Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fashion in Real Life

So simple, so comfortable looking, but so pulled together for the office - minus the tennis shoes.  This outfit out of the June/July issue of Harper's Bazaar  has an astronomical price tag but is so easy to recreate with more budget friendly pieces and a shoe that has the same sporty character but won't have the boss looking at you like you forgot something.

Turtleneck: J Crew
Pants: Reiss
Initial Necklace: Bauble Bar
Dagger Necklace: Pamela Love
Belt: Nicholas

Don't skip wearing the belt; for something monochromatic and layered like this, if you don't add the belt, it could come off as too boxy.  You won't be wearing the coat all day in the office, so you want to have some visual contrast to set off the blue.  Another good shoe choice would be spectators giving the outfit another shot of color blocking.  If you would like to buy the ring, you can use the link to contact me directly or use the Buy Now button to the left.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Casual Outfit of the Day

Tee: Joie
Necklace: Kenneth Jay Lane
Wedges: Via Spiga

I recently got in something of a funk thinking that my days to wear a strapless dress were over.  I was in this funk because I saw the daughters both wearing casual strapless dresses, and I could not remember ever having one in-my-whole-entire-life.  How did I miss out on this?  A few days later I was cleaning out my closet and found an old Bebe blouse that had a faux cummerbund front over a long-sleeve white blouse.  Hmmmm, could I do the same thing myself for a strapless?  So off I went to hunt down the perfect strapless dress for layering.  I originally thought of black but decided I didn't want it to come off as a formal dress with a tee underneath.  This beige dress is the perfect daytime weight when paired with one of my all-time favorite tees from Joie.  I know this tee is something of an investment, but Joie's tees are simply the softest, best tees you will ever own.  The huge Kenneth Jay Lane statement necklace adds color and texture, and I love that the butterfly on the belt seems to be an extension of the necklace hitting at tassel level.  The wedges keep it on the casual side.  Any other shoe might be too dressy ruining the look, but you could wear it with a short brown boot to give it more edge.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Product of the Day

I was recently chatting with a potential client who really had a well-established sense of her personal style.  She kept expressing that she liked her clothes, she felt she was organized, but that something was missing and she just couldn't put her finger on it.  Often when I'm talking to someone who feels this way, I make recommendations on accessories and talk about how adding a statement necklace or a belt to an outfit can refresh everything, but she was already really well accessorized.  I was sitting back in my chair just looking at her trying to figure out what she could be struggling with when it dawned on me.  If you also read my personal style blog or have watched any of my YouTube videos, you know that I've been looking for new ways to personally wear eyeshadow since I have drooping eyes.  Because of that you would think the lightbulb would have gone on a lot sooner than it did, but at least it finally happened.

"How long have you been wearing your eyeliner like that?" I asked.  It turned out she has been applying makeup using the same techniques she learned in high school.  I let her know that I didn't think she needed me, but if she wanted to go over the Bare Minerals store in the mall with me, we could have them show her some new techniques.  She didn't have the time to do it at that moment, but she was so excited and vowed to go over the weekend.

Realizing that other women over 40 may not be choosing the right formulas or application techniques for their makeup was stunning to me, and I feel like I'm falling down on the job not to have seen this.  Because of that I'm going to occasionally share a product that I think addresses the special concerns we may be having and any tips for application I think would help.

This is a tube of Clarins Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Balm in Crystal Mandarin.  I've been visiting the Clarins website on an almost weekly basis since May trying to choose between Crystal Berry and Crystal Rose, but I guess I missed a few weeks because now those two shades appear to be completely sold out, and only the Crystal Mandarin remains.  So many women over 40 don't like to wear shiny lipgloss, but lipstick can be less than perfect when you have a lot of lines around your mouth, and I've found that lipstick shades which used to look great on me when I was younger are just too harsh now.  Hopefully you can see in the photo that this is a slender shaft of color encased in a clear balm for extra moisturizing benefits.  The results are a sheer wash of moisturizing color that won't fall into lines and will add a good wash of color without being overwhelming.  If your coloring lends to wearing peachy tones, please give this one a try.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Casual Outfit of the Day

Jeans: James Jeans
Top: J. Crew
Necklace: MintStyle

I know I've been trying to bid goodbye to summer for a long time now.  I don't mean for my dread of hot weather to rub off on you.  Because I'm feeling kind of guilty, I wanted to throw in one more casual outfit for warm weather, but I have to admit that I cheated a little bit.  Although these white jeans are the perfect summer pant, I'm pairing them with a longer sleeve top that's perfect for a cool evening.  The jeans are a mid-rise with some stretch and a flared fit with extra leg room perfect for women over 40.  The bright pink stripes add some vividness to keep the white from being boring.  These rubber soled sandals are super comfortable, great for walking around a beach area.  The bag will see you into fall, blending here with the pink stripes but able to pair with your gray and black basics when the weather changes.  This delicate chain is the perfect day to night transition piece, and you can order it by sending me an email or using the Buy Now to the left.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

New MintStyle Catalog

The new comprehensive MintStyle catalog has finally arrived, and I only just realized that even though I was really excited for new pieces, I would have been really upset if some of my favorites were sold out.  I was so happy to see two of my favorites, the Coquette Collar necklace and the Caspian cuff on the cover as well as the Baroque Bloom necklace inside.  My other favorites, the Lantern Tassel, Victoria Cameo, and Heirloom Tassel pendants are back as well.  Everyone who has purchased a piece or attended a showcase has commented on what great quality the pieces are for the price.  My new favorites are the Chombard earrings and the Honeycomb bangle.  If you'd like to see samples, arrange a showcase, or place an order please contact me.  If you book a showcase, you will receive credit from any purchased made toward your own purchase of jewelry.  I hope you enjoy the new catalog, and I'd love to hear what your favorite pieces are.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Splurge vs. Steal - Leather Dress

Black leather dress: Alexander Wang $315
Blue leather dress: Mango $249.99

This version of Splurge vs. Steal actually started with me hunting for a substitution for this perforated leather Oscar de la Renta dress, but I failed in tracking down a substitute.  Ironically, the price point between these two dresses isn't remarkably different since the Alexander Wang is down to only being available in a size 10.  Although the two dresses have a similar look, the cuts are noticeably different, and of course, there is the minor detail about them being different colors.  The black dress is a racer back, great for those who have an inverted triangle body and like to show off their shoulders.  It's also actually longer in length than the Mango dress, but both are quite short.  If you are daring enough to try this edgy style, the length probably won't be a factor to you.  The Mango dress has a very 80's vibe to me with the high collar and strong shoulders.  I do think only a rectangle could truly pull this one off.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Date Night Outfit of the Day

Top: Jason Wu
Skirt: J Crew
Bag: Miu Miu
Bangle: Lulu Frost
Earrings: Vivienne Westwood

How about a little bit of lace on lace?  It would be easy to pair another black lace top with this skirt, but the contrast cream keeps it from being overly formal.  It's still a feminine and ornate outfit without being too sweet.  Also keeping it from being too sweet, the edgy cracked leather bag.  The bangle and earrings are delicate with the bangle adding an antique, vintage look.  This outfit doesn't stray into the overly young outfit that some lace pairings do making it completely appropriate for a woman over 40.  The pencil skirt is so good for an hourglass figure, and the top has enough fabric to keep it from clingy around areas we don't want it to.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Office Outfit of the Day

Bag: Nina Ricci
Night Treatment: Kate Somerville
Dress: Paul Smith
Necklace: Wouters & Hendrix

I've been drawn to the Dolce & Gabbana ads lately; you know the ones that look they've been shot in an Italian fishing village.  The beautiful models are seated among the townspeople making it appear that everyone here is born beautiful and ages gracefully into the housedress wearing elders seated in the chairs.  There is a 40s, housedress-y vibe about the dresses the models wear, too, but it's really appealing to me.  I love the cut of the dresses and decided to hunt for one a little more reasonably priced.  This Paul Smith dress has the same sheath cut, length, and 3/4 sleeve as a lot of the Dolce & Gabbana dresses.  Paired with a small straw bag, a slingback that mirrors the retro vibe, and a delicate but edgy necklace, I think I've got it.  I'll be posting a video soon on my personal style blog and my YouTube channel about my first experience with a Kate Sommerville product.  I loved the scrub I tried and now I'm excited to try even more of her products including this retinol night cream.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fashion in Real Life

This look from May's British Vogue is actually quite tame and easy to replicate.  Now, I know the hair and lipstick may be pushing it over for you, but if you were to look away from the face and at the outfit, how great could that be for a creative work environment?

It's actually a very simple outfit with a lot of heavy silver jewelry.  If you are feeling it, by all means spike your hair and go for it.

Pants: J. Crew
Socks: Forever 21
Loafers: Dolce Vita
Necklace: Bauble Bar
Bracelet: Ligia dias

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dr. Dean and Wink Readers by ICU Eyewear Giveaway

If you have ever watched one of my YouTube videos you know that I can't go more than a few minutes without having to put on a pair of reading glasses.  Now I luckily have pretty good insurance and have been able to buy a few pairs of really nice glasses at reasonable prices, but I was definitely suffering because where do I need to wear my glasses most often?  In front of the computer or when I'm reading in bed.  But what about when I'm cooking in the kitchen, and I need to read directions?  Or when I'm in the bathroom trying to read how much cold medicine I'm supposed to take?  Or when I go out to get the mail and drop it off in the living room and try to sort it between everyone who lives here?  And I could go on and on.

Leave it to my wonderful husband to supply me with the obvious solution: put a pair of readers in every room not to mention the car and my purse.  And his car.   The one problem: readers at the drugstore are kind of...ugly.

I was thrilled when ICU Eyewear reached out to me recently offering to sponsor this post about their products.  They make styles for men and women that suit every fashion, and they have some really cute things at reasonable prices.

Right now they are asking for your help in picking your favorite style.  Just pick one from either line to vote for and be entered to win one (1) free pair of the reading glasses you voted for.  There are so many great styles to choose from including these:

ICU Eyewear is giving away 1,000 pairs of Dr. Dean and Wink glasses or 40% off one order of readers.

To enter:

1. Go to the Read In Style Giveaway page to enter your email address and gender.
- Your gender determines if you vote for the Dr. Dean or Wink readers.

2. Based on which gender you selected, vote for your favorite pair.

3. You will then either be selected instantly as a winner and asked to fill out your shipping and Diopter details OR receive a 40% off coupon for all readers on the ICU Eyewear site.

The giveaway is active from August 14th 2013 at 12am PST and ends on August 27th, 2013 at 11:59pm PST.

The 40% coupon code is valid until October 1st, 2013 on reading glasses only.

One entry per email address. Winners will receive their free pair of reading glasses via First Class Mail and will be delivered 4-6 weeks after the giveaway ends.

This post is sponsored by ICU Eyewear.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Date Night Outfit of the Day

Dress: Wallis
Bracelets: Forever 21
Sandals: Tahari
Necklace: MintStyle JMN0371 

Summer's coming to a close, and although I'm happy about that because I don't like the hot weather, some people are really sad to see it go.  Of course, here in Southern California, it will be warm for a few more months, but if you are someplace with more distinct seasons, and the kids are already going back to school, you might want to fit in one more casual outfit for an evening spent outside.  Sitting on a patio or at a concert in a loose, comfortable, classic dress is perfect, and this tribal print has colors that are great for the fall, too.  You could easily transition this dress with brown tights and flat boots for the next season.  You can channel a little bit of Kate Middleton with this clutch from the Issa Collection at Banana Republic.  Use it here for your date night and then carry it inside of your tote to the office to use during your lunch hour.  I always love an envelope clutch, and this one has a good size, so your wallet will actually fit in it.  With such a bold print, go for more delicate jewelry, but you can still have an arm party with this stack of bangles from Forever 21.  I always pick up inexpensive pieces to stack from Forever 21 and H&M.  The MintStyle necklace has a very Egyptian feel to me.  I think it will look great in the neckline of this dress, and you can always use the Buy Now button to the left to order it.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Date Night Outfit of the Day

Blazer: Warehouse
Belt: Ann Taylor

This started as a work day to evening outfit, but then I got carried away with embellishment.  I've recently been obsessed thinking about how to style something cropped for a woman over 40.  I think we are all probably at the age where we remember wearing the cropped trend the first time around.  Since we really don't want to baring our midriffs now, how about layering with cropped pieces?  I would like it if this blazer was a little shorter, more along the lines of a bolero or shrug, but this length is great for someone who has an apple body type.  The embellishment of the neckline and the belt mean no additional jewelry, and the nude of the shoe makes the legs look long.  The pencil fit of the dress is perfect for anyone with an hourglass figure, and the cutout on the back of the dress is great for the inverted triangle who wants to take the jacket off to dance.  This Urban Decay lipstick is more of a lip butter.  It's moisturizing but has great color and wearability.  I find it so much more flattering than a matte lipstick.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Splurge vs. Steal - Sleeping Kitty Flats

I am usually the first person in the world to say that you should spend a little more on your shoes than other things in your wardrobe, but for shoes like this...How often after this fall are you going to be wearing a pair of velvet smoking shoes with a cat on them?  Yes, there is the real velvet vs whatever man-made material the less expensive shoe is made of argument, and yes, you want flats to be comfortable and sometimes less expensive flats are the worst on your feet.  Try buying them half a size larger, putting friction block and/or Dr. Scholls tape on before you wear them, even wear them with trouser socks  with pants or with tights and a skirt, but there are so many other things to invest your wardrobe money on.  This is a trend.  Buy carefully.  If you have to, have to buy the Charlotte Olympia, comparison shop.  They are $30 more at Neiman Marcus than at Nordstrom.  But then if you are spending $625 on a cat flat, the extra $30 probably doesn't matter.  Happy cat feet!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Office Outfit of the Day

Blazer: Rebecca Taylor
Pants: Vanessa Bruno
Sweater: Clements Ribeiro
Pumps: Kate Spade
Bracelet: MintStyle
Handbag: Kate Spade

I recently had an important meeting with a potential corporate client, and just like everyone else, I couldn't figure out what to wear.  Should I wear an all-business black suit with a white blouse paired with sensible black pumps and briefcase?  If I wore that would they think that I'm too boring and plain for a stylist?  Should I wow them with bright colors and something avant-garde?  If I did that, would they think I was too over the top for their professional business?  I decided to go with something tailored, feminine, but edgy and to make sure that I had a least a little bit of color to be eye-catching.  The blazer's leather trim provides some edge but maintains a traditional tailored cut.  The pumps and handbag are traditional too, but the chains on the bracelet are bold as are the stripes on the cashmere sweater.  Remember that important meetings or job interviews are not the time to scrimp on budget clothes.  You want to show that you are investing in your best asset: you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Office Outfit of the Day

Sweater: Dorothy Perkins
Blouse: MANGO
Bracelet: JewelMint
Skirt: J Crew
Pumps: Boutique 9 
Blazer: Reiss

It's around this time of the year, every year, that I'm really tired of the summer and warm weather, and my thoughts turn to fall dressing and layering.  The key to layering is to keep everything fitted; if you layer big bulky things, they are going to make you look big and bulky, too.  J. Crew makes absolutely the best pencil skirts.  If you have an hourglass figure, pencil skirts are something you should build around because they are universally flattering on you.  I always like to add a collar beneath a crew neck especially if you are trying to wear one that builds on colors that aren't necessarily in your color pallet.  I really shouldn't wear beige, but when I add a white collar under a beige-toned sweater, I can get away with it.  Shoes are finally losing their excessive platforms and going back to more feminine structures.  These are a beautiful ballet pink, but if you like to be more match, they also come in crimson to match the sweater, or you can get them in black for an even edgier feel.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Date Night Outfit of the Day

Pumps: C Wonder
Lip Gloss: Marc Jacobs
Necklace: JewelMint

I used to struggle with all white outfits feeling that they always came out looking too much like a nurse or an ice cream man.  Then I discovered a few tricks: always use bold accessories and makeup and make sure there is texture.  These pieces all of have really neat details that might not be noticeable on a quick glance.  The top is actually a baseball tee made of crepe so that it's all grown up, and it's a great transition piece to go from the office to an evening out.  From a distance, the skirt looks as though it is sequined, but the diamonds are actually patent leather, providing the texture to the outfit and a new take on the traditional leather skirt.  The bright accessories start with the blue satin pumps, the red lip from the new Marc Jacobs' beauty line, and the bright floral statement necklace.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Casual Outfit of the Day

Tee: Iris & Ink
Jeans: MANGO
Boots: Madewell
Bracelets: Mint Style
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Jacket: 2nd Day
Perfume: Jimmy Choo

I never felt that I could pull off the jeans tucked into boots look.  Somehow I always felt it looked dated as though I had never stepped out of the 70s.  Last fall, I bought a pair of Hunter boots, and started wearing them with leggings and long sweaters.  I loved the look so much, this fall I've vowed to give the jeans and boots thing another try.  I think the key to it working for me this time was the fact that I stuck to a flat riding boot.  It gives the look a much more modern casual look than a stacked heel.  This is an ideal outfit for someone with an apply body type.  Keep the top loose and flowing with a loose-fitting tee and super soft, draped leather jacket while keeping the bottom more fitted with these dark wash mid-rise jeans.  If you are on the shorter side, though, you won't want to tuck the jeans in, so go for a boot cut and wear them outside of the boot.  As usual, there is a Buy Now button to the left if you'd like to order the bracelets.  I'm intrigued by the description of Flash by Jimmy Choo, which contains pink pepper and is described as sophisticated, provocative, and magnetic.  Who doesn't need a little of that?  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Casual Outfit of the Day

I've spent the summer watching everyone walk around in these cute, shrunken minidresses, and it's actually made me quite grumpy.  I would really like to wear one but know that I can't.  I'm not one of those people with hard and fast rules, "You are over 40, so you shouldn't wear a minidress."  I'm much more realistic.  I, personally, should not wear a minidress.  Not because I'm over 40, but because my knees are.  You see, the skin around my knees is droopy and wrinkly.  Some people might say who cares?  They are your knees; if you want to expose them, go ahead.  But I won't, and here is why.  I won't feel confident about how they look.  I will be worried about how they look to other people even if other people don't notice them.  It will distract me.

So many times we don't realize that it's the little things like this that are shutting us down.  I wouldn't enjoy a precious day out with my husband if I was worried about something like this.  An even bigger problem though are those of us who don't worry about things like this.  I know a lot of people who say that they don't care what other people think.  "I'm going to wear what I want to wear."  I hear this most vehemently from people who aren't dressing for their best features.  When we sit down to talk about why, it usually has an emotional component.  Nine out of ten people don't have an actual attachment to these particular clothes.  They know they aren't following "the rules" or dressing for success.  But they want to believe that appearance doesn't matter, that it shouldn't matter.  I'm sorry, but in the world we live in, it does matter.

In response to my grumpiness about minidresses, I put together this outfit as a compromise that I could live with.  What are you thinking about compromising on?

Dress: J. Crew
Pumps: Nine West
Cardigan: Dorothy Perkins
Bag: Coach
Earrings: Bauble Bar

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fashion in Real Life

Today starts a new kind of feature on The Bespoke Stylist.  So often people tell me that the looks they see in magazines are just not realistic for a variety of reasons.  Some are so trendy or out there.  Others don't seem appropriate for the women who are the majority of my clients either because they are too revealing or are never shown on women with average size bodies, and the majority of the time, they are just too expensive.  These new posts will try to take some looks out of the magazines that can be recreated and fit into everyday life.  I hope you enjoy them, and if you find something in a magazine and would like help recreating it, just let me know by leaving a comment below or sending me an email.
It might come as a surprise that one of my style icons is Grace Kelly, but why not?  She must have been doing something right; she was a movie star, and she married a prince.  As a dark brunette growing up in Southern California, maybe it was a case of the grass is greener on the other side, but I really wanted to have that cool, blond, East-coast look.  I absolutely loved the layout in the April issue of Vogue with Carolyn Murphy in the role of Grace Kelly and Toby Maguire as Jimmy Stewart from Rear Window especially this outfit. 

via Vogue
Shirt and Skirt: Oscar de la Renta
Belt: J Crew

If you don't have the budget for the Oscar de la Renta pieces try these budget friendly substitutes.

Skirt: ASOS
Blouse: Dorothy Perkins

Monday, August 5, 2013

Date Night Outfit of the Day

Dress: Helmut
Bracelet: Bauble Bar
Clutch: ASOS
Pumps: Shoe Mint

Recently someone asked me to help her put together a outfit to wear to a wedding.  It was an outdoor, evening, black-tie dinner.  She knew it was going to be really warm that day, and she had waited until the last minute to try to pull something together because she knew she'd have to wear a dress, and she didn't want to.  We talked about it being okay for her to wear pants, but she really felt she had to go in a dress.  I found this silky racer back dress that could be dressed or up down.  She has an athletic, inverted triangle body, so this cut works really well on her.  She incorporated chunky jewelry like the pieces here and let the neckline of the dress speak for itself.  This clutch is huge and squeezable, which makes it the perfect clutch for carrying an envelope for the couple as well as a pair of foldable flats to wear while dancing.  

August Mint Style Lookbook

The Mint Style August lookbook is out, and they just keep continuing to create great pieces.  The rings are my favorites this month.  This edition is full of colorful stones and statement pieces that you can wear for the end of summer and into fall.  You really need to see these pieces in person to appreciate how substantial they are at such a great price, so if you'd like to see any of the pieces prior to ordering, please contact me to set up an appointment.

If you are interested in purchasing or would like to schedule a showcase, just let me know.  Showcase hostesses do earn credit for jewelry, so if there are pieces you would like to order, consider hosting as a way to make your purchases.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Office Outfit of the Day

Clutch: Elaine Turner
Blazer: Rebecca Taylor
Watch: Kate Spade
Necklace: MintStyle Gilded Points Necklace JMN0374 $29.99

Building a wardrobe of separates will stretch the number of outfits you can make.  It also allows you to mix pieces for usage in different ways.  This dress is in a classic flattering pattern with a cut that's good for hourglass and apple bodies.  It's appropriate for both the office or a morning wedding or weekend brunch.  Carrying a clutch inside a bigger tote for lunches out during the day is a practical way to multitask.  The back of jacket has a pleat for a feminine touch but the leather trim adds some edge and so does the Gilded Points necklace.