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Besides A Leather Jacket, How Can I Wear Leather This Fall?

how to wear a leather jacketNow that it’s officially fall, it’s time to adjust your wardrobe.

A staple in any cool weather climate, leather is one of those timeless materials that just works for this time of year.  From cowhide to lambskin to vegan, leather should be a part of every fashionistas wardrobe.

Most of us have a leather jacket or coat hanging in our closets. However did you know that you can wear leather in LOTS of other fashionable ways for fall?

I put my stylist mind and love for shopping to work and came up with a few ways to add leather pieces to your wardrobe and still look like you stepped out of a fashion magazine. Follow these tips for flawless incorporation of one of my favorite cold weather materials.

1. Leather Shorts + Opaque Tights

Look of Leather 1

Early fall is when it’s still warm and not quite time to pull out the fluffy stuff (like goosedown coats and cashmere wraps) that will keep me warm on my daily commute.  That’s why I love the look of leather shorts and opaque tights for this time of year.

For the shorts:

  • Pick the right inseam.  Choose a pair that’s between above-the-knee and mid-thigh length. Too short or too long shorts won’t work.
  • Choose a focal point.  If you want to wear leather shorts with a print, I suggest making the shorts the focal point of your outfit.  This means everything else should be in solid colors.
  • Keep it animal free.  Stick with a vegan leather as leather shorts made from animal hides can get hot!

For the tights:

  • Darker colors work best in this look.  My picks are navy, black, forest green, and chocolate brown.
  • Make sure the tights are truly opaque. The level of opacity is up to you, but a blend of sheer opaque tights gives a nice sheen as well as coverage.
  • Avoid tights with texture.  Unless you have very skinny legs, any texture on the tights worn underneath the leather shorts can make your legs look chunky or unshapely.

Finishing touches:

  • A pair of flat oxfords or brogues works nicely in this look.  Make the legs appear longer by picking shoes in the same color as the tights.
  • Keep any jewelry simple and cluster a bunch of small pieces versus wearing any statement jewelry.  Remember the leather shorts are the star of the show.
  • As the weather gets colder, this is a perfect look to try with my la mere layering technique.
    • Layer on top by adding a scarf around the neck and fitted blazer.
    • Layer on the bottom by adding socks along with the tights and changing the shoes to a flat boot.

 

2. Metallic Leather + “All Black Everything

Look of Leather 2The old fashion adage is true, black never goes out of style!  It’s one of my favorite colors to wear (along with my love of stilettos) and can be worn in any season.  The key to successfully wearing black is proportion and fit.  Wearing things that fit well is important to pull off this color, especially when you’re wearing it head-to-toe in a monochromatic look.  That’s where texture and accents come into play.

For the leather vest:

  • Go for texture.  Or embellishment, since it will be paired with all black underneath.
  • Pick a vest that’s hip length.  Cropped can work if you have an enviable waistline (which many of us don’t).  Avoid a vest that’s too long as it will go over the hips and rear and potentially distort the shape.
  • Pick a vest that fits.  Make sure you can move in the vest!  If you don’t have full range of motion in your arms or it pulls tightly across the back if you hunch over, then it’s too tight.

For the jeans & top:

  • Choose jeans that flatter your figure.  If skinny jeans don’t work for you, then pick a style that does.  Bootcut is universally flattering.
  • Make sure the jeans are black.  The goal is a dramatic effect so find the darkest, truest color of black denim jeans possible.
  • Long sleeves are a must.  Whether you go for a body suit, turtleneck, or mockneck turtuleneck, it’s important for the top to have long sleeves.

Finishing touches:

  • Ensure the heel height is comfortable for you to walk in.  Although I love stilettos, they aren’t for everyone.  It’s more important that your shoes coordinate with the leather vest and are a statement shoe.
  • Match your metallics.  If you like gold, then match it with gold.  The same goes for if you choose silver, pewter, rose gold, or bronze.  This is not a time to mix metallics.
  • Match your blacks.  The jeans you pick and the long-sleeve top need to match almost perfectly.  That means no faded black denim allowed!

 

 

3. Pleated Leather Skirt + Cashmere Sweater

Look of Leather 3

A pleated skirt is a wonderful wardrobe staple for every woman.  Regardless of the length, this feminine and classic skirt can be worn to work, for play, on a date, or casually.  For fall, I like the leather pleated skirt because it adds a bit of edge and maturity to this effortlessly feminine piece.

For the pleated skirt:

  • Go for knee-to-shin length.  Since every piece of clothing in your wardrobe should be timeless, keeping lengths versatile will enable you to wear it for more seasons and for more occasions.
  • Keep colors classic.  Though I love colored leather, choose a pleated leather skirt in a classic color such as black, navy, chocolate brown, or camel.  Once again, you’ll get more wear (and for more seasons) out of a classic colored leather pleated skirt versus one that’s, say, electric blue.
  • Faux or vegan are best.  Since leather is a heavy material, it can look cumbersome in the form of a pleated skirt.  To keep the look and weight light, go for a pleated leather skirt in vegan leather.  This is also a more budget-friendly option.

For the cashmere sweater:

  • V-neck is best.  Whether you want to layer a collared shirt underneath your sweater or wear a dramatic statement necklace, a v-neck cashmere sweater will allow you to do just that.
  • Go for 2-ply.  This is considered “seasonless” cashmere and your best bet in being able to wear this look in cooler weather instead of just winter weather.
  • Keep it neutral.  The pleated leather skirt is the star so make sure all of your other pieces play the background role.  Pick a cashmere sweater in a neutral or basic color so there’s not competition for attention in your look.

Finishing touches:

  • Add print.  Since the pieces are basic, you want to add depth and interest to your look with the use of prints.  A bit of graphic print or animal print is a great add-in here.
  • Choose minimal accessories.  Simple and chic is what you want, so minimize the use of accessories.  As stated above, add interest with a bit of print.
  • Pick fun flats.  The pleated leather skirt is the star, so choose a cool pair of flats (like oxfords or brogues) to keep it that way.

 

4. The Leather Dress

Look of Leather 4

The leather dress in a word can be intimidating.  The images that a “leather dress” brings to mind when I’ve suggested it to clients is some type of dominatrix with whips and chains.  That is so not the case!  A quality leather dress is an investment piece that will last you for years to come with proper care.

For the dress:

  • Sheath is best.  A classic sheath dress is the best style to choose.  It’s timeless,simple and a classic that will never go out of style.
  • Keep it knee length.  For maximum versatility, knee length will serve you best. This is long enough to be appropriate for a professional environment or upscale dinner yet short enough to be flirty and fun for more casual activities.
  • Stick with a dark color.  Even if you feel black may be too daunting, stick with dark colors that always show up in fall wardrobes.  Think navy, cognac, wine, aubergine, or charcoal grey.

Finishing touches:

  • For the office, go for a fitted blazer that really defines the waist plus has a bold stripe or pattern to contrast with the solid colored leather dress.
  • To ensure your look stays feminine versus dominatrix, keep your accessories dainty.  The contrast between the strong statement the leather dress makes against the subtle statement of thin bracelets and pearl necklaces balances out the look.
  • If you want to make this look a little more retro, pair the leather dress with the same color opaque tights and flat or low-heeled knee boots.  Throw in a cropped jacket and your look is a refined homage to 60’s style.

 

5. Leather Leggings + Cropped Top

Look of Leather 5

Leather leggings are the ultimate in chic modern casual.  These beauties can be worn virtually anywhere, dressed up or down, and easily make you look like a million bucks!

For the leggings:

  • Choose panel leggings.  These give the wearer the best fit and are more budget-friendly than purely leather leggings.  The panels of stretch material and leather also make a great pattern.
  • Stick to black.  I love colored leather, but sticking to black is the most slimming and timeless choice.
  • Ensure proper fit.  Make sure the leather leggings aren’t too tight or too loose. Looking constricted and spilling over any place is just as bad as having sagging going on anywhere (especially in the crotch area!).

Finishing touches:

  • Pair with a crop top.  I love crop tops for their versatility!  You can layer a longer shirt underneath for cooler weather and get a killer urban inspired look.
  • Grab designer kicks.  A fun and sophisticated wedge sneaker is a great compliment to leather leggings.  Grab a designer pair in black for an easily accessible casual look.
  • Keep accessories fun.  A cool compliment to the designer wedge sneakers are accessories with “wordplay”.  Think of a beanie or jewelry with wording that expresses your style or personality.

 

6. Midi Leather Skirt + Blouse

Look of Leather 6

Think of the midi skirt as the one your mother used to wear.  This ladylike classic hits around shin length and is the perfect combination of sophisticated, ladylike, and sexy.

For the skirt:

  • Don’t be afraid of color.  Colored leather for fall is a chic way to add leather pieces to your wardrobe.  Navy, coffee, camel, and plum are excellent color choices for a midi leather skirt because it will look haute for many seasons to come.  These colors also coordinate well with lighter and darker tones.
  • Don’t be afraid of detail.  Think “femme fatale” and go for details that really emphasize a small waist or gorgeous gams.  Think of a bow accent on the waist or a killer split in the back that shows off beautiful legs.  Just keep it ladylike and don’t go too extreme.
  • Ensure proper fit.  Nobody looks good in a skirt that makes them look like a stuffed sausage!  Conversely, no woman looks good in a skirt that looks like she can hula hoop in it. This is especially important when buying a leather skirt as anything that’s wrong with fit will be magnified even more in this material.

For the blouse:

  • Don’t be afraid of details.  I’m a huge fan of bow collars and embellished necklines on blouses.  This is a wonderful accent when paired with a leather skirt.  It helps with proportion and silhouette.
  • Silk is the best choice.  Actually any silky or lightweight fabric is a nice contrast and compliment to a midi leather skirt.  Go for silk, satin, or charmeuse that lends a soft touch and polished finish.
  • Contrast the colors.  Since your leather midi skirt is a dark color for fall, choose a lighter color as a contrast.  This lends more femininity and “softness” to the look as well.  A shirt in a matching shade can look too intimidating with the skirt.

Finishing touches:

  • Pump it up.  Go for high heels with this look.  Make sure you’re comfortable, but this look works best with sky high stilettos that add to the blend of femininity and femme fatale being captured.
  • Let your bag make a statement.  No fashonistas wardrobe is complete without a statement bag for every season!  To keep it classic an easy tip is to stick with colors you’ll wear most of the season.
    • For instance a statement bag in patchwork black, grey and navy is versatile yet fabulous and will go with many looks throughout the fall/winter seasons if you have a lot of black, grey and navy clothes in your closet.
  • Glam it up.  In this case I’m talking about pattern, print and contrast. Don’t go crazy with it but adding a bit of detail in subtle ways (as in a shirt with detail) can really pull together this look.

 

7. Pastel Leather

Look of Leather 7

When you think of leather you think of tough and edgy, which is usually the case.  However to really make a statement picking pieces in a pastel leather not only makes leather easier to add to your fall wardrobe, but it also makes it versatile enough to add to your spring and summer wardrobe as well!

For the pastel leather:

  • Accessories are best.  Accessories such as handbags, bracelets, belts, and hair accessories are the best investment when it comes to choosing pieces in pastel leather.  They can be added to all different types of looks without being overpowering.
  • Think footwear.  A few pairs of shoes in pastel leather is a must for a fashionista on the go.  Ballet flats or sleek pumps are your most wearable options.
  • Rouge, blanc and bleu.  Blush, pearl, and baby blue are the pastel colors that will give you the most wear.  Light green, lilac, and light yellow are beautiful pastel colors but won’t give you as many style options and don’t pair as well with darker colors.

 

8. Fringe Leather Boots + Dark Denim Jeans

Look of Leather 8

If your style is bohemian, hippie, disco-inspired, or L.A. in the 1980’s fringe is likely your friend:-)  However even if none of these describe your personal style, adding fringe for fall adds definite interest to your look.

For the boots:

  • Keep the color dark.  Black is the best choice here but a dark brown will also work well. Remember, the fringe is already the accent so you don’t need to pick an exotic color.  Also you want to be able to wear these boots next fall as well!
  • Keep the heel high.  Whether you like skinny stiletto heels or chunkier Cuban heels, go for the maximum height you’re comfortable walking in.  I advise this because a fringe boot that is too low or flat will give you the look of a moccasin and, unless your going for a tribal inspired theme, will take your outfit in the wrong direction.
  • Make sure the boots are comfortable.  With any footwear comfort and proper fit are key. You should be able to comfortably wear and walk in your fringe leather boots for at least two hours.  If you can’t you may want to size up or pick a different boot.

For the jeans:

  • Choose jeans that flatter your figure.  If skinny jeans don’t work for you, then choose the style that does.  Bootcut is universally flattering.
  • Wash before wearing.  I advise this for any jeans but especially dark and black rinses.  Turn your jeans inside out and run through the rinse cycle with a tablespoon of white vinegar to rinse out any excess dye that would potentially rub off the first time you wear them.  Tumble dry jeans on low heat maybe once before letting them air dry.  I’ve found this to be the best way to preserve my jeans.
  • Highlight your assets.  Whether you have fabulous buns, long shapely legs, or a tiny waist even Jessica Rabbit would kill for, choose jeans that highlight your best assets.  The fit should flatter your height and silhouette.

Finishing touches:

  • Choose pieces that compliment your fringe leather boots.  I like pairing this with a floppy hat and cool shirt with details for a polished bohemian look.
  • Back to black.  Keeping this look all in black with only the dark denim jeans to break it up is perfectly ok.
  • Minimal accessories.  When you wear fringe boots, you want that to be the highlight of the look.  Therefore I suggest wearing little to no accessories to draw attention away from these fab boots!

Still need a few more hints on how to wear leather for the fall/winter season?

Check out some additional fashion advice I found on the web.

Now you’re more than ready to shop hot leather looks for your closet.

Don’t wait, shop the lookbook below for fun, fabulous and functional looks!

Leather Looks for Fall_KR Lookbook_9.24.14

 

 

photo credit: Idhren via photopin cc

Styling Practice: French Chic

French Chic 1As I was playing around with a simple red maxi dress that was purchased for one of my clients, I came up with a very simple way to accessorize it.

Since the overall theme I was going for was feminine, effortless and minimal, my mind immediately went to a very stylish French woman.  French women hands down have this “effortless chic” thing down pat.

Here are my top tips on how to add a little French Chic” to your own wardrobe:

1. Less is More

French women often swap glam and glitter with self-confidence!  To me this means a few key accessories in high-quality materials is better than loads of junky cheap accessories.
 
 

2. Highlight your best features.

For instance, if you have nice curves, show them off with a perfect-fitted high waist skirt. Or if you have a very symmetrical face, wear something that draws attention to your upper half with a beautiful necklace or a pair of earrings that flatter your skin tone. That’s part of chic fashion!

In my case, my client is tall and lithe with a small waist.  The ruching on the side of this dress really shows that off.
 
 

3. Stick with Primarty Colors & Neutral Colors

If you want to embrace French fashion keep your color choices to primary colors and neutrals.

a) Primary Colors: red, blue, and yellow

b) Neutral Colors: brown, black, beige and white.

Muted greens and purple are also a part of their main color palette – either monochromatic or in small drizzles.

When going for bright red keep it the center of attraction or main piece of the outfit.
 
 

French Chic 24. Timeless Pieces

French women focus on simple clothing, and know that they don’t need the flashiest clothes to look good.
 
 

5. It’s a Scarf Thing

A scarf is a fabulous finishing touch to an outfit.

Very French.

Wear it around your neck, let it hang loose or wrap it around the handle of your bag. The choice is yours!
 
 

6. Caps and Hats

When fall is around the corner, most French women pull out their famous winter cap. It adds a cute and quirky vibe to their outfit.  Berets and knitted caps are typical French and a must-own during colder months. For a fashion statement try a hat in a typical Fall color – such as plum and red.
 
 

7. Sunglasses

Oversized sunglasses in either black or brown are a must! Black and brown go with everything. These dark neutrals also exude an alluring look that go hand in hand with French style.
If oversized doesn’t suit you try simple aviator sunglasses or square shaped frames.
 
 

8. Handbags

For French women, a bag should balance with the rest of their outfit. Select simple bags preferably in versatile colors like black, brown or white/cream. Look for handbags with a touch of luxury and elegance, such as gold hardware and croc texture material.

But of course, if you can also carry a bag that creates a statement or adds an unexpected zest to a simple outfit. Just make sure that your clothes are simple and solid colored to help highlight the bag.
 
So how “French Chic” are you?

What are the pieces of your wardrobe that define your style?

Comment below!

Fab on A Budget: Altuzarra for Target

Altuzarra for TargetIn the very recent days uber-fabulous designer Altuzarra has released their collection with Target.

This collection in a statement is fashionable and wearable.

The basics are all there, done in only a style Altuzarra can manage. Chic, bold, feminine, and a little mysterious.  There’s even a great pair of over the knee boots included in the collection!

Since shopping is my business, this is definitely a collection I recommend all my clients at least take a look at.

Why?

Between the price and the style, it’s a sure fire win even if you only wear a piece once!

No item in the collection is over $80 ($79.99 to be exact;) and the styles featured are versatile and will look as good this season as they will next season.

You’ll see lots of floral prints, gold embroidery and the staple color of black.

How do you feel about the collection?

What are some of the pieces you would wear?

Comment below!

Shop Altuzarra for Fall:


 
 

How Do Women Wear Brogues For Fall?

wearing brogues for fall 3Fashion trends are fleeting.

What was in vogue last year is now lying in a rumpled heap at the back of your closet.

It’s hard to admit how easy it is to get sucked into the “latest trend”, but it happens to the best of us.

(I speak from experience!)

The hardest part about taking on a new client is the balancing act I must play between their:

  • wants,
  • needs,
  • expectations,
  • personal fashion sense, and
  • budget

It’s enough to have me pulling hair out some days!

But it’s also something I love the challenge of doing.

That’s when knowing classic fashion comes into play.  Taking classic silhouettes and adding them to a client’s (or my own) wardrobe will keep said closet timeless…

…and not trendy.

wearing brogues for fallSo today’s post is about a classic shoe that is truly menswear but has been adapted over the decades by the “fashion gods” to work in a woman’s wardrobe as well.  I’m talking about the one and only brogue.

Now before you go running out to add this chic and versatile shoe to your wardrobe, here’s some facts to know:

Insane Fact #1: Most American Gents Don’t Dig Brogues

Maybe because the style has been adapted for women, but most of my American male clients hate the style!  For whatever reason they think it’s too old fashion, looks bad on their foot, or aren’t comfortable…oh well, every style can’t please everyone.

This is kind of awesome because it makes the style that much more wearable for the American women:)

Insane Fact #2: A Shoe Must Have “Brouging” To Be A Brogue

I’m not sure if “brouging” is an actual word, but what I’m saying is a shoe has to have the tiny perforated holes on.  To be more specific, these holes must be on the toe, around the sides (wing-tip) and the back of the shoe to be a full brogue!

There are also semi-brogues, quarter brogues, long wing brogues, and Oxford brogues. 

wearing brogues for fall 2

Insane Fact #3: Brogues Look Good When Worn For Work

This is why I love this shoe so much!  Even if you work in a business professional environment, brogues will work with a three-piece pant or skirt suit.

If you want to wear brogues with a suit, be sure to choose a straight-leg or ankle pant and a slimmer-cut brogue shoe.  Your goal is to have a menswear inspired look without looking masculine.  Softening the lines of the silhouettes of your blazer, pants, skirt and shoe will achieve this balance.

Now if you work in a business casual environment, feel free to experiment with different style brogues and different length pants or skirts.  Keep the balance here as well and go for brogues that compliment your foot.

Insane Fact #4: Brogues Work Well For Play

Even if you’re stepping out for after hours or just running errands on the weekend, a swanky pair of brogues will work for your look.

  • For jeans, go for a more distressed or “worn” style of brogue in softer leathers.  Boyfriend, ankle, and distressed jeans paired with a chambray shirt is a great choice.
  • For a dress, jazz up your brogues and go for a spectator (meaning two-tone) style paired with a flared or skater hem dress or skirt.  It’s a very 50’s inspired look.

Insane Fact #5: Even the Heel-Lover Can Find A Pair of Brogues

This is something I’ve personally experienced.  I’m a lover of all shoes stiletto height and higher and I like to wear said shoes everywhere I go!  So I was more than a little surprised to find that I found (and really liked) brogues so well.

That’s of course because many designers have done heeled brogues that satisfy my love of heels as well as my need for comfort.  Choose a sleeker style brogue with less decoration–like a half or quarter brogue–and a thinner heel.  I loathe chunky heels so those styles didn’t work for me:(

Additional Resources:

Now that you know a bit more about this menswear adapted shoe, will you be grabbing a pair for fall?

Let me know, comment below!

photo credit: …love Maegan via photopin cc
photo credit: jaimelondonboy via photopin cc

What Different Ways Can I Wear Jeans & Stilettos?

Classic Pairings: Jeans & StilettosThis week has been, how you say stressful, to say the least!

Between traveling to multiple cities domestically to work with clients, I’ve also had two major events to attend.  There’s been lots of packing, unpacking, and running for taxis and planes.  But all in all it’s been a great week.  I’ve even rediscovered one of my favorite traveling style staples, and that’s no other than the classic pairing of jeans and stilettos.

Yes even in this crazy warm weather of summer, I still enjoy wearing jeans and stilettos.  I know for most this can seem a bit inconvenient or hard to wear but fear not…just follow my style tips below and you’ll be able to wear this easy pairing like a pro!

Easy Breezy Gi-Gi: Chambray Shirt + Boyfriend Jeans + Stilettos

For this first look you take the laid-back vibe of chambray and amp it up with touches of polished femininity.  I love pairing button-up chambray shirts (in either blue or red chambray) with lightwash slouchy boyfriend jeans and white stilettos.  This look can go from lunch with friends, riding on the plane, meeting with a client and everything in between!

When it comes to accessories a straw fedora and oversized sunglasses in either white or light colors help keep this look from feeling too dressy but still allows it to have the right amount of polish. If stilettos aren’t your thing, try this look with a pair of white loafers or ballet  flats to get the same effect.


 

Summery Femme Fatale: White Sleeveless Shell + Straight Leg Jeans + Stiletto Sandals

When it comes to dramatic think monochromatic! 

There’s nothing that packs more of a punch as when you wear one color head to toe.  To make my femme fatale look summery, I go for pastel colors or simple all white.  A fine knit sleeveless shell or mockneck turtleneck paired with straight leg jeans and stiletto sandals gives instant mystery and sexiness.  To make the look more wearable for summer, I go for lighter colors.

Street Chic: Graphic Skinny Jeans + Peep-Toe Stilettos

In the midst of my super crazy schedule and gazillion meetings I had a few opportunities to go out.  Of course I wore jeans, and to really kick the style factor up a notch I wore graphic print jeans with peep-toe sling back stilettos.

If you can find these type of jeans in a crop or ankle length, even better!

What makes this a perfect combination is that you can wear a basic top and simple handbag and still look super chic.  It makes packing infinitely easier.

Now that you know the “how” will you be trying my favorite classic combo of jeans & stilettos?

Comment below!

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