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Marsala Done Right: 5 Flawless Ways to Wear the Color of the Year

medium_3847643843A few weeks ago, the Pantone Institute (the authority on color in many industries, including fashion) announced that the color of the year for 2015 was marsala.

Now for most of us the first thing we think of is food (such as chicken marsala or marsala wine), but the lovely rich color of marsala is a deep wine-bordeaux color that’s stunning in it’s depth.

To help out those who may be a little nervous about trying such a color, like many of my clients have been, have no fear!  Below I’ve come up with five simple easy combinations to wear this fab color in the year to come.

Marsala Done Right #1: Rock Star in Winter

 

Marsala1

This first concept came to me as inspired by my work with one of my edgier clients.

She wanted a look that was functional, simple, yet totally eye-catching.  I love this look because it combines the versatility of leather leggings and plays with texture in the wool dress, velvet clutch, and leather booties.

Playing with the extremes of color of black and winter white compliments the bold and deep marsala color.  Try this look instead of a fancy frock for you’re next holiday party!

 

Marsala Done Right #2: Office Sophisticate

Marsala2

If you want a look that’s appropriate for the office yet chic & sassy enough for happy hour, then try what I’ve put together here!

The cashmere dress is in a neutral color that will work in fall, winter or spring.  Knee-high leather boots in the rich shade of marsala add a dash of color and daring to this look.

The pearls soften the edges of such a bold color and make it ultra feminine.

 

 

Marsala Done Right #3: Business Casual Cool

 

Marsala3

I kept the boardroom in mind for my professional ladies who happen to prefer pants over dresses.

This look plays with basics but keeps them from ever being boring!  It all starts with a sumptuous cashmere sweater in camel paired with black crepe gaucho pants.   Once again this is a combination that will work in fall, winter or spring!

Next, I paired bold garnet & gold jewelry with these basic pieces and topped it all off with a structured marsala handbag and t-strap pumps.  Yes this look proves without a doubt corporate attire can still be chic and fashionable.

 

Marsala Done Right #4: Casual Preppy

Marsala4

The simplicity of eternal Parisienne style was the inspiration for this look.

If you’re a woman who wants the look of casual but the polish of preppy then this is for you!  For this look it was all about the two-tone marsala and navy dress.  I simply accented everything based upon those simple colors.  Navy velvet flats, beret and handbag help to balance out the main color of marsala in the dress.  The simple gold jewelry adds polish and finishes the look.

 

Marsala Done Right #5: Monochromatic Dramatic!

Marsala5

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve learned two things about me:

  1. I love stilettos, and
  2. I love wearing monochromatic colors for the drama and effect they cause!

So there’s no wonder I didn’t shy away from monochromatic color scheme yet again when playing with the bold shade of marsala!  To keep from being overwhelmed by the color, remember it’s all about playing with texture.  I shamelessly mixed leather, silk, and suede for a femme fatale look that’s sure to draw compliments.  I love everything about this look!

Learn more ins and outs about this beautiful shade below:

photo credit: Deirdre Boyer via photopin cc

 

Now that you have some ideas, how are you going to wear marsala in the coming year?

Comment below!

 

What Are Some Great Combos For “Sweater Weather”?

medium_5268233326Boot and sweater weather, a.k.a Fall, is the chicest time of year!

There’s so much variety and yet simplicity in finding the perfect fall pieces to fit your life and style.  In a previous post, I discussed how to choose the right ankle boots for fall.  Now as a follow-up I wanted to give you five timeless, easy pairings to wear for this transitional time of year.

For work and for play!

Combo #1: Cowl-Neck Sweater + Skinny Jeans

SweaterWeatherCombo1

This first combo takes casual to a sexy and sophisticated level.  Pair a cowl-neck sweater with a flattering pair of skinny or boot cut jeans.  Remember, it’s important to wear styles that compliment your figure, no matter the latest trend.

  • For the sweater: Choose a fine knit.  Avoid anything chunky, as the cowl neck adds enough volume to this look.  If you have a larger bust or mid-section, then stick with a dark color sweater (such as black or navy).  If you have a smaller bust and slim waist, you can play with brighter colors.
  • For the skinny jeans: Flatter your figure by going with a fit that works for you.  A dark wash, black, or grey will give the greatest slimming effect.

Combo #2: Sleeveless Turtleneck Sweater + Printed Maxi Skirt

SweaterWeatherCombo2

Business casual never looked so comfortable yet fabulous!  This pairing of sweater and skirt will take you from the office to after work with friends or even on a casual first date!  The key to making this look work is wearing proportions that work for you.  Make sure the sweater fits perfectly and the skirt isn’t too voluminous.

  • For the turtleneck: Update the turtleneck by choosing a fine knit in a sleeveless style.  If you don’t have arms as fabulous as you would like, then choose a cap, mid or 3/4 length style.  The most important thing is to choose something more fitted versus chunky.  A chunky sweater in this look can look a little “school marmish”.  A dark solid color will be your best choice and you can never go wrong with black!
  • For the maxi skirt:  Here’s a great opportunity to wear a fun print!  If you’re new to wearing print or want to keep it classic, go with a plaid or houndstooth.  But if you’re more daring, then go for one of the season’s hottest prints.

 

Combo #3: V-Neck Sweater + Gaucho Pants

SweaterWeatherCombo3

This is another office appropriate look for sweater weather!  If long skirts aren’t your thing, then go for a pair of tailored pants in a slightly shorter length.  Gaucho pants are perfect for the transitional temps of fall and are an unexpected surprise when you wear them in any look.

  • For the V-Neck sweater: You want to go a bit oversized here, yet still make sure the sweater compliments your silhouette!  If you choose a deep v-neck sweater, then layer a collared white shirt underneath it.  if you choose a more shallow v-neck, then it can be more fitted.
  • For the gaucho pants: When choosing gaucho pants for fall, you want a pair that hits around mid-calf.  If you go any shorter then you’re going for culottes which isn’t nearly as flattering in this look.  The fit through the hips and the the flare of the gaucho pants should flatter your figure.  Wool, a wool blend, or leather are the best materials to choose and dark colors will prove to be the most versatile in your wardrobe.

 

Combo #4: Graphic Print Sweater Dress + Opaque Tights

SweaterWeatherCombo4

This look will work at work or when you’re out and about.  It’s a bit on the dressier side but I love the versatility and the comfort of it.  A great sweater dress can be worn alone, with tights, with leggings, and with endless options of shoes.  The key is finding a fit and pattern that flatter you.  To disguise any areas, go for mitered or diagonal stripes which serve as the ultimate optical illusion!

  • For the sweater dress: Fit is king! A cinched waist with a neckline that flatters your bust (cowl always looks good, just go larger for small bust and smaller for large bust).  Keep the length at or slightly above the knee to ensure it’s appropriate for work as well as play.
  •  For the opaque tights: Anything with a sheen (paired with heels) will make your legs look longer.  Pick any dark color that’s also in the graphic print of the sweater dress you’ve chosen.

 

Combo #5: Fair-Isle Sweater + Leather Leggings

SweaterWeatherCombo5

A timeless pattern for cold weather, you don’t have to worry about the sweater you pick ever going out of style!  The most important thing is to pick a fit that flatters.  Avoid oversized styles in favor of a more tailored look.  Squared shoulder, cinched waist, or cropped style will add depth to your look.

  • For the sweater: Go for a sweater where the main color is dark (like black, navy or burgundy) and the Fair Isle pattern is a lighter contrast (such as white, ivory or gold).  This give lots of dimension to your look and further enhances the tailored styling you chose.
  • For the leather leggings: Leggings are tricky beasts so you want to make sure you choose a pair that flatters your legs and doesn’t slide down as you walk!  Faux leather is a more affordable choice, but less durable.  The best fit is usually with a pair of leather leggings that are mixed media meaning they have patches of leather as accents with the main material being a thick knit.  Stick with dark colors for the most wear.

Still not sure what you want to wear in this chilly weather?  Then check out some great articles from across the web:

  1. Sweater Weather – How To Wear High Waisted Shorts In The Fall {Found In Fashion}
  2. Sweater Weather IFB Project #66 {Wear in LA}
  3. Take Your Closet from Summer to Fall {Women’s Health Mag}
  4. What to Wear In Fall When It Feels Like Summer {Style Maniac}
  5. What to Wear to Work in the Fall {The Spiff}

Shop my top “sweater weather” pick below:

Sweater Weather_KR Lookbook 10.27.14

What are your favorite things to wear in sweater weather?

Comment below!

photo credit: ▲brian james via photopin cc

 

 

Essential Handbag Guide for A Chic Wardrobe

medium_6412403789The perfect handbag is the one that fits your budget, your sense of style, and one you can use for many seasons to come.

And being that it’s fall, this is the time to learn more about:

  • what makes a great handbag,
  • basic types of handbags, and
  • what works best for you.

Let’s start from the beginning.  You first must understand what makes a great handbag before you dash off to the nearest sale and start buying every cute clutch in sight!  From working with many clients, from all walks of life, I’ve come up with five basic guidelines on what makes a great handbag.

 

1. Size

Satchel-10.6.14

One of the first things that you notice about a handbag when you see it is it’s size.  In this case size matters!  I’ve come to find there are really two types of women: those who like large handbags (that can carry everything) and those who don’t.  Admittedly I’m the woman who carries her life in her purse so I’m always looking for a chic shopper or luxury tote at a great price.

When you’re considering size, be sure to look for handbags that have a style that’s comfortable carry.

  • Are you a tall woman with longer arms who can easily carry a tote under her arms
  • Are you a petite woman who needs lots of interior room, but prefer a sleeker style?

These are questions to keep in mind before adding a new handbag to your accessories collection.

 

2. Style

The Tote_EHand

Along with size, the actual style of handbag is very important in fitting the aesthetics of your wardrobe and lifestyle.  Some of the most popular styles of handbags are as follow:

  • Crossbody Handbags: These are shoulder handbags with a long strap worn across the body that distributes weight between the shoulder and back. Crossbody handbags are usually medium or large and very casual, but can be made of luxurious materials.  They feature hands-free design that keeps possessions close and secure – perfect for travelers, shoppers and commuters; also called a messenger bag.
  • Clutches: These are compact, strapless handbags carried by hand or under the arm.  Usually there’s only room for the necessary essentials and compartments to keep belongings organized.  Embellishments, crystals, sequins, metallics, and delicate materials make clutches perfect for eveningwear attire.  Clutches can also be used as wallets for everyday use.
  • Hobo: These are casual and practical crescent-shaped shoulder handbags.  The medium and large sizes in boho prints are most popular.  Hobos are made of soft, slouchy material, such as leather, suede or micro-fiber.  Small and structured hobo handbags exist, but are less common
  • Satchel: These are hand-held handbags with two short handles on top and flat bottoms.  Satchel handbags can have snap, buckle, zipper or drawstring closures
    These handbags are classic, practical and come in variety of sizes.
  • Shoulder: These are one of the most popular styles, have multiple compartments and are carried over the shoulder and hangs down to hips or as high as the natural waist.  Common materials include cotton, canvas, leather, suede or other material durable enough to withstand everyday use.  Big shoulder handbags are on-trend, but choose a size proportionate to your body.  Due to their size and function, shoulder bags aren’t appropriate for formalwear unless the strap and bag are delicate and dressy.
  • Tote: These are an open-top square or rectangle handbag with straps or handles.  They’re typically large and made of durable material, compartments optional
    Also called a shopper; Use as an airplane carry-on, shopping bag or gym bag
    Tote bags are large and can be cumbersome if you choose a size that’s too large.

To learn more about the many styles of handbags, check out Rue La La: Handbags 101 Guide.

 

 

3. Color

 

The Clutch_EHand

The first thing that catches your eye about a handbag is the color.  Are you seeking the season’s hottest new shade of pink or are you looking for a staple piece in timeless black? No matter what you want, you’re likely to find a color matching or very close to what you want.  The most important thing I advise clients to do is choose colors that suit their wardrobes.

Even though that new shade of green may be in every fashion magazine and twenty celebrities have been spotted wearing a handbag in said color, that doesn’t mean it’s a great choice for your wardrobe if you never wear green or anything that coordinates with it.

Since everything in your wardrobe should be wearable, take the time to really consider the colors that work best with what you have.  Here are some of the basic colors I think should be in every woman’s wardrobe:

  • black
  • navy
  • tan
  • red
  • print

 

4. Price & Quality

The Shoulder Bag_EHand

These two features are a tie in my book.  The reason being we all understand that the higher the price we’re willing to pay for a handbag, the better quality we expect it to be.  The key to have a fabulous handbag collection is to know which handbags to spend more money on (these are investment pieces) and which to buy at lower prices.

When building a basic handbag wardrobe, I advise a simple 5:2 rule.  The rule basically says you should have five (5) great handbags in which you have invested a bit more money and can wear for at least two seasons and two (2) cheaper handbags that are more trendy.  Now I’m not saying you have to spend  thousands of dollars on handbags (though handbags along with shoes are usually the most expensive items in a woman’s wardrobe), but I do advise spending at least $100 on higher quality handbags in timeless styles.  Yes that may seem like a lot at first, but remember you don’t have to get all of these handbags at the same time!  As with any investment, take your time and save money for them..

In terms of quality, you’ll get the most bang from your buck by choosing handbags made in leather, suede, and nylon.  Leather is usually my go to choice.

 

5. Other Details

The Top Handle_EHand

The last thing you need to take into account when choosing the perfect handbag are what I consider the other details.  Such details include lining, pockets, and zippers.

  • Lining:  Light colored fabrics are revered as you can find contents more easily. However many women prefer dark colored fabrics as they hide stains from leaky pens and perfumes. Signature linings where the maker’s brand name is imprinted into the weave are seen as the most elegant. Patterned linings or stripes are playful and fun-loving.
  • Pockets: Handbags with great organizational features such as interior side zip pockets, pen holders, sections for credit/store cards and i-Phone holders are most prized. Outside pockets also increase a handbag’s attractiveness as they are useful for storing keys and items you want quick access to.  However this feature makes a handbag better suited for more casual wear.
  • Zippers: Zips and fasteners help keep your handbag more secure and give you more options as to where to put things.  A lot of women like their handbag to fasten with a zip. If the handbag is accidentally dropped, embarrassing contents don’t fall out. Plus, there is an additional feeling of security when out and about.

 

I hope this easy guide makes it easier for you to find the perfect handbag for your collection!

Now it’s your turn to tell me…what makes a great handbag?

Comment below!

Satchels_KR Lookbook_10.4.14

photo credit: Romana Correale via photopin cc

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