Archive for 2010|Yearly archive page

Magpie Moves!

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm

I’ve packed my (e-)bags and moved to a new location!  Please update your bookmarks and sign up for email updates at my new home:

Step on it, Mr. Magpie.

(Picture by Amy Free of Amy Free Photography)

Now that I own the domain, look forward to lots of cool updates over the next few months.  Woo woo!  Special thanks to the wonderful and uber-talented Bill Daus of Defenestration Tech for handling the migration and all of my tech issues!

Be sure to fly on by the new nest for today’s post on FULL GLITZ items!


Birds of a feather…

In Accessories, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on September 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

It’s fitting, in a way, that I’ve had feathers on the brain lately, since it’s nearly fall, when all birds fly south for the winter.

I’ve noticed feather detailing and prints all over the place this season, and love the vintage — occasionally kitschy– aesthetic both evoke.  Check out, for example, this feather-print silk cardigan by Winter Kate (Nicole Richie’s hippie-chic line — $216, Shopbop):

I love the idea of slipping it on over some skinny jeans (Hudson, $165, ChickDownTown) paired with spiffy black flats (adore the gold tassel detailing on these Jeffrey Campbells — $125, FootNotesOnline) and an oversized black tote ($198, Ann Taylor):

Add a pair of don’t-talk-t0-me shades (sorry, but there are times when a gal just needs to get.things.done — and I kind of dig these Balenciagas — $350, Balenciaga…Kourtney Kardashian rocks them; hence, I need them) and some enorma-studs (I know I’ve featured this pair a bunch of times, but they’re perfect: affordable, versatile, and oversized — $25, TopShop), and you’re ready for some aggressive errand-running:

I’m also pretty much dying over this breezy Kyumi feather-print blouse ($177, Thistle & Clover) — it’s got the camel color down, so I can just imagine contrasting its airiness with some of the richer camel wools and suedes I’ve been seeing this season:

Love its slightly retro boxiness.  I’d pair it with skinny jeans and these suede, feather-accented flats ($110, Banana Republic):

For added warmth in the chillier fall weather, slip a yummy cardigan on over it all ($80, TopShop) and top it all off with a bold necklace (House of Harlow, on sale for $133, Revolve Clothing) and some aviators ($139, Ray-Ban):

The unexpected color combination of this Amanda Uprichard blouse arrested my attention ($167, Piper Lime), though I have to admit I’m a bit put off by the line’s blatant appropriation of the Tucker brand bit (i.e. blousey tops in unconventional, slightly weird prints):

Still, I like the idea of wearing it with skinny jeans and some greige riding boots this fall ($129, SouthMoonUnder):

To avoid looking too matchy-matchy or too clashy-clashy, work in shades of gray/greige, as in the smokey brown-gray above and the lighter “putty” color of this gorgeous messenger ($79, BagHaus):

Round out with a fist full of bangles of differing widths/styles — I’m bananas over this “Give It a Whirl” idiom bracelet by Kate Spade ($48, Kate Spade), and I’d pair it with a stack of these wispy little Argento Vivos ($98 for 3, Nordstrom) — as well as these organic-looking Bing Bang by Anna Sheffield studs in polished gold ($88, Oak NYC):

Alternately, I like the idea of sprucing up an everyday LBD (for work or play — I like this long-sleeved, simple, fitted dress by 3 Dots, $74, Shopbop) with this ribbon-tie feather necklace ($14.50, Forever 21):

Spice it up with some patterned/textured pumps — I’d either go with a suede in an unexpected color (gray?) or these to.die.for snakeskin Louboutins ($995, FootCandyShoes):

And, for arm candy, this slouchy off-white carry-all ($92, Vieta) — I like the way the different textures (feather, cotton, snakeskin, and leather) play off of one another in this look:

Alternately, spruce up any old everyday work-wardrobe with some feather accents — I wear a button down and pencil skirt frequently, swapping in and out different statement necklaces and earrings and various fun-loving shoes.  I’m tempted to add this necklace to the repertoire ($116, Farfetch):

How cool against a solid white sweater or — better yet — striped navy and white tee ($60, Chance Co) tucked into a black pencil skirt (Adam, $78, TheOutnet) with black pointy-toed flats (Pour La Victoire, $109, Endless)?

Alternately, think Blair Waldorf (PS: the countdown is on: Gossip Girl resumes this upcoming Monday…), and add a fun little feather headband to the mix ($83, Luisa Via Roma):

Pair with otherwise straight forward separates, like this roomy “borrowed from the boys” pullover ($158, Steven Alan) atop a pair of black leggings with some patent ballerina flats (Lanvin, $535, Barney’s)

I’d add a tough-looking bag (loveee the Balenciaga “Giant Part Time” — $1,895, Balenciaga) and some Ray Ban Wayfarers ($139, Ray-Ban):

And maybe a little feather-print scarf by We Are Owls ($218, Shopbop) as the finishing touch?

Feathers are just as pertinent for more formal-wear, and can add a sense of vintage finery to a look.  How to.die.for are these affordable feather clutches ($42 each, Asos)– I love both shades a little too much…can’t I get them both?

Or how about — taking things a step further — the J. Crew Martinete jacket (apparently it’s sold out, but they insist you contact them to see if they can “work their magic” to get you one — $1,200, J. Crew):

Or go super formal with this glitzy feather patterned mini by the ever talented Matthew Williamson (on sale for $1,038, Matthew Williamson)?

And if you just want a little taste of the trend, consider snapping up one of these lovely pieces: a Tucker tunic ($308, Les Nouvelles — perfect with worn in boots like these Madewells — $298, Madewell — and skinny jeans!)

Or maybe a fun feather-accented necklace, like this version from Juicy Couture (on sale for $98, Nordstrom) or this version from Noir ($165, Shopbop)?

The perfect adornment for a little magpie 🙂


In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Shoes, Work Wear on September 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm

You know when someone suddenly appears everywhere in the fashion world?  His or her name just starts magically appearing all over the place — it’s just out there, in the fashion ether?  I think it’s safe to say that Alexa Chung, the British model and TV mogul, is just such a person.  I had been working on an Alexa-centered post for the past few days and then — WHAM! — today, in my inbox, Madewell alerted me that her new line for the company had been released.  No better time than the present to feature her in that case.  What I like about Alexa is that she has her finger on the pulse in terms of what girls want to wear now (she’s all over military-inspired looks, leopard prints, and even clogs — trendy, trendy, trendy), but it looks effortless, and always has her own spin.

How to get her peculiarly British brand of cool?  A uniform of layered knits, black tights, chunky footwear, oversized carryalls (“It” bag designer Mulberry has a bag named after her — the Alexa), and the requisite pop of leopard print.  I’d begin with this See by Chloe blush silk dress ($390, Net-A-Porter):

Pull on some opaque black tights ($12.50, Lori’s Shoes) and add a slouchy carryall (Marc Jacobs, $558, Shopbop):

Black, lace-up, lug-soled boots seem to be her footwear of choice (she’d probably favor something like this Tory Burch military boot) — but I think a straightforward black suede bootie is far more wearable ($180, Nine West):

She almost always throws on an unexpected topper — in this case, a grandfather cardigan ($99, J. Crew) or ruched-sleeved black blazer ($125, TopShop) would be ideal:

While on the subject of outerwear, if you’re a true Chung chica, you absolutely need a sporty utility jacket (to be worn with everything).  Chung loves her Barbour coat, but you can get the look for less with Gap’s long anorak in olive ($89, Gap):

Layer it atop a cozy gray cardi (See by Chloe, $395, Net-A-Porter), striped tee ($60, Chance Boutique), and pair of black shorts (Elizabeth and James, $225, Diani Boutique):

Pair with requisite black tights (patterned if you dare!) and some cap-toed flats — she’d probably gravitate towards these Chanels ($575), but you can get the look for less with these TopShop variations ($55, TopShop):

Other options?  A boxy leopard-print silk blouse (T-Bags, $170, Net-A-Porter — P.S. get the look for less with Ann Taylor’s $78 version) worn with cut-off denim shorts (she’s a self-proclaimed denim addict — Joe’s, $98, ChickDownTown):

Add black tights and — because I am not yet on the clogs bandwagon (I know they’re “hip,” but…they’re chunky) — these clog-esque pumps ($129, Dolce Vita):

(I kind of like the look of the sculpted heel — borrowed from YSL, no doubt.)  The Mulberry “Alexa” bag would, of course, be a natural add-on ($1,250, Mulberry), as would this snuggly oversized cardi (Lutz & Patmos, $115, TheOutnet):

Or perhaps this silky blouse in the loveliest of rosy pinks, from her own diffusion line for Madewell ($110, Madewell), paired with a fitted black skirt ($65, TopShop) and some tweedy flats (Marc Jacobs, $340, Bluefly):

Very Alexa when paired with an unexpected cropped denim jacket ($89, Mango), some patterned tights, and this cross-body, be-tasseled bag (don’t you die over it?!  — and it’s affordable, ringing in at $118, Ann Taylor)

No need to be afraid of patterned tights — just check out how chic she looks:

And how comfy-chic would this little sweater dress by Alexander Wang look this fall ($128, Bird)?

Chung would probably wear it over a floral print dress, like this Maje crepe version ($230, Net-A-Porter) and these Chanel-esque captoe pumps ($109, ASOS):

(She is the queen of mixology.)  I could see her just as easily rocking this See by Chloe printed dress ($525, Net-A-Porter) beneath this bulky twill anorak (Phillip Lim, $995, Net-A-Porter):

Now, a few last minute additions to the Chung list.  If you’ve got to go with a clog, I’d go with this Michael Kors version.  It’s properly proportioned and I like the polished gold against the rich black suede ($250, ShoptheShoeBox):

Hm.  She kinda rocks it.  I’m still wary.

If you’ve still not found the perfect leopard accent, this Lanvin mini bag might make you take the plunge ($1,555, Net-A-Porter):

Alternately, this far-less-expensive Ann Taylor leopard clutch is tempting ($138, Ann Taylor), and this Be & D satchel ($995, Bloomie’s) has Alexa written all over it:

Love it!


In Accessories, Jewelry, Shoes, Sundresses, Work Wear on September 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I never thought I would be advocating a minimalist approach to fashion — I’m more of the “pile it on” school of thought when it comes to jewelry, and I love to experiment with patterns and colors.  So what gives?  Two words: Stella McCartney.  I died when I saw her pared down yet effortlessly, mind-blowingly chic Fall 2010 collection.  I mean.  Have gray pants and kitten heels ever looked so slick?

A Stella Study in Gray

I am seriously digging the proportions: tailored pants, slightly boxy tops, and leg-lengthening pointy-toed heels.  And all in unfussy monochromatics.  What eye-catching restraint!  Stella: you are genius.

More Stella

And More Stella

What’s less is most certainly more in this case.  I cannot wait to test-drive.  Take a slightly boxy top in unassuming gray — this little Helmut Lang is perfect ($175, TheOutnet) — and pair with tailored black pants (these Thakoons are for you label lusters out there! — $525, La Garconne):

Add a pair of uber-unfussy pointy toed shoes — these Gabrielle Rocha come in a range of on-point-for-the-season colors (including camel!) and are pleasantly affordable ($59, Zappos):

Once a magpie, always a magpie: I’d need to add some adornment, but would keep it low-key — just a silver cuff (I’ve long wanted this Paloma Picasso for Tiffany “bone cuff” — $800, Tiffany — how chic!?) and some super understated polished silver studs ($32, Nordstrom):

Personally, when I’m shopping for the look, however, I’d save on the black pants and invest in the shoes.  I’d pair a boxy top (Gryphon, on sale for $207, Les Nouvelles) with some inexpensive pants-of-the-season: I’m eager to get my rear end to lower-end retailers this afternoon to try on some of their offerings in terms of cropped, slim-cut black pants — the J. Crew Minnie is a classic (pictured below, on sale for $39, J. Crew), but I’m also interested in taking Gap’s Premium Collection of black pants out for a spin (new this season — I’m in love with the slim crop variation — $59, Gap):

I’d pair them with The Stella McCartney heels ($645, Neiman’s) and a winning greige bag, like this to.die.for Givenchy ($1,566, MyTheresa):

For dressier occasions, pair the above bag with a simple asymmetrical dress in stark white (Michael Kors, $635, TheOutnet) and some killa pumps (literally — you risk your life in these uber-high Louboutins, but damn, you look good — $755, Net-A-Porter):

Alternately, for work-wear, I daydream about this Miu Miu number ($1,120, Net-A-Porter) with some right-on-point gray suede pumps (affordable to boot! — $120, Banana Republic):

And how sleek would you look layering this o.m.g. Stella coat ($1,107, TheOutnet) atop an all-business gray sheath (adore this Richard Nicoll number — $788, MyTheresa — but you can find less expensive variations at Ann Taylor and J. Crew) and some fierce platforms (my boss owns these Pour La Victoire “Irinas” in glossy black and kills in them; they’re a lot less scary in person, especially in dove gray — $250, Wink NYC):

Because MK and Ashley Olson have been all.over the minimalist trend for years (they’re almost always ahead of the curve — perhaps a bit too far ahead of the curve, as I often find their styles alienatingly avant-garde — what’s with the cross-knuckle rings?!  They scare me.), I’ve got to nod in their direction with this column dress in stark white (Dar Ti, $300, Shopbop):

Pair with substantial sandals in unexpected gray — these Pour La Victoires ($165, Bluefly) have had my eye for awhile, but I wasn’t quite sure how I’d style them until now:

Ashley and MK approve.  As does my fashion designer sister, who has worked to convince me of this aesthetic for, like, decades.  I’ve always wriggled away but I now see the genius of her foresight — the exercise of wise restraint when dealing with gorgeous, solid separates truly lets the beauty of the design shine through.  And it feels zen-like, uncluttered, fresh.

While on the subject of LWDs (I know it’s after Labor Day, but this look means business and can most definitely get away with winter white!), I’ve just got to feature this Calvin Klein sheath ($1,295, Net-A-Porter) — not only is it the perfect capstone piece for any minimalista, but it’s by Calvin Klein, father of the minimalist, monochromatic movement!

Go Gwnyeth Paltrow on us and throw on a sleek gray nubby blazer.  This McCartney piece is positively iconic ($2,095, Net-A-Porter) but this fraction-of-the-price BB Dakota variation has most definitely made my fall must-have list ($95, Shopbop):

Either would look killer with gray suede pumps  — see above for options, or go with these classic Delmans ($295, ShoptheShoebox):

Another surprising way of nailing the minimalist look this season — and believe me, I never thought I’d be advocating for this: leather skirts (just the phrase reminds me of chintzy pleather and studs at a biker bar — ick).  They’ve cropped up in the collections of the most unexpected of designers, from Rag and Bone to gasp-worthy,  prim-and-proper Celine:

A smattering of Fall 2010 leather looks on the runway

Celine —

Delightful minimalistic restraint on the Celine runway

More leather from Celine

Um, how is it possible that leather looks so…Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (another dazzling minimalista, and it’s no surprise, since she worked for Mimimalisto King, Calvin Klein)?

The Kennedys

This is definitely a situation for proceeding with caution.  A straight forward white button-down or this bow-neck blouse ($185, Rebecca & Drew) with a trim pencil skirt (Theory, $379, Zappos) and some serious heels (Louboutin, $595, Net-A-Porter) is all you need:

Because the look is so refined and scaled-back, you can get away with a slightly louder print on the handbag without losing your minimalista touch.  I say this because I’m eagerly chomping at the bit in anticipation of featuring this swoonworthy Celine tote (ever since Pheobe Philo took over at Celine, I’ve seen good, GOOD things — including this jaw-droppingly gorgeous ad):

Celine ad

Mega-swoon.  Because I’m pretty sure you have to Be Somebody slash have a bajillion dollars to snag that puppy, some more affordable alternatives include this unexpected find from Johnston and Murphy ($298, Johnston & Murphy) and this affordable TopShop lovely ($80, TopShop):

Pretty much obsess over the latter in particular.  It’s now joined the ranks of my fall wish list.  Sigh.  If the leather skirt is too much for you — well, first take a looksie at the ever-put-together Gwyneth P. and reconsider — and then consider subbing out for suede ($160, Karen Millen):

And, finally, some minimalista staples — ways of getting the look but with items that you can repurpose in myriad ways.  You’ll need a sharp-looking black blazer — this Elizabeth and James version is a classic (probably because MK and Ashley are the design geniuses behind this line — $395, Shopbop):

(Madewell has a solid, less expensive alternative for $168.)  Gray tops of any variety are a  must — I loveee this versatile silky ACNE top ($330, Net-A-Porter), but think this J. Crew boyfriend sweatshirt will come in handy on a weekly/daily basis this fall ($69, J. Crew):

As for footwear: pared-down, straight-forward leather boots are the way to go.  I adore the color of these nude booties (Schutz, $220, Shopbop), but these black Loeffler Randalls are beyond classic ($695, FootNotesOnline):

At a loss for styling?  MK’s got it down pat here.  Love the proportions.

Funny how it works: scale back and yet amp up on shine…

Town Mouse, Country Mouse

In Accessories, Shoes, Work Wear on September 7, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Mr. Magpie and I were up in rural Ohio for a beautiful, rustic-style wedding on a farm this past weekend, and while we could not stop commenting on the crisp, cool air and the beautiful, nearly-fall foliage, the experience reconfirmed what I’ve long known: that this little Magpie is most definitely a city gal.  Driving through remote parts of the midwest was lovely, but I missed the hustle-bustle of city life.  My morning jog through “town” felt a bit unnerving: not a soul in sight on the Sunday morning streets; nary a car to distract me from my slow-moving progress (it was cold and I just could not get into a rhythm).

After I mentioned my discomfort with the deserted ghost town vibe I was getting, Mr. Magpie reminded me of his longtime dream of owning and operating a small farm outside Charlottesville, and that I should probably begin to negotiate with the idea of becoming a “country mouse” for at least part of the year.  (Mr. Magpie is endlessly fascinating to me in this way: he is an unexpected and mysterious mix of the dapper prepster and the outdoorsy adventure-man.  On the one hand, he’s the best-dressed guy I’ve ever met and he cares about things like how to fold a pocket square and pair printed ties with striped shirts; on the other: he is one of those guys who will have blood gushing out of his elbow and not notice or care until you point it out to him, at which point he’ll casually glance down and shrug it off — “I dunno how I got that.”  How did this man come to be?)  The comment sparked a little fashion challenge that preoccupied the majority of our bajillion hour road trip home, however: what would a “country mouse” version of this little Magpie look like?  What would she have packed for this Labor Day weekend trip?

Step 1: Replace label-studded luggage with utilitarian-chic overnight bag.  Though I love my little Louis duffel, it just doesn’t work outside the city.  I’d replace it with a Klein canvas tool bag ($90, Klein Collections):

Step 2: Retool city slicker travel outfit (blue shirt dress, leopard print scarf, statement necklace and ring, and gold sandals) with down-to-earth separates, like a plaid shirt ($150, Neiman’s), a puffer vest ($118, J.Crew), and some lived-in jeans (7 for All Mankind, $198, ChickDownTown):

I think you could get away with Minnetonka Mocs if you’re so inclined (I’m a woman in love — I cannot stop obsessing over them), but Frye boots are a solid choice as well (I like the “Paige” tall boots in dark brown, but they have tons of styles — $348, Heery’s):

One of Southern Proper’s “Frat Hats” might be an appropriate addition (also comes in camo print, if you are so inclined — $25, SouthernProper):

Step 3: Cleanse wardrobe of prints, sticking to neutrals like khaki, hunter green, rust red, and faded gray.  Stock up on worn-in knits — simple tees ($19.50, Madewell) that can work effortlessly with a utility jacket ($265, PiperLime) and easy-on knit sweater ($129, Eddie Bauer):

Step 4: Denim.  Lots of it.  The Current/Elliott “Perfect Shirt” is pretty much the It item in terms of the “work shirt” trend that took over this season (I’ve seen it on sale for $122 at Bergdorf Goodman, but you can buy it pretty much everywhere and in a number of washes):

Step 5: Load up on heavy fabrics.  We were in for a big surprise when the temperatures dipped into the low 50s — I was c-o-o-old!  I wanted lots of heavy wools, furs, and corduroys for comfort.  Lucky for those country mice out there, shearling is BIG this season, as was demonstrated on the runway —

Shearling looks at, from left to right: Celine, Burberry Porsum, and Derek Lam

Shearling at Rag & Bone

…and though I can’t quite get on board with the shearling-collar coat trend, I’m kind of obsessing over this affordable rich leather tote with shearling lining/trim ($60, ASOS):

I know it won’t “warm” you exactly, but it just looks so yummy and vintage-cool.  Something that will keep you toasty?  These shearling gloves…die.over.them ($196, ShopSavannah):

Hm, perhaps country living ain’t so bad after all…

Tailgate Tactics

In Accessories, Shoes, Sundresses on September 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

It’s football season, as I was ever-so-painfully reminded last weekend when Mr. Magpie’s Fantasy Football League draft took place.  (I’m sorry to sound snide, but I just do not understand the whole “fantasy sports” concept.  I also do not understand sports, as a general proposition, so perhaps that’s part of the problem.  Mr. Magpie tried his darnedest to dream up some sort of comparison that I could understand — “it’s like fantasy shopping, but for guys” he claimed — and I’m still lost.  To quote Carrie Bradshaw: “I like my money where I can see it: hanging in my closet.”)  But while I don’t care for the sportsmanship and drama on the field, I do enjoy a tailgate, and I couldn’t be more geared up for attending some of UVA’s games this fall, especially after seeing Tommy Hilfiger’s unexpectedly delicious ad campaign this fall:

Tommy Hilfiger’s Fall 2010 Ad Campaign

Now, though I adore the fine old Virginia tradition of dressing up for football games (bowties and dresses all the way — don’t get me started on the “Sea of Orange” trend), the cooler fall weather often thwarts my designs on easy breezy sundresses and Jack Rogers and makes heavier wardrobe decisions a necessity.  And this fall, I’m absolutely ga-ga over the idea of cozy camel and gray knits, slouchy leather bags, and the occasional appearance of Fair Isle patterning.  I would recommend a yummy cowl-neck sweater dress (Bird, $400, Net-A-Porter) as a staple for outdoor tailgating in the crisp autumn weather —

Pair with low-wedge boots (you know I’m bananas about the Loeffler Randall “Riley” OTK — check them out in this gorgeous tobacco color! — $825, Loeffler Randall) and a roomy tote (I’m normally not a Coach brand lover, but the new Kristin pleated satchel is too good to be true — $398, Coach):

Alternately, I like the idea of serious layering — perhaps this striped tee ($42.50, J. Crew) beneath a nubby sweater-cape (I like this ModCloth version — $54, ModCloth — and this amazing find from Old Navy (!) — $39.50, Old Navy), atop a pair of dark wash skinnies?

Tuck the jeans into the Riley OTKs or add a simple pair of cognac flats — I adore these bow-toe Pour La Victoires (on sale for $117, Bluefly):

As an alternative, what about this little denim shirtdress (on sale for $78, Revolve Clothing), paired with rich brown boots ($298, Madewell):

If it’s chilly out, I’d layer a striped tee beneath it  ($39, J. Crew — adore this “spiced olive” color) and throw on a fur vest (faux or not) — you can find them everywhere right now, from B.B. Dakota to Michael Kors :

Or how about  a fitted, frilled blazer ($138, Anthropologie) atop this slouchy little heather gray top ($54, MetroPark) and some skinnies:

Tuck into some equestrian-inspired flat boots ($89, Arden B), add some aviators ($139, Ray-Ban), and you’re set.

Alternately, how about a poncho-like camel sweater (Alexander Wang, $525, Shopbop):

(Ella Moss has a slightly more affordable alternative that I like as well — $220, Ella Moss.)  I’d layer it over some leggings or skinnies and tuck, as usual, into boots.  Other cozy options?  I loveeee the details on this J. Crew sweater — the buttons, the shawl collar — it’s all so yummy ($128, J. Crew):

I’ve also already mentioned this “cocoon shrug” but I can’t get it out of my mind (or off my shopping list) –$80, TopShop:

I kind of die over the idea of pairing it with a boxy-fit, striped tee ($26, Metropark), some dark-wash jeans, and a pair of cognac flats ($42,

Alternately, pair a dusty-hued suede bomber (love the bomber jacket this season — $395, Madewell) with a cashmere tee dress (on sale for $72, TheOutnet) and some structured brown boots (do you not DIE over these Chloes? — $990, Bloomingdale’s):

Or how about a batwing sweater shrug ($114, Piper Lime) over a navy/white stripe tee-dress (Juicy, $160, Net-A-Porter):

Pair with flat brown boots and a corresponding brown leather tote.  Another thought: one of American Vintage’s lovely knit dresses in a camel color, beneath a nubby fair isle duster sweater ($650, Calypso):

This Hazel sweater provides a more affordable (though just as chic) alternative ($88, PiperLime) — I adore the little horn toggle buttons!

Of course, you can also go traditional-preppy by pairing a donegal/tweed blazer ($95, Shopbop) with a slim-fit collared oxford ($85, Ralph Lauren):

Wair atop a pair of skinny jeans and — my favorite — some Minnetonkas ($45, Zappos):

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy a cocktail while rooting on your team (go ‘hoos!)  — and if your man is looking for a little something for the day, point him in the direction of Southern Proper, full of bow ties and “frat caps” and so forth.  Love that they call their boxers “southern drawls” (get it?):

Art Class

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on September 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I recently renewed my membership at The Phillips Collection art museum, and am positively dying to get over there to check out their more recent exhibitions.  Once upon a time, I worked as an intern in their development office and would frequently have the opportunity to stroll through the museum’s manageable proportions (they pride themselves on featuring art in an intimate setting — the museum used to be Mr. Duncan Phillips’ personal home).  The level of access that I once had seems like pure luxury nowadays.  At any rate, as I pored over their website (they post audio tours!), I found myself day-dreaming about abstract-print dresses and brush-stroke-patterned blouses.  As per usual, I cannot keep my thoughts fenced in: they inevitably roam back to the subject of fashion.  On what can only be labeled as a fashion high, I recalled the Elizabeth & James painted silk blouse that caught my eye a few weeks back ($295, Net-A-Porter):

I’d wear it either tucked into a high-waisted black skirt for work with some killer heels or atop a pair of skinny jeans with some flats ($130, Jildor) and an oversized tote (on sale for $311, Kate Spade):

On the wrist: two of these Kate Spade “Hand in Hand” bangles ($48 apiece, Kate Spade):

And then some classic gold twist enorma-studs ($25, Banana Republic):

I’m also obsessed with the idea of pairing a cute little blouse (either one of the washed silk ones I talked about yesterday — Equipment’s revival of its utility blouse has been epic thus far this season, for example — even Garance Dore mentioned it on her blog — $178, Revolve Clothing) with this “expressionist” print skirt ($37, Ruche):

All you’ll need are some epic heels (Casadei, on sale for $330, Farfetch) in a rich blue color and you’re set:

This splash-printed dress (also $37, also from Ruche) would be equally precious, especially when you’re looking to debut your new-for-fall flat boots ($159, Bloomingdale’s) and a rich-looking leather tote ($295, Brahmin):

While on the subject of dresses, this Juicy Couture printed number ($250, Net-A-Porter) caught my eye — it reminds me of one of Picasso’s fab canvases:

Cynthia Vincent’s Langley boot would be the perfect accompaniment ($395, Shop the Shoebox):

As would that Kate Spade “Camille” handbag I’ve been coveting this season ($495, Kate Spade):

For dressier affairs, I was head.over.heels for Lela Rose’s artful Fall 2010 collection (feminine yet futuristic — and a throwback to early 90s minimalism, which seems to be the next thing on the horizon after the recapture-the-excess-of-the-80s stylings we saw over the last few seasons) —

Lela Rose’s Fall 2010 Collection

I already want these Anna Wintour-esque sheath dresses from the collection (the first — $1,060, Net-A-Porter; the second — $1,895, Net-A-Porter):

Somebody was drawing inspiration from Jackson Pollock’s intense canvases…

Love.   I wish someone would make a dress out of the lower canvas — that fiery orange has my name written all over it, and against the staid camel/greige background?!  I mean.  On point for this season.

Other separates options?  How to die is this Parker blouse ($180, Nordstrom)?  I’m slowly converting to being a purple fan — I used to think it always looked tacky, but I like the richness nowadays:

I like the way it’s styled here, with skinny jeans — and I’d probably add on some black suede booties or maybe these sick House of Harlow OTK (over the knee) finds ($286, Boutique To You)?

We’ll continue with the Nicole Richie-ness by adding this House of Harlow necklace, which I snagged last season when it was improperly priced at Cusp (they marked it as $53, but everywhere else I’ve seen it, it’s been $75 or higher! — $75, ShopSheBoutique):

The geometric / slightly art-deco style of the necklace adds an interesting artful touch to the overall aesthetic.  I like.  The above boot-and-necklace couple would also look killer paired with some black tights and this Catherine Malandrino abstract print number ($450, Net-A-Porter):

I can also envision pairing them with some black tights and these killer suede booties by Boutique 9 (love the low cut of the front — $160, PiperLime):

(I took the plunge and ordered these Tory Burch variations on the suede bootie for this fall season — am eagerly waiting to debut them once the temp plummets.)

Just to be fair, I’ll include a warm weather option, as…it is still hitting 93 degrees here in the District, and despite my intense desire to invest in suede, capes, and dark wash skinny jeans, I’ve got to be realistic.  I am seriously loving this Rory Beca brushstroke print tank (on sale for $86, Rory Beca) — there I go again with the purple!

Adorable with white shorts or white jeans (Current/Elliott, $190, ChickDownTown — but check it out!  They’re offering 40% off anything!) and a fistful of bangles ($68 for set, PiperLime) paired with a chunky gold watch (FreeLook, $300, Shopbop):

Then all I want is a pair of simple, flat gold studs, like these go-with-everything Jennifer Meyers ($150, Shopbop):

For shoes, I’m pretty much dying over mocs at the moment, but for the warmer weather, these metallic Burberry t-straps are right on the money (on sale for $243, Zappos):

And, for the bag — you gotta go a little into left field to avoid looking too matchy-matchy.  I like this roomy Rebecca Minkoff tote in endlessly wearable gray — and this particular shade has hints of lilac in it that make it a natural mate for the purple in the Rory Beca tank ($495, Rebecca Minkoff):

A perfect art gallery-going get-up.  You could also swap in this much-less-expensive splatter-top blouse (only $19, Forever21) to get the look for less:

For a truly graphic look, pair with the white jeans above and those slouchy black suede booties I mentioned.  Now get out there and see some art — even if it’s fashion-centric!  I’m in love with design sketches like the one below, and my sister (the student at Parson’s in NY) is an incredibly talented sketch artist, so I’ll have to post some of her works in the next few weeks!

Laced Up

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes on September 1, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I could not stop ogling over this month’s InStyle spread featuring Frida Pinto — how gorgeous is it?!  And how gorgeous is she?!

(Images from InStyle magazine)

It’s funny how things turn out, because I’ve been mentally curating a “lace” post for awhile, and these pics made me realize just how into the lace look I am.  My one caveat: lace can look cheap quickly, especially when the edges are unfinished/unhemmed and the fabric is too stiff.  That being said, I have a slew of pieces that have garnered my attention over the past few weeks, including this too-good-to-be-true See by Chloe dress, on sale for just $150 (!) at TheOutnet:

Adore the proportions and the prim cut, and swoon when I envision pairing it with some sparkling enorma-studs ($75, Bing Bang) and a pair of glossy black pumps (Rupert Sanderson, $590, Net-A-Porter):

I’m also loving the idea of a silky utility blouse ($325, Loeffler Randall) tucked into a trim black lace skirt ($70, TopShop):

I’d keep the jewelry light, with something like these vermeil bangles ($165 for 3, Margaret Elizabeth) and a pair of quartz studs (Anna Sheffield, $374, Shopbop), but the shoes fairly substantial (I’m loving the contrast between suede and lace at the moment — Boutique 9, $130, Shopbop) for the perfect blend of ethereal-with-edge:

Meanwhile, how darned fetching is this lovely little Manteleta Lace dress by Leifsdottir ($398, Leifsdottir)?

Um.  I’m obsessed.  Love the “eyelashes” along the bottom (I learned from wedding dress shopping that you call the little edges of lace that peek out over a hem “eyelashes”) and the interesting neckline.  Nude/champagne pumps are in order with this little feminine piece — something like this pair of Stuart Weitzmans would be perfect (on sale for $181, Farfetch):

And, to round it all out, a pair of sparkling earrings (Vintage Mariam Haskell, $548, House of Lavande) and a dreamy Lanvin clutch (loveeee the feather detail — $1,185, Kirna Zabete):

Lace needn’t be restricted to evening-wear, however.  I’m loving the idea of a somewhat cropped lace top, like this Lover brand piece ($455, Net-A-Porter) with a pair of white shorts (Pucci, $154, TheOutnet) and black strappy sandals (Belle by Sigerson Morrison, on sale for $97, La Garconne):

I like the idea of pairing it with a be-ribboned necklace, like this unexpected find from Talbot’s (on sale for $39, Talbots):

The same design principles apply for this boxy little almost-lace top by Paul&Joe (on sale for $176, MyTheresa) — I’d pair with some skinny jeans in black or a inky dark blue —

–and then top it off with a chunky necklace ($28, TopShop) and some eye-catching flats (Lanvin, $525, Shop Zoe):

Either of the above outfits would be adorable with this roomy, slightly edgy tote from Tory Burch ($595, Tory Burch):

I gotta say, though, that the cross-body bag has been BIG this season.  I’m still not so much into the look — it’s a bit too hipster-with-a-fedora for me (for some reason, the style reminds me of Urban Outfitters, which I like and where I often find nice separates in, but, taken on the whole, the Urban Outfitters aesthetic is sloppy and gritty in a way…which does not mesh well with my overall goal of stream-lined, polished dressing).  However, if I were so inclined, I’d probably snap up something like this Gorjana “Hudson” ($200, Gorjana):

Alternately, how adorable would this silky tank (Sykes, $279, Elizabeth Charles) be, tucked into this tidy little zippered white lace skirt (Paul & Joe, $590, Net-A-Porter):

I’d pair it with some nude pumps ($149, Corso Como) and a pearl-and-gold hooped necklace ($38, Anthropologie):

Or perhaps consider taking a note from the ballerina look by pairing a straight-forward tank ($35, J. Crew) with  a fuller lace skirt ($37.99, Modcloth) and a pair of ballet flats ($162, TheOutnet):

The only thing I’d add?  Some sparkling enorma-studs ($25, TopShop):

If you’re not sold on the lace separates look, just kick your typical LBD up a notch with a pair of killer lace-adorned pumps.  I’ve featured the Valentino bow-toes a number of time already, but how ridiculous are these Fendis (watch out — you may break your ankle in these puppies — $690, Nordstrom)?

Ladylike and edgy at the same time.  Love with a capital L.

The Great Outdoors

In Accessories, Shoes, Sundresses on August 30, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I wouldn’t exactly call myself the Mrs. Bear Grylls of the world.  I’m admittedly pathetic when it comes to scary noises in the dark, creepy crawly things, animals that aren’t house-broken, and the feeling of being lost.  Ergo, I’m not cut out for outdoorsy activities.  I used to pretend that I was since I grew up spending my summers in Aspen, Colorado, “fly-fishing with my Dad” (playing with Barbies on the shore), “going on intense hikes” (well, I was good at hiking, but I would squeal and thrash around uselessly whenever a found a bug on my clothing), and “camping” (forcing my father and brother to carry 3,482 pounds worth of unnecessary blankets, pillows, and flash-lights on their backs and then screening myself into a tent for the long haul.  Once, they got to the summit of a long upward climb and, settling down to set up camp, withdrew Barbie after Barbie from their packs, their faces registering increasing levels of dismay as they realized that they’d just hauled dozens of pounds worth of…doll.)  So I don’t really know what has prompted my recent desire to organize an end-of-summer/early-fall camping excursion.  I have an entire vision for the trip — we’d pile our gear into a huge old school Jeep wagoneer (no one I know has one, but let’s disregard that minor inconvenience) and set out for the color-changing foliage in West Virginia:

When I say “camping,” I really mean holing up in a wood cabin for the weekend.  No backpacking gear for me — I’ll pack my weekend essentials in this plaid duffel instead ($395, Jack Spade):

For lounging around the cabin (this outfit may well be my fall “uniform” of sorts anyway), I’d pair a plaid button down (you can find them anywhere — for higher end picks, check out Graham & Spencer, Elizabeth & James, or Rag & Bone, but Madewell and Gap have amazing alternatives as well; the one shown here caught my eye because I tend to gravitate towards plaids with hunter-looking red in them — $19, Heritage 1981):

I’d layer it beneath a faux fur vest — this Loft version ($98) is killer (!), but not yet available online.  I saw it in stores and died over it, but wouldn’t let myself indulge because I already own one.  (I bought it last season and my friends were lukewarm on it, but I was obsessed.)

I feel like everyone is into the fur vest this season…thankyouRachelZoe.  Pair with your favorite skinnies and some Minnetonkas ($45, Zappos) and you are set.

(I finally bought a pair of the above “Kilty Suede” Minnetonkas last weekend and am eagerly anticipating their arrival.  I have to admit that I’ve been a bad Fashion Magpie in the past and have actually been seen wearing L.L. Bean’s Wicked Good Moccasins — $49, L.L.Bean — out in public when I’m dashing around running errands in the winter, so these Minnetonkas will fill a big void in my life and actually enable me to look semi-presentable when I want to be comfy and warm and dressed down at the same time.)  If it’s not quite cool enough to merit a fur vest and jeans, I’m in love with this easy little plaid dress by Sunner (on sale for $130, Thistle & Clover):

I’d either slip into some boat shoes ($75, Sperry) or a pair of neutral leather flip-flops (Rainbows, $46, SouthMoonUnder — yeah, yeah, yeah, they remind us all of fratty basements, but you can walk a million miles in them without getting a blister, and they’re meant for this kind of thing):

Then all you need is a trusty pair of aviators ($99, RayBan), a cozy sweater for when the temp drops (love this J. Crew “dream” sweater — on sale for $80, J. Crew), and some good “in the woods” lit (no, I will not recommend Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, which I found infuriatingly self-indulgent and self-important and completely socially irresponsible…but that’s a different story; I would pick a collection of Hemingway short stories, like this Hemingway on Hunting anthology, $10, Amazon):

For around-the-campfire sitting, I am with this cozy fisherman’s knit pullover by L.L. Bean (on sale for $47, L.L. Bean — don’t you obsess over the buttons on the shoulder?)

Perfect with the J. Crew “Lodge Puffer” vest ($118, J. Crew), a pair of jeans, and a some furry mukluks (on sale for $197, Farfetch):

I bought the most amazing pair of Tory Burch mukluks last year before a ski trip (see below; they’re no longer available) — love them — and discovered that most of friends hated them.  I guess fur is an all-or-nothing proposition, even if it’s fake.  I hope I’m not offending too many fashion sensibilities out there, but…I’m all about it!

For daytime expeditions, I covet the classic Barbour field coat ($299, Orvis)– I gave one to Mr. Magpie for Christmas last year, and he was rarely seen without it over the winter months.

If you’re a loser like me, you may be obsessed with carrying little notebooks around for various reasons — I always carry two pink Moleskine notebooks ($12 for 2, Moleskine) in my bag: one for random Fashion Magpie finds/ideas and the other for cooking/dining related notes.  Mr. Magpie is a big foodie and I love all things cooking and cuisine-related, so I’ve been keeping track of the delicious things we’ve made and tried  together so far in our 3-week-old marriage!  It’s also useful for recording the wines we try, because it seems like we always forget which labels were best.  At any rate, I saw this little “Field Notes” pad and feel like I’d find some use for it while in the wild ($12, The Curiosity Shoppe):

(Love the retro font.)  I’d tramp around in these Lady N boots by Hunter, which I snagged last season and absolutely cannot live without in cool, rainy climes ($140,

I personally prefer them to duck boots, but L.L. Bean has you covered if you prefer that style.  If it’s too warm for a Barbour, jeans, and boots, I love the look of this utility shirt (Vince, $210, Net-A-Porter) with some white shorts (Pucci, $154, TheOutnet)

Pair with moccasins or Rainbows and bring along a lightweight khaki coat just in case (Tory Burch, $328, MyTheresa):

If you’re setting up for an outdoor dinner, bring out this vintage-style Roberts radio for some tunes ($328,Anthropologie) and set up some folding chairs ($133 each, Design Within Reach — much better than a sit-upon, if you ask me) around the fire:

Meanwhile, this little “picnic tote” (it’s waterproof!) will be perfect for packing and transporting your lunch/dinner (even if it’s just s’mores — $17.99, Kohl’s):

Mr. Magpie and I like to entertain outdoors with mason jars — everyone loves to drink out of ’em, and they are cheap! — so we’d probably pack a bunch for a camping trip ($9.49 for 12, KMart):

Other options for when the mercury does drop?  This little plaid coat (love it — Marc Jacobs, on sale for $138, MyTheresa), which I impractically imagine wearing with some over-the-knee black leather boots (I’m literally in love with with these Loeffler Randall puppies — I want, I want, I want — $825, Loeffler Randall)

I like the idea of pairing those sleek pieces with an oversized gray sweatshirt, borrowed from the boys (unfortunately, I can’t quite pull this look off — Mr. Magpie towers over me, and it does not look cute when I try to borrow his belongings — it just looks like I’m a drowned rat, with yards of fabric hanging off of me…in the meantime, this faded gray sweatshirt from J. Crew’s men’s collection will do — $49, J. Crew):

Then all you’ll need is a pair of black leggings (only if the sweatshirt hangs low, as in well over your rear — otherwise, you look dumb) or skinny jeans.  The only other accent on my list is a fur trapper hat (it’s a boys’ size, but I’m guessing a kids’ M/L will fit most women — $30, Boden):

I don’t know about you, but I’m almost excited to get into the woods!

Ballin on a Budget

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on August 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Sorry for my ghetto-fab heading, but the line hails from a Nappy Roots song of the same name (a college-era favorite) that popped up on my iPod during my brisk morning run this a.m. (it was almost chilly out!)  The lyrics couldn’t have been more timely, as, due to recent “budget  cuts” in my shopping allowance (now that I’m a Magpie Mrs. there are other, more appropriate methods of allocating resources, i.e. investing, saving, and buying “adult” things, like the remaining sets of china not purchased on our registry and shelving for our closets…yippee), I need to scale back and either a) only buy strategically (challenging given my impulse buyer tendencies) or b) take a look at lesser-priced merchandise and prowl lower-end retailers more frequently.  I’ll opt for the latter, and have already had no problem locating a slew of “cheap thrills” to update my wardrobe without breaking the bank.  All items in this post are under $100!

To begin with: I’m in love with these versatile, worn-in tees (on super sale now for $7.99-$12.99, Madewell):

We all know my obsession with the poppy red color — and I’ve already imagined a bajillion scenarios for wearing it.  Situation #1: To the gym over a neon sports bra (I lovelovelove Target’s C9 by Champion line — you can’t see the full rainbow of bright colors they come in online, but I have bought them in a range of colors in the store and die over them — $16.99, Target) and a pair of black Nike leggings ($50, Nike):

Side note: I know it’s odd to think about coordinating a sports bra with a t-shirt, but anything that puts a little pep in your workout step is a good thing — and I kind of like to clash colors a bit, i.e. BRIGHT red with BRIGHT pink, or BRIGHT green with BRIGHT orange.  Fun.

Situation #2:  On the weekend, with a ruffled, cropped trench ($98, Limited) and a pair of matchstick jeans ($98, J. Crew):

I’d add a pair of snakeskin ballets to the mix ($51, Endless) and funky enormastuds (kinda love the mismatchiness of this pair — $65, Max and Chloe):

Situation #3: For work, tucked into a high-waisted pencil skirt ($78, White House Black Market):

Layered beneath a tangle-o-chains necklace ($69, Banana Republic) and some all-business black patent pointy-toed flats ($57, 6PM):

Add on a roomy black tote and you’re set ($90, PiperLime):

And while we’re on the subject of work-appropriate wear, why not take the military look into the office space with this army green shirtdress, only $32 at ChickDownTown?

I’d probably pair it with a leopard print scarf (for some reason I feel that those two trends — militarista and animal print — dovetail perfectly — $35, ShopHarmonyLane):

For dressier nights out, I’m with this asymmetrical brush-stroke-print dress from UK’s Warehouse ($89, Warehouse):

I’d pair it with these sparkling distressed crystal studs ($30, Rachel Roy) and some uber-high greige pumps ($58, Aldo — P.S.: Olivia Palermo’s been spotted in Aldo’s shoes):

And now, a few “just because” pick-me-ups that top my fall shopping list (and are affordable to boot!).  First up: this unbelievable bow-front tote in right-on-point greigey-taupe ($86, Melie Bianco):

Second: this dainty little “reminder” bow necklace, which I want to wear with everything and anything.  Love it’s delicateness ($55, ByBoe), including easy cotton knit dresses like this affordable Erin Brinie number ($55, Erin Brinie):

And — OK — this goes admittedly (though not by much) over budget, but how precious are these Vivienne Westwood bow-toe flats ($130, Urban Minx)?!

Because they are almost like jellies — perfect rainy-day wear, I’ll conclude with another gray day find: the most perfect slicker ever, retro-styled like the Morton salt girl and all ($72, ModCloth):

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain…