Author Archives: Shea Brakefield

About Shea Brakefield

Lawyer for pay. Fashion crimefighter for free.

This guy could have used our help – a crime of fashion

The date: April 30, 2014

The place: Crema, Nashville, TN

The crime:

 

 

hipster at Crema

The description: Oh Nashville hipster, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways… I hate the way your stupid hat is barely perched on top of your head. I hate the fact that you’re even wearing a stupid toboggan when it’s 80 degrees outside. I hate your stupid jeans and the stupid GIANT hole through which your knee is sticking. I hate your stupid Doc Martens – mainly because the fact that you’re wearing them probably means they’re vintage now which means I’m old. But most importantly, I hate your stupid sunglasses and the fact that you wore them, inside, the entire time – even when you had three friends come sit and talk with you. I realize that you’re probably twenty, and thus this reference will probably escape you, but “How Rude!!”

One of the few downsides of the attention my amazing city has been receiving lately is the influx of the hipster. It has reached epidemic proportions. I now know how people in Brooklyn must have felt five years ago. This kid made me feel like my mother. All I wanted to do was smack him on the head, pull off that stupid hat, and tell him it’s not polite to wear sunglasses indoors. And then punch him in the face for making me feel old. (Spoiler alert: I did not do anything of those things.)

The lesson: Just dress like a normal human being. That’s all. Oh.. and take your sunglasses and hat off indoors, young man.

 


Elastic-cuffed Pants – do we love them?

Welcome back, kids! Should we just skip the excuses and explanations as to why I’ve been absent for almost one whole year and just move on to the fashion at hand? Yes I think we should*

*But I DID miss you all. Terribly. Seriously.

So we’re all guilty of falling into a fashion rut more often than we would probably like to admit. I tend to fall into at least one per season. Last summer it was three-quater sleeved JCrew boatnecks in every color of the rainbow. This past winter (and by “this past winter” I mean “all winters ever”)  it was knit shirts and Lulu leggings. For some reason, one season in high school it was sleeveless turtleneck sweaters. I cannot even remember which season because there is never really a good season for a turtleneck sweater – if it is warm enough to go sleeveless, it is too warm for a turtleneck, and if it is cold enough for a turtleneck you’re definitely going to want sleeves.**

image credit

**Note this picture is from a blog called “The Fashionable Housewife” and NOT  “The Fashionable High School Student.” There’s a reason for that.

So this Spring I’ve been on the lookout for what I’ll call a “rut buster.” A “rut buster” is an item of clothing that is a little outside of my normal comfort zone, but still basic and essential enough to serve as a substitute for something I find myself wearing far too often. Specifically, I’ve been looking for a style of pants that can serve as a substitute for my all-too-often-worn skinny jeans. I initially tried this pair from the Gap:

Super skinny surplus khakis - on sale for $38 down from $55

And they’re cute. But they’re basically just an olive green skinny jean, albeit one rendered in a non-denim fabric. If I’m going to “bust my rut” (insert inappropriate giggling here), I’m going to do it in a major way. And that’s when I came across this picture on Pinterest:

How cute are those pants???? I love them. Like, LOVE-love them. And who would have thought? Super-love the styling, too. The white shirt is perfectly up-styled casual, while the designer bag and naked sandals take the look up a level from gym chic.

So after being inspired by this adorable outfit, I set out to find a pair of elastic-cuffed pants all my own. And what did I find? Elastic-cuffed pants are damn expensive! For example, this Alasdair pair is cute, and similar to the pair above:

But they are $308 on ShopBop!!!

Then there’s this adorable pair from Vince:

But they’re only slightly less expensive at $265.

In fact, the cheapest pair I could find that was similar in look to the Pinterest inspiration above was this pair from Joie:

And they’re still $168.

So I guess what I’m saying is that it turns out I’ll be holding off on elastic-cuffed pants until they trickle down to my local H&M where I might actually be able to afford them. But if you’re ready to pull the trigger, here are a few things to keep in mind when buying cuffed pants:

1. Picking a darker color like black or navy will keep these pants looking more “sophisticated chic” than “Aladdin fabulous”.

2. You probably want the cuffs to hit just above the ankle – thus highlighting the narrowest part of your leg.

3. Silk might be comfy in theory, but would be a wrinkly nightmare in reality. Stick with some sort of knit and/or poly blend.

4. Finally, keep them fitted up top. The last person you want to end up looking like is this guy:

So what do you think, kids??


This woman could have used our help – a crime of fashion (with bonus poll and update!)

The date: April 16, 2013

The place: Corner of 4th and Commerce in downtown Nashville

The crime:

pink suit

The description: Kids, I’m just gonna cut to the chase – that’s a pale pink bermuda short-suit. I don’t know what this woman has going on underneath this suit because I never saw her from the front. But frankly, I don’t care – because there is absolutely ZERO chance that it improved the look.*

*I am, however, going to give her the benefit of the doubt and not comment on her sneakers. That’s because we ladies who work downtown know that sometimes you have to sacrifice style for the sake of the preservation of both your feet and your shoes. Instead I will assume she has a perfectly adorable pair of pumps waiting for her underneath her desk at the office.**

Now normally I would be confused by this lady’s look, but not necessarily particularly alarmed. I mean, where is she going in this? Any occasion that would call for a blazer would certainly be too fancy for shorts, true?? And any situation where shorts would be appropriate would clearly be too causal for a blazer, right??

My true concern came the following week when I spotted this look at my local Banana Republic:

BRsuit

I am not okay with this.

The lesson: Women of America – now is the time to rise up and tell the retailers of this world that we will not live in a society that accepts this bastard child of fashion. You either need a suit or you need shorts. There is NEVER a time where you need both simultaneously. Let us rise up and revolt against this offensive tyranny so that the next generation may live in a world free from such horrors!!!

But I recognize I might be alone in my fear and loathing of the shorts suit, so here is your BONUS POLL – what do you think??

**UPDATE!!! Following your wise and wonderful advice, I bit the bullet and bought the leopard print JCrew Etta pumps featured in my last post and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!! Here they are living under my desk today next to the flip-flops I wear to and from the parking deck:

shoesunderdesk

Hence the cutting of slack to the lady and her sneakers featured above. Let’s all just pretend she has a pair of equally awesome shoes living under her desk, too.


J Crew Etta Pump – things I’m loving for Spring

OH MY WORD Y’ALL  – TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!! As with every year,  I seriously thought this day might never come. But FINALLY the days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter and my heart is, therefore, singing a little bit louder (but luckily for you kids, only on the inside).

And now here is where I confess there is one thing about Winter I will actually miss – wearing my boots. Boots are the ONLY good thing about cold weather and I will truly miss them when it’s time to box them up and store them in the spare linen closet (What? You don’t keep your boots in the linen closet??).

But putting away my boots and closing the linen closet door on my Winter shoe wardrobe means it’s time to start thinking about my Spring and Summer shoe wardrobe.  Hooray! After evaluating my current stable of Spring shoes, and in keeping with 2013′s theme of “quality over quantity”, I’ve decided to invest in a new pair of “neutral” pumps to add to my Spring and Summer work wardrobe this year. And after a little website perusing, I’ve settled on the Etta pump from J Crew.

But sadly not this particular pair because 1) as much as I love a good bird print / glitter combo, they wouldn’t be very versatile and, 2) everyone else loved them, too so they’re already sold out. 

I decided on this style for a few reasons. First, I’ve been feeling very “girlie” in my style choices so far this Spring – lots of florals, pinks and polka-dots are tickling my fancy – and the rounded-toe and stacked-heel combo lend this shoe a retro, ladylike vibe that I think will complement that nicely. Second, the stacked heel is comfy and easy to walk in. More importantly, even though it’s 3 3/4 inches, it is work appropriate – because I work in courtroom and not on a street corner.

So since we’ve (oh so sadly) ruled out the awesome bird pair above, let’s take a look at the three pairs of Etta pumps I’m considering for Spring -  starting with the most neutral of the bunch:

J Crew Etta cap toe leather pump - $248

Pros:  These are seriously neutral and, therefore, also seriously versatile. The cap toe and gold accent add a bit of visual interest. And these would probably be in style forever.

Cons: They may also be seriously boring. Yes, I could wear them with all manner of black suit pairings, but I already have a pair of nice, similar-looking, black pumps I bought last fall to fill that role.

Next up:

J Crew Etta canvas stripe pumps – $250

Pros: So stinkin’ cute I could die. Love the stacked-wood heel. Love the black and white. LOVE THE STRIPES.

Cons: Not quite as versatile as the previous pair. Yes, the colors make the pair wearable, but I’m a bit concerned the canvas might be a little too casual to wear to court making this pair less versatile than the previous one.

And finally:

J Crew Etta calf hair pumps – $350

Pros: Leopard print.  That’s really the only pro I need.

Cons: $100 more expensive than either of the other two pairs. But I did wear the beejesus out of my previous pair of leopard pumps – so much so they’ve developed a tiny, white bald spot on the toe – so I know the cost per wear would probably justify the increased price.

I legitimately love all three pairs of these shoes, but quality over quantity means I can only get one of them. That’s where you come in.

HAPPY SPRING Y’ALL!!!


Spring Dresses at Anthropologie – do we love them?

It’s official, kids – we’ve reached the time of year where it is a daily struggle for me to resist the urge to fling myself into oncoming traffic just to avoid suffering through any more of Winter. Between the dreary, gray weather and the horror of Valentine’s Day, February is easily the worst month of the year. This year February has brought me extra fun in the form of a car wreck, a summons for jury duty, a crazy work-travel schedule, and, judging by the sheer volume of kleenex I have used in the past 24 hours, a pretty heinous cold.  THANK GOD this month is almost over.

So today I decided to do what I always do when I’m feeling down about the never-ending doldrums of Winter, I decided to start shopping for Spring. Where did I start? Duh. You should be ashamed that you even had to ask.

And once I got to the promised land, I started my perusing where any girl longing for warmer weather would – with the dresses. So what did my beloved have to offer me soothe my Winter-weary soul? Well, for starters, Anthro offered me this:

Smocked Malee Dress – $148

Um, no thanks. Given that I do not plan to wander barefoot through any marshes or ride any burros this Spring, I think I’ll pass on this one. But I was undeterred. And then I saw this:

Echoed Still Life Shirt Dress – $198

I don’t think this looks like a tablecloth. I think this might be an ACTUAL tablecloth. From 1975. And I don’t understand why anyone would want to wear it. Still, every store makes some missteps every now and then. Let’s see what else Anthro has to offer:

Swell Sweatshirt Dress – $198

Seriously? In what universe is a drop-waist sweatshirt dress flattering on anyone??? It’s not even flattering on the model. Comfy? I’m sure. Flattering? Not so much. And now I’m starting to get concerned:

Flared Bandana Shirt Dress – $148

GOOD LORD WHY??!!?? If it looks like it could have been stitched together by my ancestors on the Oregon Trail, I do not want it.

 

Lilian Halter Dress – $298

SERIOUSLY ANTHRO. DID YOU NOT HEAR ME EARLIER? I AM ON THE VERGE OF A SEASONALLY-INDUCED NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. WHY WOULD YOU TAKE AWAY ALL HOPE FOR THE FUTURE??? YOU WILL LOSE A LOT OF MONEY IF I DIE. THINK ABOUT THAT NEXT TIME YOU DECIDE TO TRY TO PASS A CHILD’S CRAFT PROJECT OFF AS A $300 DRESS!!!

Dolly Chambray Dress – $298

That’s it. I’m done. If you need me I’ll be on my couch trying to drown out the memory of those shoulders with Nyquil and bourbon.

But what do you think?

 

 


Citizens of Humanity ‘Avedon’ Skinny Jeans – things I’m loving

Raise your hand if you made New Year’s Resolutions for 2013. Now keep it raised if you’re still working on those resolutions during this third week of February. I am very proud to say that I can be counted among those of you who still have their hands raised. Maybe that’s because this year, instead of resolving to try one new thing every month like I did last year (number of months that lasted = 1), I set two attainable and manageable goals.

Resolution No. 1: Learn how to cook food.

This year I decided it is no longer cute that I have no idea how to prepare a meal for myself and/or others. When I say “I don’t cook” I think people think I’m joking. But the sad truth is that other than knowing how to throw some spaghetti sauce on a bowl of noodles or make a pretty kick-ass batch of nestle tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, I REALLY don’t know how to cook. Like, I set things on fire and/or almost poison people when I try.

So this year I’ve been taking steps and making efforts to change that – with some guidance from a more knowledgeable friend I invested in some good knives, a nice cutting board, a couple of cookbooks, and voila:

Now I know that greek chicken pitas and roasted potatoes probably aren’t that impressive to most of you, but trust me – the fact that my kitchen was still standing AND this meal was delish is a BIG FREAKIN DEAL. But have no fear – there is absolutely zero chance this will be turning into a food blog anytime soon. So let’s get to my second, and more relevant resolution.

Resolution No. 2:  Quality over quantity.

I have come to the revelation that I have a lot of stuff. Stuff I don’t need. Stuff that is preventing me from seeing, using and enjoying the other stuff I have because it is taking up space in my house and my life. And, of course, a lot of that stuff is clothing and clothing-adjacent. So I made a resolution to spend my money more wisely and less freely. To really think about my purchases before I make them and invest in things I truly love.

I actually got a head start on this resolution in 2012 when I bought the new bag I previously talked about here. Well that purchase turned out so well that I convinced myself it was a good idea to save up and bite the bullet on these boots:

Frye Jackie Tall Riding Boot – $428

Did each of these purchases make me clutch my chest and need to breathe into a paper bag after I handed over the credit card? Sure. But have I regretted either purchase since then? Not for one second. I truly LOVE and have enjoyed wearing and using the heck out of both the bag and the boots. The cost per wear for each of them has got to be down into the single-digit range by now. And knowing that I spent good money for good quality goods means I can continue to enjoy them for several years more.

So when 2013 rolled around and I found myself in need of a new pair of skinny jeans to finish out the season, I decided to forgo the Gap jeans that had previously been my standard (even though I secretly always thought they weren’t terribly flattering or comfy – at least they were cheap) and set out in search of a high-quality pair that would fit, flatter and last. Enter the Citizens of Humanity Avedon Jean:

Citizens of Humanity Avedon Skinny Jean – $198

Y’all…. these are the Best. Jeans. EVER. So much so that within a week of purchase I went back and bought a second pair in black. They’re super-soft, just high enough in the waist to avoid the dreaded muffin top yet not so high as to cut off your circulation when you sit down, and the perfect dark rinse. And best of all they totally hold their shape through repeated wearings and washings.

After years of buying pair after pair after pair of uncomfortable, unflattering jeans that I end up donating or shoving in the back of the closet after I’ve realized my mistake, I can say that I have finally seen the light. These jeans are worth every penny. Just like the bag and the boots mentioned above, I wear these jeans often enough that the cost per wear is constantly on the decline making them a bargain in any book.

So that’s my pitch for quality over quantity. Just something to think about next time you’re making a fashion purchase. Have any of you made a big clothing purchase that paid off in the long run? And did any of you kids make any fashion-related resolutions this year? If so – I’d love to hear about them in the comments.  Long live 2013!!!


Bejeweled Collar Necklace – do we love it?

Ah, January. Is there a more disgusting and depressing month of the year? Oh wait, there is – February. Thank goodness we still have that to look forward to.  You know what always makes me feel better during gray, drab, soul-numbing times like these? Sparkly things. And shopping. And shopping for sparkly things.

And along those lines, one such sparkly thing that I keep coming across these days is the bejeweled collar necklace. Like so:

Tasha ‘Pretty Pearls’ Collar – $42

Now for better or worse, when I think of these types of collars, I think of this girl:

image credit

Which is not very fair to poor Zooey because when I tried to find a picture of her wearing one, I came up empty. But I think I think of her because, to me, these type of collars just beg to be worn by “quirky” girls who ride bikes with wicker baskets  and bake gluten-free cookies in their vintage aprons to take to their semi-ironic quilting circles on Thursday nights. And while I can be described as many things (tall, blonde, loud, stubborn, bossy, all-around awesome), “quirky” is not generally one of them.

But given how sparkly and fun these collars seem in this, the cold, dreary dead of winter, I thought I would give them a little look-see anyway and see if there’s a way to make one work for me.

Let’s start with this one:

Tasha ‘Sequin Squares’ Collar – $38

Now this collar, worn in this way, and paired with this shirt so it looks like an actual collar on the garment, might be kind of cute.

Same thing goes for this one:

Krystal Collar Bib Necklace – $50

I like the idea of being able to dress up a simple sweater or blouse that you wore to the office with a sparkly necklace for a date or drinks with the girls after work.

But this one…. this one is insane:

Echo Beaded Collar - $38

All she needs are some bunny ears and a tail and she could be serving drinks at the Playboy mansion. And that’s not really a look I’m going for.

So in general, I think if deployed properly on the right girl I could get on board with the bejeweled collar necklace. Am I quirky enough to be that girl, myself? The jury’s still out. But what do you think?


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