Thursday, September 21, 2017

Melania & Donald: Fashion Influencers?

The ‘Margot’ dress by Roksanda from Net-a-Porter last year. Still available!

Last year I wrote a post on Melania Trump’s RNC dress by Roksanda, specifically if she had just brought back bell sleeves with that one appearance in a white dress by Roksanda, and this year I am seeing bell sleeves everywhere! On blouses, T-shirts, and dresses. Have you noticed this too?

Melania at the RNC, July 2016. Dress (sleeves altered) by Roksanda.

Sometimes I take a few days off from watching the national news, because everything that is reported on all seems so depressing, and then when I do tune in, I am still surprised that Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States. I tell you, I still can’t believe it! When I think of how much he wears that red power tie he is known for, I can’t help but wonder if that has had anything to do with how red is THE color of the season this year!

Still can’t believe he’s president. Is his red tie a key to why red is so popular this fall?

Red, red, everywhere! From the Bloomingdale’s site (love that skirt!).

I know it is popular to despise these two up to the heavens and back, but I also have to think that maybe no one is giving them enough credit for being fashion influencers. It seems the magazines will not give Melania (or Ivanka for that matter) her due—she is a stylish lady, she does care about clothes, she definitely hired a stylist to put her best foot forward as First Lady (and thank God for that because there was way too much boob on display just a few scant years ago), and he (HervĂ© Pierre) is putting Melania in some excellent selections worthy of her title. I know I am checking out what she is wearing and I think the rest of the world is too—and liking what they are seeing, if you ask me, sky high heels to a hurricane-ravaged Texas and all! I just read an interesting Q&A with Pierre over at the New York Times and now I like him even more.

As for red, here is my take—I like a splash of red in the fall anyway, so I say bring it on. I loved the Vanity Fair editorial on red in the October 2017 issue, especially those Bulgari earrings on the left!

Yes to those earrings!

Available now at J. Crew Factory!

If you think you want to give bell sleeves a try, J. Crew Factory has a great Bell Sleeve T available right now in a few colors (I bought black). The quality is pretty nice, with the fabric a bit heavier than regular T-shirt material. I am going to alter the sleeves like Melania did. Notice in that picture above how hers are puffed up? I am doing this too with the J. Crew T, it looks so much better that way. I will tuck up and sew the sleeves to get a fuller look and then will wear this with a long tassel necklace, jeans, and high-heeled black boots.

Regardless of whether you have been influenced by Melania or Donald, let me know if you are loving red or bell sleeves or both for this fall!

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Lee Family Bridal Veil at Biltmore

Biltmore, Asheville, NC.

Last month I was lucky enough to visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore was the country retreat built by George Washington Vanderbilt II of the famously wealthy Vanderbilt family. It was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt and the landscape was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, one half of the duo (with Calvert Vaux) who brought us Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Biltmore was complete in 1895 and remains the largest privately-owned house in the United States.

It was extremely crowded inside the main house so I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I would have if there had been less people, but I did have a great time at the nearby gardens and also at the Antler Hill Village & Winery, where my husband and I had a wine tasting featuring the wines produced right there at Biltmore and I got to see a gorgeous little exhibit called Fashionable Romance. It focused on the wedding attire of Cornelia Vanderbilt, George’s only child, and on the Lee family bridal veil worn by both Jacqueline Bouvier on her wedding day in 1953, as well as her first cousin, Mary Lee Ryan, when she married Cornelia’s son (and George’s grandson), William A.V. Cecil in 1957.

The Lee veil and the dress worn by Mary Lee Ryan.

Unlike the Biltmore house, there weren’t too many people at the exhibit so I had no problem taking pictures! Mary’s dress was on display, along with the veil, and there was a video monitor showing the family footage taken on the day Jackie married JFK on September 12, 1953.

A closer shot.

From a different angle.

Photo montage featuring Mary Lee Ryan wearing the veil.

Jackie and her sister Lee at the wedding reception.

JFK and Jackie looking so happy on their wedding day!

How lovely to know the beautiful rose point lace veil was worn by Margaret Merritt Lee when she got married in 1903, then worn by both of her granddaughters, Jackie, and Mary, and continues to be used in family weddings to this day! Jackie’s granddaughter, Tatiana Schlossberg, just got married this month, but I cannot tell from looking at the two pictures I have seen of her and her new husband whether she wore the veil or not. If you happen to know, do tell!

The family chart below explained the connection between the Lee, Cecil and Vanderbilt families.

The family tree explains the connections!

Jackie looking very ethereal in her wedding gown and veil.

The exhibit is open through the 2017-2018 Christmas season at Biltmore so if you get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it! There is a short post about the history of the veil, as well as the veil Cornelia Vanderbilt wore on her wedding day over at the Biltmore blog.

Let me know if you have visited Biltmore and if so, what you thought of it! I hope I get to make a return visit some day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How I Wear My: Straw

It may be September but summer is not through with us yet! Now’s the time to get every last bit of fashion fun out of warm weather clothes before fall makes its first appearance so Adrienne of The Rich Life in Wine Country and I wanted to devote this month’s “How I Wear My” to straw, a material that turns up in so many summer accessories.

This was a fun post to put together and I loved seeing all the ways everyone is wearing their late summer styles. Enjoy!

Adrienne of The Rich Life in Wine Country.

Adrienne of The Rich Life in Wine Country, my stylish “How I Wear My” partner, says, “This straw Panama hat has been my go-to style booster, bad hair day hider and sun protector all summer long. For this month's How I Wear My, I wore it with a casual look that includes skinny jeans and a black tunic. I wore leather espadrilles, my black Adora bag then kept my jewelry to my everyday pendant and Apple watch.”

Ana of Mrs. American Made.

Ana of Mrs. American Made writes, “This is a look from Hawaii this summer and I was there for my birthday. I received this adorable little bag as a gift and I decorated it with some blue pom-poms that I made at the beach one day. I love how it fit the essentials and was perfect for riding bikes to town for dinner. Here I paired it with an American-made outfit of blue linen sailor shorts by Hard Tail Forever and a patterned tank top by Renee C with my super comfy cork slide by Onex shoes.”

Cheryl of Northwest Mountain Living.

Cheryl of Northwest Mountain Living writes, “The bag in this picture has had a home in my closet for five years. I got it for a trip to Mexico not knowing how much I would use it. It is a great tote for summer and goes with so much, like this off-shoulder dress and wedge sandals.”

[Editor’s Note: Hello legs!]

Glenda of So What To Twenty!

Glenda of So What To Twenty writes, “One day while visiting one of my favorite blogs (Atelier DorĂ©), I happened upon a handbag that shouted my name from the rooftop. First, let’s set one thing straight. I’m not about having the latest ‘It’ bag, nor am I crazy about bags in the same way I adore sandals, jewelry, or organic body butter (that’s another story). Rather, when I decide to add a new bag to my wardrobe, my desire is instinctual, and I fixate on it to the point that I have no other alternative but to make a place for it in my life.”

Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb.

Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb says, “I know they’ve been seen in the blogosphere a lot lately but I finally succumbed and bought myself a boater hat—I do love them. I wore mine with this ruffled floral dress for a wedding outfit and it made a nice change from the usual fascinators or big hats. I could see myself wearing this to the races or a regatta–an invitation to one next summer would be nice!”

The lovely ladies of Jodie’s Touch of Style! L to R: Jodie, Nancy, Charlotte.

Jodie of Jodie’s Touch of Style writes, “These are photos of all three of us from Jodie’s Touch of Style since were all wearing our straw hats when we went to the beach! Summer, straw hats, and the beach are almost all the same thing, right?”

[Editor’s Note: I love this set of pictures!]

A fun photo of Nancy, Charlotte and Jodie!


Our friend Sandy says, “Here’s my favorite straw hat that I love to wear! I wore this look to one of the beaches in LA while visiting recently.”

Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo.

Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo says, “The handbag, along with the blue gingham skirt, is vintage, purchased at a consignment shop. The hat for the outfit I embellished.”

Laurie of Vanity and Me.

Laurie of Vanity and Me says she likes the unusual handle of her straw bag, as well as its not-typical color!

Rena of Fine Whatever.

Rena of Fine Whatever writes, “This photo is from a blog post I did last summer and my straw tote seemed a natural pairing with tropical floral/flamingo print off-the-shoulder blouse.”

Colette of Styled Comfort.

Colette of Styled Comfort says, “This wide brimmed straw hat from Athleta is one of my favorite hats. The brim is not too floppy and stays curved in just the right places to provide excellent shade from the sun. The hat pairs perfectly with this green hi-low dress and makes a great outfit for an end of summer party.”

Nicole of High Latitude Style.

Nicole of High Latitude Style says, “I love hats with a wide brim. Thus, my favorite straw hat is this one. I always wear it with a classic inspired outfit like this silk top and straight floral skirt with wedges.”

Linda of A Labour of Life.

Linda of A Labour of Life says, “I love Fedoras. I love neon. I love Giant Tiger. All of which help make this most awesome casual outfit. Dress is Giant Tiger vintage, meaning I have owned it for years, but and I paired it with my Nikes and a Fedora.”

Valerie of Maple Leopard.

Valerie of Maple Leopard writes, “Summer is never complete without a chic straw hat! I wore this one on repeat all summer, so stylish and comfy to keep the sun at bay. Thanks to the amazing chain boutique CHICO’S for gifting these hats to all the ladies of the Fierce Fifty Revolution meet-up, in LA this summer. This hat was a perfect fit for the beach vibes in El Segundo, CA.”

Michele of @seechele_styles.

Michele of @seechele_styles on Instagram says her entire look here is “thrifted from head to toe.”

Athena of Minerva’s Garden.

Welcome to new participant Athena of Minerva’s Garden, who writes, “This is the type of outfit that I like to wear on a hot, end-of-summer kind of day. I want something comfortable, breezy and with style, and while the t-shirt and flat Keds shoes are casual, the outfit gets dressed up a bit with the addition of the skort as well as my take on breezy with the straw hat and purse. I love skorts—I only started wearing them a year ago, but they have seen heavy rotation this year in my summer wardrobe. And perhaps the best of all—all the clothing items but the shoes were thrifted! I even made the simple bracelet myself out of jewelry from second-hand stores that I repurpose and reimagine so that it works with my wardrobe.”

Shelbee of Shelbee On the Edge.

Shelbee of Shelbee On the Edge says, “When the straw theme was announced, I realized that I did not have a straw bag but really wanted one! So what better time to go get one...the end of summer...all straw items are on super duper clearance. I grabbed this cute bag at Burlington Coat Factory for under $10 and have been carrying it ever day. It suits my boho vibes perfectly!”

At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

I have a straw bag I bought from J. Crew a few years ago and it is still holding up well! I carry it every summer from June through September and it’s been a great value since I get so much use out of it. A striped boatneck T-shirt and white crops have been my uniform this summer, along with a cardigan tied at the shoulders, and in this photo I am at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, one of my favorite places in the world, and where I have happily spent lots of time this year.

I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer and wearing your straw accessories everywhere!

For October we are going to paint the town red! Red never goes out of style, of course, but it is one of the colors of the season this year and whether you wear it head-to-toe or prefer dashes of it to embolden your outfit, we want to see how you style it for early fall. So join us for “How I Wear My: Red Hot.” Send photos to us at by October 2, 2017 and be sure to include a description of your look, which we will use directly in our posts.

Do swing by Adrienne’s to see even more fun looks featuring straw.

And THANK YOU to all the fine foxes who joined us this month!