Archive of ‘Closet Staples’ category

My Style Challenge Summer ’15: Off-the-Shoulder Blouses

off the shoulder | Two Take on Style

 off the shoulder | Two Take on Style
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This is my final style challenge of the summer and perhaps it is one that I shouldn’t even be considering.  Among the good features that I (still!) like to play up are my shoulders.  So naturally I adore the off-the-shoulder blouses that abound this summer.   But…

Unfortunately I think this style fits into the category of items I could still wear, but shouldn’t.  It is an inherently young look — in the same category as miniskirts and crop tops.  And then there are the off the shoulder tops that are crop tops! NOOOOOOO!

off the shoulder | Two Take on Style

I don’t want to “dress my age” necessarily, but I also need to know where to draw the line. Yes, my shoulders look pretty good, but that doesn’t mean I’ll look good in a style that basically bares the upper third of my torso. So I’m giving up on this one – and just in time since it is almost Labor Day!

There are some modifications/variations of the off-the-shoulder top that we all might consider however – the one shoulder look, a top with strategic arm and shoulder cutouts and an exaggerated boat neck which bares the very top of the shoulder.  Take a look at these!

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Linking up with Sophisticated Style, What I Wore, Summer Style, Fashion Friday.

Clothes From the 70’s – Really?

70s style | Two Take on Style

70s style | Two Take on Style

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If you’ve looked at any fall fashion in the latest fashion and style magazines and you have any memories of the 60’s and 70’s, it surely felt like deja vu all over again!  My heart actually sank when I began to peruse fall fashion.  I had been holding my breath, hoping that bell bottoms, high-waisted jeans, headbands, fringe (yeah, you know what I think about that!), ribbed turtlenecks, long uncombed hair and the like would slip right on by without become a “thing”. But, sigh, I was wrong and this stuff is everywhere!

Not all memories are bad.  I had a darling peach suede miniskirt that I adored AND lots of silky long sleeved blouses – and scarves galore.  I  made myself a pair of neon green hot pants and wore them to meet my future in-laws at the San Francisco Airport.  But I cannot go through it again!!  Can you?

However, I believe one can always find something pretty and flattering in every fashion trend. So here are my thoughts on the current 70’s trend:

  • Flared jeans, if not bell bottoms, can be very flattering since they balance out a broader hip area.
  • I actually am a fan of long sweater coats — they are a wonderful alternative to jackets and add some drama to any outfit.
  • Present-day faux versions of suede and leather look pretty darn good – just pick a classic shape that you’ll wear when the trend dies.
  • Ponchos (without fringe) are trendy and practical, and showing up everywhere again this year.
  • And ribbed turtlenecks CAN be flattering with today’s shapewear underneath!

Here are some 70’s-influenced looks that could look modern and chic on fashionistas of every age:

 

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Finding the Perfect Black Shoes for Travel

black travel shoes | Two Take on Style

black travel shoes | Two Take on Style

My husband and I are going on a vacation in a few short weeks — not a “sunning in a lawn chair” vacay, but one with a lot of tromping around on quaint Northern European streets. Every trip like this sends me into a paradox of shoe shopping.  I mean, it’s easy for my husband: one pair of urban hiking shoes, a pair of Vans and a pair of casual leather slip-ons and he’s ready to go.

For me, it is not so simple. Because I want the perfect pair of black flats to wear on the trip and I have a strict set of criteria:

  1. They must be chic.
  2. They must be extremely comfortable; not sandals (too cool) and probably not boots.
  3. They must be chic.
  4. They cannot be traditional “older woman” walking shoes.
  5. They must be chic.

This is not an easy task.  Oh, and I also hope to complete this task online and at a reasonable price.  What’s a girl to do?

So I have turned to Nordstrom.  Their shoe buyers do seem to get the idea that comfort and chicness can go together without going to Dr. Scholl’s. I had hoped I could model my options for you, but unfortunately none of my selections have arrived yet.  I do promise to show you my choice when I pack for my 14-day journey.  Fingers crossed and here are the options I’ve been considering:

And one from Garnet Hill:

Kenneth Cole King Slip-On Sneakers | Two Take on Style

Which do YOU think will win the Black Shoe Vacation Sweepstakes???

In the meantime, check out a post I wrote about traveling in style when I went to Thailand 2 years ago.

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Linking up with What I Wore, Summer Style, Sophisticated Style.

My Style Challenge Summer 2015: Jumpsuits and Rompers

jumpsuit | Two Take on Style

jumpsuit | Two Take on Style

Don’t she look chic in her jumpsuit?

I was all over the jumpsuit/rompers trend when they first came out. I bought three of them and you’ve seen them here:  a Zara olive green from last summer, a khaki number from H&M that cost $30 and a chambray version from Loft that I got on eBay.  I was happy, proud even that I had mastered the jumpsuit trend.

Then I wore my jumpsuits…and I learned what a fashion disaster they really were!  Just try to run quickly to the ladies room! Sporty jumpsuits (the kind I have) require sporty accessories – wide belts, scarves, you name it.  It took ten minutes to undress and redress in the ladies room.  This is impractical fashion!  I’ll wear mine again but not without gritting my teeth every time I must take a bathroom break.  And, I’ll add, jumpsuits and rompers have to be perfectly proportioned to be comfortable; otherwise you will feel like you are being cut in half.

Jumpsuits are certainly age-appropriate but be warned:  there is extra work involved!!! You might want to focus on strapless versions with the fewest fasteners and buttons.  However rompers, in my opinion, are a non-starter – barely appropriate for anyone beyond the toddler age – usually too short overall or in the crotch.  If you MUST wear a romper, test it before you buy – is the leg too wide to be modest?  Can you bend over without showing half your lady bits?

OK, OK, I admit that there are a lot of cute jumpsuits and rompers around (not surprising, right?).  Here are a few for you to peruse.  Just remember forewarned is forearmed!

See how I’ve worn jumpsuits:

jumpsuit | Two Take on Style

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Linking up with Fashion Friday, What I Wore, Summer Style.

Print of the Week: Toile de Jouy

toile | Two Take on Style

toile | Two Take on Style

This is one of my favorite fabrics – whether used for interior decoration or clothing decoration.

Let’s go to Wikipedia for a good definition: “Toile de Jouy”, sometimes abbreviated to simply “Toile”, is a type of decorating pattern consisting of a white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme such as a couple having a picnic by a lake or an arrangement of flowers. The term, Toile de Jouy, originated in France in the late 18th century. In the French language, the phrase literally means “cloth from Jouy-en-Josas”, a town in the south-west suburbs of Paris.  There you have it!

Putting aside the fact that I once had a bedroom where the wallpaper, bed linens, AND curtains were all the same black and white Toile, I am weak in the knees every time I see Toile clothing.  To be fair, its hard to find and most often seen in couture gowns if at all.  Here are a few of my favorites at the moment:

toile | Two Take on Style

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But there are wonderful items out there in Toile de Jouy.  Do check them out because Toile looks particularly dreamy in the summer!

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My Summer 2015 Style Challenge: Fringe

fringe | Two Take on Style

fringe | Two Take on Style

Let me be perfectly clear:  I have NEVER liked fringe.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons I was never even on the “fringe” of hippiedom.  It always looks to me like a little Davy Crockett, Roaring 20’s and 1960’s protest to me.  But this past spring, I was briefly seduced by a simple black sleeveless top with 3 inches of silky fringe at the bottom.  I mean it was J. Crew for Pete’s sake!  Darling, I thought, with boyfriend jeans or a pencil skirt or with a simple white tee underneath.  Since then I have pulled it out of my closet AT LEAST ten times and I have worn it exactly 0 times.  Why, you ask?

1.  Fringe does not lend itself to a shapely silhouette – unless you want to wear a fringed pencil skirt (I can barely type that because it sounds so awful)

2.  Fringe rarely adds anything to the item it decorates – sandals, boots, handbags, scarves ( except maybe the wool scarf you wore last winter), kimonos, suede jackets, earrings.  It gets tangled, dirty, etc.  And tying beads at the end of the fringe does NOT help!

3.  99.9% of the time fringe looks, well, cheap.  I’ve seen a very few couture items that looked good with fringe.  See a few of them here:

 fringe | Two Take on Style1 / 2 / 3

And here are a few items where you or I could try out the fringe craze.   Well you maybe … I can’t even.

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What Jeanne Wants Friday

kimono | Two Take on Style

kimono | Two Take on Style

Hmm, that is not as alliterative as “What We Want Wednesday”, is it?  I DO miss having Kate out front with me on the blog.  But, regardless, I still lust after certain articles of clothing.

Today I am lusting after a kimono-style jacket.  I figure that, even when I retire again, a fabulous kimono jacket will look great with jeans and a tee or black trousers and a black turtleneck.  I’ve been searching high and low and I’ve established some criteria:  NO fringe, no cheap looking fabric.  This is easier said than done (as you will know if you’ve looked for kimonos).

Kate and I were in Tokyo a while back and we bought several used hapi coats in a street bazaar – I loved these but I’m really looking for something that goes to the mid-thigh and does not wrap or fasten.  And kimonos are quite handy – even serving as a robe or a beach cover-up when one is traveling!

This is not an easy search because, this year, kimono jacket means anything that resembles a loose printed boho jacket with wide sleeves.  But here are a few I am thinking about:

 

I’ve already ordered the Anthro kimono you see above, and I might order the graphic stripe print kimono from Topshop!

Desire fulfilled?  We’ll see.

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My Style Challenge: Summer 2015

lace maxi | Two Take on Style

My style challenges are specific to each season: how to locate apparel items that embrace current trends AND are age, price, sophistication level appropriate.

I like to follow summer trends – dramatic hi-low tops, ankle strap sandal heels, jumpsuits, etc. But it takes work – mostly on a lot of websites – to find items that suit me, are reasonably priced, and chic.  So how to get the trends this year?  I’ll address a few over the next week or so.  Today’s subject is LACE.

Lace – SO many beautiful summery items out there, but few, besides a long sleeved lace sheath, that really suit older fashionistas.  I mean, we don’t want to look like this, right?

lace | Two Take on Style

And don’t get me started on lace short shorts.  But here are a few items that embrace the trend and suit us older stylistas.

Lace almost bermudas!!!

lace shorts | Two Take on Style

Lace – check; sheer – check; stylish – check!

A lace maxi dress that doesn’t look like a wedding gown!

lace maxi | Two Take on Style

Another year round solution!

lace skirt | Two Take on Stylelace skirt | Two Take on Style

See  ways we’ve worn lace:

lace and jeans | Two Take on Style

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Color of the Week: Bronze

bronze | Two Take on Style

bronze | Two Take on Style

I must tell you that highlighting different colors on the blog has been incredibly frustrating because no one seems to agree on the official tone that is a particular color (if that makes sense).  Take the picture above.  Is she wearing a bronze cape or dress or is it gold?  I say bronze because bronze is a darker version of gold (or so I think.)

In any case, bronze is a fabulous color.  It sizzles with both white (in the summer with a tan!) and black.  It offsets virtually any other color brilliantly.  It is mostly seen as a metallic but can also shine as a matte color  Look at these wonderful examples of bronze couture!

bronze | Two Take on Style1 / 2 / 3

I hope the following items will inspire you to try bronze in the months to come:

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Summer Shorts for All Ages

Today we are revising a popular post we did awhile back on summer shorts. Because isn’t it the perfect time to pick a few pairs up on summer clearance?  Of course!  Read on.

Summer means shorts, right? Just like summer means sandals, sleeveless tops, and bathing suits. Whether we are in our 20’s or our 40’s, we want the pure pleasure of wearing shorts in warm weather….. the sensation of a breeze around the knees!

But shorts can be tricky. So many lengths to choose from, how do you know which pairs will look good on you and are appropriate for your age?

shorts inseams

Jeanne says: I think of true shorts as having an inseam of 3 to 5 inches and I basically see them as off-limits for someone at my stage in life. I’m pretty fit so I could wear them, but for me it is an age-appropriateness issue. Real shorts are for women younger than me.

Jeanne Shorts Collage2

But I can rock a 10 inch inseam short, also known as a long short, Bermuda short or walking short. I personally like them for both casual wear and for slightly dressier occasions as you can see in my outfit photos. Finding the perfect pair of longer cut-off denim shorts took some work, but they are perfect for the weekend with a printed tee and espadrilles. My dressier long shorts can go out to dinner or even to work in a more liberal business environment with a blazer and pumps.

Jeanne Shorts Collage1

Kate says: Even in your late 20’s, shorts length is a tricky subject. Some girls have the right body type and can pull off a shorter short, but I find that with a more athletic and *ahem* womanly body type, 3 or 4 inch inseams are just too short. So my sweet spot for shorter shorts is a 5 inch inseam – long enough to avoid any riding up or inappropriate exposure, but short enough to qualify as a “short short”. When styling a shorter short, I like to go more covered up on the top. This means either a t-shirt (as opposed to tank top) or a blouse or button-up. I like the balance of skin on the bottom with more fabric up top.

Kate Shorts 2

I also have several pairs of Bermuda shorts that come in quite handy. Especially in a business casual environment (depending on your workplace!), I think 10 inch inseam shorts are totally appropriate for work during the summer. They are no shorter than many skirts and dresses I wear to work, and with a tailored cut go really nicely with blouses, blazers, and cardigans.

Kate Shorts 1

How do you feel about shorts? What is your preferred inseam?

Shop our shorts picks:

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