Archive of ‘How to Style’ category

How to Style (& Not Style) Stripes

It’s no secret that stripes are everywhere, and the peak time to wear them is summer! You can see me in stripes often, mostly in my favorite colors of red, white, and blue.

These three shirts are my hands down favorite striped shirts. The two outside ones are from L.L. Bean and the middle one is from J. Crew Factory. I really love the one on the right with the alternating blue and red stripes and think it’s a fun addition to any summer wardrobe. You’ll be me sporting that shirt many times this summer!

I love the stripes on the dress on the left with the varying widths. It looks very pleasant especially on that cut of the dress. The outfit on the right caught my eye because I would have a hard time mixing stripes, but here it looks really cool. I may try mixing vibrant and subtle stripes like that!

While wearing stripes is mostly simple here are a few things I’m weary of:

  • You’ll seldom see vertical stripes, so be careful if you choose to wear vertical stripes. Make sure the lines are thin and far apart, or else risk looking like a referee. (I’m speaking from experience here!)
  • Tighter stripes are really cute but don’t photograph so great, and may look funny on social media platforms. There’s been more than once I’ve posted a seersucker dress on Instagram and the stripes are distorted.
  • Stripe tops and dresses are a no-brainer, but stripes on pants and shoes are harder to wear. You have to keep the rest of your outfit simple, and it’s tough to find flattering stripe pants. It’s not possible though, and when pulled off correctly it looks great.

What are you favorite stripes to wear?

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How to Style Gingham Pants

sweater – land’s end / pants – c/o land’s end / shoes – vintage dooney & bourke

Who doesn’t love gingham? The pattern is both classic and fun at the same time, and looks especially great in the navy/white combo. Gingham first became popular post World War II and has really seen a resurgence the past few years with no signs of slowing down. As most preppy styled ladies, I gravitate towards anything gingham and these pants are no exception.

When I first tried these on I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were. Pants are often tricky, and a lot of them can feel uncomfortable after a few hours (at least in my case).  The waistband seems to be a little higher and the fabric is thicker, which may be why I can wear these all day and still be comfortable.

My favorite sweater is the Drifter by Land’s End. I had the sleeve monogrammed and I really enjoy that subtle touch. Reminds me of something from the 1950’s you’d cherish for generations.

When styling gingham pants, I also keep the rest of the outfit solid with a little texture (like a cable knit). I’m all for pattern mixing but this pattern is too tiny and would be hard to do so  successfully. I look forward to styling these pants with a chambray shirt and red pointed toe flats as the weather gets warmer!

 

How to Transition from Winter to Spring

Next Monday, March 20th, marks the first day of spring even if the weather isn’t cooperating yet. Around the end of February, I grow tired of my winter wardrobe and look forward to bringing out my spring attire. The last thing I want to wear is heavy layers, flannels, puffer coats, winter boots, etc., but when there is still a chance of snow or freezing temperatures it isn’t practical to put those all away just yet. As spring inches forward, here are my tips for transitioning from winter to spring:

  • Clothing: Winter fabrics in spring colors is a great rule of thumb to transition seamlessly.  For example, I am still wearing sweaters but they are in brighter, spring-like colors vs the heavy, winter tones. I’m also starting to wear my spring clothes but toning it down with darker, heavier items to help transition effortlessly. For example – the photo above I pair a spring skirt with a navy blazer to make it appropriate.
  • Footwear: I put away my heavy winter boots, but kept my rain boots and duck boots out for the rain we will get this spring. Bean boots (and other duck boots) are really a perfect item to help transition from winter to spring. I also have started bringing out some spring footwear but am still staying clear of open-toe styles under it gets much warmer. If you live in the south, then it may be appropriate to start on the open-toe look.
  • Outwear: I wanted to put my winter coats away but stopped myself because I knew we could still get snow. I brought out lighter jackets to wear when possible, but kept back a few winter coats just in case.
  • Accessories: They are perfect for creating more spring-like outfits. I have been carrying a lighter color purse and tying a bright scarf around the handle. I definitely think swapping out purses is a great way to welcome warmer weather.

 

My blogger friend, Audrey, has a great post today on her blog on tweaking your looks to take them from winter to spring. Please check them out!

Five Tips to Layer Like a Pro

layering-items

What the temperature drops, or the weather is unpredictable, layering is essential to ensure you are warm or cool enough. Layering is also a great way to get the most use out of your wardrobe and create new and versatile styles. The five pieces above are foolproof for layering as you can wearing them over and under eachother however way you’d like to create new and different styles.  See my five handy tips below to help you layer like a pro:

  1. Always layer thin to thick to cut down on excess bulk. Sometimes a bulky turtleneck sweater is too much to wear under a thinner blazer. Always start with your thinnest layer, like a tissue tee, and build on from there. I would also caution against too many thick layers at once, as a heavy sweater + bulky vest may look unflattering.
  2. Mix up patterns and textures with skill. Pattern mixing can be simple as long as the patterns are two different sizes. For example – a smaller pattern mixed with another intricate pattern will look busy. Try a subtle stripe with a larger buffalo check for example. Texture is also a great way to add dimension to any outfit. A quilted vest, cable knit sweater, tweed jacket, etc. are just a few examples of pieces that will give depth to your look.screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-11-49-36-am
  3. When layering a sweater over a button down shirt, I like to unbutton the bottom button to help the shirt relax more and open up at the bottom. It’s just a simple trick I’ve always done to make the layers show a bit better. (Left photo is with the bottom button still buttoned, right photo is it unbuttoned). zqwholpp
  4. Cheat the layers – there are many items available to help show more layers with less bulk. For example – I own several button down shirts that are sleeves and use them to layer nicely under sweaters and jackets. These shirts can also be worn alone in the summer tucked into some shorts. A way to cheat layering with boots is to buy boot cuffs whether they are knit or these cozy fur ones.nmtubak_mu
  5. Choose to layer on the top or bottom. We’ve all seen the girl who goes layer crazy – tights with socks with boots and then a ton of layers on top too. This look is challenging to pull off and can look a little overboard. Choose to put all your layers on the top or the bottom, or if you choose to layer with both then keep it simple. You want your look to be aesthetically pleasing, not have people confused or having to take a moment to “figure out” what’s going on.

So there are my five tips for layering. Don’t let the last tip scare you from trying new layering combinations, just use your judgement not to wear all the layers at once. 🙂

 

 

Fair Isle Game

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Fair isle is knitting technique named after a tiny island north of Scotland. Its traditional look is perfect for long winters to give your sweater a little extra style. Fair Isle has been around since the mid 1800’s and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. They’re a great look to invest in now and wear for years to come.

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I own multiple fair isle sweaters because they make for great layering. I like to wear a button down shirt underneath and sometimes layer a vest over. The pattern adds interest to any outfit but also looks great on its own.

fair-isle

Top Row: first / second / third

Bottom Row: fourth / fifth / sixth

 

I’ve rounded up my favorite fair isle sweaters from this season. The first two are my favorites and I’m shocked to say they’re from… Abercrombie & Fitch (at $34 currently). I was never into Abercrombie, even in high school, but I know they’ve done some rebranding recently and I think their fair isle sweaters are both classic and traditional. I don’t see myself shopping there regularly anytime soon, but I’ll give credit where credit is due and keep an open mind!

 

 

Fall Style Influences

I did a post back in the summer about the four types of “preppy style” that influence my summer wardrobe. I’d like to do the same thing for fall! I pull from all four styles to influence my fall wardrobe and will work them in interchangeable.

ivy-leagueIvy League Style

A collegiate style that stays true to its heritage by using classics that never die out. It will often resemble repurposing your grandfather’s old college sweater or borrowing your boyfriend’s rowing blazer. These items are meant to look like they have a long history of serving your style well.

Origin: Originally England, then New England, but the style first rose to popularity in the 1950’s when college students at Ivy League schools started sporting the look and naturally the rest of society followed.

Key Pieces: Blazers, Oxford Cloth Button Down Shirts, Cardigans, Varsity Sweaters, Loafers (you’ll also see items with elbow patches, silk tie material, gothic letters, etc.)

Brands: Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger, Weyhill & Wharf

 

outdoorsOutfitted for Outdoors

This style boasts American heritage that conveys our nation’s love for the great outdoors. Functionality is of the utmost importance to keep you comfortable whether you’re on a hike or running errands.

Origin: Much of the main items in this style originate from early 20th century hunting gear or items worn for specifically for outdoor activities – such as fisherman’s sweater, flannel, etc.

Key Pieces: Bean Boots, Flannel, Waxed Jackets, Quilted Vests, Fleece Pullovers,  Fisherman’s Sweaters

Brands: LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, Patagonia, Moosejaw

preppy-southwest

Western Americana

This style is Americana at the core as it takes cues from the adventurous spirit of the west and southwest. It’s not the first style that comes to mind when you think of “preppy”, but Ralph Lauren uses this style to influence his pieces that have evolved the look and feel of “all-American style”.

Origin: This style is as American as it gets, and dates back to Native American and cowboy culture.

Key Pieces: Chambray, Leather, Turquoise Jewelry, Navajo Sweaters, Medium Wash Denim, (you’ll also find fringe, suede, larger scale gold or silver accents)

Brands: Ralph Lauren – RRL or Denim & Supply lines, LL Bean, Levi’s, Res Ipsa

equestrian

Equestrian 

Influenced by the uniform of English horseback riders, equestrian style can look both sporty and polished and does so effortlessly.

Origin: Comes from English style horseback riding, primarily dates back to early 20th century.

Key Pieces: Riding Boots, Ruffle Blouses, Leather Accents, Quilted Riding Jackets, Blazers, Riding Pants, Equestrian Style Hardware (horse bit on a purse, loafer, etc.)

Brands: Ralph Lauren, Ariat, Ellsworth and Ivey, Talbots

 

These are the main four styles I work into my fall wardrobe. My only caveat that I can give is to mix one or two elements of a style into an outfit to avoid looking too much one way or the other. I’ve learned the hard way that wearing all my equestrian style clothes at once causes people to approach me and ask if I just left the barn.

Which is your favorite style? If there another fall style you like to wear?

 

Thanks for reading,

Robin

September Style Inspiration

september style inspophotos via yankee mag / classy girls wear pearls / honey& jam / ampersand sf

September is hands down my favorite month of the year and I would love to share what’s inspiring my style this month. As we close in on fall in the next week, new life is breathed into style as we ebb and flow with the changing of the season.

white denim1. White Denim is changing how I transition seasons. I foolishly used to retire my white denim after labor day but have since then learned how versatile it can be. White used as your base makes every color you put with it look more crisp because of the contrast. Fall colors tend to look even more rich and lovely when paired with fresh white.

 

heather gray

2. Heather gray has also been utilized as a neutral as my wardrobe begins its process into fall. I heavily favor a heather gray over a solid gray because of the texture it brings to an outfit while still making other colors pop. I love the combo of rust and gray above as complimentary colors.

 

turkish rug3. Turkish rugs in the form of handbags and shoes have inspired me lately. The rugs bring vibrant color and beautiful intricate pattern to any room, and also convey that “well traveled” glamor to accessories as well. I love the way these pieces put interest into a more neutral fall outfit.

 

bandanas4. Bandanas have been on my radar since last winter when Ralph Lauren started pairing them with more outfits. I adore the look as it brings an effortless Americana vibe to any outfit. My favorite way to wear it is subtly around the neck with a button down shirt. I’ll be wearing my navy bandana with chambray this season.

 

quilted

5. Quilted anything is a win in my book. I’ve been wearing quilted jackets and vests for almost seven years now and the classic style isn’t going anywhere. Lightweight, yet warm, they add texture and style through easy layering over your favorite fall outfit. The second the temperatures drop, I bring out all my quilted vests and jackets.

 

skirts and boots6. Skirts and boots seem like a no-brainer but can actually be quite difficult to wear. You’ll always want to make sure there’s enough space between the top of the boot and the bottom of the skirt to look proportionate. When done correctly, it’s a lovely look that I want to wear more often than I have in the past.

 

What are you inspired by this September?

Styling White Pants for Fall

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vest – j crew factory / shirt – j crew factory (recent), white denim – land’s end (old) / wedges – sperry

I love the look of white pants year round as they are a fresh neutral that tend to make other tones look even brighter and richer. I used to shy away from wearing white after labor day, but now it’s the norm and also easy to pull off! For the look above, I wore a orange/blue/white flannel I recently got from J Crew Factory with the white denim. I thought the white in the plaid helped compliment the pants and tied it all together. I made sure to keep my accessories darker to keep it from look too summer.

The keys to wearing white denim after labor day effortlessly are:

  1. Pair it with fall colors to make them pop. Olive green, navy, burgundy, etc. all look incredible when worn with white. It will tone down the summer feel of the pants to easily transition them to fall.
  2. Avoid any trace of summer colors. If I wore a chambray shirt and pink puffer vest with the white denim, it would look too spring. Also, be careful of just navy paired with white as it can come off nautical/summer. This can be remedied by adding an extra layer (such as a collar shirt, vest, sweater, etc.) to bring texture and dimension.
  3. Darken your accessories with rich brown leathers – such as a belt, purse, boots, etc. This will help distinguish your outfit as a fall outfit and make you look like you know what you’re doing.

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See how great white pants can look for fall when done correctly? Do you wear white pants after Labor Day?

 

80’s & 90’s Prep Trends

making-the-grade-1984When you dress preppy, the same items seem to stay in style with a few minor adjustments here and there, which is why it’s cool to still have items for a long time or to borrow from your parents, grandparent, etc. The 80’s and 90’s were pivotal for preppy style as bright colors and ivy league influence were popularized. Below are preppy trends from the 80’s and 90’s that haven’t necessarily ever gone out of style, but are definitely in an era of revival. The photos on the left are older, and the ones on the right are current. Enjoy!

blazer crestBlazers with crests are so classic that you can own one and wear it forever. It’s definitely a by-product from the popularization of Ivy League style and has shown no signs of fading. I love how both the 90’s model and the current Ralph Lauren model have styled it. Both could fit into either era, it’s that timeless.

popped collar

The polo shirt, especially with a popped collar, is both fun and casual. I-ZOD, now Lacoste, really took over the 80’s, but Ralph Lauren has become synonymous with the style. I have many polos shirts in the back of my closet that I’m trying to wear more often because it’s a step up from just a t-shirt. It looks more polished yet still a great weekend look. Not just for country clubs, wear your polo shirt anywhere and try the popped collar – just avoid layering several polos at once.

flag sweater

The flag sweater is my #1 staple, and if you’ve followed me for any amount of time you know this to be true (I have three RL flag sweaters). This sweater is year round for me because it’s great on summer nights with white jeans, and under coats in the fall/winter. If you ever find a flag sweater, snag it up immediately. It’s an American classic that gets better with age.

fun shirt

The fun shirt is a preppy trend from the 80’s and Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and especially J Crew have been showing it in full force lately. It’s a great way to shake things up because life is too short to wear boring clothes. The photo on the left isn’t old, it’s just from The Wolf of Wall Street set in the 80’s.

 

sweater over shoulderSweater over the shoulder is a great way to keep your sweater nearby. While tying it around your waist (very 90’s) has come back in style, I think around the shoulder is a classy way to sport the look with a nod to the past. I do a bit of both because it’s a great way to alter an otherwise plain outfit.

nautical shorts

High-waisted shorts have come back in style, and I love the nautical ones best. 1990’s nautical fashion is one of my favorite clothing eras (mainly because of nostalgia), and I love seeing this style of shorts popping up.

madrasMadras is a pattern that is specifically preppy in nature. I have always been a fan of madras and was happy to see J Crew bring back madras styles this year. I picked up a pair of madras shorts and wear them every chance I get!

What’s your favorite style from above?

 

Hat Trick

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hats c/o port royal outfitters

I love wearing baseball caps in the summer – mainly because I’m big on sunscreen and protecting my skin, and they’re a stylish way to keep the sun off my face. I’ll throw one on after work for running errands, or whenever I’m spending a lot of time outdoors. With the temperatures slowly rising I’ve been reaching for baseball caps more and more and love the variety of styles, colors, and logos to choose from.

hat trick

hat via lands end (very inexpensive!)

A trick I use when I wear my hair down and throw a cap on is to brush my hair back first before putting the hat on. I part my hair to one side normally, so by brushing my hair straight back I even out the hair on both sides so that it doesn’t look lopsided with the hat on. Parted hair is a cute style, but when the hair line is covered by a cap, it can look a little off balance.

Brushing your hair straight back is also going to help cut down on hat hair, even completely eliminating it in some cases. I’ve used this trick many times and when I take off my hat I do not have hat hair or a crease where the hat was. It solves a lot of problems!

hats

Here’s a sample of a few of my favorite hats for summer. Which one is your favorite?

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