Why I Broke My Conscious Spending Streak for a Pair of American Eagle Sunglasses


Playing dress-up at American Eagle. (I did not get that tired-looking flower crown because sometimes less is more. Or so I hear.) 

I hadn’t stepped foot into an American Eagle for approximately 15 years until about three weeks ago, when I stopped in with my younger sister. I expected graphic surfer tees and distressed denim shorts with a two-inch inseam, maybe a few slim-fit hoodies and a crocheted dress or two — and, well, that’s pretty much what I found. But sprinkled among the Coachella-on-crack accessories (fake flower crowns, a weird feather headband thing too-bright turquoise) and boho dresses were chunky silver rings, a bolo necklace (!), and gloriously kooky sunglasses.

I tried on a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses, and then some aviators embellished with a trio of plastic daisies. Both were silly, twee … and $15.99 (buy one pair, get the second half-off!). It was then that I decided I might have to veer slightly off my conscious-spending course.  Read more »

Why Painting Your Jeans Is the Best Fashion DIY Ever (Seriously!) — And How to Do It


Works of art. | Photos (from left): We the People, Rialto Jean Project, my own pair of Jeantrix denim.

I’m not a big jeans person, which is probably why I’m having such a field day this season. Instead of basic baby blues, designers are amping up their denim with hand-painted artwork — splatters, stars, squiggles, florals.

But this isn’t a totally new trend: The guys over at Jeantrix have been custom-painting their denim for years — big, bold splashes of paint that transform old pairs into wearable graffiti (like these! J’adore). I own these Jeantrix handpainted shorts and they have long been my summer go-to: cooler than cargos, and immeasurably better than the short denim standard (yawn). Read more »

Why We Should All Start Carrying Baskets Instead of Purses


Though the Hermès Birkin is the crown jewel of purses, it seems few remember that the bag Jane Birkin usually carried was far more humble. Birkin actually spent much of the sixties and seventies with a wicker basket slung over her arm (and Serge Gainsbourg on the other). The basket-as-bag defined Birkin’s insouciant style — never try-hard, always chic —and I think of it as one of the best accessories in sartorial history.

But in the muddle of the past few decades, the basket has played second fiddle to the now-iconic Birkin bag — and it’s a shame. The wicker bag is unassuming, a perfect accompaniment to breezy summer looks. (Or you can take a cue from Birkin, who carried hers in all seasons, pairing it with floor-skimming dresses or a fur coat and flared jeans). Pinnacle of luxury it’s not, but what it does telegraph is certainly more important: an easy sense of style, one that doesn’t pin itself to labels and price tags.

It’s rather difficult to track one down; your best bet is to look on Etsy, or in fair-trade shops like Ten Thousand Villages. (I’ve found nine options for you; buy them below!) Once you’ve settled on one, don’t be afraid to pair it with outfits both high and low. It adds a bohemian flair to casual looks, but also takes fancier frocks down to earth.

Dare I say the basket is the new status bag?

Read more »

Monday Obsession: We’ve Found the Best-Ever Denim Jacket

Full disclosure: I don’t think I actually own anything from J.Crew. I realize this puts me in the minority, as everyone has at least something from the store, but I don’t particularly see myself as a J.Crew girl, despite my raging girl crush on Jenna Lyons and my general appreciation for the brand and its on-point styling.

But my sister was in town last week and I found myself stuffed into a J.Crew dressing room, waiting for her to try on mountains of spangly tees and cute highlighter yellow skirts and lamé camp shirts (lamé!). I rifled through her castoffs and found myself loving this denim jacket. (I own lamé pants, a studded leather coat from the ’80s, a gold sequined coat, and about 10 bathrobes that I wear out, but I do not have a denim jacket. Ridiculous.) The tailored, cropped jacket is distressed, but in a way that feels authentic (that’s because it sort of is: The rips and holes were all grinded by hand). I plan to wear it with a smattering of safety pins, a few fancy and a few, um, pulled from our office supply cabinet.  Read more »

How to Wear a Bathrobe As a Spring Jacket — And Why You Should


I have a thing for bathrobes. I wear them around the house — not the very comfy kind, or the very sexy kind, but the dramatic, floor-skimming kind with drapey sleeves and pretty watercolor patterns. (I sometimes wished I smoked, because these robes would go very well with long cigarette holders. I guess I have a thing for theatrics.)

But some of my robes are too pretty to keep under wraps, so I’ve taken to wearing them as spring jackets and over-outfit dusters (see: the pic of me above—that’s a silk robe from Anthro printed with a painting by a Philly artist! I wear it all the time).

The look certainly veers to bohemia, so you’ll want to avoid any overly boho accessories or risk looking like a Coachella victim. But it’s a welcome departure — and a summer-perfect one, at that — from more basic toppers (i.e. the cardigan, snore). Still, there’s a fine line between eclecticism and batshittery. Here’s how to make a robe work outside of the slipper-nightgown pairing:  Read more »

The New, Weird, Fabulous Ways to Wear Brooches


Bring on the pin. | Images via Nordstrom and Modern Kiddo.

A few years ago, I took to wearing a cluster of vintage brooches on everything: sweaters, dresses, t-shirts, clutches. After a while I grew tired of the look — and the pinholes I poked in everything. Now my exceedingly vast brooch collection languishes in a Lucite box in our living room so I can still see my treasures, even if I don’t wear them. (In fact, the only one that gets any play is a tiny vintage rhinestone star brooch which I leave on the pocket of my Madewell chambray button-down, a pinprick of sparkle that differentiates it from the 19 other chambray button-downs you’ll see in the Philly Mag offices on a given day.)

But now the brooch is back in a big way, turning up in unexpected places like the cuff of a pair of jeans or clipped to a belt loop. Yesterday, I stumbled upon photos of the shoes that stomped down Céline’s latest runway show: painfully prim square-toed shoes with a disarmingly long toe-box and a low stacked heel. They were rather nondescript — even a tad ugly— except for the pairs that featured a spangly spray of rhinestones and pearls, huge antique brooches that hung like fringe at the sides of the shoe or that burst with wild abandon from the toe.  Read more »

My Style Dilemma: Am I a Cool-Girl Minimalist Or a Wacky Maximalist?


My maximal to minimal(ish) looks.

As a lifestyle and shopping editor in her early thirties, I feel pressured to have a distinct, set-in-stone style. I should wear only one color, all the time (like Knit Wit’s Ann Gitter), or I should be a reliable wackadoo, wearing ostrich feathers and sequined visors on Septa. My closet should be a tightly edited collection of painfully cool Rick Owens pieces, sort of like Vera Wang and everyone who works for her. A particularly great street-style photo should not sway me, nor should glossy magazine (or equally glossy online) profiles of Very Stylish Women. I should look at these and think, “That is very nice, and they are very stylish, but that is not My Style.”

But here’s my dirty little secret: They do sway me. And as I near my mid-thirties, I feel as if I should be inconvertibly unswayable.

Read more.

9 Best-Dressed at Indochino’s Opening Party

Best Dressed Indochino 2

All photos by HughE Dillon.

Last week, Philly Mag’s resident pap HughE Dillon went to the grand opening party of Indochino, a Canadian custom menswear store that has opened a brick-and-mortar showroom at 1606 Chestnut Street.

Dillon’s pics included plenty of well-dressed guests, but a few partygoers stood out to me for various sartorial reasons (clockwise from left):

Best Neckwear: Brandon Wycha and Al Lee. (I also give them props for use of pockets. Who really knows what to do with your hands when someone takes a picture of you? Anyone? And Al wins for best adorably cheesy grin.)

Read more here.

I Wrote Down Everything I Bought For One Year


Some of the buys that made my list.

In December of 2013, I issued myself a challenge. For one calendar year, I’d keep track of every single apparel item and accessory I bought. The idea came to me as I did my annual pre-new-year closet purge, a very serious affair that is as cathartic as it is enlightening.

As I sorted a mountain of clothes into Toss, Donate and Consign bags, I realized that my shopping habits were creating the sort of closet I didn’t want to have: one that was reasonably packed but not ‘thoughtful’ or ‘curated’ or ‘edited’ or any of those other buzzwords that fashionable people cling to. My walk-in is a whirl of colors, ruffles, fur, kimonos and caftans and is quite obviously lacking in anything that could be remotely considered practical. For every fantastic piece—a pair of gorgeous silk pants by The Row—there was an equally forgettable item—a pair of polyester-heavy pants by BCBG. I loved most of my things, but not all of them.

I’ve long recognized that my shopping modus operandi is pure impulsivity. I buy things when I am very happy, or very sad, or very bored. I buy most things when I feel a very particular sort of pang in my chest. The problem is that I get this pang over things that are appropriate for a life that I don’t actually live, i.e. a gigantic neon green Roksanda Ilincic ball-gown skirt that I had to own but have still never worn because one doesn’t wear neon green ball-gown skirts to places like work or CVS or Acme.

Read more.

10 Street-Style Inspirations For Your Chicest 2015


Fun with clothes. | Photos via Stockholm Street Style, Street Peeper, Victoria Adamson, Pandora Sykes, Advanced Style.

It’s easy to fall into a style rut. Take this opportunity to ditch your weight-loss resolutions and replace them with style resolutions. Whether your goal is to wear more color, learn how to play with prints, or simply to become more sartorially brave, here are 10 highly inspiring looks that are giving us ideas for how to mix it up and broaden our style horizons this year.

Ready to start playing with fashion? Use these looks and tips as a start to a whole new you. (And then toss your bathroom scale for good measure.)

See all here.

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