Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bits & Pieces

[Looking at pictures of my dog as a puppy is always a mood-lifter. He was so tiny and soft!]

Sometimes, in the middle of a semester, I can become impossibly overwhelmed by all the work, tests, and, well, life that come my way. Okay, so "sometimes" isn't the right word; I feel this way almost every day. At least 200 pages behind in reading for my Old British English Literature class right now, I'm ready to bury my head in the sand and just burn my textbook. But, as corny as it sounds, that's why it's so vital to relinquish all stress from time to time in order to focus on "the little things." Here are a few things I may simply glance at or reminisce on during the day, but they never fail to make me smile.

[Although it smells thoroughly Christmasy, this Philosophy Gingerbread Man Body Scrub (unfortunately only a seasonal product) accomplishes silky skin that's yearned for all year long. Moreover, it heats up as you apply it, ensuring that I never want to leave my shower's warmth.]

[One of the best parts about going home: Go Roma's Spinach and Goat Cheese "Plank" Pizza. It's made to serve 4 people, but my best friend and I have no trouble finishing it ourselves.]

[This past Christmas season, I felt honored to receive these bejeweled letters from my aunt; they belonged to my great grandmother Ellen, the source of my middle name. I hope to have them sewn onto a sweater or patch that I can incorporate into my everyday wardrobe.]

[I'm in love with this journal, though I have yet to write in it. I'm trying to come up with a special purpose for it, because I received it as a gift from my mom and am inspired by the message on the cover.]

[More vintage! I believe some of these scarves belonged to my grandmother, and their prints are quirky and perfect for spring. I'll wear them on my head or neck, or I'll tie them around a purse.]

xo Heidi

[PRESS PLAY: "Fair" by Remy Zero. Available on iTunes.] 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spring Staples

Spring moves way too fast for a season with so many lustworthy trends. I tend to make lists of the seasonal must-haves as I sift through monthly magazines, and here are the pieces that I consider essential for spring. 

1. The Easy, Fringe Tee
Perfectly encapsulating the essence of spring and its carefreeness, a loose-fitting fringe t-shirt in a fun print is equal parts boho and grunge, a suitable balance to the season's ultra-feminine pencil and midi skirts.

Fringe Tribal Top, $15.80,

2. The Fun yet Versatile Clutch
A neutral pouch purse with a quirky punch adds interest to your wardrobe without throwing practicality out the window. Bonus points for hints of neon snuck into otherwise simple designs, an up-and-coming Spring 2012 trend.

Zipped Clutch, $89.90,

3. The Tropical Print Skirt
Okay, so this look screams summer, but it undoubtedly displays enthusiasm for the spring months as well. Bright, botanical, and a little bit kitschy, a scenic tropical skirt plays up the I-don't-care-and-just-threw-this-on vibe of the warming temps.

Asymmetric Chiffon Skirt, $49.90,

4. The Lively Shorts Suit
Take it from me: you don't have to be a working girl to wear a shorts suit. Especially one as vibrant as this. Think of the style as merely an alternative to a skirt and sweater. I'll attempt to bust one of these out when I'm having a "classy" day and a t-shirt and shorts just won't suffice. Best part is, mixing and matching is completely encouraged.

Both at

5. The Sheer, Non-Black Tights
Let's face it--we won't be seeing the thermometer hit 80 degrees (or even seventy) for another couple months. But that's no reason to keep your shorts, skirts, and dresses locked up in the back of your closet. The solution: sheer tights, a springy update on the usual opaque kind. And retailers like American Apparel offer plenty of colors to choose from, ensuring that every outfit you put together keeps your legs a tiny bit toastier.

Sheer Luxe Pantyhose, $20,

6. The Tortoiseshell Wayfarers
Wave buh-bye to bug eyes and open your pockets to the latest It-shades: the wayfarers. These sunnies have been around for some time now but are reentering their heyday now. And a light tortoiseshell color complements the greater abundance of daylight coming our way.

Aerie Icon Sunglasses, $15.50,

7. The Midi Wrap Dress
             Nope, it's not a bathrobe, I swear. But it is as comfortable as one. A wrap dress in the currently hot midi length is non-fussy yet ladylike. For day, flat sandals and a sunhat complete the ensemble; when the sun goes down, just add a pair of heels and some loud jewelry for a pluckily unique look.

Wrap Dress, $100, TopShop stores, for locations

8. The Simple Chain Necklace
                       Think a little extra shine, not a whole hip-hop star's worth of bling, when you picture this trend. A long, slightly thicker gold or silver chain infuses a breezy white blouse with polish or acts as a layering base for other thinner necklaces if you're into heavy accessorizing. Just be sure to alternate thicknesses and colors to avoid looking like you're in a rap video.

Curb Chain Necklace, $6.80,

9. The 90's Floral Wedge
              Ah, remember the 90's and all those oddly colored floral patterns? Well they're back. And I'm kinda glad. Not only does the time period bring back fond memories of being a kid, but there's something darkly feminine about 90's floral. It's graphic yet elegant, dainty yet brazen. Full of contradictions, this somewhat grungy and totally nostalgic look will ground even the most diaphanous sundress.

Kimchi Blue Quarterstrap Wedge, $49,

 10. The Basic Denim Vest
                   This unassuming topper also acts as a sturdy balance to the femininity of spring dressing. Layered over a delicate dress or a sheer t-shirt, its boxiness downplays girlishness for a tough-chick air that I'm so into right now. Because let's be honest--one can only handle so much pastel pink and intricate lace in such a transient season.

Levi's Denim Trucker Vest, $68,

xo Heidi

Monday, February 27, 2012

Best Looks of the Oscars 2012

[Rooney Mara contrasted her signature black coif with a dainty white gown by Givenchy.]

Oh, how I love Oscar Sunday! I've been watching the awards show for as long as I can remember, and as an avid lover of cinema, there's something so beautiful and mesmerizing about the coming together of absolutely everyone who takes part in the creation of a film. The glamour, the talent, the prestige, Billy Crystal... I could go on and on. But since this happens to be a fashion blog, I'll stick to covering the sartorial arena of this alluring evening. The Red Carpet arrivals went on for about 3 hours, but I was able to narrow down my favorite ensembles to a simpler fifteen. Here they are!

Stacy Keibler in Marchesa
[I loved this dress when I saw it on the runway a couple weeks ago, and I love it now. This is an Academy Awards dress--it just oozes glamour and Old Hollywood with its formfitting shape and golden sheen.]

Kristen Wiig in J. Mendel
[Who knew such an intensely silly lady could pull off such delicateness? And I have a lot of respect for someone who doesn't overdo the glitz on the Red Carpet; her writing chops speak loudly enough that a pretty, understated gown sufficiently impresses.]

Sandra Bullock in Marchesa
[The second Marchesa creation on the list--what can I say? The fashion house truly knows how to design for such prominent events--it was the draped back and stark black and white contrast that drew me in. A unique gown for a unique talent.]

Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji
[I don't know what I'm a bigger fan of: Octavia's loyalty to this up-and-coming brand or her endearingly emotional acceptance speech. But I do know this Best Supporting Actress dressed the part for her shining, rightful win.]

Maria Menounos in Maria Lucia Hohan
[Although she was a mere correspondent on the Carpet, she could have easily passed as a leading lady due to her ethereal, Grecian-style gown. Maybe I'm a little biased; it reminds me of my prom dress! But rest assured, Maria looked much more brilliant than 18 year-old me.]

Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford
[Only Gwyneth can look so amazing in something so basic. Her flawless figure was perfectly flattered in this minimalist design, allowing her natural beauty to do the talking.]

Natalie Portman in vintage Dior Haute Couture
[Last year's Best Actress winner chose a quintessentially "pro" gown. And by that I mean an effortlessly chic, been-there-done-that, I've-been-doing-this-for-years kind of a gown. An easy down-do and an uncomplicated black box clutch complemented her darling vintage dress.]

Meryl Streep in Lanvin
[It would feel wrong to list the night's best looks without mentioning screen legend and the year's Best Actress Meryl Steep. And she has every right to be on this line-up; she wore an age-appropriate gown that sacrificed none of the gold, glitter, or charm.]

Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli
[I do love me some Emma Stone. Always dressing elegantly and beyond her years, Stone chose a deep pink, high-neck gown for the big night, exhibiting that at 23, she'll be one to watch for a long time (on the Red Carpet and the movie screen).]

Kate Mara in Jack Guisso Couture
[Best Actress nominee Rooney Mara's sister Kate showed up dripping in pale pink beading and embroidery. The color and shimmer ideally accompanied her strawberry strands and fair complexion.]

Rose Byrne in Vivienne Westwood
[The oh-so tiny Rose Byrne stood out in this black sequinned stunner despite her petite frame. The Bridesmaids star's bold gown and blunt bob worked together to develop a subtle 20's throwback. Almost 100 years away, the Roarin' 20's are ironically very now.]

Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen
[If this woman doesn't make you wish to become a redhead, I don't know who will. The gorgeous actress offset her ginger locks with a black and gold confection by Alexander McQueen. The embroidery, the loose waves, the sheer train... She got it all right.]

Berenice Bejo in Elie Saab
[The Best Supporting Actress nominee's minty dress was almost as fun and fresh as her role in The Artist. The intricate lace details and long sleeves (surely the work of Elie Saab) combined with her red-brown hair made for an exquisite sight on the Red Carpet.]

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton
[An extremely close second, I absolutely adored Michelle Williams's bright red dress. So pretty, cute, and somehow gamine, it perfectly fit her quirky sense of style. My favorite features: the peplum bodice and tiny bow pin.]

Rooney Mara in Givenchy
[Although she missed out on winning the Best Actress Oscar, Rooney Mara was #1 in my eyes. Claiming to have picked her sweetly sultry gown only this morning, she somehow looked like she was born to wear this dress. The white in juxtaposition with her dark bangs (in further juxtaposition with her blood red lips), the plunging neckline, the sheer straps--I can't pick what I love most about this look. It all works together faultlessly. But maybe it's the girl who makes it work; I am undeniably falling in love with Rooney's dark elegance. I think one of the Carpet correspondents said it best when they likened her to a "gothic Audrey Hepburn."]

xo Heidi
[PRESS PLAY: "Lovers in Japan" by Coldplay. Available on iTunes.]

Friday, February 24, 2012

To the Nines: Michelle Williams

 This weekend, Michelle Williams will attend the Academy Awards due to her well-deserved Best Actress nom for her role in My Week with Marilyn. To congratulate the star on this honorable achievement, I've selected her nine best looks throughout the years. Best of luck, and can't wait to see what you wear on Sunday, Michelle!

Far Left: Vera Wang, 2006
Top Row, L-R: Chloe, 2009// Chanel, 2010// Jason Wu, 2010// Givenchy, 2006
Bottom Row, L-R: Christian Dior, 2011// Sonia Rykiel, 2010// Prada, 2012// Azzaro, 2010

xo Heidi
[PRESS PLAY: "It Had to Be You" by Motion City Soundtrack. Available on on iTunes.]

Thursday, February 23, 2012

NYFW '12: Rebecca Taylor-Vivienne Tam

Already shoulder-deep in the fashion shows taking place across the pond, I have yet to finish discussing the best looks from New York's shows. Well, it seems like this is going to be one chic fall!
The final installment of my favorite NYFW trends:
 Rebecca Taylor
[The perpetually feminine Rebecca Taylor continues impress with her understatedly unique pieces. Always wearable but never bland, her clothing stands out with cool details. This season, sheer-paneled slits and fuzz-adorned sweatshirts delight my girlish eye. But what sticks with me most are the perplexing sheer pants layered under shorts in the third picture. A more comfortable alternative to tights, perhaps?]

[When Rachel McAdams wore this blue dress last year, I hurriedly set out to find who was responsible for such a fun, offbeat look. That's when I first learned of Suno, and the name has been on my mind ever since. And after seeing the label's latest collection, it goes without saying that its designers are the masters of print. Mismatched florals, stripes, or botanical scenes, it's all good if it's Suno.]

Tadashi Shoji
[Having burst into the fashion scene after Oscar nominee Octavia Spencer wore his gowns this awards season, Tadashi Shoji didn't hurt his newfound popularity with his recent fall runway show. Emerald sheer, two-toned tulle, gold glitter, and floral silk all sashayed down the catwalk ready to be worn to the next big awards show (Oscars, maybe?)--you would never guess the maker was fairly obscure until now.]

[If I had to describe Thakoon's fall line using only one word, it would be "fresh." With the models' clean makeup (save for bold red lips), the shiny red and black fabrics, and the minimal accessorizing, Thakoon makes being chic look so easy. But my favorite part of the new collection is the 3/4 sleeve sheath dress (1st and 3rd pictures). It calls to mind the mid-20th century but at the same time looks so untried and original.]

Tory Burch
[Sometimes I fear aging; not for typical reasons like wrinkles and menopause (hey, I can say "menopause" on here if I want), but because I'm afraid I'll have to forfeit stylish dressing. But Tory Burch proves that is surely not the case. She clearly doesn't design for a set age group, because I fell in love with each one of her pieces as a 20 year-old--everything from the tight plaid trousers to the chain-strap, flower-adorned purses--but I can also see myself wearing the same ensembles when I'm forty.]

Tracy Reese
[Wow, does this woman have a way with color! Turquoise and purple, orange and gold, green and royal blue, she somehow assembles her pieces to make any combination work. Another relatively wearable line, I can see myself wearing her t-shirt/skirt combos with flat sandals to class and with heels and added jewelry at night. Bonus: with hues this bright, my friends would never lose me in a crowd.]

Vivienne Tam
[Whether the task is creating a party-ready LBD or a lazy Sunday brunch outfit, Vivienne Tam is up to it. She can make sexy, slinky gowns with cutouts along the torso and soft, printed sweatshirts look equally appealing. Right now, though, I'm really just wishing I could crawl into those loose gray trousers, a much more polished alternative to my uniform of sweatpants.]

xo Heidi

[PRESS PLAY: "Through the Dark" by Alexi Murdoch. Available on iTunes.] 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tiny Palm Trees

 As February drags on, I can't help but dream of warmer climates; then again, what place isn't toastier than Wisconsin? Spring Break lingers around the corner, but after a week of writing last-minute papers and cooping myself up inside to catch up on required reading (100 pages of Chaucer on a Wednesday night isn't exactly my ideal way to spend an evening), I need a vacation now. But plane tickets remain pricey--and oh yeah, I've got class!--and my only respite  happens to be browsing online stores and planning my summer wardrobe. 
So when I came across this fun sleeveless blouse from TopShop, I knew it was a must-have. Featuring little white palm trees on a baby pink backdrop, every detail from the colors to the cut satisfies my thirst for warmth and summer. Moreover, the top's boxy, drop-arm shape adds class to a quirky print and allows it to be layered under cardigans for the remainder of winter. But what will I do when that tropic-reminiscent weather finally arrives? I'll giddily pull out a pair of high-waisted denim shorts or a flowy midi skirt to pair with this blouse, welcoming the hot temps with open arms. 

xo Heidi

[PRESS PLAY: "Holocene" by Bon Iver. Available on iTunes.] 

Monday, February 20, 2012

NYFW '12: Jason Wu-Oscar de la Renta

New York Fashion Week is over (the shows continue over in Europe), but I'm still reeling over the all of the beautiful sartorial creations debuted last week. So, naturally, my list of favorite collections continues.
The second set of reasons I'm looking forward to fall:
 Jason Wu
[The young newcomer continues to stun with his unparalleled designer's eye. This season he took cues from the far East, boasting colorful brocade pantsuits and draped silk skirts. Red and black add a major dose of sex appeal to an otherwise conservative gown, while a simple cape is made exotic with heavy embellishment.]

Jenny Packham
[After seeing Kate Middleton strutting around in Ms. Packham's design last year, I can't help but picture the Duchess wearing each gown sent down the runway this past week. While the elegance of the dresses are an obvious choice for Kate, the interesting details (like choker necklines and sequin-studded shoulders) remind me that Blake Lively and Carrie Underwood are also fans of the brand.]

[Ever the connoisseurs of intricacy, Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa yet again baffle and woo me with their complicated, one-of-a-kind confections. Gilded satin ball gowns and ethereal, feathery mermaid silhouettes can really make a Midwestern girl wish she had some fancier weekend plans. And hey, check out the eagle on the third dress pictured! The trend lives on.] 

Michael Kors
[Oh, how this line makes me want to cuddle up next to a fireplace in a cabin in Aspen! But since I have neither a Colorado chalet nor the money to buy these lustworthy Kors pieces, I will commit to memory this coziness--turtleneck sweaters, relaxed checkered trousers, long-sleeved maxi dresses, and long menswear vests--and hunt it down at more reasonably priced retailers.]

[Bright and eclectic, the ensembles at Milly can easily add a pop of fun (and neon pink) to any girl's everyday wardrobe. The flouncy metallic skirt, the tweed short suit, the lace print frock--all of these are totally wearable with a pair of black tights and a layered coat or tee. Best part: there's no way an inexpensive seller like Forever 21 will be able to pass up recreating such lively looks (with much lower price tags).]

Monique Lhuillier
[Red, black, and gold are the go-to colors for Ms. Lhuillier this year. Although she exhibited a darker, sultrier collection than typical, she didn't leave behind her signature romance, as proven by the floaty gowns, sheer panelling, and lace trim. It's the blood red and use of heavy metal that are fresh for fall. Bravo! She's invented a gothic I want to try.] 

Oscar de la Renta
[Oscar de la Renta has purely amazed me this season. I've really only regarded him as a gown designer in the past, but with working-girl sets and Jackie O-worthy shifts, he has clearly proven his talent extends beyond the realm of Red Carpet. How a man can design such unapologetically feminine, ladylike pieces, I don't know, but looking through his collection, I am oh-so happy to be a girl.]

xo Heidi
[PRESS PLAY: "Only If for a Night" by Florence + the Machine. Available on iTunes.]