Most of you know my Midwestern fashion journey has been a long and rocky road. There’s no denying I’ve struggled with the transition between the South and Midwest, between the metropolis of Atlanta to the quaint town of Madison. It wasn’t until this year that I finally chiseled away that unfamiliar exterior and found some of my people – fashion people.
I met Pamela Wilson (the owner and originator of the designer women’s fashion destination in Madison, Wisconsin) at a panel hosted by the Madison Fashion Network. Shortly after, I paid a visit to her boutique, Iona, and for the first time in Madison, I felt like I was home.
If you’re looking for a piece of the big city in Madison, look no further than Iona. Iona is a carefully edited boutique featuring both established and emerging designers. It’s the type of boutique one would find in New York City, Los Angeles, or my hometown, Atlanta. With Iona, Pamela is elevating the fashion in Madison to a whole new level.
As part of the celebration of Iona’s one year anniversary, Pamela hosted an exclusive fall style guide event. Once again, proof of the innovative approach Pamela is bringing to the Madison fashion scene. Drawing on fall 2014 runway inspiration, trends set for the season, and an autumn color palette, Pamela composed a comprehensive fall style guide that aims to make fashion accessible to everyone.
I’ve complied a couple of the highlights from the event and am excited to share them with you here!
We discussed several looks from the fall 2014 runway and some of the top trends for the season. Then, we explored how to attain the looks and trends with pieces found at Iona.
BOLD COLORS & GRAPHIC PRINTS
LEATHER, BLACK, & WHITE
LAYERING KNITS & STATEMENT ACCESSORIES
The most insightful portion of the presentation was exploring color stories and exemplifying how to create them. The notion of taking a set of colors, walking into your closet, and pairing pieces of your wardrobe based on complementary color schemes seems so simple, yet I had never thought of composing an outfit in this way.
All of the pieces illustrated in the color stories can be purchased at Iona…
…viewed on Iona’s site and purchased via phone.
“She’s late. She gets home and sees her guests have already arrived. A moment of panic arises until she slips on her little black dress, dabs on some scent, pats her chignon into place, and clips a string of pearls around her neck. She’s perfect.” – Didier Ludot, The Little Black Dress – Vintage Treasure
Like Christian Dior, you too may consider the little black dress “the most essential thing in any woman’s wardrobe,” but when you slip on your go-to LBD, did you know you’re wearing a piece of history?
I didn’t realize the extent to which the little black dress had made its mark until reading Ludot’s The Little Black Dress – Vintage Treasure. This book is about one quarter text and three quarters pictures, both of which shed light on the journey of this simple yet profound article of clothing. Although Miranda Priestly’s monologue on cerulean in The Devil Wears Prada is a bit smug and over the top, she has a point in that there is a deep history behind every garment. I learned quite a few things from The Little Black Dress – Vintage Treasure, and I’m here to share the highlights with you:
BEWARE THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS
1. The little black dress should not be mistaken as just another wardrobe staple.
“By some mysterious alchemy, the little black dress embodies the woman who wears it like a second skin.”
2. The little black dress is powerful in ways we can’t quite understand.
“They say black absorbs the contours, but it’s a magnet for the eyes.”
3. The little black dress is unsuspecting.
“As we see it through the kaleidoscope of memories, the dress becomes the very essence of the woman.”
EVOLUTION OF THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS
Chanel brings the color black out of mourning and introduces the “Ford” dress, which quickly becomes the uniform of the modern woman.
Hemlines may change, but the little black dress is here to stay.
The little black dress joins the resistance. Despite the scarcity of fabrics, the LBD endures as a symbol of patriotic chic.
War is over and the little black dress is just getting started. Haute couture is reborn and the LBD becomes the uniform of the existentialist movement.
Christian Dior presents his first post-war collection, complete with the little black number, the “Diorama” dress.
Two words: Audrey Hepburn.
The little black dress goes back into mourning with the death of Christian Dior.
Film is dominated by the little black dress. “It was in the torment of those years that [the LBD] revealed its true nature: it was indestructible.”
The little black dress becomes the emblem of the young jet set – think Studio 54.
Peace, love, and the little black dress. Despite the Flower Power fashion movement, the LBD holds its ground.
Black returns with a vengeance and for a long time to come with the help of Karl Lagerfeld.
Miuccia Prada hits the scene. “The dress returned to its place of honor in every fashionable wardrobe. Mothers’ and daughters’ tastes in fashion could strengthen, broaden, and converge around the little black dress.”
“The little black dress obeys no standards, resists every fad, is fashion incarnate.”
I typically tend toward dainty jewelry. I have a petite frame and small stature, so I usually find myself feeling swallowed whole by bulky jewelry. Then, it seemed like chunky jewelry was beginning to take over – the bigger and bolder the better! Then, layering lots of delicate jewelry seemed to be on trend: stack rings, knuckle rings, charm necklaces, any and every light weight bauble in the jewelry box! Once the layering trend caught on, ladies started packing and stacking on multiple pieces of chunky jewelry – bangles piled elbow high! How’s a girl to know what to do with her collection of chunky and dainty jewelry? I realized the key is finding a balance.
The take away here is that tracking trends can become overwhelming and can ultimately confuse your sense of style. Jewelry is one of the easiest areas to play around in your wardrobe. You can mix metals, weights, and styles of jewelry, and despite the trend that happens to be the flavor of the week, you really can’t go wrong. However, I still believe in having some staple pieces of jewelry in your collection.
I’m a gold jewelry girl, and mixing metals is a style I’m still working on. So, my 4 jewelry essentials are featured in gold but would be great in rose gold, silver, or gunmetal too!
THE ESSENTIAL NECKLACE
Layering dainty necklaces is my go-to everyday look. However, my ESSENTIAL NECKLACE is a chunky statement necklace. Having this necklace in your collection gives you an instant outfit. Do the math!
Basic Black Dress + Statement Necklace = Instant Outfit
Simple Solid Tee + Statement Necklace = Complete Look
Crisp White Blouse + Statement Necklace = Done!
Shop a similar necklace by Dream Collective on Of a Kind here
THE ESSENTIAL BRACELET
I probably rely on my gold bangle too much. This is my ESSENTIAL BRACELET. With my small frame comes teeny, tiny wrists that almost never accommodate your average bangle, so once I find one that fits, I basically never take it off. I’m typically very active and expressive with my hands, so I only layer bracelets under special circumstances to avoid unnecessary banging and clanking. Work at a computer all day like me and sworn off bracelets? Bangles are easy to take on/off at the desk and are too big to lose. Fashion vs. Function dilemma solved!
Shop a similar bangle by Dannijo here
THE ESSENTIAL EARRING
You thought I was gonna say hoop or stud, right? Let’s rethink the essential earring. Sure, I hope you have a great hoop and a go-to stud in your jewelry collection, by my ESSENTIAL EARRING is the drop earring. Some necklines compete with a necklace, and you need an earring to be your anchor. A dainty drop earring is the perfect feminine focal point in such outfit occasions!
THE ESSENTIAL RINGS
Two rings (or three rings, or four rings) are better than one. Let’s be honest, the only ring that stands alone is an engagement ring. When it comes to any other rings, the more the merrier, but pairing them well is key. So, my ESSENTIAL RINGS include a balance of basic bands and easy to pair statement rings. Don’t forget the latest fashion: knuckle rings!
Shop similar bands and knuckle rings by Gorjana here
Shop similar statement rings by Dara Ettinger here
Photographed by Angie Webb of Suburbanite Photography
P.S. Angie has a giveaway going on now through Sunday, June 1 for a 90-minute session – enter here!
Over the past decade we’ve become an increasingly digital society in nearly all facets of life. Part of that transition has been a shift in shopping at brick and mortar stores to shopping online. Now, more and more people are shopping online for a variety of reasons. I used to strictly shop at brick and mortar stores, even as the popularity of e-commerce grew. I felt the need to see things in person, touch them, and try them on. At one time, I could never have imagined converting to a life of online shopping.
Since college, travel has become a huge part of my career and life. Between jetting around for work, maintaining a long distance relationship, and visiting friends and family, it seems I’m rarely in one place for an extended period of time. This lifestyle has made me become an avid online shopper because I no longer have the luxury of time to go out and spend a leisurely Saturday shopping at brick and mortar stores. Over the course of my transformation into an online shopper, I’ve become skilled at examining products and assessing them for their fit and quality without the in-person sensory experience. I’ve also realized one of the major benefits of shopping online: price comparing and finding the best deal. It’s online shopping (in combination of many years working in wholesale and retail) that has made me vow to never pay full price for anything. Now, I can’t imagine going back to my old brick and mortar ways.
So, what is the future of online shopping? We’ve already seen strides in e-commerce as social platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Polyvore have integrated shopping into their experience. Advancements like this will hopefully continue to grow and evolve. There’s also talk of two other digital shopping game changers on the horizon: the e-commerce giant, Alibaba, and the latest retail technology innovation, Beacon.
Alibaba is the leading e-commerce site in China. Imagine Amazon meet ASOS on an even larger scale. Let me give you an idea of the scope of Alibaba. According to Forbes, the site handles more goods than eBay and Amazon combined, and on it’s busiest shopping day last year, Alibaba sold three times as many goods as were bought in the United States on Black Friday. Alibaba is currently preparing for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange that is estimated to raise $15 billion. Later this year, the company plans to enter the U.S. market by launching a new e-commerce site, 11 Main.
Beacon technology is blurring the lines between shopping online and offline. Online shopping allows retailers to gather a wealth of information about their customers and track consumer behavior. Web cookies track our every click and the ability to login to sites with social media accounts is just another way to collect more personal data. Retailers with brick and mortar stores want the same ability to gather and track information about their patrons. Beacon technology uses Bluetooth Low Energy to connect to devices like your smartphone when shopping in-store. Currently, the downside of Beacon technology is that it requires retailers to have the hardware installed and users to opt in. However, there are benefits for consumers who elect to participate. For example, Beacon offers hands-free payments. Beacon technology may also help shoppers navigate a store to find what they like best. Most recently the personalized fashion marketplace Lyst has partnered with Paypal Beacon. When Lyst users enter a store that uses PayPal Beacon, they’ll be alerted of brands they follow on the app that are available in the store and have access to current inventory information. Because the technology is still in the very early stages, the possibilities for its application in the future are truly endless!
1. UPDATE on a Current Collaboration
Kate Hudson + Ann Taylor = a partnership made in heaven. We know the stunning actress has worked with the leading women’s wear brand from being the face of their campaigns to showcasing her picks in the form of a look book on their site. Now, the collaboration continues with some exciting news. Kate Hudson and Ann Taylor will be launching a capsule collection of the ultimate lady’s essential: the little black dress. The line is set to launch in a few weeks and will consist of five unique styles of LBDs. So, mark down Thursday, April 10 on your calendar! Whether you’re more of a Romantic, looking to be Camera Ready, or hope to one day be Best Actress, one of these aptly named styles will work for you!
2. 10 Years of Cool Girl Jewelry
Several years ago my cool-jewelry-friend (come on, don’t we all have one of those?) introduced me to a unique brand: Catbird. Catbird is a Brooklyn based brand that began in 2004 with a carefully curated collection of jewelry from basics with a twist to one of a kind pieces. Now, ten years later, the brand has grown in more ways than one. Catbird has grown in popularity and nearly outgrown its somewhat modest studio in Williamsburg. They have also grown to carry a variety of uncommon goods from beauty to home to other accessories. The brand has undeniably reached a level of cool-dom, but in case you need another push to check them out (if you haven’t already), you can be sure to spot their gems on some of the coolest girls around, such as Michelle Williams, Liv Tyler, and Hannah and Jessa in Season 3 of HBO’s Girls.
3. The Newest E-Commerce Site to Launch
Los Angeles based brand Band of Outsiders has finally launched its much anticipated e-commerce site and brand new website design. Band of Outsiders was founded in 2004 with a menswear line. Then, in 2008, the label revealed a menswear-inspired women’s line. The brand boasts at having something for everyone by bringing together a quirky combination of hipster hemlines and preppy patterns. The e-commerce portion of the site comes with a complete revamp of their existing webpage. The overhaul keeps with the brand’s innovative and modern approach by featuring a unique display of feed from the brand’s social media platforms on the homepage. Looks like this could be the future of brand sites: a complete integration of e-commerce, social media, and everything else.