Between now and early September, there are still plenty of sunny summer days left and only one essential accessory you need for the weekend jaunts and the seaside trips—the tote. Why do we adore these oversized yet surprisingly lightweight, roomy yet classy, durable yet chic, numbers so much? Mostly because they can hold all the warm-weather essentials we need—towels, beachwear, sunscreen, hats, yoga mats, summer books, Kindles, I-pads—you name it. They are also our great summer love because with the right style, an artsy tote can jazz up any laid-back summer outfit. Here are some of our favorite ideas from this season’s designers that prove the endless versatility of the summer tote.
Pink Rhombus Tote by Truss
This beauty by Truss is a tote with a purpose. Composed of 100% recycled plastic, designed in NYC and handmade by skilled weavers in Oaxaca (proceeds are devoted to helping Oaxacan communities), these sturdy totes are just as useful in the city as they are traversing the local village markets.
Striped Raffia Valencia Tote by MAR Y SOL
This oversized and unlined tote is the ideal carry all for a beach getaway. The natural 100% raffia of this tote is hand crocheted with nautical inspired stripes and accented with sturdy leather handles.
Majolica Print Tote by Dolce & Gabanna
This is an innovative spin on the camouflage print. This reversible tote is army green on one side and multi-colored camouflage on the other. The Valentino brand’s signature studs adorn the super-smooth fabric, giving the roomy style its iconic finish.
An original creation by artist and designer Susan Ritter.
Susan Ritter exited a career in advertising in 2011 to focus on her passion for creating things. Today she makes jewelry often using unfinished stones and gems. Ritter’s work is sculptural, each piece unique. She is knowledgeable about minerals and gems, their component parts and the varieties of trace elements that contribute to their stunning forms and colors. Her language sparkles with words of her trade: druzy, hematite, pseudomorph.
We discovered her work in a Manhattan boutique known for eclectic fashion. A pendant of a material that resembled raw orange diamonds with an exposed rim or underbelly of tiny white crystals and set in sterling silver, caught our eye. The feminine delicacy of the stone resonated playfully with the unpolished silver frame. The finished piece hung from a russet, raw silk cord, also designed by Ritter, with Japanese knots at each end. On the back of the piece, etched into the silver, was an autograph, a conjoined ‘SR’. We did some digging and unearthed her website www.sritternyc.com, which is replete with images of her artistry.
An exchange of emails later, we are face to face with the artist in a restaurant on the Upper West Side. An elfin, magical quality surrounds her. She is wearing multiple rings, a stack of rough gold bands each exquisitely contoured. The knockout ring is a trapezoid stone in lush shades of pink and rose, the natural color of the cobaltian calcite, set in silver. Against her pale coloring, and blue eyes, the pink is electrifying.
To our meeting Ritter has brought along a trove of materials cached in translucent Japanese boxes. Imagine a museum disgorging its most precious contents. Ritter is respectful of the stones and minerals as she places them out on a white napkin, the better to appreciate the rich formations and coloration of each. Her knowledge of the technical names is impressive. This art school graduate who learned jewelry making in Texas after college, attributes her facility with materials, as she calls them, to her parents—a furniture refinisher mother and an engineer father, both of whom respect wood and craftsmanship and the architecture of things. She spends her vacations sourcing stones like a geologist, trodding the same ground as many professionals. This dedicated “rock head,” finds beauty in the natural world.
Ritter lets us play with the stones and imagine what we’d like. We choose three and she begins to sketch the potential formation of the stones—placing the lapis lazuli on top, then to the side, adding the light green, and repositioning the transparent hunk of spessartine garnet. In three weeks, she sends a breathtaking sketch of the three stones formed into a piece of jewelry. Inside a month, it is finished. We meet again and she has prepared three cords to accompany it, one raw silk in umber, another cucumber colored taffeta, and a third linen. Ritter’s artistry is evident. She’s taken three dissimilar stones and framed them aesthetically (pictured at the top) to enhance each as well as the combination. What an eye.
Black in the summer is mostly thought of as a fashion don’t. The reason of course has nothing to do with fashion but with science—dark colors hold heat because they absorb light. But science shouldn’t keep you from wearing black altogether. The key is to wear black in breathable and light fabrics that keep you cool instead of increase your body temperature. The summer calls for pieces that are fluid and allow you to get around with ease.
Despite what the headlines say, orange is not the new black. Classic black continues to ride the carousel of fashion and style. And even now in the hot summer sun, it remains a staple of the polished, modern, and mature aesthetic.
From the power jumpsuit, to the maxi dress, to the little black dress, to the shirt dress, black is the color of confidence, competence, elegance, and sophistication. Its darkness creates an air of mystery, hides imperfections, and flatters the body.
Simply put, this is THE color that is always stylish as it is timeless. Here are some of our favorite ways to embrace the black is beautiful movement in the hot summertime.
Image via anntaylor.com
Embroidered Trim Dress by Ann Taylor: This lace-trimmed, flowy skirt, jewel neck, sleeveless number will keep you going with the flow.
…Image via net-a-porter.com
Cotton-Gauze Jumpsuit by Skin: Consider the black jumpsuit the summer version of the elegant black pant suit—they both equally exude power, reflecting a look that is pulled together and radiates confidence.
Image via asos.com
Lola Oversized Shirt Dress by Whistles: With its breathable cotton fabric, side pockets, cropped cuffs, and curved hemline this versatile dress/long shirt is the ultimate in comfort and relaxed fit.
The Maxi Dress, a staple for the summer wardrobe with its cool and free-flowing billowing shape, long, full-tiered skirt, and ankle-grazing length, is probably one of the more under-appreciated and under-valued members of the season’s essentials. It has certainly had its day of being chucked to the back of the closet and deemed old-fashioned and unfashionable. We of course are thinking of the period where the mini-skirt and the uber high hem lines ruled the summer days and nights. Thankfully, those days are over (we hope) and the dress that offers comfort, freedom, and length is en vogue.
Now, the Maxi dress is the new black. It has moved up the fashion totem poll. It is no longer relegated to vacation wear or casual lounge wear or lazy days around the house wear (although, that’s perfectly fine to do). Collections from today’s designers are offering the maxi in contemporary styles and shapes, neutral and eclectic color palettes, and the flexibility to transform the dress from causal to elegant and from work to play with the simple touch of accessories and jewelry. Add a pair of Italian leather sandals, or funky espadrilles, or some heels to create an effect of the sophisticated casual. Throw a light scarf or shawl over your shoulder and you are set for the garden party, the summer evening soirée, or the office reception. Here are some of the favorite trends spicing up the maxi dress.
Add a Belt: A perfect example is from the just released email campaign from Ann Taylor (see below) for their Maxi Dress Collection. Look how they’ve reinvented a simple striped halter version of the maxi by adding a complementary white belt at the waist. This is your mother’s maxi dress—upgraded!
Image via anntaylor.com
Choose the Color-Blocking Look: This floor-length hemline beauty from BCBG is all about movement. Its dynamic color-blocking and exquisite presentation makes it a sophisticated maxi.
…………………….Image via bcbg.com
Embellish a Little: In this lightweight dress by ASOS, it’s the embellished detailing on the shoulders that steals the attention. Look for a maxi dress with one attention-stealing detail.
Image via asos.com
In this week’s Fashion Friday, we’re sharing with you our best picks for the bold, eye-catching statement summer necklace that adds a splash of color to your outfits, shows a bit of bling, and glams you up for the summer parties. Of course any palette meant to complement the steamy months of June, July, and August should include bright, vibrant colors. So, we’ve included multi-colored gems, turquoise, and lapis as well as the summer staple white.
From the Rock Candy® Collection, this chain necklace by Ippolita features 18-karat yellow gold, peridot, clear quartz/turquoise, orange citrine, orange carnelian, clear quartz/ruby, clear quartz/mother-of-pearl—all the essentials necessary for a summer glow!
This modern silhouette by Alexis Bittar features a Howlite Turquoise stone faceted inside a sleek gold tone collar.
For this creation, listen to this line up of curated summer goodness: Tahitian cultured pearl, keshi pearl, moonstone and gold.
An elegant Mary Louise Designs necklace, accented with rich lapis lazulis and polished charms.
It’s June, and that means that on the third Sunday of the month (this year, the 21st) it will be time to celebrate Fathers. You are likely coming across numerous gift ideas for the fathers and grandfathers in your lives—biological fathers, adoptive fathers, and symbolic fathers. As we did before this past Mother’s Day, we are thinking of gifts that exemplify a personal touch, a thoughtful act, an embrace of the essence of who these men are. And, as you will find, the personal touch doesn’t have to cost a fortune (although we couldn’t resist the cufflinks from Tiffany’s; you’ll forgive us this one indulgence, won’t you?). The thoughtful gifts we’ve all received are among our most priceless possessions. Here are some of our favorite ideas; we hope they inspire your own personal touch.
Rustic Engraved Leather Journals by Jenni Bick Bookbinding
Your special dad deserves a special gift. Surprise him this year with a rustic leather journal chosen from one of the many selections offered by Jenni Bick Bookbinding. We adore this simple idea—a rugged leather journal that you can engrave with a name or beautiful message just between a daughter and her father.
This gift idea is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but that T-shirt speaks a lot of truth, doesn’t it? The best part is that if this particular father has fewer or more than three daughters, the shirt can be customized. So can the color, so get one in his favorite hue or get five different colors! Visit ebolo’s shop on Etsy.com.
It wouldn’t be a Father’s Day without that little blue box. Yes, that notion applies to the guys as well. And this exquisite beauty has us wishing we had more shirts that need cufflinks in our own wardrobes. These works of art, in 18k gold with lapis lazuli, are a poignant way to say “I love you” and well suited for the fashionable dad in your life. Visit Tiffany & Co. for more info.
Custom Map Bronze Key Ring by John and Charlotte Guptill
The key ring is handmade in the U.S. by John and Charlotte Guptill, whose company tagline is “Home Is Where the Chart Is.” We love that, and we agree. This is a thoughtful and innovative gift to bridge the miles between you and your dad, or to simply honor the place where he was born or his favorite GPS point. Customized to the coordinates of your choosing, each map or chart swatch is immortalized in resin and mounted in bronze. International locations are available, but the maps may be less detailed.
For this week’s Fashion Friday, we are taking a page out of the Roman handbook. Summer travel in Italy is the epitome of all vacations. But whether you’re embarking on a Roman holiday or a Miami one, we can all learn from the stylish, runway-ready Italians. As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do . . .” From fine cotton shirts, white maxi-dresses, and linen caftans to lace espadrilles, here are some of the classic Italian summer fashion staples that translate to any culture as a sophisticated and refined aesthetic.
So far our fashion series on summer has reminded you of That Linen Feeling and the timeless elegance of the Summer White. This week, we turn to those happy feet. Happy because now you can exhibit freshly done pedicures and summer-color painted toes. Turquoise, anyone? And what better way to free those feet (other than going barefoot, of course) than in a light, comfortable, and luxurious summer sandal? It’s a chic warm-weather mainstay, and with some expert curating it can be refined enough for work as well as transition into an effortless, casual option for weekends. Wear them with your favorite summer white linen dress and you’ve got our summer series covered!
Tory Burch Savannah Flat Sandal, toryburch.com
Joie A La Plage Socoa Gladiator Sandal, joie.com
Ancient Greek Sandals, shoescribe.com
Bernardo T-Strap Maverick Sandal, bloomingdales.com
Alaïa Laser-cut Suede Sandals, net-a-porter.com
It’s time to break out the Linen—at last. This, one of the underappreciated fabrics, is laborious to manufacture. But because it is an absorbent fiber, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. It can be dressed down to lounge in or dressed up for a luxurious summer evening. Linen has become many things to modern fashion—a summer tradition, breathable and lustrous, casual yet refined, and cool and chic. And precisely because it’s a summer tradition, our favorite designers and brands are breaking out their Linen Collections. Here are a few of our favorite picks!
Ann Taylor Collection: Linen at Last
Blissful Blue Striped Linen Shirtdress (Photo: anntaylor.com)
Breezily cast in lightweight linen, this smartly striped shirtdress is a one-piece wonder that’s up for anything; it sports long sleeves with button tabs, button front, self tie belt, and button cuffs. Blissful indeed.
Stripe Relaxed Ankle Pants (Photo: anntaylor.com)
Since we’re already in a stripe mood, this versatile beauty caught our eye. Sunwashed stripes meet a relaxed, cropped cut to take this stylish pair from 9-to-5 usefulness to weekend escape.
See more from the Linen at Last Collection at anntaylor.com
Tommy Bahama: The Linen Collection, a Luxe Love Affair
Two Palms Linen Embroidered Maxi Dress (Photo: tonybahama.com)
We don’t need Memorial Day to come by to tell us we’re in the throes of summer. We already feel it. And we certainly don’t need Memorial Day to permit us to break out the summer whites. We’re already doing it. While many of us regard white as a basic addition to any wardrobe, the summer white has the uncanny ability to function as a knockout style, as the ultimate desk-to-dinner piece, or as the epitome of summery-sweet. You’ll see from our picks below that there is nothing plain or basic about a summer white ensemble—or even accessory. Here are some of the best ways to incorporate white into your summer wardrobe with some quintessential pieces.
White cashmere–silk blend Wild Life Print Scarf from Valentino featuring fringed edges. We don’t need to say more. This is simply a work of art you get to wrap around your neck or use as a pullover on those endless summer nights.
The Shirt Dress
This timeless Jacquard Shirtdress by Piazza Sempione has all the things we love—half-length sleeves, a feminine knee-length skirt, a partial button front, side pockets, and breathable textural cotton. It’s a summer look that says both style and comfort.
This Donna Karan Abstract-Print Pleated Skirt marries our favorite things—fashion and art. Brushed with an abstract print, the pleated cotton silhouette is a visual masterpiece, equipped with a waistband, all-over pleating, and yes, cool and breathable cotton.
We even love the title of these jeans by The Gap: 1969 Perfect Boot Jeans. No need to break the bank for a pair of simple white jeans. And while you’re not breaking the bank, how about bucking the skinny-jean trend and opting for the boot cut! This 1969 number is made of premium stretch denim, and its boot-cut design allows for both flats and a nice pair of nude pumps!
Inspired by a classic denim jacket, this white-hot Linen Jean Jacket rendition from Eileen Fisher makes the perfect lightweight layer you’ll live in all season long. And with its enviable organic linen, long sleeves, button cuffs, and button flap chest pockets, you’ll savor it for next season as well.
Earlier this week, First Lady Michelle Obama paid tribute to Japanese-born designer Tadashi Shoji at the White House dinner for Japan by wearing a stunning rich purple gown. The sleeveless dress featured the designer’s signature empire waist, floor-grazing chiffon pleats and delicate applique details in its bodice.
The first lady’s choice is a serendipitous and timely one, since Shoji offers some beautiful options for the mothers in our lives. From dresses that capture a mothering style for a beautiful Mother’s Day brunch to elegant gowns for mothers of the bride, just in time for the upcoming wedding season, to a line focused on the season’s spring florals—Tadashi Shoji seems to have all of our roles, moods, and upcoming occasions covered. For this week’s Fashion Friday, we select our favorite looks from the Japanese designer whose creations “employ expert techniques in draping, ruching, and shutter pleats” to ensure that “each garment is masterfully tailored to flatter all figures.”
Featured as part of the Tadashi Shoji Mother’s Day Picks is this Blue Stone Cotton Embroidered Tulle Cap Sleeve Dress. Cut from luxurious cotton embroidered tulle, this sheath boasts sheer cutaways at both the neckline and the hemline. The custom motif is inspired by the architectural details of the Ca’ d’Oro, one of the older and most beautiful palaces on the Grand Canal in Venice. The blue stone hue of the embroidery is reminiscent of a pale gray-blue forget-me-not. And, for comfort, it is fully lined in a signature stretch jersey.
If you are an impending mother-of-the-bride, it’s your obligation to bring the elegance to the nuptials and show the room where your daughter got her style! We love the stylish sophistication of this Lace ¾ Sleeve Dress with Grosgrain Ribbon Belt. The bodice’s sweetheart neckline peeks through the ivory lace overlay. Scallop lace trims the neckline and the edge of the three-quarater sleeves. A grosgrain sash adorns the waist. For more mother-of-the-bride looks, see the Bridal Collection.
After all, it was the Japanese who gifted the United States with the beautiful cherry blossoms that bring thousands to the nation’s capital. So it makes perfect sense that Tadashi Shoji would honor the beauty of flowers via its Spring Florals collection. This particular beauty, the Rose Motif Sheath Dress, is chic, modern, and elegant. The bateau neckline and hem are hand cut to preserve the allover rose motif. In this dress you might just feel as if your life is a bed of roses.
Images courtesy of tadashishoji.com
“A hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor and the badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothes and wearing a costume; it’s the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it’s the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. A hat is to be stylish in, to glow under, to flirt beneath, to make all others seem jealous over and to make all men feel masculine about. A piece of magic is a hat.”– Martha Sliter
While we all wear multiple hats every day—on the job, at home, in our communities—spring is the perfect moment to move beyond the metaphorical and don an actual, gorgeous hat. The advent of the season carries an invitation to indulge, to experiment, to dramatize, and perhaps even to reinvent. As Martha Sliter’s beautiful quote above reminds us, hats evoke a kind of magic that transforms any ensemble into something exquisite. Inspired by derbies near and far and milliners who delight in creating works of art, hat-revelers can interpret the spring season in a display of fantasy and coquetry. Whether it’s an outdoor party, wedding, or walk in the park or on the beach, hats are the veritable last bastion in the art of dress-up. And a hat with a brim can serve a more pedestrian need—UV protection!
Cherry Blossom Pillbox Hat by Piers Atkinson
This multi-colored silk and straw cherry blossom pillbox hat from Piers Atkinson is simply a work of art.
Talitha Hat by Olivia Roat Millinery
Guaranteed to turn heads, this bright-red large wide-brim sinamay hat with stunning silk rose trim is the prettiest red, jazzed up with a shot of white trim.
The Wide-Brim Derby Hat by August Hat
This creation, with its broad, romantic brim and its luxurious ivory and teal color, is a head-turning hat finished with a feather-trimmed sinamay flower.
The Stripe Dip Brim by Eric Javits
This dramatic hat makes a statement with its bold striping. And it can work for the beach as well the Derby.
Cecily Sun Hat in Blue Genie by Eugenia Kim
Fall in love with this navy-and-ivory hat. And it is such a great look for a red, white, and blue ensemble.
As we begin (hopefully) to pack away the winter wools and fleeces, it’s time to transition to the spring jacket for warmth (and, at times, shelter from the April showers). As the weather warms and the flowers bloom, bid farewell to the multiple layers we’ve been donning all winter (and the exhaustion that came with taking them on and off) and instead opt for a jacket that is simple, elegant, and refined. This is the season for the lightweights!
Leather Cape by Massimo Dutti
This cape, designed with a straight cut, two side pockets, three-quarter sleeves, and decorative stitching, is perfect for both daytime wear and a weekend getaway.
Deep Vine Matka Drawstring High Collar Jacket by Worth New York
Take this deep spring green statement jacket from casual to dressy. The texture and tones of the silk matka give it a look that reminds us of tweed and adds an intriguing artisan feeling.
Quilted Silk-Satin Jacket by Adam Lippes
This collarless jacket, tailored from lustrous quilted black silk-satin, is fully lined for a smooth drape. Cinch yours at the waist with the removable belt, finishing with skinny pants and point-toe pumps.
Matador Embroidered Zip-Front Coat by Nanette Lepore
Nanette Lepore’s “Matador” cotton-blend knit coat with embroidered trim offers a spacious, relaxed fit and large patch pockets for the casual but eccentric look.
Corded Guipure Lace Peplum Jacket by Oscar de la Renta
It may say “jacket” in the title, but it’s really a work of art—round neckline, long sheer sleeves, peplum waist, scalloped hem dips in front, fitted silhouette. Simply a masterpiece.
We couldn’t be happier to see spring. This week we focus on the defining and timeless color of the season—Green. Here are our five must-have statement jewelry pieces for the season. They include a range of shades in the palette of green. Be forewarned, however: These pieces aren’t casual. They also function as works of wearable art. And the greener, the bolder; the more playful, the better!
Alexis Bittar: Gilded Muse d’Ore Blue Sponge Bead Necklace
From the Alexis Bittar “Gilded Muse d’Ore” Collection, this blue sponge coral bead necklace will have you dreaming of the ocean. It has spiky Swarovski crystal detail, amazonite smooth round beads, and aqua crackle-tone nuggets.
Lana Jewelry: Envy Cluster Necklace
Envious indeed. The cluster of green leaves of this 14k gold creation from Lana Jewelry is made of green onyx.
Ippolita: Rock Candy Gelato Single Rectangle Drop Earrings
“Rock Candy” is the perfect name for these treasures, as they are absolutely delectable. Handcrafted and part of the Ippolita Rock Candy® Gelato Collection, this pair features faceted rectangle rutilated quartz and turquoise doublet drops.
Armenta: Chrysoprase Petite Pointed Oval Earrings
These petite oval drop earrings by Armenta are demure but elegant. They feature a sterling silver with matte finish, chrysoprase/rainbow moonstone doublet center, and champagne diamonds and blue sapphires.
Alexis Bittar: Liquid Metal Hinge Bracelet
Release the artist in you with this cuff—polished golden metal and hand-painted, marbleized aqua Lucite.
Last Friday we showed you how to fight the winter blues by adding pops of beautiful color to your outfit. Continuing the same trend, this week we turn our attention to the ultimate feast of colors—the floral print. For those of us still bracing for winter temperatures and snowstorms (as we must in the Northeast), floral prints are just the right thing to usher in our warm-weather escapism. This season, we don’t want you to just walk into spring, we advise you to strut right into it—with style. Nothing says spring more than being draped in flowers. And no, floral prints don’t convey only notes of pretty, delicate, and feminine. They are, as Vogue tells us about Spring 2015 collections, quite perfect for the sophisticated fashion palette: “Floral patterns were everywhere, from the blossoms at Simone Rocha to the muted sixties tan florets at Max Mara to metallic blooms at Louis Vuitton.”
As we await (rather impatiently) the new season, we share some serious flower power to inspire your own flourishing wardrobe with pieces that tap into an appreciation for all things blossoming—bouquets, gardens, and new beginnings.
Manolo Blahnik, Floral-print Watercolor Canvas Pump, bergdorfgoodman.com
Worth New York, Purple Moon Floral Chiffon Shawl, worthnewyork.com
Michael Kors, Floral Print Skirt, farfetch.com
Oscar de la Renta, Floral Print Pleated Dress, modaoperandi.com
Dolce & Gabbana, Printed Floral-Brocade Coat, net-a-porter.com