Monday, October 29, 2012

Packing for Europe: Early Winter Edition

Today I'm off for the UK and France, and since I'm going to be gone for awhile, I thought I'd share my travel wardrobe before I go. It's going to be a whole lot colder over there than it is here, sad to say. My itinerary will begin in Edinburgh, then a few days in York, an overnight in Liverpool, and then a few days in London. After that I'll be working in Strasbourg and ending the trip with a free weekend in Paris. As always, I'm taking lighter layers rather than any bulky pieces. Below are the major items I'll be wearing for the next 3 weeks.

5 shirts (2 long-sleeved layering tees are not shown):

3 cardigans:

2 dresses (these two have traveled with me before and have proven to be ideal travel items
for their wrinkle-resistance and comfort):

3 pairs of pants:

2 jackets (the zip-on sleeves of the vest aren't shown here):

The anorak is a recent purchase, and is something I've been seeking for well over a year. I kept seeing the ideal style on ladies around town, but could never seem to locate it in stores. Finally I was on the bus and spotted it in the window at Gap the other week, and quickly hopped off the bus to get it.

As you can see, I've made the entire wardrobe of jewel tones and neutrals, with black as my major neutral and olive as the secondary. Almost every piece goes with every other piece; below you can see how the shirts, cardigans, and layering tanks placed side by side look like a cohesive collection.

Finally, here are a few different combinations I put together using the same pieces.

And finally, my traveling outfit. I chose my most comfortable, soft, stretchy items and will be carrying the jacket since it's one of the larger items I'm taking. I also fully expect it to be cold when I get off the plane, so I know I'm going to want it when I get there.
And with that, I'm off! I didn't end up getting any new posts lined up except for this one, so the blog will be silent for the next 3 weeks. I'm really excited that I get to skip the rest of the election nonsense (though I did of course vote by mail already), and even better, that I got to see my SF Giants sweep the World Series before leaving the country. What a perfect send off! See you in a few weeks!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


This outfit wasn't particularly noteworthy, but I photographed it mainly to show you the back of this top, which I picked up at Saks Off Fifth in Minneapolis (I also bought another one in peacock blue). Because of the cutout in the back I figured it might end up getting relegated to weekend and after-work wear, however when I tried layering it over a tank I found that it worked perfectly well for the office. The tank covered up my bra strap but left enough skin showing to still be interesting.

As you can see, the rest of the outfit is pretty plain. But I like the fact that the neckline on this top is high in the front; to me if you're going to have a big cutout on one side, there shouldn't also be a lot of skin showing on the other.

Next week I'm heading back to France again for work, and this time I'm tacking on 2 weeks in the UK to visit friends and family. I'll have a few posts for you while I'm away, and I'll come back with a trip recap after I get back.

Top: Red (Saks)
Pants: Club Monaco
Boots: Ecco
Necklaces: Betsey Johnson, Defy
Bracelet: Leslie Danzis

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

School Marm

This dress is about a month and a half old, though I haven't gotten around to wearing it until now because we kept getting random warm spells just when I was wanting to wear it, and then I kept putting off ironing it. Finally the temperature dipped down a bit and I decided I just didn't care that it was a little bit wrinkled. All the stars were aligned.

I love the mix of fabrics in this dress, and that big wide collar is such a great detail. I think I might hem it about an inch or two though, because something about the cut combined with the length just felt a little... school marm, perhaps? I guess it might also have been the lace-up booties and opaque black tights that I chose to pair it with.

Which reminds me, I desperately need to restock my patterned tights, as many of my favorites are starting to get worn or develop holes. I feel like an interesting pair of patterned tights might have kicked up the sophistication factor in this outfit. Just in case, I'm still going to hem the dress.

Dress: eShakti
Bag: Foley + Corinna
Shoes: Tsubo

Friday, October 19, 2012


I bought this dress on my trip to Minneapolis, and I was really excited to style it in a work outfit. I'm sure it could be worn as a cocktail dress, but I like it better as part of a more casual look. It's another example of an item whose details are best appreciated in daylight hours, because a lot of that great shaping wouldn't be noticeable at night.

To make the dress look more casual I went with bare legs and boots, a look I love to play around with especially in the fall. The cognac color of the boots and bag gave it a slightly western vibe, to which I added the cute revolver necklace, another of my Minnesota purchases. The solid brass pendant has a nice heft to it, and the barrel even spins around for an extra realistic effect. I wish the trigger moved, although it's not like I'd be able to get my finger in there to move it anyway.

I bought the necklace the morning I was flying out, and Sal commented that I'd better put it in my checked baggage or else TSA might try to confiscate it. To my amusement when I got home, I noticed that my checked bag had actually been opened and searched, I guess because of the pendant, since everything else in there was just clothes. I guess this necklace doesn't make for a very good travel accessory.

Dress: Adrianna Papell
Necklace: Defy
Bag: Lucky Brand
Boots: from Scoop in Copenhagen
Bracelet: Leslie Danzis

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


This top and its twin (which is blue with white stripes) get a lot of wear on the weekends but are rarely seen on the blog. I love the crisscrossing panels and the interesting take on the basic striped shirt. For this outfit I went with a vaguely nautical look by adding the orange scarf and navy bag. The stripes in the shirt are actually black and not navy, but in my opinion it doesn't really matter.

The shoes are also twins, of my black wedges. I don't have many duplicates in my wardrobe, but I fell in love with the unfussy design and cushioned footbed of these shoes, so when my mom gave me a Zappos gift certificate for my birthday, I grabbed this second pair in pewter. They have a soft metallic finish that has just the right amount of shine for a casual daytime outfit.

Scarf: Banana Republic
Top: Anthropologie
Bag: Michael Kors
Pants: Cynthia Steffe
Shoes: Cole Haan
Canine accessory: Spencer

Monday, October 15, 2012


I used to always assume that short boots shouldn't be worn with dresses because they can make the legs appear shorter. However, short boots have been so ubiquitous the past few seasons that I've gotten used to the look. I also realized something very important: I don't give a damn if my legs do look shorter. In fact, I quite admire the look of short, sturdy legs on other ladies, and it's not like I'm going to apply for a runway modeling gig anytime soon.

For this outfit I kept it simple and let the dress and boots be the focal points. There's a lot of interesting detailing on both, but they can get lost in all the black if there's too much else to distract the eye. I love wearing items like these in the daytime, when the lighting is ideal for picking up subtle details.

Dress: Escada Sport
Boots: See by Chloe
Bracelet, rings: Metal Pointu's (Paris)

Thursday, October 11, 2012


For this outfit I hauled out a couple of items that have been long neglected in my wardrobe. I've had both the pants and the boots for ages, but for some reason they just don't get used that much. The boots are tough for me because they have a long pointy toe, something I'm not terribly comfortable with because I feel like it makes my size 9 feet look gargantuan. However, under pants they work really well because that same pointy toe elongates my legs, especially when the boots match the pants as well as they do here.

The top is another purchase from my Minnesota trip. My hotel was right down the street from Saks Off Fifth, where I spent a couple of hours one morning snapping up a few great deals. Between the discounted prices, an extra discount for being on the mailing list, and no sales tax on clothes, I cleaned up.

Cardigan: Max Studio
Top: Calvin Klein
Pants: Liquid
Boots: Jo Ghost (you can get a closer view of them here)
Bag: Boktier

Monday, October 8, 2012

Neutral Mix

Many of the new (or new to me) items that I brought home from my trip to Minnesota serendipitously worked really well together, so I threw as many of them as I could into this outfit. In addition to the shopping that we did, Sal and I also did a bit of clothes swapping, so I came home with quite a haul. The pants, necklace, and several of the bangles are all things Sal sent me home with, and the open weave sweater and cardigan were purchases. That Sal must be a mind-reader; I searched high and low all last summer for the perfect pair of white jeans, and I never did find them. These are precisely the pair I would have bought, and they fit beautifully.

This outfit illustrates a philosophy of mine: the more neutral shades you mix together, the less they all have to match with one another. In this outfit the only non-black colors that truly match are the gray in the cardigan and the gray boots. Besides those I have a true brown (in the cardigan), a gray-brown (the open weave sweater), bright white pants, off white (in the cardigan), a black tank and jewelry, and both silver and brass bangles. In writing it seems like it would be a mess, but the different neutral tones work together to create texture and depth.

Notice how the hint of black peeking out at the hem of the sweater works as an intense background that makes the texture pop and creates a nice strong contrast at the margin between the sweater and the pants. Black shoes would have been very obvious, however I thought the gray ones picked up the grayish undertones of the sweater, even when I wasn't wearing the cardigan.

This is one of my favorite outfits I've put together recently; it felt put-together but also relaxed. Note to self though: do not wear a spiky ring with an open weave sweater; I had a close call with a snag that could easily have ruined my day.

Sweater: Eileen Fischer via Optiz
Necklace, bangles, pants: gifts from Sal
Boots: Bronx
Cardigan: 5/48, via Saks Off Fifth

Thursday, October 4, 2012


This top was a birthday gift from my sister, and I really love its modern shape. It's quite unlike anything else in my closet, so I was surprised at how easy it was to style. It looks great without an over-layer as well, but the day was just too chilly to go sleeveless.

Wearing this outfit gave me an excuse to pull out these new boots again, which worked perfectly with the ponte knit pants. I'm very happy to see more moderate heel heights creeping back into the stores, because for awhile there all the cute styles came with towering  height. As much as I love a tall heel, it really isn't very practical for most days in downtown SF. Between the potholes, the cable car tracks, and the uneven pavement, walking in the city can be a hazard even in relatively low heels. These boots have proven to be both comfortable and stable when I'm dashing from the bus to the office, or going out to grab lunch.

Top: MM Couture
Cardigan: Max Studio
Pants: Club Monaco
Boots: See by Chloe

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Spencer is a lousy photo subject; he won't sit still and inevitably whatever cute thing he's doing that makes you reach for the camera is immediately ceased as soon as he figures out what you're up to. This one was the best of the bunch, and as you can see he had quickly gotten bored and figured he'd just take a break.

This was a weekend outfit; in fact, I wore it for my birthday brunch. I realized that day just what makes me so uncomfortable about maxi skirts: they just feel too breezy and casual for the office. I love wearing this skirt on a weekend, and I got loads of use out of it when I was vacationing in Aix-en-Provence, but at the office it feels awkward, not to mention the fact that I roll over the hem with my office chair. I think this one may just need to be relegated to my days off in order to get the full enjoyment of it.

It's been awhile since you've seen Spencer; he's fully grown now and weighs about 75 pounds. I'm sharing this photo just so you can appreciate how much larger he is than Georgie now, but it shows off one of Spencer's bad habits: yes, my dog is an incorrigible crotch-sniffer. It makes for a lot of embarrassment and apologies at the dog park.

Top: LA Made
Scarf: Rapsodia (Argentina)
Skirt: Anthropologie
Shoes: Cole Haan