Style Guide

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.


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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.


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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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Tuesday, May 27th 2014

Shades, Sparkles & Spikes:  Summer Accessories for Every Girl

Accessories are the easiest way to update your style for a new season. Plus, warmer weather means less clothing, and less clothing means more details, right? No matter what aesthetic draws you in, here’s what to wear and carry this season.

Rocker accessories: Joomi Lim choker, Karen Walker sunglasses, Maria Black earring, Michael Kors watch, and Rag & Bone clutch.

Rocker girls have a slight disadvantage in the summertime. With leather jackets and flannels put away in favor of more summer-ready cutoffs and tanks, accessories become your main form of rebellious expression. Make animal-print accents and tough metals your go-to add-ons. Then throw on a pair of oversized sunglasses for the proverbial look-at-me/don’t-look-at-me rock-star appeal.

Boho accessories: B-Low The Belt clutch, DANNIJO phone case, Eugenia Kim turban, Pamela Love ear cuff, and Sunday Somewhere sunglasses.

Boho girls feel right at home in the sun. Fringe, feathers, and head wraps will all come into play in completing your summer look. Since piled-on accessories tend to define boho style, stick to neutrals and earthy tones. Get your pop of color with rose-tinted glasses, and don’t be afraid to wear as many bracelets as will fit—not limited to forearms.

Girly accessories: ZAC Zac Posen clutch, Jagger Edge phone case, Marc by Marc Jacobs watch, Vita Fede bracelet, and Dauphines of New York hairclip.

For girly girls, it’s all about the subtle details. Polish off a girly look with florals, lace accents, and delicate jewelry. Sometimes a fine-chain necklace or a glamorous hairclip is all the accessorizing you need to get your style across. Clutches are the perfect expression of minimalism in femininity, and they present a great opportunity to show off a dainty gold cuff. Pastels are having a huge moment, so don’t be afraid to snag this Rebecca Minkoff mini bag in every color.

Sporty accessories: Kate Spade phone case, Marc by Marc Jacobs hairclip, Marc by Marc Jacobs bracelet, Michael Kors watch, and Rebecca Minkoff clutch.

With the varsity trend on the rise, sporty girls have more options now than ever. Think pop-art colors, neons, and bold colorblocking. Wrap bracelets and chunky watches will keep an athletic look fresh, while aviator sunglasses add an element of cool. Marc by Marc Jacobs accessories are consistently on point when it comes to sporty fashion—even if you left your claw hairclips in the ’90s, it’s hard not to love this little guy.


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Thursday, May 22nd 2014

Working it While Working Out

Fitness enthusiast Hannah Bronfman brings it in VPL..

No one looks great when they’re working out. OK, maybe some people get an attractive glow after an easy 15 minutes on the elliptical, but I’m talking about really working out—all-out sprints after pull-ups, burpees for time, or heavy squat sets. The red face, wild hair, grimacing looks, and sweat marks make for a glorious image of effort, but not really style.

Now, I go through, like, five outfit changes daily, so I know a thing or two about dressing for sweat sessions. Don’t get the wrong impression, I’m not a diva—it’s just that between 5am CrossFit and post-work hot yoga and evening runs, I average about 2.7 athletic outfits per day. What I’ve learned, in addition to perfecting the most efficient laundering system, is that looking good when you’re working out is as important as looking good anywhere else. It’s the whole dress-for-success idea. This is where hot workout gear comes in.

Bar-over-burpees are no problem when wearing a neon KORAL ACTIVEWEAR sports bra.

I know for a fact that my neon green Koral Activewear sports bra helped me pull 10 reps of a 180lb deadlift during my first CrossFit competition. I also know that my sparkly Deepa Gurnani headband helped during training, and it works for yoga too. My instructor busts out her favorite leggings when planning to tackle the toughest poses—PRISMSPORT prints are just that powerful! I’m not a scientist, but that’s pretty hard evidence, people.

Whether you’re preparing for a marathon or a walk around the block, don’t just throw on a free promotional tee. Invest in activewear that shows off just how much time you’re putting into your health and progress. You might not be able to tame the flyaways or stop your face from dripping sweat, but decked out in a sexy MICHI top and bold Lucas Hugh leggings, you’ll hit those PRs—and look stylish doing it.

--Libby S.

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A sexy MICHI sports bra shows off all your hard work, and looks just as killer under a sheer top for a night out.

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Wednesday, May 21st 2014

Ask Shopbop: Styling Shorts

A perfectly styled summer look: DL1961 shorts, Current/Elliott top, Karen Walker sunglasses, Madewell bag, and Swedish Hasbeens sandals.

Shorts are tricky. Not a universally flattering garment, they need careful consideration if you're tempted to work them into your summer rotation.

Think length and occasion. Shorts are usually a casual move, so tread carefully if you're considering a pair for the office. A nice bermuda paired back to something tailored and clean on top could be an option. For life outside of work, short-shorts with a high waistline can be sweet, especially when paired with a wedge or clog for a little leg-lengthening lift. Complete the ensemble with a casual top, and enjoy a day in the sun. Boyfriend shorts are also a solid option this season. Take the easy (and equally cute) road and reach for a slip-on sneaker or an earthy sandal. Finish off the look with a slouchy blouse, a loose-knit sweater, or even an oversized denim jacket.


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An oversized denim jacket adds irreverent edge to a button-down shirt and cuffed shorts.

A fresh white blazer makes these pinstripe shorts both office- and summer-ready.

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Tuesday, May 20th 2014

Your Summer Reading List

One of the things on my summer to-do list is to read more. It seems simple enough, but with jam-packed days and a busy social schedule (hello, wedding season!) it’s easier said than done. To prepare, I’ve got a stack of fashion tomes waiting for me on my coffee table. It’s a good reminder to kick up my feet and flip through a few pages whenever I have a free minute. It also doesn’t hurt that the beautiful covers work equally well as decoration! If you’re looking for some fashion (or décor) inspiration, check out my top three picks for light summer reading.

Living in Style, Rachel Zoe
In my personal opinion, Rachel Zoe can do no wrong. Her latest book is a reflection of that. Living in Style takes a whole-life approach to glamour. Yes, there is a plethora of style and beauty tips, but this volume also dives into buying art, work/life balance, and travel, all in Rachel’s unique voice.

The Dirty Side of Glamour, Tyler Shields
Ok, well, this one’s not much of a “read” (there aren’t any words), but the pictures reveal a juicy tale of fame, excess, and celebrity. Having people over? Flip it open to any page and challenge your guest to tell the story of the image. Hint—this game gets better with every sip of wine.

The Edible Selby, Todd Selby
It’s a book about food, and there are stickers! Do I need to say  more? A revealing peek into some of the top restaurants and chefs is sure to inspire you to whip up something amazing in the kitchen. Or you’ll read it while you eat chips. Either way, it’s impossible not to get lost in the amazing photography and captivating handwritten interviews.

Happy reading!

--Libby S.

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Wednesday, May 14th 2014

Ask Shopbop: How to Wear the Peasant Top

A Rag & Bone/JEAN vest, Zimmermann booties, MOTHER jeans, and a Cleobella bag add an unexpected tough-girl feel to a Nili Lotan top.

Peasant tops are a perennial favorite of mine. Try one styled in the classic folkloric sense with wide-leg jeans, wedges, a slouchy bag, and maybe even a bohemian-inspired hat. For a more modern approach, you can go a bit edgier: opt for a tough bootie, denim vest, and dark skinny jeans. Or you can play it casual, pairing your top with slouchy cargo pants, an earthy tote, and the season's favorite sandal, the Birkenstock.

An off-shoulder Mes Demoiselles top lends itself perfectly to summer’s boho trend when styled with MOTHER jeans, Madewell earrings, a Cleobella bag, A.P.C. sandals, and a floppy Bop Basics hat.

NLST harem pants, Birkenstock sandals, a Bop Basics tote, and a Pamela Love bracelet maintain the pretty, yet laid-back appeal of an Antik Batik top.

Happy peasant dressing!


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Thursday, May 1st 2014

Show Some Leg: Embracing the Mini

Tousled hair and a playful clutch keep this Alice + Olivia mini (similar) look casual.

At 5’2”, I’ve always favored shorter hemlines but it was only recently that I truly embraced the skin-baring style.

In a world where thigh-gap inspiration is a thing, it was always hard for me to rock a mini dress with confidence. A big gulp of the workout-life Kool-Aid changed that, helping me develop a healthy appreciation of my legs, even sans gap. These babies work hard to get me through the toughest WODs and I’m proud to show them off—thank you, squats! So though I won’t be hitting up the hardware store in yoga-style short-shorts again (true story—despite my fully fledged booty confidence, the people in the mulch aisle were not ready for my super-mini moment), I’m not planning on covering my knees until November.

--Libby S.

Shop mini dresses.

A personal fave: tiny Blank Denim cutoffs and a sporty shirt.

Show some leg for a good cause! This DKNY skirt is part of Shopbop’s Exclusive Born Free collection.

A summer-ready Mara Hoffman mini is sexy without going overboard.

The ultimate mini: boy shorts. Wear in public at your own risk.

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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!


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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.

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