Monday, February 28, 2011

Mary Katrantzou Fall 2011

One of my favorite collections from London Fashion Week was Mary Katrantzou's incredible rendition of prints. Her collection was once again inspired by interior decor, though this time it felt as if Katrantzou had picked up the objects, ranging from Fabergé eggs to Ming vases, and magically turned them into fabric. While a stiff silhouette prevailed throughout most of the show, softer fabrics made a debut. Above all, the focus was on the vibrant prints, which transfixed my attention from the first to last look.

 I love the soft, but vibrant colors, and the couture shapes.

 The skirts of these two looks are a bit more wearable in their fluidity. The sleeves of the top are a nice touch, adding a note of femininity while emphasizing the structure of the collection.

For good measure, the New York Times described it as "an object lesson in inspiration.... Rising designers always have a “breakthrough” moment — and this was the season when the designer’s sculptural vision created a collection of startling beauty." All in all, a gorgeous collection that definitely was a standout of London Fashion Week.

Images from

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Outfit Inspiration: Whimsical Wheels

When I came across this image, I knew the previous Outfit Inspiration post would become a running feature. Sometimes I draw inspiration from entire outfits. Sometimes, like today's image, a small segment captures my attention and immediately results in a "Could I recreate that?" internal dialogue.

I immediately focus on the soft, feminine color palette of this image. While I love color, sometimes a neutral rich outfit is more attention grabbing. The combination of the sweet flats and dainty, scalloped edge skirt is simply charming. While I wouldn't normally consider a bicycle to be an accessory (well, except for this one), here it perfectly rounds out the other elements of the outfit.

Image via Weheartit

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hot Pants

When I first saw Zara's latest collection of trousers, the phrase that came to mind was "hot pants". No, not the tiny shorts that really could bear an extra inch or two of fabric. When I see the vibrant hues of these pants, well, "hot" is exactly the word that comes to mind.

I love the variety of fits and colors and the casual styling. Bright pants are a loud addition to any outfit, so I'd suggest pairing them with a neutral top and solid shoes to balance the overall effect. Add a fun bag, a pair of sunglasses, and some bangles and you're set for spring!

 (Zara, $40)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Craftily Resourceful

I've been in a crafty mood lately and have had to suppress numerous whims to drop everything and rush to the nearest art supply store. The great thing about crafting is that it truly encourages a whole range of creativity. And luckily, that includes a range of supplies. In fact, some of the best projects are those that involve recycling (or upcycling) ordinary materials. After seeing some amazing jewelry stalls at a market this weekend, I've been itching to get back to work making wearable pieces. Fortunately, until I can make a trip to pick up beads, chain, and wire, these lovely crafts will tide me over.

First, these lovely fabric necklaces have their humble beginnings as regular cotton t-shirts. I especially love the colors here. I'm excited to experiment with printed shirts as well. Don't want to sacrifice any of your t-shirts? Check out a thrift shop for cheap shirts (go for large sizes, they'll give you more material to work with).

These bracelets can be made out of a variety of materials: fabric, leather, even shoelaces! Making bracelets always reminds me of Girl Scouts and summer camp. While perfecting your technique, why not make an extra or two for friends?

Images via ISLY and Between the Lines

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Remixed Raspberry

While ruminating over yesterday's ode to raspberries, I came across this lovely top. While the bold stripes and flowing construction scream summer, the rich color of the stripes makes this a perfectly versatile top now through the fall. First, the top:

 (Topshop, $70)

This time of year, I'd pair the top with a pair of dark wash skinny jeans and a thin black belt. I'd keep the shoes simple, with a pair of basic black flats or pumps, and focus on accessorizing with a statement necklace. I love geometric patterns of this necklace, as well as the way it subtly pulls a rainbow of colors into the outfit. Unique necklaces can drastically alter the overall look, so a blouse looks fresh with repeated wearings.

(Ann Taylor, $38)

(Fallon, $550 - There are plenty of cheaper versions to be found, I just really loved the look of this piece for demonstrative purposes)

In the summer, I'd balance the breeziness of the top with crisp white shorts. The gold zipper detailing lends an element of toughness to the look, and also ties in gold jewelry. Also, an added bonus: because of the decorative front of the shorts, a belt isn't necessary (though you could tie on a thin brown leather belt if it suited your fancy). The brown wedges elongate the leg, and while a bit dressier than flip flops, are still comfortable enough to wear all day. Of course, wearing your finest jewelry at the beach or pool isn't advised, so accessorize with an inexpensive set of mixed bangles that ties together the raspberry and gold notes of the outfit.

(Express, $60)

(Pacsun, $10)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This or That: Raspberry Sorbet

When it comes to desserts, I've yet to meet a dish I didn't immediately like. I'm especially partial to ice creams and their cousin, sorbet. And if that sorbet happens to be raspberry, well... what's not to love? The smooth texture, brilliant color, and refreshingly sweet taste make for a spoon-worthy dessert.

 The gorgeous hue of this tantalizing dish of raspberry sorbet...

 ... reworked as an adorable Burberry cardigan.

Image via Lakeland (Bonus: a recipe's included!)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Silk Scarves and Shirts

Yesterday I spent the afternoon exploring/poking around a few markets and when not overly distracted by the incredible smells of the food stalls, found all sorts of inspiration. There were a fair number of stalls selling vintage and vintage-inspired clothing. They ranged from racks of bargain sweaters and 80s dresses to well curated collections of lace blouses and leather belts.

One of my favorites included a simple rack of collared shirts, which I initially passed over. On second glance, each oxford had a coordinated silk scarf tied around the neck. The effect of the fully buttoned shirt coupled with the scarf reminded me a bit of a school uniform, but with a more sophisticated edge. Unfortunately, I couldn't take pictures of the stall and its contents, though I'm now on a quest to find some cheery scarves to try the look out for myself this spring.

D&G showed a similar sort of styling in their Fall 2010 collection. The black and white palette could easily be updated for spring with a bright colored button down and scarf. Here, the models sported silk scarves tied into bows, but the ends could also be left undone for a different look. I love how scarves can inject so much personality into a look. From sophisticated florals to playful polka dots, chic geometric designs to whimsical animal prints, the simple accessory can add so much depth to an outfit.

Images via

Monday, February 21, 2011

Orange Occasions: Tangerine Cheesecake Ice Cream

After yesterday's post, I think I should just declare orange week. One of my favorite food blogs, Modern Comfort Food, coincidentally wrote about a dreamy tangerine cheesecake ice cream. This recipe touches upon two of my current obsessions: bright colors and warm weather. At the same time, I'm not the type to turn down ice cream, even in winter. It is citrus season after all...

Tangerine Cheesecake Ice Cream (Modern Comfort Food)

2 1/2 cups tangerine (or, if you prefer, orange) juice
2 cups milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch
2 egg yolks
6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange zest
(Optional) 1 teaspoon citrus-flavored liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)


  1. In a large sauce pan, bring the tangerine juice to a boil on high heat and cook until it has reduced in volume to 1 1/2 cups. Lower the heat to medium-low, stir in the milk, and heat the mixture until it just reaches the simmer point.
  2. While the juice and milk are heating and in a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, cheese, and egg yolks until very well blended. Whisking continuously, gradually add two cups of the hot juice/milk mixture to the sugar mixture until well blended. Drizzle this mixture into the juice/milk in the saucepan, whisking continuously, and heat on medium-low for approximately five minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove from burner and stir in the zest and the optional liqueur, if the latter is used.
  3. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until very cold, preferably overnight.
  4. When fully chilled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Makes approximately 8 one-cup servings.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Orange Crush: Sass & Bide Fall 2011

Bright orange is predicted to be a popular shade this spring, and I'm excited to see notes of the hue carrying over into fall collections. Normally orange emerges in the colder months coupled with brown and sage greens. I was pleased to see Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke designed a very orange fall 2011 collection for their label Sass & Bide. They paired bright orange with pops of magenta, lemon, gray, and brown, without an overt citrus effect. While the collection struck me as more summer than fall, I could see the individual pieces broken up and incorporated into a more cool weather ensemble. Some of my favorite looks:

Here, bright orange looks gorgeous as both the bodice and skirt of dresses when paired with a range of pink hues.

I love the petal detail as both a blouse and skirt. Again, orange is paired with pink, but shades of brown and pale peach also break up the bold color.

While orange only appears as an accessory, I love the silhouette and print of this dress. Perfect for summer and fall.

Images via

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Outfit Inspiration: Florals and Belts

Sometimes I draw inspiration from entire outfits. And sometimes it's just a little segment that captures my attention and immediately results in a "Could I recreate that?" internal dialogue.

I'm not much of a belt person, unfortunately. I think they look amazing on others, and I'm always trying to tie them around outfits, only to pull them off after my unsuccessful attempts to style them. I always find the belt is either too large and won't stay around my waist, and when I try to move it to my hips it just draws unflattering attention to the area. Downfall of being slightly pear shaped I suppose. I do like how the blouse is loosely tucked in here. I think it prevents the belt from drawing too much attention, which might be just the solution. I also love the rolled sleeves. I often roll the sleeves on plaid and striped button downs, but perhaps because of this floral print, this particular iteration is very fresh.

Let the experiments begin :)

Image via Weheartit

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Touch of Turquoise

I know I've posted a lot about color recently, but I've been drawing so much inspiration from vibrant clothes and accessories. While I could never stand, let alone walk, in these heels, I'm drawn to their brightness.

I love this turquoise shade in clothing, such as this simple Diesel dress.

(Diesel, $48)

I'm also fixated on the number of gorgeous turquoise earrings I've stumbled across. A few of my favorites:
(Amrita Singh, $50)

 (Ippolita, $1,095 - totally unobtainable, but so pretty!)

First image via Weheartit

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Girls Night Out

Trying on dozens of outfits, pouring over which shoes will maximize style with minimal discomfort, soliciting texts about whether shimmery eyeshadow is too much... and that's just getting ready.

Rachel Roy captures the spirit of the evening adventures of a trio of female friends in her video "Girls Night Out." The animation is both quirky and fun, exactly what a night out with friends should be.

Some girls night out essentials:
  • A crossbody bag (or clutch) just big enough for the essentials: phone, credit card/cash, and lip gloss.
  • A camera to document the evening's shenanigans.
  • An outfit that makes you feel pretty and a little rebellious.
  • Shoes that make you smile.
  • Over the top accessories.
  • Amazing friends.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And the Oscar Goes to...

Well, not that Oscar. It's hard to be in the mindset for New York Fashion Week's fall ready to wear collections while waiting so impatiently for spring, but beautiful clothes are season-less.

Oscar de la Renta is known for his classic silhouettes and feminine detailing, as well as bright pops of color and print. He credits his youth in Santo Domingo for influencing his design asthetic, "My great strength is knowing who I am and where I come from – my island.” While his fall collection featured more neutral colors and an abundance of fur, there were still plenty of patterns. Some of my favorite looks:

Karlie Kloss could make anything look good, but I love the fur topper and patterned coat paired with leather boots. It feels very Dr. Zhivago (read: elegantly beautiful) to me.

 I love the feminine details on these two pale-hued dresses. The silhouette of the first is incredibly figure flattering, and the second is very whimsical and fun. Though the styling of the second makes it a bit too "Ice Princess" for my taste, I think it's a lovely party dress.

You can see OdlR's signature love of bright colors and prints in this gorgeous gown. It manages to balance sophistication with an eclectic touch.

I love the detailing of this neckline. Simply beautiful.

Images via

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Peachy Keen

I love the inspiration that comes from an unexpected pop of color. I'm presently fixated on the color peach; it's both warm and fresh. Of course, nothing says spring like a bright skirt. I'd love to celebrate the upcoming season in any of these skirts.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I happened to walk past a fruit stand on the morning of Valentine's Day, and I saw the most beautiful strawberries at an unbelievable price (especially considering the season!). Of course, immediately I knew that in honor of the holiday, I'd put them to good use with the best of counterparts: chocolate.

First, I washed and patted the strawberries dry. Use a paper towel to make sure the berries are completely dry, as excess moisture will prevent the chocolate from sticking.

 I don't like the fuss of a double boiler, so I opted to melt the chocolate in the microwave. Be sure to warm the chocolate is small increments, decreasing the time as the chocolate is nearly fully melted. Chocolate burns easily, and there's nothing worse than ruining something so delicious.

I dipped each strawberry in the melted white chocolate, then placed them on a baking pan that I had cooled in the refrigerator. I'd recommend lining it with parchment paper if you have it on hand, as it will make the removal easier.

To decorate, I melted a small amount of dark chocolate in a plastic bag (again in small increments of time), then snipped a small hole in the corner to use as a makeshift pipping bag. The squiggles are the easiest design, but I also played around with letters, hearts, and panda faces. 

The final product was delicious. Unsurprisingly, they hardly lasted the day. As soon as my Valentine's Day sugar rush wears off, I'll be on the lookout for more fruit to cover in chocolate. After all, that makes these somewhat healthy... right?