White Hot American Summer


Nothing is more chic in the summer than crisp white. Accessorize with a fresh tan.

[Clockwise from top left]

Take Me to the Trellis Headband, $40 Modcloth | Lace Crop Cami, $36 Top Shop

Original Wayfarer, $155 Ray-Ban | Hanna Flatform Sandals, $64 Top Shop

Mila Short, $154 Rag & Bone |Baseball Hat, $15 FEED for Target

 Tennis Racket Cover, £178 Harrod’s | Strappy Dress, $70 ZARA


Holiday Party Perfect

It’s the home stretch! After weeks of egg nog and Christmas cookies there’s just one last round of holiday parties before NYE. Then we all can resume lazy weekends on the couch in front the warm glow of the television. But before you resolve to wearing your stretchy post-holiday sweatpants (we all have them), close out 2012 with a stylish bang in this season’s biggest trends. Have fun over the holidays in velvet, metallics, peplums, and the season’s staple, sequins.

Holiday Party Perfect

[Clockwise from top left]

1. Pair a peplum top with a pencil skirt or chic skinny trousers for an unexpected alternative to the tried and true party dress. Topshop, $36

2. Make a statement in short-shorts at your next shindig. These burgundy velvet shorts are perfect for the holiday party scene with your favorite tights and heels. Topshop, $64

3. Shine in a dress with a bold metallic pattern like this velvet skater dress with gold glitter stars. Topshop, $92

4. Ditch last year’s statement necklace and try a bold collar instead. ASOS, $26

5. Throw on a chic black 3/4 sleeve peplum, Oasis, $46

6. Go for the gold in this sequin mini with a scalloped hem line. Rachel Gilbert, $478

7. Black sequin shorts won’t fly in June so wear them now while you can. Karl, $75

8. Polish off your outfit with this gold sequin doily-like lace collar. Cara Accessories,$34

9. If you’re not already wearing enough gold, slip on gold heeled pumps. Kate Spade, $208

Gifts That Pay it (Fashion) Forward

This holiday season check out these online stores whose goods do good. In the spirit of giving, gift friends and loved ones with trendy apparel and accessories that do double duty as a charitable contribution. I’m willing to bet you can find something for just about everyone on your list at one of these retailers. When you’re done with them, pick something out for yourself. Then kick back with a cocoa and applaud yourself for finding presents that spread the most good.

Out of Print Clothing celebrates one of the most underrated art forms, book cover art. Their t-shirts, crew neck sweatshirts, and accessories feature original art from the covers of high school English class standards and childhood favorites. For each item purchased, Out of Print donates one book to a community in need through its partner charity, Books For Africa. With such reasonable prices ($28 for a t-shirt or $42 for a sweatshirt) and so many literary favorites to choose from, doing good through Out of Print is a no-brainer.

Sevenly brings shoppers new designs for a new charity each week. Their mission is to address the lack of awareness, funding, and following for the thousands of charities around the world. In the past its awesome designs have benefitted Autism Speaks, Hands for Africa and National Breast Cancer Foundation among other worthy charities. Sevenly prints their art gallery worthy designs on a wide variety of trendy products ranging from cropped tanks to off-the shoulder tops and since $7 from each top purchased goes straight to a deserving organization, a spontaneous lunch break shopping spree won’t leave you feeling too guilty.

Pay a visit to Pura Vida Bracelets and in no time at all your wrists will be decked in beautiful, handmade jewelry. The site sells braided and beaded beauties as well as trendy gold bar bracelets. The company has been able to create full-time jobs in Costa Rica, where a largely tourism based economy has made it difficult for craftsmen and craftswomen to make ends meet. Additionally, the company, started by two So Cal pals, donates 1% of proceeds to The Surfrider Foundation to help keep the world’s beaches and oceans clean. At $5-$20 per bracelet, these fun pieces make awesome stocking stuffers or a great little gift for a pal.

For the dapper dudes on your holiday list, look no further than Apolis. The men’s outfitter sells outerwear, knits, and accessories made by manufacturers in needy communities worldwide. Apolis, which translates to “global citizen,” creates jobs and equips entrepreneurs through opportunity. They call their model “advocacy through industry.” Every time you purchase a product you help sustain the work of men and women in third world countries. The stylish apparel and accessories are pricey, but would make any guy with good fashion sense a happy camper.

Rock Your Socks

Socks are all too often regarded as undergarments. It’s true that they are a practical article of clothing; they are hygienic and comfortable. But there is so much more to them than Hanes bonus packs. There lies an untapped potential for great accessorizing!

As early as the 8th century BC, ancient peoples wore primitive versions of the foot-huggers for warmth. They were made of animal skins and matted furs and had to be tied up around their ankles, but they had they right idea. Centuries later, nobility were wearing colorful knit, silk, wool, and velvet socks to accentuate their sexy calves (Louis XIV knew how to work it) and their wealth. When nylon became widely available in the 20th century the sock as we know it came to be. Well sort of. Mostly they came in solid colors or stale patterns and people seldom gave them the respect they deserve.

Today, we’re in the midst of a sock renaissance. The once underrated pieces of clothing can be found in just about any style/color/pattern/material fathomable. Instead of hiding your socks under your jeans or shamefully tucking them into boots, have pride in the pairs you sport. Unique socks can amp up an outfit as much as any statement necklace.

This season accessorize below your knees. Be on the lookout for frilly boot socks, cozy neon camp socks, dainty patterns, or knit thigh highs and pick up a pair that suits your fancy. Your feet do great things, reward them with trendy socks.

1. Metallic Cuff Thigh-High Sock – $14
2. Summer Sweater Over-The-Knee Sock – $14
3. Marled Stripe Over-The-Knee Sock – $14

1 & 2. Corgi™ Cashmere Colorblock Socks – $88
3. Bow Trouser Socks – $13

1. Hot Sox ‘regimental’ Metallic Over The Knee Socks – $15
2. Make + Model ‘color Twist’ Lounge Socks – $18
3. Nordstrom ‘sparkle’ Trouser Socks – $7

Finally, a shout out to Bob whose affinity for sock culture inspired this week’s post! Happy birthday!!

Stay Warm in Statement Coats

It has been unseasonably warm in Des Moines the past few days. I won’t complain; I know biting cold winds and freezing precipitation are in the weather forecasts of my near future. Every time I imagine trekking across campus to classes in the snow, the great “I can’t put my arms down!” scene from “A Christmas Story” comes to mind. Little Randy’s puffy red coat might have kept him warm, but it also rendered him immobile.

Instead of a thick, uncomfortable ski coat this winter, consider one of the season’s more exciting statement coats. They’ll keep you just as warm, but are more flattering and make a dramatic impact. Look for dynamic details, a bold color, or  a trendy pattern and you’ll rock the salted sidewalks like a runway. Style aside, you’ll have an easy time finding your coat in a pile of black wool jackets at holiday parties this year. Sold yet?

DETAILS: Hunt for faux-fur, dramatic collars, mixed textures or unique closures. The berry colored coat above, $130 from Miss Selfridge, features a fun full peplum skirt and military-esque epaulets.

COLOR: When the snow gets dirty and everything in sight is a shade of gray, throw on a brightly hued coat to stand out. A traditional cut looks contemporary, not stuffy, in a trendy color like this shade of yellow. The mohair and wool jacket by Just in Case could keep you warm in even the harshest winter weather.

PATTERN: A patterned coat will set you apart in a sea of typical black and gray pea coats. This season you can find everything from stripes and floral to the Rebecca Taylor ombre leopard print coat above. If you are looking for a more versatile pattern you can’t go wrong with classic houndstooth or tweed, both of which are in abundance this winter.

Finally, for kicks…

Halloween Costumes You’ll Want to Wear Again

Halloween has crept up on us yet again. Funny how it seems to do that every single year. The holiday connotes scary movie marathons on networks we don’t watch on any other occasion, socially acceptable candy fueled sugar comas, and the most cherished custom of all: costumes! The time honored tradition, albeit fun, can bring on much unwanted stress. With just days left before the big night, Halloween superstores and Walmart costume aisles have long been cleared out. Save yourself the trauma of fighting over the last pirate queen costume with another frazzled procrastinator and instead hit the mall, or better yet your wardrobe. Truth is, you’ll never again wear a store bought costume out of those plastic bags, but with a little creativity you can turn current trends into unique costumes. If you’re going to spend money on a costume it might as well be worth the space in your closet after October 31st.

Here are three costumes any woman would be happy to hang on to.

“Mad Woman” Joan Harris

1. A printed, wide neck top. Aim for something mod like this black and white J. Crew top. It’s sequined! You could also use a solid blouse with a ruffle or bow detail around the collar.

2. A curve hugging tweed pencil skirt. This orange one is a fun alternative to ordinary gray or black.

3. Accessorize with a vintage brooch and cat eye frames.

4. Finish the costume off with a pair of loafer pumps. I like these purple YSL beauties.

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