Archive for April, 2011

‘Ello, Jack Wills … Welcome to Newport!

I can finally reveal that, Jack Wills, a hip, preppy clothing chain with pieces designed to reflect British heritage and style, is coming to Newport. How appropriate to share this today with the eyes of the world on London this week! The line dubs itself as “the original University Outfitters,” but I’ve seen the Newbury Street shop in Boston, which was illuminated by the Union Jack, and while it does have a predominately young appeal, there’s some great, comfy basics to be had. Think Abercrombie and Fitch with an across the pond twist. Known for being “Fabulously British,” Jack Wills focuses on clothing but also has some funky home goods, jewelry, stationary and fun finds.

The Newport shop is only Jack Wills in Rhode Island, and joins other locations in Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and the aforementioned Boston location.

Jack Wills, scheduled to open in May, at 170 Thames Street in Newport.

April 30, 2011 at 10:49 am 7 comments

Hats Off to the Royal Wedding

We’re down to mere hours before the Royal Wedding and fashionistas around the world are waiting with bated breath to see what Kate Middleton will wear down the aisle of Westminster Abbey. The New York Times reports even lace manufacturers in Rhode Island are standing with needles at the ready to recreate Kate’s bridal look. The fashion frenzy is at a fever pitch, and while the princess bride is sure to take center stage, the fabulous fascinators and hats donned by guests (many by the divine Philip Treacy, including perhaps the bride and wedding party) may prove just as intriguing.

Newport’s Lisa Stubbs, in her more than two decades of millinery, has assembled a fascinating array of hats, fascinators and chapeaus boasting feathers, silk flowers, French netting and more creative bits and pieces for her headwear line, Lilo. “In France, I went to one of those flea markets and I was hauling this around,” she says of an over-sized wooden head mold used to sculpt dramatic brims on many of her custom made and commissioned Lilo creations. Stubbs designs hats for garden parties, the Kentucky Derby–even a wedding held at Buckingham Palace. Her process is not dissimilar from the way it was done centuries ago, when hats were de rigueur in Europe and later in the U.S. Make it a point to see pieces from the Lilo collection at the Newport Flower Show at Rosecliff June 24-26. Two other great treasure troves of vintage headwear is Closet Revival on Broadway and Vintage to Vogue on Lower Thames. I scoped out some great pieces last week, and don’t be afraid to accentuate with more feathers and flair with the help of a glue gun and quick stop to Michael’s.

In Boston, Award winning Irish Milliner Marie Galvin of GALVIN–ized Headwear is best known for extraordinary designs that have landed her piece on Good Morning America and down the runways at New York Fashion Week. Celebs including Cher, Alicia Keys, Vivica A Fox, Claire Danes, even Taye Diggs have been known to get GALVIN–ized (see top hat at left). Her storefront is located in the SoWa Art District in Boston’s South End (click here for the address).

If you want to watch the big event among fellow royal watchers, head to the Jane Pickens Theater for the Royal Wedding Breakfast at 5am. Details here.

Valentino sketch from Women’s Wear Daily, Closet Revival located at 30 Broadway in Newport, Vintage to Vogue is located at 523 Thames Street in Newport.

April 28, 2011 at 8:55 am 2 comments

One on One With Designer Rebecca Taylor

Maybe it’s the subtle scent of spring in the air, or the vivid yellow daffodils peppered throughout Newport, or perhaps it’s the anticipation of a fresh-faced bride about to walk down the aisle with the eyes of the world on her, but there’s an ode to feminine dressing that’s palpable of late. I’ve always admired designer Rebecca Taylor’s take on creating for the female form—she always seems to fuse a hip, unexpected twist into each carefully crafted piece; this California girl meets disco diva vibe. I caught up with the designer, asking five simple questions to find out her take on the much-loved line.

1. How would you describe the Rebecca Taylor aesthetic? The Rebecca Taylor aesthetic is modern, feminine and flirty. It’s pretty but with a downtown cool. It’s perfect balance between urban and glamour.

2. What inspires your design in general, and what is the inspiration behind your Spring/Summer 2011 collection? I am inspired by books, movies, art, people on the street … There are many things that inspire me on a daily basis. This spring, I really started off with a girl in my mind. She’s the 70’s Charlie perfume girlIt’s everything that’s great about classic American Sportswear. Neat high-wasted pants, mirrored color evening gowns, and sheer pleated skirtsI’m in love with clean, fresh and modern.

3. Rebecca Taylor is well known for feminine silhouettes, bright colors, rich prints—pieces that make women look beautiful. Would you describe your work as a celebration of the female form? I design clothes that are wearable. I want women to feel confident and beautiful when they wear Rebecca Taylor.

4. What can we find you wearing on a comfortable, relaxed Saturday afternoon? My Italian army pants, our striped tee and our glitter ballet flats … for a bit of sparkle!

5. Finally, have you ever been to Newport? I have never been to Rhode Island, but I have heard Newport is a beautiful beach town. I will have to get there one of these days…

For shops that carry Rebecca Taylor near you, click here.

April 26, 2011 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

Eco-Chic For Earth Day!

Good news—eco-friendly fashion, beauty and accessories are no longer a specialty market they’re officially chic and mainstream. Any organic cotton devotee can testify to the tactile difference this super soft material feels against your skin versus a standard synthetic textile. I love this organic cotton bandeau dress (above) by ecoKashmere which can by worn a ton of creative ways—even as a sassy skirt, available at Green Envy Eco-Boutique in Newport’s Brick Market Place and via their online shopping site. It’s just $62 and is available in a variety of colors.

I’m also crazy about their Terra Plana heels at right (yes, I said eco-friendly high heels!) which are 100% eco-friendly and Fair Trade certified. Made from recycled materials, no two pairs are exactly alike.

Celebrate Earth Day in style!

April 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

Mrs. Biden Comes to Newport

Announced just hours ago, the island is buzzing in anticipation of the arrival of Dr. Jill Biden, who will grace Newport to deliver the 61st commencement address at Salve Regina University on May 15.

I don’t talk politics on Newport Stylephile and I’m certainly not going to start now, so let’s focus on the fashion of this longtime educator! I’ve always liked Biden’s chic style—considering her commitment to work and advocacy while managing a jam-packed social calendar, it would be easy to have a fashion misstep caught on camera, but this petite power-mom (and grandmother!) seems to always look effortlessly stylish.

Biden’s memorable Inaugural Ball strapless and whimsical red gown by Reem Acra was one of my favorites (I’m biased, I adore Reem Acra and was married in Reem Acra; Team Acra). Less formal, her look is congruent with classic Newport style— simple but colorful shift dresses, sea-glass-hued ensembles, and crisp, often blue button-downs. We’ll have to wait and see what Biden dons when she visits the City-by-the-Sea next month!

Unrelated” In Newport this evening and select shops nationwide, Chic Chic Bloom is being held at Talbots from 6-8 p.m. Enjoy food, laughs and fashion advice from in-house stylists who will be showing spring styles (Talbots is located at 162 Bellevue Avenue). CLICK HERE to see if a Talbots near you is participating.

April 20, 2011 at 8:44 am 1 comment

Spring Cleaning: Time to Donate & Consign

You won’t usually find me doling out unsolicited advice here, but I spoke at the Southern New England Women’s Expo over the weekend for a seminar titled, Five Fast Tips to Your Best Dressed Self. I wasn’t asked any questions about the talk, but was asked about a dozen times what I was wearing, which is pictured here. It’s the appropriately named ‘Newport Rope’ Gilchrist shirtdress by J. McLaughlin.

The timing for the topic was actually perfect because spring is the best excuse to take a long look at the closet and edit, edit, edit. Call a worthy organization, like Big Sisters of Rhode Island, and schedule pick up for added motivation. Looking for a little extra cash? Consign pieces in near-perfect condition and be sure to donate or give away pieces not taken by the shop—nothing comes back home. Closet cleaning can be daunting—invite a friend over for some added help.*

*works best with wine.

(oh, I included the Five Tips after the jump. Hit more to check them out)


April 19, 2011 at 8:52 am Leave a comment

Well Suited for the Season

Jos. A. Bank is hosting their annual Buy 1 Get 2 Free Sale this weekend online and in stores, which means any guy can be outfitted for the upcoming summer social calendar of fundraisers, weddings, events and more, all for the price of one suit (which includes mix and match suits). A friend told me he walked out yesterday with a trio of fine suits all for about $600, and another got together with other groomsmen in a bridal party they’re in and outfitted the party of 6 for the price of two.

I know; when you think ‘suits’ you may think ‘formal,’ but I took a look and the shop’s Tropical Blend khaki cotton/wool, 2-button suit is light, cool, breathable, and signature Newport with a bold tie in a coastal blue or green. More traditional 2- and 3-button wool executive pattern suits are more corporate, but sleek and chic.

 I also want to mention, specifically to Newporters and those who summer here, Jos. A. Bank’s classic, 100% cotton seersucker suit is included in the sale is fabulous! Look, I didn’t say it first, but it’s true: every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man…

 Jos. A. Bankin Newport is located at 21 Long Wharf Mall, 401-845-0810

April 16, 2011 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

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