Monday, July 28, 2014

Preppy Summer Staples: Sale Edition

You know fall is nearing when summer sales top the 50% off mark.  It's a bittersweet time of the year when you can stock up on summer seersucker for a great price, but soon temperatures will be dropping and vacations will be ending.  But, if like me, you prefer to look on the bright side, then your closet can also become just a little brighter with these preppy summer staples (I confess to have stocked up on a few, myself).

Seersucker: Brooks Brothers Skirt | J. Crew Dress | Sperry for J. Crew Boat Shoes | J. Crew Swimsuit
Nautical: Tommy Hilfiger Striped Shirt | Brooks Brothers Silk Scarf | Brooks Brothers Knot Link Bracelet | Brooks Brothers Espadrilles | Sperry for J. Crew Boat Shoes
Tennis Whites: Tommy Hilfiger Dress | Lacoste Dress | J. Crew Flats | Ralph Lauren Belt

Even better, J. Crew currently has free shipping (even to Canada) if you spend over $100, and if you order in-store through Brooks Brothers, they will also wave any shipping and duty costs (such a relief for us Canadians). If you're in Toronto, pop by the Flatiron store on Bloor and St. George for 50% off all of their summer items.  You can stock up on crisp gingham or striped collared shirts for under $50. And by the time you add up all of the extra 40% off at J. Crew, or extra 50% off at Tommy Hilfiger, you're seriously getting more bang for your buck.

Here's hoping the late spring means a longer summer, so these staples can stay out just a little longer.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Lilly Pulitzer Pattern Play for Tech

I always vow to banish the bland, play up patterns, and make every day just a little brighter - and that includes my tech.  As a former Floridian, downplaying colors just doesn't seem right to me.  I've been a fan of Lilly Pulitzer for as long as I can remember, and I just love that the brand has broadened its reach to downloadable desktop wallpapers (see here for a library). I've been using their patterns on my desktops for a while,  but I've just been over-the-moon with the most recent prints they've posted.

Inspired by the sea, creatures galore, and beautiful blooms, each design is bursting with color and charm.

I've updated the library of Lilly prints, so check it out for some of the newer and older designs, but here are some of my recent favorites.

Watch Out - Lilly always calls the seafaring girls home.

Lobstah Roll - For those obsessed with this year's favorite summer food.

I Herd You - The Royal Tenenbaums, anyone?

Sunny Side - A vintage-looking print for the Lilly Leos of the world.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Work Trip Essentials

Unfortunately I don't get to travel often for work, but when I do, I have a few essential rules to ensure I'm always prim, professional, and smartly packed.  You really never know who you may run into, or what the occasion may call for, so it's important that everything you bring can contribute to your professional persona.

Pajama Sets: Polka Dot Joe Fresh | Vintage J. Crew 
Single Color Palette: Striped J. Crew Shirt | Giant Gray Kate Spade Bag | Dusty Blue J. Crew Cardigan | Flared Pink Tartan Skirt | Boden Dot Dress
Flats: Quilted  Ann Taylors | Banana Republic Bows | Kate Spade Snakeskins

Pajama Sets - It may seem silly to be concerned about pajamas, but last year at my agency's annual conference the fire alarm went off at 3am in our hotel... I ended up in the lobby with coworkers, delegates, and even clients.  Leave those cartoon boxers and worn t-shirts at home and invest in a spiffy pair from J. Crew or Brooks Brothers, or even a classic affordable pair from Joe Fresh.

Single Color Palette - Always find yourself with an over-stuffed suitcase?  My rule of thumb to minimizing packing is to stick to only a few colors.  Black, green, and white, or navy, grey, and light blue - there are so many great palettes from which to choose that can take you from day to night and from hot to chilly.  You can easily mix and match between a few shirts, skirts, and sweaters, and even more easily accessorize.

Fancy Flats - It doesn't matter how comfortable even my kitten heels are, after a day running around at a conference and networking at cocktail events, my feet still beg me for flats.  I always keep a pair of fancy flats in my giant leather tote, just in case.  

From travel bags, to day totes, to notebooks, to glasses - you always want to look your best.  You never know if your flight will carry other delegates, the fire alarm in your hotel goes off in the middle of the night, or you break a heel at a networking event.  Each piece you bring should be a reflection of a young professional who is organized, stylish, and always prepared.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Vintage Finds for the Family's Matriarch

Every girl remembers those key pieces her mom always wore.  If, like me, you're a product of the 80s and 90s, those pieces included giant clip-on earrings in obnoxious colors, stacks of bracelets, and silk scarves.  The patterns and colors may change, but those pieces remain key staples year after year.

I once dismissed all giant clip-ons and silk scarves as matronly, but now I embrace them.  They say that we eventually become our mothers as we age, and I fear I've hit that stage a little prematurely.  I now yearn for that matriarchal, polished, grande dame look, sifting through vintage markets and antique stores for daring clip-ons and bright scarves to tie around my neck or purse.  And of course, I've rummaged through my mother's closet and jewelry box a few too many times.

This Mother's Day, it's time to replace some of those pieces I have "borrowed" over the years.  As much as I'd like to splurge and buy my mother a classic Hermes scarf, it's simply not even close to my budget.  I'll be hitting the NYC markets next week and shamefully sending my mother her gift a tad late, but I'm inspired by some of the great vintage pieces on Etsy.

Here are my favorite pairings of earrings and scarves, fit for any grande dame (and each under $50 to boot!):

I can't wait to rummage through some of New York's finest antique markets, but until then I'll just swoon over these pairings and figure out which style speaks loudest to my family's magnificent matriarch.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Why Don't You...

Everyone needs a little inspiration now and again to boost their mood, creative spirit, or work productivity.   From Pinterest to magazines to blogs, there's an endless supply of inspiration out there to cater to whatever it is you need "boosting."  As much as a I love a novel to drift me into some fantasy of 1920s parties or trips along the French Riviera, biographies and memoirs are one of my greatest sources of inspiration.   I love reading about how real people stumbled into their current dream roles, worked through prejudices and misconceptions, and somehow managed to make the world just a little better or brighter through their talents.  

It's no secret that I love art and fashion, so I frequently impulsively buy biographies of artists, designers, and stylish tastemakers from Amazon.  Over the winter break I found myself devouring books by and about Diana Vreeland.  Now there's a woman who had no qualms about showing the world who she was.  She dared to wear rouge to her ears, defy traditions, and embellish a story to make it oh-so-fabulous.  

Indicative of her sometimes outlandish (but always charming) nature, her column for Harper's Bazzar named Why Don't You... challenged readers to add a little extra pizzazz into their lives.  I may not want to wash my blonde hair in stale champagne, but I am trying up the grace and charm in my life and celebrate every moment.   There are so many ways to instantly lift a foul mood, indulge during a dull moment, and simply live life to its fullest.  In keeping with Diana Vreeland, I'm going to start challenging myself and others to add a little bit more pizzazz into the everyday. 

Today I begin with a favorite pick-me up.