Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wednesday's Look for Less: Rag & Bone

Summer is all about two things when it comes to our wardrobes- dresses and sandals. You all know that I am certifiably obsessed with all things Rag & Bone. But I can't deny that two pieces jumped out at me as great Look for Less alternatives to full priced Rag & Bone. 

First up, their earthy summer sandal, the Sigrid Sandal, is a summer staple. They are practical and stylish all at once, making a hefty price tag a little more justifiable- if you have the cash. 

 via Shopbop

Luckily, you don't have to shell out your savings for a shoe. Naturalizer offers a very similar option at less than half the price. Of course, Naturalizer's Fira Sandal is not an identical twin to its Rag & Bone buddy. But the earthy vibe and shoe shape are still there PLUS a few extras- python print and gold leather. 

Once you have your sandals straightened out, you can move on to the dress! Last year, Rag & Bone offered its fans the digital print Tribeca dress. Its interesting print and Caribbean colors made it a quintessential summer staple. 

If you missed out on this dress last year, you have a similar and much cheaper alternative. Anthropologie's Geological Cutout dress is just as interesting with a nearly identical shape. Their biggest difference? The Anthropologie version comes with a sassy cutout back!

I still love my Rag & Bone but when the budget gets tight, it's nice to know that great alternatives exist at half the cost! 

Elevating Your Cheap Curtains

 Way back in the day, I was whining about considering the many options for redecorating my dining room. The process has been long delayed but I think I'm FINALLY ready to get moving on it...starting with my first must-have: gorgeous drapery hardware. 

My to-be-tested philosophy revolves around installing nice hardware to elevate (literally and metaphorically) cheap, readymade drapes. In my case, I'm specifically interested in glamorous lucite hardware. When you have a room that might not be feel larger than a shoebox, making the area feel larger can be paramount. Lucite chairs, lamps and tables act as functional pieces without visually taking up space in the room. Plus, they're just plain fun. So all of the above applies to drapery hardware. Bulky and dark wooden hardware can look drab or heavy in a small room. Lucite hardware brings functionality, glamour and interest without weighing down the space. 

I love all of the fabulous drapery hardware in the photos below. And none of the drapes appear to be any sort of crazy expensive fabric or customizable size. Can I hear it for curtains available at Target and Pottery Barn?! 

 via DecorPad

via DesignReduxx 

via House of Wentworth
(Most glam nursery I've ever seen!)

Upon further research, I found that a great many styles of lucite hardware exist today. You can get traditional shapes and widths like the first photo or go a little sleeker and erase the need for a finial, as in the second photo. Which type would you choose? 

Plexi-Craft hardware via House of Wentworth

via DC Design Coop

via The Paris Apartment

So what drapes do we hang once we've selected the hardware? Flax linen is practical and feels cozy. Blue silk brings Parisian glam and yellow cotton adds cheer and warmth. (I vote for yellow but that's just me.) 

 all drapery images via Pottery Barn

As the curtains come together, I'll be sure to share results with you. But if you have any tips, please send them to me before I screw it all up! Happy curtain hanging! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Lesson in Leopard

via Tumblr

I have a hard time with animal print sometimes. Whenever I wear a leopard print, I automatically feel like a Kardashian and buxom bombshell isn't really my daytime scene.

That is why I love the photo above. The floaty white top and modestly cut shorts are just plain cute and not at all over-the-top sexy. The outfit takes the wild animal intimidation factor down a whole lot. 

This new lease on leopard now must be tested. Turns out, I actually like my animal print with a side of prep and with a few preppy touches, you can make these prints easily work for day.

Office Appropriate

Ladies Who Lunch

There are a few things to keep in mind when donning an animal print for day:

- Make sure your printed article of clothing is well tailored and modestly cut. That means skirts or tops that float away from the body (aka aren't tight), shorts that have a longer inseam (at LEAST 3" unless you are a tween) and jackets that are structured. 

- Pair your animal print with clean accessories. Fussy fringes or piles of bangles and necklaces send the look into Coachella territory, which is only okay if you are actually attending Coachella.

- Choose classic shoe brands and/or classic shoe cuts. A good looking flat or sophisticated sandal keeps your animal print ladylike. 

- You can never go wrong when adding a white or beige top to leopard shorts or skirts or white jeans or khakis with a leopard top or jacket. You CAN, however, approach Kardashian territory if you add black. Beware. 

That concludes today's lesson in leopard. Are you feeling the leopard love this year? Send me your pics and any more tips!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday's Look for Less

If you're lucky enough to enjoy morning walks on the beach this time of year or have a wonderful tropical vacation coming up, then you might need a sweater to bundle up seaside. Sometimes there is nothing better than a wrapping yourself up in something soft and cuddly, even if summer is approaching... 

via Pinterest

 via Pinterest

 via Pinterest

In my hunt for summer sweaters, I have found two great options at two very different price points. 

T by Alexander Wang makes a beautiful open knit pullover. I've seen this puppy in person and it is a really great piece. But at $245, not everyone can afford it. 

 via Shopbop

Luckily, Old Navy also makes a good lookin' sweater for much, much less! Originally priced at $35, this sweater was a great deal already. But NOW it's on sale for less than $10!!! It's a great alternative to the sweater above if you're on a tight budget or don't want to invest a lot in one piece. 

Had I shopped for more looks for less myself, I might be able to afford a vacation! I know now that some great knock-offs exist that just might help me save up enough for the Bahamas come this summer...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

H&M Goes Green! (And Pink, Chartreuse, Floral...)

via H&M

You all know how excited I was for Marni X H&M back in March. On Thursday, H&M debuted yet another fabulous run of clothing, the H&M Conscious Collection. All of the new pieces from this collection are made from sustainable fabrics, such as organic cotton, but were designed specifically with the Red Carpet in mind. (Colin Firth's wife Livia serves as the creative director behind this eco operation.) Glam and green all at once? Sign us up!

Upon further research, I learned that H&M desires to become the leading manufacturer of sustainable design. Who knew the Swedish retail powerhouse was also environmentally friendly? If that doesn't peak your interest, then you should know that no piece costs more than $300. Red Carpet ready for less than one month's rent? Yes, please!

But most of us don't parade down Red Carpets in normal life. So today we present pieces from the Conscious Collection made everyday life-friendly. 

Here's what to wear when you're...

Summertime Shopping

Office to Cocktails

H&M Floral Shift Dress
H&M Blue Blazer
H&M Floral Jacket

Date Night 

Spring Wedding

H&M Top
H&M Skirt

Apparently the Conscious Collection already claims a Hollywood fan base. Amanda Seyfried, Kristin Davis and Viola Davis are just some of our favorite movie stars who have strutted in eco friendly style. 

With affordable prices, cutting edge style and eco-friendly design, shopping for the latest looks benefits more then just your closet!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Color Inspiration: Coral

Move over pink. Take a hike turquoise. This summer, coral has taken OVER and you better watch out for this hot little color!

Daisies blooming in my front yard.

On Friday afternoon, we officially welcomed spring at the Azalea Festival's garden party and coral dresses were everywhere you turned. I'm not just saying that because I happened to be wearing the same color (and, luckily, did not find a dress twin at the event!) but the Pantone color of the year kin appeared fresh and optimistic for a new season sure to be full of warmth and fun. 

Don't have any coral in your closet? Don't worry! Here are a few options ranging from lipstick to loafers that are sure to boost your wardrobe into spring brightness. 

If you're not a fan of orange or prefer neutrals and pastels to bold colors, remember that it's easy to work coral into your wardrobe when paired with ivories, whites and peachy tones. Those softer shades let coral do all the work and counterbalance the loud color. 

If your wardrobe feels out of whack with an orange addition, try integrating it into your beauty regiment. Coral nails and lips are less intimidating than red but make your tan (fake tan in my case) really pop! 

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

So what do you think? Are you up for a coral addition in your beauty routine or closet?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fit for an Azalea Festival Queen

The North Carolina Azalea Festival has commenced here in Wilmington! This festival is one of our city's biggest tourist attractions and a fun time for locals as well. People come from miles around to tour beautiful residential gardens, check out vendor carts downtown and maybe even attend a little garden party. Whether you'll be at the party at Airlie Gardens tomorrow or attending a derby event soon (like Mint Julep Jubilee!), here's one look that will carry you through the day with comfort, ease and STYLE.

The gardens in Wilmington are gorgeous and the attendees at these events will surely look just as wonderful. Viva les sundresses!!

The Look for Less: Max & Cleo

The recent Look for Less post got a huge amount of interest so I thought I'd do a little more perusing to see where we could pinch some more pennies. I could not BELIEVE the similarities between these two dresses... 

The Max & Cleo dress from Neiman Marcus above comes in at $168. The colors are beautiful and we're seeing maxi dresses all over the style blogs and mags. While we've certainly seen dresses that cost much more than $168, you cannot deny the uncanny similarities between it and its $40 Old Navy twin!

All of the key elements of the more expensive version exist here- a keyhole neckline, magenta and coral color schemes, a longer hemline and the effortless cut. For $120 in savings, I think I'd go with option B this time.

In the summertime, those of us in the South wear soooo many dresses. It's nice to know that there are good-looking, affordable options out there so that we don't break the bank every time we want to add to our closet collection!

So which one would you choose? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Look for Less: Tibi

Yesterday's chat about dressing for a farm wedding led me to an interesting Look for Less discovery. Tibi's Simona dress is a great cocktail dress for this spring and summer. I love that its simple shape is made a little more interesting with the origami folds and pleating in the skirt.

Imagine my surprise when I found a dress so similar yesterday and at a fraction of the cost. You'd be investing a little more in the Tibi dress with a nearly $400 price tag but ASOS offers an option for just over $100! Granted, the Origami Mini Dress lacks some of the detail in the skirt but, regardless, a cocktail dress so beautifully made and at such a good price can be tough to beat! I also LOVE this magenta color. 

Isn't it great to know that fabulous style comes at all kinds of price points? The big time expensive pieces are always great for inspiration. But God bless the H&M's and ASOS's of the world for giving a frugal girl some options!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Farm Weddin'

One of my oldest and dearest friends gets married on her family's farm this month. What a great way to kick off wedding season! This splendid event calls for some thoughtful outfit planning though- it will be warm during the day but probably chilly at night. We'll be negotiating with uneven and grassy terrain as we trot from the ceremony site to the reception. And, of course, we'll want to look celebratory in our brights and as fabulous as a wedding guest should be!

I've come up with a few ideas for myself and my frieds, using the color of the bridesmaids' dresses- PINK- as inspiration. Our friends range from fulltime moms to doctors pulling 36-hour shifts. But no matter our lifestyles, we all enjoy looking good and feeling even better when we gather as friends.

The structured jacket adds angles to an otherwise flowy tank dress. The dress's asymmetrical hem allows a little more freedom of movement, key on the dance floor. Sturdy stacked heels are practical for walking on the jagged terrain but an open toe and espadrille platform lend a whisper to the warmer weather. 

For those who love a nod to vintage and are inspired by the romance of a wedding, a silk, blush-toned dress accented with lace black sleeves serves both fashion and function. Play up the black detailing with a simple clutch and cocktail ring in the same color. Wedges support your steps as you walk through fields and gravel. 

Charlie Jade Maxi Dress
Yochi Earrings
Blu Bijoux Bangles
BCBGeneration Wedges

A beautifully patterned maxi dress goes from coastal to cocktails when dressed up with gold accessories. All you need is a wrist full of bangles and neck grazing chandelier earrings for your jewels. An open toe, wedged pump keeps you chic and comfortable as you float across the farm.

So whether your style is over-the-top, under the radar or right at heart level, there's sure to be a look that appeals to you. Can't wait to see what everyone chooses for the farm wedding day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Master Bedroom Mix

 via Pinterest

Happy Monday to you! I hope you all had nice, long weekends. We spent tons of time with family and friends and doing home improvements a-plenty. All of this house revamping got me thinking about redecorating...who am I kidding, I'm always thinking about redecorating! The pale, neutral color scheme and relaxed vibe of the bedroom above sent me on a search for products in order to recreate this soothing jewel of a room. 

Serena & Lily Coverlet and Quilt

The mix of earthy and glam, traditional and modern, earthy and beachy makes this room so appealing and interesting. The natural fibers and materials are what seem to link all of these elements- wooden bedside tables, benches and bed frame alongside cotton and silk fabrics and a jute rug. Of course, the abstract artwork, inverted sconces and geometric patterns add a modern twist to the more traditional benches, shams and tables.

Are you making over any rooms in your house? Does the change of season spawn a need for makeovers or is it just me??

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Table Setting Inspiration: Chinoise Blue

After reading our post about Easter table setting inspiration, a friend emailed me for a little guidance on how to mix her traditional wedding china with youthful, fun pieces. Her goal was to find ways to use her formal pattern every day instead of only on special occasions. Mottahedeh's Chinoise Blue was our jumping off point:

image via Mottahedeh

She and I did some collaborating and I sent her two options. The final setting of choice...a mix of fun and funk while still honoring tradition. 

The youthful edge came care of a textured Jonathan Adler vase and the mixed ikat patterned placemat and napkin. I ushered in tradition with the Vera Wang gold-rimmed goblet and L'Objet Aegean charger. Of course, we couldn't abandon that Chinoise inspiration so cut cherry blossoms filled the vase to lend an Oriental appeal while also singing spring. 

What was her other option, you may ask? A nod to our casual coast juxtaposed with unfailing formality. 

My friend's sister-in-law had mixed in Mottahedeh's Blue Lace with Chinoise Blue so I took her cue and ran with it. The goblets and napkin remained but Jonathan Adler's pesce-placemat and scaly vase added a nod to the summery sea.

I'm a big fan of using special pieces in everyday life. Why wait when you can enjoy the things you love every day? Thanks for the challenge and let me know if you have a similar question!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Setting the Easter Scene

Yesterday we had a little discussion about Easter outfit inspiration and some festive clothing options. Today, I'd like to talk about dressing something else- your table! 

The team at Tory Burch posted this beautiful yet simple table setting from a luncheon in their Milan showroom yesterday. (Are you on Instagram? You can follow me @iluvsavoirflair and I'd love to follow you back!) Those full, bright pink bouquets placed in varying sized blue and white Chinoiserie vases got me giddy. While I'm not exactly sure what type of flowers those are- something molto Italiano, I gather?- sweet pink tulips, luscious peonies or even full camellia blooms would look elegant in those traditional vases for a family brunch or to welcome guests into their room for the weekend. 

via Instagram

Of course, you can buy these vases brand new from about a billion online vendors but your local antique stores are great sources for used vases at lower prices. The only other piece you'll need is a standard white cotton table cloth. And, if I'm dreaming, maybe I'd mix in some of my favorite china and gold flatware...

Vases, from left to right:

All this Easter chat builds up my excitement for Sunday. Do you have any favorite pieces you use on your table? Until my family arrives, I'll chow down on my favorite candy in the world...thank goodness for my waistline that they're only available during the Easter season!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter Chic

Peter Cottontail is about to come hopping down that bunny trail. Are your whites ready for Easter Sunday? 

For a little outfit inspiration, we've turned to one of our favorite Southern belles, Mrs. Reese Witherspoon. Nobody does Easter chic better than this down-to-earth blonde beauty. It used to be that only little girls were given Easter dresses but Reese's sunny wardrobe makes me wonder why the ladies can't get a little springtime spruce too!

If you're like me and plan to make it a beachy, casual weekend with relatives, Reese's boho chic look from last Easter is the perfect place to start... 

via 25media

An easy, breezy dress paired with a cardigan and earth toned accessories makes for a look comfortable and versatile enough to go from sunrise service to Easter egg hunt.

But a church service in the city and fancy family brunch call for a little more polish. Reese wore this ladylike look for Easter in 2010.

via JustJared

If you've refused to wear white since Labor Day, Easter Sunday is the perfect time to break out your favorite white dress. With a little structure and gilded flashes, the little white dress becomes instantly modernized.

Do your plans entail dressing up this weekend? Or will you celebrate in a more casual fashion? Take a cue from Reese and keep your looks simple, clean and comfortable. 

Happy Easter!

Words of Encouragement

Some days you just need a litte encouragement.

via Tumblr

Wishing you all a lovely week.