Archive of ‘Closet Staples’ category

Spring Style Challenge: Off the Shoulder

off the shoulder | Two Take on Style

off the shoulder | Two Take on Style

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The off the shoulder look is hot, hot, hot and will only become more popular as we head into summer. I love this look for tops and dresses – so feminine and carefree, right?  Who wouldn’t love to wear one of these in hot weather?

Right, but probably only for women way younger than yours truly. I happen to think my shoulders are among my best features but I still think this look is often too bare for women of a certain age.  It is, in my opinion, a look for those who still have dewy skin, not sun-damaged skin.

On the other hand, there are degrees of bareness with the off-the-shoulder style.

TOO bare:

MUCH Better:

My bottom line is that everyone can take advantage of the cool “bare shoulder” trend and look gorgeous by following a few tips:

  1.  Stick to more conservative off the shoulder tops that bare only to the clavicle and expose the top of the shoulders; or
  2. Choose off-the-shoulder styles that are elasticized so that you can adjust the top to show less; or
  3. Look for beautiful halter tops or dresses that highlight the shoulders only.

Take a look at the following styles – perfect for any age and oh so cool in the warmer months!

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The Beloved Neon Green Ruffled Skirt

neon skirt | Two Take on Style

neon skirt | Two Take on Style

Banana Republic shirt (similar), J. Crew sweater (similar), J. Crew belt (similar), J. Crew shoes (similar), vintage brooch (similar)

If you follow our blog, then you’ve seen this skirt on me a number of times (here’s a similar color and similar style).  And, from what people tell me, once you’ve seen this skirt, you will never forget it!   I bought it on ASOS about two years ago; it was a mini-trend – scuba material, very large ruffle at the bottom of a pencil skirt.  I was hooked.  And it proved to be one of those wardrobe items I returned to again and again probably because I got so many compliments.

neon skirt | Two Take on Style

Target sweater (similar), belt via Shopbop (similar), Nina Originals shoes (similar)

I hope you have items like this in your closet – bright, unusual, instantly noticeable – because they are so good for the soul!  I mean, one can buy neutrals until “the cows come home”, but they’ll never give you the lift you get from one fabulous, outrageous dress or skirt.

black basics with color

What We Wore: Black Basics with Color

Case in point:  I had a wonderful Vivienne Tam midi tube dress until a few years ago. The fabric had a grid of Mao pictures – each one a spoof of the iconic Mao picture we’ve all seen (Mao with a bee on his nose, etc)  How I loved that dress!   It was very flattering and NEVER failed to get attention – especially from men.  Better than any perfectly-cut black or navy designer dress!

bright skirt | Two Take on Style

What We Wore: Bright Skirts

It is items like this that make fashion so much fun.  Any items on YOUR closet like that – and, if not, WHY not???

hot pink | Two Take on Style

What We Wore: Hot Pink

P.S. Saw this skirt in the J. Crew Fall 2016 lineup: not bright enough, certainly, but similar to my beloved neon ruffle skirt.

Shop statement midi skirts:

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My Style Challenge: Ghillies or Lace Up Flats

ghillies | Two Take on Style

ghillies | Two Take on Style

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First, I must get this out of the way:  apparently the term “ghillies” is also used for “Renaissance Faire” shoes (ugh) AND the name of a certain kind of three-dimensional camo outfit for hunters!  Now please put those images aside and concentrate on the ghillies that are so popular at the moment:  pumps or flats that lace up and/or tie at or above the ankle.  The term originally refers to soft flat dancing shoes. Here are a few particularly beautiful (and in all cases practically unwearable) examples:

ghillies | Two Take on Style

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Sigh.  Luckily now flat ghillies abound and are available in all price points.  Can you guess?  I love, love, love them! The flat versions are becoming quite popular – both as flats and sandals.  Some of you may say these are hard to wear unless your ankles and calves are perfect – or at least skinny – but I disagree.  They actually make the ankle look slimmer. I would personally avoid any versions that lace up past the mid calf but that’s just a reflection of my personal bias.  Take a look at the wonderful and affordable versions I’ve identified below – and start shopping for YOUR ghillies.

See my other style challenges here!

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My Style Challenge: Capes

capes | Two Take on Style

capes | Two Take on Style

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First of all, we are talking capes here – NOT ponchos or ruanas.  For some reason they all seem to get lumped together, maybe because there is some degree of practical difficulty in wearing all of them.  Back to CAPES though:  a cape has an opening that fastens in the front and has slits on the seams for one’s arms. For me they represent a style challenge. They’re everywhere, people:

Evening dresses with build-in capes! Where are her arms??

valentino cape | Two Take on Style

Jumpsuits with attached capes!  What an ordeal to go to the restroom!

kerrently cape | Two Take on Style

Why, you might ask, do I find them so vexing?  I’ll walk you through my pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Warmer than no coat at all
  • Often made of lovely wintery fabrics
  • Reminiscent of fairy tale royalty or Red Riding Hood
  • Useful to wear over bulky jackets and sweaters

Cons

  • BARELY warmer than no coat at all
  • Make it hard to carry a handbag crossbody or even on your shoulder
  • Fashion for fashion’s sake – kinda like 6 inch heels
  • No sleeves

OK, OK I’m a curmudgeon.  Capes just seem like impractical winter outerwear to me.  I CAN see the point of ponchos and ruanas – both are typically more flexible and warmer than a cape design.

There COULD be a few cute capes around – and I’m quite sure not everyone agrees with my personal assessment…

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Style Challenge: Over the Knee Boots

over the knee boots | Two Take on Style

over the knee boots | Two Take on Style

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Sigh.  I am SO loving over-the-knee-boots.  There, I’ve admitted it.  Now let’s talk about OTK boots for women of a certain age (WOACA according to AllWays in Fashion).  This is a tricky trend for us older fashionistas.  Here’s why:

  • Most of us don’t wear skirts far enough above our knees to show that we are wearing OTK boots.
  • OK, so then OTK boots look great with skinny jeans.  Many of us may wear skinny jeans but is that fact enough to justify purchasing a special pair of boots?
  • I worry that many of the retail website reviews of OTK boots talk about whether such boots fall down (like, you know, OTK socks!) or whether they are too tight for normal calves.
  • I’m not sure what’s left for WOACA or actually any typical woman over 25 years of age, but they are still SO cute.

It is hard for me to let go of a trend and thinking about how I can adapt it to my wardrobe.  I’ve even ordered a few inexpensive pairs (and returned them all).  This is, perhaps, a style I’ll leave to the young.  But just in case here are some fairly reasonable versions of this fashion trend.

Shop my picks:

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Fabric of the Week: Velvet and Velveteen

velvet | Two Take on Style

velvet | Two Take on Style1 / 2 / 3

We know the holiday season is upon us when we start dreaming about velvet and velveteen.  But these two are almost nothing alike.  Velvet is “a closely woven fabric of silk, cotton, or nylon that has a thick short pile on one side”.   Of course, it is also the “soft downy skin that covers a deer’s antler while it is growing”. (Frankly the latter stirs my heart more than the former.) Velveteen on the other hand is really just an imitation usually made of cotton.

Unfortunately velvet and velveteen remind some people of Elvira/goth or Victorian steampunk.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  Tell me you don’t think these looks are gorgeous, sumptuous and perfect for sparkly holiday gatherings.

velvet | Two Take on Style

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Back in the real world, take a look at these velvet and velveteen beauties:

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Cold Weather Style Challenge: Buying a Winter Coat

winter coats | Two Take on Style

winter coats | Two Take on Style1 / 2 / 3

Argh!  It’s that time – to go on the hunt for a chic, but still very warm winter coat.  Kate and I have different goals here.  Let’s be clear: I already have many coats – each one serving a different temperature gradient….and my mood.  I’m always looking ahead to the next style and the latest sale.  Kate is considering replacing one out of her collection of coats – it’s always fun to add something new!  She doesn’t need the heaviest coat, but she is looking for style and color.

My dream coat:

Yes I want to be Victoria Beckham.

Victoria Beckham winter coat

Kim does have some great coats:

Kim Kardashian winter coat

Kate’s dream coat:

Bright – check; 3/4 length – check:

Extra Petite winter coat

Love these details!

Olivia Palermo winter coat

But back to reality.  Check out some more realistic choices below.  My criteria: on sale or priced like it is on sale; full length preferably, a collar preferably.  Kate’s criteria:  Color or interesting details, probably 3/4 length, style.

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Print of the Week: Tweed

tweed | Two Take on Style

tweed

Tweed is having a moment.  Maybe it is because we are thinking autumn leaves, chilly days and football games.

There is no question that tweed is a quintessential fall/winter fabric and it does have a distinctive print of its own.  Traditionally tweed is defined as a “coarse wool cloth in a variety of weaves and colors, either hand-spun and handwoven in Scotland or reproduced, often by machine,elsewhere”.  

Tweed has had a certain pipe-smoking, traditional reputation, but it is coming back – part of the move back to beautifully fitted wide legged pants.  Look at these gorgeous examples!

tweed | Two Take on Style1 / 2 / 3

Here are some items I love to add tweed to your Fall/Winter wardrobe:

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What I Want Wednesday

red shoes | Two Take on Style

I’m trying very hard to pare down my wardrobe (more about that soon) but there are definitely a few things I want for fall and winter.

Red Pumps:  I always want to have red suede heels for my winter wardrobe.  One can only wear black, brown and navy for so long – a little vibrant color is a necessity!  My search for red pumps used to be easy – high heels, a few trendy details and I was happy. Unfortunately I can no longer wear heels over 3″ — any shoes have to be comfortable on my older, bonier feet. Plus there is the issue of finding the RIGHT red, not too maroon nor too orange.

So while THESE red shoes are to die for:

red shoes | Two Take on Style1 / 2 / 3

I won’t be buying or wearing them!

Here are a few pairs I am considering:

 

Then there is my search for an “interesting” but well-priced sweater, probably a pullover but could be a cardigan.  There are so many sweaters around and they, by and large, are boring. I want something *interesting*! Let’s see – what would I call interesting?  Maybe fringe but not hanging off the bottom of the sweater, a bright and interesting pattern, a highly unusual sweater that I’ll find on sale because nobody else wants it!

Here are a few examples:

interesting sweaters | Two Take on Style1 / 2 / 3

But seriously, here are a few I am eyeing:

What are you eyeing for fall and winter?

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Print of the Week: Space-Dye

spacedye | Two Take on Style

spacedye | Two Take on Style

I have been fascinated with space-dyed apparel for a while now and I’ve been curious about what “space dyeing” really meant. It’s something I have associated with cotton casual wear, but that’s only one of many ways this yarn design is used.

Let’s start with a definition of “space dyeing” since you may not know much about it either! According to Fabric Link, it is “a term that defines the dyeing process in which multiple colors are applied along a length of yarn (usually a continuous filament strand) at intervals.”  Yeah, real clear to me too!  Think Anthropologie and Missoni – lots of space dyed clothes there!

No matter, it is the fashion dimension I’m interested in.  I own space dyed exercise pants and a great Loft maxi skirt.  Look at a few of these beautiful examples of space dyeing

spacedye | Two Take on Style1 / 2 / 3

So have I whetted your appetite at all?  If not, take a look at these great season spanning options!

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