Cruisin' Cafes: Washington, DC

Given the fact that one of the last things I would find enjoyable to discuss with someone is politics, I find it rather strange that Washington, DC has always hovered about the top of my list for a desired travel destination. I blame my interest of the nation’s capital upon my adoration of cherry blossoms. I really find that no other flower holds the same sort of femininity as the cheerful and demure cherry blossom; and seeing as how so many events within Washington, DC pay tribute to the pretty pink petals, I can’t imagine a more fabulous place to visit – or sip coffee – than the dapper and dashing DC!

Baked & Wired Give me cupcakes or give me death! Darlings, I know it sounds ever so slightly dramatic, but it’s the absolute truth. How one can even fathom getting through the day without a cutecake in tow is simply out of my realm of imagination; and if you’re looking for the best, look no further than Baked & Wired.

Tucked sedately between stuffy ad agencies, office buildings, and architecture firms, Baked & Wired is a hipster breath of fresh air with charming pink-trimmed picturesque windows that overlook a bustling street and pink painted bike which serves as outdoor décor for the location – situated just a stone’s throw away from the Georgetown canals. While the equivalent of a trendy coffee shop decked out in creations by local artists, and sporting humorous inscriptions upon the walls such as “Tip well or we will play Freebird on loop”; iced soy lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos, although addictive in their own way, are not the main attraction. That title is bestowed upon the cupcakes of which are some of the best you will ever savor. Three of my favorite cutecake flavors proffered to customers? Carrot Cake, Pumpkin, and Strawberry…order one of each, and eat them on site – the atmosphere only adds to the yumminess! 1052 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, DC 20007.

Tryst Coffee House Bar & Lounge There are very few cafes spotting the planet nowadays that have that jazzy, smoky, beatnik bar ambiance that F. Scott Fitzgerald glamorized so many years ago, literally causing me to scour the earth in search of such a place; and I have found it in Tryst Coffee House Bar & Lounge.

As if the name weren’t enough to lure you in, there are two things that will cause you to arrive and never want to leave: the bohemian aesthetic which makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into another era – one in which someone like Bob Dylan will walk in, pull up a stool, pick up a guitar, and begin strumming along mournfully; and the animal crackers. Yes, animal crackers. For each warm drink you order, animal crackers are an adorable accompaniment – and so perfect for dunking! Kitschy retro snacks aside, however, Tryst is a place with personality galore. Stop in with friends for a quirky afternoon full of cappuccinos sipped while sprawled out in overstuffed couches and chairs; or swing by at night for an evening of veggie burgers, beer, and bluesy jazz enjoyed at the bar. Between the brick walls, tin ceiling, and saggy seating you’ll feel inspired to write the next great American novel – or at least read one. 2459 18th Street NW (between N Belmont Road and N Columbia Road), Washington, DC 20009.

Mid City Caffe Mid City Caffe is one of those hidden gems that you don’t seek out to find, but magically stumble upon on accident, and literally feel as if you’ve been transported into a fairytale – in this case, one in which you’re surrounded by the aromas of spice cake, cappuccinos, and cream cheese frosting.

Located above the hot pink painted Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnot – a virtual smorgasbord of a shop full of whimsical knickknacks that are cheerful, charming, and unique – and just a short walk from the U Street Farmer’s Market, Mid City Caffe is the preemptive location to take a load off at one of the sidewalk tables after a day of shopping; or simply shoot the breeze with a cute boy over lattes made to perfection and topped with ambrosial designs carved right into the foam. Though perhaps the most charming thing about Mid City Caffe is the cramped yet cozy spirit, so ideal for toiling the day away over a laptop in the company of delectable drinks and desserts. Think of me as you devour a sticky cinnamon bun! 1626 14th Street NW, Second Floor (between N Corcoran Street and N R Street), Washington, DC 20009.

Which of these DC cafes would you like to cruise?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to We ♥ It for the pictures.

Don't forget to enter the Shawl Talk Giveaway for your chance to win a Charlotte Scarf from The Shawl Shop.


Style Secrets: Le Petit Mademoiselle

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Winston Churchill

I am convinced that I was aware of my expected short stature when I was barely knee-high; for at the age of three, I swiped a pair of my mother’s slingbacks from the hall closet while she was in the front-yard gardening, stuffed my much too small feet into the luscious nude leather, took two steps, and promptly tumbled down an entire flight of stairs, landing in a heap at the front door. It was at that precise moment, while many my age would have been shrieking in pain, that I vowed, no matter how short or tall I turned out to be in adulthood, I would embrace my height, and not rely on items such as painful pumps to boost my self-esteem and confidence, unless I truly felt the need – and I haven’t.

You see darlings, my thoughts were more synonymous with a prediction; for here I am today, not standing a smidgen over five-feet-one-and-a-half-inches sans shoes (please take note of the fact that we short girls will always tag that half-an-inch onto our height when asked “how tall are you?”), and I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve heard the complaints of others, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Being petite is not a problem. First and foremost, tall boys adore tiny girls; second, when shopping for clothes, our task is slightly simpler. Sure, many styles may be too long for our frame, but they require just a few nips and tucks to fit perfectly; while our taller female counterparts must seek out styles that will click with their height as is, or forfeit the look. Still, not every design fits our figure; therefore it is our responsibility to do tiny girls the world over justice by finding styles that make even the petite prevail!

Monochromatic Maven “You look tall.” These three words spilled from my younger sister’s lips just a few weeks ago. My younger sister whom I have not only seen every day for the entirety of my life, but who, in comparison to myself, is a virtual giant (she stands five-foot-five in bare feet). The reason for such a decree? As opposed to wearing a white tee, topped with a black cropped vest, paired with light wash blue jeans and knee-high cognac riding boots; on that particular day I had channeled my inner Audrey by going all black – black skinny jeans, black over the knee boots, and a long-sleeved black top. The only pop of color spotting my ensemble was a taupe Bop Basics Thick Knit Eternity Scarf which I had acquired a few weeks prior. The moral of the story is that the l'un numéroter way to appear taller to others is by streamlining your style, and sticking to one family of colors. This is not to say that you have to be matchy-matchy in any respect, but ensembles put together in terms of tones lengthen you in every way possible. Wear a navy blue shirt with dark wash skinny jeans; couple an eggplant sweater with a skirt in a similar shade. This serves as your basic palette; which you can then embellish with accessories in contrasting colors. Not only will this serve to elongate your body; it also gives you the opportunity to get creative with your look and truly make it your own by accessorizing!

Extreme Measures Something I have learned over the years is that when it comes to fashion and the short girl, there is no middle ground; meaning that mid-length styles often cut us in half and make us look shorter than we truly are. When dressing, go to the extremes. Search for minis that make your legs go on for miles, or maxis that cover your form and give the illusion that you’re taller than you really are. Keep in mind that you are petite; therefore, the flowy maxi dresses that look unbelievable on taller girls will swallow you whole. Look for something like Gypsy 05’s Maxi Organic Long Dress or bebe’s Cap Sleeve Maxi Tee Dress. These accentuate your waist and keep from looking too billowy or over the top; hence, they are your new best friend. Things are easier with minis; however, like with maxis, there are points to remember. The most important being that embellished pieces, like those with ruffles or tiers will often add volume to your derriere – something most girls don’t want. Bandage-type minis like those crafted by Herve Leger are the best choice, as they fit your body like a glove making you look taller; plus they have the added bonus of being ultra sexy. I adore skirts from Pleasure Doing Business. They are the budget fashionista’s answer to Herve Leger, and absolutely gorgeous!

Straight from the Hip Tunics may be fun and flirty, but they can also be quite hazardous for the petite in the sense that they immediately lengthen one’s torso which, in turn, creates a domino effect by making your legs look shorter; and when legs look shorter, you look shorter. The type of top that looks universally flattering on any body type – though especially on those of us who are quite tiny – are those that hit right at the hipline. The Harrie Top by Calvin Klein Collection, and Lucca Couture’s Mia Pocket Tee are ideal representations of this look for their hemlines hover around the top of your waistband, which ultimately makes your legs look longer. An exception to the rule is cardigans. Long cardigans plus a top that hits at the hip equal style perfection. Splendid is a good place to start. Their collection of cardigans is one of the best I’ve ever seen because they feature so many different cuts, colors, and materials, making it simple for the petite to play around and see which works best on their body.

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Delicate Layers I see layering as one of the most entertaining ways to highlight your individuality. The key is not to go overboard. When you’re petite, it’s easy to overwhelm your frame with pieces that add too much bulk to your body. Fashion editorials may make ten scarves, four sweaters, and two jackets look chic, but in the real world, these will only overpower your style – if you’re even capable of walking out the door after being weighed down by so many different designs. The tiny girl looks best in delicate layers; meaning just a few pieces will take your look a long way.

It is best to start with a thin tee. Kimberly Ovitz is the master of paper-thin tees. Her Maxwell Tunic is one of the best for layering, for it is virtually weightless and cascades over your skin in a fashion more synonymous with a cool breeze than a piece of clothing. A cardigan is the second layer you should consider. Since I have a tendency to layer bomber jackets over my sweaters for optimal warmth, I prefer sheer items like the Pointelle Cardigan by Missoni, as they are extremely lightweight, and won’t make you look bigger if you decide to toss on an extra bit of outerwear. If you don’t plan on wearing anything over your cardigan, a thicker piece is the best choice. I like the LC Lauren Conrad Cocoon Sweater myself – it has an extremely unique shape which provides a sophisticated silhouette; plus the braided detailing in the knit is a gorgeous touch. If you feel compelled to layer anything else, try a brightly colored Love Quotes scarf. A scarf about the throat adds character to your look and allows you to let your perky personality shine through!

Skyscraping Boots There was a time when I was of the impression that knee-high boots were the absolute worst choice of footwear for the short girl. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is something about tall boots that gives the illusion that one’s legs are longer when donned by the petite. Those which stop right below the knee are a matchless selection, as they lengthen one’s legs without overwhelming them. While you may find leather’s in ravishing reds, suede’s in bright blues, or snakeskin in punchy purples to be eye-catching choices; they are just that…eye-catching. When seeking to appear taller, you want to avoid cutting your body in half – perusing these shades, while a chic choice, will make you appear shorter. Stick with blacks, grays, and browns – dark colors that will make like a chameleon and take on the hue of their surroundings. A neutral color is universally classic and will forever work in your wardrobe. Two of my favorite knee-highs at the moment include Diane von Furstenberg’s Weekend Suede Flat Boots with Ankle Wrap in Black, which are ideal for someone searching for un petit peu of bohemian whimsy as they have the same type of construction as a moccasin without the distracting bead or fringe embellishments; and Steve Madden’s Brio in Grey Leather, as the folded cuff at the collar adds the slightest dash of volume and dimension for that extra oomph!

The Alphabetical Tee It’s quite simple to get caught up in thinking that any type of neckline found on a top is flattering; unfortunately, quite the opposite is true. I’ll admit it myself; years ago I wore crew and turtlenecks all the time. It was only when I really looked at myself in the mirror that I realized that such a cut was unflattering for my shape. Crew and turtlenecks manage to stump one’s neckline, which instantly makes you look shorter from head to toe. When you’re tiny, it’s best to embrace tops which proffer a v-neckline – such a style elongates the throat and neck, which, in turn, serves to elongate your entire body. It also gives you the chance to allow a subtle amount of décolletage to peek through seductively. Splendid’s Very Light Jersey V Neck Tee and Bop Basics’ Long Sleeve V Neck Tee are perfect examples of the ideal v-neck, for they are form-fitting, semi-sheer, and dip just low enough to give the illusion that you’re taller than you really are. If you don’t have a v-neck handy, don’t panic. Use vests, shawls, cardigans, and halter tops to mimic a v-neck. For instance, top LnA’s Crew-Neck Tee with a cardigan that you’ve buttoned up to about the chest area. This plays a trick on the eyes by making it appear that you’re wearing a v-neck, even when you’re not.

Say Hello to Heels! Let’s face it; one tried and true trick all of us petite pretties know about is perusing heels for instant gratification in terms of height. Don’t feel the need to don such footwear styles if you’re uncomfortable doing so; but if you’re doing it for yourself, and it makes you feel more confident, then go right ahead. The one thing to take into consideration is that, even with heels, there are limitations. Heels such as those crafted by the hands of Georgina Goodman Shoes are perfectly fine for damsels of any height. It is ankle boots which are the true problem for the pint-sized. Now, I adore ankle boots just as much as the next girl, but even with such an amazing source of shoe, there are rules that one must adhere to – if only to make oneself look better. Ankle boots with a blunt, straight cut across the ankles have the ability to make legs look both thicker and shorter; therefore, it is best to search for ankle boots that feature somewhat of a slant, which creep slightly higher above the leg, such as Dolce Vita’s Viva Draped Suede Booties with Open Toe; or go in the opposite direction, by choosing a style that hovers slightly below the ankle, like Stuart Weitzman’s Cover Up High Heel Booties. The key is finding something that will keep you looking sleek and stylish, without compromising your quest for that extra bit of height!

“The little things are infinitely most important.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Waist Management Short girls the world over should worship Brigitte Bardot for the sheer fact that, not only did she make high-waisted bottoms hip, she also donned them in such a fashion that made them appear glamorous, whether you’re short or tall. Of course, for the petite, such a style is monstrously beneficial as they create a fool’s paradise by making our legs look much longer than they truly are. The main thing to keep in mind is to purchase pieces that hit at your natural waistline, such as Joe’s Jeans’ Visionaire Skinny Jeans with High Waist or Pleasure Doing Business’ High Waisted Skirt. Going higher than your natural waistline will ruin the effect and make the entire look unnatural. And darlings, there’s nothing that looks worse than being unnatural. Unleash your true, natural beauty for the world to see!

Perfect Portions Dolls, I know how difficult it can be to get ready in the morning when you’re petite. So many different thoughts flit through your thoughts regarding whether or not you’ve chosen a look that will make you appear lean, lengthened, and lovely. Cast those worries aside; here are a few ensemble recommendations made with you itty-bitty ladies in mind:

A fitted v-neck top (long or short-sleeve, whichever you prefer), classic tailored wide leg pants (I favor those crafted by the hands of Lela Rose), a stacked heel – perhaps one with a hidden platform like Dolce Vita’s Trinity Studded Pumps.
A mini dress (I recommend a neutral toned frock, but if you insist on wearing a print, please adhere to the “fist rule,” which states that a print should always be smaller than the size of your fist), paired with black tights, and tucked into black pumps, booties, or ballerinas.
A thin tee layered with a bomber jacket (both of which hit at the hip), black or dark wash skinny jeans, and knee-high boots (I myself am currently incapable of resisting Belle by Sigerson Morrison’s Knee High Cuff Flat Boots in Cannella).

“Good things come in small packages.”

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to Couture in the City, Fashion Under $100, I Am Style-ish, Le Perla, Celebrity Bag Styles, La Vie Boston, Purse Page, OMG I Love Her Style, Livejournal, Pop Sugar, InStyle, Bauer Griffin, and Inside the Fashion for the pictures.

Don't forget to enter the Shawl Talk Giveaway for your chance to win a Charlotte Scarf from The Shawl Shop.


Smitten Saturday

Nude Attitude For me, nude lips have always been marred by a slick covering of gloss. I never felt the need to attempt a coloring that was skin colored; quite the opposite in fact. I thought that the shimmering sheen was a more powerful way to complement big, bold lashes. I think now that I was wrong. While gloss will forever be my cosmetic version of a cute courter, I had a teeny tiny tryst with mark’s Glow Baby Glow Hook Up Lip Gloss in Peek-A-Boo a handful of days ago wherein I came to the conclusion that nude lips fall flirtily between two very fine lines – naughty and nice. On the one hand they retain savoir faire; on the other they’re seductive and smoldering – a mix that I simply cannot live without. Thus the reason why my makeup bag will be welcoming three new additions – mark’s Dew Drenched Moisturlicious Lip Color in Skinny Dip, Dior’s Dior Addict High Shine Lipstick in Nude Silhouette 214, and Sephora’s Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Birthday Suit. Are you longing for a nude attitude kitty cats?

Cowl Girl For far too long I ignored the elegance of the cowl. I misunderstood the air of sophistication it could lend to a fairly understated ensemble; or the volume it could provide a more streamlined style. But I have learned the error of my ways, kittens. It may have been a long time coming, but I finally realized that a cowl is chicly controversial if done right. It is cosmopolitan and classic juxtaposed with a hint of bohemian ruggedness. Hence the reason one should never find their wardrobe lacking such an accoutrement. Dazzle in Free People’s Convertible Sequin Cowl; enchant in Haute Hippie’s Bias Sequin Cowl Dress; be flirty and seductive with Bop Basics’ Cashmere Sweater with Oversized Cowl Neck; and taunt and tease cute boys via the hint of décolletage displayed when donning Helmut Lang’s Cowl Neck Sweater. Come clean ladies…don’t you want to be a cowl girl?

Strappy Style Mes chéris, just because you’ve never actually toured my closet, doesn’t mean that you haven’t heard countless stories. I’ve described my large amassment of dark wash skinnies and countless pairs of boots (all in differing heights and shades, mind you) to a T; providing you with a verbal view of my beloved wardrobe. Yet even I am not above wardrobe malfunctions when it comes to fashion – especially when it involves pairing said boots with the aforementioned skinnies. Cuffing my jeans, taping them down, folding…I have tried it all, and encountered unflattering wrinkles about the knees no matter what; hence the reason I am thrilled to have finally fallen upon Jean Straps. Clip the garter strap-like contraption across the hem of your jeans stirrup style and slip your foot into your desired shoe for a slim, simple fit. It’s a strapping solution for the boot bulge that afflicts your denim du jour. Ready to get strappy?

What were you smitten with this week?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to We ♥ It and Shopbop for the pictures.

Don't forget to enter the Shawl Talk Giveaway for your chance to win a Charlotte Scarf from The Shawl Shop.


Shawl Talk Giveaway

Darlings, you know me, never one to resist an accessory – especially of the scarf variety. Hence the reason why I am absolutely smitten with the charming Charlotte – a lightweight piece available from The Shawl Shop in 52 different shades; and completely versatile in the sense that it can be worn as a shawl come evening, or a punchy scarf if donned in the middle of the afternoon.

As I always say, a scarf adds instant glamour to just about any ensemble you happen to be accoutered in; and now Café Fashionista has teamed up with The Shawl Shop to bring two (2) readers a Charlotte Scarf in the color of their choosing – I’m partial to Lipstick and Scarlet myself.

To enter the Shawl Talk Giveaway:

For one (1) entry, leave a comment on this post between now and Thursday, December 3, 2009 at midnight PST.

For two (2) entries, Twitter about this giveaway, and leave a comment on this post between now and Thursday, December 3, 2009 at midnight PST with your Twitter URL.

For three (3) entries, become a follower of Café Fashionista on Blogger/Google Reader, and leave a comment on this post between now and Thursday, December 3, 2009 at midnight PST (if you are already a Café Fashionista follower, please say so in your comment).

I will randomly pick two names out of a hat (who knows, it could be yours!), and announce the winner on Friday, December 4, 2009.

In the meantime, should you feel a desire to do a little holiday shopping, between Monday, November 30, 2009 and Sunday, December 6, 2009 The Shawl Shop is holding a blowout sale which includes:

Up to 40% off everything on The Shawl Shop site.

A chance to win a day at the spa.

Complimentary ground shipping with any order of $75 or more.

Good luck everyone!

This Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents!

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to The Shawl Shop for the pictures.


Thrifty Thursday: Erin Wasson X RVCA Velvet Boatneck Dress at a Bargain

Christmas comes but once a year, and when it does? Please oh please do the right thing darlings and drape yourselves in velvet as much as humanly possible. Call it the George Costanza complex, but ever since my years as a child watching Seinfeld reruns from my hiding place behind the couch, I have had an ever so slight obsession with velvet. Unfortunately, its use in the fashion world is oftentimes nonexistent – except around the holidays. Hence the reason why I am so quick to savor its softness the moment radio stations begin rotating Christmas carols.

Finding the ideal velvet frock can be quite a challenge; especially once you’re over the age of eight. As grade schoolers it’s fine to don bright red velvet dresses trimmed in white faux fur; once you’ve graduated into the real world, however, such a style is juvenile. It is at this particular time that one wants velvet in sophisticated doses; body-hugging pieces that enhance your best features and conceal your worst. Erin Wasson’s X RVCA Velvet Boatneck Dress is it.

Neither tawdry nor excessive, the Velvet Boatneck Dress is understated velvet done right. The midnight hue is classic without being clichéd; while the texture of the material paired with the slightly-off, unconventional color adds a slight shimmer to the dress which makes it appear as if it is laced with enchanting silver thread throughout (it’s not). The crowning characteristic of the look, however, does not come from the royal shade or slightly billowy sleeves reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet. That honor falls upon the thumb casings about the wrists, which provide a fingerless glove aesthetic to the design. It is the presence of those thumb casings alone which almost makes me willing to shell out the $100.00 required to make this lovely mine. Almost, but not quite.

American Apparel’s Stretch Velvet Double U-Neck Long Sleeve Mini Dress, while lacking the unusual thumb casings of the Velvet Boatneck Dress, makes up for the pretty peculiarity by featuring a back which dips scandalously low – an elegant and dramatic quirk with the power to make one channel their seductive side simply by slipping it on – for a mere $42.00; a price which makes it hard not to want to scoop up two. After all, you can never have too many flirty frocks lurking in your closet.

Who are you channeling today, darlings…the thrifty temptress or the sassy big spender?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to Saks Fifth Avenue and American Apparel for the pictures.


Shawl Talk

I’ll be honest; I’ve never been a fan of it. Small talk, that is. To some it’s a way to shoot the breeze; for me, it’s nothing more than moments wasted on nonsensical, inane musings brought about to mask the uncomfortable silences that so often pinpoint and plague our daily lives. But I’m not one to talk, I suppose; after all, I am a serial texter myself – exchanging brief banter with a handful of people at any given time. Still, it’s not the same. Those petite typewritten trades do one thing instantaneously, and that is get down to the nitty gritty – which, at the moment, is shawls. Thus, I’m forgoing the small talk, at least for a bit, and replacing it with a cozy dose of shawl talk!

Sheri Bodell “Black Widow Shawl” There is quite possibly nothing better than a venomous accessory; a fabulous fragment of frippery with the power to, in the words of Ricky Martin, “look like a flower and sting like a bee” – at least in terms of style. Sheri Bodell’s Black Widow Shawl is it. If ever you wanted to channel the look of an alluring bohemian hippie, you would need this garb and little to nothing else. Cascading layers of fringe hang flirtily from the rounded hem that creates a sophisticated curtain-like effect in which you are the soon to be revealed main attraction; while beads and paillettes adorning the shoulders and upper back make you dazzle, twinkle, and sparkle like a cosmopolitan caped crusader. Lock your doors boys; the black widow is on the prowl!

Free People “Fringe Shawl” No matter how hard you may try, it is nearly impossible to ignore the lure of Southwestern influences in style of dress. There’s a very beatnik, Jack Kerouac, On the Road quality to the look courtesy of natural tones that instantly make you think of being one with the wilderness. Free People’s Fringe Shawl is quite indicative of this. Loose, chunky hand-knit in a multitude of deep, striped tones, then trimmed in chocolate brown fringe create a cozy pattern and appearance which retains the ability to dress your look du jour up or down depending on how you wear it. Don it with dark wash skinnies for elegance, or slouchy khaki cords for a free-spirited ambiance; either way it creates an aesthetic that looks and feels like home.

Neiman Marcus “Cashmere Shawl” Too many associate the fall and winter months with dark, dreary colors that serve to be quite posh and cultivated, yet leave much to be desired in terms of color palettes. Hence the reason a snuggly garment in a daring hue, much like Neiman Marcus’ Cashmere Shawl is so necessary for your wardrobe. While the gathered detailing and pure cashmere construction make for a blissful, blanketed silhouette; the true piece de resistance lies in the ravishing candy apple red hue, and the versatility factor. Drape it over your shoulders and allow it to swish around your legs like an oversized cardigan, criss cross it over your body to create luscious layers, or wind it about your throat to weave a makeshift tube scarf that adds volumes to appearance. The only thing I don’t recommend doing? Leaving home without it!

American Apparel “The Shawl” Very few shawls have the ability to transform from day to night. The Shawl from American Apparel does. As opposed to going too big and billowy for an evening out with the girls – or a cute boy! – or embracing a slim cut that provides scant coverage from the brisk winds blowing you every which way, The Shawl falls right between the two in a magical middle ground to help you class up your style no matter what you happen to find yourself accoutered in. Glamourize the Cotton Spandex Jersey Double U-Neck Long Sleeve Mini Dress in Dark Orchid with The Shawl in Black Interlock; romanticize a pale pink v-neck with The Shawl in Asphalt Interlock; or add a sprinkling of animal magnetism to your ensemble courtesy of The Shawl in Natural/Cappuccino. There’s no question that in any color or combination it’s a pretty little piece eagerly awaiting the chance to contribute a pinch of pizzazz to your accessory drawer!

Sutton Studio “Cashmere Ruffle Shawl” Given the fact that, in my world, cardigans are not just a cozy covering crafted to keep one warm, they’re more of a way of life; I often find myself seeking out bits and pieces that are, essentially, an entirely different style of dress, but which possess the same type of aesthetic and presentation synonymous with that of a cardigan. So is the way I came across Sutton Studio’s Cashmere Ruffle Shawl. Nothing to me says fall in a more phenomenal fashion than a cuddly knit embellished with tiers of ruffles that make it a cinch to create an urbane, uptown silhouette that will turn heads the moment you toss it on. Allow it to hang open for a nonchalant, haphazard yet haute appearance; or swing one end over your shoulder for a touch of elegance. No matter how it’s styled you’re sure to stun.

Ready for a bit of shawl talk, kittens?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to Shopbop, Free People, Nordstrom, American Apparel, and Bloomingdales for the pictures.


Tightwad Tuesday: Tibi Sequin Blazer at a Bargain

Since my quest for a bewitching blazer that is slim-fitting, sophisticated, and perfect for any occasion has sent me on a virtual goose chase for the past four months in which I have come up completely empty-handed, I have decided to go the opposite route. Oui, I have come to the conclusion that now is the preemptive time to embrace my own personal ABC’s of the ideal blazer: audacious, bold, and cheeky; and given the time of year currently upon us, the holiday season when all three are more than welcome in our wardrobes, I see absolutely nothing wrong with doing so. Farewell to fusty, hello flamboyance!

I suppose I should explain myself. After all, it’s only fair to you, my many beloveds, to let you in on what I am going on and on about, so I will. Sequins. Say it with me now, kittens…sequins. The way the word so much as slithers off your tongue is indicative enough of its splendor; but gracing a woven jacket making it possible for you to sparkle as brightly as the twinkling fairy lights adorning a Christmas tree causes them to be so much more covetable. Hence the reason Tibi’s Sequin Blazer has landed on my radar in a way that no other covering has managed to before.

While built like a blazer with front flap pockets and subtle lapels, Tibi’s Sequin Blazer harbors a fluidity; a dazzling poetry in motion in its shape, which is more reminiscent of a cozy, breathable knit cardigan, as opposed to a boxy, structured blazer. It is this fit alone which creates a yearning within me to dress it down for a day of shopping with leggings and a worn-in pair of slouchy suede boots; or dress it up for a posh party full of scrummy boys by coupling it with black skinnies and sky-high heels. Take into account the fact that this particular piece manages to juxtapose between being theatrical and inconspicuous at the very same point in time, and it is obvious that you have found extravagance at its very, very best.

But non; not everything about Tibi’s Sequin Blazer is fabulous. Case in point, the $598.00 price tag. While gorgeous in all of its glittering charm, an amount so near to the four-digit mark is quite intimidating – especially given the current state of the economy, and the amount of names on my holiday shopping list. Therefore, so long Tibi, welcome to my world Sequin Embellished Jacket!

For $27.80, Forever 21’s Sequin Embellished Jacket retains almost an identical ability to make you shimmer, sparkle, and shine in the same fashion as Tibi’s Sequin Blazer, at a fee much more friendly to the shopaholic fashionista’s wallet.

Question time…tightwad? Spendthrift? Which role will you glimmer in today?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to ShopStyle and Forever 21 for the pictures.


Cruisin' Cafes: London, England

I was given a task back in the first grade. At the mere age of six or seven, I, along with my classmates, was instructed by my somewhat feared teacher Miss Cullen to draw a picture of a place I wanted to visit more than any other. There were two ground rules: one, we could not select another planet; two, it had to be outside of the United States. Given my frequent viewings of Superman, and adoring the premise of stepping into a cherry red telephone booth to transform into someone with amazing powers, I chose London, England – after all, the one thing I knew about the country was that those very same phone booths were everywhere. Fast forward fifteen years, and I am still obsessed with “the Queen’s little place in the country.” Thus the reason why our second café journey is to London, England!

Maison Bertaux I’ve always wanted to be Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. I have worshipped her for many, many years – aspiring to hold fast to her wide-eyed innocence, and jumble of thrill and surprise that seemingly overwhelms her when introduced to something new. Stepping one foot into Maison Bertaux, and you can’t help but feel like the golden-haired girl with imagination galore; for one moment you’re on a gritty Soho street, the next you’ve tumbled down the rabbit hole into a glorious little gem of a café which doubles as a quirky cake and pastry shop that would make Marie Antoinette herself giddy.

Founded in 1871, the true charm and enchantment of Maison Bertaux is in its aesthetic. Dainty china, pink shabby chic décor, and Parisian patisserie influences converge as one to create a cozy little nook which features an upstairs tea room for savoring warm drinks on blustery rainy days, and a slightly cramped – yet over the top quaint – downstairs sitting area should you feel the desire to gaze upon the pretty pastries being crafted on premises. Have a Coconut Macaroon or two for me, s’il vous plait! 28 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 5DD.

The Coffee Cup Perhaps I’m fazed by the history that Hampstead’s The Coffee Cup harbors – since it’s opening in 1951, its doorway has been graced by Paul McCartney, Sting, Emma Thompson, and Betty Grable. But I like to attribute my adoration of the spot to the cramped, run down style which wraps you up in the type of warmth synonymous with a snuggly scarf or plaid blanket huddled under in front of the fireplace as you slowly sip steaming coffee out of oversized mugs.

Inside, there is a rustic, log cabin type of cultivation courtesy of the wood paneled walls, out of sight cubbyholes perfect for curling up with a good book, and retro stools, all of which serve to create a noir-influenced elegance not often seen in more recently built establishments; while outside sits a handful of outdoor tables perfect for people watching as you down cup after cup of scrummy cappuccino. Just don’t forget to couple it with carrot cake topped with ice cream – the ideal complement to your toasty drink. 74 Hampstead High Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 1QX.

Poetry Café It is not surprising I should find myself head over heels with Covent Garden’s Poetry Café; after all, it is like a little slice of New York City’s Greenwich Village extracted and plunked down in the middle of London.

Poetry Café is a true-life version of the coffee shops that manage to pop up in literature all the time, but rarely appear in reality. It is a beatnik location that poses as a simple café and bar organized for people to shoot the breeze with strangers over wicked brews concocted right before your eyes in the mornings and afternoons; then, just before an event begins in the evening, everything changes. Seats are vacated and crowds of people shuffle down to the basement, cappuccinos and warm brownies in hand, and cozy up to plush sofas as various London-based artists take the stage. It’s a jazzy little place brimming with nostalgia; you’ll never want to leave! 22 Betterton St., London, WC2H 9BX.

Which of these London cafes would you like to cruise?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to We ♥ It for the pictures.


Style Secrets: The Haute Hippie

“Long hair is considered bohemian, which may be why I grew it, but I keep it long because I love the way it feels, part cloak, part fan, part mane, part security blanket.”
Marge Piercy

I find it difficult to understand one who proclaims that they have not been bitten by the bohemian bug. I myself am an individual who has never identified with a certain style of dress; rather, I flit from one look to another, attempting to match my wardrobe to my day to day mood. Even so, I have never been able to resist the lure of the bohemia.

Blame it upon my love of the beatnik way of life. The type of existence marred with endless aimless wandering, and soul-searching; simply seeking a path to follow, but getting lost on various unplanned adventures and journeys along the way. But I digress; we are talking about style here, and that of the bohemian fashion.

The film Almost Famous so perfectly showcased the characteristics of bohemia trends; but please don’t fret darlings, one does not need a stylist to show them the ropes of looking the part of the boho belle. Incorporating slightly slouchy, offbeat fashions into your everyday look is one of the simplest of style tasks you will ever encounter; especially when you know exactly where to start!

Brilliant Bedhead The main thing to remember as you begin your foray into becoming a haute hippie is that to look undone, effortless, and magnificently mussed takes time. While it is your intention to look as if you simply woke up beaming and radiant, in truth, we both know that it doesn’t come naturally. Hair does not look tantalizingly tousled the moment you lift your head from the pillow in the morning, it requires pre-planning. The boho belle is most often seen donning volumized, luscious locks with cascading waves that oftentimes come across looking ever so slightly tangled. Luckily there are two tried and true ways to achieve this style without spending hours using hair products or curling irons:

For Loose Waves - When your hair is damp, scoop it off your neck and tie it into a messy bun. Shake your hair out in the morning, and you’re good to go.
For Tighter Waves - When your hair is damp, part it in the middle, and weave it into two tight braids. In the morning comb it out, and let loose.
Tips - I recommend looser waves for a bohemian look; tighter waves often come across as too diva-inspired, and somewhat unnatural.

Look to Brigitte Bardot, Blake Lively, and Vanessa Hudgens for guidance – their hairstyles simply scream bohemian perfection.

Trinket Trove Whether bohemian is the look I am going for on any particular day or not, I am one who understands the power of the accessory. Accessories, to be completely truthful, can make or break an outfit. They are the backbone to your plain white tee, the main event of your typical jeans, and the crème de la crème to the blank palette you call your ensemble. It was Coco Chanel who said “It is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory of fashion that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure.” Embrace these words, they are a mantra.

The perfect thing about jewelry that spots bohemian styles is the sheer fact that it is inexpensive, for it is typically “fashion” jewelry – this means that you can load up on it at Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and H&M without any worries about breaking your budget. Five items one must have in their possession when channeling their inner boho belle:

Feathers - Some wear them around their neck; I recommend wearing feathers from your ears. Feathered earrings such as Flashback & Freedom’s Peacock Earrings frame the face, and add a very elegant ambiance to the bohemian look. They also serve to elongate the neck, which is always glamorous.

“I’m a girl from a good family who was very well brought up. One day I turned my back on it all and became a bohemian.”
Brigitte Bardot

DIY Bracelets Essentially, you don’t have to DIY them, but many hippie-influenced bracelets are handmade, and look like pieces you crafted while away at summer camp as a child. Braided bracelets made from yarn, string, cord, leather, and hemp are all stunning selections – two that I adore at the moment are Citrine by the Stones’ Braided Bracelet and Kerri Wilder’s Braided Bead Wrap Bracelet. The key is choosing something that is understated and ethereal, yet catches the eye all at once!

Bangles, Bangles, Bangles! Not to be confused with cuffs; bangles are slightly less hefty and an absolute staple in the boho belle’s accessory drawer. Don’t feel the need to stick to one category of bangles. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to haphazardly mix and match sizes and textures in an effort to create a look all your own. Take a cue from Nicole Richie and couple Kenneth Jay Lane ’s Polished Gold Cabochon Bangle with CC Skye’s Cobra Bangles and Gorjana’s Willow Bangles. Think of it this way…the more disorder displayed on your wrist, the better!
Ring Leader Don’t expect to feel bohemian without rings gracing at least seven out of ten fingers. And not any ring will do – big baubles with the power to stop people in their tracks is what you want. Look for pieces that sport large, colorful stones or designs like House of Harlow 1960’s Sunburst Cocktail Ring or Gara Danielle’s Peacock Druzy Ring. Go as far as you can in terms of rings without being uncomfortable.
Head Case To fully embrace your inner boho belle, lose the headband and replace it with a head wrap like Rachel Leigh’s Hippie Chic Headband and Bop Bijoux’s Vintage Braided Headband/Wrap Bracelet. Bohemian style is not bohemian style without a head wrap. Period.

Back to Basics One of the benefits of going boho is that the main staples of your wardrobe are basics – and inexpensive ones at that! You do not rely on jazzy embellishments to keep your style strong; rather, you pay tribute to understated glamour. One of my favorite routes to take is that of the boyfriend style. It works for creating a blissful bohemian ambiance, but should you decide to leave your hippie aspirations behind, the look can easily be transformed into anything you desire. Four items you simply cannot be without:

Boyfriend Jeans You don’t want to go too bulky or baggy, just loose enough where you have room to move around without masking your sassy silhouette. Opt for styles that can be worn long or cuffed to optimize versatility and wear-ability. Rich & Skinny are my favorite when it comes to boyfriend jeans; they offer various washes and textures which make it easy to play with your look and experiment a bit.
V-Necks A slouchy, loose fit is what you’re going for, but too much slouch will make you look sloppy. Bop Basics’ Short Sleeve V Neck Tee is ideal – it allows you to keep your shape while still getting that bohemian vibe. If you’re unsure about sizing remember these two things – go one size up if purchasing a top made for females; if you’re buying a tee made with the body of a boy in mind, buy one size down.

Cut-Off Denim Shorts Any pair of denim shorts will do; but I feel that those with a cut-off look come across as more free-spirited and disorganized than a pristine pair. Meaning, look for denim shorts with slight fraying, or a choppy cut about the hemline, such as Current/Elliott’s The Boyfriend Short. DIY-ing is always an idea, as well. Look for a slightly baggy pair of jeans that you no longer wear, measure, and snip snip!
Cardigans The funny thing about cardigans is that they’re appropriate for any style of dress you deem worthy to accouter yourself in, whether polished or playful. But when going the route of the haute hippie they work wonders for they are completely simple in the sense that you can toss them on over anything. Look for comforting pieces that make you feel cozy and adored like Ever’s Algiers Cocoon Sweater, Catherine Malandrino’s Cardigan Sweater with Draped Neckline, or Theory’s Zuma Cardigan – bits that manage to look as if they are swallowing you whole; but in the most sophisticated of ways.

It’s All in the Bag The bag, like accessories in general, is, in my opinion, the piece de resistance of creating pure bohemian rhapsody in your look. It is this unique piece that will tie everything together, and truly create the haute hippie aesthetic you have in mind. Forgo classic styles in patent leather, and toss black hues to the wayside. Seek out more rustic pieces with long shoulder straps, fringe and/or woven detailing, suede textures, and colors synonymous with nature – brown, taupe, and beige. Ecote’s Suede Patchwork Hobo and JJ Winters’ Suede Fringe Bag are perfect candidates for the task. Just remember that you want something that instantly makes people think of Woodstock, moccasins, and the simplicities of life that often accompanied the hippie/bohemian movement, and splurge accordingly!

“Bohemia is nothing more than the little country in which you do not live. If you try to obtain citizenship in it, at once the court and retinue pack the royal archives and treasure and move away beyond the hills.”
O. Henry

No need to tell me where you’re off to kittens; I already know…you’re on your way to transform yourself into a haute and happy hippie no doubt. Have fun!

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to Lets Get Ripped and Go to the Aquarium, Daily Makeover, Sweet Fuzz, Huffington Post, Lets Shop, Refinery 29, La Vie Boston, Denimology, and What’s Haute for the pictures.


Smitten Saturday

Girl Talk Kitty cats, I’m well aware of the fact that one is supposed to write about their secret loves within the pages of a diary; but I am taking the opposite approach. It is not what is inside my diary which I am most concerned about at the moment, but what is printed on the outside. And that mes chéris are the Erdem Girls. For quite some time now I have been in complete and utter awe of the whimsically romantic line drawings put forth by designer Erdem, and now I have the chance to take the Erdem Girls home courtesy of Smythson’s Erdem Girl Diaries. Each illustration is engraved and printed upon pristine goatskin leather which opens up to reveal printed silk lining; while two pages full of fashion illustrations by the designer himself add a fabulous bonus to the receiver. I already plan on sticking the Panama Diary within the folds of my handbag and toting it along with me everywhere I go; the Soho Diary, on the other hand, will be reserved for the makeshift office residing in my bedroom. The only thing to contemplate now? How on earth to scrounge up enough money to afford these lovelies. Santa, can you hear me?

Clutch-22 Dolls please do me a very important favor…don’t ever allow me to forget how torturous it is to find the ideal black clutch to tote along with me on those occasions when I decide to paint the town red. I have spent the past week tearing my hair out for a clutch that fits the bill, and come up completely empty-handed. Now, you know me for my love of big bags; but even I must admit that it’s difficult to dance the night away, or flirt with a cute boy, when you’re attempting to keep your eye on an oversized bag, or prevent it from hitting your prospective suitor in the gut while getting groovy on the dance floor. Therefore, a black clutch is essential – but a royal pain to uncover. Do you go for a piece that transforms into a small handbag complete with cutout handles like Nine West’s Fold Em Small Clutch? Search for a petite pouch like Felix Rey’s Love Letter Clutch? Go oversized with Alexander Wang’s Tina Zip Clutch? Or, is it as I suspected, a complete Catch-22 – utterly impossible to find a bit that is both beneficial and beautiful?

The Nose No matter the situation at hand, I find that Coco Chanel is always brimming with a quote or observation that is spot on, and applicable to whatever predicament you find yourself plagued with. Case in point, her thoughts on perfume – A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future and “Where should one use perfume?’ a young woman asked. ‘Wherever one wants to be kissed,’ I said. It is impossible not to agree with her musings, and realize that perfume, while invisible to the naked eye, is just as necessary and important as the clothes one accouters oneself with. The trouble is, finding one that suits you and your personality to a T. You want something that is unique, and tantalizing enough to intrigue cute boys once you have vacated a room; while being slightly subdued so as not to overwhelm one’s senses. It’s quite the difficult task, to be completely truthful – one that I have fallen victim to time and time again. Thus, I thought it only fair to share my secret weapon for selecting sublimity…How to Pick a Perfume Just Right For You. Darlings, cast aside all semblance of confusion and simply soak up Nasreen Rehmat’s advice on all things related to smelling yummy. Your perfume problems? Solved. Coco would be so proud!

Legging Love I’ve tried to keep the urges at bay for quite some time now, but I’ve finally become one of them. The girls with the confidence to don leggings as their sole piece of legwear; who embrace stretchy fibers as their pants-style of choice and wear them with complete and total disregard to the shocked looks upon the faces of strangers. And why shouldn’t I? I remember in the fourth grade that I virtually lived in leggings. Denim was not a part of my fashion vocabulary at that time – I was enticed only by elastic, and in a constant state of euphoria whenever accoutered in such a look. Thus, I see it only fair to relive those glory days once more, and incorporate the design into my everyday way of living. Only Hearts’ Poor Boy Rib Leggings would look heavenly tucked into a pair of faux leather over the knee boots and topped with a newly acquired red v-neck sweater and motorcycle jacket. A night of enchantment is guaranteed with M by Missoni’s sparkling Metallic Leggings, played up with an understated flowy tank that hits at the hip. And Splendid’s Modal Leggings would work all sorts of magic coupled with an asymmetrical top from Blue Life. Tell me darlings…how do you wear your leggings? Do you allow yourself to don short tops when outfitted in them, or do you prefer topping them with a tunic?

Call Me My BlackBerry is my BFF. I feel completely naked if she isn’t by my side 24/7, constantly available to assist me in sending text messages, or keeping up on the latest idle chatter involving my girlenas; but my beloved CC has sparked a new infatuation within. Last week she posed a question to her readers involving land lines in CC Phone Home, and instantly I was brought back to the technology of yesteryear. Non, I am not in possession of a land line – why should I be, I’m hardly home? But that doesn’t stop me from adoring the vintage flair of old-fashioned telephones. Not to use, mind you – simply for decorative purposes. I can’t help but feel like a cast member on the set of Valley of the Dolls with Crosley’s Kettle Classic Desk Phone sitting pretty by my bedside. The Princess Phone, in a perky bubblegum pink hue, possesses just enough retro, Old Hollywood glamour to make one feel like a buxom starlet sashaying down the Red Carpet on her way to a swanky film premiere when so much as glanced upon. And really, who in their right mind could resist the elegance put forth via The Sultan Desk Phone? Call me, kittens!

What were you smitten with this week?

Thanks to Couture Carrie and Shopbop for the pictures.


Stop in the Name of Lace

Shame on me, I know. Here I am, supposed to be on the hunt for a pair of gloves to keep my dainty digits warm come winter, and I’m off on one of my tangents. Albeit, this one was not intentional. It is not my fault that the item in question seemingly sprung out of nowhere, and bit me on the nose, virtually begging to be swept up into my world of fashionable finesse; nor am I to blame for being completely incapable of resisting its flirty yet incredibly feminine aesthetic. Be honest, you would be in the same position as myself had you laid eyes on this beauty first. But I digress; it was I who spotted its lacy construction, I who became mesmerized with its spandex composition, and I who knew from the getgo that I had to have it in my possession. And I vow that I will; though I’m getting ahead of myself.

I suppose I should reveal what I am rambling on and on about – after all, I have a hunch that once you experience it’s brilliance you’ll be coveting it too. American Apparel’s Nylon Spandex Stretch Floral Lace Unitard.

Dolls, please cast aside your thoughts about uncomfortable, unflattering unitards of yesteryear; the Nylon Spandex Stretch Floral Lace Unitard is a decadent accoutrement that will assist you in channeling your inner feminine mystique and make you feel like a sultry feline on the prowl whenever you find yourself donning it – which I’m sure will be quite often. This is not to be compared to the leotards and unitards we were forced to dress in for dance classes as children; this is a garment in a class all its own.

Reminiscent of a body stocking, delicate black floral lace covers every last inch of its surface ending in a footless tight, and beginning with slim spaghetti straps; all of which hug every last curve of your body like a glove. It’s a form-fitting covering simply lying in wait to be tossed on under a colorful frock, or coupled with a risqué satin corset – so don’t even begin to say that you have nothing to wear it with. My only qualm is that it isn’t available in every color of the rainbow – I’d snatch them all up in a heartbeat!

Are you suffering from a case of lace lust, kittens?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to American Apparel for the pictures.


Thrifty Thursday: Alice + Olivia Shawl Faux Fur Jacket for Less

Darlings, I have fallen in love with a wild animal. Not just any wild animal, mind you; a leopard. A leggy specimen with the grace and poise of a model on the catwalk, coupled with the speed and agility of a toned marathon runner. I imagine there is no other animal more perfect to fall in love with; but I digress. I suppose I should be more specific in my musings. Oui, it is the leopard that is the current star of my affections; but not in the fashion in which you may assume.

While I adore the leopard’s fiery spirit and seductive gait; I am much more in awe of its heavenly shaded coat. The beige and taupe mixing as one, then covered in black spots synonymous with petite rosettes to round out the piece de resistance of color combinations. The charm factor of such a look has made me long for a similar covering all my own. And I have found it in the form of Alice + Olivia’s Shawl Collar Faux Fur Jacket.

Many faux furs come across as too brass and brazen in their volume and size; so is not the case with the Shawl Collar Faux Fur Jacket. It is the quintessential garment for assisting the fashion maven in channeling her inner Edie Sedgwick, and imagining herself as Andy Warhol’s muse, if only during the time that she is donning such a style.

Toss it on over distressed denim jeans with wild, animalistic hair for a late-night rock show; or transform yourself into a cosmopolitan Uptown girl by pairing it with black leggings, an ebony-hued v-neck, and a chic chignon for a chichi cocktail party with dapper boys just waiting for you to entice them with your feminine wiles.

I should love to simply swipe Alice + Olivia’s ambrosial outerwear up without so much as a second-thought to price; but I am quite positive that I would feel downright devastated once I open my VISA bill and see the $385.00 charge. But I refuse to take this lying down. I am resigned to fight for what I love; which is why I shall be taking the plunge and purchasing the next best thing…Mossimo’s Black Women’s Faux Fur Shrug – Cat Print.

At $39.99, Mossimo’s marvel is the perfect solution to your budget woes; not to mention that it’s the ideal replacement for a statement necklace if donned with a sassy LBD.

Speak up, don’t be shy…will you be economical with Mossimo, or extravagant with Alice + Olivia?

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to Shopbop and Target for the pictures.

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