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Back to School

In Accessories, Shoes, Work Wear on August 26, 2010 at 5:04 pm

As I drove back from the gym after a (way too) early workout this morning (thanks to Elle’s fall fashion issue, I managed to stay on the elliptical for 40 minutes — quite a victory for the early hour), I made the mistake of trying to “take a shortcut” by going down some side roads in NW D.C. and instead got stuck behind a school bus unloading children for five minutes, found myself forced to drive at a reduced speed of 15 MPH around multiple school zones, and anxiously dodged children running into the street.  School is definitely back in session.  Despite the petty nuisances endured this morning, I was overwhelmed by an upsurge of nostalgia: I used to love those crisp first few weeks of school, where everything seemed fresh and new.  And, for the most part, everything was: new crayons, new pencils, a new lunchbox, new school clothes, new books, new faces in the classroom.  As I got ready for work, I found myself daydreaming about preppy fall school looks, adapted to my new “adult” life.  You know — nothing costumey (though I like plaid, I don’t think I’ll ever wear a kilt again since I wore a uniform for 12 years of my life) — just some classics for fall.  To begin with: I reallyreally want this navy schoolboy blazer ($188, J. Crew):

I imagine wearing it with an unexpected billowy tie-front blouse ($55, PiperLime), skinny jeans, and — my favorite fall footwear — mocs (these House of Harlows are unbelievable, and also come in an unexpected burnt orange color — on sale for $124, Bloomingdale’s):

Complete the look with a slouchy brown leather bag.  I’ve already highlighted J. Crew’s Brompton multiple times, and I still stand by that choice, but Alexander Wang is BIG this season (I’ve seen lots of “It” girls wearing his pieces — you can tell they are Wang’s because of the studs on the bottom — $850, Barney’s):

Though you know I’m usually all about heavy jewelry, this look needs to maintain a I-just-threw-this-on look, so I’d probably only add a few “I-live-in-these” pieces — maybe a gold signet ring (this CCSkye bauble isn’t quite a signet ring, but it’s a cool take on a classic — $125, CCSkye), a leather wrap watch (I snagged this little gem last year and get compliments on it constantly– and it only looks expensive! — $90, La Mer Collections), and either a couple of lockets or this jingling Tory Burch coin necklace ($395, Tory Burch):

Side note on the mocs: I pretty much adore how they never go with anything.  I mean, what does one wear with suede, soft-sided shoes?!  They are totally impractical and always make an outfit slightly left of center.  Love.  I snapped up a metallic pair from J. Crew at the outset of the summer but they killed my feet — they were maybe a touch too small, and the leather was too stiff to ever really loosen.  I keep wearing them in the hopes of “breaking them in” (what are they, horses?), but they are a nuisance.  I’m already on to the next: I’m now thinking I may just snag a pair of classic Minnetonkas.  They’re inexpensive and delightfully kitschy ($34.95, Amazon):

Other musts for the back-to-school look?  Woolen sweaters.  I’m in love with this nubby little thing from Eddie Bauer, of all places ($69, Eddie Bauer):

I just want to curl up in it.  I’d wear it unbuttoned in the front over a long v-neck tee, some skinnies, and either some mocs or some live-in-’em brown leather boots.  A few years ago, I picked up the Steve Madden Intyce boot — a knockoff of Loeffler Randall’s sick mini-wedge Mathilde — and have been back for multiple new pairs since.  They are comfy and in the perfect cognac shade.  But this year I think I might switch things up a tad — I’m thinking of going with these slightly-more-equestrian-inspired everyday boots from Madewell ($298, Madewell):

I like the little side tabs at the top.  I’d like to tuck wear them with a long oxford stripe tunic ($88, Madewell) and leggings for an easy Saturday:

Perfect with my dream bag — the Chloe Marcie ($1,790, Net-A-Porter):

Of course, for those of my readers who are still in school (woo!  I’m jealous.), any of the above looks would be stellar for comfy note-taking gear.  When I was in grad school, I would most likely be seen in some variation of the above offerings — lots of layers to make up for the vast variations in classroom temperatures I withstood.  Some classrooms were boiling, others had no heat at all.  A typical getup would include a cotton top or blouse, like this little Steven Alan number (on sale for $89, Steven Alan), layered beneath a nubby cardigan (on sale for $175, Tory Burch)

Then I’d slip on some skinny jeans (I was really into cuffing straight-leg jeans for awhile, too) and either boots or some tidy flats (Pour La Victoire, on sale for $117, Bluefly):

I’m pretty much the queen of outerwear — I’m embarrassed to admit how many jackets, blazers, coats, and other forms of outerwear are currently cluttering my closets with Mr. Magpie — so I always do it up with a cute little coordinating topper.  This season I just gotta have this Lauren Moffat bomber ($390, Lauren Moffat):

I die over it.  The big gold stud buttons!  The cropped sleeves!  The plaid wool fabric!  NEED.  This Tory Burch Dafina ($495, Tory Burch) would be a nice, roomy addition, and I’d probably throw on a clinky charm bracelet for good measure ($145, Max and Chloe):

Now, if fall could just hurry up and get on over here…

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All that glitters…

In Accessories, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on August 25, 2010 at 6:10 pm

The “daytime sequins” trend has been out there in the fashion ether for months now, but I’ve always considered it a study in contrasts best worn by the likes of Olivia Palermo, who could make a trash bag look chic.

Sequin bloomers?  Why not.

Tory Burch was all over the sequins-in-the-a.m. trend, and then J. Crew followed (paillette-adorned) suit shortly thereafter.  I saw it on designers as disparate as Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Tam (and, of course, Christophe Decarnin’s Balmain — no surprise there, though).  I observed from afar, wondering whether the “I’m in Vegas” vibe sequins seem to give off could be muted enough for 11 a.m. street strolls in Georgetown.  I’ve decided that with some careful balancing, it can look beyond fetching — chic, really, with a bit of devil-may-care attitude thrown in there.  And here’s how.  Begin by selecting well-tailored separates: a conventional cut with the addition of eye-catching sequins, like this DVF blazer ($495, Net-A-Porter):

The blazer was all.over.the.place last season, so why not up the ante a bit, and make your workaday wardrobe a bit more unexpected?  I can see myself pairing them with a little silk blouse in stark white ($203, The Outnet) and trim, fitted black pants ($59.50, Gap — BTW, Gap has just come out with a premium black pant collection with a variety of styles, and I pretty much want to invest in a pair of each of them; the “Really Skinny” is featured below):

Add on a pair of glossy black pumps (something with a bit of a sole to them, like these Joan & Davids — $204, Zappos), a slouchy carry-all (Marc Jacobs, $398, PiperLime), and some serious enorma-shades (I covet this Tom Ford “Simone” style — they mean business.  They also cost around $495.  Find a retailer near you at Tom Ford Online):

As for jewelry: I like the idea of pairing this look with I-live-in-it jewelry — simple pieces that look like you wear them everyday.  I’m thinking flat gold disc studs ($55, Gorjana) and a pair of simple gold bangles — I’d die to own the Cartier Love bracelet ($3,175, Cartier), but in the mean time, this CCSkye variation might tide me over ($125, CC Skye) when paired with a few thin stand-on-their-own bangles (Argento Vivo, $98, Nordstrom):

Hair should be pulled back in a low, loose chignon.  This look is very Olivia Palermo.

Another option: once the cooler weather hits, I’m mildly obsessed with the idea of pairing a trim, tissue-thin black turtleneck ($39.50, J. Crew) with this paper-bag waist skirt from J. Crew — it’s already sold out in the U.S., but interestingly, Net-A-Porter has just begun to carry a limited collection of J. Crew pieces on their site, so it’s still available there ($268, J. Crew):

Add black tights and some black flats ($295, Tory Burch):

I like it with an adorned headband ($8.80, Forever 21) and the  J. Crew “Rhapsody” ($285, J. Crew) — I’ve featured it before, and I’ll feature it again.  Love.it.

The look reminds me of Blair Waldorf, which reminds me of how excited I am for Gossip Girl to return (September 13th can’t come soon enough).  Yes, I’m 26 and I live for GG.  Its plot line is so improbable, its dialogue so stilted, its fashion so unbelievable–and yet the entire package is so delicious.  Love.  But back to the matter at hand: how to become a gliterati without going overboard.  As mentioned previously, I think I’d avoid a “showgirl gone wrong” vibe by sticking to classic shapes that just happen to feature sequins.  I have to admit that I’ve been eying this kids size cardigan from J. Crew’s Girls section ($188, J. Crew) for awhile — I’d wear it to work with a fitted pencil skirt ($69, J. Crew) and some blush pumps (I snapped up these inexpensive and endlessly wearable Enzo Angiolinis before the wedding and have already worn them 3,239 different ways — on sale for $53, Zappos):

For weekend wear, I’m liking the idea of swapping out one of my many nautical striped tees for this be-sequinned version (Alice and Olivia, $269, ChickDownTown — notice that they are offering an extra 30% off all merchandise!):

I’d wear it with either my go-to skinnies (I am pretty much a J Brand or Paige jeans girl, but these Hudsons are supposed to work wonders — $165, ChickDownTown — snap ’em up while everything is 30% off there!):

With a pair of bold ballets — I loveeeee this orangey-red color ($188, Tory Burch) — and, if we’re dreaming here, that killa Kate Spade tote I’ve been drooling over (“The Camille” in tangerine — $475, Kate Spade):

Then all you need is a big splashy ring ($245, CCSkye — Olivia Palermo owns this little bauble, so I clearly want it bad):

Top it all off with a military-inspired jacket ($148, J. Crew — I’ve been wearing mine on a daily basis due to threatening gray skies…and, let’s face it: I pretty much just want an excuse to wear it at all times anyway):

Alternately, consider layering this typically-for-after-hours top ($80, TopShop) with a pair of skinny jeans and black boots (I’ve been trying to work up the guts to test drive some over-the-knee or up-to-the-knee boots for awhile now — $825, Loeffler Randall):

All you need is a pair of wayfarers and a little coat — I’d originally envisioned a fitted black blazer, but why not switch things up and diversify your look a bit more with this sweatshirt jacket, which has been on my “must have” list for the last few weeks ($78, Madewell):

For a more formal event, you can get away with a sequin add-on without seeming out-of-place as well.  Think about how perfectly tailored and on-point you’d look with a greige/neutral shift dress (this Chloe version is to.die.for but I’ve seen less expensive versions at Banana or H&M this season — $1,795, Net-A-Porter) and this sparkling sequin bag (Marc Jacobs, $987, Farfetch):

A pair of enorma-pearls and a statement necklace would be the perfect additions ($65, Bloomingdale’s):

I also like the idea of tucking this glittering little shell ($91, TheOutnet) into a retro, full skirt ($60, ModCloth)

Perfect with these fun printed Lanvin pumps ($617, MyTheresa):

Now we’re entering evening zone, so you should be feeling a bit easier with the prospect of sequins.  How darling is this Haute Hippie sequin tunic ($495, Edit New York)?

I’d wear with some sparkling earrings ($100, Amrita Singh) and impossibly high heels to offset the slouchiness of the dress (everyone is saying suede and velvet and other opulent fabrics are big this winter — check these Valentinos out for proof! — $775, Net-A-Porter):

Alternately, use sequins as a way to dress up and set off your favorite LBD (Shoshanna, $210, Bluefly) — perhaps this Marni necklace ($255, Marni) and this Katia Lombardo platform pump (on sale for $205, MyWardrobe) will rev your engine?

Or how about sprucing up an otherwise straight-forward black work dress (Vanessa Bruno Athe, $101, TheOutnet) with some sparkling flats ($192, Kate Spade) and a jewel-adorned headband ($45, J. Crew):

Or just go ahead and pull out all the stops — dress up like you mean it with a full-on sequinned evening gown (Rachel Gilbert, $1,385, Net-A-Porter):

I mean, does it even get more glam than that?  For those of us that live in the real world and will likely never have an occasion to wear something of that magnitude of glamor, scale back and add this minaudiere to your wardrobe.  I’d make occasions to wear it to ($128, J. Crew):

Shine on, girl!


Domestic Goddess

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Home Decor, Jewelry, Shoes on August 24, 2010 at 3:11 pm

I’m loving every aspect of my new Mrs. status — including housekeeping and homemaking and all the trials and tribulations involved therein.  (To my feminist-minded readership: don’t despair of my slightly I’m-down-with-1950s-era-female-repression  opener — there is an equal distribution of power in our little Magpie nest.  And Mr. Magpie cooks me dinner.  A lot.)  Mr. Magpie complains that I’m going to make him fat because I just cannot stop baking — first it was a peach-and-raspberry cobbler (both fruits are so cheap right now!), then it was bread pudding (we had leftover Italian bread and eggs quickly approaching expiration)…

Bread Pudding — image courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

and I just pored over my Nigella Lawson cookbook and am dying to try a few of her dessert recipes.  Of course, I cannot do anything without wondering how to do it in style.  I’m drawing inspiration from an unlikely coupling: the one and only Charlotte York of “Sex and the City,” paradigm of domestic goddess-hood, and Louis Vuitton’s 2010 season (both ad campaign and runway alike), which was brimming with uberfeminine shapes and ladylike separates hailing straight from the 1950s.

Charlotte York, uptown domestic queen

Louis Vuitton’s best ad spread…ever

Ladylike LV on the runway

Let’s start with some shirt dresses.  I’m in love with this navy classic (dubbed “The Jackie” — likely after everyone’s favorite Jackie O. — on sale for $112, TheOutnet), paired with uber-high, unexpectedly sexy Louboutins ($865, ShopSavannah’s):

I’d likely mix it up a bit by swapping out the tone-on-tone belt and subbing in a fitted black bow-front belt ($29.50, The Limited):

Black-on-navy just feels more modern, and the texture contrast is a welcome switch-up.  I like a chunky enorma-stud as the solo accent ($34.50, White House Black Market), with the exception of my wedding band and engagement ring:

If you’d prefer something a bit lighter in hue (you wouldn’t guess it from my past few posts, but we’re still more than a stone’s throw away from fall…), I just picked up an amazing oxford blue shirtdress from H&M ($29, thankyouverymuch) and am still tempted to snag this flutter-sleeve shirt-dress (the flutter just gets me — so feminine! — $29, Old Navy):

Pair with vintage Chanel pearl studs ($220, FarFetch) and a shocking red pair of patent pumps (Jimmy Choo, $665, Net-A-Porter):

Don’t forget a vintage-styled apron in coordinating red ($42, Carolyn’s Kitchen):

(Secretly obsessed with the way the flutter sleeve of the shirt dress echoes the flutter of the apron trim.  Loser over here.)  If, like me, you’re considering trying some of Nigella’s dessert recipes ($19.95, Chefs):

…might as well go the extra yard (i.e. channel Betty Crocker / Martha Stewart / June Cleaver / other fab homemaker) and pick up some pretty cupcake liners (from $3.75, Bake It Pretty):

Love a stylishly presented baked good.  (But don’t get me started on the Georgetown Cupcake craze.  If you live in D.C., you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re out of town: consider yourself lucky.  The uproar is baffling and slightly sad.  Mr. Magpie and I drive by the Gtown Cupcake shop all the time on our way into/out of the District and our eyes nearly pop out of our heads when we see the bajillion and three out-of-towners patiently waiting in line for a cupcake.  Que? P.S.: Insiders know that the cupcakes at Baked and Wired are way better.  And cut.)  Other options for hostessing and/or just feeling good while primping the home?  How darling and feminine and oh-so-chic is this updated housedress by Vanessa Bruno Athe ($123, TheOutnet):

Add this mixed media pearl-chain-and-fabric necklace ($185, Rachel Roy) — adore the pastel peach of the dress against the pastel lavender of the necklace fabric:

Pair with either these slate gray and peach D&G peep toes ($419, Bluefly) for a little contrast or go tone-on-tone by adding these lovely Butter brand slingbacks ($308, Endless):

The perfect topper?  This “Lady Cake” apron ($32, Anthropologie):

Charlotte York wore a similar style in “Sex and the City” (it was also from Anthropologie):

Speaking of Anthro — what an amazing spot to hit that slightly vintage, slightly fashion forward, slightly unkempt balance.  I’m particularly into this Jackie O-esque LBD ($98, Anthropologie):

The folded collar interests me.  As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m on the lookout for slightly left-of-center shapes and styles this season: eye-catching folding, draping, pleats.  Throw it into the mix!  I’d probably go for a super bright patent to pair with this staid dress, but…I’m also dying over these updated Ferragamo pumps (I’m impressed — the somewhat stodgy label managed to update its styling, hoisting its shoe styles out of grandma-only zone! — $584, Zappos):

Pair with these gold bow studs by Kate Spade ($45, Nordstrom) or perhaps these vintage-looking-though-inexpensive costume pieces ($12, Fred Flare):

Don’t forget a feminine wrist watch — this engraved Burberry option is luxe and ladylike in all the right ways ($475, Nordstrom):

And don’t forget the Domestic Goddess’s secret weapon: Benefit’s Bathina body balm ($28, Sephora):

I’ve been using this stuff for years, and it lasts forever and works like a charm.  It has a subtle musky-floral scent, glides on legs and arms, and leaves you looking glimmering and glamorous in the prettiest of ways.  When I need a little pick-me-up (especially when I’m feeling pale), I’ll smooth on some of my other secret weapon (LORAC’s TanTalizer firming body mousse — $28, Sephora) and then some Bathina — and feel instantly recharged.

This odd-print dress (retro-chic if I ever saw a fabric — $161, ModCloth) would also be an enticing pick:

You’ve got to wear some serious black pumps with this get-up — either the Ferragamos above, or these beyond perfect (and sorta throwback-to-Carrie-Bradshaw-circa-2000) Miu Miu pumps ($595, Barney’s):

These TopShop enorma-studs are the perfect addition ($25, TopShop):

And, finally, it just doesn’t get better than this precious “candy striper” ruffle-front dress by Mel en Stel ($350, Sunday Brunch Dress Shop — the second image below is a close-up of the darling print of the fabric) and a pair of glossy red Valentino heels ($695, Foot Candy Shoes):

You’ll definitely rule the roost in these get-ups!

***

For those of you wondering about the impromptu bread pudding whipped up late Sunday night after our trip to Charlottesville to visit my sister, who is currently starting graduate school at my alma mater, UVA — here is a modified recipe from Paula Deen’s collection.  I know, I know.  Not the most figure-friendly.  But delicious — and can be eaten hot or cold, for breakfast or dessert.  I also had all the ingredients on hand for this little dish (no grocery trips required!), which was an extra bonus!

Impromptu Bread Pudding

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease a 9×13 baking dish with butter.  Cube day-old Italian bread and place in baking dish (Paula Deen advises for 3 cups of cubed bread, but I probably put more like 4.5 cups in there — I think it’d be too soupy otherwise.  Essentially, make sure the entire dish is covered with a layer or two of cubes.)  Whisk together 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 2 cups milk, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Pour over the cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix/crumble together 1/2 stick butter with 1 cup light brown sugar.  Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the bread cubes just before popping it in the oven.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until pudding is “set” and top appears crusty and brown.

Deen includes a vanilla-and-brandy sauce for serving, but this seems over-the-top.  I just made some whipped cream — I always add a healthy dose of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla for depth of flavor as I’m whipping.

Enjoy!

Easy as Pie

In Accessories, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on August 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Blah.  Monday doldrums.  This morning I made the mistake of “slipping into” an overly complicated outfit, and by that I mean shoes that are just a little too difficult to walk in and a skirt-and-shirt combo that is just a little too annoying to keep tucked in and tidy-looking — at least for a Monday morning.  (You know those days?  Where you feel like you are constantly readjusting your getup and you just want to get home and slip into your bathrobe and forget about it?)  Sorry to sound like a Debbie Downer, but I’m seriously wishing I went with one of my “Easy as Pie” looks for the day.  The only thing I can do to cheer myself is tune into Mariah Carey old school jams on Grooveshark at my computer and dream up all the things I’d rather be wearing now, including one of these little Steven Alan wonders (I want all of his dresses for fall — I imagine wearing them with tights and flat boots or tidy little flats — $298, Steven Alan):

I like them with some slip-on, slip-off Bloch flats, and the snakeskin texture on these makes me happy (on sale for $129, Lord and Taylor):

Snazz it up with this oversized shell necklace (pretty dramatic in person — the shells are BIG — on sale for $182, Bloomingdale’s), a big, masculine gold watch (who else but Michael Kors?, $225, Bloomie’s), and a stack of thin gold bangles (love this “I-just-found-these-in-a-vintage-shop-in-Europe” set — $275 for 3, Anna Beck Designs):

I’d round it all out with some overly dramatic enorma-shades (Balenciaga, $350, Net-A-Porter) and a light-weight scarf, tied loosely around the neck ($5.50, Forever21):

A slouchy brown leather bag completes the easy-chic aesthetic — I love the J. Crew Brompton ($298, J. Crew):

I’ve also been seriously eying this petal-sleeve dress from Madewell ($128, Madewell):

Add a statement-making, lower-hanging necklace to the mix — I’m obsessed with Susanna Dai’s pieces at the moment.  I like her Antwerp necklace ($382, Charm and Chain) and her Cordoba necklace ($385, Boticca):

Either would look killer against the simplicity of the dress’s shape.  Throw on some flats (with the former necklace, I’d opt for this “saltwater” colored, studded flats from J. Crew — $138 — or just solid black ones, preferably with a texture, for the latter), with or without tights, and a pair of Ray Bans:

I don’t want to promote too much matchy-matchiness, but this bag would look killa in partnership with the Antwerp necklace above (go J. Crew! — $285, J. Crew):

I’m also kinda oddly obsessed with this striped sweater dress (on sale for $126, Built By Wendy):

I imagine wearing it with some glossy, pointy-toed black flats (these Loubs wouldn’t be too shabby — $575, Net-A-Porter):

I’d add ginorma-shades (when I’m not in my Ray Bans, I live in these Chanel shades) and an Essie geranium mani ($8, Essie Shop):

Oh, and — do you not DIE over this orangey-red (the official Magpie color of choice) Kate Spade bag?!  It dominates my fall lust list ($475, Kate Spade):

To round it all out, though I’ve never been a huge leather clothing article fan, I die over the proportions and styling of this collarless Juicy bomber (on sale for $488, Shopbop) and think it’d make the perfect topper, come cooler weather:

OK, that has sufficiently cheered the spirits.  I’ll need to lay out some easy-to-slip-into go-tos for this late August week…

Back to my MC playlist!

Camel Cool

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes, Work Wear on August 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm

So.  This post is a bit cruel as I plan on featuring my top picks for the fall season and the mercury is still hitting a stifling 90 degrees here in the District.  BUT I just can’t help myself — I’ve been so totally inspired over the past few weeks by the impending fall season, I just have to share my lust list, which is heavy on one color: camel.  It was all.over.the.place on the runway, and I savored every look:

From left to right: Dries Van Noten, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Chloe, and Gucci

We all know my obsession with Chloe, and head designer Hannah MacGibbon was all about the color camel this past season. Most of her models donned coordinating camel separates on the runway, and I am majorly into the 70s cool vibe it conjures.

Chloe on the runway — yes, please.

So, without further adieu, a few of my favorite looks for the season (note that camel may just be the perfect transition color for late summer-to-fall hybrid wardrobe choices…)  I’m in love with this leopard print shift, which is classy and yet on point for fall (See by Chloe, $390, Net-A-Porter):

I’d pair it for now with a statement necklace (Amrita Singh, $250, Couture Candy) and some black pumps (you know I love a Louboutin — these puppies will take you where you need to go, year-round — $595, Net-A-Porter):

When the temp drops, add some black tights and, for a bit of edge, consider upping the ante with these slouchy booties by Tory Burch (I have to show them off, as I just snapped them up at Tory Burch’s private sale for 60% off — down from $395 to $158!  — you can check out the private sale, too, for some wicked good deals here):

I’ve been sort of lukewarm on the bootie for awhile but I saw the steeply discounted price and instantly envisioned strutting around D.C. in them with my black tights and little shift dresses or skinny jeans and slouchy sweaters and needed them.  Done and done.  If you’re on my page, just imagine, for example, pairing the above booties with this yummy camel-colored cocoon sweater ($80, TopShop) and a pair of snug black jeans (Piper Lime has some distressed J Brands on sale for $74 at present):

I’d probably layer a leopard print top beneath it ($55, TopShop), but a solid black or white v-neck would be a suitable alternative:

terms of accent pieces, you could go one of two ways: upscale with an edge by adding a pair of classy pearl-adorned enorma-studs ($25, TopShop) and a ladylike bag (Valentino, $1,995, Nordstrom):

Or go downtown hipsta with this Lee Angel statement necklace ($128, Shopbop — the “feathers” are made of leather, which would make for an interesting contrast of textures) and the classic Balenciaga arena bag in supple black leather ($1,245, Barney’s — favored by celebs all over the place, including Magpie Maven Kourtney Kardashian, who must own it in every color and texture ever released)

And when we hit the cooler climes, snuggle up with this to.die.for military coat by Barney’s house label ($1,195, Barney’s):

Love the cinched waist — so flattering.  I had a coat in a similar style (with slightly more exaggerated, 3/4-length “bell” sleeves) in black wool that I wore virtually every day for two winter seasons and eventually had to throw away, much to my dismay.  (It was from Zara and it fell apart.  Tragic.)  Because I am readjusting to the workaday world after my delicious wedding and honeymoon break, I am cheering myself along by envisioning all kinds of exciting work wardrobe additions.  I’ve been absolutely drooling over this Michael Kors camel-hued upscale tie dye silk dress for a year, and may just have to make the plunge (on sale for $550, StyleBop):

How gorgeous with a pair of camel pumps ($114, Lori’s Shoes) and some enorma-pearls ($55, Max and Chloe)?

If that seems a little too staid for you, muss things up a touch with a tangle-of-chains-and-pearls necklace, which J. Crew has executed excellently for us for several seasons in a row (on sale for $99, J. Crew):

Another workerbee alternative?  This versatile silk draw-string waist dress by Parisian chic Vanessa Bruno Athe ($101, TheOutnet):

I’d throw a slouchy printed scarf around my neck (Alexander McQueen, $293, Farfetch) and slip into some leopard print flats (I’m obsessed with these bow-toe Lanvins — $525, Zoe):

I must say, though, that you can find some pretty chic leopard print flats from virtually anywhere.  My fashion-forward little sis (currently studying fashion design at Parson’s!) snagged a pair from H&M, and I almost snapped these Ann Taylor versions up on a whim before deciding to take a gander at what else was out there.  Alternately, for a slightly dressier work affair, how picture perfect are these Stella McCartney slingbacks ($645, Net-A-Porter)?

They were the darlings of fashion editors around the world — I saw them featured a million and one times in every fashion spread imaginable.  The cut of the shoe adds a little interest, and the color is spot-on.  Speaking of spots — if you forgo the Lanvin flats and instead slip into some nude pumps, consider toting around this little makeup case as a clutch ($39.50, 1154 Lill Studio):

I’m obsessed with the slightly faded coloring.  I would totally wear it as a clutch — once I heard that Kate Spade wears her pencil cases out as evening bags, I knew I had it on good authority that I could wear bags creatively.  I’m also digging the idea of a fitted black long-sleeved shirt or turtle-neck ($39.50, J. Crew) with this wool-blend pleated skirt (Stella McCartney, $795, Net-A-Porter):

Pair with black tights, a funky tribal-inspired necklace (shh, no one’s looking — it’s from I-wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-in-there Chico’s, $68), and either the Bari booties featured above or some black pumps:

I’d probably round things out with this slightly edgy McQueen cashmere blend scarf ($395, Net-A-Porter):

I can feel myself getting all geared up for fall, so I better clip this post short before I go on a shopping binge and bankrupt myself for the remainder of the season.  Two other must-haves that I just gotta throw in there?  First: this awesome and amazing toggle coat ($160, TopShop):

LOVE it.  So Paddington Bear, so preppy-hunter-British, so versatile.  I like the idea of throwing it on with skinny jeans and flat boots.  Second: this camel-and-black spotted scarf ($19, ModCloth):

I love the lightweight texture and soft-looking tassel.  I’m in fact wearing a similar scarf (although mine is leopard print) today and just find it the easiest way to “snazz up” an otherwise straightforward outfit (for me: black flats, an LBD, and my omni-present Ray bans…I overslept this morning and hence wore an “easy out” look).  And lastly: this is a bit arbitrary, but this season I’m super into unusual shapes and hard-to-define pieces.  I like interesting cuts on jackets — especially collarless versions with oversized sleeves and oh-my-gosh-I-gotta-have-it capes, like the Stella McCartney below ($1,085, My Theresa):

If you’re not quite sure about the style (or, more aptly, price tag) of the cape, test the waters with something you otherwise might overlook this season in terms of functionality and cut.  This little TopShop piece (is it a vest? a blouse? a sweater? — $65, TopShop) caught my eye and has me hooked:

Think of the myriad different ways you could sport it: over a long-sleeved tee with skinny jeans, under a blazer, tucked into a high-waist black skirt.  Do it.  Now forget everything in this post and wait until the cool fall air settles in…sigh.

Magpie Men Speak Up

In Accessories, Shoes, Sundresses on August 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm

While Mr. Magpie is fashion-conscious and always in-the-know when it comes to fine men’s clothing, he bristles when it comes to the female wardrobe.  You should see him in a women’s clothing store — his whole body language changes when he enters: he stiffens his back and an expression of I-shouldn’t-be-here confusion crosses his face as he frantically looks around for a couch or chair or “men’s waiting area.”  So when he talks about women’s clothes, I’m always eager to hear what he notices and how he processes it.  On our way back from the honeymoon, he did a double (more like quadruple) take when he saw a young lady wearing harem pants in the security line.  His eyes were like saucers — “what is wrong with that woman’s pants??  It looks like she’s wearing a dirty diaper or something.”

Dhoti pants on the street

I had to laugh — he was so baffled and concerned.  Thank you, Balmain, for jumpstarting that trend.

Balmain on the runway

His commentary left me wondering about the ways men relate to women’s fashion more generally — i.e. what else is there that women might find chic and trendy but men find hideous and unapproachable?  I drafted a brief survey of questions (you can check it out here, but please do not respond unless you are a gent, as it will skew the results) and circulated it to some of my male friends, eager to determine whether they would share Mr. Magpie’s disdain for the dhoti.  I was surprised to find — amongst a sea of nay-saying responses — “My aunt owns a boutique in Gordonsville and is VERY fashion forward.  She wore these at Christmas and I loved them.”  I’m impressed.  Few women are as open to “out there” fashions as this bloke.  (Though I have to say that I concur with the male consensus: dhotis are not OK.)  The other responses were just too colorful not to share — here are a few of my favorites:

  • “Don’t like them. Look like a combo of saggy diapers and MC Hammer pants. They are like skorts but worse.”
  • “They look like Eeyore’s training diapers. Scheherazade called, she wants her sexy back.”
  • “Looks like they messed their pants and that’s why the pants are sagging.”
  • “Makes it look like you pooed your pants.  Why not just wear a skirt and tights?”
  • “I think they are awful and should never be worn. It looks like they have a little something extra between their legs (if you get my drift, especially the one on the left). Plus it does nothing to show the backside, which is a big negative.”
  • “Leave the dhotis to Gandhi.”
  • “First word that comes to mind: Diapers. These are the most embarrassing things I’ve seen in a long time. Girls — if you don’t want guys to hit on you, wear these pants.”

After I’d laughed for about 23 minutes straight, I found myself a bit more touched, more intrigued by some of the other (more insightful) comments I received.  When asked about red lipstick, several indicated that makeup is altogether unnecessary and in fact distracting: “Ideally, girls wear no make up at all” said one; “It distracts me from looking at the rest of her face, like her eyes” said another.  One more proactive respondent suggested that girls “stick to lip gloss.”  (I’m not in love with the texture of lip gloss, but cannot live without Fresh’s Sugar Rose lip treatment — $22.50, Neiman’s.  Don’t be warded off by the rich color in the picture below — it leaves just the slightest smudge of color, tastes wonderful, and truly moisturizes.)

According to the gents, this look is not so hot, Penelope

The majority of guys claim that they will forgo “sexy dressing” when it comes to their girlfriends, in fact preferring them to wear “classic” styles — and by and large would rather see you in a casual sundress than a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, which surprised me.  I feel that Cosmo and those other trash bag mags are always telling me that guys prefer the totally dressed-down, un-done look.  (Of course, one respondent claimed he’d prefer girls to wear “nothing at all.”  Saw that one coming a mile away.)  But by and large their responses tended to confirm what I suspected: that guys are generally open to girls wearing different styles and trends as long as they do so confidently and with a sense of proportion.  Most of the guys either did not notice or were impressed with the metallic oxfords Olivia Palermo is wearing in the pic below:

This caught me off guard.  One of my wonderful readers asked whether she should test the style herself, and I was forthright in admitting that I honestly didn’t know.  Palermo did so successfully, balancing the menswear-inspired shoes with the femininity of her full skirt and oversized, slouchy bag.  It works.  But on the average person?  Hard to gauge, to be honest.  Most guys were equally open to the panama hat that’s been all over the place this season (you know it’s mainstream when it shows up in J. Crew), which I feel many girls I know have been a bit squeamish about.  (I like it.)  Of the Bilson picture below, one thoughtful gent observed: “The hat is fine, but, in my naive fashion sense, it doesn’t seem to go with the dress.”

The main message throughout was that guys tend to look at the overall package — the bigger picture — and are confused when asked about specific elements of their outfit, which means to me: girls, have at it.  If you wear it like you know what you’re doing, you win.  For example, many of the guys found Sienna Miller’s oddball hippie outfit (she was at Coachella, so…anything goes) bewildering, but couldn’t really articulate why (most also added that she was “hot”); most of them liked Bilson’s getup, but didn’t know what to make of the hat; and when asked about the clogs below (Chanel brand — clogs were all.over.the.place. this season on the runway, but more on that later), most of them commented on her nice legs/thought they could be OK-looking but were also baffled by the style.  (Incidentally, I cruelly asked them to identify what “type” of shoe the model was wearing and received a range of dubious: “pumps?” “heels?” “stilettos?”  Every single response was accompanied by an uncertain question mark.)

Sienna Miller at the Coachella Music Festival

Clogs on the Chanel runway

There were some choice responses to my query about the above picture (“If you saw a girl wearing the shoes above, what would your response be?”), including: “Don’t fall,” “Please fall,” “I feel like I’m in a Vermeer painting,” “Anger because she now probably towers over me,” and, more typically: “I don’t really care, but nice legs.”

I share these results not because I think they should dramatically influence the way we dress — let’s be honest: most girls dress for other girls, at least in the sense that we anticipate that only girls will truly appreciate our efforts (as confirmed by the responses above).  But maybe you’ll feel a bit less hemmed in by the fact that guys generally don’t notice the details, but do recognize a well-dressed, well-put-together woman.  And if you take nothing else from the Magpie Men: avoid dhotis.

La Bella Vita

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes on August 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I may have mentioned this in my earlier post, but Mr. Magpie and I stayed at Turtle Inn while on our honeymoon in Belize (loved everything about it, minus the mosquitoes, and found the servers and staff so friendly, I miss them!  We spent so much time lounging on the beach with first class service, we ended up leaving a big tip for the head barman — Carlos — before we left and even took a picture with him!).  Turtle Inn is owned and operated by the movie director Francis Ford Coppola, of “The Godfather” trilogy and “Apocalypse Now” fame.  While we indulged most nights in fresh seafood or the local fare, 1 of the 3 restaurants at the resort was an Italian place that left both of us completely inspired.  (Their thin-crust pizza with olives and rosemary was yum.yum.yum.)  As a result, the first night back in the States, Mr. Magpie and I made pasta from scratch using our new pasta roller, cooked up a tomato-and-fresh-tuna-steak sauce (molto bene, Mario Batali!), opened some red wine, and watched “The Godfather.”  Delicioso.

(Image courtesy of Smitten Kitchen)

The whole revisiting-my-Italian roots experience (my grandmother moved to the States from Frosolone, Italy) has left me on the lookout for some old world Italian wardrobe additions.  I’m thinking Sophia Loren circa 1950, body-conscious pieces in the best of the D&G tradition, and a  penchant for the va-va-voom in evening wear.

First off, a siren red, snug-fit sheath dress like this satin number by Karen Millen ($380, Karen Millen) is in order:

I like the idea of pairing it with these ladylike (but super-high) Louboutins in unexpected blush leather ($636, Shop Savannah’s):

Alternately, saucy ankle strap pumps in classic black (on SUPER sale for only $25, Lori’s Shoes) with some eye-catching, jet-black earrings ($43.95, Fantasy Jewel Box) could be magic:

This curve-skimming Moschino number is a red hot alternative ($615, Harvey Nichols):

I kind of like the idea of going on tone-on-tone with this fire engine red dress — consider slipping into these sky-high Casadei pumps (they’ve been all over Hollywood — on sale for $325, The Corner):

Add a pair of faux cils and a frou-frou clutch ($112, Lori’s Shoes), and you are ready to go.  Bella donna!

For the rustic, I’m-with-Al-Pacino-while-he-was-in-the-Italian-countryside-and-I-want-to-be-Apollonia look (if you’ve never seen the “The Godfather,” disregard), I like this understated, old-school house dress in unfussy khaki ($100, ModCloth):

Love the nipped-in waist.  The whole borderline peasant aesthetic reminds me of this shot of a young Loren:

I’d pair it with this to.die.for Fendi bag (a sleek take on the bermuda bag more commonly seen amongst the preppy set — $1,620, Barney’s):

Or — how beyond precious is this once-in-a-lifetime find from Archive Vintage (Koret, $140, Archive Vintage):

Tie a scarf around your hair or onto your bag or even as a chic bracelet of sorts ($55, Hermes):

A young Loren (19 years old below — wow) typically wore hers tied around her neck but that seems a bit costumey for this day in age…(Read: wear at your own risk.)

And don’t forget your shades — Sophia Loren would likely reach for something akin to these Balenciagas ($350, Net-A-Porter):

Very Bottega Veneta 2007 (I LOVED their reinvention of the “Roman Holiday” film look — have you seen that Audrey Hepburn classic?!  Come to think of it, their runway aesthetic wasn’t so much a reinvention of “Roman Holiday” as it was a recreation, right down to the closely-cropped hair):

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in “Roman Holiday”

…which reminds me: don’t forget your Roman-style gladiator sandals!  I’m obsessed with these Chloe show-stoppers (I’ve posted them before, and I’ll continue to do so — love ’em! — $625, Net-A-Porter):

After a tour of the vineyards, freshen up and pour yourself into this gasp-worthy Dolce and Gabbana pin-up dress ($2,000, Brown’s Fashion):

Pure amore at first sight, especially with these slightly heavy-looking YSL pumps ($636, MyTheresa), a lightweight summer scarf for the hair/wrist/bag ($475, Barney’s), and some cat-eye shades (Linda Farrow, $640, Net-A-Porter):

Side note: I’m only including the egregiously overpriced Linda Farrow shades above because of the recent “It-ness” of her namesake brand.  (She’s responsible for some of the odd circular-shade eyewear spotted on Lady GaGa in recent months.)  You can get the style for much less from trendsters like Urban Outfitters, where they’re only $16 a pop.

Don’t forget your cherry red lips — Chanel has some fab colors out (like Shanghai — $33, Amazon):

If you’re wondering whether the looks above might seem a bit dated, just take a look at Eva Mendes, the neo-Sophia-Loren, and one of my absolute favorite little fashionistas (I’ve been collecting pics of her for quite some time now in preparation for officially making her a Magpie Maven).  She adapts the slightly retro Italiana look to modern day times with ease and panache.

Holy Honeymoon!

In Accessories, Beach Wear, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes on August 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Ohmygosh, the last ten days were unbelievable.  Despite the nuisance of returning to work yesterday (love my job, but it’s hard to step back into reality when you’ve been living a dream for over a week), I continue to strut around on cloud 9 like it’s nobody’s business.  I’m married!  And the wedding was perfect, and the honeymoon a dream, and I’m as brown as a berry (thank you, Belizean sun) and rested and well-fed and HAPPY.

(Placencia, Belize — where we honeymooned!)

I must admit, though, that I committed some major Magpie Don’ts over the past few days.  The principal offense involves overdressing (like woah) and, as a result, being forced to wear gnarly, nappy borrowed diving booties on a trek through the jungle.  More on that adventure to come.  But seriously — Mr. Magpie and I believe fiercely in dressing up for life and all its adventures (why not look your best?), and our suitcases were carefully packed with a lot of clothes that never saw the light of Belizean day.  Mr. Magpie had packed seersucker suits, sport coats, a blue blazer, his nice Tod’s, and even a few bowties, while this little Mrs. had cocktail dresses and new high heels (including the most incredible pair of greige-coffee-color-ish YSL sandal pumps, scored just days before the wedding on an impulse buy at Cusp) galore — none of which made their debut on our honeymoon.  It wasn’t that we felt out of place, because he and I are constantly overdressed and have become accustomed to drawing stares.  Our wardrobe was plain impractical.  To get from our villa on the beach to the restaurants or pools or anything else, we had to walk on sand, over uneven stones, and then across gravel.  I wore my Louboutin wedges once, nearly broke my ankle, and decided I’d have to kiss those puppies goodbye for awhile.  As for Mr. Magpie: the temperature was hothothot, so he wasn’t too keen on the idea of sweating his way through dinner in a sport coat.  I pretty much lived in my five new bikinis (good investments, all), breezy caftans and cover-ups, and sandals (K. Jacques and Jack Rogers all the way) — all of which I love, and all of which felt comfortable and honeymoon-appropriate — but I sorta wish someone had tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Um, get rid of those cocktail dresses and find some other beachy-casual-cute get-ups in their stead.”  So this post will be my honeymoon wardrobe re-do, a second chance swing at packing for the tropics.

First up: load up on loud bikinis.  Go super-bright or super-printed to compete with the intense color contrast of the white sand beach with the azure water and the shock of green foliage.  I love the coral Clube Bossa two-piece above ($90.25, Pret A Beaute) and would likely pair it with this aptly titled Tibi cover up dress — “The Belize” ! ($345, Net-A-Porter):

Metallic or black thin strap Haviana flip flops were de rigeur over there (even the staff behind the bar wore them), but I am majorly into TKEES brand flip-flops.  Simple and somehow sophisticated in their own unfussy, beachy way($44, South Moon Under):

Another vibrant swimwear option?  Anything by Mara Hoffman, who pretty much rules it with her festive prints — love the slightly graphic edge on this two-piece ($190, Blue and Cream):

I’d wear it beneath this “fruit punch” color tiered mini dress ($42, Red Dress Boutique):

If transitioning straight from beach lounging (Mr. Magpie and I were quite good at this despite the fact that we normally start feeling restless after about 30 minutes of hanging out in the sun; I don’t know if we were just exhausted from the wedding, or if we’d bought into the “Belizean Way” — the Lonely Planet guide purports that Belizeans have perfected the art of hammock hanging) to dinner, I might glam things up just a touch by adding on some bright costume jewelry.  I’m in love with this turquoise, tribal-inspired Kenneth Jay Lane necklace ($76, Pret A Beaute):

Or — though I’ve personally forgone my favorite costume jewelry piece (the cocktail ring) for the next few weeks as I just can’t bear to let anything upstage my beautiful wedding band-and-engagement ring combo — I have to admit that I kind of die over this fun little octopus bauble (also Kenneth Jay Lane, $165, South Moon Under):

It’d look equally darling as the only adornment paired with this cha-cha-cha Mara Hoffman dress ($345, Blue and Cream):

I’m also obsessed with this frilly little Zimmermann suit…I so wish I’d seen this before the honeymoon, as I just can’t justify it now and I want it badly ($220, Net-A-Porter):

I might pair it with a pareo or sarong so as to avoid cover up the precious detailing at the bust — I snagged a locally printed one in a dazzling lime green from the resort gift shop while there, but I love this HOT pink version by JETS by Jessika Allen ($67, TheOutnet):

If you really want to go girly, I find these little sandals glam in a I’m-on-vacation-and-I-do-what-I-want kind of way (Mystique, $157, Pret A Beaute):

Also a lovely option with this borderline neon Thomas Maier two-piece ($295, Thomas Maier):

I also have to say that my favorite bikini on the honeymoon was a solid, classic white with slight ruching at the hip.  Nothing looks better against a dark tan than a stark white bikini.  I felt like a bronzed goddess.  Mr. Magpie noticed and said, “I think one of the Bond girls wore that in one of those movies” — so I must have been doing something right by his standards!  I like this inexpensive gold-embellished version (on sale — $19 for top, $15 for bottom — Newport News):

I’d wear it beneath this rich purple cover up (I adore a tie shoulder — so carefree, so youthful, so feminine) — on sale for $87.50, ChickDownTown:

If you’re as obsessed with the plum hue as I am, you might opt for this brightly printed caftan by Vix ($140, Net-A-Porter), atop a simple white two piece (also by Vix — this suit is flattering on a range of body types, so try.it.on — $165, Net-A-Porter):

Love and adore.  Almost as much as I sweat (I know, hardcore return to late 90s lingo) this Missoni bikini, which, while not quite as vibrant and island-hopper-esque as the above options, is plain glamorous ($141, TheOutnet):

I typically walked around the resort with only a bikini (it was HOT), and I definitely would have done so with a statement two-piece like the Missoni above.  However, from time to time, all I wanted was an easy-to-throw-on, loose-fitting t-shirt dress (I’d bought an awesome one from H&M in a nautical navy-white stripe that I wore over my white bikini on the boat to our snorkeling venture).  If I were to go back, I’d snap up a couple more in preparation — this little French Connection palm-print version would be perfect ($23.99, French Connection):

For evenings out — be smarter than I was and forgo the cocktail dress.  My one success was a gorgeous white maxi dress by Milly that tied at the neck and had this insane turquoise and wood beading at the bust.  I wore it with little gold t-straps and nothing else, and felt so perfectly dressed for our dinner-on-the-beach (it was lobster season, and the servers set up a table RIGHT on the beach, yards from the breaking waves, and grilled locally caught lobster right on the grill next to us…um, amazing) and after-dinner-stroll and late-evening drinks.  It was pretty much the only appropriate dress I brought for the evening, so I wore it twice, which (not to sound like a weirdo snobster) was annoying to me because I make a point of strategically rotating looks so as to avoid back-to-back repeats.  But it was fine.  At any rate, test drive the look yourself with this perfectly beachy burn-out stripe TopShop number ($60, TopShop):

This nautical striped maxi would have been equally appropriate (Rachel Pally, $245, PiperLime):

And — finally — for daytime adventures, don”t repeat my major Magpie Don’t: wearing a little Trina Turk sundress to hike through the jungle.  The concierge had told us to wear “comfortable clothes,” which, to Mr. Magpie and I, translated into him wearing his Polo shorts, a leather belt, a polo shirt, and Sperry boat shoes and me wearing a little tropical sundress and Jack Rogers and pearls.  As we stepped onto the boat that would take us up Monkey River (our own private tour!), someone from the front desk came sprinting after us to loan us bug spray and to force me to take a pair of diving booties with me.  I began to wonder just how rough this little trip would be when I noticed a look of pity on the guide’s face.  And now I know why.  We sailed up the river, pointing out crocodiles and iguanas and all sorts of wildlife until we arrived at a remote little embankment and our guide stepped off the boat with nothing but a machete and a smile and said: “I’ll be back in 15 minutes.  Just going to check and make sure we should go in there now.”  Uneasiness on my end.  (Mr. Magpie was excited to get into the jungle.)  When our guide returned, we followed him into the depths of Belizean rainforest and I pretty much died.  The swarms of mosquitoes were so thick, I could barely see.  It was so HOT in there, I must have sweated out the 23 pina coladas I’d drank over the previous 3 days, which probably helped ward off mosquitoes and other bugs (or at least made them drunk).  It had rained the day before, so we were stomping through quicksand-like mud and it was sliding all over my disgusting booties, down my leg, into my shoes.  The guide, thinking I’d be interested, pointed out the most enormous spiders I’d ever seen, and I died even more.  Mr. Magpie said I had a look of pure terror on my face and considered grabbing me under his arm and carrying me back to the boat, but I stuck it out as we trudged closer and closer to increasingly loud growls (we were headed into howler monkey territory, and those monkeys are not the “eee-eee-eee”-“ooo-ooo-ooo”-I-just-eat-a-banana-and-look-cute guys; they make LOUD noises that sound like lions and can be intensely territorial).  I was freaking out when the guide casually mentioned that the monkeys sometimes throw feces at intruders.  We got to the base of a cluster of trees and the noise was almost deafening.  Our guide banged on the trees and the monkeys got absolutely enraged and even louder, at which point — finally — I’d had enough and thankfully, our guide told us to quickly turn and leave (you had to keep moving to avoid being absolutely devoured by mosquitoes).  I literally sprinted back to the boat, shaking.

And you know what?  It was awesome.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the whole experience — inappropriate attire and all — made for one of the most memorable days of my life.  It was so exotic, so adventurous, so terrifying…and so mind-expanding and fascinating.  If returning, however, I’d probably opt for long sleeve t-shirt and shorts with hiking boots.  I don’t even know where to buy hiking boots or what to look for in them, but a word to the wise: bite the bullet and just wear the requisite clothes…

MORE on the honeymoon adventure to come!

Eat, Drink, and Be Married!

In The Honeymoon Trousseau on August 5, 2010 at 3:57 am

Oh my GOSH — I’m getting married!!!  I cannot contain my excitement at the thought that I will be walking down the aisle in a matter of days (2 to be exact).  This portrait pretty much captures my spirits at this point:

I thought I’d give you a preview of the Big Day details, in part because it’s all I’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing for the past 12 months, and in part because I just don’t have space in my oh-my-gosh-I’m-so-excited mind to think about anything else!  My favorite part of the entire wedding planning process (aside from trying on gorgeous gowns in various bridal ateliers — sigh — dream.come.true) was the invitation selection process.  On the one hand, it was painful.  I am normally cut-and-dry about what I want — yes, I like that shoe; no, I hate that hairpiece — but I must have spent weeks requesting samples and color swatches, poring over websites and invitation designs, reading up on paper weight and texture.  It was overwhelming (even if you finally narrow the hunt down to one invitation design from one stationer, you have to then pick paper weight and color (would ivory or white would best?!), ink color (hm, sea glass blue or marine blue?), font, liner vs. no liner, return address vs not, envelope details, etc) but — I pretty much ate it up with a (huge) spoon.  In the end, I went with the fab folks at Bella Figura for both my save-the-dates and invitation suites.   (See below for our invitation suites — “The Palais” — to which we added a designed-for-us reception card and yellow enveloper liner.  Die.over.it.)

They have the loveliest designs and the most responsive, creative, generous employees.  I can’t say enough good things about them and their business.  Though I had originally envisioned an entirely yellow wedding (which came as quite a shock — and relief — to my fiance, who knows that I gravitate towards pink in virtually any other pick-your-color scenario), I quickly became just as invested in the contrast color I’d selected: a deep hydrangea blue.  The blues eventually came to be as dominant as the original daffodil yellow focal point, and I came to need enormous arrangements of hydrangea everywhere: in Julep cups on the cocktail hour tables, in oversized urns in the fireplaces, in garlands on the mantelpieces….everywhere.

The sunny sweetness of a daffodil yellow pairs perfectly with the quiet richness of a deep hydrangea blue — I just think it’s the most August-appropriate color combination imaginable.  (Something about the blue seems calm, late-summer, almost sleepy.)  In these parts, hydrangeas are a softer periwinkle color at this time of year, so we are actually flying in some Dutch blooms to ensure that we get that deep blue I’ve been envisioning.  Ooh la la.  We’re featuring the yellow on my lovely bridesmaids — I finally found the perfect dress in the most sophisticated yellow hue (quite the feat — most lines featured either eyesore hard candy yellow dresses or pale gold ones) from Monique L’Huillier, the Big Cahuna in the world of wedding attire, who has just recently launched her own limited collection of bridesmaid dresses.  They are beyond elegant.

And then there are lots of other fun little pops of yellow incorporated throughout the day, from our specialty cocktail (I’ll keep that hush hush for now) to our kid-in-a-candy-shop candy buffet:

Eeeee, I am over the moon and am pretty much dying to share the rest of the details with you, but will just have to keep you hanging until after the nuptials.  The Big Day is this Saturday (thanks for the well wishes!) and then it’s off to Belize with my new husband (!!!) for a week!  See you on the flip side — as a Magpie Mrs.!

La Parisienne

In Accessories, Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes on August 3, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Paris feels like the center of the universe — so alive, so close-to-life, so ineffably vibrant.  I’ve been there a couple of times: once after I graduated from high school, when my parents treated me to a week at the Ritz (we joke that I peaked early in terms of hotel-coasting: you just can’t beat the Ritz Paris) and a couple of times while I lived in Lyon (a 2 hour TGV trip away from “The City of Lights”).

The fashion fascinated me, though I wish I could remember more of what the girls were wearing then.  All I remember from Lyon was a lot of grungy layered woolens in ugly rusts and forest greens and grays.  So not my scene.  (Rust may be the most hideous color I’ve ever seen in my life.  But then again I prefer the bold when it comes to color.)  This post will therefore remain imaginative — a fantasy wardrobe for the timeless Parisian woman rather than on-the-mark in terms of what’s actually in vogue dans la rue (on the street) in France.  (For those sorts of reports, visit The Sartorialist’s blog — excellent lunch hour eye candy.)  My whimsical wardrobe is best defined by high contrast black-and-white, old-world richness, and healthy serving of femininity — something akin to this picture:

For strolling the street, I’m liking the idea of a twist on the classic Breton stripe in the form of this snug little mini ($98, French Connection), paired with some pointy-toed flats ($245, London Sole):

Nothing wrong with channeling a little Audrey Hepburn.  The perfect accompaniment?  A vintage Chanel bag.  My sister inherited one of them from my grandmother (only the classiest woman in the world — a true lady), and I am uber-jealous.  Save up and buy this vintage find ($3,000, Ssense) — I bet you’ll wear it from now until you’re 99:

(It just won’t go out of style.  And it goes with everything.  Jeans and flats, a work suit, an LBD.  Yes, yes, yes.)  In my French fashion reverie, the women wear slightly architectural pieces with their slouchy separates.  I’m loving the idea of slipping into this retro-styled coat with anything and everything (Chloe, $644, TheOutnet):

If we’re continuing down the Audrey Hepburn route, pair with a darling Parisian striped tee (Sandro, $150, Net-A-Porter — kind of adore the longer under-shirt sleeve beneath the cropped jacket; interesting proportions) and  slim-fit cigarette pants (the J. Crew Minnie — on sale for $49 — is supposed to work wonders) or jeans in a dark wash (I’ve heard good things about Hudson’s Colin Signature Skinny — $165, ChickDownTown — but I pretty much only fit into Paige and J. Brand, so I rarely venture in my denim purchases):

Top it off with these chic, SJP-in-Paris suede booties ($180, Nine West):

Note: I’m not huge into booties — I think they can render an otherwise streamlined look a little clunky or — depending on the level of panache with which they’re sported — may leave you teetering dangerously on the border of “trying too hard.”  They’re just such a commitment.  But the above version caught my eye because of the low “scoop” front — they show off more of the foot and are therefore a bit less intimidating.  When integrating a somewhat edgy piece into an outfit, always keep the add-ons lady-like.  Consider, for example, adding a feminine wristwatch (adore the croc skin band — Raymond Weil, $795, Macy’s):

You might also take a page out of Coco Chanel’s book and add a knotted jumble of pearl necklaces to complete the style ($78, J. Crew):

Of course, you could just forgo the booties altogether and instead opt for these PERFECT Lanvin boots.  They are just ideal in every way — the color, the richness of the leather, the slouchiness.  Die over them ($1,095, Net-A-Porter):

Tuck your belongings (including the fashion finds you’ve inevitably accrued while meandering down Rue du Faubourg St. Honore) in this gorgeous Kate Spade tote ($695, Kate Spade):

Looks like the Lanvin “Happy” but at a slightly better price point.  (Not by much.)  It would also look excellent when paired with a little dressed down Vanessa Bruno Athe number (she is the absolute darling of Parisian fashionistas — $55, TheOutnet) and some architecture-inspired flats by Loeffler Randall (they remind me of French windows in a beautiful Paris pied-a-terre — and are on ridiculous sale at only $50, FootCandyShoes):

Parisian chic to the max.

(Image from A Creative Mint blog, which I swoon over regularly)

Oh, and P.S.: if you’re doubting the chic factor of the clear PVC material of which the Loeffler Randall flats above are made, just take a gander at this photo from Garance Dore’s blog and rest assured — how adorable with my favorite shade of orangey-red polish?!

For a bit more formal of an affair, how about the 3.1 Phillip Lim lace dress I’ve been blogging about for months?  It is oh-so-perfect.  I want.  ($795, LaGarconne):

Rough things up with these Vince Camuto booties (a walk on the wild side, as noted above — keep the rest of your accessories decidedly femme) — $129, Vince Camuto (side note: Rachel Zoe marked these as one of her “picks” on PiperLime, so maybe that’s what I think they’re kinda sick looking):

Alternately, how about this slightly sporty, very Parisian Bottega Veneta dress (quite the investment at $1,750, Net-A-Porter) with a textured jacket (Catherine Malandrino, $238, TheOutnet):

Something about the dramatically-collared jacket paired with the prim black lines of the dress is just perfect for Parisian street-strolling.  Pair with classic Lanvin ballets in unexpected corded satin ($515, Net-A-Porter):

But it just wouldn’t be a French post without reference to the line Paul & Joe, another pick amongst the soigne in Paris’ fashion elite — just take a look at this Chanel-esque dress ($360, Paul & Joe):

Love it with some unexpected structured heels, like these Vince Camuto strappies ($110, Vince Camuto):

And now, to really pull out all the stops, let’s both drool over this DVF Davina dress ($345, Net-A-Porter) paired with some unbeatable, city-of-light-esque Louboutins ($1,895, Barney’s):

This Vita Fede art deco ring would make for a perfect topper — it almost reminds me of the Eiffel Tower in terms of its lines and structure ($310, Max & Chloe):

And, for la grande entree, this ruffled Lanvin dress that I’ve been positively dreaming about for.ev.er.  Pure whimsy, pure fun, pure Paris (unfortunately, pure priciness as well — $4,960, Net-A-Porter):

Pair with these French lace bow-toed pumps (lace is just intrinsically Frenchified — Valentino, $885, Net-A-Porter):

Ooh la la!  I’m ready to pack my bags and jet set across the pond…

(Lanvin Honeymoon Suitcase, $740, Net-A-Porter)

…but then again I’m just antsy to get the ball rolling with the wedding: T-4 days and counting and it has taken every ounce of my reserve to keep myself from total wedding details data dump in today’s post!  I just want to tell you all every little thing about the Big Day but am working hard to keep it a surprise until after the 7th!  Eee!  I’m so excited!