Fifty Shades of Beige

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Whether your newfound glory is sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace or playing up the layering trend, there’s a seasonal change that we’ve recently come to terms with in the Windy City – the nonchalant tonal shrug from crisp autumn breeze towards blistering winter chills.

Long gone were the days where a prismatic array of floral prints, soft pastels, and color mash-ups sprawled over Paris Fashion Week runways and emulated in our daily wares. Though bone-chilling the weather may be, swaying us away from trendy pieces like pleated skirts and crop tops, we have a swoon-worthy selection of luxe fabrics and crisp silhouettes to work into our wardrobe. From Céline’s longline duster coats to Helmut Lang’s shearling biker jacket, we have countless ways to integrate new fashion powerhouse designs into our ensembles while embracing a new season to come. Stylishly. No gritty teeth allowed.Oversized-coatsMuubaa-Aurora-Shearling-Biker-Jacket_1ImageGranted if you follow my blog for a while you’d notice I have an affinity for monochromatic separates (with a hint of colorful accessories), and it’s a given that I admire certain designers for their subtle indications of toned-down colors and classic designs. One of my favorite collections was from Chloé designer Clare Waight Keller sartorially introduced at Gustave Eiffel-Lycée Carno. Her minimalistic choice of colors entailed desert–khaki, camel, sand, blue and white, all of which are minimalistic hues that emphasized clean silhouettes and placid colors (like this biker jacket that exudes cool minimalistic edge).Chloe 2012_FFImage

I enjoyed perusing her collection because I believe classic staples are essential in our wardrobe at any given time, and multiple shades of beige like cream, camel, dessert sand, and unbleached silk are great foundations to build into a full-fledged outfit.

The choice is abundant — pair a caramel fuzzy sweater with distressed denim jeans, or for slightly cooler days experiment with the same color scheme by mixing a heavier fabric like cashmere with a lightweight button down shirt. In my outfit today I paired a baroque-styled cream shirt with a brown and beige wool cape, which I then added on suede boots (reminding me of these Rag & Bone ones I’ve been eyeing), Prada cat-eye shades, Seven jeans scored from a Shopbop sale (currently 30% to 70% OFF Seven and Citizens of Humanity Jeans at shopbop.com!) and a chocolate brown duffel bag in a classic silhouette to complete the streamlined look without going that off-kilter road.

What’s your take on the luxe layering trend, and have you put together an outfit with the simplistic triad of beige, brown and cream? 🙂

Xo~ Lena

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Top: Forever 21// Pants: J Brand// Cape: Club Monaco// Heels: Vince Camuto// Bag: Louis Vuitton// Shades: Prada// Necklace: Thailand

Well Vested

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As we’ve long bid our adieus to summer and the abundance of sunshine, warmth, and saccharine-colored dresses, there are certain wardrobe staples that I like to keep on heavy rotation when we plunge into Fall. Though the fickle weather has awakened our affinity for hot cocoa and toasty evenings by the fireplace, liminal time still exists for us to polish off our looks sans hefty jackets, thermal puffers, and shearling-lined boots.v2-36h1-7

My favorite outfits to work into that interim phase? A souped up moto jacket with a jersey panelled number. An oversized camel coat over a nifty sweater. Or an olive green suede vest with faux fur lining paired with a patterned blouse like this one I got at Nordstrom (where now you can save up to 40% at the Nordstrom Clearance Sale through November 11!)

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While some wear a long vest like a sleeveless coat, others ditch the menswear-inspired look by choosing a gilet like this fuzzy TopShop version. But there’s one tenet of this trend that makes it a cult favorite – it can be worn open as a layering piece, so you can stick to your choice of minimalistic dressing with a faux fur vest in the same hue (all-black ensembles rejoice!), or add a bit of spunk with a printed shirt in the same color family.h1-11h1-27v2-12

Given the vest’s prominent color is green, I made sure my Tory Burch shirt picked it up along with other fall foliage hues (I also like this funky leopard print by Roberto Cavalli). And to give this eminently wearable outfit all the ease for travel and commute (granted you don’t have a chauffeur or you take public transportation to work everyday, you stylish urbanite), I paired it with black skinny jeans and brown Chelsea boots (this UGG pair I’m wearing has wool sockliner and foam-cushioned footbed!)

There you go, a classic Fall pairing that’ll have you one step away from perfecting those wanderlust-inducing snaps on Instagram!

Xo~ Lena

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Photos: Jason J Photography

Top: Tory Burch// Vest: Vince Camuto//Pants: Paige// Boots: UGG// Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs// Shades: Prada

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Star Light Star Bright

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“Star light, star bright. The first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might. Have the wish I wish tonight”

Pinocchio delivered that famous line when one day he looked upon the glazing star, so luminously fixed in the night sky, and wished that one day he’d become a human boy. Flash forward 120 years later after Carlo Collodi brought his children’s novel to life, the very thought of wishing upon a star for a desire, a dream so far-fetched and improbable, remain naive and vacuous to most people. Image

However, many great inventions and enterprises trading equities around the globe do not achieve their monumental success without, at one point in time, a wish…a desire…a minuscule dream so small and insignificant that many deem preposterous. However, without igniting a dream, believing in its existence, and nurturing its growth, we wouldn’t be moving forward with our existence; rather, we would remain complacent in our current state of affairs and be bounded by the confining “can dos, can’t dos” of our daily grind.

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Like those of Evan Spiegel (who developed Snapchat as a project for one of his product design classes at Stanford) and Michael Dell (who founded his namesake company from his dorm room by selling computers built from stock components), they believed the trail of success starts with a solid foundation. In my outfit today I chose this black and white outfit with this star-spangled cardi (which reminds me of what Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wore; similar one HERE) because this color combo reminds me of the fundamental bearings of a stable core – one that is “tried and tested”; one that retains its value and withstands passing trends and time. 

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Thus I believe our lives should be led by a well-rooted foundation and our dreams catapulted with a strong mind, a tactful plan, and a bucket full of faith. Like a glazing star whose life begins with traces of hydrogen fuel and helium, ideas are like chemical infusions that, in due time, creates newer elements that propel our expansion, leaps and bounds, into newer and more fulfilling areas!

Shine on starlets!

Xo~ Lena

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Photos: Jason J Photography

Dress: Forever 21// Cardi: TopShop// Tights: Hue// Shoes: Vince Camuto// Accessories: H&M/Urban Outfitters

 

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Like The Cool Kids

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When it comes to fashion favorites for the hip and stylish, the trending factor isn’t the only thing that warrants purchase. Granted if you ask a sartorially savvy person some of the best items to work into a capsule wardrobe, one that contains staple items that never go out of style, the answer would probably take into account the following questions.

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Is it partial to pairing with a plain white T as it is with a printed sheath? Is it unabating in couture and caliber with both modern flair and old-school charm? Replete with bicoastal sensibilities adorned by sleek avant garb-clad New Yorkers and the golden damsels of LA?

In essence a few nouveau pieces fit the bill  — a striped T, black skinnies, ankle boots, and of course, the classic denim jacket.

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What I love about the cult favorite denim look is how light and comfortable it is without compromising the “cool factor”. Whether thrown on over a short-sleeve shirt, perched atop the shoulder, or wrapped around the waist, there is no shortage of street-style cred with its crisp coloring and nonchalant edge.

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So was my choice today when I wore this crop denim jacket while trolling through Streeterville. Everything from workwear detailing to traditional fit to pale undertones make it spiffy and fun (not to mention keeping my semi-brittle bones intact).

To play up this street style look, I wore it over a navy striped shirt (oh the feline fun) and kept the bottom in the same color family with a blue/black/white mini. And because the color was erring towards monochrome, I added a purple clutch for that au courant pop of color!

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Ah the joy of Fall — pumpkin latte slurping, layer upon layer strutting, and fun mix/match pairing!

Xo~ Lena

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Top: Zara// Skirt: Zara// Jacket: Lucky// Shoes: Vince Camuto// Bag: Urban Expressions// Bracelet: J. Crew// Necklace + Ring: Forever 21// Watch: Marc Jacobs// Shades: Urban Outfitters

Photos: Jason J Photography

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Fashions Fade. Style Is Eternal

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As Fall kicks into full swing and our favorite digital sources are filled with unparalleled riffs on new seasonal trends, we can’t help but notice a spawning list of interesting items that the fashion flock saunters to. Seasonally trendy or perennially chic, the list entails nothing short of highly coveted items that each exude a unique flair.

Case in point — wool velour overcoat for luxurious comfort; cashmere palazzo pants for cascading lengths and effortless edge; and guipure lace number for ultra-feminine poise.

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As besotted as I may be gushing over new trends for their high time novelty (pictorials my Instagram feed never fails to deliver of style mavens along SoHo’s charming sett-paved streets or the luxurious avenue de Champs Élysées), they somehow never ladder up to cult following status in my style scrapbook. Yes, as avant-garde and chic seasonal trends may be, I often find myself retreating back to classic staples for their gratifying sense of purpose and practice. Versatile for seasons to come. Pair-able with wardrobe staples. One that we can keep in heavy rotation without wallowing in unrestrained luxury (or tapering bank accounts for that matter).

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Amongst a vast array of trendy styles that steer towards “smoldering on sparing terms”, there are certain pieces that granted any sartorially astute person can foster and flaunter without worrying of becoming a one hit wonder. My favorite item for Fall? A light-colored coat with minimally fuzzy finish, fitting as paired with a lightweight sweater or a textured top. If posh shearling or alpaca wool blank coat doesn’t tickle your fancy, then opt for a stylish beige or camel coat that will have you stepping out looking nothing short of flawless.

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In my outfit today I kept the cool shivers under tab with this Camel Pea Coat from Lookbook Store that’s quickly become one of my favorites. The defining moments that make this jacket special are these crop sleeves (shirts with embellished arm details rejoice!) and boxy fit (ideal for strutting that layered effect). Given fashion is at its best when form and function bond themselves in matrimony, I wore it over this mesh petal engrained 3D Rose Top – White from the Lookbook Store and absolutely loved how effortlessly chic and comfy it is. Not to mention the style is slightly cropped so ideal for pairing with high-waisted jeans or midi skirts!

My favorite part of this ensemble? Kicking it up a feline notch with a red leopard print skirt and flirty open toe booties!

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So take to heart Yves Saint Laurent’s eponymous line that ‘fashions fade, style is eternal.’ Play up new trends. Work in staples. Make it gratifyingly your own! That’s the beauty of being a fashion tastemaker for party of one 🙂

Xo~ Lena

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In collaboration with Lookbook Store; thoughts and opinions are my own.

Top: Lookbook// Skirt: Vince Camuto// Jacket: Lookbook// Shoes: Via Spiga// Clutch: Louis Vuitton// Ring: Lincoln Park Fair ’13// Bangles: Forever 21

Photos: Jason J Photography

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Camel Pea Coat - Boxy Fit Pea Coat3D Rose White Top - Adorable Pullover Neckline Top

Earn Wings And Sky Out

“For me, time is the greatest mystery of all. The fact is that we’re dreaming all the time. That’s what really gets me. We have a fathomless lake of unconsciousness just beneath our skulls.” – Anthony Hopkins

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They often say dreaming is the foreground to imagination that’s free, unhampered, and limitless. As a child, we often use our wandering mind to dream the unthinkable, gather concrete mortar for our supporting blocks, and build castles in the air. Not ones that we live lavishly in complacency, but those that house our solid character and drive our pursuit. Our passion. Who we want to be, and what we want to achieve.

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To ponder is one, to chase after is another. Though dreams and ambitions steer our journey to new grounds, oftentimes we get so wrapped up in modern mayhem and digital conundrums (4G LTE where art thou?) that we forget our initial bearings and saunter our way to aggravated terrains. We forget our objective, we cede our motive. So to regroup my thoughts when they are scattered along four miles of Lake Shore Drive, I would take a breather by the lakeside and enjoy the view across the horizon.

Invigorating. Unruffled. Free.

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To tribute this journey of revitalizing self (and rendering positive impact on my surrounding), I picked out this embroidered A-line dress from Mata Traders. I love the hand block prints and craft designs as much as the company’s motive in making fashion an impactful metric for fair trade and creating a sphere of meaningful work opportunities for women in India and Nepal. Thus this statement piece coincides with the idea of educating and empowering self and others as the company’s mantra spans a long latitude with a socially-gratifying impact. Mata means “mother” in Hindi, and their clothing is a tribute to the female shakti power in each and every one of us! To find out more about this Shore Club Dress and learn about how their quality handiwork makes fair trade products fashion-forward and unique, check them out HERE!

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Fresh air. Breezy and potent by nature. Unhampered sight. Untampered mind. That’s the shakti power of Mother Nature 🙂

Xo~ Lena

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Dress: Mata Traders// Sweater: Abercrombie & Fitch// Belt: H&M// Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs// Shoes: Vince Camuto// Shades: Prada// Bracelet: Topshop// Earrings: Anne Haywood

In collaboration with Mata Traders; thoughts and opinions are my own.

Five Feet High and Rising

“The remarkable thing is that it’s the crowded life that’s most easily remembered. A life full of turns, achievements, disappointments, surprises, and crises is a life full of landmarks. The empty life has even its few details blurred, and cannot be remembered with certainty.” – Eric Hoffer

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As summer gradually comes to a sedate halt, I can only reminisce on my most memorable outings in Chicago and the insights attained at their presence. Ones marked by a deep relish for Georgian Revival buildings and ecological habitats in Lincoln Park, as well as futuristic exhibits and Beaux-Arts monuments at the Museum of Science and Industry. Though gone are the sweltering days lounging at the pool, there’s still traces of summer’s cordiality tucked away in vast open spaces by the waters, where Lake Michigan casts a glimpse of crisp coolness upon the lands. Refreshing. Purifying. Livening. A trip to the lakefront was very gratifying this weekend as I not only took in a few gulps of fresh air but also came across a remarkable landmark  – the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park.

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Quite an architectural and pneumatic feat, the 18th century Rococo-style fountain is an allegorical representation of Lake Michigan. The green ivory sea horses nestled in the fountain are akin to the four bordering states that graze Lake Michigan: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Synonymous to the Latona fountain at Versailles, the Buckingham fountain has a tiered design that houses a major water display as the center jet shoots water into the air every 20 minutes. Not 5 feet. Not 50 feet. But 150 feet into the air! Now isn’t that a sight for sore eyes? What I love about this landmark is not only its hydraulic capability but also its close proximity to the concrete jungle behind. Briton-inspired Essex Inn with its bold block letters. Red CNA Center that begets lighted window message in the dusking sky. Nothing short of amazing that’s for sure.

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To play up this chill, laissez-faire vibe at the park, I paired a few fall essentials together to brace the cool weather. Tri-colored sweater with black peep-through details. Grey leather skinnies with a hint of shimmer. And a pair of black suede boots to give an elevated stance. Though each piece was monotonous in color (white, black, grey…need I say more), the seamless woven pattern, the black contour on the back, the glistening sheen of the jeans, and the tiered leather strappings on the boots all gave the outfit a standout flair.

Thus the key to dressing neutral colors without looking like a boring mannequin? Pay attention to granular details and accent your outfit with bold accessories. There you go – a chic Fall-proof ensemble! 🙂

 Xoxo~ Lena 

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Top: Una Mae’s // Pants: Elie Tahari // Bag: Louis Vuitton // Shoes: Vince Camuto // Shades: Prada // Accessories: H&M

Credits: Jason J Photography http://jasonjphotography.zenfolio.com

 

Stripe Me To My Core

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From haute couture designs to MOD looks, what do fashion iconoclasts like Alexa Chung, Cara Delevingne, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have in common? Aside from representing British powerhouse brands like Burberry and TopShop  (and having an enviable collection of French and Italian leather luxuries), these NY Fashion Week front-row “IT girls” have a distinct trait that sets them apart from other waify frames on the catwalk — a unique personal style aspired and embodied by millions of fashion-focused women across the globe.

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Speaking of trendsetting styles of the Swinging City, British fashionistas have always been famed for their individual sense of style. Eclectic and effortless. Bohemian and chic. Mixed prints, vintage pieces, and checkered designs are a few archetypical British looks. As Emma Watson once said in an interview, British folks are governed by the weather in the country — skirts and shorts are worn with black opaque tights, and flip flops are replaced with plimsolls. In my outfit today I wanted to emulate one of the trending British styles of the season (one that’s rain and sun-proof for all weather types) — the sailor-inspired navy and white stripes minus the dixie-cup cap 🙂

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Marc Jacobs may have paraded models in 1960s-inspired looks with horizontal and zigzag patterns in red, black and white, but the sky’s the limit to how you can pair a striped T or dress without blind-sighting those around you. Want to rule out wardrobe doldrums with this Briton-approved style? Then mix stripes and hoops of various sizes and textures — small floral prints or polka dots with large stripes, or intercept thin lines with the same color along the side of your trousers. Add in a belt to accentuate your waist in a full-striped bodycon dress, and accessorize with minimal silver jewelries. In my outfit today I vested in the British laissez-faire look by pairing a striped animal face sweater with a pair of purple corduroys and pony-haired boots. The pants’ woven fabric was snug and velvety, ideal for a chill evening in the park, and the boots gave the outfit an urbane moto edge. Along the lines of personal style, my signature look was wholly embodied in this outfit – cool, androgynous, chic 🙂

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Give me an All Saints moto jacket and an 1198cc Ducati, I’m ready to cruise into the glistening sunset!

Xoxo~ Lena

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Sweater: Zara//Pants: Loft//Shoes: Vince Camuto//Bag: Louis Vuitton//Glasses: Miu Miu

Jason J Photography http://www.jason-j-photography.com/