Archive for January, 2012

Frugal Fashionistas Unite!

This is an amazing time of year for frugal fashionistas as many weeks of winter lie ahead (well, winter has been subjective so far, if you consider there hasn’t even been need for a heavy coat this weekend…) and prices are being slashed left and right to make room for spring merchandise. I popped into J. McLaughin to check out their sale (you’ll find up to 75% off a nice selection of pieces) and while there, a watched a customer  spent less than $250 on more than $700 woth of merchandise! The best part is, a lot of J. McL offers timeless patterns  and lightweight but durable fabrics, rendering them wearable throughout the year. That means your CPW (cost per wear, fasionistas) will be off the charts! Though a decidedly winter look, you can channel your inner Rachel Zoe with their totally fauxbulous “fur” vest. Paired with strech pants, riding pants or a skinny jean, it’s a fun (but cruelty-free!) piece. Also loving the new arrival of printed Aken totes (seen in the above illustration)—a carry all that is a J. McL staple and is roomy enough for a laptop and just about everything else (tip: the shop will be happy to have it sent out and monogrammed for you for just an additional $20). The nylon fabric is long-lasting and the leather straps boast attractive, gold latch hardware (and feet, to help the bag stand and stay sturdy).

Check out this and more SUPER SALES at Rib & Rhein, Wish, Potter & Co., Chace n’LuLu, Karol Richardson, and more!

Illustration at top by PVE Design for J. McLaughlin

January 30, 2012 at 1:52 pm Leave a comment

StyleWeek Providence Runway Inspiration as Seen on The Rhode Show

From Nicole Lebreux

The runways are alive at the Providence Biltmore as the show-stopping fashions seen at StyleWeek are the talk of the town, and I went to The Rhode Show this morning with some StyleWeek-inspired shoes and accessories. (There was much hometown pride in the house when Tiverton’s own Nicole Lebreux, an FIT grad, unveiled a collection last night that showcased vintage-inspired prints in a modern take of classic silhouettes.)  Though designers spend months sketching and constructing garments, the final look goes far beyond the clothing. Hair, make-up, shoes and accessories are all part of the style equation and we have seen some extraordinary pieces sashay down the runway (you can practically hear fashion guru Tim Gunn advising, “Use the accessories wall thoughtfully!”).

Arguably Rhode Island’s best known designer, Jonathan Joseph Peters crafted a collection that earned explosive applause during his opening night show with looks he described as a “wandering warrior gypsy” and “post-apocalyptic”  which included feathers, chains, medallions and tribal influences (accessories by House of Cach). I brought chandelier earrings, bib necklaces and chunky cuffs from Newport’s Sequin, and a bamboo clutch and double-roped belt from J. McLaughlin,  to capture an inspired look by Peters.

Whether you call them shooties or booties, the chunky shoe was all over the runway this StyleWeek (like these ones by Sam Edelman from Active Sole in Newport). For a more understated approach, designers paired looks with a subtle nude stiletto—always sexy and a handy wardrobe staple—with ensembles, like the pair I brought this morning also by Sam Edelman.

On opening night, Selahdor by David Chum juxtaposed ultra-feminine frocks with decidedly masculine-inspired footwear for women. I found the exact same look with this Lola Brogue Oxford for women from Rockport in Newport–amazing!

Stylist extraordinaire Christina K. Pierce gave me the scoop the common thread woven throughout many of the shows she’s working with (which includes Nicole Lebreux, Candice Wu, Chances R Designs by Toni Lyn Spaziano, Harpy by Jen Greeke and Yellow Clover by Sarah Prost): crystal embellishments! From edgier interpretations with gun metal gray and rich bronze to rich jewel tones, designers brought the bling.

Click the pic below to watch the clip!

Find out more about the StyleWeek Providence designers by clicking here, and see more of design Nicole Lebreux’s collection on our Facebook page!

January 26, 2012 at 1:44 am Leave a comment

Falling Whistles at Active Sole Marries Fashion + Philanthropy

Fashion should be functional, fun, fabulous—a lot of things actually, but its even better when it philanthropic. When designers Danielle and Jodi Snyder of Dannijo fame heard about Falling Whistles, a non-profit organization that campaigns for peace in Congo by making whistle necklaces reminiscent of those worn by boys sent to the frontlines of war armed with only a whistle (learn more here), they decided to get involved right away. Embellishing the necklaces with chains, crystals, spikes and more eye-catching elements, the style stars (whose pieces can be seen on Gwenyth Paltrow, Beyonce, the Kardashians, Alexa Chung and Olivia Munn) are making a difference while designing elegant accessories that simultaneously spread a poignant message—be a whistleblower for peace.

Active Sole owner Stephen Coyne was thrilled to introduce the line at his Bowen’s Wharf shop, carrying one-of-a-kind pieces (which can run in the hundreds) to the original Falling Whistles design (under $50). Check ‘em out—you’ll soon see your whistle is quite the conversation starter (see how long it takes for someone to ask you about it when you wear it).

Active Sole is located at 16 Bowen’s Wharf in Newport.

January 25, 2012 at 3:14 am 1 comment

Get Your Nordic Sweater On (No, Really, You Can Put it On…)

With the much anticipated snow on the ground, it seems there is no better time to indulge in the trend of rocking a Nordic sweater (also known as Icelandic, Fair Isle, snowflake or ski sweaters). From J. Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, Christian Dior and Marc Jacobs to Land’s End, Ralph Lauren and even tween retailers like Forever 21, these warm wool wonders for men and women can be found nearly everywhere and have been in style on an off for decades. Case in point: Dale of Norway, the real deal, has been knitting them since 1879. Of course, if you (or a family member) subscribes to the philosophy that everything comes back in style at one point or another, there’s probably one in your closet that is good to go, with a little TLC (and if so, chances are its L.L. Bean). I found a great one, and spotted more (and similar themed legwarmers…) at Closet Revival on Broadway recently. Consignment shops are a great place to find them at a good price.

Seen on celebs including Drew Barrymore, Taylor Swift, Victoria Beckham and more, they may be best known as the quintessential après ski fashion. Paired with a skinny jean or legging with boots, it’s a fabulous wintry look. Personally, I prefer traditional snowflake or astrid patterns over the geometric or check ones, but they’re outstanding either way.  

Photo top: Ralph Laure; above, J. Crew

January 22, 2012 at 10:47 am 2 comments

Fashionable Frugalistas! Fab Deals for Men and Women at Rib & Rhein, Island Outfitters, Laura Jean and More on Deck!

NOW through February 10, Rib & Rhein is having their annual store-wide sale. Find 30%-50% off fabulous lines (many exclusive to the William Street store) including HaleBob, Seaton, Minnie Rose, Franklin & Gower, D.S. Dundee, Jeremy Argyle NYC and more. “We do only one a year and this one has some fab deals!” says the delightful Thomas Ribeiro, who owns the shop with wife Erin.

Just in time for ski season, Island Outfitters is having a fabulous North Face Blowout Sale! All North Face products (for boh men and women), including coats, hats, gloves, and even shoes—all at 40% off! The Island Outfitters  crew is also throwing in a fun free gift with purchase: your choice of chap stick, sunscreen stick for skiing/snowboarding, a water bottle, or a knit bag.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, Laura Jean Denim wants to make sure you get your hands on premium denim at a fraction of the price, so visit the much-loved $50 jean table. Find favorites like J Brand, Citizens of Humanity, Hudson, Joe’s Jeans, Paige and more (Fri, and Sat. 11am-5pm, Sun. 12-4pm).    

You’ll at find 50-75% off these covetable lines for men and women at The Narragansett on Bowen’s Wharf: Polo Ralph Lauren, Paul & Shark, Castaways, Bill’s Khaki’s, Max Mara, Three Dots, Christopher Blue, Faconnable and more.

At Sequin Newport (Bellevue Ave.), receive 20% off jewelry purchases (offer excludes enamel bangles) on Saturday from 10am-4pm. In fact, the First Annual Bellevue Ave Block Party includes local merchants and a jewelry show at the Newport Elks Lodge on Bellevue Avenue and Pelham Street featuring artisans specializing fine, costume, sterling silver, bead, glass and crystal jewelry (10am-4pm, 141 Pelham Street, Newport).

January 19, 2012 at 9:39 am Leave a comment

Farewell, Frosty Fingers!

Winter officially abandoned the little hide and seek game it’s been playing and is here with a vengeance. Of course, New Englanders are a hearty bunch, and life goes on, texts must be sent, statuses must be updated, and letter tiles must make points. iPhone addicts, meet your new best friend: touchscreen gloves. There are a number on the market but since the temperature dropped I’ve been using Etre “touchy gloves,” which are warm and snuggly but have missing thumb and index fingertips, so I’m free to work, email, text, Tweet, download, shop and everything else on my Smartphone. Even better, they’re slim and fitted while fashionable (mine: Oxford blue with pearl grey tips) and functional (warm wool!).  

I’ve also tried the Etre FIVEPOINT gloves, which are sans cut-outs but still have touchscreen compatibility. How? Their specially-designed contactwoven® fingertips conduct electricity so you can work while being warm uninterrupted. (GQ called the men’s collection “stylish and manly” in the December issue).

Etre is a London-based design agency that specializes in “making things more people friendly,” but in a refreshing, stylish way. The gloves come in a host of patterns for both men and women; are effective on mobile phones, smartphones, iPods, iPads, tablets, cameras and other electronic devices; and start at £35.00 GBP (That’s about $53.59 here across the pond…). Click here to check out the Etre online shop for more info, styles, and to order.

Thank you to Etre for letting me try the gloves! Though supplied with a sample pair of each, my opinions on them are independent.

January 17, 2012 at 1:19 am Leave a comment

Inspired by Celeb Style: Fabulous & Flattering Winter Outerwear and Accessories

I brought some fabulous and flattering winter outerwear and accessories to The Rhode Show this morning to show staying warm in the cold doesn’t mean you have to look like  the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The best thing about sporty puffer jackets, a favorite of celebs, is that  you can find all different variations: some with belts and spiffy hardware, others with faux-fur trimmed hoods (check out Reese Witherspoon above, and sexy Sofia Vergara below left), and some that are lightweight but that will keep you just as warm thanks to innovative fabric technology–and all at a wide range of price points. They’re perfect for ice skating at Newport Skating Center (check for details!) or on local ponds, for walks to keep up that New Year’s resolution or just when you want to be about in about if comfy clothes but look put together at the same time.

You’ll be warm and chic in this Michael by Michael Kors puffer style down coat. Note the quilting detail, the long sleeves with ribbed knit cuffs, eye-catching gold zipper closure and symmetrical pockets with gold button detail. Similar styles have been seen on a ton of celebrities including Reese and Sofia (pictured) as well as Jennifer Aniston, Leighton Meester and more. I found this one at TJ Maxx on clearance for $59.

For a much trimmer, practically feather-like version that just as if not more warm, check out this ultra-light 650 fill goose down coat by nau. The unique quilting, slim shaped cut that accentuates the waistline and tailored fit chevron quilting that slims the body, it’s actually called the “Cocoon Trench” because it wears more like a cocoon than a jacket. Sarah Jessica Parker (right) was spotted in one very similar taking the kids to school in NYC. $300, from Potter & Co., 172 Thames Street, Newport.

I wanted to bring a much lighter jacket for when it’s unseasonably warm like it has been this winter, and what better than this funky Bench BBQ jacket as worn by none other than Lady Gaga (and Fergie, Anna Lynne McCord and more). It’s has a roll out hood, 6″ zipper sleeve vents, all-over screen print and bright pink embroidery. Just $125, from Island Outfitters, 473 Thames Street, Newport (and additional locations in Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and Connecticut).

I didn’t forget the men, and I showed this awesome Commuter Signature Active-Cotton Hooded Jacket by Bench. It has multiple pockets, plus a high collar to block wind with ribbed knit trim on the cuffs, hem, and collar. $179 from Island Outfitters, 473 Thames Street, Newport.

This is a new take on the old Ugg. The Bailey Button can reach over-the-knee height or have a more traditional mid-calf height with the flexible convertible shearling cuff. The same boot was seen on Vanessa Hudgens and similar styles on Sienna Miller and Eva Longoria. Regularly $350, on sale for $262 at Sole Desire, 131 Swinburne Row in Newport’s Brick Market Place.

Love this hat and scarf by Swedish company Holebrook. Island Outfitters in Newport is the only U.S. retailers of the brand. Couldn’t you see Prince William wearing this scarf? They’re 100% cotton and super soft.

Texting, Tweeting, Word with Friends—it’s nearly impossible to do it all with gloves on, but new touch screen gloves are changing all that. The North Face has these Etip gloves that the crew at Island Outfitters says are flying off the shelves. $40. I also love these decidedly low-tech, fingerless knit versions by Pistil from Potter & Co. are super sweet and just $26. Pair it with a matching crisp, white knit brim hat.

(oh, and if any was wondering, I’m wearing Newport’s own CK Bradley!)


January 12, 2012 at 10:45 am 4 comments

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