Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pottery Barn Antique Silver Jewelry Box

Like hair bows and Barbies, a jewelry box is an essential part of a little girl’s life. I got my first – a pretty pink trunk that when opened revealed a twirling ballerina and sweet melody – on my third Christmas.

Sometime in my teenage years I stopped using one, too cool for an accessory that sang me to sleep. Now, I’m old enough to appreciate that a box brimming with precious stones is also full of elegance and charm -- qualities that overrule old juvenile prejudices.

Because I’ve accumulated a modest assortment and need more space than a single box provides, I like Pottery Barn's Antique Silver design. The matching chests are sophisticated storage solutions that create a clean, timeless presentation. 

Modeled after museum display cases, the antique chambers feature an embossed-steel metal frame, intricate punched-metal patterning, and glass panels for easy viewing (especially advantageous for a collection that comprises more than plastic beads and candy necklaces). Inside, ivory linen lining is a gentle nesting bed for emeralds, topaz and turquoise. Silver suits almost any décor, so as years pass and color schemes change, this keepsake can stay the same. 

Opt for delicate monogramming to build an intimate bond with the piece -- an age-appropriate nod to the sentimental memory of that first pink music box.

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Because I can't stop at one: 

one. // two. // three. // four. // five. // six. // seven. // eight.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pillow Party

You probably never considered any association between decorative accessories and diamonds or cosmetics, but pillows are the necklaces and lipsticks of the living room. Sitting in the same surroundings night after night gets old fast, but updating couches and coffee tables frequently isn’t feasible. We're usually encouraged to "think bigger," but in this case, think smaller: pillows renovate architectural aura the way makeup and jewelry spice up stale sportswear.

Punchy upholstery energizes solid-color furniture and brightens monotony-dampened moods. Utilizing different shades within a single color-story or combining two complementary tones tames an eclectic combination of scales, prints and patterns.

Further reinforce cohesion by balancing the collective use of shapes: the first bunch has three circle representations and two diamond-detailed. In the green grouping, rounded formations on the orange and olive pieces even out the triangular geometry of the others.

With four or five of these lively cushions on the couch, you’ll be sitting pretty. 

one: polka dots (similar). two: scribble circle. three: pink & red ikat. four: pink dot. five: ink blot

one: olive circles. two: orange fish. three: peridot zigzag. four: mica linen

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Looks I Love: Oxfords and Ankle Jeans

If you’ve stepped out in smoking slippers, oxfords are the next frontier in flats. I’m drawn to the sleek silhouettes with ribbon laces and patterned cut-outs – and staying far away from those with clunky soles and close similarity to saddles.

Ankle jeans ensure the shoes’ distinguishing details aren’t concealed. The boyish casualness of relaxed, rolled-cuff jeans (and cut-offs in the summer) mix well with the oxfords’ girlish refinement.

Oxfords’ origins may be masculine, but the evolutions here are updated and feminine. It would be easy (and expected) to slip on a skirt with these flats for dainty-on-dainty parity. But adding them to rugged, distressed denim shows leader-of-the-pack creativity and confidence in dressing out of the box.

Shop: onetwothreefourfive.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Looks I Love: Camo

Up until this year, I had filed away camo as a print I probably wouldn't ever wear, given common materialization as coats, over-shirts and baggy boyfriend jeans. But this fall Gap offered a pair of skinny twill camo crops I could get on board with: in a hip-hugging silhouette, the military pattern is no longer grunge, but just masculine enough to show you can run with the boys. Outfitted with an ultra-girly top and delicate accessories, these Textile Elizabeth and James® jeans become the X-factor in an outfit novices will notice and the experienced emulate.

Textile Elizabeth and James jeans. // Anthropologie Gem Confetti drops. // Lula's Bowtied tee. // Madewell Mini wedge

Lustrous chartreuse earrings pop against army green in a way that isn't garish like neon bar lights at night. The peachy-pink bowtied blouse softens the entire ensemble, but doesn’t negate the denim’s unshakable military-cool. The wedges' burnt orange tone is trendy in its rarity, equally contrasting with and complementing the tee's rosiness. Ankle straps accentuate and affirm the ladylike vibe set in bloom by the blouse, completing the flanking femininity that transforms fatigues.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Butter London Jasper

It’s often the things you’re unsure of that eventually become the coolest trends – decided by those daring and doubtless enough to step out on a limb from the get-go.

This lemon chiffon shade of Butter London nail lacquer is one of them. Yellow can make nails look dull and decayed if it’s too dark and transparent, but this pastel hue from the company’s Spring 2013 collection is soft and opaque, creating a look as fresh and innocent as Easter eggs.

Wear it paradoxically: the color pops when combined with leather, studs, denim, dark colors, and other un-girly garments.

So shimmy out on that limb. Butter London’s Jasper could rocket-launch you ahead of the rank and file. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Looks I Love: Feminized Moto

This shot of Ashley Olsen showed up in InStyle’s February issue. First, I folded down a corner of the page where it was printed, then came back to it again and again. The look stands out because it’s as simple as it is chic, and perfectly proportional. It inspired me to start a series documenting looks I love (like this and this), as a supplement to this blog’s basis in highlighting key items.

The trendsetting twin kicks off the series in Calvin Klein Collection. The fashion collar makes the jacket the focal point, and everything else in the ensemble accordingly bows down.

The jacket is weightier and conveys toughness, so a sleek skirt feminizes the outfit’s upper half (and doesn't drown petite frames). The cropped skirt shows off ankles and makes it cleaner and cuter than a ground-grazing maxi. Open-toed shoes keep the effect casual, but the heels hint of glamour.

Paneled sleeves add interest without detracting from the polished all-black story, and fabric matching the collar’s interior creates cohesion. Buttoned-up styling is critical, offering structure; an open-front top would look sloppy in combination with the jersey skirt, despite its fitted form. 

Here are several shopping options. I like black-on-black best, but the other monochrome pairings work well, too, offering the same balanced contrast as Olsen's original. 

 American Apparel skirt // Rick Owens jacket

Rachel Zoe skirt // Rhyme Los Angeles jacket (zipped up, of course). 

Madewell vest // J.Crew jacket. Sabine skirt

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CB2 Tesso Desk

Pssst. The intelligence, sophistication and style of magazine editors and interior designers can be yours, without the hassle of education, experience, or the cutthroat crawl to the top.

Build the façade or erect the reality; either way, the CB2 Tesso Desk is required for construction.

An impeccably sleek glass surface and simple steel frame make this the kind of accessory that can improve your self-perception. Perched at this pristine station, you’ll believe the same qualities that carried history’s highest-powered and posh professionals through the ranks exist in you. Or will, in time. 

photo courtesy

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Prabal Gurung for Target Dresses

No Valentine’s Day date? No matter. The Prabal Gurung for Target collection is reason to dress up and go out, whether coupled up or flying solo.

When I first saw the line in the Target corporate Fashion Office, I was immediately magnetized by the shoes. There’s look-at-me neon. Wear-with-everything black. Flat sandals. Wedge sandals. Pumps. Pointy-toe flats. Ankle straps. More ankle straps. The footwear executed well, looks expensive, and would fit in just fine on a Nordstrom display table.

Hung on racks all together, the apparel, though, looked too flashy for my taste. Gurung’s design inspiration was the journey through love (there are First Date and Meet The Parents prints) so the palette is – appropriately – colorful and expressive. But taken individually, I saw not everything is exaggerated. I fell in love with the fun and feminine dresses that deserve to see and be seen.

Black pops against pastels in a fresh pairing for can't-miss contrast. The cinching waistband is hero, lending ladylike class to a somewhat relaxed silhouette, and elevating for evening-out suitability. 

The Pintuck dress is proof sexy doesn’t have to be tight and tiny. I’m irrationally obsessed with the front-and-center bow and the straps’ narrow cut that shows off shoulders. Classic black and white cements the style’s staying power.

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Nothing says romance like a red dress and I adore this one’s marriage of sweet and sassy. The flirty bottom half is balanced by black trim at the arm openings for unexpected edge. In the same way, a conservative neckline neutralizes the mini, structured skirt that together say: I'm a nice girl, but won't be walked on.

Get the dresses and the rest of the collection (preview it here) in Target stores and online February 10. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lulu Frost for J.Crew Navette Burst Earrings

Much has been written about the benefits of change. Leo Tolstoy expressed it well: “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.”  

I’m comfortable in my stud and small hoop habit, but willing to indulge Mr. Tolstoy and tiptoe past stagnancy. The Lulu Frost for J.Crew Navette Burst Earrings make stepping slightly outside the comfort zone a cakewalk.

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The elegant earpieces are super-sized, but retain a conservative shape. While dangling and drop styles feel overdone, these are closer relatives of daytime-appropriate posts, and easy to swallow.

J.Crew is showing the estate treasure-inspired jewels with casual clothes. Brooklyn-meets-Park Avenue mixing not only sets a fresh fashion standard, but makes incorporating luxury into your existing, couture-less life easy. Prepare to be a perennial style icon because powder blue ómbre surrounding deep cobalt establishes the set's year-round relevance: the tones read icy in winter; clean like robins' eggs in spring. 

Though change is often hard to handle, this resplendent upgrade is one to seek out without a second thought. Thanks to the Russian novelist, you can write off spending guilt in the name of living.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

MICHAEL Michael Kors Tweed Jacket

Start 2013 off on the right foot and show you’ve got it together -- even if your resolutions are already in ruins -- with a tailored, on-trend jacket.  

Good clothes cover many ills. When sick, tired, clueless or cranky, a sharp outfit outsmarts. Perfectly happy and healthy? Well, wear it on your sleeve.

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The MICHAEL Michael Kors tweed jacket proves your sartorial wit and wisdom from the get-go. Sleek faux leather sleeves provide slimming balance and urban credibility to the classic tweed body. Front flap pockets with zipper details complement the sleeves’ toughness and anchor the jacket in refined rock ‘n roll. If that sounds like an oxymoron, sink your teeth in. The mixed media fad is in full swing, enabling contrasting fabrics and patterns to join in unconventional accord.

Open front styling makes pulling off this look lots easier than achieving ambitious New Year goals – and far more fun.