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Archive for the ‘Designers to Watch’ Category

How to be the Best Dressed Wedding Guest

Posted on: May 29th, 2015 by Leah No Comments

The month of June, second only to August, is the most popular month for weddings. With all the different types of weddings it can be hard to know what to wear. For most weddings, the invitation will indicate the type of attire the couple would like their guests to don by listing the dress code. When a wedding invitation does not clearly indicate the dress code, you’ll need to create a look that is special, respectful, and appropriate for the venue and time of celebration.

An Evening Wedding

Weddings are a celebratory event and that means what you wear should reflect that. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. An evening wedding indicates a more formal affair and should be attended with semi-formal to formal attire unless otherwise noted.   That said, you never want to upstage the bride. This means no attention-getting styles showing too much leg or too much decolletage, no loud colors and absolutely no white. A cocktail dress is the perfect attire for an evening wedding paired with classic accessories such as heels, a clutch purse and jewelry. Stand out in a sea of LBDs by opting for a feminine print such as floral or charming color tones such as soft pink or mint green.

A Daytime Wedding

A daytime wedding calls for a more subdued look. Stay away from black dresses for early morning or afternoon weddings to ensure you don’t look like you are attending a funeral. Instead of black or bold colored heels which will look more appropriate for evening attire, opt for wedges, sandals or nude colored heels that will perfectly complement a day look. Similar to what you might wear to an outdoor wedding, a daytime wedding is perfect for sundresses and long maxi dresses. A long maxi dress worn with sandals will be celebratory while not being overdressed for the time of day.

An Outdoor Wedding

If it’s an outdoor wedding, your footwear will be the most important part of your outfit. Outdoor weddings held on a beach, or in a field will make heels more of a hazard than an accessory. Choose shoes that you can walk-in such as dressy sandals or wedge heels and stay away from flip flops as they are too noisy and casual. For men, loafers or leather sandals are appropriate unless a dress code of semi-formal or formal has been noted. You’ll also need to plan for the elements. Rain, bugs, and sun are all things to plan ahead for by packing the right items to make you comfortable such as an umbrella, bug spray and sunscreen. If it’s warm, you will also need to make sure your clothing is sweat resistant. Choose darker colored fabrics that are breathable and made from natural fibers such as 100 percent cotton or linen.

Kristin Ayala Crane's Bridal Designs

Kristin Ayala Crane’s Bridal Designs

For the Bride

In early May, the Key West High School Fashion Club presented its eighth annual fashion show where ten talented students presented their designs. One high school fashionista, Kristin Ayala Crane, created her line inspired by bridal fashion week with the whimsical theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her collection utilized lace, tulle, satin and strategic cutouts for accentuating the beauty of the female physique. In addition to white, gold was also used to complement her designs for an elegant look. Although these students are not yet selling their own creations, if you’re a bride to-be, they certainly are a group to watch as these talented students are sure to be tomorrow’s couture bridal fashion designers.

 

Planning Ahead for What to Wear

Posted on: November 15th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Dressing up is synonymous with celebrating. In the words of Rachel Zoe, “It’s what differentiates the cork-popping moments from the everyday routine of our lives.” With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to start forging a plan for what you will be wearing to all of the festivities. From holiday parties with friends, to work functions, to family celebrations, each event means a different outfit. By creating a plan for what you will be wearing, you will ensure you won’t be stuck wearing the same black dress you wore last year. Very few holiday celebrations happen spontaneously so save on the stress and make a plan now for looking your best.

Identify what you already have

First, go through your closet and look at what you already own and what needs repairs. Do you own a party dress that still fits you well and looks fabulous? Do you have work appropriate apparel that can be worn for holiday celebrations with your colleagues? Are your dress-up shoes in need of a shine, polish or being reheeled? If so, now is the time to do so. You will also want to check on whether you own the right accessories and undergarments. Often the clothes hanging in our closet that have yet to be worn are hanging there because you still don’t own the right strappy heels to go with the dress.   Here is a list of some of the things you should own: an LBD, a formal cocktail dress in a color other than black, a sweater, wrap, or jacket that could be worn over a dress or skirt for warmth and for more conservative work functions, an evening bag, and glamorous jewelry.

Is there a Dress Code?

Before deciding what to wear, be sure you know the dress code. New Year’s Eve celebrations and holiday weddings both tend to demand more formal attire. If you’re not sure of the dress code, consider the venue and the time of day. Evening events will always be more formal in nature. The Florida Keys are typically more relaxed when it comes to dress codes, however, the holidays are the perfect excuse to break out your sequined shoes and fabulous LBD. It’s never a bad thing to be the most glamorous person in the room.

Reinvent a Look

Stylish women know the art of reinventing a look with chic accessories. If you always wear your LBD with the same heels and jewelry, it may be time to swap in a new bold necklace and matching heels to make the same basic dress look a bit different.   Suzette Kelly in Key West creates beautiful handmade jewelry perfect for dressing up your holiday look. All of her creations are handmade with sterling silver, 14 karat gold, semiprecious stones, and Swarovski crystal. Locally, you can find Suzette’s one-of-a-kind jewelry at Wanderlust Boutique at 310 Petronia Street in Key West. Open Monday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-4.

Sterling silver, jade and precosia crystal by Suzette Kelly at Wanderlust Boutique in Key West

Sterling silver, jade and precosia crystal by Suzette Kelly at Wanderlust Boutique in Key West

Dressing up is an opportunity to show another side of you. The most important thing to remember is that you need to feel comfortable and fabulous in what you are wearing. With a well thought plan, you can be the life of the party instead of worrying about what you are wearing.

The Evolution of Swimwear #MBFWswim

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Fashion is in constant evolution with styles and trends changing as quickly as the seasons. This is also true of swimwear. Swimwear’s greatest influence has historically been based on the beliefs of society on modesty and sexuality. The swimwear we know today has really changed very little since its first appearance in the 1940’s. Instead, designers have relied on colors and prints, embellishments, and unique cuts to make a collection fresh and new each year.

The earliest form of the female bathing suit was a bathing dress worn in the early 1800’s. These reserved full-coverage dresses were made of material that had weights sewn into the hems to keep the dress from rising up in the water. The men’s bathing suit at this time was a wool garment with long sleeves and legs similar to long underwear. Can you imagine how hot these would have been? Certainly these ensembles would not have worked in the Florida Keys.

At one time, swimwear also included stockings, paddle gloves, and emergency flags to alert others when in danger. It wasn’t until swimming became popularized as a sport by the Olympic Games that swimming attire became streamlined to provide greater movement. And thankfully, Speedo introduced the first non-wool bathing suit in the 1920’s.

The arrival of the bikini was popularized by the style icons that wore them. Betty Grable glamorized the pin-up style, Marilyn Monroe showed how curves can be supported in a structured silhouette, Farrah Fawcett is famous for wearing a rust colored one-piece donning a fabulous smile and California style, and who could forget the leggy lifeguards on Baywatch.

Today, the estimated revenue of the swimwear industry is $17.6 billion, according to the research firm Global Industry Analysts. One look at the entourage in Miami for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim a few weeks ago would prove this number accurate. Celebrating their 10th Anniversary of Swim Week Miami, swimwear, cruise and resort collections were strutted down the catwalk for buyers, press, and industry insiders. Designers included Poko Pano, Frankie’s Bikinis, Clover Canyon, Wildfox Swim, Beach Bunny, L Space, Caffe Swimwear, Luli Fama, and Mara Hoffman. My favorite was the show by designer Dolores Cortes. Her flattering silhouettes offered stand out cutouts, and animal prints paired with soft florals. Bold gold accessories adorned each suit. The real showstopper was the brown leather one-piece with tortoise shell accents. Yes, leather! Each of the models donned elevated ponytails which were constructed with wire allowing their hair to bounce with each step.

Whether you prefer a one-piece or a string bikini or swim trunks or a tiny Speedo, your choice has been influenced by the history that influenced swimwear styles of today. Thankfully, the evolution of style for swimwear has made the bathing suit both functional and fabulous for the modern man and woman.

Stylish Uniforms at Miami Fashion Week

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Uniforms have been a facet of the work environment for decades. The role of the uniform is to eliminate dress codes, to serve as corporate branding, and to project competence in the employees. It is not uncommon for uniforms to be seen in service industries such as banks, hospitals, and hospitality. However, even though many work environments have become more lax about uniforms, the airline industry has always maintained this requisite.

At Miami Fashion Week, the iconic Eastern Air Lines was the title sponsor. The initiated a competition to design their flight attendant uniforms with the forthcoming re-launch of the airline. The competition included five Miami-based designers who presented their collections to the sound of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon”. Julian Chang, Lisu Vega, Kayce Armstrong, Samy Gicherman and Viviana Gabeiras were the five finalists who presented their individual collections. They conveyed a variety of looks incorporating the brand’s logo and colors. The collections ranged from vintage inspired looks and athletic movable designs to outfits with tropical flair and designs resembling something more appropriate for an astronaut. The winning designer, Lisu Vega, introduced a collection of flight attendant uniforms featuring cobalt suits, zippered blazers with matching skirts, and classic dresses. She also added logo printed suitcases to the model’s ensemble that perfectly complemented the flight attendant theme.

Lisu Vega's stylish flight attendant uniforms for Eastern Air Lines at Miami Fashion Week

Lisu Vega’s stylish flight attendant uniforms for Eastern Air Lines at Miami Fashion Week

The concept of a stylish uniform is somewhat of an oxymoron. Uniforms essentially suppress individuality while style is conveyed through individuality in how an outfit is worn and accessorized. Yet, famous designs have long been drawn to uniforms. Emilio Pucci, Giorgio Armani and Vivienne Westwood are among the elite who have also designed uniforms for flight attendants. Although uniforms are meant to make everyone look alike, each individuals style can be seen through the use of jewelry, scarves, shoes, handbags and even the color of a woman’s lipstick.

In many ways, we all have our own uniforms. We tend to gravitate toward the same looks as representing who we are and how we want the world to perceive us. It’s in the accessories that our individual style shines through. Next time you fly, look for the those individual touches that make your flight attendant stand out. And don’t forget to take a look at the stylish ensembles worn by the newly launched Eastern Air Lines.

Conch Style: Wearable Art

Posted on: February 8th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

One of the best things about living in the Florida Keys, is the amazing amount of art and culture.  So many artists have chosen to make the Keys their home and that means that we have access to some beautiful local art work for our home and our wardrobe.

Art galleries are one of my favorite places to shop for statement jewelry.  Unique, handmade wearable art is a great conversation starter and sure to elicit the question from your friends. “Where did you get that?”.  Wearable art can be fun, interesting and even glamorous and in most cases, the price point is very affordable.

Ariella Hogan has been making jewelry for more than 30 years.  Originally from Israel, she settled in Key West in 1989, inspired by the diverse colors of the sunset and the unique wildlife of Key West.  Her handmade jewelry is not only incredibly affordable it’s also durable.   She uses a synthetic clay that is flexible, unbreakable, lightweight, water proof and if it gets dirty, it can be cleaned with soap and water.

Ariella makes rings ($12), earrings ($18), bracelets ($28) and necklaces ($40-$60).  You can buy a matching set or you can buy individual pieces to add to your jewelry collection.  My favorite is her bracelets that wrap around your wrist for an effortlessly chic look.

Find her jewelry at The Island Arts Coop at 1128 Duval Street in Key West open Monday – Sunday,  9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  For more information go to: ariellacreations.com.

Wearable Art

Handmade Jewelry by Ariella Hogan, Florida Keys artist

Wearable Art by Florida Keys artist Ariella Hogan

Great selection of wearable art by Florida Keys artist Ariella Hogan

Stephanie Martin has been working with glass for 12 years specializing in glass fusing and combining dichroic two-toned glass and artisan glasses.  Her pendants and earrings have a beautiful metallic coating on its surface that reflect light creating a beautiful glow.  Because these pendants are actually clear, the colors will change with what you’re wearing, picking up blues, pinks or yellows based on your outfit.   Each piece is unique, ranging in price from $40 to $65 for a pendant and $20 for earrings.

Stephanie’s Seaside Glassworks has two storefront locations.  Located in the Rain Barrel at 86700 Overseas Highway on Plantation Key open Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  and a south location at 81902 Overseas Highway in Islamorada open Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information go to seasideglassworks.com.

Wearable Art by Florida Keys artist Stephanie Martin

Glass Jewelry and Art Work by Stephanie Martin from Seaside Glassworks

Sand Dollar Pendant by Stephanie Martin, Seaside Glassworks

Sand Dollar Pendant by Stephanie Martin, Seaside Glassworks

 

Designer Holiday Collection Launches at Neiman Marcus and Target this Saturday!

Posted on: November 29th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

My name is Leah and I am an avid shopper.  In most cases, I’m really quite obsessed.  I can’t wait to see the new designs, colors and fabrics for each season.  But this time of year shopping becomes more of a sport than an enjoyable pastime.  (I literally wore tennis shoes while shopping on Black Friday!!!)  It’s all about getting the best deal on items you really don’t need and standing in crazy-long lines in the wee-hours of the morning with cranky strangers who’ve not had enough coffee.

This Saturday, December 1st will mark the launch of Target and Neiman Marcus’ designer holiday collection.  And the really wonderful thing about this much anticipated collection, other than the amazingly affordable designer apparel, is you can shop it online or in stores!   This limited-time collection features a total of 50 exclusive holiday gifts by 24 designers including: Alice + Olivia, Brian Atwood, Carolina Herrera, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Lela Rose, Jason Wu, Tory Burch and Marc Jacobs.  This is one shopping day you won’t want to miss.

The collection ranges from $19.99 for a Tory Burch lunchbox to $499.99 for a bike designed by Alice + Olivia.  Below are a few of my favorites that I’ll be shopping for this Saturday.

 

Marc Jacobs for Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection - Pouch $69.99

For you: Marc Jacobs for Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection – Pouches $69.99

 

Target & Neiman Marcus Holiday Designer Collection

For the fashionista: Robert Rodriguez ruffled top – $79.99, Lela Rose dress for $99.99, Lela Rose top $69.99 & Tracy Reese sequin blouse $79.99

 

Target Neiman Marcus Holiday collection

For the jetsetter: Brian Atwood Leather globes $49.99, Alice & Olivia luggage $199.99, Prabal Gurung cape $79.99

 

Target Neiman Marcus holiday collection

For the home: Jason Wu ornaments $49.99, Tracy Reese dessert plates $39.99, Eddie Borgo accent box $49.99 & Altuzarra double old fashioned glasses $49.99

 

Are You a Pinterest Addict? Wait Till You Try Swirl.com!

Posted on: October 15th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

Like so many of you, I am totally addicted to Pinterest.  I find myself browsing for hours discovering all sorts of unique things like how to make cupcakes that look like high heels and the best polka dot sweaters for fall.  But…sometimes I don’t want to look at cupcakes…seeing cupcakes makes me hungry and I don’t need any help in consuming more sugar.

Although Pinterest is my favorite place to browse for ideas, DIY projects and great recipes, I sometimes find it hard to shop from.  My new favorite way to shop online is from a site called Swirl.com.  It even as a mobile app!  The site includes hand selected items from your favorite stores including Nordstrom, Topshop, H&M, J Crew, Ann Taylor, etc.  You can go through their list of stores and select that stores and brands you love so that they’re all in one place.  That way you don’t need to go to 15 different sites, every time you’re looking for a new statement necklace or black jacket.  I also love that the price and brand are easy to see from the general search, simply hover your mouse over the item and they both appear letting you know if those fabulous suede wedges are in your price range.

Similar to Pinterest, you can peruse the site by seeing what’s trending, search for something specific a.k.a. polka dot sweaters (can you tell I’m obsessed!?!) or by browsing selected collections filled with fall trends such as skinny jeans, leather jackets, or cap toe shoes.  In addition, if you’re not ready to make the purchase or just would like to organize your online shopping, you can save and organize the things you love just like Pinterest.

What I love most about this site is how easy it is to go and make a purchase.  I found a great bag I liked from Nordstrom for only $42.  I clicked on the image and was on Nordstrom’s site, added it to my cart and paid for it.  That easy, I swear.

The next time you find yourself wondering aimlessly around Pinterest, take a peek at Swirl.com.  I promise you’ll love it!

A few of my favorite finds found on Swirl.com

H&M Peter Pan Collar on Swirl.com

H&M Peter pan Collar – $24 found on Swirl.com

 

Leah Maki's Favorite Polka Dot Cardigan

Forever 21 Polka Dot Cardigan – $18 Found on Swirl.com

 

Leah Maki's favorite Leopard Crystal Clutch

Nordstrom Leopard Crystal Clutch – $168 Found on Swirl.com

United Nude: architecture meets fashion

Posted on: March 21st, 2012 by Leah No Comments

I first spotted this fabulous shoe lounging poolside at The Standard in Miami Beach on a leggy brunette.  She wore a yellow version of this wedge style Mary Jane that matched her yellow and white bikini.  After noticing her shoes, I had to go over and ask her who made them.

What I love about United Nude’s shoes is the architectural spirit combined with architectural style.  It’s very fitting that United Nude originates from a collaboration between a Dutch architect and an English shoemaker.  The Mono Jane shown here would also look great with tights and a cute dress for Fall/Winter and could also be worn into Spring with a summer day dress or perhaps at your favorite pool with a matching bikini.

United Nude made its Miami debut at a pop-up boutique in the Miami Design District.

United Nude Miami
Miami Design District
161 NE 40th Street
Miami, FL 33137

Violet Mono Jane
$125
Unitednude.com

Hare+Hart: fabulous leather for fall

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

We all have at one time fantasized about the perfect leather jacket to add to our wardrobe.  A piece reminiscent of those days of wearing your boyfriend’s tux jacket over your prom dress and yet something slimming enough that actually shows you have a waist. Hare+Hart creators Jennie Engelhardt and Emily Harrison have created a new take on the traditional leather jacket that just might make you squeal with delight!

After meeting at Carleton College in Northfield, MN they moved away to pursue their careers; Harrison to Argentina to work in the wine industry and Engelhardt to New York to work in shoe design.  But their dreams about the ideal leather jacket brought them back together again and evolved into ideas for an entire leather collection made up of pieces they themselves wanted to own and wear.

Buying from this brand is also something you can feel good about.  All the materials used are from Argentina cows that are grass-fed, free roaming and are also being used for beef so that no part of the animal is wasted.  Additionally, Hare+Hart believes that the people involved in creating their collection should also be treated with consideration and fairness, so all of their craftsmen working on their collection receive fair wages and benefits. Now that’s a brand I can get behind.

The Donelan Tuxedo Blazer was created by using crushed nappa to give it that soft, velvety sheen against a contrasting suede collar and antique gold button.  At $575 it’s definitely an investment piece but one that’s classic enough to be worn for years to come and that promises to make you feel a bit like a fashionable female version of James Bond.

Donelan Tuxedo Blazer $575 available at hareandhart.com