‘Who Are You Wearing?’ A Guide to Embracing Fashion’s Trickiest Question

Women-at-bar

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Many years ago, I went to a party to do my editor-mingling duties, which include lots of small talk and tiny hors d’oeuvres. That night, I chose to do my mingling in a mustard-yellow, vaguely cocoon-shaped shift from H&M. Halfway through the evening, a woman stopped me very dramatically, apparently unaware that we were on the Main Line and not on a red carpet in Cannes:

Who are you wearing?”

I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I do know that I lied. Back then, I subscribed to the Fake It ‘Til You Make It school of thought: When someone asks you in a pretentious fancy way which fancy designer crafted your fancy dress, it’s social suicide to admit that it was $69.49 and came in ten different colorways.  Read more »

Two Chic Ways to Wear Summer’s Best Shirt, the Wawa Tee

A Wawa shirt can be worn during the day and night | Wawa.com

Wawa gets fancy.

There are two indisputable facts about Philadelphians: They are fiercely loyal to their sports teams and they are devoted to Wawa (see: Wawa tattoos). If you’re a fan of the latter, then you’ll be thrilled to know that you can actually buy a Wawa shirt online. Consider Wawa clothing a less permanent way to show your love for the chain than actually getting inked.

A Wawa shirt might not scream chic — at first. But with a bit of craftiness and some savvy styling, you can make a great outfit. Case in point: my own “I love Wawa” tee, a gift from a friend. It was initially a bit boxy, a shirt made for sleeping, so I hacked off the bottom eight inches. Voilá: a cheeky, not cheesy, tee.

Want your own? Here, some tips on how to incorporate the world’s best convenience store into your wardrobe. Read more »

A Day in the Life of Bus Stop Boutique’s Elena Brennan

The owner of Bus Stop boutique, Elena Brennan, hails from London — which might explain her quirky, edgy, colorful style (those red glasses!). But though her roots might be across the pond, her knowledge of the best of Philly’s style scene is impressive. I got her to divulge her favorite people, places and things in the city, from art galleries and book shops to restaurants and jewelry shops. Because what’s better than picking the brain of one of the most stylist shopkeeps in town?

ElennaDayInTheLife

Photos by Courtney Apple.

See her full list below.

5 Ultra-Stylish Ways to Wear a Bandana on July Fourth

Don't feel tied to standard stars and stripes. |

Don’t feel tied to standard stars and stripes. | Images via Pinterest, Man Repeller and Fashion Vibe.

During Fourth of July weekend, expect to see a parade of distressed denim cut-offs, red crop tops and white jeans. For a less literal outfit this Independence Day, consider the iconic bandana. From headbands to bracelets, there are multiple ways to style the paisley print into your holiday weekend wardrobe. Here, five techniques you need to bring the old-school bandana back into the fold.
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Why I Broke My Conscious Spending Streak for a Pair of American Eagle Sunglasses

AE

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

Jeans

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

wickerbasketbags

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?

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

MO-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

robes

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

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 »

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