Style Guide

Thursday, June 19th 2014

The Rise of Oversize

After years of buying nothing but spandex tops and second-skin jeans, I’ve finally succumbed to the comfort of loose clothing. Now it’s oversized everything: boyfriend jeans, shirts to my knees, and arm-swallowing sleeves. When we think “oversized” in regards to fashion, our minds usually jump to the same fool-proof pairings—a long sweater over skinny jeans or wide pants with a fitted button-down. But I recently wondered (on a rainy morning, in which I was particularly exhausted) if I could drown in my clothes, head-to-toe, and still look put-together. So I tried it. Attempt one, sans styling, I looked nothing short of slovenly. Not exactly office appropriate.

I secured the cuffed sleeves of an oversized RAILS flannel with two Kristen Elspeth cuffs for some unexpected glam.

When looking for the perfect oversized piece, first keep in mind that whatever’s on the size tag is just a number, and it shouldn’t deter you from buying something that looks amazing. A shirt that fits normally in one size could be sized up to become a sexy, off-shoulder piece. Seriously. If a stranger peeked into my closet, they wouldn’t know if it belonged to a child, or a working woman, or a lumberjack.

This T by Alexander Wang T-shirt fits loosely enough to knot the hem and show a little shoulder. Add a Kenneth Jay Lane necklace to dress it up for a night out.

Once you’ve found your sack of a shirt (T by Alexander Wang has drool-worthy basics), here’s what to do when a simple tuck doesn’t cut it. Knot the hem of a shirt to take off some of that length—a knot on the side for a casual slouchy look, or a high center knot for those looking to bare some belly. Button-downs are even more versatile, and I say the bigger the better. Tie up the bottom for an impromptu crop. Belt it over a dress as an edgy alternative to a cardigan—or wear it, at an appropriate length, as a dress itself! And a recent discovery of mine: if it’s big enough, you can undo the top several buttons and wear the neck opening around your waist, tie the two loose arms in front, and voilà, it’s a skirt! I could go on and on.

Taper a wide-leg jean with a pin roll: Make a vertical fold along the outside seam of the pant leg so the bottom of the jean is tight against your ankle. Then, holding the fold in place, cuff the jean leg two or three times. Above: Citizens of Humanity jeans and Sam Edelman sandals.

Then there are boyfriend jeans, which, in my opinion, are the best thing to come out of this oversized era. They are comfortable, chic, and easy to style. You can never go wrong with a pin roll (instructions above) and a strappy heel. So go ahead, size up one or two sizes, or head to the men’s department on your next shopping trip. You’ll probably see me there.

—Madeline

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Wednesday, June 18th 2014

The Slip Dress: A Fresh Take on the ‘90s Trend

Slip dresses are having a real moment here in the studio–they’re a fresh, sexy take on the ’90s revival. Since a slip dress can easily be mistaken for, well, a slip, styling it can be a little tricky. Pull together the right layering pieces and a dose of attitude, and you can rock your little slip dress from the daylight to the dance floor. Look for one that is cut on the bias—it is guaranteed to cling to every curve without the constrictiveness of its cousin, the body-con.


Nili Lotan dress, Mes Demoiselles sweater, Stuart Weitzman sandals.

A full-length slip has the cooling, breezy feeling of a maxi dress during the warmer months without too much volume. The sleek silhouette makes it a perfect counterpoint to summer’s power trend, the boxy crop top. No exposed skin (or six-pack abs) required! Just remember to ground the look with a comfortable flat. A full-length slip can begin to look formal if worn with a heel during daylight hours. Gladiator sandals are a great option.


Mes Demoiselles dress, Jason Wu sweater, Stella McCartney glasses, Stuart Weitzman sandals.

A boyfriend sweater adds a casual air for a daytime look. Consider a see-through or off-shoulder style for a sexy peek of lace. Keep the jewelry tough and the specs quirky, and you’ll be the poster girl of ’90s cool without a scrap of flannel in sight.


T by Alexander Wang dress, MM6 cardigan, Eddie Borgo choker.

Nineties club kids were just as cool as their grunge counterparts, so don’t be afraid to take your slip dress to a more fashion-forward place, especially for evening. Its minimalist vibe and slim design play well with voluminous, quirky accent pieces, especially all the fur toppers (real and faux) that are returning for pre-fall. Keep the look adult with sleek, polished jewelry. The chain on this Eddie Borgo choker offers just the tiniest wink to ’90s clubwear while remaining thoroughly modern.


Haute Hippie dress, By Malene Birger coat, Rag & Bone booties, Eugenia Kim headwrap, By Malene Birger bracelet set, SKYWATCH watch.

We took a note from the Winona camp for this one. This girl doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, but she knows it’s going to be major—and she’s going to have an impossibly beautiful and disheveled Ethan or Christian or Johnny by her side, of course. The slip dress is the feminine first layer beneath textured sweaters, socks, beanies, and boots. This is the perfect look for the sensitive soul with the tough-as-nails exterior who wants to, like, open up that heart-shaped box and take a bite out of reality.

—Elise & Phoebe

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Tuesday, June 17th 2014

White on White Dressing for the Win

Golf, tennis, or just a walk in the park: you can’t go wrong in a sporty white-on-white look. Lily Aldridge for Velvet jacket, Madewell tank, Current / Elliott shorts, Sam Edelman sandals, Bop Basics fedora.

White is my favorite color (or lack of color, for you science types) so you’d think I would be a master at white-on-white dressing. You would be wrong. Sadly, my skills have been limited to matching all white accessories—cringe, I know. But, since it’s no longer 1999, I’ve decided to branch out and try a head-to-toe look.

Putting on a white dress is the simplest way to start, paired with crisp sneakers or strappy slide sandals—there’s little room for misstep since it’s all one piece. For a more involved take on the trend, however, go for separates. Flowing, flirty styles feel more feminine, while structured denim and canvas have a sporty feel. But either way, the key to pulling this look off is varied textures. Contrasting fabrics give depth to the monochromatic color palette, breaking up the different silhouettes for a perfectly paired (but not too matched) look.

--Libby S.

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Flirty white-on-white works for day or night! A.L.C. sweater, Torn by Ronny Kobo skirt, Rebecca Minkoff bag (similar), Vince sandals.

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Thursday, June 12th 2014

4 Things You Must Wear This Summer—Seriously

My summer uniform is pretty standard: jean shorts, V-neck tee, cute sneakers. However, summer is the ideal time to experiment with new fashion—the warm weather gives the season an ease that fall just doesn’t have. In an effort to expand my style horizons, I’m taking the opportunity to try a few new styles. You should too.


A Eugenia Kim turban-style headband is easier to pull off than you think.

1. HEADBANDS
The turban-style headbands hitting What’s New lately keep catching my eye. They’re very different than the sparkly, messy-bun toppers that I’m used to. After stalking our hair and makeup department, I think I’ve figured it out: day-old, loose beachy waves. The salt spray/slightly frizzed combo gives your hair a bit of texture for the cloth band to hold on to. Add a playful maxi and some stacked bracelets, and you’re set.


Current/Elliott is the king of well-fitting shorteralls.

2. SHORTERALLS
I’m well-versed in regular overalls, but shorteralls are a whole new ballgame. In the past, I was afraid they could look childish too easily. The key here is fit and styling (kinda obvious, but some things take me awhile!). A too-loose fit is what takes shorteralls into middle school territory—slightly slouchy is what you want. Footwear is also important. My natural inclination is to go very adult with shoes, but this would be a mistake. Lace-ups or ballet flats are age-appropriate without being too “lady of the night.”


Mes Demoiselles off-shoulder tops, no mall bags required!

3. OFF THE SHOULDER TOPS
I grew up watching Kelly Kapowski rock off-shoulder tops, but being about 8 years old, it wasn’t a trend I could wear at the time. Now that I can, I’m glad to see more wearable styles in lightweight fabrics like cotton and linen—far more forgiving than the spandex styles of the ’80s. I’ll get to the point where I’ll wear my hair up to really showcase the neckline, but for my first go, I think I’ll keep my style safety blanket—er, my hair—down.


A retro Michael Kors Collection swimsuit has never been more modern.

4. STATEMENT SWIMWEAR
Having a pool (humble brag) means that my closet is stocked with swimsuits. The issue is that they are all the same. Bright, solid colors and bandeau tops. Considering how much time I spend in my bikini, I really need to branch out. A high-waisted, halter-style suit is far out of my comfort zone, but they are just too cute to pass up. Same with cutout one-pieces. I’ve avoided them in the past for fear of crazy tan lines, but in addition to changing up my style, I’ve resolved to keep out of the sun as much as possible this summer. Here’s to newfound shady style!

--Libby S.

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Wednesday, June 11th 2014

Ask Shopbop: Show Your Team Spirit

Whether you’ve been following your team on the road to the global fútbol championship or you’re a bandwagon fan with no knowledge of soccer, prepare yourself, because things are about to get rowdy in the sporting world.

Starting with the kickoff game tomorrow, football lovers—some of the most engaged and passionate fans out there—will be wearing their team colors well into July. This is where we come in. You can’t be expected to wear a jersey every day of the tournament, so we’ve got some tips to incorporate your team colors into a few super-chic looks.

Shopbop | Three Dots top, 5th & Mercer skirt, Rag & Bone fedora, Clare V. clutch, Tibi sandals

Go Brazil! Three Dots top, 5th & Mercer skirt, Rag & Bone fedora, Clare V. clutch, Tibi sandals.

When it comes to team spirit, colorblocking is the best way to get the message across. Choose a solid-color piece for each hue in your team’s flag. Tanks and boxy crop tops maintain a sporty feel, while strappy sandals and heels keep you from looking like you belong on the field. Plus, opting to ditch the jersey means you don’t have to wait until the next sporting event to wear these pieces again! Top off the look with a striped clutch or a fedora with a contrast band—bonus points if you find an accessory that ties in every color.

USA! USA! USA! Velvet jacket, Madewell tank, Current/Elliott shorts, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag, Bop Basics fedora, Loeffler Randall sandals.

Let’s hear it for La Furia Roja! Alice + Olivia dress, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag, Wildfox sunglasses, 3.1 Phillip Lim sandals.

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Tuesday, June 10th 2014

5 New Necklines for Summer

Crew , V , and boat neck—we all know our neckline staples, and we all have wardrobes chock full of them. Why not make more of a statement this summer? A change in neckline is the simplest way to change the vibe of your look completely. Here are the trending styles in tops I’ve noticed this season and how to wear them.

Shopbop: Pair an A.L.C. top with crisp white shorts for a fun beach look.

Pair an A.L.C. top with crisp white shorts for a fun beach look.

1. NOTCHED
The notched neckline seems made for summer. Universally flattering, this beachy look is showing up on more sophisticated pieces, making it work equally well on a night-out top as it does on a swimsuit cover-up.

Shopbop: Dress up a Joanna August bustier with a floor-length skirt, or pair it with high-waist shorts for an easy weekend outfit.

Dress up a Joanna August bustier with a floor-length skirt, or pair it with high-waist shorts for an easy weekend outfit.

2. SWEETHEART
The sweetheart cut is a win for all body types. It creates curves where there are few and accentuates where they are ample. This cute-but-flirty style looks amazing on bustiers, sundresses, and swimsuits alike.

Shopbop: Wear a Clover Canyon top with a matching skirt for the boldest pairing possible.

Wear a Clover Canyon top with a matching skirt for the boldest pairing possible.

3. ONE-SHOULDER
It’s difficult to go wrong with a one-shoulder top. The style instantly adds intrigue to your wardrobe. Pair it with simple silhouettes to make it the focus of your look, or add a second statement piece if you’re totally fearless.

Shopbop: Wear a Nightcap Clothing top with a delicate necklace for carefree, feminine appeal.

Wear a Nightcap Clothing top with a delicate necklace for carefree, feminine appeal.

4. OFF-SHOULDER
A cross between a peasant blouse and a strapless top, the off-shoulder top has an inherently bohemian feel.  It’s a classy way to bare skin. Plus, most styles have the option of wearing the sleeves higher on the shoulder, making it super versatile.

Shopbop: Pair a Ramy Brook top with skinny jeans and pumps for a sophisticated, sexy date-night look.

Pair a Ramy Brook top with skinny jeans and pumps for a sophisticated, sexy date-night look.

5. HALTER
A particularly shoulder-accentuating neckline, the halter is perfect for boyish and athletic figures. Choose a silky style for summer, and it will take you seamlessly from the office to girls' night out.

—Madeline

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Thursday, June 5th 2014

7 Things Every Woman Should Own by the Time She’s 30

I’ve entered my thirties, and on reflection, I’ve found that my shopping habits have evolved over the last handful of years. I’m less inclined to try every new trend, and am instead settling into a uniform of refined simplicity and easy comfort (now that Birkenstocks are back, I’m never letting them go again).

And so, I’m going to impart my fashion investment wisdom here with the seven things I think every woman needs to enter her thirties in style.

1. A GOOD WATCH.

A diamond-trimmed Michele watch.

To me, this one is the most important. A good watch will hold up over years and years of wear—there’s a reason timepieces are passed down from generation to generation.

 

2. A PIECE OF OUTERWEAR THAT WILL LAST A DECADE.

A leather Theyskens’ Theory jacket.

Leather jacket, trench, army jacket, pea coat—these are silhouettes that have proven they will stand the test of time. My mom has a leather trench she bought in the ’70s, and she still wears it today. Forty years may be a bit long to hold on to an article of clothing, but I have to admit, this coat still looks great every time she pulls it out of the closet.

 

3. A COLLECTION OF CLASSIC PUMPS.

Clockwise: DVF Bethany Pumps in Parchment, McQ - Alexander McQueen Lex Pumps, Vince Claire Pumps, DVF Bethany Pumps in Black.

Shoe trends come and shoe trends go (see the transition from towering platforms to sporty flats in the last four seasons), but the pump is truly eternal. You’ll find yourself turning to the timeless silhouette in basic shades again and again.

 

4. A COLLECTION OF BAGS TO HANDLE EVERY OCCASION.

An assortment of Helmut Lang bags.

There are four bags I use on a regular basis: a luggage brown Madewell tote for work, a slouchy black Jerome Dreyfuss bag for everyday, a Rebecca Minkoff cross-body bag for summer, and a Lauren Merkin clutch for formal events. Invest in a small collection of good bags, and you’ll be set for years.

 

5. SIGNATURE JEWELRY.

A Jamie Wolf necklace (similar) and Gabriela Artigas diamond earrings.

I love layered bracelets and bold necklaces, but most days I don’t want to have to think that hard about my jewelry. That’s why I basically never take off my signature star pendant, diamond studs, and simple silver ring.

 

6. A LITTLE BLACK DRESS THAT’S FLATTERING & REFINED.

A Helmut Lang black dress.

This is a no-brainer. A black dress that you know looks great on you will be a true wardrobe workhorse. Spend a little time finding the right one. You’ll be happy you did.

 

7. A DRAWER OF STATIONERY FOR LITTLE NOTES.

A card set from the Garance Doré for Rifle Paper Co collection.

I have a paper obsession, and it’s proven to be incredibly helpful over the years. When someone does something kind or if you just want to send a personal, hand-written note, it’s great to have a stack of quality notecards on hand.

--Amie


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Wednesday, June 4th 2014

Ask Shopbop: How to Wear Fashion Sneakers


Sneakers and Louis Vuitton are always a winning combination.

Sneakers have never been more popular as a fashionable footwear option, and the timing couldn’t be better. With summer’s social demands—walks in the park, lunch after the farmers market, music festivals—sandals and pumps can leave you in Blister City. This is where the fresh crop of stylish sneaks comes in.

Not only are they comfortable, the latest styles are seriously versatile too. They work with skirts, dresses, shorts, pants, rompers—everything. The natural inclination is to take your look into the current trend of sporty style, pairing Ash joggers with a tennis-inspired skirt and bright tank. But there are ample ways to give this trend a different spin. Lacy Supergas with a flirty sundress feel feminine and fun, while Converse high-tops with a maxi dress have an edgier vibe. Some street-style darlings are even pairing trainers with tall socks, and it looks great! The bottom line? Sneakers are easy on your feet and easy your wardrobe. Lace on a pair and we promise you won’t be sorry.

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Ash sneakers have a place both on and off the tennis court.


Red Alexander Wang sneakers adds a pop of color to a minimalist look.


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Thursday, May 29th 2014

The Summer Grunge Girl Head to Toe

As someone who never got over ’90s trends in the first place, I couldn’t be more excited to see the decade’s standout styles make a comeback. Acid-wash jeans and combat boots have always been at home in my closet, and at last they are back at home in the fashion world. Although I’ve finally tossed my coin machine chokers and velvet scrunchies (okay, I held onto one purely for posterity), I had a feeling the more sophisticated components of grunge style would live to see another era.

An IIIBeCa by Joy Gryson backpack is practical, chic, and the perfect pop of color in a grungy summer outfit.

Heat creates an interesting dilemma for the grunge girl, who risks losing her toughness with each layer shed. What to do without the trusty leather jacket? The second-skin jeans? Rather than mourn the temporary seasonal loss of these things, I see summertime as the perfect opportunity to rediscover my inner badass. I say ditch the black beanie for a cool top knot and let’s get started!

First, plaid is a necessity. Swap out your flannels for a few lightweight plaid button-downs. RAILS is a good place to start. Pick a versatile style, and I swear you can wear it a new way every day of the week. Roll the sleeves, knot the hem, leave it open over a graphic tee, or tie it around your waist. Every bit of it is ’90s perfection.  

Dress up denim with a cool Monserat De Lucca necklace, a Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry bracelet, and Italia Independent sunglasses.

Distressed denim is also key.  Baggy and full-of-holes not only looks cool, but also allows for a nice breeze. A good pair of cutoff shorts, a pencil skirt, and a pair of boyfriend jeans should get you through the entire season, no problem. Plus, roughed-up denim can easily be dressed up with jewelry for less casual occasions. Trade the ’90s smiley faces and peace signs for much cooler crosses and skulls (here are my picks for best necklace, ring, and bracelet), and you’re good to go.

As for the shoe, it’s all about the chunky sole. Instead of pumps, reach for a bootie with a thick heel, and instead of flat sandals, opt for a pair with a platform. Though big black boots aren’t ideal in the heat, there’s no doubt they look amazing paired with a mini dress or high-waist shorts with white socks peeking out.

Maison Martin Margiela and Alexander Wang have tons of options for sophisticated-grungy boots, sneakers, and sandals.

Now on to my favorite part—backpacks. Most of my adult life has been spent waiting for them to become acceptable carryalls for young women. And now, thanks to this season’s crop of sophisticated packs, one can maintain elegance while sporting the style, as long as clear plastic straps are avoided (shoulder sweat alone makes this not okay). Opening Ceremony and Elizabeth and James have some amazing sling bags that are miraculously both rock concert- and office-ready.

—Madeline

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Wednesday, May 28th 2014

Ask Shopbop: Bohemian for Summer

A soft embroidered Christophe Sauvat Collection peasant top (similar) perfectly balances cool One Teaspoon cutoff shorts.

Bohemian looks are near and dear to me—something about the loose and easy sensibility just resonates with me, season after season. If you're in the mood to nurture your inner hippie, look to soft cotton wovens, washed denim, suede jackets, and printed maxi dresses as the foundation for your look. Embellishments like embroidery, fringe, and distressing on denim are all in play. As for accessories, think hats, woven raffia totes, worn leather hobos, bangles, long necklaces, and round sunglasses. Lastly, go-to footwear options are cowboy boots, gladiator sandals, clogs and more clogs. Mix it all together, and you have a fabulous bohemian wardrobe that—worn with confidence—will never go out of style.

—Loni

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Off-set an all-white ensemble with a slouchy Monserat De Lucca bag (similar) and a turquoise Kate Spade necklace (similar).

Make earth-tone wedges or clogs your go-to shoes to complete the boho look.

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