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" 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): 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)'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 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.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

CMA Awards '09 Rundown

Dress: Ysa Makino
Jewels: Everlon diamonds
Shoes: Stuart Weitzman

We chose this dress for Jessica because we really loved the color on her and thought it would be a refreshing change from all the black that you usually see on the carpet at this time of year. It was definitely a stretch for me as I usually like things a lot more simple, but we found the beadwork to be really artistic and cool, so we went with it!

Dress: Betsey Johnson
Shoes: her own
Jewels: Swarovski
Clutch: Swarovski
Hair "lovely": Oh My Deer Handmades

Suit: Paul Smith
Shirt: Theory
Belt: King Baby w/Virgins, Saints, and Angels buckle
Shoes: his own

Love these guys! Suits fit Josh like a glove, so it was hard to choose which one we'd go with! And I love Meg's style: Betsey is literally the perfect dress for her tiny waist and fun personality. One of my favorite things is the hair piece I had custom made for her by Chelsea Petaja of Oh My Deer Handmades. I'm bummed that I can't find a pic where you can fully see it. It's gorgeous!

Dress: Versace
Shoes: Alexander McQueen
Earrings: Swarovski

As I have said a couple of times, this was a group effort between me, Whitney, and her manager. I didn't choose this dress, but I think I can take credit for first getting her to try purple, a color she's not crazy about.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Foolproof "Smart" Outfit for Dudes

I know I usually neglect the males out there on this blog. What can I say? I'm a girl! But I do dress plenty of guys, and have just finished up the red carpet for the CMAs. There are parties galore going on in Nashville tonight and the holiday season is right around the corner. So in honor of guys all over the place who have been taken for granted on this blog, here's a holiday/wedding/cocktail party/absolutely foolproof outfit that you could purchase in your sleep.

To make it easy, it's all from Express. That store is all over the place, and if I know guys, you wanna go one place, get in, get out, and get to the Apple store to play with some gadgets. Am I right?




So, to recap, here's the checklist: Black military-inspired button-up with a little spandex, which makes it fitted and gives it a nice sheen which is a little dressier than 100% cotton, sleeves rolled up (not as much as in the pic); black skinny tie for a monochromatic look; grey, straight-leg dress pants; and black dress belt. You can also reverse the colors--grey on top with black pants and black tie or go for some color on top with a blue shirt...or even purple! The foolproof part though is that anyone can wear a black shirt and a black tie. Not every guy can wear purple! And there's no need to be confusing. You're a guy. I'm just saying: sometimes things gotta be spelled out.

Oh, and for the love, please get yourself some nice, thin-nish-soled, semi-narrow black dress shoes. No more clunky soles or Steve Madden "dress tennis shoes." Seriously. You'll just ruin it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - The 43rd Annual CMA Awards - Countdown to the CMAs - The 43rd Annual CMA Awards - Countdown to the CMAs

Hi guys! Check it out! Amber Lehman Styling got another spot on yesterday. You can see a little behind-the-scenes of our fitting with Jessica Harp. We got a great dress (it's not one of the ones she tried on!) So be on the look-out for her on the red carpet tomorrow. Yay CMA Week!!

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Couple People Credits

Here are a couple People Magazine credits I thought I would show y'all. Of course, if you follow this blog, you know those Atelier Swarovski earrings got a lot of love on Jessica Harp (and what a cute lil' gal on Halloween)! In the last couple months, I also worked with Holly Williams for a shoot featured in the People Country issue last month--shot by Jeremy Cowart. It was pretty crazy to be one step removed from "all my rowdy friends are comin' OVER tonight." Wild.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Worth the Investment: J Brand Legging Jean

A trend for fall that I'd just not had the time to look into, but have been following with piqued interest is the legging jean. It's pretty self-explanatory, right? It's a jean that's a legging...or a legging that's a jean. Potato, po-TAH-to. It makes perfect sense, really. You wanna wear big, bouncy, oversized tops, but leggings can sometimes feel a little too predictable. You want a little more ooomph on your legs when it's chilly out, but not a lot of bulk. You want your jeans to be comfortable enough to wear all night and not have to be peeled out of them at the end of the night. Convinced yet?

I used this latest iteration of the jean for the first time last week on a client. I got an up-close and personal look, and literally, they feel like skin-tight pajamas. It's the best of both worlds--the comfort of a legging in a jean-shaped package. I'm completely obsessed with this one by J Brand. You can buy it online all over the internet or get it in town in Franklin at Emmaline. If you are in the market for a new pair of jeans this fall, I highly recommend these. And for around $139, they really will end up being good in the long-run in $/wear.