Thursday, January 31, 2013

Currently Collaging: Prints for Our Little Girls' Room

When we found out that we're expecting a second little girl, I began thinking through ways to update the current nursery (Vi's room) into a place for two little ladies. We didn't find out Violet's gender, so the kids' room was decorated neutrally, with a few girly touches added on once Vi came. But since we know that little Beatrice Severn Somerville will be joining us in the spring, I got to work designing the space and picking out prints to frame (for David and I, our vision for any room begins and ends with the artwork on the walls).

In addition to a few other pictures, the two above will be added to the mix: a collage, made by me (ampersands are a little part of the room's theme), and a graphic print featuring a favorite quote from Lemony Snicket, designed by David (since we inadvertently named both our daughters after characters from A Series of Unfortunate Events, we thought it was appropriate. What can I say? I like slightly macabre, old fashioned names). It's always sweet to be able to add a little personal touch to a room, especially a room that our daughters will play and dream and grow up in.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Style for Petites & the 5'4" & Under Set, Part 2

We're back with more on how to dress if you're petite or short (under 5'4")! Last time we talked about how to wear skinny jeans, boots, and ballet flats, based on some questions that Brittany emailed me. There were a few other things she'd asked about as well:

Wearing Stripes: Brittany wrote, "Shirts with horizontal stripes just feel like they cut my size even more."
(via Pinterest)
  • Horizontal stripes can be generally hard to wear as a petite, but a good rule of thumb is to match the width of the stripe with your body size/height. So if you're a taller or medium build, you can get away with medium-width stripes. If you're short or petite, stick to thin, small stripes that are closer together.
  • Try wearing stripes in monochromatic colors (like a gray/black, or two varying shades of the same color), to minimize the "cut off" effect (you want to keep your look as streamlined as possible, and not chop yourself into shirt, pants, & shoes chunks). 
  • Wearing vertical stripes instead of horizontal is another chic option, and will elongate your torso.

Wearing Layers: Brittany asked, "How do you layer without looking bulky? Especially since I'm not a stick thin petite."
(via French Voguettes)
  • Work with light and/or close-fitting layers: Don't stack chunky fabrics on chunky fabrics. Go for light knits, jersey, canvas, linen, etc. If you want to wear something like a cable-knit sweater, keep your outfit simple and don't feel the need to layer it. Pair chunkier textured tops with skinny pants.
  • Avoid the bulk created by over-sized clothes. Keep the pieces you want to layer as close-fitting and sleek as is becoming to your shape. Clothes that are baggy, slouchy, or use a lot of fabric aren't best for layering when you're shorter, or for petites in general, since they can tend to drown you and overwhelm your size (maxi dresses can be the exception! See below!).
From Mindy: Layering gives more shape, dimension (height/depth) to a petite frame that may not normally be there. For example, when I asked Casey about keeping a jean jacket a few months ago, one suggestion she made was to pair it with a maxi-dress. I've never been the biggest fan of maxi dresses because I drown in them. But, I thought, what the heck, I'll try it. Because my jean jacket was cropped (which is actually not so cropped on me with my short waist), it really worked well together. The jacket framed my body better, so it wasn't so obvious that dress was boxy. So, something like a maxi-dress that normally wouldn't be the first choice for a petite frame can work by incorporating it with a layer, jacket, or another style.
From Jenevieve: I think the biggest thing for me when layering is to try and keep the longest layer shorter than or right at the bottom of my hip joint, where it meets the top of my thigh. Unless I am wearing leggings with a tunic style top, shorter is better because it elongates my legs. Layers also add more visual interest and details, so I try to do a good bit of that (blouses and sweaters, casual tees and blazers, etc.). I mean, us petite girls need to be seen, right? ;)

We've got a just a bit more to cover... Part 3 is coming soon!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

People Watching: SAG Awards

Taking a quick break from our series on petites to talk about favorites from the SAG Awards red carpet!
Melanie Lynskey in Tadashi Shoji: Anyone else notice the amount of emerald-ish greens at this show? Color of the year, anyone? I loved this dress in particular because of the bodice design and the print. It's almost celtic.

Marion Cotillard in Dior: I admit, I'm not crazy about the top of this dress, but the skirt's color, fabric, and cut made me stop and stare. And it's perfect with the simple pointed toe black pumps.

Nina Dobrev in Elie Saab: This one is my all-around favorite. The cutouts & the sleeve length plus the color really made it stand out. Her hair and accessories work perfectly with the dress. Very chic.

Amanda Seyfried in Zac Posen: The skirt on this gown is what won me over. The piping details around the mermaid flare are just gorgeous.

Which were your favorites?

Monday, January 28, 2013

A fun little something...

My post about styling for Bittersweet was featured on their blog today! If you haven't made your way over to their site to learn more about their magazine and their cause, this is a great chance to do so... the work they're doing is inspiring and worth reading about.

Style for Petites & the 5'4" & Under Set, Part 1

(via The Sartorialist)
Let's start the week off right. How about kicking off a little styling series? Okay? Okay.

Brittany emailed asking for advice on how to wear a few specific things. She's 5'1", and has found it can be difficult to figure out how to translate popular styles for a shorter frame & petite build. I'm on the shorter side myself and have dealt with some of the same problems, but at 5'5", I'm not technically petite (my bone structure also outs me on that one). Luckily, my friends Jenevieve (who's 5' and who you met last week) and Mindy (who's 5'4") were wonderful enough to share some tips and tricks they've learned as they've navigated the world of petite styling and fashion. Below are my suggestions, followed by their comments.

Skinny Jeans/Leggings: As I'm sure I've mentioned before, my legs are not miles long (they're kind of on the shorter side). I've found that skinny jeans actually do me more favors than flare jeans, because they don't create a wide wedge of fabric on the bottom of my leg, making it look stumpy. (This is not to say all flares are bad! Just choose a slimmer, boot cut flare.)
  • The hem of your jeans should rest comfortably on top of your foot -- you don't want anything shorter or longer. If they're too short, they'll make your legs look shorter; if they're too long, you'll look like you're drowning in fabric, thanks to the bunches they'll create around the ankles. If you need to, use a simple tutorial like this to quick-hem your skinnies! I first read about this trick in the book Lauren Conrad Style and found it works well. There are many places that also sell petite sizes for jeans (maybe try Old Navy for a start).
  • Go for a dark wash jean -- they're more lengthening.
  • Wear skinny jeans with heels (or wedges). This is a great option, if you can swing it (I know it can be hard as a mom to want to wear heels when you're juggling a baby -- go for wedges for a little more support!). Heels will always make your legs look long and skinny, especially paired with skinny jeans.
  • In terms of leggings: Wear with a tunic or dress that hits mid-thigh, nothing longer. That'll make your legs look longer. If you wear them with boots, make sure the boots are ankle or mid-calf height to avoid the "I only have knees for legs" look.
From Jenevieve: In regards to skinny jeans, I think they are the most flattering style of jeans for petites, as long as they fit right and aren't skin-tight. I love the wide jean look with tucked in top, but I can only do it if I am wearing heels. Also, I think petites can pull off the colored jean look REALLY well. I think maybe it's because I feel like it says, "Hey, I'm small and bright and fun!" and that makes me smile.

Boots/Boots with Skinny Jeans: Look for something that hits you right above the fullest part of your calf / just below your knee.
  • Take a tape measure and measure from the bottom of your heel to just below your knee -- the number of inches you come up with is the "shaft height" you should look for when buying boots. My guess is you'll want something in the 12"-13" range. Most places provide information on the shaft height, as well as the calf circumference (another measurement you may want to take, to ensure that the boots won't be too loose or tight around your leg).
  • Look for boots categorized as mid-calf height boots, rather than full-length or knee-length.
  • Try heeled boots for extra height! A lot of boots these days have a built-in wedge.
A few suggestions for places to find reasonably priced boots with multiple shaft heights are Shop Reflection, Delia's, Target (their online selection is much better than in-store!). I also suggest using Google or ShopStyle to search for "13 inch shaft height boots" to find other options.

Ballet Flats:
  • Go for pointed toe flats rather than ones with rounded toes. A round toe will cut you off and make you look stubby, whereas a pointed toe will continue the elongation of the leg.
  • Try wearing flats with skinny jeans (WITHOUT SOCKS. People. Just don't wear ballet flats with socks, unless you're trying to make some kind of fashion statement on purpose.) -- a well-hemmed pair of skinny jeans with a pair of flats is a pretty universally flattering look.
From Jenevieve: As far as ballet flats, I wear them all the time. They are just too practical for a mother of a very busy toddler to NOT wear ballet flats, even though my husband is 6'1". I am however, trying to branch out into the world of wedges. I found a really comfortable pair at Target, of all places, and am much more inclined to wear them fairly often because they truly are super comfortable (not to mention make me feel slimmer and taller).

From Mindy: I also think shoes are a pretty big style consideration for a petite frame. Sometimes I've found an outfit or dress won't work unless you add the height of a heel. But other outfits are totally great with flats even if you are petite. I have some really petite friends who always wear heels. I'm more a flats girl myself, but it's true, sometimes you need a heel when you are petite.

Stay tuned for Part 2: we're going to be talking about patterns, layering, and structure!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Girl Friday: Jenevieve

This is Jenevieve!
Jenevieve is another amazing young mom with great style (but you don't have to be a mom to appreciate her style). I love how she always manages to look cute and stylish while chasing after her adorable little son, Rafe.

She's also an expert at dressing well for her petite frame, as you'll see in the pictures below and in detail next week -- she very kindly helped me with the content of my mini blog series on fashion and styling for petites! Stay tuned for that, starting Monday!

But for now, without further ado -- here's Jenevieve's interview. Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *
The Twenty Ninth: Tell us a little bit about what you're currently up to.
Jenevieve: I stay at home with my super busy toddler.
TN: Describe your style in a few words or a phrase:
J: Practical chic.
TN: How has your style evolved over the years?
J: To be honest, my style has developed as my budget allows. I feel that I have been fairly resourceful through the years, but have always had a taste for more expensive, finer quality pieces. I'm finally getting to the point where I can start purchasing choice items here and there. I'd really like to make the move to a wardrobe full of quality rather than quantity. Here in England, we also have a tiny wardrobe (no built-in closets) so that has encouraged me to do a lot of purging as well!

TN: Who are your style influences?
J: As blasé as it sounds, I really love the Duchess of Cambridge's style. It is sophisticated with just the right amount of trend. I also have to say that my friends and the people around me are my primary influences. I love seeing what people put together, and it encourages me to try and find new ways to wear certain items I already have.
TN: Where's your favorite place to shop?
J: Probably Gap. It just has a lot of great classic pieces that I can trend almost any way I want because their clothes are so versatile. Most of their items (except for pants) fit me really well, which is fantastic for a petite. I also really like H&M for my more trendy pieces. Like most other girls I also really love J.Crew, but unfortunately a lot of their things just don't fit me right. *sigh*
TN: How do you pick out an outfit?
J: I usually just pick one item that I feel like wearing -- whether it's a top, pants, or necklace -- and create my outfit around that one item.

TN: Which part of your look have you experimented with recently?
J: I've really been loving the rural England chic look. I love wearing my cotton or chambray blouses with sweaters, scarves, and boots. I'm always aspiring to accessorize with jewelry more though.
TN: What's your favorite thing in your closet to wear, and why?
J: I recently got some Hunter wellies for Christmas. I've been drooling over this one pair for at least a year, and now I have them! So, not only have I been wearing them a lot, but they are SO practical too. I see people wearing wellies every day, so I don't stand out like I might in the States wearing wellies on a non-rainy day.
TN: Is there an article of clothing or type of shoes you wouldn't be caught dead in?
J: Chunky clogs and studded belts. I just don't get the chunky shoe look, even if they aren't clogs. Maybe it's because I have skinny ankles and anything chunky just looks ridiculous on me. And studded belts... just not my thing.

TN: Do you have a favorite skincare or makeup product, or a favorite perfume?
J: I was given some Burt's Bees Radiance facial moisturizer that I really like. Oh, and also there's this almond oil by L'Occitane that is AMAZING, especially if you are pregnant and don't want stretch marks. But really, it just hydrates your skin really well and makes it feel amazing and soft.
TN: Any shopping tips or fashion advice you'd like to share?
J: Ha, I'm still trying to figure it out myself! One thing that has helped me is to ask a friend where they got "x item" if I really like it. I have been surprised sometimes where my friends get things, and it encourages me to look other places that I wouldn't think to check out.
*   *   *   *   *

As she mentioned, Jenevieve and her little family are currently living in England due to her husband's job. In her spare time, she maintains a blog about their life across the pond and her little home called Halcyon Homestead.

Know someone who should be featured on The 29th? Interested in being interviewed yourself? Drop me a line: casey [at] thetwentyninth [dot] com. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Styling for Bittersweet Creative

In December, Bittersweet Creative contacted me asking if I'd be willing to style an upcoming staff photoshoot for them in January, to be featured in the winter issue of Bittersweet Zine. The Zine is a quarterly publication that uses art to tell stories of current social issues affecting the Washington, DC community. They ask different local artists to contribute to each magazine, and as it says on their website:
We feel like those stories of hope, joy, and selfless service will empower our readership with a high-level working knowledge of various issues while also inspiring people to engage in issues in a meaningful way, using their unique skills, talents, and experience.
I was immediately on board -- I've been hoping for ways to use my love of art/styling for the "greater good" and Bittersweet seemed like the perfect way to do just that.
For the photographs, the girls at Bittersweet wanted to be sure to communicate the closeness of their staff "family," as well as their approachability and their individual personalities. So I started thinking through an overall look and theme for the shoot, knowing I'd be working with a setting that included vintage furniture and exposed brick.

I loved the idea of playing with the meaning behind the organization's name: Bittersweet. They define it on their website as "creating beauty and balance from unlikely/opposing elements." My thought was to layer neutral pieces of clothing with multiple & opposing textures and then add small pops of color/jewelry in order to subtly evoke that idea. I came up with a Pinterest board of basic outfit ideas to send to the staff, along with some guidelines for them as they shopped their closets for clothes to bring as options.

Once I got to the shoot we needed to work a little faster than anticipated, so I didn't end up using a number of my plans, but that was fine! It became more important to make sure they were all in coordinated outfits that expressed their personalities and worked with the setting in order to get a good group shot within the time constraints we had. 
All the clothes!
Behind the scenes. (Photo by Steve Jeter)
In the end, we got a great group picture (as well as some individual portraits) that turned out beautifully, thanks to the photography of Steve Jeter. Personally, I had So. Much. Fun. The experience of picking out clothes, thinking on my feet, trying different pieces, matching up multiple outfits and pairing them with shoes and accessories for four different people was an amazing artistic challenge. It only confirmed that styling is something I love and want to do in some form as I move forward with my life. I was thrilled to have this opportunity and can't wait for more just like it!

I also can't wait to share the finished product with you once the winter issue of Bittersweet is printed and published!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spring 2013 Trends

Spring 2013 Trends

Spring means airy & breezy, light & bright, sweet & floral. It's supposed to be 25 degrees here in DC today, but I can dream, right? Above are a few of the season's most wearable trends for this year. Any you're particularly looking forward to trying?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Currently Loving: January

I've got a number of Girl Friday interviews lined up for the next couple of weeks, but today, we're going to take a break for the January edition of Currently Loving!
Just a few things that are making the winter a little prettier and a little more colorful:
  • Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain: Despite the mouthful of a title (and the fact that I just typed "Just Bitten" like some Twi-hard), this is my favorite lip balm/stick/etc that I've found yet. I love that it goes on like a chapstick (no heavy lipstick feeling), the color stays on for a fairly good amount of time, and I can kiss David without leaving a Hollywood-starlet lipstick stain on his cheek. I currently have it in both "Honey" (shown above... a neutral pinkish-nude color) and "Cherish" (a fun, light & bright pink).
  • Crispy Black Bean Tacos, by Smitten Kitchen: We've made these tacos about 6 times in the past 2 months. They're that good. I made them for dinner one evening when we had friends over, and they loved them so much I had to get up halfway through dinner and cook up another batch (which, thanks to the simplicity of the recipe, took just a few minutes!). If you try them, you won't regret it! (Thanks to Becca for the recipe recommendation.)
  • Citron: Such a good color for gray days. It hints at spring while livening up winter wardrobes. Plus the brightness transitions into summer really well. I'm currently loving it on this sweater from Target, and on a new v-neck tee I picked up the other day.
  • Muk Luks Boot Socks, in Mint: A sweet Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, Marjorie. These socks are perfect for keeping feet warm while infusing a little March/April/May into an outfit, and will be cute with boots well into the spring, thanks to their fresh colors and feminine details. (Thanks, Marj!)
What are you loving this January? Share with the rest of us!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Closet: Zips!

Meet my new favorite pair of pants. I seriously love them... we're talking 5-zipper, perfect-fit, olive green marvels.

Style: I've been looking to add some pants with zippered pockets to my closet for awhile now (I love the edginess) so I was pretty excited when I found these Rockstar Zip-Pocket Pants at Old Navy, which feature not only zippered pockets, but zippered ankles as well. Double score. And no, they aren't maternity pants -- but they're forgiving enough that I can still wear them comfortably at 23 weeks pregnant. Triple score.

Fit: They've got just the right amount of stretch. However, they did loosen up some as I wore them throughout the day, so I sized down (the stretch allowed me to do so). The hem hits right at the top of my foot, just like I wanted it to.

Quality: The material is a good-quality cotton twill/chino. They feel well-made and not flimsy, which you don't always find at Old Navy.

Color: They come in olive green, dark gray, and tan. I tried the gray and the olive, and while the gray is a great rockstar option, the olive won out for my wardrobe in the end. The tan I stayed away from -- the color looked like it would make a light-skinned wearer look n-to-the-aked.

Price: Currently $35... unless you use a discount code! I ended up paying $22, thanks to a recent deal they were running online.

So yeah. Remember that one time I posted about wanting to wear my flare jeans again? Don't tell them they have more competition; it will only break their little denim hearts.

This is not a sponsored post. I just... love these pants. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wearing White In Winter

New reader question:
"What exactly would you say the rule is about white in the winter? No white at all? Or is it acceptable when paired with something wintery enough? I bought this jacket yesterday and I'm wondering if I have to wait until spring to wear it. Could I pair it with a scarf or something so it doesn't look too summery?"
"Winter White" is actually a trend this fall & winter! Your grandmother's "no white after Labor Day" rule no longer applies.
1  //  2  //  3

There are a few things to consider when wearing white from October to February, though:
  • Choose your fabrics strategically: Save the linens & light summery textiles for warm weather. Stick to heavier knits, leather, wools... I also recommend pairing whites with especially wintery accessories (jackets, boots, scarves, etc.) again, to ground the outfit.
  • Don't be afraid to go for lots of layers. You can go for an all white outfit (if you're really brave and keep your distance from all pasta sauce), but I recommend experimenting by adding camel, black, or a neon bright, to ground the look.
  • Don't worry about matching your shades of white perfectly: One of the beauties of this trend is that the layered, mutli-hued white ensemble will make the textures you're wearing stand out and look both cozy & chic.
  • If you're not interested in an all-white outfit, match white with wintery colors like camel, cranberry, gold, or forest green. Unless you're going nautical, be careful wearing it with navy or red.
When it comes to the jacket in question, here are some suggestions for styling it until the spring (match all of these with white pants, jeans, etc.):
Winter White

Sunday, January 13, 2013

People Watching: The 2013 Golden Globes

Let's talk Golden Globes! I'm kind of a real girl when it comes to Red Carpet events -- the dresses are just too fun to look at... and ooh & ahh/gag over with friends via text (ahem, Elise, Janet, Kelley). Let's start with favorites:
  • Michelle Dockery's regal gold & white Alexandre Vauthier gown caught my attention especially -- the colors and style were perfect for her and the occasion. Flattering in every way.
  • Kate Hudson's Alexander McQueen dress came in second for me -- the gold detailing at the unusual but rockstar collar and the classy black silhouette worked really well.

While the above were my favorite style-wise, I also loved the following dresses for their color schemes and detailing: 
  • Julianne Hough in a Monique Lhuillier gown: Along with her hair, the combination was girly and princess-y. Sometimes you just can't beat a super girly dress... if you can't wear something like this on the red carpet, where can you wear it?!
  • Lucy Liu in Carolina Herrera: Definitely a bold move on her part, as this was pretty much the only (colored) print I saw last night. I love both the color scheme and how different it is. Again, the way her hair is styled completes the look. 
  • Carly Steel's gown made the list because I loved the contrast of the colored beading/sequins up top with the simple flowy white skirt. It's different, sophisticated, and fun in an indie glam kind of way.
  • Jessica Alba in Oscar de la Renta: The color/cut of her dress plus the color of her lipstick, and that necklace? Pretty much flawless. I could do without the clutch though.

And my picks for worst dresses of the night?

  • Sienna Miller in Erdem: She looks like a 5 year old's birthday party meets the worst mother of the bride dress ever.
  • Taylor Swift in Donna Karan: Umm... the top. I wanted a dress with straps like that when I was 14. Need I say more?
  • Rosario Dawson's toothpaste-blue peplum number was cut oddly at the top. Plus it didn't do her middle/hips any favors.
And then there's Emily Mortimer's silver sequin gown, for which there are very few words. And those words are "armor," "eww," and "why?"

Which were your favorite dresses? Which would you never, ever wear?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Girl Friday: Julie

This is Julie!
Julie is one of the first friends who got me thinking outside the box when it comes to fashion (and good eats: this girl is a very adventurous foodie -- check out her blog for more on that). We used to work together, and I'd always eagerly wait to see what she'd be wearing each day at the office. Her history in the fashion industry fascinated me (she's worked shows at Fashion Week!), and she very kindly shared insights and tips and encouraged my love of fun and interesting clothes. Enjoy her interview!

*   *   *   *   *  

The Twenty Ninth: Tell us a little bit about your background in fashion.
Julie: My mother opened up a women's clothing store when I was in 4th grade,  nd that was when my interest in fashion began. In high school I started taking trips with her to New York City to check out merchandise, and helped her in her decision-making process for some of the products that were being selected. For a while I really thought that I would be very directly involved with the fashion industry, but knowing the uncertainty of a steady job being a fashion designer, I decided to pursue the business aspect of fashion. So for college I went to Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and “enlightenment” could be the easiest word to describe my perspective on fashion. My professors were veterans: buyers at Macy's and Bergdorf Goodman, advertising managers for major fashion houses, and well known “fashion forecasters.” (Like weather forecasters, these guys were paid to consult with fashion houses about what would be the next trends. For example, one professor told us that 80’s were coming back (to the extreme horror of the class), and this was in 2002.) I had the privilege of working at some fashion shows during Fashion Week. Some of the shows that I worked for were Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Ralph Lauren, and other smaller names. The general public thinks we wear what is dictated as trendy by magazines and fashion designers, but what most people do not realize is that these designers are inspired mostly by the people they see on the streets. If you live in NYC long enough, you realize that the trendsetters are the ones that already know what their style is, and absolutely fight conformity of the general public. That is still what I try to aspire to.

TN: Describe your style in a few words or a phrase.
J: A feminine oxymoron. I love combining things that make no sense at first, and then -- surprise!! For example: an extremely girly, frilly dress paired with men's aviator sunglasses and a biker's chain for a necklace.

TN: How has your style evolved over the years? 
J: At first it was very glamorous and preppy. I always wanted things to match and look super made up. Then I started living in NYC, and discovered comfort is always what makes you feel the most beautiful. And its all about individualism there, so it was more about expressing what you were feeling at the moment and actually fighting against the trends to preserve your individuality. So I have to admit, things got a little out of hand there sometimes (suede pants anybody??). Now, working in the corporate world, I'm still learning how to express my individuality while maintaining a professional appearance with clients and vendors -- for example, I'll do things like wear a dress suit but have camouflage nails, or suit pants and a crewneck sweater but with a leather biker jacket. It's always a mix of absolute classic, with a hint of fun.

TN: Any fun/embarrassing clothing mishaps or stories you want to share?
J: So I mentioned the brown suede pants. There were also Jnco jeans from my middle school days, and brightly colored Nautica and Tommy Hilfiger men's coats that I thought were the "da bomb." (Like the 90's reference?)

TN: Who are your style influences?
J: My mom. She used to have a women's clothing store which got me into fashion in the first place. She and my grandmother were the ones that got me into statement jewelry. Other influences include Audrey Hepburn and Kate Middleton's classic, clean-cut style, Elizabeth Taylor's bold sultry style, Gwen Stefani and Angelina Jolie's straight shooter style, and Victoria Beckham's no nonsense, high-power and super-tailored style. Also, Gwyneth Paltrow has been surprising me lately: her style used to bore me, but I am starting to realize the genius behind her simplicity. It's super sophisticated and modern without being stuffy.
TN: Where's your favorite place to shop?
J: H&M. People don't realize there is true innovation behind their marketing. They were one of the first pioneers in trying to get major designers to the common public. To get Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, and Donatella Versace designs to the general public was unheard of before them. The only one close enough is Target partnering with Isaac Mizrahi, but I've never been a fan of his anyways so that doesn't count. I also like Gap and J.Crew for classic pieces that will last forever, and Forever 21 for trendy clothes that only need to last one season. Of course, if I had an unlimited budget, my favorites would be BCBG, ZARA, Alexander McQueen, LAMB and Modcloth.

How do you pick out an outfit?
J: Completely depends on my mood and schedule. I'm an event planner, so I have to be strategic with my outfits. If I have an event that day, usually I'll make sure I wear something with pockets, and flats or comfortable heels. Sometimes I'll wear something to make me stand out so if a client needs to find me, I can say, "I'm wearing bright yellow pants." (Actually I just did that yesterday for an event.) On the weekends, it depends on if I feel like wearing something romantic, fierce and masculine, or just comfortable. Of course on date nights with the hubby, I like to wear something super girly -- but ironically, he likes me in more masculine styles. So sometimes I veer more towards that. It's a form of expression, so I just have fun with it.   

TN: Which part of your look have you experimented with recently?
J: My hair and makeup! I've always done the same three styles with my hair as long as I could remember, and I'm trying to experiment with them. When it comes to my makeup, I have monolids (Asian eyes with no creases) and I always felt like my options were limited because of that. No one really understands unless they have them. But I'm starting to be a little bit more adventurous with eye wear, and I've started wearing dark red lipstick since I feel like I'm old enough now. I've also really been intrigued by the really fun, more feminine and structured goth style jewelry I've seen coming out recently. 

TN: What's your favorite thing in your closet to wear and why?
J: My asymmetrical leather biker jacket: it just gives the right modern edge to any outfit I wear. I can wear it with a plain outfit and a beanie and it's an automatic modern outfit. I can wear it with a super frilly dress and heels to tone down the girliness of it. My nude pumps: the color of the nude blends in with your legs and makes your legs look much longer! I also recently got a cute pair of black booties with elastic edging on the top and ½ inch inside platform that I love. Super comfortable!!

TN: Do you have a favorite skincare or makeup product, or a favorite perfume?
J: Organic, unprocessed shea butter: my skin gets so dry in the winter and nothing seems to help it but this. I also read somewhere to start using honey as facial cleanser. I was really skeptical at first, but I absolutely love it! My skin comes out feeling so soft, and not dry like after other cleansers. If you are willing try, make sure that you use organic, raw honey as the nutrients in it will be absorbed by your skin and help heal it. Another favorite: I got a nude lipstick from Bare Minerals that I'm obsessed with. It matches your skin tone, and changes color to fit your skin's natural color after you put it on.

TN: Any shopping tips or fashion advice you'd like to share?
J: A couple things:
  • Start really studying your body. Understand which things work for you and which things don't. For example, I know that pencil skirts will make me look taller and skinnier depending on where they start at my waist. I also know that since my back curves a little and is more "big boned" if you will, empire waist shirts and dresses are a no for me. It just makes me look like I am pregnant, which is not what you want if you aren't.  
  • I cannot emphasize enough the importance of tailoring: for every fashion ad, magazine spread, and runway show, they all do a "fitting" for the models. What you don't see are clips in the back, and safety pins here and there to tailor the garment. At fashion shows, they literally have assistants running around with a needle and thread for last minute adjustments. And if a supermodel who is 110 lbs and 6 feet tall needs a fitting/tailoring, don’t think that we all won’t benefit from it as well! 
  • Don't get something just because it's on sale. I've wasted a lot of money "trying to save money."
  • Finally, if you have any interest in fashion, start reading books on the history of fashion and start learning about it. It’s fascinating to know and understand why certain things were created in a specific way, and it can help you with your own style as well.

*   *   *   *   *

Well, I just learned a lot! Julie, thanks for interviewing and sharing your unique perspective. My favorite quote (which I bolded above): "...what most people do not realize is that these designers are inspired mostly by the people they see on the streets." How cool is that? Style and fashion are dictated by the people!

Know someone who should be featured on The 29th? Interested in being interviewed yourself? Drop me a line: casey [at] thetwentyninth [dot] com.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Miss My Flare Jeans & I Need Your Help

I have a bad case of clothes nostalgia... recently, I've been longing to wear my flare jeans again.

"So wear them, idiot!" (I know, I could, duh.)
(via Refined Style)
I made the switch to skinny jeans as my go-to jeans a few years ago, after I realized they worked well for my body type and style, were extremely comfy, and flattering. I haven't regretted the decision. But my fashionable denim roots began with flare-legged boyfriend jeans, and I've kept a pair or two from my past that I occasionally pull out and wear when I'm feeling it.

Mostly in the summer, mostly with a v-neck tee and flip flops. Because it's nostalgic and classic, for me at least. You know how the hems on flares get all ripped up and ragged after you've tracked them all over kingdom come? Yeah. Nothing beats pulling on jeans worn in by memories.

(via Frankie Hearts Fashion)
The thing is, I'm a little out of practice! I currently don't have any ideas for fresh and up-to-date ways to style flare-leg jeans. I mean, there are always the basics like I mentioned above, and that's cool. But if you have new/current favorite ways to wear your flares, can you let me in on the dealio? I want to wear my flares!

(PS: Check out my Twitter feed for some behind the scenes pics of the photoshoot I just styled for Bittersweet Creative! More on that soon!)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

H&M Wants Your Old Clothes!

This is pretty cool: starting February 2013, H&M is starting a clothes recycling initiative! As mentioned in this article, up to 95% of clothing can be recycled, either by being reused for fabric and textiles or by being passed along to others to be reworn. H&M is the first fashion company to offer a green, global opportunity like this!

The process sounds pretty simple:
  • Bring in your old clothes (no matter the brand).
  • Drop them off at a bin by the checkout.
  • Get a $5 voucher for your next H&M purchase.
A good way to start off the year -- purge your closet, recycle what you're no longer using... and then "support the economy" with a coupon.

Think you'll take advantage of H&M's recycling?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Clothes for Cheap: Really, Old Navy?

Yet another "This is so painful I just had to share." It's Monday, so you're kind of already groaning, right?

Ohhh Old Navy. Just because you can copy J.Crew doesn't mean you should. I personally don't like J.Crew's blue plaid print at all... but Old Navy upped the ante and made it 10x worse in their copycat version. The J.Crew red medallion print I don't mind as much, but Old Navy's version is, again, pretty awful.

Sorry if these types of posts bore you, but lookalikes like this get me every time. The fashion industry, bless its heart, is a marvel.

Old Navy Plaid Skinny Ankle Pant
J.Crew Etched Plaid Pant
J.Crew CafĂ© Capri in Silk Scarf Foulard  //  Old Navy Red Print Skinny Ankle Pant

Friday, January 4, 2013

Girl Friday: Chelsea

Hey everyone, meet Chelsea!
I knew I had to ask Chelsea for an interview: she's one of the few people who I consistently re-pin on Pinterest, and every time I see a new outfit she's come up with, I'm inspired to try something a little bit different than I usually would. She's got a great eye for layering and an amazing wardrobe... and an adorable kid named Kingston (pictured above). Hope you enjoy reading her answers and seeing her unique take on style!

*   *   *   *   *  

The Twenty Ninth: Tell us a little bit about what you're currently up to.
Chelsea: I currently am a stay at home mom and live in Louisville, KY with my husband Jacob, and my son Kingston Ryle.

TN: Describe your style in a few words or a phrase.
C: My husband loves all things Madewell and J.Crew. I love all things Free People. So I guess it's a mixture of both. :) 

TN: How has your style evolved over the years? 
C: I never considered myself to be artistic, but once I realized I could be artistic in the way that I dress, I started having a lot more fun with what I wear.

TN: Any fun/embarrassing clothing mishaps or stories you want to share?
C: I will never leave my house in an outfit that doesn't feel right. So those days when there's a problem with every piece in my closet. I'm grateful for a patient and understanding husband. This has caused us to be late on more then a few occasions. :)

TN: Who are your style influences?
C: I get most of my style influences from people that I don't know but stalk on Instagram and online. Also, I get a lot of inspiration from people I see while I'm out. It's one thing to wear an outfit for a photo, it's another to actually wear it.

TN: Where's your favorite place to shop?
C: Nordstrom Rack! I would shop there every day if I could. Probably 90% of my wardrobe is from there. I think its biggest draw is that there's normally only a few of each piece which means the chances of seeing someone else in it are slim. Also, I LOVE a good deal. Also, we have the only Zappos outlet 20 minutes from our house and I have found some of the best deals there.

TN: How do you pick out an outfit?
C: I normally have at least one thing in my closet that is new or that I've never worn before (yes, I'm a shopaholic!), so I normally start with that piece and work around it.

TN: What's your favorite thing in your closet to wear and why?
C: Sweatpants, yoga pants, and t-shirts. Haha. I don't think there's one piece that's my favorite. I love layering clothes, and have a lot of fun experimenting putting different pieces together.

TN: Is there an article of clothing or type of shoes you wouldn't be caught dead in?
C: I thought it was Uggs, but then I just went out and got my first pair, so I've learned to never to say never. :)

TN: Do you have a favorite skincare or makeup product, or a favorite perfume?
C: I've been experimenting with apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and baking soda as a natural skincare regimen. If it doesn't work out, I'll go back to my beloved Kiehls :). So far so good though.

TN: Any shopping tips or fashion advice you'd like to share?
C: Never be afraid to try something new... just because your friends aren't wearing it doesn't mean you shouldn't. Also, if you're confident in what you're wearing, you can pull almost anything off. I rarely wear just a pants and shirt, but always try to add something to make it a little more exciting and unexpected. That's one thing I love about Free People... they always add unexpected details to each piece of clothing, whether it be neon stitching on a plain shirt, or a thermal with lace on the sleeves.

*   *   *   *   *

Thanks for interviewing Chelsea! I particularly liked what you said about how it's one thing to see someone wearing an outfit in a photo, but it's another thing to actually wear it. People who are actually out and about wearing awesome clothes can be a lot more inspiring than staged photographs, and are immediate proof of an outfit's wearability.

Know someone who should be featured on The 29th? Interested in being interviewed yourself? Drop me a line: casey [at] thetwentyninth [dot] com.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Closet: New Favorite Sweatshirt Sweater

It's 2013!

I'm pretty excited... I get to start the year by styling a photo shoot for an awesome organization and their magazine! I can't wait to tell you more about it in the coming weeks.

For now, here's a little glimpse into my closet...
I bought this basic gray pullover at Forever 21 a few weeks ago. It's slouchy but fitted enough to look put together. It's nice enough that it can pass for a "sweater" but comfortable enough that it feels like a favorite sweatshirt I've had for forever. It's the perfect throw-on piece and works with a skirt or shorts just as well as it does with a pair of jeans. I love this thing.

...and I've already worn it more times over these past few weeks than I care to admit, usually with a combination of the following pieces. Don't everyone freak out about how fashion-forward and creative these outfits are:gray pullover

I usually throw a slouchy bright tee on underneath the sweatshirt so a little pop of color peeks out underneath. Basic, I know. But I love it. I foresee a long and happy future together.
PS: It's kind of similar to this sweater from Madewell. Bonus.

Have a happy Thursday! I'm off to run errands and gather props. Fun fun fun!