The Penny Loafers


images via: loversinloafers and thefancy.com

That picture of Grace Kelly above embodies easy and comfortable chic. The cotton shirt, rolled up jeans and the penny loafers, together still look very chic, in that tomboyish way, even after more than 60 years.

I myself am particularly happy over the resurgence of the penny loafers as a chic alternative to the ballerina flats over the past years, It was not always easy to find stylish, low-heeled shoes. I preferably wear flat low-heeled shoes and boots, not only because they are practical, comfortable and fit my personal aesthetic, but also because my feet demand it.

Worn like in the picture below, they remind me of girls wearing glasses, reading at the libraries in the 1950s or riding a bike along the french riviera in jeans and a breton top. =)


image via: hellomoon

Hair, just so


image via: Miss Moss and 3bigmamas

I love beautiful hair that looks slightly undone and not too perfect. The best looking hair, in my opinion, is the morning after hair. Not trying too hard to compete for attention and never overwhelming the person. Like the owner did their hair last night before going out and forgot the brush it in the morning after sleeping in. Hair as almost an after-thought. Haircut that is not a haircut. Overly coiffed hair often just reminds me of soap actresses or hollywood award shows.

One of my favourite looks is long, ever so disheveled hair on a girl wearing a masculine suit – perfect balance of feminine and masculine aesthetic. Something like a redhead in a grey flannel suit.

Indulgence


image via: minty-stripes

Comfort and good living is an important aspect of good life, even more so than impeccable wardrobe. While pairing down your closet and possessions in general down to essentials and trying to avoid over-consumption is an admirable goal, it’s a good thing to balance it out with occasional indulgences. After all, key to good health and probably happiness is balance. Indulging however doesn’t necessarily means (over)spending or buying things, as some of the best pleasures in life don’t have to cost much, if anything.

One of my favourite things indulgences is spending the morning or afternoon at a local coffeehouse with a big cup of caramel cappuccino reading a good book or a magazine. While there, I’m not thinking about what’s still on my to-do list, just enjoying the company of strangers and the stories. It’s like going on a little holiday inside your own head! Afterwards I almost always feel reenergized and ready to face work.

My other favourite way to spend a day (or in this case, more likely an evening) is to make a big pot of tea and watch movies. Just two weeks ago I spent the evening watching Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, followed by 2 Days in Paris. I still have my Godard movie box that I have to finish watching, as well as Le Herrison from 2009 and Designing Woman from 1957.

Beside stories, my other indulgences include good food. While winter for me is all about comfort food and warm chocolate, the first sign of spring triggers cravings for delicious fresh salads such as caprese and homemade humus. One of my favourite websites in this regard is Smitten Kitchen. It’s my go-to resource for times when I’m craving something new, from baked goods to beautiful salads. And I hear the woman behind the website and all those incredible looking dishes is currently putting finishing touches on her cookbook, which I hope will be available in my country as well. Last time I tried something, was this Russian apple cake called Sharlotka back in december. It’s chock full of tart apple flavour and dusted with powder sugar, looks very festive -perfectly december-appropriate! =)


image from: smitten kitchen

Basics: The Winter Coat


images from: elin kling and thegentlewoman

Pictures of Elin Kling from fashion week kept popping up on my Tumblr dashboard, and it was refreshing to see someone looking so elegant and effortless, especially during an event that has so many people tripping over themselves for attention. And I really liked her coat, which looks warm, comfortable and her colour palette just seemed so classic and natural, never Trying too hard, while at the same time remaining incredibly chic and classic. Her wardrobe consisted of quiet pieces such as sweater, jeans, pumps, and yet the look ended up being so much more than sum of it’s parts.

I wanted a coat like that for a long time and finally purchased a similar looking one in late 2010. It was very much worth the price tag as I’m sure I will be wearing it for years to come. My winter coat is in navy wool that almost looks black and slouches perfectly when tied in front. It also feels comfortable, almost like a bathrobe, which is a welcome feeling on winter days when you just don’t feel like facing the early morning cold. I currently enjoy wearing mine with a navy turtleneck (no need for fussy shawls) and navy jeans, for a simple, monochromatic look.

Angelo Flaccavento in Dapper Dan Magazine

I have discovered so many beautiful magazines lately, it sometimes even makes me want to organise / curate one myself.
Two of my current favourites are The Gentlewoman, and men’s magazine Dapper Dan. Both magazines manage to bring something fresh to the table in the oversaturated market of stylish magazines, by displaying impeccably styled editorials combined minimalist pagedesign on beautiful paper. Acne Paper also falls into this category, although its not the most practical magazine to carry around, due to it’s impressive size.

One great article in Dapper Dan features Angelo Flaccavento discussing uniform dressing. I have long been an advocate of this concept myself, due to it being extremely efficient and perhaps even radical way of styling one’s wardrobe. Flaccavento’s approach mirror’s my own, by eschewing the dogmatic approach, in favour of a more relaxed and less judgemental state of mind. A couple of excerpts, about one of my favourite concepts: uniform dressing:

“To avoid fatal mistakes, a succinct but effective routine, tested thoroughly by this humble writer, ensues.
 
1. Be light. Don’t turn your opinion of fashion into a declaration of war. Maintaining a uniform is your choice, not a dogma.
 
2. Know that you are in good company. Coco Chanel, Diana Vreeland, Gio Ponti and Beau Brummell all excelled in the practice. But don’t use it as an excuse to look down on others. Refrain from judging.
 
3. Look at yourself in the mirror, thoroughly and severely. Consider your pros and cons and deicide what to highlight. It can be everything. Sometimes cons are more charming than pros: a prominent belly can be more sensational than a six-pack. Trust your instinct, and the uniform will begin to feel natural.
 
4. Trust in Dieter Rams: ” Less, but better.” Edit down to the bare essentials, plus, perhaps, a tiny bit more. You should be able to get ready in a flash and with a thoughtful, quick edit. Likewise, never plan an outfit in advance; the result would be rigid. A little mistake here and there feels lively.
 

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The Beauty List


images: foudre.co, the-waste-land

I used to love experimenting with makeup, and it is how I found out what works best for me. Over the years and periods of cat eyeliners and burgundy lip stains I have settled into a makeup routine that I believe works for me and enhances my features without being obvious and I still get to look like myself. It also saves time in the morning, as I can get ready in ten minutes without giving it much thought.

My favorite beauty feature is healthy looking skin. I myself have had occasional problems with my skin in the past, usually due to stress (and negligence to take care of it properly in hectic times). These days my skin looks good and doesn’t need much. It probably helps that I don’t eat sugar these days, which always made my skin react.


image from: la mignonette

Products aside, I have found that the true and tested way to good skin is enough water, sleep, nutrition and of course a happy fulfilled life. Then there are always ways to subtly enhance your strengths and conceal the flaws. Here are some of the products that I find will do the trick:

Moisturiser – to keep the skin looking fresh and hydrated. I prefer mine with SPF 15 and up, to prevent sun damage at the same time.

Concealer – to camouflage imperfections without looking made up when used sparingly and blended well. Also works wonders when used strategically to brighten up eye area, (or even around the nose and corners of lips). You can also choose one concealer to brighten up and one for cover-up. (A tip: as concealers usually come in tiny tubes, using it straight from the tube ends up messy and you always end up with more product than needed, which ends up wasted. I load up on those tiny plastic pots from Sephora and label them, then use a brush to apply the precise amount and blend with my fingertips. This way it’s also easy to build up and distribute the product evenly.)

Loose Powder – dust on lightly to matt skin. It also helps to set concealer. Choosing a good brush is just as important, by the way! My own skin tends to be shiny and oily on it’s own, and a touch of loose powder makes it look just that much more polished, again without being obvious.

Blush – for a healthy glow. I’m usually very pale and a touch of colour on my cheeks and sometimes on brow bone, makes all the difference.

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Basics: white button down shirt

Last post made me think about what elements does a classic menswear inspired wardrobe consist of? So I decided to list them, according to my own subjective tastes. (One should always be aware of their own personal preferences and incorporate items accordingly.)


image from: jpeg-heaven

Classic white button down shirt – This one is obvious, but also far from simple. It’s also an item worth investing in, as it’s versatile and can go a long way if treated with respect. The cut should be right for your figure with just the right amount of slouch for that elusive tomboy effluence.

I myself prefer a crisp cotton shirt with small collar and quarter length sleeves. I usually wear it buttoned all the way up when paired with a black wool skirt, as it gives off a very clean and modern feel, or unbuttoned with just a bit of lace undergarments peeking underneath when paired with black trousers. My other white shirt is palest ivory silk, with small peter pan collar. While the details are feminine (ironically, peter pan was usually played by women up until recent decades), with the right styling you can make it all your own. Wear with slicked back hair with side part, a clean, polished face and menswear inspired pieces for a perfect balance of tomboy chic, or add red lips for a high impact look that’s elegant and effortless at the same time.

My favorite variations on the theme include light blue pinstriped shirts with white cuffs and collar, as well as versions in dark colors such as navy and dark grey.


image from: non—sequitur 

Dressing the Part


image: morsure.tumblr.com 

Dressing like a Jil Sander or Helmut Lang girl is not as easy as it looks. Sure the individual garments seem simple enough, perhaps even bordering on boring, but always deceptively so, since this look, when done correctly is always more than sum of it’s parts. The impeccably cut jacket sits just so and of course there is the attitude and the presence that one should embody in order to carry off the edge.