Two for Tuesday: Lady Jackets at J.Crew

By now, many have you have heard that Jenna Lyons – J.Crew’s creative director – is on her way out after working with the brand for 26 years! I really like so many of J.Crew’s designs, but the prices are high for just-okay quality. I don’t buy anything at J.Crew unless it’s on sale from the store or the factory store. What about you?

These two lady jackets though – I want them both!

polka dot tweed jacket, $220 CAD

lady jacket with rick rack trim, $194 CAD

Fashion: Kate Middleton in Self-Portrait

The Duchess of Cambridge’s style always grabs my attention. I love just about every outfit she has been photographed wearing.

Her recent look in a floor-length Self-Portrait dress amazed me. She looked stunning in the white gown.

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Duchess Catherine in Self-Portrait

Here are some other beautiful white Self-Portrait dress in case you’re looking to channel your inner Duchess sometime soon.

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Self-Portrait white roses gown

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Self-Portrait Penelope gown

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Self-Portrait Eva gown

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Self-Portrait Angelica gown

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Hotel to Home: Casa Angelina, Amalfi, Italy

Would you come to the Amalfi Coast with me today? I barely had to twist your arm, right?

Casa Angelina is soaked in white and the beach and sea beyond the balcony doors is as  beautiful as you might expect.

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Casa Angelina

The low profile platform bed means that no view to the outdoors is obstructed. The inclusion of silver lamps and grey linens breaks up all the white. Below is my redo of the deluxe suite shown above:

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Bertoia chair, desk, floor lamp, desk lamp, bed frame, chest of drawers, sheet set, pillow, grey throw, plant, candle

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Travel: What To Pack for a Beach Vacation

I’m currently vacationing in sunny Florida! It’s super hot in Florida at the moment, and my friend Shannon and I have agreed that we should stick to a grueling schedule of beach-pool-beach-pool with some meals in between. Tough, yes. That’s how we roll when we’re in Florida! Of course, though, there’ll be days and nights of shopping trips, and we’re looking forward to a trip-within-a-trip to Sarasota. Oh – and we’ll be seeing two concerts while we’re here – Gwen Stefani and the Dave Matthews Band. Very cool. Good times ahead!

I’m a decent packer, and I generally have a good sense of what outfits I may need while I’m on vacation. That said, I sometimes pack more than I need and I don’t like lugging around useless weight. For this vacation, I wanted to pack light – absurdly light – because (a) I don’t wear much more than bathing suits while I’m here, (b) it’s too hot to wear more than a bathing suit, and (c) I’m hoping for a few sales which means I’ll be returning with a heavier luggage on my way home. I’m so good at supporting the American economy when I’m in Florida that I should really get a prize.

I’m (almost) ready to challenge myself to stick to a very strict colour scheme this trip. I’m starting with two navy/white bikinis that I picked up in Copenhagen last month from H&M. Most of my packing for this trip revolved around navy/white (quite a departure from the usual black and white, I know). Here’s what I considered (and just about ended up following through on) packing for this vacation (very similar items, not necessarily the exact items).

beach-vacation-White-Cabana-what-to-pack-1beach-vacation-White-Cabana-what-to-pack-2

sunglasses, sun hat, watch, dress, bikini, kaftan coverup, flip flops, white tee, white denim shorts, purse, navy shorts, dress, tank top, striped bikini, sneakers, sweatshirt, pajamas, sandals, sports bra, sports tank, running shoes, running skirt

What do you think? Could you spend two weeks in Florida with these 22 pieces?

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The Friday Five: White Hot at Anthropologie

The Anthropologie catalogue arrived last week, and it got me drooling! The store is so full of goodness. While not everything suits my style, I do appreciate Anthro’s overall aesthetic. And the pieces that I have picked out in the past for my home and wardrobe have definitely become some of my favourite items.

These five pieces have caught my summer-loving attention.

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Quinn poplin shirt dress, 1 by O’2nd, $178

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Josie poplin dress, Blue Tassel, $138

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AG prima jeans, AG, $178

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Teva universal slides, Teva, $60
(I don’t particularly like these, but I do find it interesting that Teva is making a comeback. I lived in Teva shoes when I was a teen.)

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lotus platter, $28

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Style Black Jeans

I wear a lot of black. As in, I wear black just about every single day. And on the days that I don’t wear black, I wear white. Black and white. White and black. This is my basic uniform. While some of you colour-loving readers might think I live a boring fashion life, I would completely disagree. I jazz things up with textures, layers, and accessories.

You know I’ve been working with L.L.Bean this year, and I was thrilled to try out their signature skinny jeans. After I received them, I wore them for three days straight, which basically sums up how I feel about them. I love them. They sit a little higher on the waist, they have plenty of stretch (but do not stretch out), they have a slim leg, and the back pockets are perfectly placed. They have washed well so far (I hang them to dry), and they keep their shape. Needless to say, I have no complaints at all. If you’re in between sizes according to the L.L.Bean sizing chart, I would go for the larger size as these are a skinny fit, and you don’t want them to be totally uncomfortably tight.

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I’m wearing*: L.L.Bean signature skinny jeans c/o, ruffle trim sweater, boots (similar)

Considering how often I wear black jeans (and I imagine you might, too), I thought I’d share five ways to style a sharp pair of black jeans.

First: The Classics: black jeans paired with a classic white shirt

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white shirt, belt, shoes, crossbody bag, necklace, earrings

Second: Casual Confidence: black jeans paired with classic Converse and a hoodie

black-jeans-casual-converse

Converse, hoodie, tote, tank top, watch, earrings, sunglasses, wallet

Third: Feminine Perfection: black jeans paired with lace and sparkle

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top, shoes, clutch, cuff, earrings

Four: Getting Down to Business: black jeans paired with turtleneck, blazer, and Chelsea booties

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purse, booties, turtleneck, blazer, earrings, scarf, bracelet

Five: Rock and Roll: black jeans paired with stripes and leather

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shoes, leather jacket, ruffle back tee, clutch, earrings, bangle

What are your favourite pairings for your black jeans?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

*I took my coat off for 1 minute for this jump (brrr!). Thanks for the snapping the jumping photo, SY!
Thanks again, L.L.Bean, for sending over the signature skinny jeans. Read my previous L.L.Bean posts.
All opinions are my own.

 

Fashion: Review of L.L. Bean’s 850 Downtek Coat

I take my coat purchases very seriously. I’m not a fan of winter, I don’t like to be cold for even a minute, and I spend quite a bit of time outdoors because I walk to work/grocery store/cafĂ©s/etc. Coats can also be quite a pricey investment.

Many years ago, I bought this black puffy coat in New York City, and it was my “duty” coat as in I needed a super warm coat to carry out my yard duty responsibility when I was teaching at an elementary school. The coat is intense. It looks like I’m wearing a sleeping bag. I loved that coat even though I looked ridiculous! A couple of years ago, the zipper broke, and I never got around to getting it fixed. I made do with the button closures.

In my puffy coat purchases, this gold coat came next. It’s been a decent replacement. It’s not as long as the black coat, but it’s very warm, and it’s gold! While I do love black, I like having non-black coats in the winter. I love the high collar on this coat and the asymmetrical zipper. The problems with this coat, though, are that it doesn’t have a hood and it’s too big.

Since I was in need of a new functional winter coat, L.L. Bean generously sent over its Ultralight 850 Downtek coat (long version). Since I’m quite a picky customer when it comes to coats (if you couldn’t already tell), I thought it might be helpful to my readers and to L.L. Bean if I did a full review of this coat. Here. We. Go.

The Ultralight 850 Downtek coat comes in black, plum, blue, and shadow. I opted for the shadow.

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L.L.Bean’s Ultralight 850 Downtek coat in shadow, $219 USD (on sale)

The first thing I noticed about the 850 Downtek was the colour. It’s honestly a bit hard to describe. Sometimes, the coat looks like the colour in the photo on L.L.Bean’s website – silvery grey. Other times, it looks more white. And yet at other times, it looks like it’s icy blue. This is making me consider possible scarf set options. So far, I think black or cream works best with it, but I think the right shade of fuchsia will also go nicely (basically, it’ll look like I’m wearing my basement decor).

When I pulled the coat out of the box, I was amazed by its lightness. It is SO light! My black sleeping bag coat is heavy, and my gold puffy coat isn’t much lighter. The 850 is just as it’s advertised – ultralight! It feels like I’m wearing an extra sweater rather than a super warm puffy coat. You know? I was completely shocked! Puffy coat technology has completely improved in the last few years.

Once I put on the coat and started wearing it, I noticed a bunch of amazing and useful design details.

The hood tightening system. I used the hood one evening when it was raining and I forgot my umbrella. The hood came in very handy, and since it was also quite windy, I used the pulls to tighten the hood so that it wouldn’t blow off. I was impressed. (Look at me – dealing with the elements!)

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The arm hem sleeve details. One side is elasticized, but the other is plain. I think this is a nice detail. It keeps the cuff tight (doesn’t let the air in), but it doesn’t cut off my circulation with a too-tight elastic closure.

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The two-way zipper. I adore this feature, and I use it when I’m walking (and I want to make super long strides), but I mostly use it when I’m driving since unzipping from the bottom makes it easy to get in and out of the car, and reduces the risk of ripping the coat or zipper.

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The length. I’m 5’4″, so the length is exactly what I wanted, but it’s definitely longer on me than it is on the model in this photo. This is not a knee-length coat on me, it’s more of a mid-calf length.

The inside pocket. I’m glad this exists because when I don’t carry my purse, I make good use of the pockets. This extra interior pocket was a good design move.

The zipper pulls. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make the biggest difference. In this case, the zipper pulls make zipping up the coat and pockets very easy when I’m wearing my gloves. Plain zippers are too slipper and small, and they make me annoyed. These little rubber-ended pulls are easy to use.

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Warmth factor. Okay. So the coat definitely keeps me warm. It hasn’t been brutally cold, and I think the coldest it’s been has been -5C, but the coat has kept me very comfortable on my walking commute as well as in a cold arena while I sat and watched Skate Canada’s synchronized figure skating event.

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The 850 refers to the goose down insulation, and the DownTEK™ is a treatment to insure water-resistance. This is one of L.L. Bean’s warmest coats for women, and it will keep me warm up to -30F (-34C…is that the right conversion?).

And, finally, here’s what I look like in the coat (paired with black, of course):

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L.L. Bean 850 Downtek coat – long c/o, L.L. Bean Signature black skinny jeans, modern fit c/o, Gap booties, leather gloves (old), scarf (old)

I’m wearing a size medium, but I’m sure the small would have worked out well, too. As with my wellies, I used L.L.Bean’s size guide, and I found it to be quite helpful. I can easily add a bulky sweater underneath this coat, and it would still be comfortable.

Thanks, Shannon, for the photo shoot! Photos by me and Shannon. Thanks again to L.L. Bean for sending me this coat. All opinions are my own.

Fashion: My L.L.Bean Outfit Plans

I’m thrilled to be working with L.L.Bean again this month. After my I’m-such-a-happy-customer, and my-wellies-are-working-out-great experience with L.L.Bean a couple of months ago, we have decided to work together again.

Now, let me be honest with you. L.L.Bean has been a go-to spot for luggage (I own this,  love it, and have traveled with it a lot) and luggage accessories (packers like these have come in very handy over many years), but I haven’t spent too much time looking beyond their luggage section. I was under the impression that the merchandise was too outdoorsy or rugged or preppy for me, if that makes any sense. I don’t canoe. I don’t snowshoe. I don’t live in Maine. You know what I mean?

But, when I was preparing my wellie review posts (here and here), I dove deeper into the website, and I realized that L.L.Bean does have quite a bit to offer a young*, hip**, fashion-conscious, non-canoeing gal such as myself. As I did more research (I’m all about doing a lot of research), I learned, from random face-to-face discussions to online Twitter conversations to fellow bloggers’ posts, that L.L.Bean has quite the following, and people really do seem to value the brand and the quality of its products. As such, I was happy to hit the drawing board to put together some more L.L.Bean outfits that would suit my lifestyle.

Outfit 1: Weekend Errands

This first black and white look is comfortable for running errands and polished enough to join a friend for lunch. The tailored jogger pants (if there is such a thing) are still on trend, and the watch and customizable tote are classic L.L.Bean.

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jacket, boots, watch, pants, top, cardigan, tote

Outfit 2: Activity Time

I love every piece that I used in this black and white outfit. This will take you to and from the gym with maybe a pop-in to the grocery store in between. The puffy coat is not too puffy, and I’ve been a long-time fan of Superga sneakers, so it’s nice to see them offered at L.L.Bean. The sweatshirt is perfect for long winter walks.LLbean-White-Cabana-style-3

sweatshirt, backpack, coat, gloves, sunglasses, travel mug, pants, sneakers

Outfit 3: Casual Luxury Friday

While casual luxury may be seen as a contradiction, it perfectly describes this third black and white outfit. While at first glance, this look is casual because of the jeans, it is also luxurious. The sweater is cashmere, the gloves are leather, and the booties are from Corso Como. The outfit could easily take you (or take me!) from the office to dinner on a casual Friday.

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coat, sweater, jeans, gloves, belt, clutch, boots

What do you think of the outfits? Are you surprised these pieces are from L.L.Bean, or is this what you have come to expect from the brand?

Finally, to end this post on a super (super, super, super) sweet note, let’s have a look at my sweet (sweet, sweet, sweet) nephew up on the massive Bean boot at the L.L.Bean headquarters in Maine a few years ago.

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While I haven’t been to the L.L.Bean HQ in Freeport, Maine, my sister and her family have. My nephews have seen the giant boot before me! While they don’t quite fit the rugged outdoorsy mold (we are part of the same family, remember?), they’re definitely an L.L.Bean family, and they’re the people who got me hooked on the luggage in the first place many years ago! Also, they own a canoe. Go figure.

* Of course I’m young! I’d rather not think any other way.
**
Of course I’m hip, too. I’m not sure my university students would agree with me though.

Design: The Buffalo Check Trend

What’s black and white and square all over? Buffalo check, of course! While the pattern does come in just about every colour, I’m obviously most drawn to the black/white/grey versions.

It seems like buffalo check just emerged on the design scene within days. Seemingly suddenly, I’m seeing this pattern on everything from chairs to table cloths to settees to clothing.

Buffalo check works with a lot of existing styles – traditional, modern, country, shabby chic – as you’ll see in the interiors below.

pancakes-pajamas-2016avia Rambling Renovators

buffalo-check-homevia Studio McGee

buffalo-check-chair-studio-mcgeevia Studio McGee

7754128ccb0e2c40f79d91872d0d0606via Steward of Design

main.original.640x0cvia My Domaine

buffalo-check-hunted-interior-makeovervia Hunted Interior

7130026_origvia Cottage Decor

5-600x890via Interiors by Studio M (that dog!)

MSI_5040via Mustard Seed

kitchen-427x640via Atlanta Homes

Now that you’ve seen some inspiring interiors, here’s a round-up of items available in the marketplace just in case you’d like to include some buffalo check into your own home (and wardrobe).

jackchairwindowpane_1518Jack chair, $1500, Schoolhouse Electric

36248219_018_b1Kimball check, $1598, Anthropologie

XXX_0055_1000219th C. classical carved American empire recaimier, $7500, 1st Dibs

berta-ruta-fabric-black__0137764_PE296491_S4Berta Ruta fabric, $9.99/metre, Ikea

Product_FRL12108_Image_1buffalo check tea towels, $33, One King’s Lane

882709236689_hibuffalo check throw, $34.99 (on sale), Chapters Indigo

36115822_018_gsweater, $119.99 (on sale), Urban Outfitters

John-Galliano-buffalo-check-dressJohn Galliano dress, $1850, 1st Dibs

eroad3000292855_q1_1-1._QL90_UX336_Emerson Road PJ set, $95

3564154064_2_3_1check shirt, $45.90, Zara

And for the men…

3894400064_2_5_1check flannel shirt, $19.99 (on sale), Zara

hmprodplaid sweater, $19.99 (on sale), H&M

hmprod-1check pajama pants, $14.99, H&M (hello!)

A nice way to end the post, eh? Yeah, you’re welcome. Happy Monday!

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