"Feeling unique is a habit you shouldn't give up."

- Alberto Fermani

"Anyone can get all dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their off days that is the most intriguing."

-Alexander Wang


Pikolinos Does Maasai

During a shopping jaunt with my intern the other day, we came across these great shoes in Nordstrom by the brand Pikolinos. The shoes are made in Spain but then sent to Kenya where they are handbeaded by people of the Maasai tribe. The result is gorgeous, boho chic shoes that are insanely comfortable. I had never heard of the line before and thought it was new but the salesperson informed me they've had them for a while just never with the beading. Lo and behold, when I researched it a little, I discovered that Olivia Palermo is the brand ambassador for the Maasai Project and that this is the fourth collection. The Project enables women of the Maasai community to earn a salary that gives them greater access to food, medicine, and education while enabling them to hold on to a traditional way of life. Cool project, cool shoes.


Sometimes It Takes a BIG Message to Get the Point Across- Barbara Kruger at The Hirshorn

Barbara Kruger, Belief + Doubt Exhibit, The Hirshorn Museum
If I haven't mentioned it, I have the loveliest, smartest, sweetest intern working with me from T.C. Williams. Patience is a senior and graduates soon, after which she'll head to VCU for a major in fashion. I've been lucky to have her here even if for such a short time.

Besides the obvious work that I do regularly (closet consultations, photo shoots, personal shopping, and blogging) I wanted to make sure that I expressed to Patience other types of things I do in an effort to find inspiration and to make myself more knowledgeable. So today we headed into DC to check out a new exhibit at the National Archives called The Documerica Photography Project- Searching for the Seventies. It was fascinating and I can't wait to tell you more about it later. But we also popped into the Hirshorn (my fave) and came across an exhibit I hadn't been expecting and didn't know was there.(That's why you should always make a stop in the restroom because you never know what you'll find on the lower level of the museum.)

Barbara Kruger, a 60-something artist based in New York, transformed the area into a room full of messages, some funny, some powerful, some provocative but all a thought-inducing. She's well known for "I Shop Therefore I Am"- which you might think is my favorite, but isn't. I do, however, have a few. Topping the list- "Belief + Doubt = Sanity." I'm also a big fan of "Whose Power? Whose Values?" and, finally, as you make your way down the escalator, "Don't Look Down on Anyone."

Really, though, there's something for everyone. It might make you a little uncomfortable with all those giant letters in black, white, and red surrounding you and getting in your face. But a little uncomfortable is what keeps life interesting, right?


From Sweaters to Swelter

Saturday was so cool in Rehoboth Beach, DE that we didn't even hit the beach. Sunday we ventured out but at a brisk 70 degrees, my cover-up stayed decidedly ON. You can imagine how icy the water felt. But just a few short days later, temps are reaching the mid-90s and DC's characteristic summer humidity has set in. I'm not gonna lie. I LOVE it when the weather is like this. My friend Elizabeth (as in The Shoe Hive Elizabeth) calls me at least once in the beginning of every summer to say two things. The first is that she remembers the summer (probably 10 years ago now) that I called her and said, "The weather is so amazing today that I went outside and just twirled around!" This is unbelievable to her because the weather I was referring to was exactly like it was today. The second thing she says is- and this is a follow-up to the story I just told- "I hate summer." I guess we just have to agree to disagree. DC summers work for me.

Today my daughter Pearl snapped a picture of me with my phone in a characteristic summer outfit pour moi- a midi-length eyelet white dress, platform sandals, and big earrings. Big earrings replace my statement necklaces or bracelets in the heat to avoid sweating in them. Earrings are cooler. That's a fact. So bring it on summer! I'm ready and waiting.

Summer of 2013 with a Summer of '72 Vibe


Free To Be Me

I stopped blogging. I don't know exactly what my problem was but it had something to do with feeling uninspired. I was tired of trying to come up with interesting "content." But the other day, I had an epiphany. I have a point of view on style and fashion and, while that always influences what I'm posting about, I was working too hard to appeal to a lot of different people. I had forgotten to tell you about what really inspires me. Or at least what really brings me joy because it is beautiful. So I'm getting back to basics starting now.

The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia re-opened after a lengthy renovation. About 8 months ago, the family and I visited it and I found it to be really special. My favorite was the bust of  The Man with a Broken Nose. The message is not hard to decipher- Rodin found beauty in character, not just what was thought of as traditionally beautiful. It is a powerful, moving sculpture and I felt strongly connected to it. It also drove home the idea that the things that speak to me don't need anyone else's approval. I'm just free to be me!

The Man with a Broken Nose
Auguste Rodin



Paris is on my mind. If I had to describe one of the major driving mantras in my style ideology, it would be "try to look like you're not trying." I think this is what makes Parisienne women so chic. They can be dressed up or down but it looks completely natural.

I'm calling myself out by mentioning this but I have a minor obsession with all of the Real Housewives. Last week on the Beverly Hills version, the ladies were in Paris. A couple of them looked so ridiculously L.A., so over the top, so... wearing things that look like they are trying to be stylish, that they stuck out like sore thumbs in the City of Sophistication. Note to self, when visiting Paris, keep it simple.

I don't have plans to visit again any time soon but, if I were suddenly to be whisked away for a whirlwind long weekend (hint, hint), here is what I'd pack.

Weekend in Paris

Proenza Schouler striped sweater / Markus Lupfer / Isabel Marant / Current/Elliott / Isabel Marant printed pants / Rachel Zoe jersey skirt / Marc by Marc Jacobs leather pants / CO-OP Barneys New York platform booties / Isabel Marant low heels / Valextra bag / Chanel shoulder bag, $3,890 / Diane von Furstenberg color block handbag / Stackable ring / Alexis Bittar earrings / Alexis Bittar crystal stud earrings


Track Pants

A couple of years ago (4 seasons maybe?) I bought a pair of blush track pants by 3.1 Phillip Lim. The fabric is some kind of silky synthetic concoction so they are sturdier than silk but still have that look. The waistband is elastic. The legs taper at the ankle. They are, by all accounts, sweatpants made from fancier fabric. I have worn them too many times to keep track of but they have served me well for all different types of events. They've been paired with a sequin tank, tribal necklace, and fedora for a casual party, with a silk top and white tuxedo jacket for a cocktail party, and, just the other day, with an Isabel Marant vintage-inspired baseball tee and fitted denim jacket for day. It was in just this ensemble a couple of days ago that I realized how many people still have not taken the leap to trying out this silhouette. I had no fewer than 5 people stop me to tell me how much they liked them. I was amazed that people seemed to react as if they had never seen something like them because the style is everywhere in the stores. I myself have added 4 or 5 additional pairs in different colors and fabrics, the most recent being an amazing black leather version. So, if you haven't tried them yet, give it a shot. They're much more flattering- and comfortable- than you imagine.

Look at these ladies from LFW and see what I mean...
(Images from Vogue and Harpers Bazaar)


Leather Love

You might not think of leather as a typical Spring fabric but this season's versions are lightweight and buttery soft. While I know the thought of wearing it in a DC summer is ridiculous (I won't even wear cuff bracelets when the humidity makes it feel like 100 degrees), I think of the lighter version as a three-season kind of prospect rather than just Spring. So indulge now because the weather is perfect!

Leather Love

theyskens' theory leather tank / Alice + Olivia peplum tank, $570 / Vince jacket / Vince jacket / Helmut Lang / Helmut Lang slit skirt, $410 / A.L.C. / Proenza Schouler


Underwhelmed at Target- Again

Once again, there was lots of hype surrounding the Prabal Gurung for Target capsule collection. And once again, I'm underwhelmed. This time, I didn't even bother showing up on launch day. But, as I was in this morning shopping for last  minute chocolates for the kids, I stopped to take a peak.

The positives were this: a couple of the prints were quite lovely and there was a jersey print dress that I could almost get behind, save for the cheap looking skirt attached to the bottom. The shoe collection was fantastic especially a pair of painterly, single sole pumps and a black floral print open-toe bootie. I loved the shoes.

The negatives were the same that they usually are. The fabrics by and large look cheap. The dresses are cut for girls in their teens or twenties (and I don't mean they are too skimpy they just look like they belong on really young women), and the quality of craftsmanship reflects the inexpensive price tag.

Anyway, I don't know. Maybe it's time to pack in the designer capsule collections. Except for Missoni, they have been adequate at best. My advice would be to save your money and splurge on something special that you really love. Cue the disappointed "sigh."

** In the interest of accurate information, there are reports that this collaboration was a success for Target. Success or not, I didn't like it. I guess I'm in the minority.


White Shoes

Have you heard that white shoes are back for Spring? Specifically, white stiletto pumps with a single sole. (I also see lots of platform versions but I feel like they look a little too close to "dancer" heels, if ya know what I mean. I like a classic version.) Love it or hate it, it's happening so here are a few ideas for how to do it right.

White Shoes

H&M , $6.22 / Oasis striped shirt, $59 / American Eagle Outfitters sports t shirt / Equipment blouse / Miss Real faux fur coat, $39 / Topshop army jacket / Rebecca Taylor pleated skirt / J Brand low rise jeans / Love, Zooey pants, $175 / Topshop skinny fit jeans / Manolo Blahnik white shoes / Be & D studded bag / Gold handbag, $940 / Gold handbag / Adami & Martucci leather earrings / Earrings / DANNIJO collar necklace / DRKSHDW baseball hat


What We REALLY Want for Valentine's Day!

My Valentine's gift to you, ladies, is a gift guide for your lover made up of things you might truly want to celebrate that not-so-special day. But, hey, what am I saying? Any excuse to get a gift is okay by me. The following are some overtly Valentine'sy gifts that are chic enough to keep using day after day. You can thank me later.

Those crazy cool red shoes by Michael Kors are available at The Shoe Hive. Don't buy them from zappos!

What You Really Want for V Day


Spring To Do List

February 1. I woke this morning to a chilly, wet darkness outside my window. 15 minutes later big, fat flakes of snow had completely covered the grass and cars. But alas, we were not to have a snow day this day which is JUST FINE WITH ME BECAUSE I HATE WINTER!

Get me to Spring is all that's on my mind and so I've been putting together a little list of hopes, wishes, wants, and desires to freshen my closet for warmer weather. (This is purely a Spring list. Summer pieces are yet to come.) If you're looking for trends in this, let me point out just a couple. Relaxed chic, warm weather leather, yellow, floral, 70s inspired. But mostly this is just a list of things I like.

I showed you mine. Now you show me yours.



Time to Get Your Savings On!

Successful shoppers leaving OTBD Annual Warehouse Sale.
photo from www.oldtownboutiquedistrict.com

Hey party people! We all know it's sale season. For me this reads "boorrring." I get annoyed picking through picked over clothes. That said, if you find the right sale, it is like the greatest conquest ever. So, to help you skip the snoozers and hit the homeruns, here's just a short list of some of my fave sales right now.

1. THIS Saturday! Old Town Boutique District Annual Warehouse Sale at the Masonic Temple. Follow the link for details but let me tell you- there are some FAB local stores at this sale so you really need to be there if you can. Btw, wear leggings and a tank so you can try stuff on; there are no fitting rooms available.

2. Alice and Olivia. Talk about some serious discounts on some really great dresses! And there is still good variety in the sizes. Go now!

3.Shopbop.com. The sale is huge- up to 75% and the quantity is huge, too. I suggest searching by departments and/or level of discount to make perusing this easier. And a glass of wine.

4. Charm and Chain. Probably my favorite overall jewelry website for sheer quantity of available designers. Get ye to the sale quickly before you miss out. The Dannijo and Alexis Bittar is going fast.

bracelet by Alexis Bittar at www.charmandchain.com
was $450 now $315

Indigo dress by Alice and Olivia at www.aliceandolivia.com
was $440 now $110


Seeing Stripes

Photo by Fillmore Martin Photography
Courtesy of The Scout Guide

Stripes aren't going anywhere. At least not this Spring. If you think you've been there, done that, think again. These aren't the nautical stripe of yesteryear. These are bold, graphic STATEMENT stripes. Everyone from Balmain to Alice and Olivia to ASOS is offering this chic take on jailbird. And, for all you stripe-haters that think the look has been way too horizontal, give it another chance because these stripes have gone AWOL- and they look good!


Alice + Olivia dress / Dolce & Gabbana cotton sundress / Rouched dress / H&M short dress, $32 / Alice + Olivia beaded shirt / Long sleeve shirt / Bardot stripe blazer, $125 / TIBI / Marc by Marc Jacobs twill skirt, $395 / Alice + Olivia / Marc by Marc Jacobs marc jacob, $350 / MSGM , $285 / ASOS / Skinny leg jeans, $40 / Alice + Olivia leather pumps / Dune nude patent pumps, $79 / Edie Parker black and white handbag / Lulu Guinness black and white handbag


Partying with the President

The Inauguration balls are right around the corner. I sincerely hope you have your dress by now- after all, balls like these should not be taken for granted even if this is not your first trip to the rodeo. So, assuming the dress has been handled, let me ask the really important question. How will you accessorize?

I"m a big believer in dressing appropriately and, especially if you're attending an official ball, you should keep this in mind. But the way you can set yourself apart is with how you accessorize your look. Do something amazing with your jewelry, shoes, and bag. You might only break out the gown once a year (maybe less), but you're sure to be able to use the accessories again and again. Don't "save" your money in this department. The tiny, pave diamond studded half hoop earrings are not going to cut it. But jewelry doesn't have to be fine so go straight to the department store today with an open mind and start looking at the costume stuff. Also, some boutique jewelry stores will rent the real stuff to you for a night. This is your chance to wear a vintage piece or pieces that you could never afford in real life. (Check out Lawrence Miller and Co if you like this option.) When it gets down to it, your dress can be pretty plain Jane but, with the right accessories, will turn every head in the joint and have all those photogs asking, "Who's that?" And you won't even half to wear a midriff-baring red sari to do it.

Inauguration Jewelry

Maxi dress, $160 / Amrita Singh bangle bracelet / Forever New bangle bracelet, $26 / Noir Jewelry bib necklace, $335 / DANNIJO collar necklace / Cuff necklace / Alexis Bittar art deco jewelry / Oasis bracelets jewelry, $23 / Nina cuff bracelet / Amrita Singh chandelier earrings / Kate Spade statement necklace / Amrita Singh turquoise jewelry / Baccarat bangle bracelet / Alexis Bittar / Rachel Zoe jewelry / Suzanna Dai tear drop earrings / DANNIJO stud earrings / Belle Noel by Kim Kardashian stud earrings

Inauguration Shoes

Alexander McQueen high heel shoes, $1,010 / Pumps, $175 / RMK high heels, $74 / Nine West high heels / Nine West high heel pumps / Alejandro Ingelmo leather heels / Brian Atwood high heels / Ankle strap shoes


Ooooo! A Dress Up Party

I'm throwing a masquerade party with a couple of friends and so, as usual, I've become obsessed with the details. This week, my obsession is focused on the mask portion of the party; clearly, a HUGELY important part of a masquerade. You may be surprised to know that etsy has thousands of masks to choose from and some of them are truly magnificent. I can't tell you which one I chose (that must be saved until after the party) although I can say that it has a 20s flair as does my dress and jewelry. For your viewing pleasure- or in case you're heading to a masquerade or mardi gras party of your own- here are a few great ones I've found.



Awesome Outerwear

Last week, when I walked outside, I knew. We have officially moved into what is the real winter season of the DC area. You probably noticed it also. And so now we move into that time of year when your outerwear is at least as important as your under-wear. (hehe. I mean the clothes under your coat, not your actual underwear.) Some of you might wonder why even bother? But fear not! Here are a couple of options for your perusing pleasure that promise to keep you as interested in the outer as the under. Happy clicking!

Awesome Outerwear

Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren asymmetrical jacket, $390 / Rachel Zoe double breasted coat / Wallis gray coat / Padded jacket / Puffy vest / Calvin Klein feather coat / ASOS faux fur hat / Inverni wool hat, $175 / Kate Spade mitten glove / Levi's mitten glove / Rabbit fur glove, $110 / Valentino leather glove / DC Shoes , $34 / Juicy Couture / Dorothy Perkins leopard hat