Archive for ‘Outfit Inspiration’

September 15, 2013

Go Team, Go!!!


Watching college football on television got me to thinking about just how silly most sports fans look on game day – it’s part of the fun I think.  But sometimes you do have to up the style quotient a notch.  I have had a recent experience that is an excellent case in point.

As I have mentioned before, the hubby and I have season tickets to the Los Angeles Clippers that happen to be in a very prominent location for photo ops.  This has always meant being a little bit self aware lest you find yourself getting texts from friends who see you scarfing up popcorn, wearing a baseball cap and track suit  on national television. Oh yeah, sooooo not good for one’s fashion cred.  

This year the stakes got upped another notch when we found we have new folks sitting in front of us in the next row  – the very gorgeous Gloria Govan, star of Basketball Wives and wife of the handsome LA Clipper Matt Barnes, and their adorable twins Carter and  Isaiah.  She is engaging and lovely, and the little boys, along with their good buddy Chris Paul Jr., draw a lot of player and therefore camera attention.  

The Barnes family members are quite the Fashionistas – Matt, always well dressed off court, was even a guest on Fashion Police this summer and his taste and knowledge were impressive.  Even the twins are always nattily dressed – so adorable and on-trend, even at four!  Gloria has great style and the girl can rock skinnies and Louboutains like nobody’s business.  But it’s not all NBA Wife bling.  I complemented her at one game on a really chic necklace and she giggled and shyly told me it was from Forever21.   

Needless to say, I have found myself making a bit more of an effort to look my best when we are at the games – not so easy this particular year.  And it got even trickier when, miracles of miracles, my beloved team made it to the playoffs.  Why you ask?  Well besides increased media coverage, the arena gives away free shirts for every playoff game in the Clippers team color – red.  They want you to wear them or wear you own red fan gear to show a sea of red on national television (see pic above).  It makes a great visual impact and would be great if the freebies weren’t too small to go over my chest. 

I wanted to represent my beloved team – and I wanted to look chic doing it.  To make it more challenging, there are a LOT of games (stretches of two, three or four home games in a week) and frequently I am going straight from the office to the game, so clearly the one hand-sequined tee I made wasn’t going to cut it.  Game on! 

I started with some fun shoes – it took some hunting but I managed to find not one but two cute and comfy pairs of red shoes on sale – adorable sparkly metallic Cole Haan ballet flats and some Dansko’s that look like platform Keds – no tottering about in ridiculously high heels for me.  Next I found two great layering cardigans (one long and drapey, one cropped and classic),  an a-line cashmere tunic and a ballet neck tee all from JJill in a gorgeous color called “True Red” and all on sale!  Whahoo!!!  Lastly, because I simply can’t go anywhere without great accessories, I fashioned up a bold statement necklace in silver and gorgeous red glass beads.  Add trousers, leggings, or jeans in blue or white, layering pieces like my white leather jacket, et voila – a Clippers fan capsule wardrobe!

I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on the “fan” looks – even one from Gloria.  And in case you are wondering, the lovely Gloria is NOT wearing free tees either– she and the rest of the team wives showed up for the playoffs in super-cute customized team jerseys, with matching ones for the twins, of course.  Go Clippers!!

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.

February 25, 2012

Feeling Spring

Spring fling


So, despite the glorious weather, I still haven’t fully been feeling spring fashion…not sure what *that* is about but the spring previews and goodies that have hit the stores so far haven’t really been leaving me feeling very jazzed about the trends.  Colored jeans, lace, shaker knit sweaters in washed pastels or neon brights, and color blocking (everywhere!) are all good, but not terribly NEW and nothing has shouted out “you must take me home”.  How can that BE?!  I LIVE for Spring (okay, and Fall) fashion!  But then I saw (and, ahem, bought) these sandals.  These lovelies, from Poetic License gave my spring fashion season inspiration a serious kick start.

As cute, almost fey, as these are, they have endless possibilities.  The retro platform style lends itself well to boho, girly retro and even urban looks, and is especially great with all kinds of pants. The metallic braiding lets you go glam.  And the print!  An on-trend floral that is just abstract enough to span the range from girly to more sophisticated styles. With a combination of colors that just BEGS to be worked with – au courant coral and aqua, basic white and tan and a sprinkling of tangerine, red and kelly green, this is one of those times when you really want to go matchy-matchy and play with it.

I have already found quite a few items in my own closet that are going to be great with these shoes.  They will bring new life to some old favorites and update them just a bit while tiding me over until more spring goodies come out and really get me going…or not.    

So what can you do with these darlings?  Well, here are a few ideas to get rolling into the spring and summer vibe:

  • Urban Girl – go urban with a girly wink – pair up super on-trend coral denim jeans with a floaty tank and then layer on this divine suede cropped moto jacket.  Add a striped scarf and this fun kelly green bag for pop and to keep the outfit from being too bland.
  • Boho Babe – Combine these floaty palazzos with a slouchy tunic sweater and a fun metallic chain belt then stack on some bangles in fun colors.  You can dial the glam factor up or down with the accessories.  Not loving palazzos?  There are a ton of cute maxi dresses or skirts that will also hit the mark.  Keep the details dialed down when the volume of the fabric goes up to allow the shoes to remain a focal point.
  • Retro Girly – This is almost too easy – spring always brings great girly options.  These sandals would be perfect with a retro sundress – think halter or sweetheart neckline – in white or one of the pastels from the print.  Pair it with a sweet cardi and a lady-like structured bag with girly details like bows and ta-da!   
  • Uptown Girl – My personal fave.  I would take chic white trousers and add a great jacket or top in a sunny color with some refined details.  I loved the piping on this jacket – so fun.  For this look a light-weight tweed jacket in coral or aqua (I have seen a few out there) would be good too.   Layer a second color underneath for visual interest.  In all cases keep the details simple but present so the look doesn’t get too busy.  Then grab a wow bag – the always lovely Valentino comes immediately to mind, or this sensational Anya Hindmarch woven bag in platinum and Hello!   

I also think the print would work well with some subtle pattern mixing – like the tweed I suggest above, or another big trendy look, stripes.  This is where you would definitely want to go matchy-matchy to keep the look cohesive and not too crazy.  There is a Ralph Lauren boatneck sweater in that gorgeous aqua with a white stripe – perf!  Again the key to making this work will be in the balance between details. 

These shoes, are a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about a special piece that is a key building block in your wardrobe – they are singular and distinctive while still being so amazingly versatile.   When you first see them you think “what the heck will I wear these with?” or “these would be cute with jeans” but if you let yourself play you will find tons of other great options.  Most of the items I selected are relatively basic pieces that, when mixed and popped with the sandals become great outfits.  All adding up to the very best in outfit “math” and a terrific way to get into spring.

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