Style File: Summer Stripes

June 30, 2013

It is officially summer! Today we headed out for a picnic in the park with some friends. The sun was out and the afternoon couldn't have been more picture perfect. I have to be honest though - I favor the cooler months more because I enjoy dressing in layers (love, love trousers, jackets and coats). When the heat rolls in I find myself stuck - how do I put together an outfit that's interesting, chic, yet comfortable enough for high temps and keeping up with a 4-year-old? Loose, sheer, and drapey was the answer. Definitely feels very fresh and the stripes are subtly in theme with the upcoming week's Fourth of July festivities!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, have a great week ahead!

Top, Flowing shorts, sandals:  Zara (All currently on sale!) //  Hat: Marshall's   //  Tote:  Gap  //  Sunglasses: Celine


In My Closet: Celine Wedge Pumps

June 29, 2013

Latest. Greatest. Meet the new addition to my shoe family - these Celine wedge pumps. 
They are architecture for my feet. But there are more reasons why I love them...
They are sooo comfortable.
They were 80% off on SALE at the local Barneys outlet.
**Fist pumps in the air** 
AND I've had my eye on them ever since I spotted Carine Roitfeld in the white version this past Spring:


Most important reason why I love them? I know I will actually wear them.

I have been doing a lot of closet soul searching lately. Yes, they have  souls. Just like how we have our own identities, each closet has a core personality. And just like us, they mature and they (hopefully) get better with age. I've come up with a personal style guide, they're like Closet Commandments for me to live by.  Here are 3 that first come to mind:

Is the foundation by which great closets and style is built. 

Contrary to what you may think (as seen from my shopping habits), I have actually been passing up a lot of finds lately. In this recent post , I opened up about how being a mom and  my lifestyle leads me to dress more casual and comfortable these days. A recent Barneys sale score - a pair of Givenchy wedge sandals, sadly had to make their way back to the returns section. A gorgeous Lanvin dress spotted at the Outlets yesterday got the cold shoulder. Because, after much thought - I knew they wouldn't get that much use. I can't keep buying every amazing find without really considering its weight and how it could contribute to the soul of my closet. I need to be honest and make sure every single item in my closet is a love. No more what-if pieces - you know them... "what if I travel here, I will need this, what if we have this kind of event, I will need these.....etc". I want to continue buying fewer, but better quality and more practical items. My goal is to have a closet of simplicity and substance as opposed to one overflowing with unused, unnecessary, and trendy items. That just sounds lovely- like a health cleanse, a detox, - getting down to what matters and what's important. 

Embrace different styles, brands, and price-points.

I think shopping at a wide variety of stores makes for a well-rounded closet - from thrift shops (my fun new obsession), flea markets, fast-fashion (Zara, Forever21), to department stores and designer boutiques. After isn't about labels, price tags, or age. 

There are things I have sworn off in the past. Just a few years ago the thought of wearing harem pants (aka MC Hammer pants) would make me gag. Well here I am sitting in a pair that I wear practically everyday (so comfortable yet look effortlessly chic).  Skinny jeans came around about 7 years ago - I hesitated, then felt like a fool for waiting so long to dive into a pair, only to find out how flattering they actually are. My latest revelation- white! I used to think white shoes were tacky. Well Carine's Celine wedges (above) certainly disprove that notion. I am no longer raising an eyebrow to trends. There's no way to tell if something will work for me unless I give it a shot. Non discrimination. Kind of important too in the fashion world. 

Our clothes speak a universal language.

How we dress is ultimately a reflection of ourselves, so doesn't that make what we wear an important part of life? We communicate with others and tell a story with our outfit choices. Shouldn't what we put on be as carefully thought out and honest as what comes out of our mouths? 

I've been thinking of what language my clothes speak and what exactly I want them to say. Hopefully it's saying something along the lines of: I am confident, I am comfortable, I am elegant, I am simple, I have substance, and I know when to have good clean fun.

In case you have been doing some closet soul searching too lately- I urge you to think, explore, purge the unnecessary and create your own Closet Commandments to live and shop by. 

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Shop It: Summer Jackets

June 26, 2013

Jackets are required year-round here in the Bay. The sun may be out but we are blessed with generally cool weather all the time. During the summer, I reach for lighter layers that can easily adjust to the ever-changing micro climates. Here are five great jackets I'd love to incorporate into my warm-weather wardrobe that can transition effortlessly from one season to the next.


Summer Steals: Gap, Zara, Forever21

June 24, 2013

I spent Saturday sale shopping with my mom and enjoying the last bit of SF sunshine for the week. The clouds rolled in on Sunday so the hubby and I decided to stay in and lounge, catching up on all our favorite shows. Outfit posts can wait till better weather, but all these fun deals and steals are too good to not share with you today!

PHOTOS ( from top to bottom):

1. Gap Leather Tote - The perfect size, great leather, super light and I am loving this color that is a great alternative to black (considering the white one as well!). I scored this on sale online, plus had a few rewards certificates, and it came down to less than $60!
2. Zara studded heel flats - Super comfy and love the details. Seen here in a previous post.
3. Forever21 white denim vest - So similar to a Phillip Lim one I've been lusting for and the perfect summer layering piece! Zara top and pants.
4. Zara metallic pointy pumps - Such a steal and a classic!
5. Zara metallic block-heeled sandals -Yes, my third pair of silver shoes this month. I think I'm covered.
6. Forever21 silver cuff - Looks ridiculously expensive, but less than $6!
7. Forever21 sunnies - I love having these affordable yet super stylin' ones around to keep in the car, or for trips to the beach (so I don't cry over lost or scratched designer shades). They are so similar to the square version of my favorite Celines!

Every June and December, Zara goes on major sale. Their semi annual sales are all I wait for year long (aside from the huge Barneys and Saks clearance, and of course- Black Friday), and are comparable to how I feel about Christmas morning. If you haven't noticed, it's my favorite high street retail brand for myself and for the little one. I'll buy an item at full price only if: I absolutely need it right now, know it could probably sell out (about 5 percent of things never make it to the sale racks), or if it's already a pretty good deal. Other than that- I always, always wait for the sales. I take mental notes each month on items that I like, and if they end up on the sale racks I am one super happy mama. One tip: after the sale begins, they reduce the prices even further each week. Keep items that you like but don't necessarily need on a maybe's list and check back on them during the last few weeks of their sale. Typically they are marked down to almost 80% off by then. I get a lot of Natalie's clothes during their sale, buying a few sizes bigger (specially for off season items).

Hope you are having a great start to your week! I would love to hear where you shop for some great finds! :)

Style File: The Classics

June 19, 2013

What defines a classic? To me, it's something that I've worn over and over again, season after season. It's a timeless investment piece - a closet staple you absolutely love. More often than not you are willing to spend more on it because it just magically works with everything, you know it will get a lot of use, and it looks and feels amazing on. 

Don't get me wrong - not every "investment piece" needs to break the bank!  The calf hair leopard flats I'm wearing are a fab GAP clearance bin replacement for a similar pair I purchased a couple years ago (that I've recently had to retire). Can't go wrong with real leather super comfy ballet flats  that cost less than $30! Classics don't have to cost an arm and a leg, but it sure is hard to come by at that price point. SO tempted to hoard them if GAP releases more next season! Brands like GAP and J.Crew always have great priced staples - but of course, wait for the sales!

You can get really great quality goods - even designer labels, if you shop smart. I like to buy most big-ticket items secondhand or vintage from reputable consignment shops. My Hermes belt is from Catherine B in Paris - she is the person to go to for anything authentic vintage Hermes and Chanel. The fact that it's reversible (black/tan) means I get two belts for the price of one. I seriously haven't reached for any other belt because I can wear it with almost everything. Other shops I frequent for designer goods are: Nordstrom Rack (where I scored these JBrand jeans), TheOutnet, Barney's Warehouse, Portero, and theRealReal. They've got deeply discounted goodies and items that are no longer available in stores. The way I see it, why should I pay full price for let's say...a Chanel classic flap, when that style has been around for a while and you can surely find it for less from an authentic dealer?

Yes, I buy discounted or mostly bargain-priced. But, I bend the rules a bit sometimes when it comes to pieces that never, ever go on sale or are newer styles. Case in point- my Celine babies. I got extremely lucky coming across my Luggage Tote at Nordstrom and went for the splurge.  The initial investment was huge, I broke out into a cold sweat while making my purchase - but 10 years from now I know it won't seem like it at all. Since it's a recent design and almost impossible to find these days - buying them second hand actually costs more.

What are your closet classics?! 

PS- I'm loving the tie-front tee trend! Grab your favorite button-down tops and give it an easy, relaxed update with a knot.

Shirt: James Perse  //  Denim: J Brand  //  Jacket:  Andrew Marc  //  Flats: GAP  //  Belt: Hermes  //  Purse: Celine  //  Sunglasses: RayBan


Style File: Pleats

June 18, 2013

I'm more of a trousers and jeans kinda gal. I feel my best and most comfortable in them. Skirts somehow seem so much dressier to me. Since my style is pretty casual and minimalist, I've found it hard to work them into my wardrobe - particularly the longer lengths which tend to have more of a boho vibe (not really my thing).  Pairing feminine skirts like this pleated midi with simple boxy tops like this borrowed-from-the-boys sweatshirt, makes them more wearable. It now has more of a modern, sporty and laid-back look I can wear often - my kinda outfit. I really love how this white skirt is flowy yet structured with its pleats - makes it the perfect balance of edgy yet girly. Not to mention, this was actually just as comfy as my fave pair of sweats (ok, lets call them loungewear from now on, sounds better)!

This entire outfit consists of super bargain finds - the sweatshirt is a hand-me-down boy's Hanes. The pleated skirt and Furla purse were thrifted (seen in this post), and the sandals cost less than $40 (here)!

I would love to know- what kind of skirts will you be wearing this summer and how will you style them? 

Hope you are having a great week!

Top: Boy's Hanes // Skirt: Vintage, thrifted  //  Sandals: Zara  // Purse: Furla, thrifted  // Cuff: Forever21  //  Sunglasses: Celine


Splurge Vs. Save: The Straw Tote

June 16, 2013

One essential summer accessory that will take you from market to beach to picnic to play date in the park is the straw tote. These two chic options are roomy, structured, and on-point with  the season's graphic and exotic trends. Black leather and natural raffia make them classic pieces you'll be reaching for again and again.


Style File: Mom On The Run

June 15, 2013

There are days I live in sweats. Yes - I wear stretchy pants from nine to five and beyond. Just keepin' it real over here. I've come to the realization that a stay-at-home mom with a real-world budget and real-world duties can't possibly run a truthful style blog without saying that. There are moments that simply require comfort and ease over anything. It's just so much easier on a busy day to wear my workout attire in the morning, so I can eventually hit up the gym before or after my errands. This is more of a confession than an outfit post. Because while this blog may look fancy and put-together - most days are nowhere near that in our household. I am staring at a mountain of laundry as I type this. SO glamorous. But who wants to see photos of that? 

Daily outfit posts are not possible for me. Yes, I know this blog has "couture" in it's name- it's not meant to be taken literally. I just don't have the time and there are days I don't feel what I'm wearing is worth sharing. I've always loved dressing up, but now that I'm a mom and I don't work in a formal environment, I've had to adjust my wardrobe. It's inevitable. Flats have always taken up a big chunk of my closet- even before Natalie.  But I never hesitated when it came to purchasing a great pair of stilettos. I was that die-hard fashionista that swore I would wear heels throughout my pregnancy. But alas, the comfort of flats and aching swollen feet won that battle. As you get older, the word practical just makes more sense. Stumbling and tripping over myself as I try to run my errands is just not a good look. Being comfortable makes you confident, and that makes whatever you're wearing so much better.  I do wear heels - on weekends, nights out, and time with my girls, which you have seen here in a few posts. Once in a while when I am off-duty I indulge. It's now even more of a luxury - yes, even the super comfy ones. Flats are my friend. Just last week I ended up returning an amazing pair of Givenchy wedges that were on sale. They were such a great deal, and super comfy. But after a lot of thought, practicality won over again. I had to be honest with myself - why should I spend that much on a pair of trendy heels I know I will not get to wear every day? I don't cry about heels I've given up though. There are so many great flat options these days that I don't even miss them. Case in point - these leather espadrilles. They were a splurge, but a practical one because I wear them almost every single day- that makes them more than worth it. 

There are days I feel like I am the last person that should have a style blog. But you know what I've come to realize? Style can be many things, and we get to decide what that is for ourselves. I may not be like those fashion bloggers that get to wear gifted designer duds on a daily basis, wear sky-high heels, and travel the world while getting paid to do it. But I am comfortable and confident in my clothes. And I know that even if I wear stretchy pants sometimes, live in flats, and frown upon clothes that need to be dry-cleaned or ironed - I can still be stylish and confident in my own way, and I can still share that with others. 

On a day filled with so many activities, this outfit is as comfortable and as chic as it gets for me. Yes, this is a style blog, but it's also a mom blog. Practical everyday wear is what I'm all about, so you won't see me in extremely fancy attire. I intend to be honest, and real. I wear what I really wear on a daily basis and that's what you see here. Keep an eye out for an upcoming outfit post featuring my fave pair of sweats! ;)

Blazer: HM  //  Tee: James Perse  // Denim: Marshall's  // Espadrilles: Chanel  // Purse: Zara  // Sunglasses: Prada  // Necklaces: vintage  // Cuff: Toss Boutique


Summer Style: Black and White Swimwear

June 14, 2013

Currently dreaming about being back in the beach! There are so many fun and exciting swimwear options these days, it's really hard to pick just one style. I love a great two-piece, but there's something about a classic maillot that will always make it my go-to beach style. I'm a firm believer that no matter what size you are - you don't have to reveal too much skin to look great and feel sexy. More conservative yet cleverly designed pieces look elegant and sophisticated, and with today's hot trends - are super flattering and far from anything old-fashioned. Say hello to stunning one-pieces, high-waisted bottoms, drape and wrap details, graphic prints, and tasteful cut-outs!


Shop It: Vintage Modern Sale Picks from JCP

June 10, 2013

JCP's recent make-over has been exciting to say the least. They've introduced a new logo, updated store interiors, added fresh brands with designer collaborations, and improved quality to their products within the past couple of years. I'm loving their accessible and affordable home collections created by legendary designers. Happy Chic is  Jonathan Adler's line of fun and funky retro-glam home furniture and accents. I've been obsessed with his pottery and lacquered objects since my early years in art school.  British designer Sir Terence Conran's Design By Conran is a collection of mid century modern minimalist perfection. Shop a few of my favorite pieces from these two labels - all are currently on sale!

Style File: Black, White and Denim

June 08, 2013

Keepin' it simple. This is my typical dressy casual look for date night - or just getting out of the house without the little one! In this case, my sister and I watched the "The Internship".  We heart it because 1. We love Google (she is married to a Googler),  2. We love movies that show off our beautiful Bay Area, and 3. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn? Enough said. 

I'm a minimalist at heart - or better yet a luxurious minimalist, so this ensemble is what I am most comfortable and happy in. Skirts and shorts are nice, but at the end of the day I would pick a great pair of jeans or trousers over them. The heels are now my go-to versatile pair (and such a great price, recent sale score! here). I'm pretty picky when it comes to tees. I like them loose and plain. Personally, I'm just not a fan of shirts that call out too much attention in the form of phrases.  This one is probably my fave, and the only one I own that has some sort of text on it.  I love how it's very simple yet a significant statement.

Art is a way of survival. 

Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

Blazer:  HM  //  Tee: Zara  //  Denim: J Brand (thrifted!)  //  Heels: Aldo (on sale! here)  //  Purse: Celine  //  Sunglasses: RayBan


Decor DIY: Bauble Box

June 04, 2013

1.  RabLabs $168, available here
2.  Kelly Wearstler, here
3. Kelly Wearstler, here

Lacquered boxes are one of my favorite objects to collect and use as decor around the house. I use them to store trinkets and baubles, organize my desk and vanity, as decor on tables, and once in a while as gift boxes for home baked goodies. Lately I've been obsessed with vintage glam accessories like the ones above. Kelly Wearstler's are one-of-a-kind and retail up to the thousands per piece. I've been tempted to splurge on the one by RabLabs (here)- but discovered a fun, easy, and free DIY version using items I already own. 

I took an old bracelet that was falling apart, one of my lacquered boxes from the Container Store (purchase it here),  spray painted the cover, and glued a few stones from the bracelet on top. Voila! Pretty chic new box that didn't cost me a penny! You can re-create this using any hard box or container you already have and any beads/stones. 

Style File: Mixed Prints

June 03, 2013

Feeling very casual chic in this ensemble! Inspired by the prints in the new Milly for Banana Republic Collection (shop it here). The ikat top and printed skirt are both thrifted finds, seen here. I'm having a lot of fun mixing and matching both these pieces with other items in my closet. The flats are by Chloe- a recent splurge from the Barney's sale (here, still going on now!). They are the perfect pair of metallic ballet flats I've been searching for! Comfortable, classic, and versatile- little design details make them that much more special and can transition easily from day to night. I feel like the mirrored leather gives the outfit a  modern, polished look.

Hope you are having a great start to the week!

Top: GAP (thrifted)  //  Skirt: Thrifted  //  Shoes:  Chloe (here)  // Purse: Celine  //  Sunglasses: Celine