Four Way Friday Part III

Hello Friday.  We need you.  I received a note this week about chambray.

Dear Lessons In Style:

What’s the big deal with chambray?  Everywhere I go, I see a chambray shirt on sale.  Isn’t it a little blue collar (no pun intended) for my taste?  I mean, I’ve seen my dad wear a shirt like this.  Fill me in.

Sincerely,

Chagrined by Chambray

Dear Chagrined No More:

Don’t be angry at this fantastic style piece.  Chambray, it’s having a moment.  Think of it as your favorite pair of jeans on the upper part of your body.  You can wear it casually and dress it up, just like your favorite pair of jeans!  This material is meant to look worn in like you guessed it — your favorite pair of jeans!  What’s not to love, really?  This shirt can get you through every single season.  In warmer months, you can roll up the sleeves and wear it over a maxi dress.  In cooler months (yay!) you can wear it as a key layering piece.

Still not convinced?

First, let’s look at some outfit options this Four Way Friday.  You don’t know about Four Way Friday?  It’s a new tradition here on Lessons In Style, where I take one piece and show you how to style it at least four ways, in four categories:  Work, Evening After Work, Casual Weekend, Dress Weekend.  You ready for this?

1)  Chambray Casual Work

Like I said above, chambray is a key layering piece.  Add a jacket or sweater and there you go!

Chambray Casual Work

2)  Chambray Dressy After Work

If you are going out after work but you don’t want to change your entire outfit, just bring one piece with you to switch up.  Here you will see that I kept up most of the casual work outfit but only changed one or two elements.

Chambray After Work

3)  Chambray Casual Weekend

Like I said in my last Four Way Friday Post, dressing casual on the weekends does not have to be sloppy.  Slipping into your chambray shirt will be one of the most comfortable things you can wear.

Chambray Casual Weekend

4)  Chambray Dressy Weekend

So it may not be the dressiest thing you ever wear, but you sure can play off the different texture of the chambray and other soft things like leather or glittery materials such as sequins.  The contrast can be quite fun.

Chambray Dressy Weekend

Now, where to buy some chambray?  It’s kinda everywhere right now.  Your options are limitless – here are two.  Click on photos below to go to web site.

1)  J. Crew.  I have this one from the Crew (you are surprised, no?).  I loves it.

J. Crew Chambray Shirt – $78

2)  Old Navy Polka Dot Chambray.  This one has a little twist to it – white polka dots!  It will go with everything, so don’t worry.

Old Navy Chambray Polka Dot shirt – $26.94

Enjoy your weekend and keep those questions coming!

in the trenches

What’s one thing you can own that will elevate any outfit you have on?  A trench coat.  Not only will you look smart wearing one, it will protect you from the in-between elements of summer fading into fall and fall fading into winter.  You know, those days in the early fall when it’s cool in the morning but warm in the afternoon.  Or those rainy days when there’s a damp chill in the air.  One of the things that I really like about trench coats is that they seem to be a little more forgiving if I want to cover up over a blazer or jacket.  Another thing I love is they come in a variety of interesting styles and colors.  I own some trench coats, more than I care to share here.  But I like having the ability to switch it up depending on my mood or what I’m doing that day.  And another thing, they are great to wear casually or dressy.

The trench coat recently made InStyle’s list of 50 style tips of all time.  No doubt.  But don’t just take their word for it.  Looky.

The Classic Trench

What’s good about the classic trench?  It’s timeless.  You don’t have to worry if it goes with everything you own, it does.  If you err on the side of caution in style, you won’t be making any mistakes here.  Double-breasted, single-breasted, whatever.  Either one works.

The coat in the photo below is a Burberry.  If you’ve got the greens to delve into this world of trenches, by all means, go right ahead.  However, I’ve provided some other options below this photo.

The Classic Trench.

More affordable classic versions (click on photo to go to web site):

Express:  Comes in three colors; camel, navy, and tan.  I dare you to buy one in navy!

Express Classic Trench Coat. $98

Target:  Now on sale!  Was $49.99.  Comes in four colors:  Black, Lily White, Oyster, and Yellow Rose.

Target Classic Trench Coat. $24.98

The Classic Trench With A Twist

Ready to punch things up a little?  Consider a trench with a skirt hem, contrasting piping, fun leopard print or any pattern for that matter, or a bright color!

ROMWE!  Fun, fun coat.  I have a navy trench coat with a pleated skirt hem very similar to this.  I love it!

ROMWE Skirt Hem Trench Coat – $65.99

MANGO classic coat with black piping.  This coat is so chic!  It also comes in black with tan piping.

MANGO Contrast Piping Trench – $79.99

Target Leopard Print Trench.  This one does double duty – it’s cute and water repellent!

Target Leopard Print Trench – $49.99

Isaac Mizrahi via QVC.  This comes in three fun colors: Kelly Green, Bright Azalea, Bright Carrot and it’s on clearance.  Which one will you get?

Isaac Mizrahi Trench – $59.92

Here are some outfit ideas for you and your trench.

Will you be purchasing a trench coat this year?

If you are brave and super crafty, consider this DIY trench project from Jessica of What I Wore.  I have the supplies, I’m going to try this!  DIY Contrast Trip Trench Coat

trends you can fall for Part II

Here it is!  The second part of my fall trends list.  If you missed part one, read it right here!

1)  Peplum.  Whatum, you might be saying?!?  Peplum!  It’s all over the place.  I was looking at some old photos the other day on Pinterest and this is one of those trends that has had several go rounds in fashion history.  But, let’s move on to modern day peplum.

The Duchess in peplum.  See how her jacket flares out at the bottom?  That’s peplum.  This is a pretty tame version and I think it’s easy for a lot of people to pull off.

Duchess of Cambridge in peplum, courtesy of stirredtoinspire.

Now, Emma Stone’s version is a bit more out there.  Her peplum skirt is probably a little more daring than a lot of people would try but she still looks cute.  Would you wear this?

Emma Stone extreme peplum, courtesy of Nickelodeon

Looking to buy some peplum of your own?  This dress below is similar to the Duchess of Cambridge’s above.  It comes in three colors:  cobalt, navy, and pink.

Navy peplum dress from ASOS.com – $64.71. Click photo to go to web site.

This cobalt peplum skirt below is a little bit on the more daring side, like Emma Stone above.

Cobolt peplum skirt – $79 at dillards.com. Click on photo to go to dillards.com

2)  “Let’s Hear It For the Boy!”  Our next trend is menswear.  This trend seems to resurface every couple of years or so.  It’s a fun and easy trend to try as long as you keep it to one or two menswear pieces per outfit.

Posh Spice, aka Victoria Beckham, is looking dapper in her three piece suit.  Remember what I wrote here about three piece suits?  Well, it works for women too!  I love everything about this look.  The color of the suit, the way it fits her, and the way she wears it.  It’s not wearing her at all, if you know what I mean.  But most importantly, I love how she softens the look with her red feminine heels.  If she had worn high heel loafers, it would have been too much.  We’ll talk about loafers a little later.

Victoria Beckam in three piece suit. Courtesy of tqbranding.com

Another version of the three piece suit.

Tweed three piece suit

Driver’s Caps.  These are super cute.  I love them.  A couple of years ago, I bought four of them in various colors and they are so much fun.  Try them this fall and tell me how many compliments you get…  Click on the photo below to view some examples of how you can wear them.

Driver’s caps courtesy of whowhatwear.com

Oxfords.  High heel, low heel, whatever kind of heel, get yourself a pair of oxfords this season!  I found a gorgeous pair of perfectly in shape vintage Salvatore Ferragamo oxford heels in a thrift store a few weeks ago.  Compare the shoes in the photo below.  The shoes on the left are a pair my husband bought me last Christmas.  The shoes on the right are the vintage pair (whoever owned these before me kept them in perfect condition.  They have to be at least from the 40s or 50s, I think.)  Why am I showing you this?  Well, because they are both really cute and because this is pure PROOF that trends come back around!

High heel loafers

These look a lot like my vintage pair:

Brown suede oxford – Nordstrom – $114.95. Click on photo to go to web site.

Loafers are another option in menswear.  Read above about needing a pair of oxfords and apply it to loafers.  I own a pair of Michael Kors oxford flats in suede, similar to this first pair below.  I love them.  I did not pay that much, though….I found them for super cheap at TJ Maxx.  🙂  Try these options below:

Michael Kors loafers, Zappos.com – $110. Click on photo to go to web site.

Land’s End Navy Loafer – $99, comes in many colors. Click photo to go to web site.

3)  Military Inspired jackets are all over the place this year.  I own a couple of cute jackets with military inspired buttons (see, everything comes back around eventually!).  So here are some options for you as well.

Military inspired coat by Kenneth Cole – $178. Click on photo to go to web site.

Forever 21 military inspired jacket – $24.50. Click on photo to go to web site.

Any fall trends you want to know about?  Tell me about it!  Email me at lessonsinstyleblog@gmail.com, visit my Facebook page and leave me a note or comment below.

the skinny of it

This is a very controversial subject.  Skinny jeans/pants.  What?  You thought I was going to talk about the election?  Or if residents of Florida should be fleeing right now?  No people.  While those are important subjects, I probably don’t have the expertise to write an entire blog post about them.  So, skinny jeans/pants it is.

I am not going to deem skinny jeans/pants an age appropriate item.  With anything in life, skinny jeans/pants are best taken in small doses.  I think if you are over the age of 40, you can get away with them If. The. Pants. Fit. You. Right.  Now, some might not agree with me.  Pffffft.  That’s okay.  You are allowed your opinion.  I will say that the super tight look might not be the best option for those over the age of 30 (heck, maybe even 25 – you get my point!).   I say leave the super tight (We can see the vein outline in your legs skinny!) skinny jeans/pants to those who have never lived without a cell phone.  Or the New York hipsters and scenesters.

You may be confused.  Why is she saying skinny jeans/pants?  Because!  There are these special pants out there that look like skinny jeans but they aren’t!  No, they are skinny pants and they come in stretchy cottony material!

Let’s look at two skinny jeans/pants options.

1.  J. Crew makes these wonderful things called the Minnie Pant.  I love them in so many ways.  They are one of the best pant inventions I have ever come across.  And they come in tons of fun colors.  See, don’t they look like a colored skinny jean in black???  But!  They are a cotton and spandex blend.  Now, if you purchase these wonderful pants, it does say they are dry clean.  But, the day I first bought them the girl in the store told me she owned several pairs of these wonderfully delicious pants and all she did was wash them and hang to dry.  It works.  I’ve done it.  Tell me someone over 50 can’t get wear these.  I dare you!

Click on the photo below to go directly to J. Crew’s web site and blow your budget on Minnie pants in Black, British Khaki (Did you know that was a color?  Yes, yes, it’s very official!), Navy, Boulevard Green (Did you read my post yesterday about Hunter Green?  Well, you can get your green fix with these pants!!!), Vibrant Flame (now $79.50) and Deep Orchid (now $49.99).

Minnie Pant Courtesy of J. Crew – $89.50

2.  J. Brand makes a wonderful masterpiece of a jean.  They really do.  One day I will find the courage to spend this much on a pair of pants.  I know what you are thinking.  What?!?  She would spend that much on a pair of pants!!!  And I hang my head in shame.  Yes, I would.  And I’ll tell you why.  See, dear readers, there is this thing that exists called cost per wear.  And trust me.  I would wear the heck out of these things.  So, by the time these pants were ready to retire from my closet, the cost per wear would probably be .01.  Think about it.  It’s a crazy concept.  I”ll let you work the math here for a while.

See The Duchess below in her J. Brand 811 Mid-Rise Skinny Leg in Navy Twill.  Doesn’t she look so classic in these?  By now you probably think I have a crush on her.  No, not really, although my husband would like to think that I do.  No, no.  I just think she has it down style-wise.  Of course, I would have it totally down as well if I had millions of dollars at my disposal.  But that is a story for another day.

Click on the link below to blow your entire house payment on these jeans!  Just kidding.  They aren’t THAT bad.

Kate Middleton J. Brand Jeans – $169 Courtesy of Instyle

Do you know the best thing about skinny jeans/pants?  You can tuck them into your boots without the dreaded fold over line.  C’mon.  You know what I’m talking about.  When you try to shove your not-so-skinny jeans/pants into your boots for the fall/winter.  We know your secret!

I will leave you with one more word of caution about skinny jeans/pants, or really any pant for that matter.  Watch the rolling at the bottom.  You’ve got to be careful.  Sometimes it can make you look stumpy.  I think you can get away with it if the upper part of your body appears longer (Yes!  You can make your torso look longer by what you are wearing!  Post for another day.  If you really want to know, just ask me!) or if your pants are higher waisted.

See, great example below.  Keri Russell is in a skinny(er) cuffed khaki.  She looks great because the pants are higher waisted.  Does this mean that I never cuff my skinny jeans/pants?  Of course not!  It means that some days I just mind less than others.  One way to get away with it is if you are wearing a high heel with your cuffed pants.  Please don’t keep cuffing in place of a good tailor.  The next time you need a pair of jeans/pants hemmed, ask the tailor to keep the original hem.  If they look at you like you are Brittany Spears and you just shaved your head in front of them, run and find yourself another tailor stat!  Life is too short to suffer with a bad tailor.  In an ideal world, your skinny jean/pant should hit right above your ankle, sans cuff!

Keri Russell skinny khaki cuffed courtesy of InStyle