June 29, 2011

Little Happy List #2

My Personal Photo

It has been a while since I posted a Little Happy List. We're overdue for a dose of happy, aren't we? Here's to happiness.

1) The High Line

My Personal Photo

My Personal Photo

My Personal Photo

I enjoy walking the High Line. Rarely does an idea come to fruition and end up being better than you ever imagined. The High Line is exactly that. A New York City park built on an elevated freight rail structure. It's the perfect place for practicing my photography, reading, enjoying amazing horticulture and people watching.  Oh the people watching. I love the balance between the industrial settling and the sophisticated landscape filled with flowers and trees. I hope this summer provides many opportunities to enjoy this great outdoor space.

2) Silk Shirts 

Via Quiet is the New Loud 

A couple of cool days presented the perfect opportunity for wearing the silk shirts I had made in Hong Kong. Such a wonderful addition to my wardrobe. I'm considering ordering another shirt in a blush color. Blush is quickly becoming on of my favorite summer colors.

3) Wimbledon

Via Matchbook

Via This is Glamorous
There is nothing like tennis whites at the most prestigious of tennis tournaments. Thirteen days of tennis is heaven.

4) Ladurée 

Via Classy in the City
I'm anxiously awaiting the opening of Ladurée in New York. Macaroons are always too sweet and dense here. Ladurée won't replace a trip to Paris, but I'm sure it will become a tea spot for my mom and I after a museum day.

5) Dashing Men's Accessories

My Personal Photo

I had the opportunity to attend the Cole Haan & Les Toiles du Soleil Limited Edition Collaboration launch party How apropos on the eve of Pitti Uomo and Milan Men's Fashion Week. I was smitten by this colorful bow tie. I have a weakness for dapper men's accessories. Tell me this bow tie doesn't make you smile.

 The month of June flew by. What's making you terribly happy these days?

June 27, 2011


Cotélac Sweater and Shirt, J Crew Matchstick Cropped Jeans, Ferragamo Shoes

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."  Leonardo di Vinci 

This is my version of effortless weekend style. White denim and a stripy sweater are at once simple and sophisticated. Nothing symbolizes summer quite like white denim for me. Arguably it's a tricky look that I've only recently become comfortable with. I now consider it a summer stable. Even though I have a consistent style, it's constantly emerging. 

This look was perfect as I ran errands for Sunday's reception for the scholarship board I'm on. I largely admire jeans from afar. My slight stature makes me acutely aware of fit. I have a long inseam for my height, which makes tailored pants and denim all the more difficult to shop for. Having a few of my favorite tailored pants copied in Hong Kong was a godsend. Upon finding these jeans I promptly purchased two pairs for the season. White denim is a little gamine. There's a distinct air of insouciance, which I naturally gravitate toward. Summer calls for keeping things light, easy and carefree on the weekends. Effortless is not to be confused with boring. I like that the sweater has rolled sleeves, a subtle detail at the shoulder and two small exes sewn with pink thread at the back.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. 

June 23, 2011

Summer Love

Via Sun Kissed Love

Summer may only be a couple days in, but I can tell it's going to be a good one. Warm weather makes me feel better. There's something hopeful about the possibility of  being able to leave work with a little daylight left. (I'll be honest, I'm a work in progress when it comes to leaving work at a reasonable hour.) Yesterday my colleague and I took a fifteen minute break to enjoy a beautiful day and we both felt energized. 

My Personal Photo

Summer is all about enjoying every precious moment of being outside. It's about lightness and taking it easy. Summer is...

* Crisp blouses in natural fabrics

* Ladylike dresses and skirts

* Fabrics that move with the breeze

* Sunnies 

* Cool nights that call for a Breton shirt (Truth be told I wear stripy shirts year round.)

* Impromptu trips to Cooper's Beach and Surf Lodge (I love being near the sea.)

My list could go on and on. I take pleasure in little luxuries like sun and in season produce. My only complaint is air conditioning. I'm perpetually cold and don't do well with air conditioning. I find myself doing the fashion thing of wearing my jackets and blazers draped over my shoulders. 

What are your favorite things about Summer?

June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day

My Personal Photos

"You Can Never Be Overdressed or Overeducated"  Oscar Wilde

Mothers get all of the attention on personal style blogs, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention my dad. He is surprisingly knowledgeable when it comes to matters of style. Perhaps years of hearing my mother and I banter on about fashion wore him down. Regardless of the subject he's always open to learning. I feel truly blessed to have grown up in this environment.

"You Can Never Be Overdressed or Overeducated" is the type of advice my dad would offer. He always knows when it's appropriate to don a sports coat, suit or tuxedo. Who else would have guided my brothers on what business casual means in very conservative fields? I have often mentioned that when it comes to matters of style- you have to understand the classics before you can make your own mark. In my dad's case his mark breaks all of the rules. 

My dad's sartorial signature is the baseball cap. Not just any baseball cap will do. My dad would never wear a baseball cap with a sports team emblazoned across the front. He has a penchant for caps from Harvard Business School, Princeton and the University of Virginia (where his kids went and are going to school). If my dad is not in a suit or formal attire, then he is wearing one of these caps. There's no playing favorites- he wears them all equally. My mother, brothers and I have tried to coax him into other types of hats, but he always returns to his collection of university caps. He has a very diverse collection. My dad values education immensely, but even more importantly he is extremely proud of his children. It's a pride that I truly cannot articulate in words.

Happy Father's Day to all of the amazing dads out there. Happy Father's Day to all of the men who play fatherlike roles in someone's life. Most importantly, Happy Father's Day to my own father, who just might be the proudest dad ever.

June 17, 2011

Style and Identity

The Sartorialist

Style says “This is who I am- this is my signature, my voice, my scent, my colors, the cut I like best. This is me, good as I am.” It’s in the eye, the smile, the gaze, the laugh. It’s who I saw crossing the street in front of me in Florence… From Acquired Taste by Carol Edgarian 
Ever so often, I come across an article in a magazine that stays with me. Carol Edgarian’s  “Acquired Taste” from the April 2011 issue of W is exactly that type of article. If you haven’t read this article, you can read it- Here. It's a true gem. The premise is the origin of personal style and how it's informed by the world around us. It's hard to define exactly what style is, but it's more than owning beautiful clothing. Edgarian beautifully captures that moment when you see a woman with great style and want to be let in on her secret.
I had this article on my mind when I went uptown to preview Bergdorf's McQueen windows last month. On the corner of 58th street I ran into Giovanna Battaglia. I have seen her on numerous occasions at the collections, but that's different. At Fashion Week everyone is very self aware. What I noticed about Giovanna wasn't her striking beauty, immaculate grooming, beautiful dress or gorgeous bag. Instead I noticed the elegant way she draped her scarf over her head to protect her hair from the wind (teach me) and her gracefully crossed legs as she perched on the ledge of a storefront. There was something extremely elegant and ladylike about her clothing and mannerisms. Her clothing could have looked like a girl playing dress up on another woman, but they matched who she is perfectly. I prefer a bit more simplicity when it comes to dressing, however I always enjoy seeing how polished Giovanna looks.
For me, style requires a knowledge and appreciation for the classics. If you don't have any reference points when it comes to fashion- how can you even begin to cultivate your own personal style? Style and identity are interrelated. Having style means that you have perfected your individual point of view. Personal style requires a degree of confidence in oneself and choices. Once you've found your style you build upon it. Experience and lifestyle allow you to make adjustments along the way. You become discerning and learn to admire items that don't suit you from afar once you develop your own personal style. I can only hope that one day I acquire this innate sense of style.

June 13, 2011

Bonne Manière

Malandrino Blouse, Carven Pleated Wool-Crepe Skirt, Miu Miu Shoes

There has been much discussion about the Five Piece French Wardrobe- a shopping philosophy modeled after how French women center their wardrobes around essentials and add a few (five) new purchases each season. You can read more about the Five Piece French Wardrobe- HERE. French women are known for their shopping expertise. Parisiennes manage to look chic and sophisticated by investing in a few quality pieces that fit well. There are practical reasons why French women buy less- there is a knowledge of quality, closets are incredibly small and clothing is expensive to name a few. 

Many perceive limiting purchases in this manner as a challenge, but it's how I was taught to think about my wardrobe. I don't adhere strictly to limiting my new purchases to five items, but I'm aware of my consumerism. I believe in connoisseurship when it comes to shopping. I'm always looking for pieces that fill in the gaps in my wardrobe. There's an art to building a wardrobe and it takes time and precision. 

I looked at Carven's pleated wool-crepe skirt on Net-A-Porter all Spring. I have a penchant for skirts. There is something about this skirt that is sophisticated, but also a bit whimsical. It reminds me of whiling away time in the Tuileries, however with a blouse and jacket this skirt could work in a professional setting. I greatly admire Guillaume Henry's resurrection of Carven. In just two years he has developed a well considered aesthetic with a very specific girl in mind. Intellectual bourgeois has been bantered about.  According to  Style.com "His girl may be proper—choosing skirts over pants, never saying no to a little white collar, opting to cover up rather than going bare (at least most of the time)—but she isn't dull." This describes my approach to dressing perfectly.

You can imagine my dismay when I finally decided that this skirt would be a welcome addition to my wardrobe, only to find it sold out in my size everywhere. On a whim and the gentleman's recommendation I went to Barneys expecting the skirt to it to be sold out. A quick scan of the rack turned up no skirt in my size, but a wonderful sales associate was able to track down the skirt. I'm looking forward to integrating this skirt into my wardrobe. Bonne Manière * indeed. 

*  Bonne Manière means to be properly dressed. 

June 10, 2011

On Inspiration

Via the Balenciaga Archives

"A Couturier Must Be: An architect for design, a sculptor for shape, a painter for colour, a musician for harmony and a philosopher for temperance." Cristobal Balenciaga

Recently, a dear friend asked me what inspires my style- if there is a specific time period that serves as an influence. My friend's reasoning was that she would start with generalities regarding my style and sensibilities before moving onto the nuances. I thought about it and began to speak several times, but struggled to articulate my inspirations. My sartorial inspirations are far more subtle than a particular time period. I also find that I'm always inspired by new things that help me hone my vision. 

My style is influenced by life and all of its subtleties. I started this blog as a place to share all of the little influences on my personal style. When the lovely Koko commented that the dress I wore to last week's benefit reminded her of old school Balenciaga I took a step back. There's no denying that the fit and little tulip skirt in the image above influenced my evening look. Vintage Balenciaga has been on my mind for months. I went to see Balenciaga: Spanish Master at the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute twice and had the opportunity to hear Hamish Bowles speak about curating the exhibition. All winter I have awaited today's opening of the Cristobal Balenciaga Museoa in Getaria, Spain.

I have seen exhibits on Balenciaga, but Balenciaga: Spanish Master is the first exhibition to examine the unique Spanish influences on the couturier's work. What I find most enduring about Balenciaga's work is the tailoring. The cut, lines and fall of the material are precise, even when he experimented with silhouettes. He understood the notion of designing for a multitude of body types and how to drape material. I'm reminded of the quote from Pamela Golbin's book Balenciaga Paris, "It seems as though he never had any other aspiration than creating clothes, anonymously and merely for the pleasure of it, for a few women, the smallest possible number; not necessarily beautiful women but those rare few in each generation who are elegant enough to combine audacity, attention to detail and propriety in one dress." I'm constantly looking out for a collectors piece by a true couturier like Balenciaga, Chanel or Madame Grès. 

We each have our own tastes and preferences that serve as inspiration, however I'm always amazed that my travels, favorite pieces of literature, art and decor (to name a few) inform my personal style. Each of these things yields a consistency of vision that contribute to my personal style. What inspires your style?

PS- The exhibit is now open at the de Young. If you are in San Francisco, I would highly recommend checking this out.

June 7, 2011

The Boys Have Grown Up

Via Jak and Jill

"Personal Style is innovative yet intimate. It's a reflection of your aesthetic, beliefs, who you stand for and the relationship you have with the world. It has the power to speak volumes about you without having to vocalize a thing " Prabal Guring 

In honor of tonight's CFDA Fashion Awards I have been wearing my favorite items from the nominees all weekend. There's something about an entire industry coming together and supporting one another that I find touching. The CFDA provides much needed funding and mentoring to young designers. As a result of the CFDA's enormous success similar funds have been established in Paris and Milan, where young design talent typically is not nurtured. It is only fitting that I saved my beloved  Proenza Schouler skirt for last. 

Photographed by Karl-Edwin Guerre
Every time I unearth this skirt from my closet I get excited to wear it. I firmly believe that we should only buy items that we love to wear. This skirt is one of those pieces that signifies the start of summer and longer days ahead. When my friend asked to shoot me for a street style piece last summer he was a bit surprised when I came dressed in difficult to shoot white. My response was "but I always wear pieces that I love with a story."

This skirt was shown on the runway in a different color combination and with a few subtle variations. Months later at Proenza Schouler's  design studio this version was waiting to make its way into my closet. It had been overlooked because it wasn't the version that went into production. It's always fun to watch fashion people look at the skirt, identify its provenance and then debate whether to ask why they didn't see it on the runway or in stores. I love a unique piece. 

Via Jak and Jill
What I love most about Proenza Schouler is that I  understand the girl who they are designing for. She's a delicate balance of uptown refinement and downtown art world cool. The Proenza Schouler girl is effortless. The tailoring and construction is impeccable. Each season the designs are more refined, ladylike and grown up, which is logical because the designers are growing up. Yet they have managed to stay true to their aesthetic. I couldn't be happier to see Proenza Schouler take home the evening's top prize- Womenswear Designer of the Year. 

June 5, 2011

"Dance By The Light of The Moon"

She tucked her coral aubergine lipstick away and floated back to the party (When I saw this printed on the shoe bag, I knew these shoes were made for me)

Frank Tell Dress, Chanel Necklace, Kate Spade Shoes

"Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman." Coco Chanel

Words to live by. There's something wonderful about being impeccably well dressed. You can always tell when a girl has carefully considered her attire. It's a way of articulating your presence. Evening dressing with all of its intricacies can throw a girl into a panic, but I love an excuse to get dressed up. To be honest I don't really need a reason to dress up. I'm an advocate for looking pulled together at all times.

Here are a few pictures of the dress I decided on for the Spring Benefit. I instantly loved this dress the moment I saw it. I have a fondness for black and white. This dress is at once polished and poised. There is just something about this dress that instinctively suits me. When I started thinking about this event I knew I wanted to wear my talisman. A seated dinner calls for an attention grabbing necklace. 

The blend of wool and silk Mikado (one of my favorite fabrics) give the dress structure. A garment retaining its structure is of utmost importance when the evening calls for a lot of wrinkle inducing sitting before the dancing begins. I hesitated at first because of the full skirt and even had an Alberta Ferretti dress at the ready just in case I had a change of heart. I just kept coming back to this dress because it was charming. For important events the first dress that I like is usually the dress. It's simply a matter of trusting my own instincts.

The objective for evening should be to standout, while looking appropriate for the affair. If you're going to an event where everyone is wearing black, why not wear color? If everyone is wearing a long gown, there's something refreshing about going short.  I never strive to be the girl wearing the dress by such and such designer. It's simply a matter of achieving that look that you can't put your finger on, but it's perfection. 

Thursday night was a success sartorially. Even more importantly the event raised a lot of money for an amazing cause. The event was packed and people were so excited to get more involved. There's nothing quite like "dancing by the light of the moon" for a cause you love. 

PS- When the sun goes down the tuxedos come out. There's nothing like a dapper gentleman escorting you in his best. 

June 2, 2011

Scenes From The Weekend

My Personal Photo 

Happy Unofficial Start to Summer!

I hope you all had lovely weekends. Memorial day aside, for me summer unofficially commences when I can finally show off a cheery pedicure (I'm currently loving OPI Red). Once I find something that works I'm extremely loyal. A pedicure, white denim, nautical stripes, loosely tousled hair and dewy makeup are a few of my favorite summer weekend looks. 

My weekend included a trip to the spa, reading, working on my photography, shopping for lacy things in mauve and aubergine, elaborate picnics and rowing along in a little rowboat in Central Park. I love that park and there's nothing like the first few warm days to get me out in the fresh air. I happily threw on a summery  Temperley dress and we made our way to the lake. Little did I know that balancing two in a rowboat while trying to take a few outfit shots would be a challenge to say the least. I'm happy to report that the boat did not overturn and we were not marooned along the banks.
Via This Is Glamorous

My Personal Photo
My Personal Photo

If there is one thing I've learned it's to stay true to my aesthetic. Even if that means rowing in a Temperley dress. I simply wouldn't be me if I didn't pull myself together for even the most relaxed summer afternoons. How did you spend the weekend? 

PS- How wonderful is that Loewe picnic hamper? Loewe is one of those luxury brands that has been on my mind lately. There's a consistency to their vision that is simply divine.