Link Love: Staying-In Style

Now that many of us are working and staying at home, fashion sites worldwide are talking about what to wear in this new reality, with a focus on comfy attire. Here’s a roundup:

Fab Links from Our Members

CarolS’ eye was drawn to this article about where to get your fashion and beauty fix online.

Nordstrom’s alterations teams are sewing masks that will be used and distributed by Providence Health in Seattle. It made Angie’s heart happy hearing this, especially since she lives in Seattle and Nordstrom is a Seattle company.

Vildy was shocked to read that some sneaker soles last 1,000 years in landfill.

Alyson’s post about sturdy clothes and staying calm in a pandemic really resonated with nuancedream.

Zaeobi thought this Man Repeller article makes a good point: The Final Bows at Fashion Week Are Basically a How-To Manual for Cool Work Outfits.

Nemosmom directs us to “When You Work From Home, Every Day Is (Very) Casual Friday.”

Fab Finds: Assorted Items

This will probably be the last post for a while that is based on shopping outings with my clients. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago, and hesitated to post it at all. But in the spirit of taking a moment away from thinking about current events, here are some of the fab items we found.

Based on my most recent shopping trips with clients, I’m pleased to report that the quality of merchandise at retail is looking better than it has in years. Furthermore, retailers are offering sustainable solutions, and discounts have been aplenty. These fab finds cover a range of wardrobe items, price points, and vibes.

1. Vince Saxon 2 Slip-On Sneaker

A beautifully made slip-on flatform sneaker with a trendy snip square toe. Fits a regular volume foot best, and narrower feet can try adding an insole. They are moderately comfortable, and not “Naturalizer-comfortable”, but might work well for you. Chic, streamlined, and hip on the foot.

2. Marc Jacobs Softshot Crossbody Bags

Impeccable quality crossbody bags in a slew of versatile neutrals, and with either silver or gold hardware. The brilliance of the bag is its double volume. It has two zips, which you can see in detail on the product pages. They come in two sizes, and the straps are long enough for tall gals.

3. Loft Mixed Media Shell Top

These are unique because they have a woven front and a KNITTED back in exactly the same colours and patterns. They are fluid, comfortable, and easy to wash and wear. They layer well under jackets and cardigans, and look fab worn on their own. The armholes aren’t too wide, and the necklines differ. Might run a size big.

4. Furla Small and Medium Alba Satchel

IMPECCABLE quality satchels across TWO sizes that are absolutely gorgeous in a unique Modern Retro way. Their round shape from the side is beautifully elegant, which does not come through in the photos. Trust me when I say that this bag is darling. The zippers open up widely so that you can easily reach for the contents. You can use it as a crossbody or clutch it like a satchel. I have the smaller in white and pink. What looks like lilac is more grey in person.

5. ECCO Soft 7 High Tops and Slip-On Woven Sneaker

I can’t rave enough about the Ecco Soft 7 high tops that I have in white. I’ve been wearing them almost daily for three weeks (but not for client meetings). They are definitely my favourite ultra casual Spring boot. They look great with my wide crops and roomy cuffed jeans. Crisp, modern, clean-cut, and a fun nod to the ‘80s. They are extremely comfortable, and well-made. They work well for my low-volume feet with two sets of insoles. I wish they came in other colours, but in the meantime I am duplicating the white.

The slip-on Soft 7 with woven vamp is DIVINE on the foot, especially in the pewter and the dark blue. Well made, very comfortable, awfully neat and tidy, and interesting. Size up if you need an orthotic. The shoe has worked on a range of foot shapes. Add insoles for low-volume feet.

6. Club Monaco Trench Coats

I’ve seen and fitted all of these coats on clients and they are GORGEOUS. Impeccable quality, fab streamlined fits (tailored or very fluid), crisp, modern, trendy yet classic, and with a high longevity factor. Interestingly, the blue lacquer trench does not have buttons so you can only fasten it with the belt. It hangs well without a belt too. The maxi-length trenches do not have belts at all, and drape architecturally on the body. Their fits are genius, and fashion-forward. I wish they came in a larger assortment of sizes.

7. AllSaints Soft Dresses

If you like to wear dark moody dresses, head over to AllSaints to give their frocks a whirl. They are well-made, interesting, and quite refined. They can all be worn with bare legs and black stompy boots for a ‘90s edge. Feel free to throw on black leggings with flats or pumps with them too. The size assortment is unfortunately small.

8. AllSaints Ryder Checked Coat

If you like to wear bold toppers with architectural volume – try this beauty. It’s well-made, unlined, and LIGHTWEIGHT, so good for milder Springs or Autumns. The lines of the checks line up beautifully. It does not close in front and does not have a belt. It feels more like a cosy sweater coat than a structured coat. Comes in solid grey.

9. Waist-Cinching and Double Belts

These ‘80s inspired belts are extremely fun to wear over dresses and tunics, or with pants, skirts, jeans and shorts. The double belt styles don’t look like they can work with pants and jeans, but they do, and you can see how if you click on some of the links. You do need to wear a tight tucked top with the look for the belt to work that way though. If that’s not your cuppa tea, try it over a roomy tunic or dress.

Outstanding Outfit Bloggers

Playfully Modern Classic in Germany

Photographer and blogger Martina Klein (55) lives in Munich, and documents her outfits on her blog Still Sparkling. Her style is a mix of Modern Classic Polish and Trendy Playfulness. She likes to wear neutrals that are occasionally punctuated with pops of colour, and enjoys remixing the classics with fun trends.

“Over the last five years my style has become more brave. I love to mix materials and my outfits normally have an eye-catcher with a twist, while my prevailing colors have a natural hue. Fashion should be fun and express my positive personality, not simply following trends. I would describe my style as grown-up but playful.”

Martina Klein - 1

Texture-rich leather and suede come together perfectly in this soft-edged rock ’n’ roll look. Martina has combined black leather straight leg trousers with a white shirt and taupe suede mock neck top. The fluid fit suede top has three-quarter sleeves that allow the flouncy sleeves of the shirt to do their thing. The shirt also has an asymmetrical closure and stacked length that creates extra visual interest. Brown, high-heeled cowboy boots add pattern and pick up the black in the trousers.

Martina Klein - 2

This is a wonderful example of how to wear the on-trend shorter full-length flares with heels. Martina is sporting a beige short-sleeved overall-style jumpsuit with utility chic vibe. She’s layered it over a classic long-sleeved Breton tee. The red and white stripe is a clever way to add colour close to your face if beige isn’t your best colour. Unbuttoning the jumpsuit down to the waist showcases more of the tee. The self-tie belt accentuates our blogger’s waist and creates structure. The flower on the belt is a charming detail that softens the look. Martina’s brown snakeskin booties come out to play again, and the shorter hems on the jumpsuit let them shine in all their fun patterned glory. Cuff bracelets and red lippy that matches the red in the T finish off the look.

Martina Klein - 3

Romantic meets Cosy. Martina is wearing a black full midi skirt and cream chunky cable-knit turtleneck. The multiple layers of black tulle fabric create movement. Semi-tucking the pullover lengthens the leg line from the hips downward, and adds structure to the outfit. Pairing the calf-length skirt with simple flat black booties further elongates the leg line. As a topper, our blogger has picked a tan vintage leather jacket with weathered effect that adds subtle texture and soft edge. Long oversized tassel earrings in the same neutrals add playful movement and an earthy touch.

Martina Klein - 4

Martina wears a lot of neutrals but rocks brighter colours just as much. For this Modern Classic Polished Casual look she has paired dressy straight-legged trousers with a relaxed fit sweater with subtle self stripe. The light blue and mustard feels extra fresh and crisp for Spring. The sweater is layered over a long-sleeved black and white Breton tee that adds preppy pattern. A scarf in Delft blue and white does the same. Faux tucking the sweater showcases a white belt with streamlined silver buckle. The white is repeated in Martina’s sneakers that add a sporty touch to her outfit, and brings out the the white in her tee and scarf. A dressy black satchel and pink lipstick are the polished finishing touches.

Martina Klein - 5

This Summer outfit pairs earth tones with white for an Out-of-Africa-style hot-weather look. Martina has semi-tucked a dark brown top into white mid-rise cotton shorts. An unbuttoned flax linen high-low hem dress acts as a duster-style topper that creates outfit drama and great visual interest. The linen top and topper add texture and are great on hot Summer days. White thong Euro-style sandals bookend the shorts. An eye-catching oversized necklace in natural materials works well with the desert vibe of the outfit. Bright orange lipstick, watch and assorted bracelets tie everything together.

Martina Klein - 6

Martina toughens it up in this casual denim look with playful ‘80s vibe. She’s faux-tucked a white statement tee in blue distressed full-length jeans. Rolling the hems showcases white low-top sneakers and socks that bookend the T-shirt. An on-trend cream long blazer adds nonchalant, Miami Vice-style oversized flair. Rolling the blazer sleeves adds back in some structure. Big rectangular hoop earrings and dark blue nail varnish add a maximal touch. Black sunnies are the final Risky Business finishing touch.

Let us know what you think of Martina’s wonderful style, and then pop on over to her blog to browse the rest of her outfits.


Assorted Items

Some winning tops, toppers and shoes to kick off the new season.

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Fabulous Fabrics

The tops picks this week showcase great fabric, and there’s a fun roundup of shoes too.

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Assorted Items

A few fab items that worked well on clients and forum members.

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Dog Days of Summer

An assortment of casual and dressy top picks for warm weather.

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High and Low

This week’s top picks range greatly in price point and quality.

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Comfy White Sandals

My Summer top picks for white footwear.

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Finding the Silver Linings

It’s important to find the silver linings as we navigate these stressful and surreal times. Finding the positive, no matter how small, helps to keep me calm, strong, and focussed on spreading joy rather than fear. I’m going to share some of the silver linings I have found over the last couple of weeks. I’ve included some things that go beyond fashion and style, so advanced warning that it goes a little off topic.

The biggest silver lining in all of this, by far, is that my little family of three — hubs Greg, Yorkie Sam, and me — is together in our Seattle home. Since Greg normally works out of town most weeks, we are apart a lot. But with the current restrictions on travel, Greg is spending all of his time working from home with me and Sam. It’s quite magical.

Sam is happiest when his pack of three is together, so he thinks it’s Christmas! Going for daily walks as a little nucleus of three, and lapping up attention from the BOTH of us all day is Samtopia. His extra happiness is therapeutic, in turn, is therapeutic for us.

Life has slowed down because during lockdown, neither of us have to be somewhere other than at home in the morning. Although I get up at the same time, I don’t need to rush. I take my time with physical therapy exercises, taking Sam out, getting ready, cleaning up, and making breakfast. For now, I welcome the slowdown.

Spring has sprung and Seattle is sunny, beautiful, calm, and the views from our loft are as soothing as ever. Gardens look luscious, flowers are blossoming, grass is green, and birds are singing with their very best voices. It reached 16 °C (61F) last week, which is brilliant for this time of year. Walking outside without the cold, wind and rain is a treat. And our indoor and balcony plants are looking great, so perhaps I’m finally developing green fingers.

I love to cook up a storm, and am doing just that. I make three reasonably healthy and tasty meals a day with the ingredients that I have on hand. There is some meal planning, but not much. I’m doing interesting things with leftovers, using every scrap of food, and freezing a lot more than I used to. I like the creativity and spontaneity of our menu, and document some of it on Instagram and stories if you’re interested.

After a fall last November, yoga has been replaced by 40 minutes of daily physical therapy. Recently the PT moved to every second day, and I have finally been able to add a slow and meditative yoga routine on the off days. I have missed it so much, and I’m very glad to have it back in my life. 

Greg and I find things to laugh about all the time. Being together at home so much means that we can share more and laugh more together, which is good for the head, heart and soul. It makes it even more of a pleasure to be in each other’s company 24/7.

Walking into my walk-in closet continues to give me pleasure. It’s organized, sunny, and bursting with my happy colours that spark joy. My functional and fab-for-me wardrobe allows me to have fun putting together daily lockdown outfits and dressing up, even though I have nowhere to go. I do not leave items for good, and wear my beautiful things because it makes me feel prepared, productive, and “normal” for the day. Routine and structure is important to me, and so too is being well groomed at home. I’m making my wardrobe work hard, because why not!

My hair salon might be closed for months, so I’ll probably have some sort of asymmetrical, layered bob by July. That’s unexpected, and I’m intrigued at how I’ll be styling my hair through the growth phase. I haven’t had a bob for decades so this will be an interesting hair adventure.

Troubled and stressful times are sobering. They give me an acute perspective on what is important in my life, and what is not. They make me even more grateful for what I have, allowing me to minimize the cobwebs in my head. This makes me stronger, better and nicer person, which is a plus for those around me too.

Over to you. Please share your own silver linings with us in the comments below.

The Five Levels of Work-at-Home Style

Maintaining social distance is extremely important if we are to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus. To that end, most of us are working and staying at home, which can have a big impact on our style and dress code. A lot of this has to do with the extent to which we are visible to others via videoconferencing, but it is also driven by our own personal needs. 

The styles and dress codes of my friends, clients and family members who work from home runs the gamut. Some are dressy, and some are as casual as can be. For fun, I’m going to define five levels of work-at-home style.

Level 1. Maintaining the Dressy Status Quo

Your dress code at home is as dressy and pulled together as it would have been if you were at the office, or in your regular work setting. You don’t make the distinction between working at home or at the office. You style your hair, apply your make-up routine, and choose a dressier professional outfit to wear daily because that’s the way you roll. It makes you feel fabulous and productive. Plus you get to enjoy and wear your fun wardrobe of beautiful items.

Level 2. Relaxing into Polished Casual Wear

You style your hair, apply your make-up routine, and choose a professional outfit, but add a more casual integrity to the look. That means leaving off the blazer and jacket, and wearing a cardigan or wrap instead for warmth. You wear fewer accessories, add cosy socks, and leave on your house shoes or slippers instead of wearing outside shoes. You opt for smart casual looks instead of business casual looks. You might need to wear warmer tops because it gets cold working at your desk. You wear jeans instead of dressier trousers, tailored dresses, and skirts. You wear less fitted and structured clothing, but still look professional.

Level 3. Halfway House

This dress code makes me laugh. There is a strong disconnect between the top and bottom half of the outfit. You dress professionally and quite formally on top — where co-workers can see you — but there’s one heck of a casual party from the waist down. Styled hair, make-up, accessories, and professional separates up top, but leggings, lounge pants, pyjama bottoms, and slippers or no shoes at the bottom. 

Level 4. Loungewear and Athleisure

You like the Lululemon look and typically wear workout wear as casual wear when you work and stay home. Leggings, track tops, T-shirts, workout tops, fleece tops, sneakers, and items like that in any brand. Sometimes you style your hair and wear make-up and accessories, and sometimes you don’t.

Loungewear is not workout wear or Athleisure. Lounge items are soft and floppy knitted sweats in unstructured silhouettes, like a sweatshirt with joggers or roomy track pants with cosy socks and slippers. Some people wear robes, kaftans, shorts, tees, and flip-flops instead of sweats.

Level 5. Pyjamas

You’re working at home in what you wore to sleep in the night before. You haven’t changed or showered, and haven’t done your normal daily grooming regimen. You get cracking with work soon after you roll out of bed because it doesn’t matter how you present yourself. No one will see you, except for family members or roommates, so why bother with daily grooming right away. You can shower after your work is done.

I work from home when I’m writing YLF blog posts, participating on the YLF forum, and attending to my clients needs online. Although my outfits are not visible to anyone but hubs Greg and Yorkie Sam when I work at home, I dress up daily because that’s one of the fun and stress-free parts of my life. After all, I’m a fashion professional, so I want to look fashionable, dressy, and pulled together each day. What I wear makes me feel appropriately turned out for my profession, and more productive too.

My dress code is a combination of Levels 1 and 2. I shower every morning, choose a professional outfit, style my hair, apply make-up, wear some accessories, and absolutely wear and enjoy my pretty dressy clothes. I will wear dry-clean-only items, sport dressy dresses and skirts, go business casual, sport pearls, wear lippie, and curl my hair for working at home on my desktop or laptop. I will though leave off the blazers and jackets, and wear slippers because we don’t wear outside shoes at home. I sometimes cover my shoulders with a cashmere or woolly wrap, because it can get cold working at my desk.

Over to you. What’s your dress code level when you work from or stay at home? Remember that there is no right or wrong answer. Style is a personal choice and the best way to dress is the one that works for your life and headspace.