Archive of ‘Closet Staples’ category

Fall 2016 Style Challenge: Ruffles

ruffles

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SO ruffles are simply not my “thing”.   To me they conjure up fussy ultra feminine outfits. They seem only flattering for super-skinny women who can tolerate extra volume in their fashion silhouettes.  I am trying to think of a time I bought a ruffled garment and I cannot think of a single example – I hate ruffled hems (prairie look), ruffled skirts (really who needs the volume?) and ruffled blouses (even ruffled cuffs – they inevitably get dragged through your food, right?).  And I’m sorry, but for women of a certain age, ruffles make me think of Miss Marple – demure, virginal, needlepoint-adjacent.  Ugh.

Perhaps my aversion to ruffles is a generational thing.  However, I never even wore hippie ruffles in the 70’s and, even though I wore little smocked dresses as a child, there were never ruffles involved.   No, I think ruffles have simply NEVER been a part of my style profile.

But ruffles are “in” this year and I feel a little guilty that I cannot partake of this style somehow.  So I’ve found a few examples of ruffled styles that I could adopt – for the sake of fashion of course!

Do you like ruffles?  Tell me why – tell me how!  I’d love to hear your perspective!

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Birthdays and Corset Belts

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I celebrated a birthday recently.  I have to say that mostly I tried to ignore it – telling people that I was celebrating the fact that I was born, not how many years I’d been on this earth.   But truthfully, in a new town, I didn’t have to worry about too many people bothering me about it.  My daughter Kate gave me several thoughtful gifts as did my husband (who is traditionally thwarted by the fact that if I want something, I buy it myself!)  It was a good day; I helped Kate with darling grandson for a few hours and then exercised to my heart’s content; dinner with said husband was low key….and then it was, whew, the day after my birthday.

Look –  I’m doing very well health wise  – medical personnel are surprised to discover that I have a Medicare card – and I live a good life.  Aside from the niggling issue of what I will do with my retirement, I am pretty content…except when I think about how old I am and how fragile we all are at this age.  So I think low key birthdays will be the way to go in the future – maybe I can find someone else with the same birthday and then I’ll make a fuss over them and draw all the attention away from myself!

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And…onto corset belts!  I have always loved a very wide belt.  I think a corset belt can make a full dress or pleated wide trousers look especially chic.  But then my figure is such that a wide belt creates the illusion that I have a small(er) waist, so there’s that.  Here are a few examples of when I’ve used a corset belt in the past:

Mixed-Pattern Shirt Dress | Two Take on Style

leather skirt and animal print shoes | Two Take on Style

Culottes and Gaultier Turtleneck | Two Take on Style

The good news is that corset belts are back in the fashion headlines this fall since they featured prominently in the Prada A/W 16 line.  In other words, they appeared on the runway last spring so we would all wear them this fall (hard to keep this couture calendar straight, isn’t it?).   Of course, corset belts have always been a feature in renaissance fair and dominatrix fashion and perhaps they gained favor through the Kardashian waist cinching movement this past year.  But who cares why?  I am just happy they are back.  If you’ve never tried one, you should give this fashion accessory a try!

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Packing for Six Weeks in Hot Weather

hot weather

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Well, first let me say that I’ll never look like any of these women in hot weather.

I’ll be spending five or six weeks between Washington, DC and Knoxville, TN this month and next.  I grew up in the humid hot muck that is the east coast in summer so I am not a newbie. But I haven’t been in that weather for an extended period since the days when I wore lots of shorts, sleeveless tops, and cute little sundresses.

I’ve been developing the criteria for my hot-weather wardrobe knowing that I have to fit everything into a 22″ roller bag and a smaller carry-on bag and my trip won’t involve any “dress up” occasions.   I, of course, want to take all my favorite cute clothes but there is no way I’ll be able to do that.  Here are my guidelines:

  •  Four pairs of comfortable pants – no tight skinny jeans which will just be too hot.  But here I’m talking chinos like these:

  • One pair of cropped flared jeans and one pair of denim midi culottes so I can get my “trendy” on.
  • Six tees – two long sleeved (good for wearing over exercise clothes to gym) – given my proclivities these will probably be striped or white.
  • Two dressier tops – I just bought this, for example:

  • One button front midi dress or a long vest – I can wear the former as a dress, a tunic over pants, and as a duster.
  • One skirt – probably my Shoptiques version of this one because I love it so much and it screams summer:

  • One long sleeved crisp white shirt
  • Outerwear – my light apple green Eileen Fisher anorak
  • Two sweaters – undecided here but one will be black
  • Three sets of exercise clothes

I cannot even think about shoes (could take up 50% of my available space!), jewelry, or other accessories – I’ll report back on that next week!   What have I missed here?  What tips do you have for hot weather packing?

Check out these beautiful on-sale hot weather clothes from Banana Republic and H&M!

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Linking up with What I Wore, Summer StyleFashion Friday, Visible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilike, Shoe and Tell, Style Sessions, Sydney Fashion Hunter.

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Updated Closet Staples: The Essential Black Pants

essential black pants | Two Take on Style

essential black pants | Two Take on Style

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We addressed this topic early in the life of our blog and it seems like the right moment for an update.

First I must confess that it would be impossible for me to have a single pair of black pants – I mean, there are the perfect black JEANS, then the perfect black TROUSERS, and also the perfect black dress up PANTS.  Then there are four seasons and different climates and it goes on and on.  For the current season, I have four pairs of black pants I rely upon.

But I only have one pair of what I call the truly “perfect” black trousers.  Their characteristics:

  • The perfect shape – in my case these are narrow, but not too skinny, ankle pants. In general it is important that they are stylish but not TOO trendy.
  • The perfect fabric – For me, this is always wool crepe which can be worn three seasons a year, at least.  Wool crepe, if it is good, holds its shape and easily drops any wrinkles.  But your taste may be different; the best rule of thumb: know your fabric and how it wears and washes.
  • The perfect fit – I can get this with certain pants right off the rack, but you may need alterations.  Don’t shortchange this step – you want your essential black pants to look chic every time you wear them.
  • The perfect price – for me, this ends up being $150-$200 on sale in order to get all the characteristics I’m seeking.  Decide ahead of time on your price point.

Below are some black pants that have the potential to be perfect – and at a reasonable price!. Check them out!

See a few ways I’ve styled my black pants recently:

orange and olive | Two Take on Style

long layers | two take on style

patterned jackets | Two Take on Style

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Style Challenge: White Heels

white heels

white heels

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Well, I’m going back on my word.  If you read our post from a few years ago,  I pretty clearly said I’d probably never wear white heels.

Now I’ve changed my mind.  I WANT white heels.  To be honest, I want white heels that are like the ones the cool girls are wearing – even slightly older cool girls like Style Nudge!  They look wonderful with white, of course, but also with everything else – khakis, faded denim, etc. However, I cannot see myself in white pumps with four inch heels as much as I love the look.

So I’m looking for white heels that convey the same coolness at a slightly lower heel height. Here are some of the beauties I’ve found and you should thank me for finding these – one must comb through a lot of wedding shoes to get to the good stuff!

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Rainy Day Style

rainy day wear | Two Take on Style

rainy day wear | Two Take on Style

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Yes, it is the season – even out here in California where the rain has continued way past its expiration date (not complaining since we have a drought!).   What ARE the latest trends in rainwear?

We are supposed to think that knee high Hunter boots are the answer.  I have a confession:  Hunters don’t provide much support and they make my calves sweat!  At the same time, they are cute, so what is a girl to do?  There are lots of solutions here, but my favorite is to wear mid calf or ankle boots that look like moto boots.

Turning to raincoats.  I am very picky.  My raincoat has to be stylish or I am simply not wearing it.  Trench coats?  Do they REALLY keep us dry?  Patent leather with a hood?  That’s better.  Great jacket with a big collar that hides a hood?  The very best in my opinion.  What works for you?

Finally umbrellas and hats.  Personally, the umbrella is a better solution for me. but I typically buy a Target umbrella and use it until it falls apart.  I used to always have a Burberry umbrella:  cute and maybe a bit too predictable.  But there are lots of fabulous options here that can clearly demonstrate to the world who you are and what you stand for.

Unhappily, I look pretty awful in hats.  But there are wonderful rain hats around and all of you who look fabulous in hats should consider them.

Bottom line:  you can look just as chic as you do on a dry day when it is raining and blowing. Check out Shopstyle for more ideas.

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What Do You Wear to Bed?

pyjamas | Two Take on Style

pyjamas | Two Take on Style

Weird topic, right?  I’m not even sure this qualifies as a fashion or style topic.  I mean, after all, do we actually go out to purchase sleepwear in today’s world?  Back in the 20th century, I used to keep my eyes open for good-looking bathrobes or matching gowns and robes but then motherhood and life took over.  I even had a few long Lanz flannel nightgowns (anyone near my age will remember those) back in the day.

But today sleepwear style has changed a lot unless one is a member of the extremely glamorous maribou-slipper set.  It’s all about pajama pants, men’s boxers, tees, and warm-as-toast fleece robes or sweatshirts! From my perspective these days, silky gowns and matching robes look anything but comfortable and warm.  Kate rolls her eyes at my leopard print fleece robe, but some things are sacred!

So what do you wear to bed?  Do you wear leftover slogan tees with your favorite boxers or are you still wearing actual nightgowns and pajamas?  Here are some cute selections I’ve spotted in recent days!

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Spring Trends as We See Them

Kate and I both have very nuanced views of the spring fashion trends this year – me because I am about to re-retire and Kate because she is pregnant.  But we can both still spot a few of the trends for spring and summer 2016!

I’ll start:

Embroidered/boho dresses, tops, and details:  As you already know, I was trying out this trend a few weeks ago when I was searching for an age-appropriate boho dress.  Boho details are everywhere:  in fabrics that look like my college bedspreads and fanciful embroidery and beading.  The trick here, in my opinion, is to obviously find ways to incorporate the styling so it suits each of us.  I fully embrace the details:  fabulous chandelier earrings, embroidered casual dress, maybe a bit of beading.

Wide-Legged Pants:  I used to have a number of these voluminous trousers – the last few times this style was “in”!  They are gorgeous, floaty, and make our waists look smaller.  I bought one pair for this spring and it was almost a sentimental acquisition because this is not a look I’ll be wearing much after retirement!   Well maybe if I dress up in the evening… If YOU want a pair, just remember to watch your step.  I have taken a face plant several times when my heel caught in my voluminous wide-legged pants.  Oh, and consider jeans as a way to follow this trend – high waist, wide legged jean – very chic.

Hi, it’s Kate.  To tell you the truth, I am barely paying attention to fashion this spring – unless it comes in maternity sizes and is cheap! But I see a few trends I like (that are basically standbys at this point) that have made it through my pregnancy brain.

White Sneakers:  With everything!  And since I can still rely on shoes to fit, I’ve invested in a new pair for spring. Crisp white sneaks dress down a dress, and add a preppy touch to an edgy outfit. And I can’t complain about comfortable shoes being in. If you have a pregnant friend who hasn’t adopted this trend, clue them in pronto!

Striped t-shirts:  You, me, and Audrey Hepburn.  I have a black and white striped tee that I will be wearing until my due date.  Seriously, Breton striped shirts are hot this year (as every year) and you should get at least one, if you haven’t already.  Maybe they look a little (or a lot) preppy, but they also look fresh and go with almost everything – think pattern-mixing, white jeans, layered over a button up shirt.

What spring trends are YOU watching?

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Spring Style: Metallic Flats

I love me a metallic shoe and, although I do have silver heels, I am especially partial to metallic flat shoes.  I bought some wonderful silver brogues at Zara two years ago.  So great to wear with distressed jeans or plaid skinny pants. I also have a pair of gold ankle strap flat sandals that I love. The brogues have finally bitten the dust and I am on the lookout again for flat metallic shoes!  I could go for silver, gold or even pewter and of course there are a number of styles to consider.

Metallic Brogues – available in many different designs.  Here are a few.

Metallic Flats – so beautiful!

Metallic Sandals

Metallic Loafers

Here are a few more affordable beauties.  Remember that metallics go with every color!

 

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My Style Challenge: Finding Age-Appropriate Boho Dresses

boho dresses

boho dresses

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Since last fall, I’ve been lusting after a great boho dress of midi or maxi length and not many ruffles or other details.  I envision myself wearing this look with books and a moto jacket or a wide belt in cooler weather and with sandals in the summer.  Of course in my DREAMS, I’m running across a flower-strewn field barefoot with my long hair blowing in the wind.  But back to reality.

The reality is that it is not easy to find such a dress that is really age appropriate, or at least one I’d be willing to wear.  Again my criteria:  sleeves, no prairie ruffles, midi or maxi length, not sheer, modest neckline and somewhat flattering.  I’ve perused Zara (where this season’s fashion is designed to look good only on Kendall Jenner!), Free People (the home of boho, right?), Urban Outfitters (second home of boho), ModCloth, and, finally, Nordstrom (because they have everything current just designed for normal people…).  What did I find?

  • Many boho dresses have a surfeit of hanging ties, fringe and the like
  • There are a lot of elastic waists and designs that are muu muu like
  • Most are still short – even mini length
  • Many have deep v necklines
  • Finding a really pretty print is not easy
  • These dresses often don’t come cheap

To be fair, I did find a handful that I would consider and maybe those odds aren’t bad in today’s fashion marketplace.  See if you like any of my finds!

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