Jeans for Tiny People: The Secret

Lolita

Why not call it like it is? This post is all about jeans for those of us not quite proportioned like adults. And while I’m not tiny in the sense that some people are – I still have curves and a bust – I am hopelessly short and finding jeans that fit off the rack is like an exercise in withstanding medieval torture. I’m not even being dramatic – jeans shopping makes me want to both run 12 miles and eat my feelings in frozen yogurt simultaneously. Up until two weeks ago, I had ONE PAIR OF JEANS that fit and that I wore regularly. The rest were either outdated and gathering dust or had been given away to Goodwill. Things were getting dire.

When my sister-in-law suggested hitting up a certain ye old high school shopping spot for jeans, I was skeptical. I mean, does anyone still shop at – wait for it – The Buckle? Have we not progressed past this place? Apparently, we have not. And as she pointed out, they basically only sell jeans. If there’s anywhere that’s going to have a multitude of options, it’s them. And so, with bowed head and tears in my eyes, I once again pilgrammaged to The Buckle, feeling every bit the 14 year old girl I was the last time I shopped there.

A lovely casual sales guy gave me the eye as soon as I walked in. “‘Sup,” he said, looking me up and down. Normally I take umbrage at being sized up (taking umbrage is one of my favorite activities) but since I needed this man to size me up and dress me, it seemed only appropriate.

“Hey. I’m 5’ 2” with extra shorty legs, curvy, and really hate jeans shopping. Can you help?”

This man gave me two more seconds of stare, and then pulled a pair of jeans right off the rack. “Try these,” he said. I took them and prepared for the litany of issues that inevitably crop up the minute I wiggle my tiny legs into pants. Only…that didn’t happen. These jeans fit like a glove. They made my butt look good, my legs look normal length, and didn’t make me want to run to the nearest fro-yo establishment.

“Sir! How – HOW – did you do this? These are the first off the rack jeans that fit that I’ve EVER tried on!”

He chuckled, complimented me on my ass (again – going with it) and then said, “Um, that’s because they’re capri pants!”

Indeed, reader. If you look at the inside of my new jeans (two new pairs, thank you very much) it says right on the tag: Lolita Capri.

And you know what? I don’t even care. Because this is the first time ever I have not had to have my jeans tailored, and if that means feeling a little special every time I put these jeans on, then I’m not going to take umbrage – I’m just gonna go with it.

 

Street Style: Singapore

I returned home from Singapore last week, and I’m still dreaming about the warmth, the amazing food, and the retro-fabulous fashion.

When I was little (and, ahem, still now to this day) I had an obsession with the 1954 romantic film Three Coins in the Fountain. I watched it constantly, noting the gorgeous fit and flare dresses, the powder blue convertibles, and the fact that Italy seemed so rustic and real. And then I went to Rome in high school and was crushed to learn that modern-day Roma didn’t look like that anymore. I said I was obsessed, not smart.

But then, I traveled to Singapore and my 1950s fashion loving heart skipped a beat, because unlike Rome, Singapore seems very much in line with midcentury fashion, and it was a kick in the pants to see.

While I didn’t get to see much during my short stay, a few steal-worthy street trends were clear to me in the first ten minutes:

The Fit and Flare Dress

Dress

The Singapore Look: Ladies in Sing are all about skirts and dresses (you would be too – it’s freaking hot there!) and the 1950s silhouette with full pleated circle skirts and a boatneck top are all the rage. I saw most paired with wedge or three inch heels, belted, with cardigans. For modesty, not for warmth. Because again, JUNGLE HEAT. The fit was straight out of Populaire but the modern fabrics kept things looking fresh and not fussy. Modcloth has fabulous fit and flare dresses that would be perfect for summer bridal showers and teas.

Steal it Stateside: if a big flouncy dress isn’t quite your thing – or the thing to wear at your place of employ – you can certainly make it office appropriate by choosing a less boisterous amount of pleats and adding a blazer instead of a cardi, and leather or suede wedges and tights.

Architectural Handbags

Structured bag

The Singapore Look: It may be inspired by Singapore’s incredible architecture, but it may also be part of the whole retro aesthetic. Either way, handbags were streamlined, on the smallish side, and worn daintily over the crook of the arm. No slouchy hobo bags here!

Steal it Stateside: If you’re not quite ready to downsize or switch out bags, looks for transition pieces you might already own. The Longchamp le Pliage bag – a staple that seemingly every SF girl has over her shoulder – is a clean, classic look when not overstuffed (something I’m very guilty of doing) and Charles and Keith has gorgeous architectural bags that are still roomy enough to carry it all.

Coiffed Hair

Kate hair

The Singapore Look: Polished buns, half-back twists, and slicked back pony tails were everywhere. The clean, coiffed aesthetic, combined with the tailored details mentioned above, meant that Singapore women were as chic and stylish as I’ve seen anywhere – including Paris! It especially helps to keep your hair out of your face with all that humidity. Take a page out of Kate’s book from her trip to Singapore and twist it back in a beautiful bun and accent with studded bobby pins.

Steal it Stateside: I’m alllll about the wash ‘n go. My hair is naturally wavy so with a little product and two hours, voila! Beach hair. The only problem is that I don’t live in what I’d call a beachy, laid-back environment, and I need to be able to look polished quickly, whether I’m in DC or SoHo. Find a go-to hairstyle (I like to french braid half my head and pull it all together in a low bun) that can help you look pulled together quickly, or else invest in high quality tools that work quickly and efficiently, like the mini Chi travel straightener.

Would you embrace the full ’50s fashion of Singapore in your hometown?

PS – London Street Style and How to Travel Well

Images Top to Bottom: Social BlissFashion Population, and SocialiteLife.

Street Style: London

What I love most about visiting other countries isn’t the food or the music or the museums – though I do love all of that, as my indulgence in fish and chips, Jamie Cullum, and many, many art museums last week can attest – but the fashion. I love seeing what women all over the world are wearing where they live, and I also love to see what looks and ideas I can steal and get away with back home.

London was rife with great summer fashion this week – especially since their recent heat wave made it impossible to stay covered up in those omnipresent trench coats! Below, some trends worth stealing and savoring for ourselves here in the states.

London loud print pants

Printed Pants

The London Look: The Brits are unashamed about wearing a big, bold printed pant about town. From students to stylish ladies who lunch, everyone was into this trend. I saw big landscapes, tribal prints, florals and ikat, to more subtle prints like stripes or polka dots, all the way down dainty swiss foulard and a light summer Chevron. For those ready to be bold, London-style, Topshop has tons of fun prints, like florals, Aztec, and animal print.

London print pants

Steal it Stateside: Not ready to be so bold? J. Crew has fabulous prints that are a touch more neutral, as in this lighter Liberty floral, or this bright (but not too loud!) Jacquard.

Images via Street Peeper (top) and The Telegraph (bottom)  

London silkscreen top

Photographic Tees

The London Look: Young London is all about photographic tees that represent their worldview, their ethos. Usually paired with distressed denim or high rise jorts. Yes, I just typed the word jorts. Somewhere seriously. That is a trend I still can’t get behind. I’m a square, don’t care. Some of my favorite tees said “wild” or “BE FREE!” or everyone’s seeming favorite (as it was everywhere) “NYC.” Londoners seem to be obsessed with New York.

London rocker tee

Steal it Stateside: To lady-up this trend, which is what I would do, you can find a beautiful floral or rep the homeland and pair it with a classic cardi and only-half-ironic pearl earrings and a delicate purse. And Chuck Taylors. Because always.

Images via Vogue (top) and LDNFashion (bottom)
 

London peter pan collar

Ladylike Detailing

The London Look: Just because K-Mid is out of sight yet clearly not at the Lindo Wing even though the entire world is waiting for her to get on with it already, including certain Americans who dragged their boyfriends past said Lindo Wing multiple times last week. Harumpf… doesn’t mean her style influence isn’t still being felt and translated to the streets. Small handbags, nude heels and Peter Pan collars on shirts and dresses are still du jour across the city. Even with last week’s heat wave, sundresses were showing fluttering hems similar to Kate’s Alice Templerly tour dress, and many a tiered ruffle dress that were possibly inspired by this Temperly London dress, aka, Kate’s much beloved Wimbledon ensemble from two years ago.

Kate nude pumps

Steal it Stateside: for those of us who live in cold climes, dainty collars are still an adorable choice on sweaters, shirts, and dresses. Dorothy Perkins has some especially beautiful and breezy tops with interesting, ladylike collaring.

For summer weddings when the weather warms up, a great pair of nude heels (and accompanying Dr. Scholl’s inserts) can still always carry you through any number of unfortunate bridesmaid dresses, or until they shut down the dance floor! I’m still loving my pair from Nine West, which look similar to these.

Images via Modastation (top) and PA News wire via WhatKateWore.com (bottom)

Curating the Classics

Audrey

For the last few years, I’ve been making a concerted effort to be more European in my shopping habits. Instead of running to Forever 21 for a quick, cheap trendy item, or eternally scouring the J. Crew sale rack and buying anything I could afford even if I didn’t love it (ahem, orange cashmere turtleneck), I’ve been asking myself a different set of questions before I buy:

Do I love this item?

Is this the best quality?

Will it be dated next season or will it always be on-trend?

Does it look fabulous on me?

If the answer isn’t yes to all of the above, I don’t purchase. Instead of buying, I am finally curating, applying thought and effort into what comes into my closet. Already, this has saved me from several sartorial near-disasters: cat loafers (cute, but overly trendy. Also, I’m not a Japanese teenage girl, so it’s questionable whether or not I could have pulled these off anyway), bensimon sneakers in a bright coral (do I want them because I love them or do I only want them because they’re French? “Because it’s French!” is actually a reason I do way too many things) and yet another cheap scarf (or twelve) while abroad.

This new way of curating has also led to a series of purchases I couldn’t be more excited about: a beautiful, petite pebbled leather cross body bag from Calvin Klein. A small but sturdy umbrella in a classic red. And a fitted black blazer with a whimsical, yet subtle, polka dot lining. I smile every time I turn up the cuffs. And…that’s it. The euphoric highs of finding a bargain, and the accompanying lows when cheap clothing falls apart and I hate everything I own, are slowly being replaced with the knowledge that I will always look polished when I have the right foundations: a classic trench coat, beautifully tailored black pants, dark skinny jeans, ballet flats with a hint of shine, a soft, sky blue pashmina.

There are so many blogs that encourage, subtly or not, the idea that we should always be shopping, buying, consuming and replacing. Not only is this a waste of money, time, and resources, but ultimately, most of us don’t really look that great in the crap that we buy (myself most firmly included).

To help me stay the course (because let’s be honest, those cheap necklaces and sunglasses are tempting and fun) some inspiration and help are below:

Matchbook Magazine’s 50 Closet Classics

Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl

Frederic Fekkai’s A Year of Style

What do you consider a “classic” item that you have to have in your closet? I’d love to know!

MAC Master Class

IMG_7139

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take a master class with MAC Cosmetics director of makeup artistry, Gregory Arlt.

Not only is Gregory rather hilarious and full of one-liners, but I was able to pick up some great tips and tricks for mah face. This is especially great since, if you know me, you know that my face area is typically treated to tinted moisturizer, cherry chapstick and a swipe of whatever drugstore mascara I am recently enamored with due to promises that said mascara will make my eyelashes look like delicate spiders or diamond-encrusted fairy wings or the eyelashes of someone – anyone! – with more awesome eyelashes than the ones I have. I essentially have the eyelashes of a wombat fresh out of hibernation (do wombats hibernate? What even is a wombat?* Things to google…) so I am especially susceptible to the bold claims** of the mascara industry. I am also susceptible to champagne at industry events and trainings. See?

IMG_7140

Let’s move away from my wombat face long enough to discuss a couple of Gregory’s best tips, shall we?

1. Skin is canvas, prep accordingly. My skin is nearly as white as a canvas, so this really resonated. MAC Prep + Prime in Radiant Rose banishes the look of jet lag in about two seconds, and helps foundation and concealer stay on longer and better. No one is paying me to say this – I just paid to purchase it. It’s that good. I tested it out on my recent trip to Prague and my coworker exclaimed (really, she actually exclaimed) that I looked incredibly fresh and well-rested for having taken such a long flight. Joke is on everyone because I slept zero and felt like death. Ah, the magic of makeup.

2. Eyeshadow is best applied with the eyes open, like a queen looking down on her subjects. Not only do I love anything associated with royalty, but this makes so much sense. Why do we apply makeup to look awesome whilst our eyes are closed, if we’re going to run around all day with them open? Who here is Sleeping Beauty? No one? Yeah, me neither.

3. Always travel with black eyeliner. Especially because there is a strong likelihood it will travel anyway. Down your face. Reapply often! Enough said.

What are your best makeup tips or tricks?

IMG_7146

*I have no intention of  finding out what a wombat is, it’s just a hilarious word. When writing things that are funny, the more funny words you incorporate, the better. Say it with me now…WOM BAT.

**Bold claims. Also known as lies, sweet Don Draper advertising lies.

I Love a Charade

One of the perks of working from home is that I get to multi-task. Sometimes this is bad – as cold, neglected mugs of tea and half-watered plants can attest – but sometimes this is great, because that means inspiration is everywhere and can be acted upon at a moment’s notice. Case in point: today. Nothing cheers up a day of expense reports and provides sartorial inspiration like Charade.

What I love about this film, aside from the witty banter and beautiful Parisian scenes, is the color. More specifically, the lack of it. I love the dusty hues and drab walls, which let Carey and Audrey really pop in bright reds and stark whites. Her earrings twinkle and the lights seem to glow against neutral backdrops.

Stanley Donen was a genius, and his beautiful movie still seems fresh and relevant. To wit: Audrey’s big-buttoned jacket, ladylike chignon and, of course, a very classic pink lipstick. All are cropping up in modern iterations on Fall runways and new collections everywhere. Now that’s something to be inspired by.

Blazer, Zara
Lipstick, Chanel
Chignon, JB Reed Weddings, via GreyLikesWeddings.com

Bag Lady

If you are a city dweller, or a person who does not live with their significant other, or a person without a car – or perhaps a person in all three of these scenarios? – you’re a bag lady. You know it, I know it, and the people on the street who are in your boat know it. Your fellow sherpas give you a knowing, sympathetic glance as you trek down the street. Your gym clothes mingle with your date clothes and your work clothes, your toiletries are stuffed every which way, and it’s likely you’ve got a bottle of wine, a spare shoe, or a laptop somewhere in the mix.

What’s a sad sherpa to do? Hire an actual sherpa? Nyet. I tried that. Somehow, I could not find anyone who wanted to schlep my crap around for zero dollars. Weird.

Instead, invest in great bags that will hold up to the wear and tear of city life, and do double duty:

For Overnights and Day Trips:

Try Longchamp’s Le Pliage bag. THE perfect tote for a quick overnight (literally, one night) or a day away from the city. The heavy-duty nylon holds up to both toiletry spills and picnic ingredients gone awry, and it holds its shape despite being shoved in the back of a car or under a subway seat. Plus, it’s French. As everyone knows, if it’s French, it’s trés chic, oui? Oui!

For Office Runs and Puddle Jumper Flights:

Try the Capri laptop bag, from The Container Store. It’s lightweight, yet has pockets for all my cables and cords, plus just enough breathing room for a pair of noise canceling headphones, my beloved nook, and the smaller items on my flight checklist. I love the dusty gray charcoal color because it’s neutral without being bland.

For Workouts and Weekends:

Try the Lululemon Legendary Duffle. It’s huge – that much is certain – but if you need a place for mats, trainers, toiletries, and a weekend’s worth of clothes, this bag is it. Other yoga bags might work, but the quality sucks in comparison. This bag is worth the price, and you’ll use it for more than just the gym.

For Everyday City Life:

Try the Marc Jacobs Little Q crossbody bag. I’m obsessed with this purse, and it goes everywhere with me. It’s the perfect size for city life, and can handle a wallet, phone, keys, pens, gum, umbrella, five lip glosses, and sometimes even lunch without losing it’s silhouette. The leather is supple and the handle is giant, so you never have to fight to slide it onto your arm quickly; a major consideration for those of us who dash on and off of pub trans on a regular basis.

What’s your go-to bag? I’d really love to know!

Photo via my cute boyfriend, scarf and utility jacket via a trip to Paris, aviators from RayBan, sweet cheetah flats via Steve Madden.

Summer in SF

Summer in SF

Paul Joe cardigan
boutique1.com

J Crew vintage shirt
net-a-porter.com

River Island black sandals
$47 – riverisland.com

Leather shoulder bag
sheinside.com

Pendant necklace
endless.com

Mango round sunglasses
$19 – mango.com
Casual, glam, with a hint of shimmer and with enough utilitarian elements (flats, shades, a roomy bag) to get through the day. I’m wearing this all summer.

The African Queen

 Lately, we’ve been doing so much exploring and tromping around through the wilderness, I’ve been remembering the hikes and adventures from my trip to Africa a few years ago. Since The Poisonwood Bible is really, really long and a trip to actual Africa isn’t on the schedule for a while, I have to settle in for a viewing of the classic, The African Queen, and taking some wardrobe inspiration to boot.
Inspired by...The African Queen
Bogey and Hepburn’s romantic trip down the Ulanga river stirs up both a sense of adventure and a sense of style. Whether you love Rosie’s lacey look or Charlie’s rough and tumble captain’s uniform, both are a fresh and modern look for summer, on the serengeti or just the city where you live.
Shopping information here.

Royally Obsessed

Kate Middleton officially bumped Audrey Hepburn from the top of my style icon list about a year ago. I know, I know. But Audrey looks good in leggings while I do not, and Kate doesn’t wear leggings. At least, in public. Problem solved.

Her classic, modest, feminine sensibility is almost a lost art in these days of spray tans and super short shorts. I love that she rocks a boat neckline, modifies designer dresses to add sleeves or lower a hemline, and even better, that’s she’s bringing back accessories formerly associated with grandmas, like big flouncy hats and brooches. Brooches, people. Kate and Michelle should get it together and host a sassy lady brooch convention. I would attend, wouldn’t you? You would. I know you would. Everyone secretly loves a brooch.

What was once a mild appreciation for her nice outfits turned to full-blown awe because the woman just never misses. I frequently leave the house is ensembles that are lovely. I even more frequently leave the house in ensembles that are slightly head scratching, even to me. Why did I pair those pearl earrings with that t-shirt and those shoes? To quote Shakespeare in Love, “I don’t know. It’s a mystery!”

To help myself, and yourself, in stopping the sartorial sadness, a list of rules for achieving that perfect Kate style:

1. One thing at a time. Kate very rarely dresses to more than one trend at at time. If she’s going for lace, she’ll pair it with nude shoes and understate accessories. With a big sparkly brooch, a simple dress and swept back hair. She understands the power of focusing on one thing and letting the rest of her outfit recede. Note: fascinators are not trends to the Brits. They are a way of life. They don’t count on trend-watch. NEXT!

2. Pick a color and stick with it. If her dress is cream, so is her hat. If her dress is black, so are her shoes. If her dress is patterned, her accessories are neutral. Don’t go crazy with the mis-matching.

3. Keep it simple. Kate’s not one to wear ten bracelets or big chunky shoes in the name of fashion. She sticks to classic lines, simple drop earrings, and her heirloom statement engagement ring. You can wear whatever you want, of course, but you can also very easily look like a hooker. Tread lightly. Preferably in your nude heels.

4. Don’t let accessories take over. Kate often holds a very small clutch, which is easy for her, because she’s got wranglers and cars where she can stash her OK magazines and cherry chapstick classic literature and tastefully chosen designer lipstick. But there is a lesson to be learned, and it’s that her clothes and accessories never outshine her. Even if you have to carry a bigger purse or another bag to hold lunch, gym shoes, make-up, and a book, look for understated options that will make sure your accessories go with your outfit and never overshadow you. Longchamp, Coach, Marc Jacobs and J.Crew all make bags with classic lines that will never go out of style.

5. When in doubt, dress up. Even when she’s running to the grocery store, Kate still gets dressed, does her hair, wears a nice sweater and a classic pair of flats. There is nothing I love more than running around town in my yoga pants. I live near the Marina in San Francisco, where Lululemon yoga pants are practically the mandatory uniform. I shouldn’t feel too badly about this. And yet, when I run into people I know, I immediately regret not making more of an effort.

Even if you don’t live under the royal microscope – the queen will not judge you for leaving home in gym clothes – you still owe it to yourself to look your best. So invest in a classic trench, a nice handbag, some classic black flats and some beautiful, simple accessories. You’ll never, ever regret that.

All images found via Pinterest