Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Well, I wasn't going to post on this, because everyone and their mother already has, but here's a quick shot.  

Seems like my Wednesday post was a little prescient, since there was a clear parallel between the looks chosen by Princess Grace and the new Duchess of Cambridge (which really is a much more logical connection to draw than the super-obvious-but-not-remotely-accurate one to Diana's wedding that was so heavily pushed by the media coverage).

There was lots of commentary over how "unique" and "controversial" it was to have Pippa and the flower girls/bridesmaids/whatever they're called in England wearing white, but I could only think of the similarities to the bridal party of the Monaco wedding.

And, of course, what everyone is really talking about - sleeves!  Sleeves, sleeves, lovely sleeves.  It's hysterical to me that 90% of the wedding commentary that I come across online is all about how brides want dresses with sleeves, and (speaking from experience) the choices are limited.  Unless you want to spend upwards of $8,000 on a dress.  Hopefully the sleek, simple, and relatively modest (though I might argue that Pippa's dress dips a little too low in front) styles created by Sarah Burton have a big influence on the brial market. It'll be interesting to see.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Wednesday Pretty, 4/27

Since it's the week of the "royal wedding" and I've been on a classics tear, I thought I'd feature Grace Kelly today in all her wedding finery.  

Seriously.  She is gorgeous.  And I love this picture, kneeling up at the altar.  It's beautiful, but it's also a nice reminder of what a holy, special thing a wedding ceremony is.  

And check out her bridal party all in white.  And that tilt of her head - she is just so ridiculously elegant.  Although, I do feel a little bad for those poor boys dressed like that and immortalized.  Life with the royals is hard, huh?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shoe Challenge #15 - Schuh Herringbone Kitten Heels

Ugh.  After days of nice weather, we got hit with snow and rain in quick succession.  Ick.  Guess Spring is coming on a little slower than before.  At least our grass is super-duper-green.  And it was so nice to be out of the apartment, even if it was still damp and ugly outside.

Hey - rainy day hair!
Rain stopped and we meandered downtown to drop off some books at the library and pick up a pair of trousers from the tailors.  Very exciting, all around, right?  This was my first chance to wear my new LilaMolly cardigan that I picked up from Anthro during the Chicago trip (on double markdown - score!).  I did a little brown/black mixing with the b/w shoes and these dark brown J.Crew bootcut cords to coordinate with the cardi.

I've had both these kitten heels and the awesome pashmina from my first year in Scotland nearly 8 years ago (geesh!).  I'm surprised they've both held up so well, but I don't honestly wear heels this low very often.  They're very pointy-toed, which was apparently very in around 2004 since I have several shoes from the era in a similar style - many of which didn't survive the shoe-collection-culling that began the shoe challenge endeavour.  I think it was the fab herringbone tweediness of these that forced me to hold onto them.  And they're actually pretty great for a comfy dressy shoe that is really easy to walk in.  Glad I saved them, I think.  :-)

What zhe hell?

source: redcarpet-fashionawards

Here's Eva Mendes looking gorgeous in a summery floral dress, which according to RedCarpet FashionAwards, is from Free People.  So, hey, a dress worn by celebrities in my price range!  Cute!  Let's check it out:

Okay, I guess I made a stupid assumption on price, since this dress is priced at $268.  Okay - is it made of silk?  No, organic cotton.  Okay - is the quality of the piece exceptional?  IT HAS RAW HEMS!  Seriously?  Unfinished hems is a look, I understand, but to charge nearly $300 for it?  I'm dumbfounded.  Oh, wait.  It's by "Daughters of the Revolution".   A designer dress.  Worn by a celebrity.  I get it.


(And I swear that Eva's dress looks like the hem is finished.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Wednesday Pretty, 4/20

Oscar de la Renta Bridal - Spring 2012

Now this is what I mean when I mention "put on your favorite dress and walk to the church."  Reminds me strongly of the High Society dress.  I imagine that if I lived in England, I would want to wear this to my afternoon garden wedding.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Classic Movie Wedding Dresses

If you didn't pick it up from the oblique "bridal shower" references in previous posts, I'm getting married in 6 weeks (aghhhhh!).  This has caused my brain to be overloaded by wedding paraphernalia, some of the most fascinating of which is movie-based.  I am fascinated by wedding dresses in old movies, and how they're give such a nice feel for how the trends re: wedding dresses have changed through the years.  

Check out this drop-dead gorgeous number on Claudette Colbert:

Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night (1934)

You can definitely tell it's a 30's era dress, but it hardly looks dated at all.  (And check out that rich-girl veil!)  I tried on a few dresses in similar satin and cut, and I felt like I was wearing a nightie.  This one manages to keep the neckline and sleeve demure enough to keep away from inappropriate territory.  The flowered neckline and the gloves don't hurt, either.  

And just for kicks, how about the marvelous poster art:

Contrast the above with this - another rich socialite wedding dress:

Gene Tierney in The Razor's Edge (1946)

The slinky satin has been replaced with lace, but that thing is so tight I have no idea how she moves in it.  I hope she didn't have to sit down.  The veil is another long one, but it's nearly eclipsed by the lace train and that massive bouquet.  The one thing I'm not so sure about is that...thing...on her head.  I like the lace cap, but the poufy hat bit is a little odd (though nicely set against her brunette hair).  The see-through lace neckline and sleeves, with just a sweetheart bustline lined, seems to be a popular style that appears more than once.

Ginger Rogers in Carefree (1938)

I, unfortunately, couldn't find a better pic of this dress, which looks more like the modern cupcake dress. The tulle can partly be attributed to the fact that Rogers always wore clothes that moved with her dancing.  The origami-esque bodice is a nice touch, but those are some seriously puffy sleeves (calling Anne Shirley, eh?).  The hairpiece and thick tulle veil seem reminiscent of the first two ensembles. 

The lace bodice like Tierney's was seemingly a popular choice in the 50s:

Maureen O'Hara in The Quiet Man (1952)

Elizabeth Taylor in The Father of the Bride (1950)

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

The Father of the Bride dress is the true precursor of the "princess" trend in today's bridal market.  O'Hara and Monroe's dresses are much more toned down and, despite the lace, almost casual in their likeness to regular dress-wear.  I especially love the short stiff skirt of the last dress, and her adorable hat.  The veils are very bridal but that hat is so chic.  

Speaking of short dresses, here is the epitome of the classic short wedding dress:

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (1957)
The New Look silhouette, combined with the simple fabric, make this a very striking look.  And one that I think is nigh impossible to actually pull off.  Even Hepburn is barely doing it (Doesn't she look about 4 feet tall, even on a pedestal?).  This dress is remarkably popular on the blogs, especially with the blog-heavy influence on "indie" weddings.  The shoulder-brushing veil is an interesting change, but Hepburn's slicked back hair makes the whole thing a little too stark for me. 

The Funny Face dress does seem to fall into a niche category of wedding-dress-that-looks-nearly-like-everyday-dress.  I always think of Margaret in Gaskell's North and South, who - decrying the elaborate wedding celebration of her cousin - says "On my wedding day, I would like to put on my best dress and walk to the church."  In our era of wedding-as-event, the idea seems only feasible for city hall weddings, much like the gorgeous vintage suit Carrie wears in her final wedding in the Sex and the City movie.  There truly is something very appealing about that idea, which comes through in a few instances in classic film:  

Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year (1942)

Grace Kelly in High Society (1956)
Secretly, as much as I adore Grace Kelly's actual wedding dress, I must say that I love her wedding ensemble in High Society.  

This dress, however, I actually find a little horrible:

Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Maybe it's the hat?  Bacall is too pretty to be wearing that thing.  I included it anyway because (a) How to Marry... is one of my favorite movies ever and (b) Monroe's outfit in this shot is to die.  The draped sleeves, the fur neckline, the gloves, and especially her glasses ("men don't make passes at girls who wear specs").  Seriously, I wish that Marilyn had stuck more to comedy, as she is positively brilliant in this movie.  

And finally, just because it's one of my favorite movie wedding dresses ever:

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music (1965)

Do you have any classic movie wedding dresses to add?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Rainy Chicago and Shoe Challenge #14 - Seychelles Apple-a-Day heels

The Chicago weekend was a blast.  This was our view from our hotel room: 

Yep, that's the old Marshall Field's building, now sadly a Macy's. And yes, it was rainy all weekend.  But fairly warm, so that's something. Macy's was having its annual flower show, and the store was covered in these absolutely gorgeous fresh flower arrangements.

It smelled wonderful - and not like overly mixed perfume like the cosmetics area usually smells.  Although they've added a Lush counter and you can literally smell it from outside.  Heh.  All those amazing flower arrangements did make me sad for a bit that we're not having impressive flowers for the wedding.  Ah, well.  Priorities, priorities.  It's not really a "flower" style wedding anyway.  I've always wanted to be one of those people who has fresh flowers in their house/apartment.  Maybe that'll be a mark of being a grown-up?  

Some of the other bridal shower attendees (including my SILs, who brought along my new nephew!) joined me Saturday morning for a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, my favorite museum in the city.  

We didn't actually get through the whole museum (their collection is massive, and wonderfully curated, if you've never been).  I made a beeline for the visiting exhibition of renaissance art (no pictures allowed - not surprising, but still sad), then made sure to hit up the a few of my favorites on the second floor.  Unfortunately, I didn't get over to the mod art wing to see my fave Kandinsky, but we did get to see the Chagall windows, which have been in storage for the last few years I've gone while the Institute was under construction.  

I wore my tan Seychelles with a BR wrap dress and threw on an old J.Crew cabled cardi because I knew I'd be cold.  I love these heels - they've got a sturdy heel and are neutral, so they go with anything.  They are also remarkably comfortable, but I was starting to get blisters because (long story!) I had to super-speed-walk from River North where the El had issues down to the Institute.  The shoes may be comfy, but my baby toes had blisters after walking a mile in under 20 mins.  Luckily, a friend of mine had plasters in her handbag - problem (temporarily) solved!

Post-art browsing, we had a blast at the shower - I've got some great friends and family.  Then I "dragged" my SILs and my mom down to Water Tower Place for some evening shopping and a nice, slow walk back to the Loop for dinner.  

We stopped by the Wrigley Building to get some pictures in the drizzle. Definitely needed the scarf and trench coat by then.

Thanks for the fun weekend guys!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Boden Sale!

Just one more sale for heading into your weekend:

Boden's Midseason Sale is on now - up to 40% off at

I love Boden, but I typically find their things to be just a little more than I want to spend at that time.  The colorfulness and the attention to detail reminds me of J.Crew in it's preppy days (circa 07-08) when color wasn't a naughty word to them.  It's all so wearable and happy.  

Here are my picks of the sale:

Silver Metallic Leather-trim Tote - now $53

Uplifting Mac in Geranium - now $37

Who doesn't want a bright jacket to cheer up a rainy day?

Carnation Capri Pencil Skirt - now $46

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Shoe Challenge #13 - Jeffrey Campbell thigh-high boots

I had flats on originally today, but decided it was too cold still and I didn't want to put on tights.  Thigh-high boots to the rescue!  I purchased these last year when the thigh-high boot trend was at its height.  Unfortunately, I don't get as much wear as I should like to from them.  I see Amber wearing hers, and it always reminds me they're in my closet.  Part of the deterrent is that it takes a bit of thought to pair them with outfits that don't result in me looking like an extra from Pretty Woman.  

The real trick is wearing them with skirts long enough to cover the tops when sitting.  The platform on these seems a little high when I look at them in the box, but it really improves the comfort level - they don't even feel that high!  They're faux-suede, which also tones down the sexiness factor a bit, I think.  Jeffrey Campbell is really good at making these trend-heavy shoes at affordable prices.  

I upped the casual factor by pairing my new Swept Swag Sweatshirt from Anthro with a full, pleated skirt from Banana to add some color.  I couldn't be bothered to dry my hair today, so I pulled it back into a tight bun, and added fun dangly earrings from Sundance.  (I'm so glad my hair's long enough that I can just pull it back when I don't want to deal with it!)

Now, I'm off this afternoon to Lansing for another round of ballroom dance.  Hope I remember all the steps I learned last week!

Shoe Challenge #12 - Poetic License wedges

I don't know how much these really fall into the "wedge" category - they're more a weird cross between heel and wedge.  They're dark brown, which is actually a color I don't wear too much, but the bright pink preppy accents were too cute to pass up.  

It's still a little chilly here, despite signs of Spring finally popping up, so I'm largely sticking to sweaters and long-sleeve tees.  This ensemble served fairly well for our ballroom lesson (last week!  I'm so behind!) - I was a little worried that silk trousers were perhaps not the best things to wear while dancing, but they actually worked out well.  

J.Crew sweater
J.Crew silk cupro cropped trousers
Target tights
My mom was in town working on making the alterations to my dress, so I drug her off to witness our attempts at dance.  We actually got a ton done - nearly 2 minutes choreographed.  I'm really excited to see how it all turns out.  And now that my dress has a bustle that works, I'm feeling more confident about doing it in a relatively heavy skirt.  

I decided to take my new cerulean blue nail polish out for a test drive.  It's Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Blue Me Away.  InStyle mentioned the trend in blue nails, and I just had to try it out when the polishes were BOGO at Meijer last week.  I kinda love it, and think it'll be great for fun summer nails.  Just make sure to wear a basecoat in order to avoid looking like you have hypothermia when you take your polish off!

Blunt-Toe Flats

Yesterday I mentioned my sis-in-law's JS shoes.  They were, in fact, these Leve flats:

And that got me thinking about blunt-toe flats.  I really like this take on the ballet flat, making the shoes look more like pointe shoes than a typically ballet shoe.  Turns out, this must have been a trend that completely flew me by, since many of the styles are on sale or sold out.  My SIL definitely got hers on sale.  Unfortunately, the color of Leve flats that I like is one of the few still at full price.  It figures.

Leve flat @ Lord&Taylor - $60

After some digging, I found an assortment of variations on a theme from a range of prices:

All Black Soft Blunt Ballet Flat - $110

Nine West Loredana flat - $25-60

Pierre Dumas Moni-6 flat - $15-25

ZiGiny Ginger ballet flat - $24-60

All Black Blunt Snake ballet flat - $47-112

Gabrielle Rocha Ady flat - $70

My second favorites are the Pierre Dumas pair in bronze, which, of course, do not exist in my size.  Grrr!  Guess I will begin stalking the blue Leve flats for sale.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jessica Simpson shoes

My sister-in-law was joking about how she felt ashamed of her Jessica Simpson shoes (because the idea of JS shoes was somewhat silly), but the blonde singer/actress/businesswoman has got got it going on when it comes to affordable, seemingly-comfortable, trendy shoes.  And clearly she's doing something right, since she's on track to making $1 billion in 2011.  I had a few JS shoes in my wishlist, and after some more exploring, I've collected my favorites from what's on sale now:

Colie Platform @ - $98

Ginlane Pump @ - $89

Cheetah Platform @ - $98

Kairie Peep-toe @ jessicasimpsoncollection - $60

Waleo Platform @ - $89

Genm Sandal @ - $75

What do you think? Would you buy any of them?  Do you own any JS shoes?