three ways to wear it: the crop top

Crop tops have been back in style yet again. I find them adorable, but also dangerous considering some people don't know how, why, or when to wear them. Definitely opt for a loose, boxy crop top over a fitted one: this will prevent you from looking like you time-traveled here from the 90's. Definitely don't wear it with low-cut daisy dukes or you'll look like you time-traveled from a strip club, which is arguably much worse than the 90s. 

1) My crop top is a basic white v-neck from Free People. A go-to look for this crop top is to pair it with a breezy floral chiffon skirt and a pair of summery espadrilles. The skirt hits high enough that only a bit of skin shows with the shirt, which is completely tasteful. To me, any more skin than that is treading on tacky ice.
Skirt by Joie, espadrilles by Dolce Vita, leather cuff from Shopbop, bag by Fiorentini and Baker. 

2) I'm a big fan of contrasting black and white in an ensemble, so this is probably my favorite way to wear the top: with high-waisted tailored black shorts, a thick pebbled leather belt, a great silver bracelet to compliment the giant silver buckle in the belt, and an awesome pair of moto boots. Again, this only shows a bit of skin and fits so that the belt is fully visible, a win win. Unlike the flowy skirt, the snug fit of the shorts balances out the loose silhouette of the top. Similarly, the shirt looks fantastic layered on top of a casual sleeveless bodycon dress. Unlike pairing it with a tight skirt, no skin will be revealed and the tightness of the dress is cancelled out with the oversized top. It's a very sweet, girly option for dressing up the shirt. 
Shorts by J Brand, belt by The Kooples, zig-zag metal bracelet form Free People, boots by Fiorentini and Baker.

3) Another skirt option, only a new length.
I chose to layer the shirt over this maxi skirt rather than a maxi dress because the skirt shows a little leg with the slit, and consequently makes the look less overbearing. The skirt is fitted down to the slit and then a-lines just the right amount. It's a completely casual, beyond easy, summery outfit. A geometric necklace and armwear add a little to the bohemian look.
I tend to layer my evil eye bracelet in with the rest of my armwear. An Armenian good luck charm, it was given to me as a gift (as all evil eye's should be, because to get one for yourself is supposed bad luck). Since childhood, I have always been captivated by the amulet - I found the evil eye so beautiful and mystifying. I'm kind of overjoyed that the eye has recently become fashionable (shopbop). I have so many of these, but I truly love the silver beading between each eye on this one in particular.  
Skirt by BB Dakota, cuff by Free People, sandals by Givenchy.


entirely worth it: Celine sunnies (+ white denim + ballet flats)

When has a crisp pair white denim not been chic? Nevermind the outdated rule of "no white after labor day," a good pair of these pants is worth your while.  They can be dressed up or down - this look can be worn out to lunch or dinner.  Take advantage of the last few weeks of summer and sport them with a wonderful tank top (mine is by Otis and Maclain, LA-based masters of the oversized yet flattering pocket tee).  This top has a flouncy, comfortable shape and beautiful detailing. As you may tell, the fabric is layered, almost ruffled all around, giving it a wonderful dimension. It's low-cut in the front and in the armholes, and looks great casually with denim cutoffs or dressed up with pants, a blazer and heels. The black and white animal print works perfectly with these cropped white Japanese twill skinnies by J Brand and ties in with the black Chanel ballet flats.  Chanel and Lanvin are the rulers of ballet flats, but as you've read in my previous posts, I am in love with everything about the Chanel. I think they are the type of flat that goes from day to night with little effort because of the supple leather and patent detail.  The little heel and leather bow add so much to the already elegant flat.

I FINALLY got a pair of the ULTIMATE sunglasses by Celine.  I love everything about them, the modern, bold take on the wayfarer in deep polarized black with the standard Celine silver detailing at the corners. These sunglasses are completely classic but also unbelievably stylish. When they arrived, I was grinning from ear to ear. They seem to look good with everything, all the time, no matter what. I think they have super powers, which they should throw in for the price. These shades are completely worth it, an investment that you'll enjoy forever.

My (buttery soft) leather handbag, in the lightest shade of grey possible (essentially off-white), is from Les Petites in Paris.  It caught my eye from across the boutique. It also came in black, but I strayed away from my usual handbag shade and am still so glad I did.  This one is great during all seasons (again, doing away with the old-fashioned light color ban in winter).  What I appreciate about this bag is that the long strap is adjustable, so it can be worn across the body, loosely thrown over the shoulder, or shortened into a little bag.  The snap and chain detailing make it fun, and the flap front channels the PS1, which I don't mind one bit. 


three(+) ways to wear it: the concert tee

Who says Lil' Wayne can't be chic? I went to his concert two weeks ago and I'm not ashamed to say it was one of the best nights of my life, not only because he wore leopard pants.  I ended up leaving with this awesome guitar action-shot crew neck shirt. I vowed that I am not limiting this gem to sleepwear or gym wear. If Givenchy can make a graphic tee of an angry Rottweiler fashionable, why can't I do the same to an equally unique, equally enthusiastic and graphic tee of the weezy f baby (and it didn't cost $265)? That's what I thought. THREE WAYS TO WEAR IT:

1) Think you can't wear this $35 cotton baby out? Throw on the top and layer a bandage skirt and blazer on top.  Heavy neckwear isn't really necessary with this kind of shirt because it distracts from the beautiful print, and you don't want that. If the weather permits, put on opaque tights and these chunky wooden clogs. The studs in the shoes compliment the stud on the shit.
Black blazer exclusive to Intermix, skirt by Pleasure Doing Business, tights by Hue, clogs from Paris. 

2) Wanna hang low in the shirt? Wear a pair of basic shorts and add a belted denim button up with a pair of awesome sneakers. Mine are distressed charcoal suede hi-tops by Ash and feature a side zip and ample buckles. 
Denim shirt by Winkt, mom's belt (vintage, if you will), sneakers by Ash. 

3) This look is great for a show or just hanging out at night. The preppy oxfords offset the vibe of the tough leather jacket. I roll up my light grey skinny jeans to reveal a hint of skin with this look. 
Leather jacket by Improvd, jeans by J Brand, oxfords by Steve Madden.

4) To put a bohemian twist on the top, throw it on over a plain, fitted maxi dress and knot it at the side.  It gives the shirt the cropped look that looks great with the silhouette of the dress.  Roll the sleeves of the top effortlessly (don't fold them perfectly, thats a little uncool) a slip on a cool bangle or two. I obviously accessorized with my red ray bans to bring out the red undertones in the shirt (you may refer to it as the sparkle in his eye...) because coordinating is cool. 
Maxi dress from F21, red wayfarers by Ray Ban, bangle from F21, jelly sandals by Givenchy. 

Obviously you can swap the Lil' Wayne concert tee for any concert tee to make the same statement. I wouldn't recommend it, but it's definitely doable. 


season to season: the pleated skirt

Transitioning from summer to fall? Live in a place where it's 80 degrees one day and 55 the next? (yes). Let's see how you can take this uber-pleated grey skirt with you from season to season...

A loose ladylike blouse is perfect tucked into this skirt for the upcoming fall days and nights. It won't be warm enough to have bare arms, but it won't be cold enough for a coat either (we hope).
sheer 3/4-sleeved blouse from The Kooples in Paris, oxford wedges by Cynthia Vincent, bag by Stella McCartney, bracelet from F21, mixed metal knotted chain necklace from Free People.  

Chunky, cropped fair isle print angora sweaters perfectly compliment this a-line skirt. With a textured scarf around the neck, you won't be too cold. I always balance out a girly skirt with my Fiorentini and Baker's. Tights optional (unless you live in the midwest)! 
grayling sweater by Rag & Bone, raw-edged scarf by Rag & Bone, Fiorentini and Baker Eli boots, Yves Saint Laurent Easy Y Tote, and mixed metal chain bracelet by Giles & Brother. 

In the early spring it's usually too cold to go without an extra layer, but warm enough that you don't need a parka and gloves, so a leather jacket is necessary. Black leotards are not limited to ballerinas, and are an easy compliment to skirts and high-waisted pants. Without snow on the ground, leather ballet flats are a go, and with a layered mixed-metal necklace and a bucket bag, this look can be taken from day to night without any extra effort. 
leather jacket by Improvd, black leotard from American Apparel, ballet flats by Chanel, Alexander Wang Diego Bucket Bag, layered chain necklace from Intermix.

Yay, its summer! No bulky layers allowed! The skirt still works because it is not made of wool.  A strappy camisole tucked into the skirt is fine and well, but a lovely silk blazer (conveniently deprived of sleeves) is a great additional piece without any weight or extra warmth.  A great statement belt always spikes up an outfit (especially jeans with a basic tee) and is always worth it.  Top it off with a sunhat to protect your face and accessorize with a lightweight bag and wooden clogs.
sleeveless silk blazer by Joie, camisole from F21, Gucci belt, wooden clogs from Paris, Rebecca Minkoff Perforated 3-Zip Rocker Bag, F21 sunhat.

I left the best part to the end: the skirt is ultra-inexpensive and from F21! Really research your pleated skirts before investing in one: sometimes you can find a cheap alternative that doesn't look the part. Regardless, you'll get enough wear out of this piece to make anything worth it. Here are some alternatives via shopbop.


entirely worth it: the burberry trench coat

So you're in the market for something that defies trendiness, but is still on trend. Something that is both functional and fashionable, timeless and chic. Then there is no better investment than the Burberry trench coat!   
quick history lesson: most famous for this coat, Burberry's founder Thomas Burberry was 21 when he first discovered the British fashion house. A long, long time ago, long before Emma Watson modeled for the brand (1880), he incorporated the "gabardine" into his company, which was a waterproof, breathable but hardwearing fabric. About 30 years later, Mr. Burberry was asked to make the officer's coat to fit the "lifestyle" of modern warfare by the War Office, and this was when the trench coat was born.  After the war, the trench became stylish for civilians. The Burberry check print that can be spotted from a mile away was made in the 1920s and used as the lining for the coats. 
Okay, so I won't quiz you on that later, but this means that this coat has been around for enough years for you to know that it will always be in style. It's wonderful for spring and fall, when the weather is damp and cooler. The coat keeps you warm and dry but also looking fantastic. It goes with absolutely everything and can be worn anywhere you'd like, including the movies and a dinner date. The shape of the coat is flattering on anything, even a rock. I haven't tested that out, but I'm sure of it. The detail in the collar, it's belt and shiny buttons gives it that extra something without going over the top.   

Check out this Burberry social network, the art of the trench, that connects their trench coat lovers! It includes wearers of all ages, styles, and shapes! 

Givenchy Jelly Sandals for unfavorable and favorable weather, Rebecca Minkoff perforated leather zip rocker bag, and umbrella from who knows where. 

day to night: the leopard shirt

Recently I wrote on three ways to wear the leopard shirt (my favorite from Equipment) but I wanted to show how to wear it dressed up.  I love doing a top knot for a more elegant look because it is so easy, yet looks so chic and put-together.  As far as the main course, the outfit, I take the blouse from shorts to my favorite Pleasure Doing Business black bandage skirt.  I tuck in the blouse for a more sophisticated look and slip on my favorite Yves Saint Laurent gold Arty Dots ring to pair with the blonde and black tones of the blouse, as well a long complimentary gold coin pendant necklace that was my grandmother's and a shorter knotted mixed metal necklace from Free People.  It originally had plastic danglies hanging from every knot, but I cut them off with pliers so the necklace didn't look what it cost.  I swap sandals for a great pair of cutout leather heels from F21 (I know, what appears to be an expensive heel is not always the case!) I make sure the heels I wear when dressing up always have a platform so I'm not wearing a great outfit but ruining it by struggling to walk.  
I always don a smaller, more classic handbag at night, like my Yves Saint Laurent easy Y tote.  I die for this bag - they always say "men are like handbags," some come and go while others forever have your heart, and this is my everything handbag.  I will always love it because it can be worn with everything at any occasion and its perfect size and top handle frame will never go out of style (or my closet). 

As far as makeup from day to night, the look should always be subtle but different than a daytime look in the eye.  I always wear eyeshadow, mascara, and a deep pink lipstain during the day, but at night I go from a navy liner and blue eyeshadow to a deep chocolate liner (Chanel) and brown, camel, and taupe shadows (palette from Giorgio Armani) to create a smokier look.  I always go over the liner with the same color power to make the look more natural and less precise. At night I layer my mascara (Nars) twice over, apply a lovely pink blush (Revlon) and switch the pink lipstain to a classic red (ultimate wine by Revlon, always: it costs the same as a happy meal, only it doesn't make you feel sick, lasts for months and stays on for the entire evening).  As you may tell, I mix highs and lows with my makeup collection as well. I've found some of my $6 products to work better than the $45 ones, and that is truly one of the best results from experimenting with cosmetics. 


seasonal: aztec print shorts

Aztec prints are everywhere this season, and I'm definitely a fan.  I do think you have to choose wisely with these prints, since it's such a seasonal look.  It's so easy to find a pair of aztec shorts or an aztec blazer without depleting your bank account.  To be on trend but not trendy, in the words of Rachel Zoe, is what you want to achieve.  I found that medium in these Aztec tap shorts that I snatched from F21: flowy and short, they're higher-waisted and unbelievably comfortable.  The combination of black and camel is so classic and is wonderful with a black blazer and sky-high wedges or perfectly casual with a basic tank and flip flops.  I pair the bottoms with my favorite tees by Alexander Wang, which are worth every penny.  They are so comfortable and luxe, and can be worn up and down.  Unlike other sheer, sensitive, and expensive designer tees, these wash well and never fade, pill, or surprise you with unexpected miniature holes. 

I pair the black and camel shorts with gold hardware: the awesome spiked bracelet is from F21 and the best five dollars I've ever spent, not to mention it probably doubles as a weapon... 
The simple gold symmetrical ring (F21 as well) is a perfect compliment to the busy bracelet, and the Cynthia Vincent wedges are covered in gold hardware to tie it all together.  My all time favorite purse, the Easy Y Tote by Yves Saint Laurent, balances out the edginess with its simple ladylike top-handle structure. Nothing like mixing highs-and-lows! 

Bracelet and ring for the price of a venti latte, and they're good for more than a one time use!