Tuesday, March 29, 2011
How exactly do I plan to wear this fedora? I'm here to share. First, my pathetically thin hair results in the occasional scalp sunburn and resulting (horrifying) skin-peeling dandruff. If I'm going to be in the sun and want to wear my hair down, a fedora will keep me perfectly protected. I expect to wear it with straight or skinny jeans and long t-shirts while visiting churches and markets in Prague this spring.
I plan to wear it with tailored shorts, gladiator sandals, and tank tops to summer festivals. Perfect example, Ashley Tisdale below (not my photo, please credit appropriate paparazzi).
I happen to find a great version at Urban Outfitters for under $20. I saw equally cute options at Target and tons of ideas at ShopStyle.com. Will you sport a fedora this year? What type of hat will you wear?
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I spent Thursday evening at the Awear Fashion Show to benefit the Sojourner Family Peace Center. The fundraising event was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum and presented by the Brewers Community Foundation. The 'Garage' building held the fashion show portion of the night and it was a great facility for the several hundred supportive and slightly buzzed (maybe that was just my row) crowd members. To keep this post as concise as possible, I'm bulleting my general thoughts and comments on each store represented.
- Unique combination of professional models and local 'real' women who were clearly recognized and appreciated by the crowd.
- Hair was right on trend and done by Neroli. Lots of messy french braids and low buns.
- The looks were all appropriately conservative for the crowd while still incorporating the spring trends; maxi length skirts and dresses, floral prints, bright colors.
- First highlight of the night was a performance by local R&B artist Cincere. He has a personal interest in the charity and is starting to make national waves with his music.
- Favorite store represented: Simon Oliver. I love a man in a suit. And these were really good looking men in exceptionally well tailored clothes. My partiality might not be totally related to fashion here, but I'm woman enough to admit it. At least I wasn't the only lady in the crowd wiping drool from her chin.
- Most cohesive presentation: Goldi's. Perhaps predictably, I especially loved the shoes they showed. Kehri, their manager and buyer, was nice enough to give me a sneak peak into their looks. The styles she picked, retro inspired bohemian with a military influence flowed together seamlessly and all of the models looked comfortable and confident. I also loved the multiple trenches she choose to include. It adds a polish to any look.
- Best single dress: Zita's silver sequin, halter dress with a black cross back. It reflected the spotlights beautifully and stood out among the rather uninspired prom dresses it was surrounded by.
- Kudos to Miss Groove for rocking the runway lingerie. Extra kudos to the models!
- Several 'seam-layered' skirts from M.E. Lou. I'm undecided on the look and can't find a good picture to share with you.
- Picardy Shoe Parlour concentrated on classic knit wear and Boston Store highlight casual basics with a nice on-trend coral dress to finish.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
It is really too much to try to dissect everything they offer, but here is a quick look at a few of their woman's clothing options by line. They have really covered almost every style personality (have I uncovered the key to their success?).
We have to discuss Simply Vera by Vera Wang. Adding a Vera Wang line to their offerings was a real coup for Kohl's. I would consider it their 'fashion forward' offering and can tell you that I literally planned a shopping trip to the store the weekend it launched. While the price point is higher than most other merchandise at Kohl's, it still allows the average woman to buy Vera Wang. Check out their online look book first since the pieces can intimidate on the rack. Or is that just me?
Also notable is the Dana Buchman line. Buchman, the former head of Ellen Tracy, offers her line exclusively at Kohl's. It's more conservative than the other lines, but definitely appeals to the large Talbot's crowd around town.
Kohl's also capitalizes on celebrity names to promote their lines and drive business to the stores. Current and previous lines included Britney Spears, Lauren Conrad, Daisy Fuentes, and an upcoming JLo and Marc Anthony line in the fall of 2011. I have to assume these lines are successful as they continue to introduce new ones. (Sadly, Kohl's did not respond to my request for information. Should all twelve of us boycott?)
Kohl's nationwide expansion has been impressive, in particular given the economic climate in the last several years. I have to hope that their success continues as it directly impacts the job market, fashion schools, style choices, and new talent in Milwaukee.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Yes, high heels. I know many ladies who avoid them at all costs and I can certainly rattle off a list of situations for which they are not appropriate, but I wanted to spend some time in an attempt to convince you to wear high heels. I enjoy wearing heels as evidenced by my collection which currently stands at 17 (not too horrible, right?). I'll admit that some of my favorites don't hold up well to extended cocktail parties or wedding dancing. But, for me, the look is worth the pain. Here are my reasons why:
Elongage. Lets be frank, for 90% of us the goal of figure flattering fashion is to lengthen, elongate, streamline, even slim. High heels provide an actual physical means to accomplish this. Proportionally, it adds two, three, maybe even four inches to your frame without any added pounds (a miracle, I know). And I know you don't want to hear this, but the higher the heel, the more it will lengthen, elongate, streamline and slim. To really make this trick work, find a pair of heels in your skin tone. If you are above 5'10" and wear a size 6 or less; you are the rare exception to this rule.
Confidence. Wearing high heels requires every woman to let her inner Angelina Jolie free. You must have a certain swagger and purpose to your gait just to stay up on the damn things. A shrinking violet on three inch heels will end up with a sprained ankle. Have a hot date, a board meeting, an in-law encounter to survive today? Add heels for extra attitude.
Sexiness. Although directly related to confidence, sexiness gets its own bullet here. Poll the men you know. Heels equal sex appeal. They also hint at naughty undergarments, another bonus if you're aiming for sexy. Word of warning; there is a fine line between sexy and trashy. The more outrageous the heels, the more you may consider toning down the sexy-factor of the rest of your outfit.
Fun. Wearing heels exponentially increases the amount of shoes available for your enjoyment and/or purchase. The thousands of varying styles, colors, shapes, designers and materials in which heels are available boggles the mind and provides hours of fun options for any fashionista.
Shoes = the great equalizer. Tired of button up shirts that pull across the chest, pants that fit around the thighs but are too loose at the waste, or sleeves that are always too short? Shopping for shoes, while not without its challenges (have a wide heel?), is a fashion equalizer. It doesn't matter how the rest of your body fits into clothes - you'll always fit into your shoes. Feet don't have fat days or need Spanx. No matter how badly you FEEL like you look; you can add an old pair of heels and be leaner, more confident, sexy, and fun.
Now that I've convinced you to wear more heels, you might be asking where to go. My personal favorites are the shoe department at Boston Store in Brookfield Square, DSW, and Zappos. Stay tuned this week for a report on the Awear Fashion Show to benefit Sojourner Family Peace Center and coming soon, "flats that I love."
Monday, March 21, 2011
After coming to Milwaukee for art school, Bree found her way into fashion first by interning with Erika of Bay View’s renowned Fashion Ninja (now relocated to LA) and then by organizing the Milwaukee Indie Fashion Market to highlight local designers. Bree is a true grassroots designer and shop owner. She appears to have surrounded herself with local artists, professionals and designers she knows and loves. Her own line, Rosefly, is made from all recycled material and jewelry. Project M Boutique is designed specifically with sustainability and affordability in mind and appeals to more than the avante-garde nature of the typical Riverwest dweller. She keeps the inventory fresh, mixing in twenty to thirty different designers and running it by consignment. In addition to clothing, I found purses, jewelry, vintage scarves and material (Bolted) throughout the store. But the highlight for me was Bree’s inspiringly cluttered sewing table. Taking up a quarter of the available space, its sat without pretense reminding me of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into the store and her own line.
Bree was refreshingly honest about the challenges of running her own store. The combined responsibilities don’t leave much time to work on her own line and she is dependent on foot traffic for business. Unfortunately, during the winter months foot traffic tended to slide across the icy sidewalk bundled in fleece instead of stopping in to browse. Taking a page from her mentor, Erika’s, playbook, Bree has begun offering small group classes in sewing and construction. She is enjoying the new direction, feeling it has given her new purpose and an additional income stream.
I was appropriately impressed with Bree’s positive attitude, entrepreneurial spirit, and seemingly endless creative energy. What I really envied, however, was her bravery. An independent market, a fashion line, a boutique, a sewing school...her ideas become reality. It was an inspirational lesson that I heard at just the right moment. As I strive to be fearless and create my own new reality, I encourage you to also follow Bree’s example and do the same in your own life.
Project M is celebrating its one year anniversary this Saturday night at the Red Room. Stop by their ‘Labor of Love’ party, visit Project M Boutique (or the website which is fabulous), buy something, and find your own inspiration.
Please check back this week as I have lots of fun things to share with you. Tomorrow is my first 'Date with a Fashionista' with Bree Rose Bower of Project M Boutique. Later this week I'll try to convince you to wear high heels and will report from Thursday night's Awear Fashion Show to benefit Sojourner Family Peace Center.
Bernice in Milwaukee Background
True style icons exist everywhere, even in Milwaukee. Bernice was my grandmother and the best kind of fashionista, before anyone knew what that was. She was well known amongst her circle of friends for dressing in bright, fun colors (pink was her favorite) and running between social engagements in dangerously high heels. In addition to her other many talents, she served as a fashion inspiration for all of the women in my family. Today, March 21, was her birthday and therefore the perfect day to launch her namesake blog. Bernice never missed an opportunity to express herself through fashion. As her granddaughter, I hope that this blog becomes an opportunity for us all to do the same.
I imagine many of us have been influenced by women (or men) in our families and their fashion sense. I have wonderful memories of my grandmother taking me shopping, an annual event, and prodding me to put the brown sweater down and veer towards the jewel-tones. I spent countless Saturday afternoons on the floor with my sister watching Bernice and my mother don St. John’s knit dresses at Zita’s. All of these memories and experiences helped form my personal fashion style. In fact, I’d like to think Bernice would be thrilled I am currently wearing a purple sweater dress. I hope she’ll give some allowance for it being an H&M standard instead of a designer original.
Please share, how was your style influenced by a family member?