Archive for August, 2012

August 28, 2012

Hat Last!

One of the niftier aspects of wedding mania is the fun fashion opportunities it has presented.  So many events to dress for, so many pictures!   This past week my darling sister and dear friends hosted my bridal shower.  As expected every detail was thoughtful perfection, and truly fashionable.  Instead of little pins we got bangles for the “don’t say ….” game, we all got to shop for Stella and Dot jewelry with some of the proceeds benefiting my pet charity, Concept 7, and my adorable nieces strolled the party modeling the great pieces.  Best of all, in keeping with the theme, all guests were asked to wear hats!

As you know from some of my previous posts, I looooovvveeee hats.  Their recent revival has simply thrilled me.  I am so happy to see them appearing on celebrities and being seen for more than just the infrequent special occasion.  With my baby-fine, style-resistant hair I was meant to wear hats and I would really enjoy a life that accommodated them – one filled with race days at Ascot or Churchill Downs, opening ceremonies, coronations and the like – basically I should have been a royal.  Sadly my real world is not so accommodating and an engineering department in a big corporation is really not an appropriate place for such self-expression.  Booo. 

Needless to say, this party was a dream come true for me – way to go little sister!   Brilliant!  Among the guests however, the idea got a mixed reception.  My friends and family members are definitely an eclectic bunch from the very trendy young to the relatively conservative and mature.  We have some true Fashionistas but we also have quite a few women who very proudly declare they are NOT girly-whirly and consider wearing a color, a scarf or a miniscule  embellishment their outer limits in the name of fashion.  But, after a few “does she mean it?” questions, folks started to get into the spirit and I was dying of curiosity to see what they would wear. 

I was simply amazed at the chic variety. The more casual gals wore a range of chapeaux from wide-brimmed sun hats to sportier cloche models.  The young, hip and/or trendy donned nifty fedoras.  Except for my gorgeous step-daughters-to-be,  Megan chose to wear a fascinator-like flower clip she made herself, and Christie channeled Audrey Hepburn in my beloved black chiffon swathed straw.  Two women took this opportunity to actually MAKE hats and the results were fabulous – a gorgeous tulle and silk flower number was really chic, as was a teal feathered version.  Some were a bit more tongue-in-cheek – a fascinator with lights and one embellished with a tiny shark.  Tulle and feathers featured prominently.  Everyone looked so chic, so fun!  Each hat really did say something about its wearer, too.  My sister, for instance, really should have been a flapper and she simply rocked her adorable black straw cloche.

So, what did I wear?  Well the minute my sister told me about the hat theme I raced up to Louise Green Millinery Co. in Los Angeles (online at:  I have been dying for a justifiable reason to get a Louise Green for several years.  I was in heaven the minute I stepped in the door and Mr. Commando was so very patient as I tried on a dozen hats and modeled for him.  He was a great partner in crime for this adventure as he loves hats on women and he appreciates the artistry that makes them special.  So gave his opinions willingly.  Most were hits – the cloches, the wide brims, the dramatic; a few- not as much (apparently the tallish Jackie O, and Eliza Doolittle numbers did not suit me as well).  Every hat fit perfectly and every hat was beautifully made.  I fell in love with several – but for the shower I chose to do a custom version of the fabulous Kelly hat I featured last year ( ).  I picked material, color, and trim – it was so much fun.  And in just a few weeks my gorgeous confection arrived at my home in its spiffy green-striped hatbox.  The results speak for themselves – my very own My Fair Lady moment.

Okay, confession time…this is NOT the only hat I ended up buying.  No…I ended up with THREE hats; all very different, all simply beautiful.  They are all very happily nestled in their snazzy hatboxes waiting for their moments and I will feature the others in upcoming posts.  AND Louise Green has just released her Fall 2012 collection – so I am already warming up the ol’ credit card! 

Photo Credits: Photographer – Mr. Commando, Model – Me (even though I hate having my picture taken) Clothing – Anna Scholz Jersey Tunic with chiffon sleeves, Anna Scholz Linen Pants (from a few seasons ago and still my faves) and a fab and oh-so-dramatic Madame Mathilde necklace.

August 12, 2012

Basics Stepping Up – Who Knew?

The fall catalogs are rolling in – mostly from the other  part of my life – the part that involves the purchasing of t-shirts, polar fleece and the other not-quite-as-fashionable items that come with living with and dressing Mr. Commando.  Ah yes, the all-American steadfast and true retailers who use terms like “outfitters”, my good friends LL Bean, Lands’ End and Eddie Bauer.

Now these are GREAT resources for my beloved boy’s everyday wear – shorts and t-shirts that are “long enough” and will hold up well, khakis hemmed to order, and proper oxford shirts that are cut for real men with real necks, arms, shoulders, and (ahem) tummies, instead of being cut so narrowly they only fit ultra-skinny hipsters.  Better still, while there have been a few missteps in the quality department, generally these guys have kept a pretty steady level of quality and dependability through the rough economic times.  Hey, even Nordstrom has had a few issues in the quality department as cost-cutting has pushed almost all retailers into selling garments that would have previously not met the mark. 

I am also a big fan of these stores for my own cold-weather and boating basics.  Here is where I look for reasonably priced layering turtlenecks, polar fleeces, and even cashmere sweaters.  Good basics like pima cotton t-shirts or the occasional cardigan that won’t rock the fashion world but are classic everyday building pieces.  And then, every once in awhile they will surprise you with a super find like a cashmere sweater in an amazing color – oooh yeah.  

Can you tell I am fantasizing about cold weather?  Yes I am!  So, while it is still 100 degrees out I thought it would be fun to see what they outfitters are up to for fall.  Over at Eddie Bauer it’s pretty quiet so far.  But they do have a corduroy Workwear jacket in a trendy vintage yellow that with it’s layered collar and short cut could be very fun in a northwesty way and would make a nice change from the same ol’ denim jacket.  They also had some cords with flared legs in tangerine or fennel that I think are a great riff on the colored denim shown everywhere.  There are also some good high heeled oxfords and boots, but not much else that is rocking just yet.  (Psst –  if you are a skier or other snowbound type there are some jackets and layers like their down shirt that are great technical gear and fairly fashionable – well worth checking out.)

Speaking of oxfords and boots – I simply LOVED the Cap Toe Boot and Spectator Oxfords in LL Bean’s Signature collection – very nice!  The Signature collection is intended to appeal to the young, hip crowd who buy J Crew, and while the individual pieces are a bit higher quality (and price) most of the trendy comes from how the pieces are styled together – definitely a step up.  But not every piece is basic, there is a structured Seersucker jacket that is really pretty fab – with clever seaming giving it a modern edge.  And the Linscott dress is a basic sheath but in a funky mod print of grey, cream and mustard.  They show it both worn alone and layered as a jumper with a mustard tee.  This piece clearly has a bit more ummph and will be a great transitional piece this season.  I also like the silk/cotton/linen slub textured boatneck top with exposed zipper in steely blue – actually kind of edgy and chic, in a basic sort of way.

Moving on to Lands’ End, imagine my pleasant surprise upon opening their Plus Size catalog to find a much more fashion forward collection than I think they have ever managed before.  Now much of this, like LL Bean, is attributed to good styling – they definitely stepped it up accessorizing with bold necklaces, lush leather totes and satchels, pretty scarves and cool belts – triple wrapped in colored suede, funky ringed in saddle brown.  And among the tarted-up basics there were a few really fun and almost truly fashionable gems in there!  First up are colored chinos in modern cuts and fits – think boot cut or wide leg with a lower rise or a true skinny cut, all in modern colors well beyond khaki – I thought the  Raspberry Wine and Dijon gold especially fun and I know the bolder among us will just adore the red.   

Lands’ End didn’t stop at modernizing their chinos either, they showed a boot cut denim pant that is definitely not from their usual mom-jean repertoire.  Also well past their usual fare are the leopard print pumps and driving mocs – yes, you read that right, leopard print – and a heeled ghilly that is really quite sexy.  Have you ever put sexy and Lands’ End together?  Yeah, me neither.  Wow.  For me the two must-try pieces are an on-trend knit blazer with twill tape trim and a lace tee.  The jacket is particularly snappy in heather grey with contrasting navy that I am itching to play with and see where I can take it.  As for the lace tee, it comes in aubergine or bittersweet with its own matching cami and if the reviews are anything to go buy, it’s a winner.  Lace from Lands’ End?  Who knew?   

Now I am off to take advantage of their 25% off everything sale and giving a few garments a try and maybe that triple-wrap belt in purple suede, too.

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