Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Made in Canada

One thing I love to do while shopping in foreign cities, is look for authentic clothing and fashion away from the mainstream names and brands found back home. There is nothing I love more than walking into a local boutique that features handmade items or off the cuff styles true to the trends of its location. Canada was not far behind the American fashion scene. The city consisted of the all too familiar stores I've seen city to city. If you look hard enough and let your eye stray away from the big names, you can always find a one of a kind store hidden to the untrained eye. 

My find of the week was a Canadian based store names Artizia that has expanded country-wide and even made it's way into the states. Having started in Vancouver, this increasingly popular clothing store has maintained its small roots origins in the heart of Whistler Village. I was happily greeted by the two young women working the floor who offered several pieces of advance and suggestions for great outfit combinations. 

I was told that all the brands featured in Aritzia, including Wilfred, TNA, and Tulula were all original collections found only in Aritizia stores. After investigating the online site, I instantly feel in love with this store and every collection they feature. I wasn't going to lose the chance to take a little of Canadian fashion home with me and immediately headed for the dressing room to try on a few of the numerous pieces I simply adored. If I could have had one of everything on the racks, I would have instantly created my ideal wardrobe. With my souvenir budget limited, I happily walked away with two items I'm dying to show off back in the States.
When I saw this Floral Blazer I new it was the perfect Spring apparel to add life to my semi-colorless collection of day dresses and casual blouses. 
(Blazer by Talula)
The silkiness and relaxed feel of this wrap dress stole my heart at first touch. I opted for an sea foam green color that worked best with my skin tone. The cropped sleeves and thin shoulder pads add definition to the looseness of the wrap.
(Le Fou Wrap Dress by Wilfred)

I was ecstatic to learn that along with the locations in Chicago, Vancouver, Soho and Whistler, an Artizia of our own is soon to appear in Michigan! The Somerset location will be opening this year and when it does I'll be first in line to get another piece to add to my Canadian collection. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happiest Place on Earth

I never would have pictured myself in a place with snow year-round and a high altitude climate that has you short of breath, but after my weekend stay in Whistler, BC I was dying to be a part of this all around amazing place. Besides the less then idea weather, the resort based village of Whistler truly has the best of both worlds. With its picture-est scenic views, never ending mountains and fresh air feel, the atmosphere of a naturalistic life exudes from everyone. I have never wanted to explore the outdoors more after hearing about the countless opportunities to enjoy the beautiful lands of the Canadian mountain range. Aside from the bountiful possibilities of natural beauty, Whistler is unique in the way it's small village creates a hub for fashion, food and festivities to embody a"big city" appeal in close proximity to the natural persevered land.

After mornings of rigorous skiing and snowshoe explorations followed by a muscle loosening trip to the resort spa, I was dying to hit the streets on a shopping journey of my own. Driving through the main city I was pleased to see several expected style staples like Guess, Prada, Ralph Lauren and typical retail stores seen on the stripes of any major shopping destination, yet once I discovered the Canadian based boutiques and small town shops hidden within the village, I new that the outdoorsy people of Whistler knew a thing or two about fashion for street chic style after the slopes. Not only were the resort staff, ski employees, local boarders and restaurant and shop owners extremely warming and friendly, but each contained an enormous amount of knowledge on the history, culture, trends and lifestyles of a true Whistler naive. Meeting individuals from all around the world that had flocked to Whistler for work, travel or school all had the same story about falling in love and never wanting to go back.

I would never define myself as a tree-hugging, nature lover that was meant to live close to the wilderness, but after visiting Whistler and getting a taste of the multidimensional and extremely unique combination of traditional standards and modern style, I have changed my opinion about what makes an exceptional place for developing my own niche for fashion. I've learned to not only embrace the land, but transform the elements of nature into a style that is as fresh and eye-opening as the vast mountainous views I saw overlooking the horizon on the peak of Whistler Mountains.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Head for the Hills

Spring break in the mountains is not your typical hot and steamy vacation get-a-way, but the snow covered mountains of Whistler Blackcomb are as close to wintery paradise as you can get. Hitting the slopes by day and staying fireside by night calls for all your my most decidant ski-bunny apparel. I've packed up my furs, picked out my favorite knee high leather boots, and selectied plenty of cozy knits for a luxurious vacation at one of the most beautiful resorts in the world. Heading for the hills in style is my mission this Spring break. Wait and see what adventures I take on during my mountain side retreat.

This hardcore black on black leather look from Felipe Oliverira Baptista's Fall 2010 collection is my idea of edgy ski apparel. With the liquid leggings and unignorable fur ankle boots, I can't help but attempt to mimic this look by layering on heavy knits to balance the uneven proportions. What a perfect combination of rough and intimate with just the right amount of fur for a mountainous get-a-way.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

For the Love of Fashion

What you see on the pages of a magazine is a magical scene that's breathtakingly elegant, effortlessly simplistic, and unbelievably beautiful. What a designer sees in the images from their latest shoot is success the attention brought to even the smallest of details, the cohesiveness of every piece whether it be planned or unexpectedly added at the last minute, and the perfection that is embody with the models as if they were made for the collection. There is much more beyond the physical picture that goes into successfully photographing and advertising for each new line of every designer striving for the best and most accurate depiction of their image. One cannot fully understand the countless hours spent creating, composing, envisioning and bringing to life a series of looks that could potentially make or break your career in a matter of frames unless you have actually taken part in the whirled-wind of excitement that is a photo shoot.

Recently, I've gotten an inside look at what it takes to create a brand and make a collection that is truly your own while working with new designer and stylist, Ella Sven. Her passion, dedication and absolute love for her clothing, lifestyle and the fashion industry as a whole, has shown me what exactly it takes to be successful in this industry. When all is said and done, that one image, that one frame, that captures everything that is your vision, is only a mere glimpse of the actually sweat, blood and tears that has been the foundation of real achievement. Being new to the world of fashion, I've quickly realized that true love for what you do and what you create is the ONLY way your frequently believed unattainable dreams can be accomplished and conquered.

It takes only a few seconds to flip through ad after ad in a magazine, or scroll mindlessly through the images of a designer's look book, but for each picture taken, each item of clothing strategically planned and each ever so slight shift in posture of the model, hours upon hours or time, stress, dedication and admiration for the look that was created have taken place. I graciously praise the passion for design that many highly accomplished fashion figures possess, and I deeply hope that one day, my love for fashion will be embodied in a way that every dreamer, like myself, can see and be inspired by.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stuck in Seasonal Limbo

When the sun is shining, my all around ora tends to feel the same way. With my winter wardrobe full of heavy knits and dark, drab colors and the outdoor conditions demanding something different, I'm thinking I'll be transitioning over to my spring closet sooner than expected. Even though I love black, and could wear it every single day, it is important for me to accent my outfit with more lively tones and slight color variation to coordinate with the appropriate season. PLUS, in Michigan with weather as bi-polar as Lindsey Lohan's hair color, you have to take advantage of every warm day you're given because the next could be potentially blizzards.

 February and March are months of disorientation as far as what to wear. The weather and temperatures are constantly teetering on the edge of mildly warm and briskly cool. Savvy individuals know to never depend on the accuracy of a local weather forecast. I insist on checking the weather the night before, morning of, and hour by hour in attempts to create the most appropriate outfit for the day, and night. Lately I’ve been mixing different seasonal pieces to create a mutated collaboration of multi-seasonal attire. Today I choose a thick blazer jacket with loafers and a heavy wrap scarf to make up for my lighter apparel. I've seen several women attempting to break out there favorite spring sundresses, which is perfectly fine with a cardigan or shawl but it is DEFINITELY too early for bare legs! Black tights are always acceptable in winter or spring, especially with a brightly colored or patterned dress.

I've been given my sunglasses extra attention lately. Any time the sun is shining, whether there be snow on the ground or buds popping up on trees, shades should be worn to protect your eyes from unwanted strain. Playful frames are a usual pre-spring quality that instantly adds color to a more wintered look. My favorite outfit consists of an all black ensemble. Solid black skinnies and a sleek black turtle neck top with a pair of classic white, tortoise or turquois Ray-bans frames and oversized statement studs topped off by a messy high bun is my ideal for simplistic yet purposeful style. I'm never trying to hide myself behind layer upon layer of thick wool or heavy winter jackets and as life around me beings to flourish, as does my apparel. I'm beginning to shed my layers as the slow transition from winter to spring approaches with each new day. Embrace this unique climate shift and experiment with pieces with an array of seasonal purposes.
Olivia Palermo is one of my style icons. She is ALWAY dress perfectly for the occasion and the weather. She has a keen sense for knowing what works, and what doesn't. The way she pairs her black on black fur with delicate flats and clutch to match in warm tones creates the perfect combination and heavy and light looks. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cuff Em Boys

Choker necklaces made there appearance in the 90's. Everyone remembers the expandable black plastic  and thick homemade hemp chokers that were the "cool" accessory to sport your free-spirit style. A vintage trend turned modernly chic has reappeared as a new, cleaner and more put together piece that says glamorous instead of grunge. With amazing jewel embellished neck cuffs from Chanel and structured gold bands as seen in Mui Mui's collection, it's easier than you may think to find fabulously unique collar necklaces that are functional and surprisingly easy to wear. I've found several DIY collars made from lace and ribbon that demand only a few simple stitches and look just as authentic as ones created by Louis Vuitton. I was astonished to find a fellow blogger who show a simple way to transform the collar of a button down into a feminine, personalized piece that is girly-chic. Mag's Rags to Riches has given my inspiration to attempt my own collar making. also has a huge collection of affordable and genuinely authentic collar necklaces that are fun and functional. With limited time for crafting, I find myself searching for collars to purchase and holding off on my desires to create my own for a rainy day. Here are a few of my favorites:
The big bow atop this simple black velvet collar is precious. I want to wear this with a dainty blouse and school girl pleated skirt.

A little more edgy, this dark leather collar will ad dimension to a plain top or a cap shoulder dress.

More of a necklace than a collar, this piece of hardware gives a touch of structure with its geometric shape and design. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love of my Life

With so much love in the air this Valentine's Day I've been reminiscing over all the things I love. Besides my wonderful friends and family. There are a few essential items in which I am madly, deeply, passionately in love with and hold very dear to my heart. What better occasion to create a tribute to the things in my life I simply couldn't do without than on Valentine's Day.

My First Love: Tiffany Signature Heart-Shaped Stud Earrings. Receiving your first Tiffany's box is the moment in every young girl's life where she realizes her love for all things precious and treasurable. Even though my first pair were a gift from a boyfriend of the past, I still cherish them for their timeless and classic feel. I can wear them with any look and feel completely in love.

My Secret Love-Affair: Estee Lauder High Gloss lip color. I hate to admit it, but I have a slight obsession with lip gloss. Lately I have been experimenting with lip stains and sticks but I never stray to far from ultra-shiney, mouth watering and lip-kissable glosses. Something about having perfectly highlighted lips in delicately soft pink to complete my look has never lingered far from reach. Within my purse I ALWAY possess at least two different lip glosses and my make-up station has an entire section devoted to lip color. My lips are no longer sealed about this long lasting love affair.

My One and Only: Louboutin Black Patent Leather Pumps. Okay, so I may not actually possess these heels, but there is only one patent leather black heel that can stand the test of time. Every girl desires a pair of Chistian Louboutin red sole heels and I would simply DIE to have my own pair. Though no other shoe can reach the same heights in my book, a good pair of black pumps is a must in every women's shoe collection. Finding that one pair that fits your foot like it was made for you and can take you where ever your day my lead is what makes a fashionista a step ahead of the rest. Without my favorite pair of black heels, my entire wardrobe would fall it pieces and so would I.

Love at First Sight: Classic Ray Ban Wayfares. Yes, I'm one of those people you see wearing sunglasses no matter what the weather. Of all the sunglass styles I've attempted, nothing beats the classic tortious colored wayfarer frames. Whether I'm feeling sporty or preppy in a button-down or completely chic in silk and pearls, my Ray Bans are my go-to accessory for any outdoor outing. It's fun to play around with vintage frames in fun colors and large lensed aviators that hide the majority of your face, but after buying my first pair of Wayfarers, I knew it was love at first sight. 

Without the loves of my life, my heart would simply break. This Valentine's day I don't need a box of chocolates and a bouquet of roses from my secret admirer means nothing if I were to loose my favorite things that mean so much. Be thankful for the things and people in your life that you love. Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Words of Weave-dom

I've seen several amazing documentaries that have changed my perspective on everything from food to politics. Recently, I viewed a documentary titled "Good Hair" by Chris Rock that gave me a whole new perspective on the importance of individuality.

There are definitely two ways of interpreting his message as he investigates the world of African American hair and the massive industry consumed by it. One could easily see this film as an example of America's materialism especially within women and the world of style. Using fake hair and unnatural treatments to convey a certain desired "look". On the other hand, I found a less critical and much more impacting message to Chris Rock's exploration that acknowledges the important of self-expression and personal style whether it be the color, cut or authenticity of your hair, or the unique, conformist free elements of the clothing and style you embody. I've come to realize, within the fashion industry, what is "in" is not the same as what "you're in". Meaning: fashion and style comes in as many different forms and varieties as OPI has nail polish colors and it doesn't matter what everyone else considers "good" or "trendy", it's all about creating the look that makes YOU you. Good style isn't about how much your outfit costs or where it came from. Creating a one-of-a-kind look is the true factor in true personal style.

Some may argue that clothing and accessories are a way to cover up and hide behind materialistic ideals. I on the other hand believe that your outfit is the voice of your individualized characteristics that could not otherwise be outwardly expressed. The way you dress embodies your inner emotions, beliefs and understanding of fashion. Your body should be utilized as a canvas for self-expression and the ultimate tool for personal style in every aspect of life.

I envy the women in our society that have embraced the ability to accept fashion as a positive form of individuality. I pity those who haven't yet seen the possibilities that lie within this industry to give us the tools needed for embodying the unique style of our choosing. I myself use the skills, ideas and creativity of designers, artists, and style icons themselves to help in the composition of a personal style that is all my own.

Chris Rock'a documentary has taught me a influential lesson about life. It doesn't matter how we choose to do our hair, what we decide to wear, or the sense of style we embody. The important thing is that we MAKE that choice on our own and by making that decision we have created the greatest and most authentic piece of what fashion is: personal style.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Small town girl, Big City Dreams

As much as I love the unique and lively characteristics of good ol' Ann Arbor, Michigan, the one downfall to living in this Mid-west city is it's lack of representation in the world of style like many other historically well known fashion capitals such as New York City, L.A. or Boston. I am thankful for our grass-rooted culture and individualized sense of style that is slightly astray from mainstream, but there are several moments in which I wish for  the exposure to the unspeakably large variety of designers, brands, stores and collections that are so easily accessible to all who live within the mitts of high-fashion cities. A few girl friends of mine from suburbs surrounding New York City were recently chatting about their love for LF's infamous 70% off sale. Me being from a small town in Michigan, and sadly to say, have never been to the city, was utterly confused as to what this "LF" place was. With mouth open and eyes popping they were both astonished to discover my lack of knowledge about a store they were naturally very familiar with. It's amazing how the regional separations of individuals truly influences one's sense of fashion and ideal shopping venues. Instantly intrigue, I impulsively went browsing online to discover what exactly LF was and why my friends were so sure it was a store I too would fall in love with.

With locations in Soho, Miami, Boston, Dallas and Robertson I find myself leaps and bounds away from visiting one of the LF stores, and I was devastated to learn that none of their pieces are available to purchase through their website directly. Their concept of one of a kind items and continuously evolving stock of clothing, accessories and shoes is most definitely admirable and I appreciate their dedication to uniqueness and individuality. Looking through their Spring look book, I saw several pieces that I would most definitely keep an eye out for if I happen to be passing through a city in which they are located in the near future (which is highly unlikely but it doesn't hurt to dream).

When coming upon an advertisement for LF's new collaboration with Steve Madden I realized my friends know me all too well when they insisted I would love this store. My obsession with Steven Madden and my new desire to collect heels that are beyond typical, is has found its answer. With LF's tendency towards outrageously high platforms, beyond bold prints and special occasion worthy heels paired with Steven Madden's chic styling abilities, I found myself drooling over every inch of footwear.

The texture choice with the tweed pattern and electrifying snake skin print are to die for! I would have never expected patterns so boldly and fearlessly apparent to appeal to my conservative eye. The suede wedges with miniature ankle strap are extremely wearable in any color! Like LF said themselves, I'm OBSESSED. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

For the Frill of It

With V-day right around the corner, I'm not getting down in the dumps because I don't have a Valentine. I've been inspired by the romance, love, passion, and femininity surrounding this made up holiday that everyone insists on participating in. I'm not one of those anti-cupid haters, or one of those pathetic girls that send themselves flowers so they don't feel left out. I'm embracing the opportunity to embody all things lovey and when I think of Valentine's Day, the first thing that comes to mind is uber feminine frilly lace, romantic ruffles, and all things sweat heart shaped. I'm MAJORLY crushing on blush tones and innocently mute tones. Fiery red and dramatic fuchsia are too much for me. I'm not trying to get hot and heavy with all the sexy romantic bologna. I'm going for more of the elementary school crush style. When I think of Valentines day, I think of homemade cards, doilies cut into hearts and drawing hearts on ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

Whatever my plans end up being on February 14th, I would love to be wearing a girly, fun piece like this Dior cream ruffled dress Lieghton Meester wore to during Fashion Week in Paris. I can't help but feel like a little girl with its frilly layers and spandex-like stretch material. It allows for lots of squirming and jumping about over a cute boy who gave you "the look" from across the room. From the pictures I've seen, it looks as though the sleeves could be worn off the shoulder or on which is a great way to turn up the heat as the night goes progresses. Leighton's soft make-up and slim wristwatch are perfect.
For a slightly more grown-up look, I admire anything with a peplum-like shape. Whether it be the trim of a corset blouse, or an added skirt ruffle like this jumper dress, it's a feminine way to add touch of flirtation to your look. The contrasting gold necklace and sparkling ballet flats truly create a fully composed outfit. Topshop has a large variety of playful dresses like this one in that I am entirely in lust with! Once again, red lips are the most obvious Valentine's Day accessory. If you're someone who think lipstick is too bold, use V-day as a time to embrace your inner seductress.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

To Market We Go

While browsing at the local farmers market yesterday afternoon, I couldn't help but take a peak in a few of the self-established clothing boutiques in the quaint  neighborhood of Kerrytown just south of Main Street in Ann Arbor. With local farmers getting rid of the last of their winter harvests, many shop owners were clearing out their surplus of winter apparel with major sales. While browsing in a women's formal wear boutique filled with dresses and sweaters that were distant from age appropriate and far beyond price range of a young college student such as myself, I fell upon a piece that I instantly knew was absolutely made for me. A timeless, ageless steel grey, long-haired faux fur vest was calling my name and with only a size small left on the rack, I felt as though it was destiny. Even though it may be getting late in the season to be sporting a full out fur look, but a classic fur vest is an accessory that a women with elegance and class can never go wrong with. It's one of those pieces that you wear when you're feeling confident and poised on a suave night out.
I've recently started reading "Fashion A to Zoe" by Rachel Zoe and her introduction chapter was lingering on my mind as I contemplated splurging on this piece. Her motto for style encompasses a wardrobe that consists of a carefully selected collection of purposeful piece, not a plethora of "wow"-less apparel. Meaning: its more important to compile a closet of items that are unique and meaningful opposed to something that anyone can buy or find. With this in mind, I went with my gut and purchased the vest that I knew was one to "wow". Not to mention is drastically cut back price, I knew that the benefits of buying this pieces late in the season would with no doubt reappear in years to come.
The quality of this picture is anything but flattering, but I felt it necessary to put a picture with my description of such  a fabulous find. This Silver Wolf faux fur vest is part of the Outdoor edition of winter wear from the Parkhurst collection. This small rooted brand was started in Toronto, Canada and I'm very thankful that their collection found its way to the Mid-west. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Well Done. Well Made. Made by Alexa.

One of my favorite style icons: Alexa Chung. One of my favorite go-to shopping destinations: J Crew. What do you get when a collaboration of these two fashion empires is created: Madewell. This relatively new clothing line is a spin-off from the original J Crew brand we've loved and admired over the years and has appeared on the mainstream fashion scene with some pretty amazing pieces and collections. Alexa Chung has partnered with Madewell to offer a ready-to-wear line this spring that is anything I could have asked for and more. This line sticks to the clean and classic urban-prep styles we expect with a few artistic twists that only Alexa herself could make look so incredibly wearable. 

I happen to be one of those girls that can't resists a fitted linen button down and a pair of well tailored trousers but Chung's Madewell collection offers a few pieces that may just persuade me to step outside of the box. Here are my favorites for this Spring:
One of my biggest goals this Spring is to pull off a floor or knee length skirt without looking like I'm drowned in fabric. I absolutely love the airiness of pieces like this and how they move and flow with your body. Pairing a skirt like this with a relaxed denim top is my ultimate image for the perfect conservatively feminine woman. 
The color of these trousers is bold and contemporary. To manage a pair of pants like this with confidence is another goal of mine. The silkened waistline is a great detail and the versatility within the amount of pant leg cuff-age is definitely a plus for vertically challenged people like me. 

Unable to resist the temptation of browsing the entire Madewell collection, I've fallen upon another pieces that I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for next time I'm in the need of retail therapy. When I think of the J Crew and Madewell, I instantly picture rustic tones, classic fits, tailored everything, and the perfect pieces for any sophisticated women. Not picking favorites or anything, but Madewell is definitely somewhat of an upgrade from its counterpart brand with slightly more chic pieces and a "we mean business" attitude. Everything from Madewell is simply that. 
When I spotted this two-toned jean jacket, I fell in love. With typical rivet brass buttons and an unexpected multi-colored denim combination, I saw that this was not the typical jean jacket I wore during my days on the playgrounds. The fit is key to this piece with sleeves hitting at just the right point and the ability to wear completely unbutton and still have a fitted look is perfect for a casual spring day. 

Of course, I will not be abandoning my belong J Crew which has been there for me through thick and thin and never seems to leave me disappointed, but branching out to someone (or something thing) that I know I can trust and count on is just what I need to do a little spring clean-up on my look. Alexa Chung has outdone herself once again, though I wouldn't expect anything less from a girl who truly knows how to compose a well made look. 

Spread the Love