As I continue to cultivate my wardrobe, I am continually seeking out those special pieces that will either fill a “gap” (although I’m sure we can all agree that those “gaps” never seem to disappear) in my closet or that I can easily incorporate into my existing repertoire. Each season represents a fresh,exciting opportunity to try a new silhouette, find a really great item with unique details/embellishments, as well as be inspired by all of the fabulous colors palettes, fabrics, textures and pattern pairings.
My husband jokingly refers to Harper’s Bazaar as my “bible” (followed closely by the J Crew catalog); I religiously read each issue cover to cover. I not only love learning about the trends and what’s going on in the fashion industry at large, but also like to play a little “game” where I see how many of the new season’s “looks” I can recreate with what I already have in my closet.
2. What is your one most coveted piece in your closet (could be handbag, shoes, dress, wedding dress, anything!) and why?
Oooh…that’s a toughie. Creating a well edited wardrobe has definitely been a pet project for the past couple of years! I’m really pleased with how it’s taking shape… but let’s be honest, it will be an ongoing endeavor.
All of that being said (and since I am limited to just 1 item) I’d say my classic Chanel jumbo bag is the item I most covet in my closet. I love that I can throw it on with almost any ensemble (messenger-style for day or shoulder straps for evening) and feel put together when I am wearing it. It happens to hold a special place not only in my wardrobe, but also in my heart as it represents a major milestone in my life – completing my MBA (an amazing graduation present) – so it will always remind me of one of my proudest accomplishments.
3. From your earliest memory, what spurred your love of clothing and getting ‘dressed up?’
I honestly can’t recall a time when I didn’t like clothing or getting dressed up…I mean who doesn’t remember scouring the (old) J Crew catalogs in high school for the newest iteration of their funnel neck sweaters!?!?
In all seriousness though, if I had to try and pinpoint the defining moment where my admiration of clothes shifted into a true appreciation for fashion and all of its sartorial splendor, it would have to be when I studied in Paris. I took a course entitled “The History of French Fashion” and had the opportunity to visit several of the Maisons de Coutures – I became obsessed engrossed with the combination of history, art and culture. Oh…and let’s not forget the FABULOUS Parisian street style. French women really do know how to dress!!
4. What is your favorite season for fashion/clothing and why?
Fall/Winter hands down! I’ve decided my internal clock is set to the shifts in the the apparel seasons rather than daylight savings. There is just something about the luxuriousness of the fabrics, the colors and last, but certainly not least, the wide variety of pieces – shoes, boots, bags, coats, dresses, sweaters (you get the point) – that start calling my name from the moment those September issues arrive in the mail.
5. Favorite Chicago boutiques?
I always find great pieces at:
6. All-time favorite Chicago restaurant?
This question might actually be harder to answer than “my most coveted wardrobe item”. My husband and I are big foodies and are always trying new restaurants…Chicago is home to some of the world’s best chefs!
But since I have to choose, I’d say The Bongo Room(brunch also happens to be my absolute favorite meal of the week). I kid you not – they have the BEST pancakes in the world (I’ve done my research). And it is the perfect place for those of us who are consistently torn between sweet and savory in the morning. All time favorites pancakes include S’mores, Lemon Ricotta (w/ ginger snap butter) and White Chocolate Pretzel pancakes….the best part is that you can order a single pancake to share and then still get eggs.
Note: They change their menu seasonally…so the pancakes are on rotation…but there is always something sinfully good and new to try.
7. Growing up in the city of Chicago, how has that influenced how you dress?
Chicago is often forgotten about or underrated for its fashion scene, but I feel very fortunate to have grown up in a fabulous city, in close proximity to some of the best retailers ( both large department stores and small boutiques) in the country. In addition to being a tried and true “city girl” (I have a very urban/cosmopolitan aesthetic), I’d have to say my greatest influence has been my mom – I know she’d say that she comes to me for fashion advice…but I don’t think I’d have the eye for style that I do today if it weren’t for her. She has great taste, is always so well put together and of course, started taking me to Bloomingdale’s at a very young age.
8. Biggest splurge? Biggest bargain?
Biggest splurges include my Chanel bag (mentioned above), calf hair Louboutin wedges and flats, ink blue Prada suede pumps and studded Valentino flats. I love them all and feel that each are pieces that are fashion forward, yet classic representations of their respective brands…I know they’ll be on trend year after year (or at least that’s how I justified the expense!).
5 favorite skirts
Anybody who knows me, knows that I am a skirt person…In fact, I’m pretty sure that in my closet, the skirt (and dress) to pant ratio is at least 10:1…if not more. For this first installment I was asked to pick my 5 favorite summer skirts. I will admit that I was given the “assignment” in mid-July, but have been so busy with my day job – where do the weeks go?!?! – that all of a sudden it’s mid-August. Yikes! In addition to being a little behind in my writing, I also realized that I only have a few weeks left to fit in wearing as many of my favorite summer items as possible. But better late than never…and the great thing is that each of these skirts can be worn as transitional pieces into early fall:
I really loved the bright colored maxi trend this summer, but decided that a darker blue would have more staying power. I’ve worn this piece on the weekends, to work, out for dinner and definitely think it can be dressed up for a fancier occasion. For day I paired the skirt with J Crew’s vintage cotton v-neck tee in white, a skinny gold belt, gold gladiator sandals and a long white/gold serpent pendant necklace from Tory burch.How I will transition: throw on heels and a black leather coat over a white tee!
2. J Crew Collection Sequin-Stripe Midi Skirt
Getting a hold of this skirt was a pleasant (and unexpected) surprise for late summer. I had been eyeing it all spring and ultimately was able to get it on sale in July! Since the skirt is definitely a statement piece, I’ve kept the rest of my ensemble simple – vintage cotton tee, neutral Miu Miu strappy flat sandals, diamond stud earrings and my everyday diamond necklace (30th bday present from the hubby). I definitely plan to take this item into early fall by throwing on a cashmere cardigan – either in the green or acorn color represented in the stripes.
3. “Reiss” silk striped skirt
Sadly, British retailer Reiss has not yet opened a Chicago outpost…so I like to pop in their NYC or Washington D.C. boutiques when I’m visiting friends and family. I bought this particular piece in Spring ‘11 while visiting my sister-in-law in D.C. I’ve had a lot of fun with the “color block” trend for this particular skirt. It’s been great for work, paired with bright colored blouses – green and blue – and nude patent leather pumps (that I also found in D.C. at a fabulous boutique http://www.muleh.com/store/fashion )
4. “Organic by John Patrick” silk pleated skirt
I bought this skirt last year at Barney’s co-op and I’m sure I’ll have it forever! I love the soft, natural color and the fact that I can wear it both dressy and casual. During the spring/summer, I’ve turned it into a “suit”**, wearing a pink/white stripe Joie cotton shirt underneath a neutral linen Vince blazer. I usually throw on a skinny light brown belt around the outside of the blazer to cinch my waist and pair nude pumps to finish the look.Other outfit ideas:For a casual Friday, I’ve worn the skirt with a white tee, a gray metallic boyfriend cardigan and white Tory Burch driving moccasinsAs an early spring/early fall transitional piece, I have thrown on black tights and a grey tweed blazer, black belt around the blazer and open-toed black booties. It will fit right in with the “schiaparelli” pink trend this fall.** note: One of my claims to fame – going through business school without owning an actual, formal suit
5. 3.1 Phillip Lim Tan Leather Skirt
Philip Lim is probably one of my favorite designers. I am obsessed with his collections (both F/W and S/S) season after season. I had the chance to meet him at an event in 2010, where he was debuting his S/S ‘10 collection and knew I had to have this skirt. I can wear it for work or play, wearing it with a printed (or plain) silk blouse and heels or silk tank and cute sandals. It’s also a great transitional piece and can easily be worn with tights, a turtleneck /sweater and high heel boots!
I’ve had this skirt since 2009 and am excited to pull it out of the off-season closet every year….It has great hook details on each side and is great for both for day and night, with heels or even Sperry topsiders!
7. Timo -Weiland pleated 2-in-1 skirt
I love unexpected details in clothing, and this lily pad printed skirt fits the bill! It is a relatively sheer, pleated skirt featuring a longer pleated skirt overlay with center slit. Again, a great day-to-night option: white button down or v-neck tee and nude pumps for work or sheer black tank and leather bomber jacket with booties for a great date night outfit.