Montreal a la Mode

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The weekend before last was quite an experience for me, and I was lucky enough to get a taste of fashion outside of my realm of “expertise.” I decided to spend my fall break in Montreal with some of my sisters through a school trip. What I found was very interesting, and quite different from the melting pot of the United States. Standing out in color seems to be much more in an American line of thinking. Montreal is a very industrial and business-oriented city, with a thriving nightlife.

We spent the first day mostly shopping after arriving in Montreal at about 10 am. Wandering les Rue, I was taken aback at the priciness of the clothing. However, I reconcile my opinion with the fact that most of the clothes we looked at seemed to be of high-quality and were well-made. Becky and Tammy made it of utmost importance to make a stop at Zara, which I found to be more out of my fashion element, although I was impressed at the store in general. It was interesting to me that Tammy was actually overwhelmed by the store, and much preferred the selection online to the bustle of the Canadians and tourists. Zara clothing seems to be very structured to me, a perfect blend of classic essence with the edginess of minimalism. Stir in dashes of trendiness and avant garde and you get very mature pieces that transition well in any situation or location.

A very popular store we noticed all over the city was Bedo, which perfectly encapsulated Montreal fashion in its window displays: monochromatic, typically dark-colored, minimalistic clothing. Personally, I think Bedo is much more edgy than Zara, which has a high-fashion business air about it. Leather is very prevalent, as are classic preppy prints with a darker spin. Jackets are very important, whether they are clean cut moto jackets or matte blazers.

It was very easy to find classic staples to build up your wardrobe in Montreal; Tammy purchased a fetching tailored military jacket, and Katie bought adorable leather ankle boots. Becky, who was recently offered a position at Deloitte, was looking to expand her work wardrobe with some fierce pieces. Myself, on the other hand, I like to mix up my wardrobe; defining my personal style is a process. It always interests me to see how people analyze clothing while shopping, including how they think pieces will assist in creating a more fluid personal style.

The big thing I was looking for was a black dress, very sleek and with cutouts or sheer pieces, something that doesn’t need a print to make a statement. I hopped from store to store, analyzing the perfect ratio of regular fabric to cutouts or sheer paneling, as well as whether I wanted another skater-skirted dress, or one more of the bodycon/form-fitting style. I tried on two dresses, and here are the differences between the two.

2013-10-19 black dress 1This dress at a store called Dynamite! was almost a must purchase. I love that the sheer panel in the middle is tasteful and gives the dress a little ‘oomph’. Knowing my general body shape, it is always a good idea for the skirt to taper as it goes down, giving me an actual shape (yay!) The only thing was the necessity to wear the dress with strapless lingerie, but other than that, the dress was pretty great. I don’t exactly think it is easy to transition between day and night, however, so I passed it up.

2013-10-20 black dress 2 frontFor me, this dress I found in Sirens was much more interesting/daring fashion-wise, but I think it was just much too scandalous for me. I love the high-low skirt, which perfectly fits the current trend in an edgy way, and that the top is leather. However, the cutout in the middle is unflattering for pretty much everyone who doesn’t have a washboard stomach. Also, the back of the dress was a T-strap that I couldn’t even zip up myself. Very edgy, but it was a pass.

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Overall, however, Montreal fashion is very wearable to me, and I think that I will definitely be taking some tips when I transition my wardrobe for my semester in Italy. Having multiple pieces that can be used again and again is definitely important, especially when traveling. I really liked the nightlife in Montreal, and people were very accommodating and had interesting stories to tell. They weren’t as different as I thought they would be, and it was exciting to visit another country and use a little bit of foreign language (Je voudrais une caffe, s’il vous plait!) What is the most interesting fashion you’ve noticed while traveling? Stay cultured, everyone!

 

 

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OOtD: Stoop Style (Late Again)

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I’ve been so busy working on my application to study in Florence next semester that I’ve been neglecting my blog… oops! This outfit is actually from a few days ago, but there are a few important style principles in the outfit that I just had to share.

Let’s start from the toes up; I have fallen in love with these flats. I got them this summer at Buffalo Exchange in NYC, and at first I was skeptical because it seemed like they were going to be typical heel-cutting flats. After wearing them out a bunch of times, however, they’ve quickly become my favorite pair. The little owl faces on the front bring a little playfulness to any outfit, and they’ve gotten me nothing but compliments. They’re also similar in style to smoking slippers, which are very trendy at the moment.

Classics in any wardrobe, business pants and military jackets may give different accents to an outfit, but both are used to pull an outfit together. Business pants are an easy way to make a t-shirt less casual, and they can be so much more comfortable than jeans (this pair actually belonged to my mother, which is one of the best things about being around the same size). On the other hand, the military jacket was another Buffalo Exchange purchase, and it was a great thrift find. The only problem with the jacket was a little square missing on the back, but I bought a cute flower patch and ironed it over.

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Now on to the principles! I bought the purple top above for last year’s sorority recruitment and it is a lovely shade. The problem? The ruffly cap sleeve makes my already prominent shoulders look a little like an ’80s flashback. The solution? A long necklace—it takes the focus off your shoulder and draws the eyes toward your torso. This cute little chair is one of my mom’s, and it has just enough sparkle to liven things up. Otherwise, to soften your shoulders, wear a jacket that has more sloping shoulders, so that the fabric hangs rather than clings to the shape. The military jacket is doing me wonders.

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It’s been a very hectic past few weeks, but I am definitely excited for all the upcoming opportunities, and the good things that have generally been happening lately. I actually got to go see two of my friends get tattoos, so that was quite an experience. What tips do you have for taking the focus off of your less favorite body parts and working your style to make them look good? A good pair of heels helps with anything, really (and maybe a spoonful of ice cream, but that’s another thing entirely!) Stay busy, everyone! xx

Getting A Little Dark and Mouthy

In case you haven’t realized from my previous posts, I have a slight addiction to shopping. I am always looking to build up my wardrobe and create more definition in my personal style. Last week, I adjourned to the mall twice with a few of my sisters, and I made a few staple purchases to expand on my nightly wares.

2013-10-08 12.10.02 My love of clothes led me to this very versatile, little black leather skirt from Forever 21. To me, leather is a classic material that never loses its appeal, and always adds a little kick to any outfit. What I like most about this skirt is that the leather isn’t heavy or too textured, and it is simple enough that it doesn’t tie into any one trend too closely. At the moment, leather skirts with studs seem to be very popular, but who knows how long that trend will flourish? My take on this skirt would be to pair it with a very feminine blouse and colorful tights for a daytime look, maybe layering on a cardigan for good measure. On the other hand, this can be taken into the nighttime with a sparkly sleeveless top or a printed crop top for a little edginess.

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One of the most important things a girl possesses is her mouth. Now before you let your mind wander, I’m talking about having pretty lips and pretty teeth, not to mention the gift of gab. So, being very particular about keeping my bocca in tip-top shape, I scoped out options at Forever 21 and Lush

I personally love all types of lip products, from Burt’s Bees fabulously tingly lip balm to my trusty Maybelline Vivids lipstick. Typically, I’m not very picky about color, as I tend to just pick based on my mood and outfit. However, being that a lot of the colors I tend to own lean towards the bright red or hot pink variety, I kept this in mind and went searching for a berry shade to compliment my more golden complexion. Just my luck, as I was checking out with my skirt, I found this high-pigmented lipgloss from love&beauty in one of the bins wrapping the line. It was cheap and the color was what I was looking for, so I took a chance and was rewarded. The gloss is so easy to put on, and it’s pleasantly smooth and scented. But the most important part is that because the color is “high-pigmented,” it is more likely to stick around on your yap for a longer period of time.

Moving on, I was pulled into Lush by my sorority sister and fellow fashion blogger Tammy, in search of facial products that she’d been yearning to try. I browsed the perfumes, dabbing on a little Karma and still adoring Lust, the stick I’d bought during a previous adventure. Back home in Jersey, I was assisted by the most charming lady in the store, and she supplied me with multiple awesome samples, as well as introducing me to a phenomenon that I think everyone should know about. TOOTHY TABS! 😀 Basically, these little tabs are condensed, natural “toothpaste-on-the-go” in various eco-flavors. The flavor I chose, Dirty, is a sharp blend of spearmint and orange, which gives a clean taste without being overpowering. Toothy Tabs are perfect for those days when you’re running late or eliminating morning breath after nighttime adventures, and they even have baking soda mixed in for gradual teeth whitening. What more could you possibly ask for?!

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I just want you all to know that I kind of love mall food court options. The styrofoam boxes of Chinese food and the comfort of a Chicken California from Charley’s is enough to satisfy my cravings for days. Beachwood Mall, which is about 20 minutes from my campus, has a really great selection of stores, as well as food providers. What is your guilty pleasure at the food court? What kind of products do you use to create the perfect pout? Tell me all about your mall adventures. Stay smiley, everyone.

OOtD: The Violet Femme

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We were back at the art museum today for costume design, and it was lovely weather outside again. There were so many children there, and I give props to the girl leading the line with pigtails and giant flower-like bows, strutting her stuff. There’s something about being able to walk to museums and all manner of charming public institutions that reconciles some of the less appealing traits of Cleveland for me.

I’m usually very wary about mixing prints, especially when they are rather differing in color. However, I am not one to wearing anything plain except perhaps pants or jackets. So today, wanting to stay cool, but also not wanting to wear a dress for the third day in a row, I decided to toss on a pair of my more ripped-up tights and match that with boots from Steve Madden for a kind of rocker look.

Factor in a strangely unconventional floral print skirt from Urban Outfitters, then layer on top with a purple tank and a pinstriped vest from Wet Seal and you get the package deal. Layering pieces are a great way to have more outfit options, especially in fall when it gets tiring to wear the same 7 jeans and you have a limited amount of long-sleeved shirts. I actually drew inspiration from my roommate and little, Sasha, who is an aspiring musician with a lot of flair and a killer collection of heels.

There are times when print-mixing is okay, such as here, where one is more subtle than the other, and solid colors are in between for some break up. If your outfit is leaning more toward a playful or irreverent attitude, mixing prints can be exactly what you need to extend your wild personality. If you have to ask whether two go together, however, you probably should skip and go for something like a solid ruffled blouse or printed accessories. It’s similar to when you wear makeup and you either go for a bold lip or shimmering pigmented eyeshadow. Keeping the focus on one part of your clothing is a way to save peoples’ eyes—and your style.

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Shameless plug of the day, Sasha is actually really talented (I’m not biased or anything…) and she has recently entered a contest through Guitar Center with her first music video. I’ve included the link, just click on my photo and watch, and if you reaaaaally like it, share it with your friends via Facebook or go ahead and like her page. In the worlds of art, music, and fashion, I always believe that support and collaboration are the best ways to stay inspired and keep the pool brimming with great things. Stay talented, everyone.

Taste the Rainbow: A Look At All Things *Coral*

Ever since I walked into Lush one summer day and decided to try on some new lipgloss, I have been obsessed with all things coral. To me, coral is red and orange’s sweet, more playful little sister, transitioning well from day-to-night, and from warm seasons to the newly-crisp fall weather. Coral makes me feel a little brighter and a little bolder every time I wear it. Whether it’s my beloved Tommy Hilfiger bag slung over my shoulder, or my loose and comfy sweater from the Loft, I can’t get enough of this saucy shade in my wardrobe.

945186_10201148199761566_1958386450_n My fave sweater – plus, my bff Mimi rocking the polka dot trend

There are many different shades of coral; whether you favor a more orange, red or even pink version is up to you. Coral is flattering on pretty much any skin tone, as I have come to realize. The other day, I was delighted to find one of my sorority sisters Sarah sporting this dark coral sack dress, and I just had to snap a photo of her. The style is simple with just enough distinction (shoulder cutouts) to be flattering; the real fashion gold is in the color. The color really pops against Sarah’s ivory skin, and the muted tones in her shoes and bag allow the focus to stay on her outfit (it’s even prettier in person!)

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Coral was a very popular color on the red carpet early in 2013 and the runway in spring of 2012, and has only become more prominent in the fashion world. While coral is primarily a color that conjures images of island beauties and pretty petals, coral is a chameleon that tones down the sexiness of red and bypasses the quirkiness of orange for a passionate impact. On the cool spectrum of colors, mint has caught the eye of designers everywhere. Which color is more you?

I have to say that coral lipstick has become a staple in my everyday look. While I believe there is a shade of red out there for every lady, coral gives me a pop of color while maintaining a soft and glossy look. My favorite brand of coral lipstick is Electric Orange by Maybelline. I don’t even have to put on chapstick underneath because it goes on smooth and doesn’t flake on my lips. Personally, their “coral” shade is too pink for me, while the orange matches a similar color I tried on at Lush.

Coral Collage

How do you rock this fun color trend? Do you throw a coral sweater over a pastel tank to add contrast your outfit, or do you wear coral jewelry over a brown dress to go from neutral to fab? Drop a comment about your favorite coral piece(s) and why you love this trend. Stay fresh, everyone.

OOtD: Graceful Green (so this is a day late…)

OOtD: Graceful Green (so this is a day late...)

In case I haven’t already made it obvious, I love dresses. Dresses are so easy to put on and almost always make you look more presentable in any situation. I had the pleasure of having costume design class at the Cleveland Museum of Art yesterday, as we were working on renderings of paintings to work on proportions and how clothing falls on bodies. This photo was taken by a very sharply-dressed Asian woman who was visiting with her young son and elderly mother for the first time. Too cute.

The thing I like most about this dress is that it is very movable, and much like the skirt from the previous post, has a billowy and pleated upper layer, and a stable, black underskirt. For a figure like mine, emphasis on the waist is key. The loose bodice area and sweetheart neckline creates the illusion of a fuller bust (which doesn’t bother me one bit!) It’s so important to take your body type into account when buying dresses. For instance, most strapless dresses do nothing for me because I have a smaller bust area, whereas the same dress on my roommate Sasha would be gorgeous and show off her ample assets. The right shape in a dress can make you look sexy and more mature, or sweet and playful. It all depends.

I love pops of color mixed with black in all of my outfits, so the green here becomes a sultry emerald. The dress looks even prettier with the lace straps, and the sheer lace back which shows just enough skin to spark the imagination. Lace has become a wonderful trend within the past few years, and I love it because lace is so inclusive of an edgy but feminine style. I think that understanding how fabric can be utilized and how it falls on the body is really important for projecting a certain image of yourself, if you so desire.

I’ll be dedicating a whole post to this, but I don’t go anywhere now without my Tommy Hilfiger purse. The coral color looks good with pretty much anything, and with a versatile strap, it transitions for anywhere necessary. I appreciate how the logos on the bag are not too gaudy or distracting, but add a pleasant print and texture over the exterior. The purse was fairly inexpensive too, completely a lucky find. I love love love this purse so much.

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I’m so excited that the blog is taking off. I really want to branch out and include useful content, and display other styles besides mine. I am always inspired by someone who has a very cohesive and defined personal style. I should be talking to her later, but my sorority sister Emily has one of the classiest, preppy wardrobes I’ve seen in a long time. I swear she should be a Kate Spade model; she knows how to take regular clothes and make every outfit fabulous. Whether it’s tossing on a strand of pearls, or pairing her pastel outfit with a bold ultramarine blue bag, Emily is effortlessly chic and inspires me to look at fashion from a different angle.

Do you have any friends or family whose style differs from yours but still manages to awe you? Drop me a comment, I love to hear about other peoples’ inspirations. Stay hip, everyone.

Sometimes Being A Girl Has Its Perks… (And They’re Printed!)

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I’ll be honest; I have never been the type of girl who would be found toting around the ever-present bags and wallets of Lilly Pulitzer. The designs always seemed a little too cluttered for me, a little too girly. I also try not to fall into the trends of typical females (not to say that there aren’t some girls who work the look, no disrespect meant).

My opinion has changed, however, thanks to the company’s latest print, dedicated to my dear sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. After having spent a month or so entering multiple votes with my sisters on a Facebook contest, we were all thrilled to receive the winning design. They revealed the print concept on Instagram today to the catchy tune of Bruno Mars’ ‘Treasure‘, and I’ve definitely fallen in love. With our name and our lyre twisted in the stems of our bright red carnations, the Lilly designers have hit the nail on the head and enchanted all of us. This is one moment when I’m happy to embrace a very typical aspect of sorority life.

When I think about it, having a Lilly print has a legitimizing feeling for us, and that’s not to say that we are shallow types of girls who need to own pretty little totes to boost us up. But Lilly has revolutionized branding, and the company has certainly done well to give girls preppy, feminine pieces that are fun but classy. The original herself started out selling juice and started designing bright, collected print clothing after spilling on her dresses; talk about a stroke of genius.

And you know, I think girls should definitely look more into the brand, there really does seem to be a print for every type of person, whether you dance for joy at ’70s paisley or nautical that ties you up in knots. If print isn’t your thing, they have plenty of other options, including some very cute clothing lines (I was actually really surprised that Lilly wasn’t just for accessories, but go figure!) Lilly stores all over the country and the world carry everything from accessories and dresses to men’s clothing and stationery. Is there anything Lilly’s people can’t make?

So, Lilly, even though you’ve passed on to designer heaven, your lovely legacy lives on, and the brains you left behind have gleaned another happy (future) customer. Thank you for inspiring generations of girls and women to brighten up and turn what you’ve got into something beautiful. You’ll always be the Queen of Preps, but I think I’ll make an exception, just this once. Stay sunny, everyone.

ImageR.I.P Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau – April 7, 2013