Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve, Bring on the Bling

Ruthie Sayles hairpieces,
Fruition Salon and Grandmother's Buttons (in La.)


New Year's Eve is here! And if you're like me, NYE is one of the holidays that you never wanna spend a lot of money on. You've most likely just bought multiple dresses for the gazillion Christmas parties you attended, you way overspent on Christmas, and some might say that New Year's is the most over-hyped holiday of the year. Someone it's not over-hyped for is one Naomi Judd. I don't know this for a fact, but guessing by a statement she once made to me (yes, she really did), "Every outfit is better with a little beading," I'm guessing this is the case. Well, Naomi, this is one day out of the year where I couldn't agree more.

May I suggest to you that you don't have to go all out in a full sequined number or have your "seamstress just throw a few beads on the lapel of your jacket" a la Naomi, but pick one of these options to add a little shine to a dress you already have without having to purchase a whole new outfit.

Material Girl Cross-body Clutch, Rachel Roy for $58.99

Sequined capelet, Charlotte Russe for $32.99

Sequined beret, Forever 21 for $9.80

Vintage Charm Necklace, American Eagle for $19.50

Some Great Sales!




Sunday, December 27, 2009

How-To: Flat Boots for Muscular Legs


Dolce Vita Ella boot, Zappos for $203.68

Yesterday I ventured out into the post-holiday mayhem to do a little shopping with my newest sister-in-law, in town from Boston. She was in need of a few key wardrobe items now that she had a little cash to spend since getting a great engineering job after graduating from Auburn. I thought I would base this how-to on some of the pointers we went over yesterday regarding flat boots.

Pretty much everyone at this point has a pair of them, but if you don't, it may be because you think you can't wear them or are just confused about which ones to get. Sarah Nell hadn't had the time or income to shop, but another of Sarah's challenges is that she is a runner and an athlete, which imparts to her beautiful, muscular legs. What a problem to have, right? There could definitely be worse things than to have gorge, toned legs. If that's your cross to bear, then here are a couple of tips for you.

  1. The best style for you is going to be a sleek, very fitted pair. Probably a good idea to stay away from slouchy boots or bulky styles like motorcycle boots.
  2. No mid-calf styles for you either. With a muscular calf, you want either a bootie that stops at the ankle or a boot that comes all the way up to the knee. A boot that stops half-way will only make your legs look bigger than they are.
  3. A slightly pointed toe is going to be the most flattering. It will provide a more lengthening effect than a round toe and help make your legs look longer and therefore leaner.
  4. If you are going to wear tights, then the most slimming combination is to match the color or keep them in the same tonal family as the boot. In other words, don't wear black tights with grey boots. Not a complete no-no, but also, not the best.
Here are a few of the styles that I bookmarked for Sarah Nell. I really think that the skinny jeans or leggings/flat boot combination is gonna be around for a while longer so, if you haven't bought your pair yet, maybe it's time.

Sweet Life by Dolce Vita Equestrian Boot, Urban Outfitters for $158


Nine West Fiddle Boot, Zappos for $149.60


Corso Como Milan, Zappos for $289

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide for Guys

Okay, I'm not a guy. However, I do love sports, red meat, and the Foo Fighters, so I feel like that lends me a bit of credibility in picking good dude presents. I must say though, I do think Megan Fox is a little over-rated, so hopefully that's not a deal-breaker. The first edition of Amber's Holiday Gift Guide for Guys is for that cool guy in your life who's multi-faceted and does more than play video games. So, here....we....go!

Holga starter kit, LOMO for $75

Fancy yourself a photographer? If you're in Nashville, there's a 52% chance that you do. Just kidding, but there are about one zillion photographers here. And any amateur photographer worrth his salt should have a Holga. You know, for those super-artsy shots that are all arbitrarily fuzzy in places but "look really cool." On fredflare.com, where I found this camera, there are tons of other great stocking stuffers (like retro Nintendo controller mints!) and you can get free shipping with the code "reindeer."


Anderson Jacket, D Collection for $128
(Free shipping! Enter "OHJOY" at checkout)

Outerwear this time of year is something I focus on in my styling business. I think it's such a shame to have on a great outfit and then top it off with a real snooze-cruise like a North Face fleece. No offense to North Face's, but outside of The Grove at Ole Miss or scaling a mountain, they should be reserved for grocery runs only. I love this jacket above because it has a bit of military flair, but isn't so trendy that it can't be worn for seasons to come, and lots of dudes can pull this off.

Funnel Neck Shirt, Shades of Greige, $121

Shades of Greige is one of my favorite lines. They make trendy things that are wearable because they add one tiny tweak, like a funnel neck, that make shirts like this one just a tad more special.

Official Match Ball of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Adidas for $150

Ever since traveling to Africa a couple years ago, I've been more aware of the world-wide appeal of soccer...er, futbol. Now, it's becoming more widespread here in the States as well. I know plenty of guys who are super-into watching games between teams like Arsenal and Manchester United at, like, 2 in the morning. If your guy is one of those, then this football is gonna be the best gift ever. (I guess it better be, since it's gonna set ya back $150, huh?)

Beer Brewing Kit, Brooklyn Brew Shop for $30

Beer Brewing Kit=craft project for guys. And he gets to drink the results. Enough said.

R1G1 watch, Nixon for $170

Any Nixon watch is great. I don't think I've ever seen one I didn't like. And every man should have a nice watch. Even if we all just use our PDA's for the time these days, every guy just looks like he knows WTH is going on when he is wearing a good time piece.

Monogrammed Grill Tools set, Williams Sonoma for $79.95

There's only one Bobby Flay (and P.S. Bobby, if you're reading this, let me help you pick out some shirts that are more flattering. Oh, and I love your restaurants.) If your man is a one-man grilling machine, then he needs some nice tools. You can even have the ones above monogrammed. Awwwww, how sweet. And make it a package deal with this Mad Men apron, that says "I used to be Don Draper, now I'm just an average Dick." Hilarious.

headphones, WeSC for $84.95

There's no better way to liven up a boring ole cubicle than some sweet, multi-colored headphones. There's also nothing that says, "I'm here for a good time on this flight" like multi-colored headphones. Pretty much, there's not a better gift. Unless of course you went all out with the Bose noise-cancellers, which say, "I got bank," cuz those suckers are expensive.

On Rocky Top by Clay Travis, Amazon.com for $21.31

You cringe when you hear the words "Lane" and "Kiffin" in a sentence and UT orange is in your top five list of most obnoxious colors? I get that. So maybe a book about Tennessee football isn't for you. Well, if you're reading this, your man's most likely an SEC fan at least, so how about Clay's other book, which chronicles a season of traveling to SEC football venues--debauchery included--called Dixieland Delight. College football in general, not so much? Maybe this book about the NBA by Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, is more your speed.

Honorable Mention:
  • This man-purse could not be more handsome. He can take it to work, use it as a carry-on or put his thermos in it to go hunting. Bowery drafting tote from J. Crew.
  • The absolute best faux leather jacket I've ever used on a shoot. (And I've seen a lot of reee-heeeaally crappy ones.)
  • Wiffle ball t-shirt. This site, www.nomasnyc.com has so many great, non-cheesy, vintage-inspired t-shirts.
  • Hello, Hurricane by Switchfoot. Enough moody stuff on here to satisfy an emotional guy and enough electric guitar to make him wanna drive really fast.

Help-Portrait



A lot of you may already be aware of the movement called Help-Portrait, started by my buddy Jeremy Cowart. I owe a lot to Jeremy for helping me get started doing styling and for encouraging me so much along the way. (And for continuing to hire me.) A lot of people know Jeremy as an amazing photographer; the guy has more Twitter followers than a lot of well-known musicians. Despite this, all of us close to him know that beneath the cool clothes and the expensive camera, is a heart for people and a longing to use his gifts to give back. I've never been prouder of my friend than last weekend as he organized photographers in over 50 countries and in almost every state to take free portraits for people who couldn't afford to buy them. I was at the event down at Rocketown in Nashville, one of three happening around Nashville. It was one of the best things I've ever participated in. Please visit the Help-Portrait website to learn more and file it away in the back of your mind so that you can help at Help-Portrait '10 and maybe organize one in your own community. This is truly what the holidays are all about.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide for Gals: My Favorite Things

For all three of the guys that read this blog regularly, I have hand-picked the gifts below, and I would *really* want them all. Therefore, if your significant other is anything like me, and by that I mean has impeccable taste and likes cool stuff (:-), then any of the things below would be GREAT gifts. Now for the 98% of the readers who are girls, hopefully this will help you with ideas for those hard-to-buy-for MIL's, aunts, girl friends, etc. With those disclaimers disclaimed, here goes with part I of the holiday gift guide for people kinda on a budget but also people who have impeccable taste.


Round wooden tray, West Elm for $34.99

I let one of my best friends Ashley, who happens to have "impeccable taste" in interior decorating and design choose this one. Oh, and she's a professional at it. In her words, this tray is "a good modern accent for even a more traditional woman."
UltraHD hand-held camcorder, Flip for $199

Got a future YouTube star on your hands? A mom with kids reciting their alphabet at 16 months that needs proof? This is the perfect gift. Record events, vignettes during travel, 120 minutes of whatever you want with a small, hand-held camera. I would LOVE one of these. I could re-live my days of video-ing myself doing made-up dances to Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation.

Leather jacket, BB Dakota for $209

I don't know a single girl who wouldn't squeal if her hubs or boyfriend got her a leather jacket for Christmas. A leather jacket is something we always want, but we're never gonna buy it for ourselves. This season's version is sleek and tailored like this one by BB Dakota. If you want one that's a little nicer than the above-mentioned budget option, here are two more at a Gold level and Platinum level.

Clean Water for 20 Africans, Mocha Club for $22

I could write an entire blog about how, most likely, none of us really needs another gift. I mean, not like *need*...The twenty Africans who would benefit from this card, now that's *need*. There's tons of other products on the mochaclub.org website that also benefit Africans, like this Dave Barnes comedy CD, which I promise is pants-wetting hilarity, and this coffee package. And another quick plea, you should be a member of Mocha Club if you're not already :-).
Three Carats Mini Cheek Stain Set, Tarte for $25

Ooooooh, coooosmeetiiiiiics. Love. I could buy my weight in makeup at Sephora once a week, no lie. But these little cheek stains would be at the very top of the pile. Tarte has an uncanny way of making shades that work on every girl. These stains are perfect on no-makeup days and this size is great to carry in your purse!

Unisex neck warmer, Etsy.com for $39

Okay, I really want one of these. It's the best part of the scarf without all the excess that you really don't know where to wrap. I also like the infinity scarf, which is sorta the same concept, but there are no ends. Here's a good one by my friend Terrah Hamilton and here's another on American Apparel in about one bajillion colors.

Every Occasion Card Kit, Hello! Lucky for $18

Even if your gal isn't a letter-writing kinda lady, at some point or another ALL of us gets in a place where we're running out the door and "forgot the card!" for our gift. This set of multi-occasion cards is perfect to have on hand...and by Hello! Lucky, beautiful crafters of unique, letterpress stationery.
Three-disc necklace, Gorjana for $62

This is one of my new favorite jewelry designers, Gorjana. In Nashville, Emmaline has a lot of their pieces. One of the reasons I love this 18K gold-plated necklace is that it's an everyday necklace that can be layered or worn alone, and it's not gonna change colors. Nobody wants costume jewelry for Christmas that's gonna fall apart after three wears. NOBODY.

Honorable mention:
  • Haven't met a girl who didn't love The Proposal, and the majority of guys like it because they have huge man-crushes on Ryan Reynolds.
  • Classic flannel shirt by Steven Alan that is an absolute MUST for fall fashion. If she's not super-stylish, then she can wear it to work in the yard or to a hot dog roast.
  • I swear to goodness this Jonathan Adler candle smells just like the beach. And who wouldn't want to smell the beach when it's 30 degrees outside and you can't feel your face?
  • Succulents are such an easy plant to keep alive, and they look incredibly architectural and cool on a side table. And it sounds cool--SUCC-U-LENT.
If you are a guy reading this and none of these work for you, I'm happy to take your questions, help you decide or make more suggestions. I'm serious. Leave me a comment or email me, and I'll hook you up. For realz.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Boys Like Girls: Two Is Better Than One

I LOVED working on this video. Like any job, it presented challenges, but this was a really awesome opportunity for ALS. The band looks great, right? And yes, Taylor Swift sings background vocals, which means this song is gonna be a mega-huge, blockbuster hit.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Party Skirt

It's that time of year again. Holiday parties coming at us in rapid-fire fashion until Christmas. Seems like fun, until we realize we have an uphill climb ahead of us to find something to wear for five different events ranging from "smart casual" to "dressy casual" to "cocktail"...it can get stressful!

I can already foresee how this could potentially play out for me: Very small closet in old house. Packed to the gills with clothes. Blouses falling off the hangers. Realize everything is wrinkled. Trip over shoes that are spilling out from beneath. Get frustrated that everything is so messy. Rue the fact that I don't have a bigger closet. Take a moment to picture myself in one of the closets from MTV Cribs with a chandelier and sofa inside. Come back to reality. Finally find cocktail dress amidst the chaos. Try on. Remember that full-length mirror is broken. Try to stand on toilet to see in bathroom mirror. Slip. Tear dress. Try another dress. Don't feel pretty. Getting hot from trying on stuff. More frustration. Tiny tear in my eye. Throw off next choice. Crumble into a mess on the floor. Resurface from the bedroom wearing Vanderbilt sweatshirt and baggy jeans 30 minutes after cocktail party has begun.

Sound familiar? It's stressful, right? It shouldn't be, but it is. This year, get started early. (Like today!) And try the fun, versatile alternative to the cocktail dress, which I think you'll get a whole lot more use out of in the long run--THE PARTY SKIRT! I've scoured the web for some options that are affordable and easy--all below. I've also got a list of everything else you'll need to complete the look.

Here's your list: 1) A simple black shell (pictured above--or any solid color if you have a black skirt); 2) A great necklace; 3) Some black tights with a subtle pattern for some pizazz; 4) A pair of black booties; and 5) Any of these skirts. Optional: If your skirt is matte, you can top the whole thing off with a jacket like this and be even more perfectly party prepared. Because all of these pieces can be worn over and over more casually, you're gonna save money by not springing for the dress. Check out the Free People skirt below. It's a perfect illustration of how to dress down a fancy skirt. How cute is it with simply a pair of boots and a tee? Perfect for lunch out with the gals or a casual drink at the Patterson House.

Twisted Panel Jersey Skirt, BCBGeneration for $68

Knit Drape Skirt, Silence and Noise for $48

Violet Skirt, BB Dakota for $80

Crosstown Pencil Skirt, Free People for $78

Jewel Belted Skirt, Forever 21 for $36

Sparkle Sequin Skirt, MM Couture by Miss Me for $69

Looking at Online Today...

(DISCLAIMER: I am typing this on my parents' PC, so please address all formatting errors to Mr. Bill Gates.)
in "Happy Birthday" for $18
Me last week to Matt over casual, teeth-brushing conversation: You know I've entered a new phase of life.
Him in response (after spitting): Oh? Is that right?
Me: Well, yeah. I'm now a nail painter.
Him: Huh?
Me (emphatically): I'm now a girl who always has her nails painted. I decided that a few months ago.
Him: Oh.
Me (in a disgruntled tone): What? You haven't noticed?!
Him (with appropriate air quotes): I mean, I noticed that you've painted your nails a couple times, but I guess I just didn't realize it was like, "a whole new phase" of your life.
Me (pointedly): Oh...it is. So just get ready.
Of late, my new phase has included shades such as Sephora by OPI's Dark Room and Ocean Love Potion. Maybe, just maybe, Happy Birthday will be in my stocking once the hubs realizes this has been more than a phase, in fact, (add "dun, dun, DUH" sound effect here)...it's a whole new era.

Minkpink tank dress for $48
Harried wardrobe stylists, busy moms, gals who want easy outfits: we're all in the same boat. Simple pieces that go season to season that are a snap to throw on without much thought are what we want. This dress layered over a tank under a denim jacket with tights and boots for now, as a swimsuit cover up or paired with a scarf and flip-flops for later. Done-ski. And it's grey--maybe the perfect color.

Jeffrey Campbell over-the-knee boot for $212

I just wrote a post a few days back on OTK boots, which featured several great choices. However, for my money, I have found THE boot for Fall. This one from Jeffrey Campbell has got my name all. over. it. I'm freaking out about the forest green; it's so unexpected, yet, it's a lot like khaki in that it will match pretty much everything. Since I'll be wearing a ton of black and lots of neutrals this winter, these boots will add that little twist that I'll need to perk up any outfit.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another Fall Must-Have for Guys and Girls: The Denim Shirt


Carrie and Matt Edmonson represent the gold standard of Nashville denim

When I think about a denim shirt, I think about my dad in the 80s, manual labor, and until recently, nothing I'd ever wear as a fashion statement--maybe something I'd throw on before, say, painting the exterior of my house or planting some shrubs. That has changed, and if I were more of a fashion maven, I'd know why.

One thing I DO know, is that in my small community of 12South, part of why so many guys and gals are embracing the denim shirt is because of Imogene + Willie, fairly new to the 'hood, but certainly not new to the art of denim. Just have a peek at their look book, and it is bursting with pics of guys and gals rocking the denim shirt in a 1920s work wear kind of way. And I am drooling over this spread in GQ of the J. Crew men's Spring 2010 collection, which highlights the selvedge chambray shirt (lightweight, looks like denim) in tons of different ways: with a suit and tie, under a cardigan, and mixed with jeans.

For guys, there's really one simple rule: Make sure that when mixing your denim shirt with other denim, that you are working two different washes. Otherwise, you will look like my dad in the 80s...or worse, an Ohio State fan (except they'd be wearing jorts, which no one reading this would ever do--unacceptable.)

Now for girls, the one simple rule is to mix your denim shirt with a couple feminine items. The pic below found on the J.Crew website is a perfect example--she's wearing statement jewelry and that awesome sequin pencil skirt. I would wear this outfit to a holiday party for sure! So cute and unexpected next to the sea of black strapless party dresses. If you're thinking about giving the denim shirt a test-drive, I've picked a few online in a range of prices for you. And shoot, you could always buy a men's style a little baggier and throw it on over tights and boots or even moccasins. It's an easy way to dress down a dress too, just wear it like a jacket.

Selvedge chambray shirt from J. Crew for $98


Western bonfire shirt at American Eagle for $44.50


Levi's denim shirt on SierraTradingPost.com for $15.96

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Over-the-Knee Boots

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you know that over-the-knee boots are huge for fall. If there is a pair of boots to invest in this season, this is it. The good thing is that they're not super-trendy, because in most cases, you can just roll the top down to make them a normal pair of boots, which will last for seasons to come. Incidentally, this also helps if you're maybe not the tallest gal. :-) May I also exert my styling sensibility here and suggest that you think about buying them in suede. Suede just feels a little more relaxed, hippie cool than a shinier leather.

The most important thing you hear is that the operative word is "invest." You're gonna be wearing these a lot, so I've picked some of my favorites for under $250. That's a deal, because you're getting more boot for your buck since they're taller. Come on!

Free People for $128. These might be the deal of the day. This is a great price for these boots, and I absolutely LOVE the color. Would be so cute with a flowy dress and textured colored tights. I want 'em!

Dolce Vita for $199.95. I love Dolce Vita, and I LOVE this boot.
I would literally wear these everyday this winter if I had them.

Steve Madden for $229.95. Such a great heel size and classic shape.


Chinese Laundry for $98.95. This brand is well known for making cute boots for less. And I love the grey! I have grey boots from last fall, and I'm about to have them re-soled. You'll find yourself always reaching for them instead of traditional black or brown.