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Style & Fashion

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Bags, Bags, Bags – Are You A Handbag Person?

I received a question from a reader a few months back (sorry it’s taken this long to give you a complete answer!). Asking about handbags and building a handbag collection. The truth is, from a personal POV, I like bags, but I don’t love them. For me often function trumps fashion when it comes to bags. And in fact, If I can go bag-less and shove items in my pocket (or my husband’s – which does not go well, FYI) I absolutely will take that option.

For my personal wardrobe, I tend to gravitate to clutches and evening bags (often vintage or thrift finds) because I feel they add personality and dimension to an outfit. On the everyday bag front, I typically carry one for the season, and it’s often a tote (because it holds oh so much). And then I leave it in my car when I go into places (ugh, probably not good info to share on the internet but, it’s true).

So basically, this is my way of saying – I needed to outsource to an expert to answer this question.

My Handbag Guru – Pierce Morgan

So when this question was posed, I turned to my bag guru, Pierce Morgan for the answers. Pierce is the founder and creative director of Chicologie, a luxury collection curation and restoration business. Pierce is a walking encyclopedia of bags – old and new. He appraises, authenticates, restores, and sources bags for his clients. And one of his signature services is bag fittings – What bag is perfect for you? What bags should you try? Finding new styles, colors, and brands you’ll love. For more information check out Pierce’s website HERE.

Pierce is Taking Over the Blog This Week…

Fall Trends for 2021

Compiling a list of fall trends is quite an undertaking. But one I totally love! As a “fashion forecaster” and proud fashion nerd, I joyfully and intensely spend hours (maybe even days) surveying what designers, fashion editors, and store buyers are focusing on for the season ahead. I do big-time research each season – viewing the fall runway shows, reading all the old school, print fashion mags (Vogue, Marie Claire, In Style, Glamor, Cosmo, WWD, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle). And all of the digital publications as well (PopSugar, Who What Wear, Style Caster, The Zoe Report, and Pinterest, of course).

Then I create lists, upon lists, upon lists. Asking myself questions and categorizing…What did I see repeated? Did it resonate? Is it feeling new and fresh? And most importantly: what was wearable? Because while fashion is most definitely an art, styling people for everyday endeavors is the marriage of artful inspiration and real-life practicality. Both are integrally important in making one’s wardrobe feel fabulous.

If a wardrobe is purely practical, it can be boring, and conversely, if it is only artful whimsy, it’s super hard to wear. So what’s the sweet spot? The intersection of fresh seasonal inspiration and the way to actually wear it and feel great. Focusing on what key pieces to add that make the old feel new.

Fall Trends AKA, Trend 2.0

In the last 6-12 months I’ve been seeing a new kind of necklace and it’s completely captured my attention. A tennis necklace. It’s basically, a tennis bracelet (aka a strand of diamonds or faux diamonds) but for your neck. It’s not really all that new, but it feels new. Because as with most fashion, what’s old is new again. Or what’s new is a re-invention and new twist put on something that already existed. So too with this new(ish) necklace.

What to Wear When the Calendar Says Fall but it Feels Like Summer

My Jewish readers know the drill. Are the High Holidays early this year? Or late? It’s always a question, year after year. Because unlike Christmas that falls on December 25 every single year, the Jewish calendar is lunar. So our major holidays are always changing. For instance, in 2016, Rosh Hashanah began on October 2, and Hanukkah was on December 24. This year Rosh Hashanah falls on LABOR DAY!! Like, the actual Monday of Labor Day, AKA the official end of summer. According to some outdated fashion rule, it’s also the day you have to stop wearing white clothing (until the next summer, marked by Memorial Day). Just as an aside, I think that rule is total rubbish and you do not need to follow it. But that’s probably more for another column.

Anyway, Rosh Hashanna, for me, marks the beginning of autumn. It’s the big fall kick-off. The Jewish holiday version of the September issue of Vogue. In fact, as a girl, when my mom would take me on our annual back-to-school clothes shopping outing (because back then it was a good thing to outgrow your clothes each year – at my age now, not so much!) One of the most important items to check off the list was a new Rosh Hashanah outfit. 

Rosh Hashanah Usually Means Fall Clothes

Normally, my New Year’s outfit (Rosh Hashanah is considered the Jewish New Year) would be in a fabric or color that felt like fall – think wool, corduroy, or velvet and in colors like brown, camel, or burgundy. Nice rich colors and fabrics that are on point for colder weather. The same way there are distinct foods one associates with certain holidays that make it “feel” like that occasion, so too with specific garments.

I vividly remember the feeling of wearing my new outfit to every Rosh Hashanna family dinner and then to synagogue. And then I’d wear it again for the school holiday concert and any other colder weather events we had. Until, of course, it was time to shop for my new spring outfit (this time it was for Passover).

This shopping ritual to mark important milestones is not just a “Jewish thing.”  My Christian friends had similar seasonal shopping experiences. However, their touchstone holidays were usually Christmas and Easter. Ya know, same song, different tunes.

But, It’s Labor Day!

But this year, with Rosh Hashanah landing literally on Labor Day – a day I think of as reserved for pool parties and backyard BBQ’s – it’s throwing the whole what-to-wear, fall-debut, thing off. Big Time. Personally, as much as I might sacrifice comfort for fashion on occasion, wearing wool tweed when it’s 80 degrees outside is a definite NO in my book. Honestly, I’m sweating just thinking about it.

So the big question is what are we to wear for Rosh Hashanah 2021? The answer: something that’s covered but lightweight. Breathable for outside but can keep you warm in the air-conditioned synagogues. And is on the more modest side, because, let’s be honest, what we wear to a  house of worship should be slightly more conservative than what you’d wear to a club.

Ok, so let’s chat about how to ring in fall and the new year (this year it’s going to be 5782!!) and not melt…

And, BTW, this styling tip is not only for my Jewish readers… there are all kinds of events (work-related, family festivities) that happen when we think it’s autumn, but the thermometer says otherwise. This type of transitional dressing works really well for fall and for spring – the times when it’s usually the hardest to get dressed.

Juxtaposition, It Takes Your Outfit Up a Notch

I’ve been meaning to write this post about the rule of juxtaposition for quite some time. But this trick is very visual and I got totally in my own head and was worried about how it would come across in a more word-heavy space.

And then, as always happens, my lovely clients showed me the light. In the last few weeks, the juxtaposition trick has come up frequently.  I’ve been talking about this rule as a way to transform how you think when putting outfits together. Yes, for me it’s an art, almost intuitive really. When I look at someone and what’s in their closet (or at a store) I kind of just know what will work. Now my major caveat is that I am not the fairy gd mother from Cinderella and I can not just wave my wand and make it happen. There is definitely trial and error that is an inherent part of the process. But all in all, for me it’s a pretty intuitive journey.

However, when I’m working with clients or writing a blog, I try to take 3 steps back and think about the what’s and the why’s. This allows me to better explain it in non-fashion nerd terms, for all to (hopefully) understand.

Juxtaposition – It’s a Fashion “Rule”

I know how much you all love style rules (and if I’m being honest, so do I). I don’t love them in the oppressive, ‘these are rules and this is proper and you can’t express yourself, you must conform,’ kind of way. Rather I like rules because they provide a framework. Then within those guidelines, you can decide what part(s) work for you. If you like rules too, be sure to check out the third piece rule and the fashion rule of one.

Okay, enough about my philosophy on rules, and let’s get to the actual juxtaposition rule, or maybe it is better described as a trick. The juxtaposition trick is one that, in the simplest of terms, helps you take your outfits up a notch. 

This is a particularly good rule if you’re not a big accessories person. Often we rely on accessories to spice up outfits. However, if you’re anti-accessories, then it becomes more challenging to add interest to your look.

Well, that’s where the juxtaposition rule (or trick) comes into play.

Opposites Attract

The basis of this fashion trick is formed around the idea that opposites attract…

STOP right there – you’ve got to hear this! My Cleveland people are likely clapping their hands and jumping with joy right now. Because Knuth’s boutique is a Cleveland legend. And all of my non-Cleveland readers are like, yawn, this doesn’t have to do with me… BUT WAIT! One of the positive things that came out of Covid and lockdown was that this iconic Cleveland boutique now has ON-LINE shopping!! Yup, so you too can purchase the adorable items I’m posting, even if geographically, you’re not a CLE girl!

What’s a Nap Dress?

This summer has been HOT, HOT, HOT. And rainy, but let’s not talk about the rain. As a woman, especially a woman of a certain age, I’m solidly in my 50’s now, there is an extra getting dressed struggle in the summer. We ladies tend to run warm at this stage of life. And what works best to counteract heat? Ventilation! A nap dress is essentially the ultimate ventilated dress.

Thankfully, trend gods are looking out for us (although this trend is not just for the 50+ crowd). Fashion girls/women of all ages and stages are embracing this style of dress. And it’s the answer to our collective overheating issues.

What’s old is new again…

The nap dress is not a new concept. It’s a breezy dress with an ethereal, Jane Austenesque feel. Think of a nightgown you’d feel ok going out in; that’s a nap dress. Fans of the 1970’s sitcom Three’s Company might call it a Mrs. Roper dress, a mumu (or muumuu), or even a caftan (or Kaftan). They are similar as they are all dresses that are roomy and provide built-in air conditioning. And, equally important, are all dresses considered to be stylish in 2021. Yet, there are subtle style differences to each. 

Here’s my quick rundown of each style:

Muumuu: “a loose often long dress having bright colors and patterns and adapted from the dresses originally distributed by missionaries to the native women of Hawaii” Merriam-Webster

Caftan or Kaftan: “a usually cotton or silk ankle-length garment with long sleeves that is common throughout the Middle East” Merriam-Webster

Nap dress: a nightgown style dress that feels possibly appropriate for guests, or a dress that feels remotely appropriate for bed. (this term is new, so it is not in the dictionary yet)

What makes a dress a nap dress?

White Blazers for the WIN

Do you know how some people are bag girls? And others shoe addicts? Well, I consider myself more of a jacket junkie. In other words, I love me a great jacket, or any topper actually. It’s the third piece that really finishes an outfit. And my white blazer is on heavy rotation right now. 

And this season, my most worn wardrobe addition is my white blazer. There’s something about it that makes even my oldest and most repeated outfits feel fresh and new. Therefore, it’s my newest wardrobe MVP.

Really, you can wear a white blazer the same way you’d wear a black blazer. But in the hot summer months, it feels more seasonally appropriate. And even in the spring and fall, a white blazer gives an extra dose of polish to an outfit.

A few things to look for in a white blazer…