Banana Republic Men’s Utility Blazer – do we love it?

So this is my first post on men’s fashion. Not because I don’t love men, because I do. Especially this one. This is my first post on men’s fashion mainly because I just don’t know that much about men’s fashion. Most of my fashion knowledge and expertise comes from years and years and years of trial and error on my own person. Given that I am not a dude, that puts me at a serious dude-fashion disadvantage.

So when it comes to men’s fashion, it pretty much just boils down to what I like and what I don’t like. Here is what I like:

I love this look. Does it help that the guy wearing this suit is smoking hot and my dream future husband? Obvs. Do I have my doubts that anyone else could pull off a dark green suit? Definitely. But I sure would love to see more guys try.

Here’s something I came across recently that I can say with a fair amount of certainty I do NOT like:

Banana Republic Utility Blazer – $250

And now let’s take a look at this jacket in action on a modern man in the year 2012:

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Just kidding. That’s Roger Moore as James Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun circa 1974.

But this 1974 leisure suit monstrosity is virtually identical to the 2012 Banana jacket, no? Which begs the question, what man would want to look like James Bond circa 1974 when he could look like James Bond circa Daniel Craig?

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Hello Gorgeous.

But, alas, since this is not a post about super-hot men who look really, really good in suits, let’s turn our attention back to the Banana Republic man-strosity. Am I the only one who hates it? Is everyone else desperate for the return of mid-seventies fashion? (Please, for the love of all that is good and pure in this world, say no.)

Things we love: Spring 2012 Essentials – chambray shirts

So I’m pretty much the worst ever at completing these series posts within a timely fashion. By the time I finished my “Boots on a Budget” series, I’m pretty sure you had all maxed out your boot budgets and no longer needed my advice. And at the rate I’m going with this “Spring 2012 Essentials” series,  it will no longer be Spring – or it might be Spring 2013. So I’m going to try to pick up the pace.

Today’s essential = chambray shirts.

First, let’s look at some designer inspiration for this trend. From Balmain:

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I LOVE this look. Casual shirt + shiny gold skirt = happy, happy Shea. I neither love, nor even understand, what’s happening on her feet, however, so I’m choosing to believe this outfit stops at her knees.

But that kind of skirt is probably not very practical for most wardrobes (mine included, sadly), so let’s look at some celebrity inspiration for how to interpret this trend for everyday life:

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I’m just so, so happy to see Ashley looking age-appropriate and not like a geriatric homeless bag lady that I’m willing to overlook the fact that she needs a belt. But look how effortlessly chic this look is. It’s simple and classic, but not fussy.

Now that we’ve seen the potential for chambray shirts, let’s take a look at some of my faves:

The Jean Shop at J Crew  – $198

This one is my number one fave. I love the western style of the pockets and the wash is exactly right. Despite my love I do not own this shirt because of it’s price tag.  I don’t care how many antique Japanese looms were used to create it, J Crew, I think it is ridiculous to charge $200 for a chambray shirt.

Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren – $152.19

Admittedly the price on this one isn’t a whole lot better than the previous shirt. But this one represents a more tailored and less western version of the chambray shirt – perfect for the office and the weekends, too.

But in case your wallet is already feeling a little lighter after purchasing our other Spring 2012 essentials, let’s check out some more affordable options.

Eddie Bauer Trailhead Chambray Field Shirt – $30

Such a great steal! I’m loving the tabs on the sleeves allowing you to roll them up for a more casual look. The description of the shirt says it’s not a slim cut though, so maybe order a size down if you’re looking to wear this with more tailored pieces.

Old Navy  – $30

As per uszh*, our friends at Old Navy have offered an affordable interpretation on a trend. It comes in two different chambray washes, and while I like them both, I’m partial to this one.

*That’s short for usual. It’s something I say out loud all the time, but I’ve never really attempted to spell. Uszh was as close as I could get.

Banana Republic Soft-Wash Chambray Pintuck Shirt – $60

And finally, this one. I love the pintuck detailing. Such a fun, yet subtle, way to punch up a chambray shirt. I also love that bracelet. If one of you wanted to purchase that for me I would be ever so grateful.

Thus concludes my case for chambray shirts. Buy one. Wear one. Love one. Happy almost Friday kids!

Crazy Printed Pants at Anthropologie – do we love them?

Do you want to hear something shocking? I mean, other than the fact that I’m actually posting on this blog for the first time in what feels like a decade. The real shocking thing is that April is three days away and this past Saturday was my first Spring shopping trip of the season. I. Know. And while I’ve obvs been doing plenty of online ogling and magazine flagging for Spring and Summer pieces, when I started perusing the stores I was a little overwhelmed.

By all of the ridiculous pants.

Specifically all of the crazy, printed pants at Anthropologie. Now I’m not totally averse to a printed pant. I fell in love with these and despite initial hesitations, I think I ultimately like this pair, too. But that might be where my warm fuzzy feeling for printed pants ends. Especially when I saw things like this:

Leifsdottir Crushed Chrome Crop – $198

Contrary to what you might initially believe, these are NOT pajama pants. If they were pajama pants I would find them totally adorable – way overpriced for pajamas, but totally adorable nonetheless. As actual pants, however, I find them to look like something Blanche Devereuax would wear in Coral Gables.

Speaking of the Golden Girls:

LeifNotes Blooming Perennial Crops – $118

Is there any way that Rose Nylund did not own a pair of these? (Notice I said Rose and not Betty White. Betty herself is WAY too cool to ever wear these pants.)

Are the above pairs too hip and trendy for your tastes? Try these high-waisted nightmares:

Rachel Comey Ranunculus Silhouette Crops – $98

Oh the high-waisted, pleat-front pant. Has there ever been a less flattering silhouette for a woman’s body? Also, let us all take a moment to notice these pants were originally $388. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Now that you’re fully incensed, let’s take another minute to give kudos to whomever  decided to lower that price tag by 75%. I mean, I still won’t be buying them, but at least now I don’t want to go to the store, find a pair of these and light them on fire in outrage.

And this pair:

Leifsdottir Manipur Palazzos – $148

Maybe if you…. or if you wore them with…. or you were going to….  No. I just can’t.

Now that we’ve seen the worst of what Anthro has to offer in the way of printed pants, lets take a look at some of the best. I like these:

J Brand Mini Floral Skinny – $202

If you want to dip your toe into the printed pants pool, I think this pair is a good way to start. They’ve got the on-trend floral pattern, but in a neutral color palette. Try these with a brightly-colored tank top or a gauzy white shirt.

This pair combines two of our fave trends for Spring:

Current/Elliott Polka Dot Stiletto Crops – $218

Colored denim? Check. Polka dots? Check. Requisite adorable factor of 10? Check. Love the idea of these paired with white tank and sunny yellow cardigan.

Finally, against all reason and taste, I love these, too:

Current/Elliott Stiletto Crops – $188

I don’t know why I love these. I totally acknowledge that they are full-on Payne Stewart golf pants. But I just can’t help myself. They hold some sort of magical power over me. They’ve almost convinced me I need an orange mullet shirt to wear with them:

I said almost.

But how are you feeling about printed pants this Spring?

Pim + Larkin Cross Back Tank – do we love it?

It’s official – there was no winter this year. And given the temps so far in March, there might not be a Spring either. Based on this pre-apocalyptic weather we’ve been having, I don’t see anything wrong with ogling Summer fashions a little earlier than usual.

Which brings me to this top:

Pim + Larkin Cross Back Tank – $59

When I first saw this top from a distance I thought it was a navy tank with a simple white floral print on it which would be right in line with our must-haves for Spring. But as you can clearly see from the pic above, upon further inspection I realized I had been deceived. Because those aren’t flowers, they’re seahorses. That’s right – I said SEAHORSES.

Now we know I’m not generally a fan of animals on my clothing, but are seahorses the exception to the rule? Against my better judgment I’m picturing how great this could look with a pair of white jeans, gold flats and some big gold hoops. I mean, look how cute the back is:

Totes adorbs, right? And if Winter or Spring does decide to show it’s face in the near future you could always layer this tank under a brightly-colored orange cardi with jeans and flats for a fun transitional outfit. But I’m just not sure if I can get over the seahorses. If only this top came in another print that didn’t involve seahorses…


Phew. That’s better. But are the seahorses actually cute, or are they only relatively cute compared to the nautical alternative? Help me decide.

Sonia by Sonia Rykiel Woven Wrap Dress – how to love it (a Pinterest re-do)

Oh sweet, sweet Pinterest – what did I ever do without you? I probably got a lot more work done, for one thing, but life just wasn’t as bright without you in it.

What did you have in store for me today? This:

A day at the office

When I first saw this I was struck by two things: 1. that is a super-cute dress, and 2. there is some woman in her underwear by that super-cute dress. I realized pretty quickly there is underwear in this set because it was designed and sponsored by an underwear company. But that raises a couple of questions. First, why are they trying to sell their underwear by showing the most boring-est underwear ever?

But more importantly, this set is titled “A Day at the Office”. Keeping that theme in mind, let’s play a little game. The first person who can tell me what item in this set does NOT belong in an office wins. If you said those hoochie shoes…. Congratulations! You’re a winner.*

*Sadly you’re only a winner of my love and respect, but those are precious, precious gifts. Cherish them always.

Notwithstanding the shoes and that bag (of which I am also not a fan), this is a really cute dress that has some great potential. So how would I make this dress appropriate for “A Day at the Office”? Like so:

Sonia Rykiel Dress for Work

And look – there’s  pair of pumps with a high heel that doesn’t look like it belongs on a street corner!

I love the idea of using this dress as a neutral background for some of Spring’s bright, fun colors. Tie it all together with the chunky, funky necklace and this dress will look chic in any office. But what’s that? You want to see this dress styled appropriately for a more casual office environment? Okay, since you asked so nicely:

Sonia Rykiel Dressy Casual

Two colors that always look good together = turquoise and coral. They look extra-good when used to punch up a navy blue dress like this one. And how about those wedges? I covet them in the most sinful way. Not only do they look fab here, they would also look amazing with everything from a simple white sundress, to a pair of kelly green shorts and chambray shirt, and they would be an excellent way to dress-up a fitted white t-shirt and jeans.

You have no idea how much weight this Pinterest re-do has lifted off my shoulders – that poor dress deserved better!! But what do you think? Do you love the original set better? Do you prefer the dressy set or the more casual look? Or  – horror of horrors – do you not love the dress at all? Head to the comments to let me know. In the meantime, it’s almost Friday kids, let the celebrating begin!!!

Tory Burch Amanda Tote – can we love it for less?

Welcome to the first day of my fave time of year – daylight savings time. HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!!!!! I know Spring doesn’t ‘officially’ begin until later this month, but once that time changes it’s officially Spring to me.

I have been lusting after this bag for my Spring wardrobe for quite some time:

Tory Burch Amanda Tote – $495

I love almost everything about this bag – the color and shape are to die for. I bet you can guess what I don’t love. That’s right – the giant logo. Just kidding! We’ve already discussed my inexplicable weakness for Tory Burch logos.

Obvs what I don’t love about this bag is the price. Even though (as we’ve also already discussed) I generally only buy one bag per season and wear it everyday, $495 is twice as much as I’ve ever spent on a bag in the past and I’m having a hard time pulling the trigger. Especially when I just spent $500 on a blender. That’s right, I said a blender.

Don’t judge me.

Or judge me. Whatever. I don’t care. This thing is awesome*

*I judged my friend when she bought one of these in lieu of boots this Winter. Then she loaned me hers for a juice fast and I was forced to eat my words. Actually, I was forced to drink my words, but same, same.

But purchasing a $500 kitchen appliance (boy there’s something I never, EVER thought I would say) has left me with a little less room in my Spring accessories budget. And so, I set off on a quest to see if I could find a lower-priced alternative to the Tory Burch bag. Here’s what I found:

B. Makowsky Celeste Tote – $137

Well, it’s a red leather tote bag. And it’s significantly cheaper than the Tory Burch bag. But you know what I hate? Tassels. You know what I hate more than tassels? Silver-studded tassels. This option is a no.

Elliott Lucca Cordoba Tote – $205

This one’s pretty cute. I like that the hardware and the structure of the bag make it a little more work appropriate. I’m really looking for more of an orange-y/coral-y red than the scarlet/pink-y red of this bag, though.

Cole Haan Village Marcy Market Tote – $198

Now we’re getting much closer to something I could conceivably accept as a substitute for the Tory bag. But while I do love a bag with a simple, uncluttered design, this one edges dangerously close to boring. Plus I’m not sure this bag is big enough to hold my umbrella, two pairs of sunglasses, a pair of flats, three packs of gum, two boxes of contact lenses, a hairbrush, four ink pens, a wallet and a cell phone. (Yes, these are all things that are in my purse on a daily basis.)

Elliott Lucca Intreccio Tote – $198

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!! (I have no idea where this saying comes from – but I’m going to start making an effort to integrate it into my daily vocab. You’ve all been warned.) Is it setting the world on fire with it’s revolutionary handbag design? No. But it’s also basically the same color and shape as the bag I love, but for less than half the price. And that makes it a winner in my book.

But what do you think?

Things we love: Spring 2012 Essentials – striped tops

Y’all, my Mom is going to be so,  SO happy to see this post. For the past year or two I have given her  a hard time about how she’s bought just about every navy and white striped shirt she can get her hands on. Well Mom – you win. 🙂 I am officially recommending that everyone add at least one dark-striped top to their wardrobe this Spring.

Ivanka Trump Amanda Ballet Tee – $90

A navy and white or black and white striped top is SO versatile. It looks chic with black trousers, snappy cazh with blue jeans, adorably preppy with any of this season’s colored denim, and rocks my world when mixed with other prints like florals or leopard.

Let’s take a look at some of my fave striped tops – first up, scoop-neck stripes:

Scoop neck stripes

Or you could go for wide stripes:

Wide stripes

Or you could get really crazy and add a little pink to the mix:

Pink and stripes

Bottom line: striped tops are awesome. Think about how cute any one of these would look tucked into one of our brightly-colored pencil skirts. My one tip on finding the perfect striped top is this – if you’re on the small or petite side it’s probably best to stick with a narrower stripe as the wider ones can be a little overwhelming on you. Yes, this limits your striped options, but don’t expect any of us normal-sized people to feel sorry for you and your tiny, adorable self.

And now kids I bid you to go forth and buy a navy or black and white striped top for Spring. You can even go crazy and buy more than one. (And yes Mom, that even means you, too.)

Stay tuned for Part 5 of my Spring 2012 series coming soon to a computer near you!

Mara Hoffman El Armarna Maillot – do we love it?

Upon reading the title of this post, you may be asking yourself, “Self, what is a maillot and do I need to have one?”. Well “maillot” is a fancy, French word for “swimsuit.” And if you’re anything like me, you’re going to be needing one of those in the near future. But will you need this one?

Mara Hoffman El Armarna Maillot – $238

Unless you are a poolside cocktail waitress at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (that’s the one shaped like the big pyramid, kids ), I’m thinking the answer is no.

But maybe this is a case of an article of clothing looking cuter on a person than it does on the rack. Let’s see how it looks on the model:

No. This is actually worse.

Even the model looks like she cannot believe how ridiculous this is. I mean, let’s be honest – her boobs have ears. Also, the design at the bottom makes it look like our Egyptian friend has his hands tucked into a tiny crotch pocket. I sincerely hope that is not what they were going for.

I know I won’t be adding this insane swimsuit to my collection no matter how fancy and French they make it sound. (Especially not for $238 – that price is so ridiculous it gives me heart palpitations.) But what about you?

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

The date: Saturday, February 25, 2012

The place: Jeni’s Ice Cream, Nashville, TN

The crime:

The description: I’m just going to cut to the chase. Those are pink glitter Uggs. On someone who is over the age of 5. This is unacceptable. When I first saw the glitter Uggs in stores last fall, I thought to myself, “who in the world would wear those???”*

*Actually, I’m pretty sure I said that out loud. And not quietly, I might add.

Apparently, who wears these is a 22-year-old-ish patron of a hip East Nashville ice cream parlor who has a maple leaf tattoo of the Canadian-pride variety behind her left ear. (Oh yes she did.) Lest you think I was too blinded by the sparkle of her pink booties to notice what was happening on her shoulder, I can assure you, I was not. Let’s take a closer look:

In case any of you were wondering how to make me hate a logo-patterned Coach bag more, the answer is to add hearts, gold stars and plaid ribbon. And no, your eyes do not deceive you – that says “Puppy Coach.” I can’t decide if it would be better or worse if this bag was actually designed to carry a small dog.

The lesson: NO pink glitter Uggs over the age of 5. NO excuses. NO exceptions. The end.

Joe’s Jeans Thunderbird Belt – do we love it?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here before or not, but I love belts. I’m not sure when exactly I came to love belts, but I definitely know why. I love belts because they bring waistlines to the ladies, like myself, who wouldn’t have them otherwise. Seriously – if you think of belts only as something to keep your pants up you are missing out. Adding a belt over a dress, or over a shirt and cardi, or even over a blazer WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!*

*Okay, maybe not your life, but definitely your body shape. And that’s almost just as good.

I think I’m loving this belt for Spring:

Joe’s Jeans Thunderbird Belt at Free People – $88

This is cute, right? Or no? It definitely reminds me of this, which was apparently controversial, but I thought was unabashedly fabulous:

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This is exactly how I would want to dress if I was a celebrity – gorgeous, but not conventional. Emma is totally my latest celebrity fashion girl crush.

But what do we think about birds on belts for us non-celebrity types? Here’s another “bird belt” I think I’m loving:

Fossil Turtledove Waist – $48

I think this one, while not as Emma Stone-inspired, is probably a little more practical for my wardrobe.*

*On a side note, for someone who likes birds in her wardrobe and her home decor, I am unexpectedly terrified of them in real life. Because regardless of whether it’s one pigeon in the office courtyard, or a flock of seagulls at the beach, you never know when this might happen:

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Seriously. That is terrifying. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

Now that I’ve fueled your nightmares and mine – what do we think about the belt?