Friday, May 31, 2013

Banana Republic x Milly Patio Dress & easy wedding wear ideas

banana republic milly dress
Banana Republic x Milly patio dress c/o (25% off for cardmembers w/ code LOVEMILLY)
Ann Taylor sandals (this year's version), Amrita Singh earrings, Gap hat, clutch from the Philippines

The Milly for BR collection launched this week, with electric colors and prints suitable for our 90 degree heatwave. My favorite piece is the elephant-print shorts, made in cotton with a conservative 4” petite inseam. I love that they balanced out a potentially childish animal print with a classic navy & white palette. As I already have my fix of elephant shorts thanks to an earlier sewing project, I picked this pleated patio dress from the collaboration to style. banana republic milly dress3 Over the years, I’ve received a number of questions on wedding guest attire, some specifically from ladies who prefer not to bare their legs. A colorful long dress in a floaty, lightweight material is a happy medium between shorter frocks and a stern pant suit. For semi-formal occasions, I'd style such a dress as shown in the first photo with heeled sandals, clutch bag, and a shoulder wrap for dropping temperatures. For a beach or backyard wedding where heels would only aerate the lawn, strappy flat sandals + statement earrings (shown below) are sufficient to complete the look. Add an over-sized hat for a day lounging by the pool/ocean, or a denim jacket and cross-body bag for a weekend brunch.
Photo by http://davidsalafiaphotography.com/

Monday, May 27, 2013

Eat & Explore Scotland: Haggis, Royal Mile & Edinburgh Castle

I'm back in Boston with sore legs and a few extra pounds, after a week exploring London and Edinburgh. Scotland was our second stop, but I wanted to share some photos with the trip fresh on my mind.
Post 1 - Edinburgh train
Instead of taking the ~1 hour flight from London to Edinburgh, we opted for the 5 hour "scenic" route via East Coast trains. The route was very pastoral with roaming sheep and cows, plus a few beautiful cathedrals and oceanfront views sprinkled along the way. The 60GBP tickets came with wi-fi and unlimited food & drink - by the time we diddled on our computers, chowed down lunch (chicken & leek pot pies were surprisingly piping hot with a flaky crust), and had a few glasses of cider and wine, we were already pulling into the final station.
Post 1 - royal mile Edinburgh
J.Crew blazer (30% off w/ HELLOSTYLE), vintage Hermes scarf c/o LXR & Co (invite), Coach bag (review)

Edinburgh is a quaint city split into Old Town and New Town. The Old Town streets and buildings date back to the 1500's, with the "Royal Mile" street (pictured above) stretching through town to the Edinburgh Castle. The castle is small and admission is a relatively hefty 16GBP, but I enjoyed it very much as someone who is not a history buff. Post 1 - Edinburgh Castle
^ The Royal Palace, which houses the Scottish Honours (crown, scepter, and sword) used in the coronation of 16th century monarchs. There were rooms of wax figures (terrifying in dim lighting...you can bet I don't do well in haunted houses or wax museums) telling the story of the Honours, leading up to a room where the opulent treasures themselves were on display.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Petals, Brights & Stripes at the Boston Public Garden

public garden floral stripes1
Equipment Brett blouse (gift last yr from my friend Elle), Ann Taylor striped dress (similar on sale)
Ted Baker clutch c/o (PS - Nordies' half-yearly sale has begun! Great source for shoes down to a sz 4)

Nick and I were rushing through the Public Garden en route to lunch with friends, but couldn't resist pausing to enjoy the unusual peace and quiet. The ducks and swans were gliding leisurely on the lake, and the blooms on the trees were spilling over onto the lawn. It's moments like these that make me fall in love with Boston all over again.
public garden floral stripes
On my casual wear shopping list is a simple, navy & white knit striped tube skirt. For a basic piece to be worn for years to come, I've been looking for something with a sturdy weight and durable material. The ones I've tried have been thin and flimsy, or in pilling-prone materials that may not last through washes. It seems easy enough to make with the right fabric find, but til then, I've been re-working items in my closet to fill the void. This old dress from Ann Taylor is an office favorite...for slightly more casual outfits, I shortened the length by folding excess fabric over the top of a belt, then buttoned a shirt over the entire upper half. at striped dress Works best for more fitted dresses - 1) Add belt; 2) Fold excess length over top of belt; 3) Conceal w/ blouse

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tutorial: DIY scallop hem for skirts, dresses, shorts or tops

scallopskirt_tutorialGraphic
Supplies: A too-long skirt, iron, thread, a circular template, fabric chalk, scissors, and a butterknife or chopstick

Last weekend, I watched one of my younger brothers, Ed, graduate and was beaming with pride the entire time. I can't wait for him to settle into the Bay Area for grad school, so big sis can invite herself over and gorge on all the good eats there. During our long drive home from graduation, I mentioned that I'd been meaning to post the steps for this skirt, but had no spare skirts or scrap fabric to recreate the hem. Ed offered to whip up a simple animated tutorial. I had no idea what to expect, especially since I was certain he dozed off while I yapped on about the detailed steps. A few late nights of editing later, I think he did a great job conveying the basic concept (& the nice manicure was a bonus)!

*The below can only be viewed in flash-enabled browsers (ie. not on iPhones). Click play to begin.*

Friday, May 10, 2013

Spring in full bloom: Candied tweed + floral dress as a top

floral dress tweed skirt 4
J.Crew dress in "Garden Floral" sz reg 00 (this year's version - use SALE30 for 30% off everything)
Burberry trench sz 2 (similar), Ann Taylor skirt, Pour la Victorie wedges (similar by PLV)

I've lived in Boston for 8 years, and I never remember loving springtime so much. In contrast with recent events, the blossoming trees and beds full of tulips look prettier than ever. I felt inspired to dig this little floral number out of storage, and make the strapless style be suitable for work.
floral dress tweed skirt 3
Faux-pearl necklace from Nordies Rack (similar on eBay), Coach bag (review)

I absolutely adore this "Garden Floral" print, and was excited to see via Gigi that J.Crew brought it back this year at their factory store, in a more work-appropriate style. I showed 3 ways to style this dress last year, and am rounding it out with #4 - worn as a top.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Wear: DIY Scalloped skirt & Ferragamo Varina Flats

scallop skirt ferragamo vara flats2
Thrifted skirt w/ DIY scallop hem, BR Mad Men dress c/o (last worn here) and swing jacket (old)
Ferragamo Varina flats, Ann Taylor foldover clutch, Chanel tortoise wayfarer sunglasses

If you have any plain old skirts or dresses that need a touch of something, consider trying your hand at a DIY scalloped hem. This skirt was a happy find for me at Savers/Value Village thrift store for just $3.99. The waist (labeled a size 6) fit perfectly without alterations, and there are pockets on each side (score!). I started to do a basic hem on the matronly mid-calf length, however switched gears partway through to something a little more unique.
scallop skirt ferragamo vara flats4
I took photos for a scallop hem tutorial but made the mistake of "learning as I go." My scallops initially came out very defined, almost jagged, and could've given Freddy Flinstone a run for his money. After making some modifications, the second attempt came out exactly like I had hoped. Unfortunately, precious fabric was lost due to errors from round 1, leaving me with a skirt short enough to inspire some thigh toning exercises.
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