Tag Archives: j.crew

Footwear Friday: The ever elusive ankle boots.

Despite my wardrobe being populated with saturated colour, and more than its fair share of cardigans and preppy oxford button downs, this fall I’m really craving a pair of dusky worn ankle boots.  There’s something about fall that always makes me want a little rustic contrast in my wardrobe, and while I’ve been wary of short boots in the past (my shorter curvy nature always makes me shy away from things that have the potential to make my legs look any less long) I’ve just seen too many excellent options to stay away much longer.  That and I’m constantly haunted by an old Shopping’s My Cardio post when Becki finally decided that she was going to overcome her fears.

So off we trek, with a lovely range of options, and a few notes for when you (and I!) are looking.  In my brief, yet tempting, foray into “research” for this post (ie. online window shopping) I was able to define what caught my eye into two broad categories: those that were dusky (via suede) with a feminine tone and a slight heel, and those that were of the classic and/or rugged flat variety.

Common features of that first group?  Dusky suede or a roughed up leather are a uniting feature, but what really connects them is an emphasis on detailing at the ankle.  Buckles, zippers and tassels all help to keep each of these styles from veering too far into the land of generic and not worth commenting on.  I’m a particular fan of those deep olive/army green Rag & Bone Harrows (7), but more practically the greige pair with woven leather by Joie (2) make more sense with the weather that I’m subject to.  

{ 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 }

And then there are those with a little more substance to them.  Pairs from Belle by Sigerson Morrison (10), Dolce Vita (11) & the Frye Engineer 8Rs (13) appeal to my original goal which is a roughed up contrast and call up memories of trying to track down a pair of Frye Engineers with my ever fashionable friend M.  While the Madewell Bikers (12) & Chelseas (14) appeal to the ever so slightly more edgy hipster components of my style (…by relative comparison), the classic clean-cut preppy in me though is giving a silent nod of approval to the J.Crew Bookers (8) & Lindsay Plate’s from Frye (9) though, and unsurprisingly they’re also the ones I’m leaning towards.

{ 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 }

All of the pretty boots aside, let’s take a minute and talk about fit.  My ‘research’ also extended to my traipsing around to a few stores and trying things on.  Personally I found that the boots hit one of three places: just below, just at, or about an inch or two above the ankle bone.  Now I know that there will be more than a few who argue that the last category shouldn’t count, but hear me out.  What you’re looking for is how the boot sits relative to the widest point of your calves.  In some instances, if the boot is a touch higher and cut wider at the top, this may actually end up being the most flattering if you have a larger calf.  Options that hug right at the ankle can accentuate the shape of your lower leg (depending on ankle/calf proportions), and those that sit just below really ground an outfit as they draw attention down.  This can be accented or negated by the physical weight / heel height / construction of the boot.  My rule of thumb for low/ankel boots would be that the heel height vs. the height of the boot can be inversely proportional (eg. as the heel height increases, the physical boot height should decrease).

Honestly though, my true loves are the Rag & Bone Durhams (4), I’ve actually gone and visited them at Holts multiple times.  They. Are. Excellent.  But realistically I think I’m leaning towards an option from Frye, either the sleeker Lindsay Plates (9) or a classic pair of Engineer 8Rs (13) – given the fact that I’ve been a long-term fan of their boots.  Then again I may just opt out all together and/or decide that I already own enough boots.

Thoughts, suggestions, or particular boots that are on your radar?  Be sure to share with the class in the comments!

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Colour Code: The firey red of changing leaves.

One of my favourite haunts, Matchbook Mag (…I’ve raved about them before!) does a series on their blog The Daily Spark called “Colour Palette”.  It’s this great series where the pick a pattern or colour or pair of colours and share their favourite finds using that as a theme.  Thusly, I’ve drawn inspiration from that, and as a result of a number of my friends and colleagues concluding the following: “My goodness child, you’re certainly not afraid of wearing colour are you.” (…yes…they all just became southern grandmothers).  And without further ado, I present to you the first instalment of “Colour Code” – an expression of my love for colour, penchant for organization, and of course with a dash of my fashion sense and style thrown into the mix.

~

I’m a fan of the deep wine and oxblood tones that are currently dominating fall trends, but I’d like to take a minute and advocate for a brief alternative: that firey, leaf-changing, orange-red tone.  It all started (as many a fashion obsession in my world does) with a pair of shoes.  While these originally caught my eye because of the shape and details (smoking loafers, tassels, pairing brights & neutrals…originally inspired by Emily on Cupcakes & Cashmere), it wasn’t until after a serendipitous impromptu shopping trip to J.Crew with two of my delightful partners in crime (Miss B & Miss G) that suddenly became smitten with the colour as well!

{Toni Tassel Loafers, J.Crew, $187}

Since that serendipitous trip, I’ve been seeing that colour nearly everywhere (as further evidenced by a quick trip to Holts with my friend W) and I can’t resist sharing a few of my favourites.  Styling wise I’d be inclined to make sure to ground this colour with a solid dose of neutrals (black, taupe, navy, tan,  grey, etc.) and let it shine as the sole accent colour in an outfit.  On the other hand, this colour plays particularly well with teal and royal blue, as exhibited below.  The tweed from Tory Burch even shows that with careful consideration, it plays well with the plum-toned oxbloods.  This is a deeper tone than its predecessors from the spring and summer, and as mentioned I’d describe it as reminiscent of the tones of leaves changing, the warm tones of fires, crisp apples, and as a component part of plaids.  The colour should look rich, an ever so slightly sultry smile as opposed to an all out sunshine induced cheerful grin.

Skirt / Pants / Jacket / Scarf / Belt / Earrings / Shirt / Handbag / Bracelet / Necklace / Heels / Clutch }

Now while I did warn that an abundance of this colour could be a little much, I’d thrown that suggestion out the window if you’re Ginnifer Goodwin at the 2012 Emmy’s…in which case I’d list her amongst the best dressed of the night.  If you’re confident in the colour, you might as well let it take centre stage.

{Ginnifer Goodwin in Monique Lhuillier at the 2012 Emmy’s, Image from PurseBlog.com}

Are you planning on mixing this bit of the colour wheel into your wardrobe?  Be sure to share your ideas or favourite pieces with the class in the comments.

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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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Footwear Friday: Flat boots that fit!

Thank-you again to TheDailyObsession and their small Monday piece on Flat Boots for reminding me how much I want a pair of Coach boots…or just a pair of cute boots in general.  See I find myself in quite the predicament when it comes to attempting to find a pair of the aforementioned cute flat boots, as more than a few years of dance quickly built up some rather muscular calves.

Ah yes…the usual search, undertaken by many a fashionable individual for tall boots for the Autumn and Winter seasons…and the well documented undertaking of those with wide calves.  Sure, there are the boots with the “elasticized panel” that’s supposed to help them widen out, there’s the currently chic ankle boot {which I forewarn those with large calves, these may look a little odd}, and then there’s the “I swear I can get this over my calves!” moment that we all have on the fitting room floor where we attempt to do up the zip or pull up the leather only in advance of the inevitable sigh that comes when we realize that there is no way they’re going to fit.  This does not mean that we are too large everywhere else…it just means that we don’t have “standard issue sized” lower portions of our legs.

But what is that I see in the distance…a glimmer of hope for those with wide calves?  Why by George it is!  Hello brands who make boots with a little extra room up top, or ones that custom fit, or even an entire section on Zappos.com exclusively for wide-calf boots.  And, of course we can’t forget Dear Oprah.  In her current issue, as well as in her online world, has a bit of a Q&A for solutions to said dilemma – courtesy of Creative Director Adam Glassman – although there’s more in the old-school paperback edition than the online tidbit.  The O Magazine article aside, here are a few of my recommendations for where to look.

{Image from DUOBoots.com}

DUO Boots ~ A brand that I discovered in the UK about 5 or 6 years ago, DUO boots is committed to making shoes and boots for every size…the custom fit without actually having to shell out the insane price tags that normally come with a custom boot.  Plug in your shoe size {make sure you’re in the right measurement system!}, as well as your calf measurement and it will narrow down all the boots on the site to the ones that fit your specifications.  Prices range from $200-$400 + shipping and handling…but considering the headache you’re going to save {and the fact that this is what you probably would have paid for good boots anyways}, these seem to be my primary suggestion.  My choice this season is going to be a classic black riding boot…or perhaps something in the varietal of high-heeled taupe suede…granted that chocolate brown over the knee version also makes me a little weak at the knees.

{Image from JCrew.com}

J.Crew ~ Disclaimer – I spend too much time on this site already.  I did not need them to make wide-calfed boots to add to my adoration.  Simply click “extended calf” on a variety of their styles on your selection and you’re off to the races.  The styles offered by J.Crew are primarily leaning towards the casual boot, and offered in some fantastic colours {fossil grey anyone?}.  There is one dressier boot offered by the site that has a great pointed toe and a subtle kitten heel though…and I’m thinking it’s going on my work wishlist.  Extended calf sizes are an additional $20 to the listed price {as noted when you’re choosing sizes, etc.}, but let’s be realistic…we do need the extra leather.

Zappos ~ As I mentioned, Zappos has an option where you can click “Wide Calf Boots” and it will filter down to all of the boots that are listed as “Wide Calf” on their website.  They offer a wide variety of brands, and are even just a great place to find brands that make these extended calf sizes.  For customers in Canada though, be forewarned that you have to order off the Canadian site…which offers a smaller variety, but is still available.

{Image from EddieBauer.com}

Eddie Bauer ~ Alright, so perhaps not your primary destination when shopping or looking for shoes, but with their classic woodsy vibe they certainly have their fair share of boots in regular stock.  I have a pair of the extended calf boots, and I was pleasantly surprised with the fit.  Although there are a limited number of styles that I would dive into ordering,

If you’re a little wary of ordering online my strong suggestion is to frequent some of the high-end department stores or shoe shops and inquire as to whether or not they have a boot stretcher.  Places such as Holt Renfrew, Ogilvy, Saks, and Arnold Churgin have be known to have boot stretchers in their back rooms which means that they have incremental capacity to make the boots fit around your calves.  It’s all dependent on the boot, the kind of leather, and other such considerations, but more often than not there’s a little room to groove.  I won’t guarantee that they’ll all have boot stretchers, but it’s worth quick phone call or pop by in order to investigate!

As for me?  Considering that a large portion of my boot collection currently needs to be tossed out after more than a few seasons of serious salt damage, my choice destination will have to be J.Crew first…surprise surprise.  But that shopping trip is going to have to wait until the next time a free shipping coupon comes through my inbox.

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