Just One Thing: Metallic Penny Loafers.

Things that are ever well documented: my love of loafers and my long-standing appreciation for Cole Haan. Neither of these are problems, as in fact they work so harmoniously on such a regular basis that I see no problem.

Which is why I must direct your attention to just one thing.  Just one particular pair of loafers that I have no doubt will soon be finding their way quietly into serious frequency in my shoe rotation.  A pair of metallic penny loafers.  The Sloane EVA Loafer in pewter and dark teal to be precise.

{Sloane Eva Loafer, Cole Haan, $178}

Holy crow.  How have these not previously been something I’ve been hunting for?  A pewter toned metallic that transcends the need to pair it with gold or silver exclusively.  A classic shape with a lower stance imparting just the right balance between function and femininity.  And not to mention a bold dark teal sole also stands perfectly at the edge of being interesting, without tipping over the edge into distracting.

I could probably wax on and on about these for an undetermined period of time, but I’ll save you from keeling over with boredom.  So just do me a favour, JOT these down and take a peek next time you’re at a purveyor of Cole Haan.

Psst…if you’re missing me here on AnonymousChic, make sure you’re checking out my weekly appearances on ShoppingsMyCardio.  My inner accessories junkie is out in full force there with All in the Details.  The last three details?  A geometric statement from Zara, a scarf that goes a little tribal from Tory Burch, and a little turquoise and crystal from Anthropologie.

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Monday Musings: Outfit re-works and irrational fears.

I have a confession to make.  The text that accompanies the following graphic is absolutely a reflection of how I feel nearly every time I get dressed.  As a small disclaimer, I’m abundantly aware of how frivilous this all sounds…but let’s just chalk it up to being relatively fashion conscious and #firstworldproblems.  I’m also going to blame my mild obsession with Pinterest (@anonymouschic) as the reason why this issue has suddenly been clarified in my conscious.

{ carolinaclass.tumblr.com via Pinterest}

It’s kind of a sinking feeling, when you’ve come up with a brilliant outfit and just the right accessories…when you’re hair and makeup go just right…and then you realize that the outfit that you have just put together is going to be used up on a really average day (and you’re lucky if you realize this before you leave the house in the morning).  Sure it’s going to make you feel fabulous, and there’s a very high probability that you’ll end up holding your head a little higher because  you know how stellar you look.  The thing is that as soon as it all falls together, I always manage to realize that there’s another day that week when I realize I’m going to require an above average ensemble, and that seems to deflate my mood ever so slightly.

Clearly, I’ve thus developed a strategy on what to do.  Never fear…five steps for outfit repurposing follow.  Keep in mind that if this does happen to you, you’ll probably need a few minutes to accomplish the switch so either learn how to run in heels, plan for a little extra time, or start coming up with a really good excuse for why you’re late.

Item #1take note of how you’ve put together what you’ve already got on.  Also, before you continue, I recommend a momentary hesitation and mental pro-con list of using your existing outfit on that particular day.  If you do come to the distinct conclusion that Friday is a better day to don said outfit than Monday…then proceed.  Otherwise smile, and leave the house knowing how excellent you look.

Item #2identify one thing about your outfit that you absolutely love.  Maybe it’s your lip colour, or a t-shirt, or your favourite blazer and jeans…and keep that one thing on.  This way your preserving the essential note of what’s making you feel particularly confident about the outfit.

Item #3rework another outfit surrounding that one item.  This is what you are going to wear today.  And I mean taking a look first at the bare bones of the outfit: top, bottom, shoes.  Substitute in alternate basics for these.  Perhaps it’s navy/black/grey pants as opposed to a pair of jeans.  Maybe a blazer as opposed to a boyfriend cardigan. Perhaps a dark t-shirt as opposed to the white one you were wearing.

Item #4re-accesorize.  Swap out the jacket, add a scarf.  Add a bright lip colour, a quick winged liner or smokey eye.  Maybe it’s a pair of chandelier earrings as opposed to studs and a necklace, or even a great statement necklace that you haven’t rocked in a while.  Consider curling your hair quickly or maybe throwing it up in a ponytail or chic chignon.  Think through these “detail” pieces, and be creative.  I’ve often found that swapping black flats and a black bag for brown options can completely change the feel of an outfit with little effort.

Item #5stop, take a deep breath, and do a little twirl in front of a full length mirror.  Put a smile on your face and notice that one key piece that’s still there to remind you of the brilliant outfit to come later in the week (or early in the next for that matter).

Now I must absolutely give a word of warning.  There is a significant possibility that after all of this you will realize that you’ve created another brilliant outfit…and it’s now the thing that you want to wear on said upcoming above average day.  Merely switch back into the original outfit and congratulate yourself for having the creativity to be stylishly brilliant twice in one morning.

This is usually the point at which I really hope that really comfortable shoes were a component part of both outfits…as I’m now running about 15 minutes behind schedule and need to sprint to get to wherever I’m going.

So now I wish you all good luck in your morning outfit endeavours!  Let me know if there are any go-tos that you have for when this kind of stress plagues your morning…or if perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones and never have to deal with this!

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Must Have Monday: Summer Scarves.

I must admit, at some point along my journey to adulthood I swapped the security blanket of my youth for a different kind of security blanket…a scarf.  Now in the autumn and winter, these are completely practical.  Even venturing into the early parts of spring they make a lot of sense.  Summer?  Not so much.  That being said, I’m not swayed much from wearing them.  The key is a change of materials, and an alteration of purpose.  No longer is the goal warmth (though they can come in handy on a cool evening), but instead just pure fashion and style.

{Polka Dot & Leopard Scarf, Zara, $40}

What’s spawned this discussion is this particular scarf from Zara.  I swear the thing is stalking me, as I’ve seen it on a phenomenal number of rather stylish individuals, or peeking out of the corner of handbags – stowed away for future use.  I’m having visions of it thrown casually around my neck while wearing a semi-sheer black button down, black tank, and rough denim shorts, hair casually thrown up in a ponytail and sporting a great coral lip.  It’s the combination of the pastel blue and coral with the black accents that I’m particularly enjoying.  That and it has just enough animal print for me to manage (considering it’s something that I’m normally adverse to).

Given that rather extensive outfit description, it’s a wonder that I haven’t added it to my wardrobe yet.  Truth be told, I just haven’t gotten around to getting into Zara.  (Disclaimer…that may all change come Tuesday when I go shopping…but let’s applaud my restraint for now.)  It’s also induced some serious browsing through other options as well, as exhibited below.

A few of my keys for excellent summer scarves is that aside from being lightweight, they also need to be colourful but not excessively bold, and preferably have a touch of cream or white in the mix in order to keep them feeling light and airy.  Those rules could, however, be completely thrown out the window if one paired a bold bright patterned silk with a little denim chambray.  (Anyone else think an All in the Details might be in order along those lines?)

{No. 45, Anthropologie, $58 / Spectacle Storyteller, Madewell, $55 / Drakes London Yellow Paisley, J.Crew, $238 / Collage Print, Tory Burch, $185 / Katrina Striped, Club Monaco, $49 / Ditsy Batick, Anthropologie, $168}

Realistically there’s probably a number of you who think I’m completely off my rocker for suggesting a scarf for the summer…but to each his or her own.  For those of you who don’t think I’m mad as a hatter, do enjoy the selection above (apologies – or not – in advance if they induce retail indulgences), and let me know in the comments if you have any favourites you’d like to share with the class.

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Five Points Friday: The Tao of Talbots.

The number one most frustrating thing that my friends hear me say when they’re commenting on something I’m wearing: “Guess where I got it.  Talbots.”  More than one of my friends has thrown their hands up to towards the sky and said something along the lines of “You have got to be kidding me!”  After a few times of this occurring, followed by a brief stage of frustration the question always becomes: “Okay, one of these days you’re going to have to explain to me how you do it.  How do you actually find things like that at Talbots?”

So here’s a few pointers so that this conversation can go from “I don’t know how she does it.” to “Ah…so that’s the secret.”

{Trellis Lace Pencil SkirtSeersucker BlazerRed Striped Blazer, …a compendium of blazer collars…,  Floral Faille SkirtPiper Coloured Denim}

  1. Focus on foundations. These foundations being pants, blazers, skirts, the occasional printed dress.  The store is not my solution for basics (eg. T-shirts, jeans, oxford shirts), but instead things that are borderline bold or that really ground an outfit (eg. green cable cardigans, maroon cord blazers, cherry red denim).
  2. When nowhere else fits, stomp a path to Talbots.  Given that they range from Petite to Regular to Woman in sizing, and that they have a variety of fits of pants, skirts, and jackets, the odds are often in your favour to find something that fits here.  My favourite fits right now (and I really do love the cute style names) are the Audrey pants and the Kate blazers.
  3. Think bold printed skirts.  These are my essential and my staple from Talbots.  Every Spring/Summer I always go through the racks to see what they’ve got in stock.  What’s lovely is that the skirts are (more often than not) lined, and well-made.  Their fabrics are not cheap and chintzy, and they retain their shape and hang year after year – just update the styling.
  4. Right…styling…this is a big one.  I would highly advise against attempting to build an entire wardrobe from here.  A mismatched totally Talbots ensemble can definitely have the distinct opportunity to look frumpy.  The key is to pick a classic (or bold…most of my coloured pants and denim are from here) single piece and mix it with more current pieces.  (hem, hem…take a look at the commentary at the end of this post or head over here)
  5. Keep in mind the general aesthetic that the store has.  These are preppy or classic basics, with fun feminine trends running amok.  This is the place with the history of pearls and pastels.  If you’re looking for flowy maxi dresses…probably not.  Bright pink ankle-length chinos, or a kelly green blazer?  Sold – to the girl of great style and an open-mind.

And a bonus note: get over yourself and just go in the damn store.  Just look.  You are not always going to have perfect luck here – even I sometimes leave the store empty handed, or damn-near hurling over certain styles/prints – but it’s worth glancing through the racks and adding to your arsenal.  A great trick as well is to get on their email list, this store has sales galore – meaning very rarely do I buy anything at full price.

Hopefully I’ve done the trick of beginning to de-mystify the basics of how to navigate these waters, and I do wish you the best of luck on your next shopping excursion.  Who knows…perhaps one day you to will begin to get the “You got that where!?” line…and silently chuckle to yourself  that you were once in the same boat.

…and just in case you’d like to hear a little more…

To see how I unexpectedly (or expectedly) worked a terribly modern and current piece of Talbots (bright red-orange cropped jeans) into an outfit head on over to…drumroll please…Shopping’s My Cardio.  That’s the announcement I was alluding to earlier in my “Miss Me Much?” post.  I’ll be writing a weekly column over on SMC called “All in the Details” – so be sure to check over there for my byline.

(And of course a sincere salutations to those of you who’ve ended up at AnonymousChic from Becki’s blog!)

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Footwear Friday: Aaden Mid Heel from Tory Burch.

Dear class, we’ve been through this before…I’m not a heels girl.  Despite a number of years in ballet class, all I ever got out of them was poise, grace, and turned out hips.  Which essentially means that I’m a gracefully clumsy duck.  Making me walk on an incline (as the wearing of heels does)?  More often than not it’s a sufficiently awful idea.  That being said, in the instance that I am capable of walking in heels…that’s the test to say that essentially everyone can wear them.

{Aaden Mid Heel, Tory Burch, $275}

My most recent find also ranks as one of my most comfortable: the Aaden Mid Heel from Tory Burch. These were the solution to a brief hunt for a pair of neutral (note: not nude) pumps that would suffice for both work and play, that were a reasonable height and above all else: sturdy.  Stillettos, regardless of how un-effing-real they make one’s legs look are not for the sprained ankle prone.

The particular pair of Aaden’s that I found were courtesy of an impulse trip to Holts following an annual birthday brunch with a dear friend of mine.  A dear friend who’s Tory Burch heels I’ve absconded with on a regular basis might I add.

Here’s the thing about these heels.  When in the “Sand” colour, they’re a great caramel-toned brown that really re-defines neutral.  In this colour as well, the lightness keeps the shoe from otherwise being a little heavy looking – meaning that you can style them with everything from pants to breezy floral skirts.  The gold accenting is subtle, and though the logo is done completely in gold, because it blends so nicely with the leather it doesn’t come across as flashy as the TB logo often can.  Additionally, I quite enjoy the leather strap-esque detail that holds it in place on the front.  A very sturdy and solid stacked wood heel means that walking on these is a breeze, and at 2.5″ it’s enough of a lift to give your legs a little length without making you teeter above the masses.

{A brief outfit example: Ralph Lauren Chambray Shirt, Floral Tommy Hilfiger Skirt, American Flag Free People Scarf, and a Navy Coach Clutch}

Tried and tested?  You bet.  I’ve worn these both out to dinner and a show, as well as for a full day of work (minus the commute to and fro…which one should never truly be expected to do in heels), and have never felt unsteady or as though my feet were aching for flats.

Available at Holt Renfrew in Canada (and now at Tory Burch if you’re in Toronto!), online through Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, and for those of you south of the 49th at ToryBurch.com as well.  These retail for about $300…but considering they’re good with everything from black to brown and denim (and a few patterned in between for good measure), they’re worth looking into investing in.

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Miss me much?

Three things that precluded me from posting for 2 months (listed in chronological order): finishing the first year of my Master’s degree (read: exams and papers), a brief vacation in California, and starting a new job.  Excuses are really useless on the interwebs, but considering I feel bad about being more than a little MIA when I was on such a roll for a while…rationale you shall have.

School’s out for the summer…please don’t start singing the associated song…grades are back and it looks like I passed.  California was lovely, though my stay was infinitely too short.  It did allow me the early opportunity to rock outfits like this though:

{…a fairly good representation of what I wore while on vacation…}

Oh, and yes…that’s lovely new midnight blue addition to my handbag arsenal.  Commentary on that purchase coming soon, seeing as I know there are more than a few handbag junkies that follow this blog.  That, and we all know that I’m a bit of a fan of babbling about bags on this blog.

My gig for the summer is also pretty excellent.  I’ve somehow managed to fuse policy, business, and arts all into a single internship…part of which happened as a fluke and some of which happened as a result of me applying myself to land the spot.  Thus far I couldn’t be happier, and I really don’t forsee my tune changing about that one anytime soon.  It has, however, reminded me of the conundrums one can face when balancing a work dress code, summer, and personal style – so I’ll be sure to share any tricks or suggestions that I manage to come up with as the summer progresses.  In the mean time, I’ve been finding some serious inspiration regarding the topic on Capitol Hill Style – so be sure to check that out if you find yourself in a similar predicament.

Needless to say, you’ll be seeing more of me (or I suppose reading more of my online musings) on AnonymousChic now that I’ve managed to understand what my schedule is going to be like for the summer.  Additionally, you may be seeing my byline show up another place on the interwebs as well…but I’ll wait to make that announcement once it starts occurring.

Well, I’m off curl up with a book and a cup of tea…that book being a notebook that is to be filled with blogging ideas and posts to be typed up that have been stored in the recesses of the right hemisphere of my cranium for far too long.

PS:  And don’t worry…I missed you too.

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Essentials Saturday: What’s in my makeup bag.

It’s a phenomenon known only really to the female half of the species…the innate compulsion to want to know what’s in someone’s purse or makeup bag.  As though it’s some window into the psyche of your fellow females, as though their life can be distilled down into the material objects that they carry with them on a regular basis.  I’m sure there are infinite sociological and psychological explanations and implications for this phenomenon…but realistically I’m usually just a little bit snoopy, and blatantly curious.  So when a friend of mine asked to take a look through the makeup bag that I lug around with me in the various incarnations of my daily handbag, I was less than hesitant to oblige…I actually found it to be an interesting exercise.

Just in case you’re interested, here’s the run down (and the corresponding rationale) of what’s in my makeup bag.


#1 – The fresh sugar tinted lip balm lineup
:  Yes guys & dolls, the whole lineup of the tints (there’s only four, calm down).  These absolutely substitute as lipstick for me on a regular basis and are ideal for treatment and moisture while delivering the perfect wash of colour at the same time.  A bit of an indulgence, but one that I have made countless times. (Sephora, $22.50 each)

#2 – Chanel Matte Luminous Powder Makeup & Retractable Blush Brush from Sephora: In a shade that’s just dark enough to be “corrective” as opposed to “translucent”, this powder is what’s been sitting in my makeup bag for a fair amount of time.  It’s particularly helpful for touchups, and can even be used with a damp touch as an impromptu concealer.  The brush is great because you can keep the bristles contained so that you don’t have anything getting on the brush…and you don’t have powder flying all over your bag.  (Powder from Holt Renfrew, $63, Brush from Sephora, $22)

#3 – Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer: Re-application of a full face of makeup is usually not in the cards mid-afternoon, but on the days when my skin in misbehaving I’m always glad that this little compact is in my bag. Considering it’s a fairly dry concealer it often doesn’t require setting with a powder, so it’s a quick step. (Sephora, $28)

#4 – Cream Blusher:  As a fairly pale person, blush is one of those things that I have a distinct tendency to touch-up on a regular basis.  The need to look the opposite of drained and lifeless is quickly corrected by a swipe of blusher on the cheeks.  Cream to powder finishes are usually my go-to, but whatever floats your boat.  My favourites are from Merle Norman and Bobbi Brown. (Bobbi Brown at Sephora, $24)

#5 – Miniature Mascara & Eyelash Curlers:  Really it’s whatever sample size I’ve recently acquired, or something that caught my eye in line at Sephora.  Often times a quick curl and a swipe of mascara can really do the trick in terms of opening up your eyes and making you look more awake.  Since eye contact is such a large part of how we communicate, might as well keep them looking fresh and lovely.  (Diorshow Best in Show Duo at Sephora, $20)

#6 – Bobby Pins & a J.Crew Hairclip:  Ponytails and I only recently started getting along, so throwing my hair up in a bun has always been a go-to solution (remnants of the large number of hours I spent in a ballet class when I was younger I suppose).  The claw clips from J.Crew are also indestructible and the tortoise shell colouring helps it to hide in my har.  Self-explanatory lifesavers really I suppose. (J.Crew Clip, $14)

#7 – Hand Sanitizer:  The world is not the cleanest of places.  Occasionally my inner germaphobe kicks in and this is necessary for those times when washing one’s hands is just not an option. (Bath & Body Works Pocketbac, $1.50)

#8 – Tide-to-Go:  Many of us are clumsy, or have accident or spill-prone friends.  While absolutely not a substitution for washing and spot-treating, it can be helpful to have on hand.

#9 – Travalo:  Newest addition to my bag, and something that I’m still on the fence about but love the idea of too much to nix it completely.  Essentially a pocket perfume atomizer that’s incredibly simple to fill and reuse.  (Shoppers, $10)

So…what do you deem to be your essentials?  What makes the cut to be a part of your makeup bag?

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