Monday, September 6, 2010

World-Traveling Lady Who Lunches

I've got some serious magpie tendencies. My mode de operatii is to shop somewhat manically, indiscriminately adding whatever strikes my fancy to my wardrobe. However, due to financial and time constraints, I've reigned in my coveting/hoarding habit considerably and, in its place, developed some positive new ones.

One of the most helpful techniques to avoid style schizophrenia is to 1.) decide at the beginning of each season what story I'd like to tell; 2.) collect images that inspire me and compile an online "lookbook" using iPhoto; and 3.) shop accordingly. And mindfully.

My story for autumn/winter is "world-traveling lady who lunches (filtered through a corporate lens)." I'm going for a bohemian-preppy vibe: clothes that are polished enough for work (I recently scored a job in PR and represent some major financial powerhouses, so looking professional is a must) paired with accessories that add as much personality and whimsy as I can get away with.

Some images from my lookbook (most sources woefully unknown):

Dries van Noten... the master of artful print/palette mixing.

This one I know came from the Shrimpton Couture blog. How perfect is this?! I'm eBay-ing vintage belt buckles as I write this.

Rachel Zoe: you are a pain in the ass, but you know how to dress. Obviously, this look is an exaggeration, but there is a sartorial lesson to be learned: well-constructed basics + mismatched jewelry = perfection.

Still from "The Devil Wears Prada." Seriously digging the 60s winged eyeliner. And I love that she's wearing earrings that look like one of my wardrobe MVPs.

This look is so attainable: it's a white peasant blouse and embellished skirt. Still totally work-appropriate but infinitely more exciting than your typical oxford and black pencil skirt.

More 60s inspiration. And I love the hairstyle: easy but polished.

So, now that I've developed a clear point of view of what I'm going for this season, it's time to shop! This is a surprisingly slow process, because for every one thing that unequivocally fits into my story, there are ten things that don't (and many of them are beautiful or almost fit or are out of my budget or are otherwise not quite right. But I won't be swayed!).

Here's my starting point:

Even though I'm craving peasant tops this season, I will never tire of the white button-down shirt. It's the ultimate sartorial blank canvas: it can adopt a million different incarnations, depending on what you wear with it. I've sung the praises of this one before, and I still haven't found a better basic, especially for the price. It styles perfectly bohemian-preppy when you add:

I love blue against white; I think it's the most delicious color combination. And I love that, depending on what you wear it with, this necklace could either be a statement piece (paired with, say, a black strapless dress) or another element of a cohesive outfit (peeking out of a white button-down). Plus, as a bonus perk, the stones are supposed to facilitate your accumulation of wealth. So, obviously, it's made to be worn to work...


Anonymous said...

The second image is from It is the a photo of Judy Aldridge, mother of Jane Aldridge of

Ella Deneuve said...

Ah, thank you! I had found the image on the Shrimpton Couture blog, which is one of my favorites: