Style Guide

Thursday, April 17th 2014

The Case for a High Waist

Wide leg Rachel Zoe jeans look super retro with a breezy, tucked in top.

Recently, I was in the fitting room of a clothing store trying on my go-to style of jeans—high-waisted—when I overheard a woman lament to a friend from over the partition, “I look like my grandmother!” She stepped out of the room to show her friend her perceived horror, and lo and behold, she is wearing the same pair of pants I am admiring on myself in the mirror. And if I may say so myself, we both looked awesome.

High-waisted jeans get a bum rap for their close ties to bad acid-wash fads and ’90s sitcom mothers, but my friends, it is a new era! There are endless perks to the updated high-waist jean. Now available in a range of styles—straight, skinny, wide, flared—there is truly a pair for every gal’s body shape.

A contrasting belt creates playful proportions on these BLK DNM jeans.

While I am an equal fan of low-rise styles, they seem more prone to fashion mishaps: the sloppy tuck, the muffin top, the coin slot (you know exactly what I mean). High-waist pants eliminate all aforementioned issues. Simultaneously modest and sexy, they keep us covered but hug our curves in all the right places.

In order to find a flattering pair, pay close attention to cut and fabrication. Look for some that come right up to your natural waist and are tailored to your frame—snug, but not suffocating. The idea is to make sure there are no geometric shapes happening in the front region and no sagging in the rear. Smaller back pockets and a wide belt will minimize the dreaded “long butt” effect, and adding pumps will keep those legs looking long and lean.

Cheap Monday skinnies pair nicely with a crop top without showing too much skin.

If you’ve never sported a high waist before, let me just say that it can be hard to adjust at first. You may feel like you’re neck-deep in denim, but I promise: you look normal to the world. Be patient with your new proportions, and pretty soon, you won’t be able to go back!


Shop high-waisted denim.

Tuesday, April 15th 2014

My Style Philosophy: Dokia

Dokia in an Equipment blouse and Sam Edelman booties (similar).

Our staffers are a chic bunch, each with their own unique spin on fashion. This month we chatted with stylist Dokia about her personal style philosophy.

Name: Dokiang, or as many call me, “Doks”
Position: Apparel Stylist

Go-to brand: It’s so hard to pick only one since there are different reasons to love each, but I am a total sucker for brands that are aesthetically edgy or use animal prints. Both work well in my closet and seriously scream “me.” Lately, I’ve been excited about the IRO, Emma Cook, and Rodarte collections.

How did you get into styling? I grew up with two women who really influenced my eye for fashion—my mom and my sister. My mom always made sure she was perfectly put-together from head to toe when she and my father went out to social gatherings. I remember having to buckle her high heels for her because she didn’t want to wrinkle her outfits. She had a great eye for design and made beautiful, traditional costumes for us as well. My sister, who is seven years older than I am, used to bribe me to be her fashion photographer as she changed in and out of outfits she had styled so she could give keepsake pictures to her friends. She also happened to buy me my first recognizable name brand item—Nike Air sneakers. As I got older, my eyes were always on fashion magazines, editorials, and TV specials. I remember when I was 13, I hoped to work for Contempo Casuals one day because I thought it was the coolest store. Little did I know, I had a knack for fashion. I worked my way up in retail, but never considered pursuing fashion seriously until college, when my sister suggested it was “more me” than my initial focus on interior design. So I decided to wing it, switched majors, and never looked back. What can I say—you know when you know!

What’s your style philosophy? Like I mentioned, edginess and animal prints are two things that scream “me,” so that being said, I wear what I love! Confidence is what makes style. Fashion is ever-changing, so I think it’s good to switch things up, as long as you make a look your own.

What one item in your closet could you not live without? Goodness! There are a few I could list, like my white suede IRO booties or my indigo-wash high-waist jeans, but let's be real—those items could be replaced. The one thing for sure that I could not live without would be my traditional Hmong costumes that my mom designed for me. Even though they aren’t for day-to-day wear, they’re pieces that no one else could ever make so beautifully with that much sentimental value.

Shop Dokia’s go-to brands, IRO, Emma Cook, and Rodarte.

Thursday, April 10th 2014

Why You Need a Fanny Pack. No, Really.

I’m on team fanny pack! Clare V. Supreme Fanny Pack in aqua.

Every season there’s at least one trend that divides the fashion world. Lines are drawn and opinions run strong. This spring, that trend is the return of the fanny pack. Ask either side what they think of them and you’ll get a strangely intense reaction. Pro-packers tout the hands-free ease and new modern styles, while the anti-fannies just can’t get over the ’80s stigma. So it’s with the risk of being labeled a flip-flopper that, after several months of being against them, I’m announcing that I’m solidly a friend of fanny.

The start of my journey to fanny pack fandom: Val’s Erin Dana fanny pack.

It all started, as do most major belief reversals, with someone close to me. My fellow writer Val bought a black Erin Dana fanny pack. At first I laughed at the ridiculous notion that something I associated with scrunchies and tapered-leg jeans could be cool. But she kept going on and on about how great it was—it went with everything, it was so easy, she was no longer burdened with a purse—and it started to sound... great. Perhaps that would have been it, but sensing my curiosity, she asked the age-old question: “Want to try it?”

A snake-print pack works for day or night.

Once I wrapped the chain around my waist, I knew I was switching camps. Fanny packs have always had practicality on their side. But now, they also have style. The latest renditions, like Val’s Erin Dana, are sleeker than their earlier counterparts. I decided to show my support with a single-pocket pack in bright blue from Clare V. A fringed Cleobella belt bag is also sitting in my cart, just waiting for festival season, because, as any fanny fan knows, one is never enough. I try to be respectful of everyone’s positions, I really do. But as someone who’s seeing fanny packs in a whole new light, I urge you to follow Val’s advice and just try one.

--Libby S.

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Wednesday, April 9th 2014

Ask Shopbop: Shift Dresses for Spring

Shed the layers with a spring-ready Giambattista Valli tunic dress.

We’re in the starting stages of spring, meaning summer isn’t far away. And while this is exciting—especially after this long winter—shedding those cold-weather layers can be a little daunting. My suggestion? Slip into a simple shift dress.

Fashion icons from Audrey to Jackie looked to this universally flattering style for both casual and dressy springtime occasions. The frame-skimming silhouette is chic, yet ultra-forgiving to a figure that’s been covered up for five months. Traditionally sleeveless and cut above the knee, shifts ease you into mini season and prepare you for bare arms. But for those of you who need a bit more time, look to styles with short sleeves and sheer paneling. You’ll still get the fresh feel without the exposure. (A little self-tanner never hurts either!)


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Tuesday, April 8th 2014

Seen @ Shopbop: Simply Striped

Annie looking French-girl chic in a Three Dots top.

My closet (and my Shopbop My Hearts section) is full of stripes. I lean toward the preppy—lots of navy and white and thick-banded rugby styles—but have never really met a neat set of lines I didn’t like. And I know I’m not alone. One look at these pictures from around the office and you can tell my fellow Shopboppers feel the same.

--Libby S.

An aerobatic Elise in Harvey Faircloth.

Group photo! Smile for stripes!

Team Merchandising sports varied styles—even maternity stripes.

A Ladison tee + stripes = a perfect Parisian pair.

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Monday, April 7th 2014

Advice from Elle: How to Wear the Varsity Trend

You don’t have to be a workout junkie to appreciate this season’s crop of athletic-inspired pieces. Shopbop Fashion Director Elle Strauss shares her excitement for trying out this sport-centric style.

I’m not exactly a sporty girl but that doesn’t mean I can’t root for the season’s new take on varsity jackets. Whether worn over a tee and jeans or paired with a skirt and heels, you can throw on a lightweight bomber and instantly look on-trend. The Band of Outsiders lamé version takes my obsession to a whole other level—it has the perfect balance of casual for my daytime errands with an extra edge to spruce up any date-night outfit.


Shop Elle’s Edit.

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Thursday, April 3rd 2014

Statement Accessories for Everyday

Watercolor statement jewelry.

While most risks in fashion don’t intimidate me (i.e. crop tops, socks with sandals, pattern mixing), there is something daunting about a truly special piece of jewelry. While fabulous for formal occasions, statement accessories usually aren’t in the running when choosing an outfit each morning—they seem too precious to wear, too self-indulgent. Lately, however, I’ve noticed a trend that has inspired me to take my fine accessories out of my jewelry box. There’s something about flashy pieces with casual attire that exudes confidence. The thrill is in the unexpected—a crystal ear cuff with a messy topknot, an extravagant necklace under the collar of a chambray shirt, or a cocktail ring with distressed jeans. The right piece has the ability to breathe life into basics or completely transform even our laziest outfits. It’s time to get away from goes-with-everything jewelry and reach for something bigger, brighter, and bolder.


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Wednesday, April 2nd 2014

Ask Shopbop: 5 Must-Have Shoes for Summer

With warm weather just around the bend, we asked stylist Loni to break down this summer’s shoe trends. Here are her picks for a fully stocked wardrobe.

These Maison Martin Margiela peep-toe booties are a great way to dress up skinny jeans.

Booties are a summer staple. A sleek peep toe lends sexy contrast to distressed jeans, miniskirts, and other casual tailoring. Find a neutral pair for versatile wear—preferably with a heel.

Simple Ancient Greek Sandals look extra-chic with a pedicure.

This season’s revival of the slide sandal has sore feet everywhere rejoicing. Try a classic pair, whether it’s Birkenstock’s double-buckle rendition or a simple cross-strap style. Wear them with or without socks—you can’t go wrong!

With so many colors and prints, there’s a slip-on sneaker fit for every girl’s closet.

Slip-on sneakers are a must for casual summer looks. Think cutoffs, vintage tees, and ’90s floral dresses. They’re a perfect way to inject playfulness into a cool, grungy ensemble.

The ankle ties on these Paul Andrew gladiator sandals are perfect with a cuffed jean.

The gladiator sandal has received some fun updates for summer. Whether they’re laced-up, caged, metallic, or fringed, this style looks super chic with crisp shorts and a modern-meets-feminine top.

Try bright clogs, like these Sweedish Hasbeens, with bare ankles for a fresh summer look.

Clogs are a casual way to achieve a fresher, more summery feel than a pump. A bright strap and wooden platform also look great peeping out from under flare jeans.


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Thursday, March 20th 2014

Arm Candy: Hot Handbags in Sugary Shades

Candy button-like studs on a sugary sweet Milly bag.

Spring’s latest crop of handbags is influenced by one of my favorite things: candy. From gummy-bear look-a-like Furla purses to the perfectly pastel 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli satchels—jordon almonds, anyone?—the season’s standout styles are all coming up confections. I swear half the office tried to eat the candy button-like studs straight off the Milly Color Digital bag and clutch. So, what have we learned? Candy is good. New bags are good. Ergo, new bags in candy-colored shades are twice as good. It’s science.

--Libby S.

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Wednesday, March 19th 2014

Ask Shopbop: Spring Statement Bags

Transition to a statement-making cross-body bag for a fresh spring look.

Spring is a great time to refresh your handbag. Without the need to haul an arsenal of cold weather accessories, I like to downsize my carryall and transition to a smaller cross-body style. Besides, biking and walking are much more comfortable without a large tote to lug around!

Experiment with a sunny color or fabulous pastel. Both make a striking statement and work well against the warm-weather whites that are popping up in What’s New. Another eye-catching option is a patterned style or something with a mixed fabrication. One of my favorite spring combinations is leather and canvas. The canvas feels fresh and fun, while the leather offers durability and structure.


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