you walk a dog daily, you’ll change into sneakers for the walk. If you wear business casual or business formal all week, you’ll probably wear sneakers over the weekend. And if you’re in a very creative profession, you’ll enjoy the juxtaposition of casual sneakers in all sorts of weird and wonderful avant-garde combinations. 

I was visiting my Dad in the Netherlands a few weeks ago, and Spring collections were in full force. EVERY footwear store had a large assortment of white, pink and metallic fashion sneakers. Sneakers dominated display windows, most of the mannequins were styled with sneakers, AND most of the people in the street were wearing fashion sneakers. I took some pics of sneaker displays while I was shopping with Inge in Arnhem.

Arnhem Sneakers

I used to wear Converse Chuck Taylors regularly until their fit stopped working for my feet. I went for years without wearing fashion sneakers because I couldn’t find a style that I liked more than that magically streamlined and Modern Retro All Star Converse. I also found most sneakers too wide and uncomfortable. As always, all good things come to those who wait. Converse recently changed the fit of their fancy leather hi-tops and now they work well for my feet. I have three pairs that I love and wear regularly in cold weather. 

I also love the look of crisp white low-top sneakers, but the Stan Smiths were a bad fit and slightly too athletic looking for my style. I was after a prettier sneaker, but battled with fits that were too wide in the styles that I liked. I eventually found the perfect white Spring and Summer sneaker from Frye and they became instant wardrobe workhorses. I wear them daily to walk our Yorkie, Sam. I love these Frye sneakers so much, that I just added a pink pair to my sneaker capsule. I’ll keep those for nice and not take them on muddy dog walks. Here’s my current collection of fashion sneakers. 

I’m THRILLED that fashion is acknowledging our need for comfortable and practical footwear that looks fun and fabulous. As long as sneakers do not become the only shoe on the market, and there are plenty of other styles to choose from, I support the relentless sneaker trend. Over to you. What do you think of the modern sneaker trend, and do you wear fashion sneakers? If so, how regularly do you wear them?

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Ensemble: Casual Pastel Pink & Blue

This ensemble was inspired by my own pastel pink and blue casual outfits that I’ve enjoyed wearing over the last few weeks. The palette is for those who like to wear pastels from head to toe, which is an acquired taste. The effect is soft and pretty, and extra crisp with white. No hard edge at all.

The exact items from my wardrobe are in the collection below. I mixed and matched these pieces to create lots of different outfits.

Create your own outfits by remixing light blue, blush pink and white. Note that faded denim is a great way to provide the pastel blue component of the look. And if you like the idea of pastels, but prefer wearing them in small doses, combine dark blue jeans with a white top, and pick up the pastels in accessories like a scarf and bag, like I have done in the ensemble on the right

Here are the components: 

Bottoms: Think light wash, white or regular blue jeans or skirt. Blush jeans are fab too. 

Tops: Think pastel blue, blush or white blouse, shirt, tee, knitted top or pullover. Create a contrast or column of colour with the bottoms. 

Toppers: This is an optional extra. We usually need some type of topper in Seattle because Spring is chilly, but by all means do without. Think light-coloured trench coat, moto, blazer, cardigan or another style of jacket that works with the palette. A metallic topper will also work, and so will a denim jacket in a different wash to the bottoms. 

Footwear: Keep the footwear LIGHT in colour. Add white, blush, nude, tan, pearl grey or metallic shoes to the outfit. 

Accessories: A Spring & Summer scarf in the colours of the palette is a great way to pull the look together, especially when you’re wearing pastel pink shoes. Choose a LIGHT-coloured handbag, like white, blush, nude, tan, dove grey or metallic. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired. 

I’ve chosen light pink and blue because they’re my favourite pastels, but the formula works as well with pastels like mint and lilac.

Ensemble: Casual Pastel Pink & Blue

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Roundups

Assorted Items

Fun stuff to add to your wardrobe for Spring and Summer.

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Casual Dresses

An assortment of easy casual dresses for Summer, some of which can be dressed up.

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Weekly Roundup: COS Picks

An arty and glam list of top picks from Scandinavian COS.

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Replenishing my Basics

I’ve been replenishing wardrobe basics recently, and these are the items that work well for me.

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Spring Jackets

Swap out your Winter coat for a jacket as we move into a lovely mild Spring.

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Affordable Tops

An assortment of tops that won’t break the bank.

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Shorts and Your Style

In this post, by shorts, I mean lengths that have inseams of five inches and shorter.

In the Summertime casual shorts are extremely popular in my neck of the woods. Men, women, teens and children all wear short shorts in Seattle. Most of my clients in Seattle wear shorts, but to varying degrees. Some wear them all Summer long with tees, cotton blouses, knitted tops, open-weave pullovers, sneakers, sandals, or flip-flops. They wear shorts to do errands, shop, go out to dinner, camp, garden, walk the dogs, and for all sorts of casual settings that involve children. Some wear shorts at home to lounge and work in the garden but that’s it. Some haul them out on a hot day over the weekend. Others will wear them on beach, resort, camping, hiking, golfing and theme park vacations and leave it at that. 

Although I regularly shop for shorts with clients, I am in the minority and don’t wear them myself. I wore them a lot until my mid twenties, but not since then. Here are the reasons:

  • It’s seldom hot enough to do so since I live in Seattle and run cold. (Although our weather doesn’t seem to stop anyone else.) 
  • When it IS hot enough, I’d much rather wear a casual shirt or sack dress that’s just above the knee with flats. Casual dresses simply suit my style and sartorial preferences better than shorts. I LOVE wearing trousers, but don’t enjoy wearing shorts. 
  • I prefer the thigh coverage of a Summer dress, which makes me feel a little dressier and more elegant than when I wear shorts. 
  • I like the breezy yet covered feeling on my legs when I wear a roomy frock in hot weather. 
  • I have two pairs of denim cut-offs (old BF jeans), that are just above the knee so longer than typical shorts. I wear them when we take doggies swimming, and very occasionally on a walk with Sam. 
  • I don’t go on the types of vacations or do the types of sports that require shorts, and don’t do gardening or go camping. 
  • My Summer loungewear is soft, airy, covered and floppy. I grew up in a tropical climate and never feel overly warm in Seattle.

Over to you. Do shorts work for your style. When and how frequently do you wear them?

Weekly Roundup: Assorted Items

This week’s top picks list covers a range of items that worked on clients, on myself, or that simply caught my eye. Lots of well-made pieces, some on sale, at an assortment of price points, and in many colour options. Some of the items are available in petites. Happy browsing. 

  • Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC Leather Crossbody Bag: If you like mini cross-body bags, this one is sublime. Well made and unique with the rope strap. All the colour options are nice. Personally, I like the citron best. Maximal.
  • Frye Ivy Low Lace: I have these fashion sneakers in white and pink and can't rave enough about them. Instant wardrobe workhorses. Extremely comfortable, beautifully made, flattering on the foot, and well suited to low volume feet. If the Adidas Stan Smith and Ecco Soft 7 sneaker are too wide for you - try these. They're sublime and well worth the price.
  • Kate Spade New York 'emerson place - small phoebe' quilted leather shoulder bag: A dressy chain-handle bag for Team Polished & Dressy. The bag does not close entirely up top, so consider yourself warned. I preferred the white, but the black is nice too. There's a smaller size that's simply darling.
  • Loft Flamingo Tassel Scarf: Fun Flamingo Fabness. It's acrylic but feels quite nice against the skin. The tassels create a much more polished effect than fringe, to my eye. This one followed me home and I've worn it quite a bit.
  • Rebecca Minkoff Unlined Whipstitch Feed Bag: Lightweight crossbody bag that moulds to your body. Very well made and casually chic. Does not close completely up top though.
  • Hinge Gentle Floral Scarf: Super soft scarf that drapes like a dream despite its polyester-rich content. The tassels are lilac in person and add a fun textured touch. Works well for warm and cool-toned skin types. I bought this to match my pink sneaks.
  • Ann Taylor Lantern Sleeve Sweater: Crisp, trendy and pretty. VERY soft and a gorgeous bright white. Easy to launder. Great for a chilly Spring day. Sleeves are longer than shown. Streamlined fit on the upper torso and arms, and boxy at the waist. FAB drape. Too short for long waists unless you wear a high rise. Lantern sleeves are subtle and will not overwhelm a small frame. I love this top, and wear it with my wide cropped jeans.
  • Ann Taylor Shirred Peplum Sweater: An off-white peplum that works on a shorter and regular waist. Torso defining, but forgiving on the waist and belly. Peplum is subtle. Fab layer under jackets. PRETTY.
  • Halogen Rosina Laser Cut Wedge Sandal: Extremely comfortable dressier wedges IF you can manage the heel height. Not good on high volume feet. Flattering on the foot. Elegant.
  • Madewell Plaid Tie-Back Top: Fun plaid tie top for broader shoulders and a smaller bust. Too short for a long waist unless worn with a high rise.
  • Chino By Anthropologie | Anthropologie Relaxed Chino Pants: Fab chino for a curvier bottom half. Works as well on straighter body types, although you might need to size down.
  • Halogen Tie Front Skirt: Super cute skirt that suits a range of body types. Straighter figures should size down.
  • Halogen Fringe Tweed Vest: Great Summer vest for a long body or Team Tall. Might need to size down.
  • Halogen Soft Utility Jacket: A polished, and dressier utility jacket that can work as well for the office as it does in relaxed settings. Well suited to apple shapes, inverted triangles, and rectangles. Works well on a larger bust. Great on petites in the petite size.
  • Halogen Ruched Drape Front Tank: Best on a smaller bust, and works well on both straighter and curvier figures. Nice underarm coverage.
  • Halogen Tie Sleeve Sweatshirt: Maximal Sweatshirt Fabness. The sleeves are heavy and long so best on long arms.
  • Halogen Peplum Top: Super cute gingham top that's dressier in person. It has a little stretch and is quite fitted. Works surprisingly well on a petite apple with a large bust because the substantial fabric glides over the contour of the body.
  • Halogen Ruffle Sleeve Shift Dress: Fab dress or tunic for Team Tall. The sleeves are bold so you have to be okay with that. Runs big so size down at least one size.
  • Trouvé Tie Front Tank: Good tie top that suits a range of body types. The tie does not create a bulky effect on the midsection. Good length for longer torsos. All the colours are nice. Nice underarm coverage.
  • Michael Stars Smocked Yoke Peasant Top: A peasant top that works on most body types. Great look with bell-bottom jeans.
  • Michael Stars Stripe Crop Sweatshirt: A cropped striped top in a dainty fabric to wear with high-waisted jeans. Quite slouchy, but its cropped length adds structure.
  • Caslon Linen Shirtdress: These linen dresses look best in the stripes and in the blue. They might run a size big. Nice length, and can be worn as a dress, or over cropped straights. Perfectly breezy and covered for Summer if you are at peace with the crease.
  • Tory Burch Sawyer Needlepoint Shoulder Bag: GORGEOUS Polished Boho. Beautifully made, and as fab in the solid red and turquoise. Lies flat against the body when worn on the shoulder.
  • Persaman New York Iris Shoulder Bag Tote: A happy Summer tote with an organizational inner.
  • SAN DIEGO HAT Pineapple Scarf: A Summery scarf made of a perfectly crisp, crinkled cotton. The tassels are more grey in person. I didn't like how tassel-heavy the scarf was, so I hacked off every other tassel, and now it's more suited to my style. LOVE the citron, and complements a citron bag. It's bulky though, so consider yourself warned. Available in turquoise in stores.
  • Caslon Stripe Linen Blend Scarf: A slubby linen scarf that works well on cool-toned complexions. Drapes well and isn't bulky.
  • Zara Limited Edition Floral Necklace Details: A spectacular floral garden of bling.
  • Caslon Embroidered Trim Shift Dress: Super duper, very lightweight and pretty Summery dress. Good on an apple, inverted triangle and rectangular body type. Will work on a subtle hourglass too. Good on a larger bust. Read the rave reviews.
  • Michael Stars Lace Yoke Gauze Top: Boho Lite blouse that suits a long neck and smaller bust. Forgiving on the midsection.
  • Rebecca Minkoff 'Brooke' Ankle Strap Pump: A great pair of dark blue red shoes with a comfortable fit and stable heel. Soft suede that's kind to you feet. Elegant on the foot. Best on low and regular volume feet. On trend.

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

Zappos
Frye Ivy Low Lace
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Top Pick
13
Loft
Flamingo Tassel Scarf
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15
Madewell
Plaid Tie-Back Top
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Top Pick
4
Nordstrom
Halogen Peplum Top
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Top Pick
6