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Archive for the ‘Cocktail Dresses’ Category

Cha-CHUNG

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!

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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.

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 in.love 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…

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!

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.

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!

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!

Goody Goody Gumdrops

In Cocktail Dresses, Jewelry, Shoes, Sundresses on July 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

My fiance makes fun of me for my childish obsession with gummy candy.  I’m like a…kid in a candy shop?…when it comes to Haribo in particular.

There’s just something so festive and fantastic about a fistful of fruity, sweet candy — it just makes my day.  (I’m absolutely drooling at the moment just thinking about it because I have been trying to eat low-carb the past few weeks and it has been nothing short of painful.)  I’ll forgo the calories and instead creatively evoke the spirit of gumdrops, sprinkles, and all those sugar-filled treats we’re only meant to eat in moderation with some candy-colored wardrobe picks (no one said anything about dressing in moderation!)  The inspiration for this post (aside from a gnawing hunger for carbs) comes from Bounkit, my favorite jeweler  of the moment:

I saw the above be-gemmed necklace ($1,530, Bounkit) and instantly thought of gumdrops:

(In reality, it’s a masterpiece comprised of lemon quartz, fluorite, and carved rose quartz.  And I’m obsessed with it.)  You can lean towards a similar look with these jeweled sandals (Amedeo Canfora, $243, Pret A Beaute):

Wouldn’t they make you just the happiest little lady out there?  Lovely with a richly-colored Halston Heritage gown ($495, Net-A-Porter) for a slightly fantastical, luxe look —

Rachel Zoe would approve (anyone else amped about the premiere of her new season?!)  Alternately, this shorter Marc Jacobs shift dress features the same rich, gem-tone color and is just as darling (the gathering at the hip makes the dress — $313, TheOutnet):


I like the idea of unexpectedly dressing it down with the jeweled Amedeo Canfora t-straps above.  If you’re forgoing with Bounkit necklace, consider this gorgeous statement bracelet instead ($150, Bloomingdale’s):

I am literally obsessed with it.  Need that puppy.  Instantly added to my “I want” list.  Alternately, pair with either these candy-colored danglers ($75, Max & Chloe) or some enorma-rocks (appropriately titled “Gumdrop Studs” — $38, Kate Spade):

The studs would look darling with the little Marc Jacobs confection below as well, which has me drooling — it reminds me of sprinkles!  — $523, TheOutnet:

(P.S.  I may be the only customer over the age of five to order multicolored sprinkles on her fro-yo.  No judgment, please.)

This more low-key maxi by T-Bags is an equally sweet treat ($190, Revolve Clothing):

Reminds me of my favorite old-fashioned candy: Dots.  Yummy.

If the head-to-toe print is too much of a sugar rush for you, keep things simple(r) with your favorite jeans, this gumdrop necklace ($42, Anthropologie), and a pair of candy-colored jelly t-straps (French Connection, $25, Kurt Geiger):

Or maybe forgo the necklace and slip this lotsa-dots glam headband on (Jennifer Oeullette, on sale for $29, Barney’s):

Tie it all together with this bubble gum-pink Love Quotes scarf ($88, ChickDowntown):

And speaking of bubblegum, why not try these Dubble Bubble-shaded dresses — love that they are over-the-top girly and yet still sexy (the first: Derek Lam, on sale for $477, Shopbop; the second: Lotta Stenson, $615, Net-A-Porter; the third: Splendid, $115, Net-A-Porter):

Perhaps the latter could be paired with this fun gumball necklace ($24, Lori’s Shoes) for some serious sweet tooth indulgence:



For just a touch of sugar, toss this gumball-printed umbrella ($22, Kohls) in your tote or swap out your boring old wallet for this vibrant, Jolly Rancher red wallet (Comme Des Garcons, $250, Bloomingdale’s):


Ugh, just adore that BRIGHT red-orange color.  Perfect with an oversized gumball collar necklace (who else but Kenneth Jay Lane? — $140, Net-A-Porter) and Geranium Essie polish ($8, Essie Shop):

Well, now that I’ve sufficiently worked up an appetite, I’m pretty much out of steam.  Have a great weekend, and eat lots of carbs for me!