What To Wear (and Eat!): Mother’s Day Edition 05.10.17 Allison Taylor

I know, I KNOW!  Everyday should be Mother’s Day!  Just think…everyday we would not have to do any chores, we would get breakfast in bed, and go out for dinner!  Alas…that is not to be true.  Luckily moms do have a dedicated day to be properly pampered, cared for, and showered with love.

However, here is a little secret, and please realize I love my children, but when I was in the throes of raising three little people there were those of us mothers who used Mother’s Day to… well… get away from our children.  Now that they are grown and leaving the nest, I cherish every second they are home.  No matter what you do for Mother’s Day surround yourself with love, enjoy our local Del Ray restaurants (be sure to click on the links to see their menus!), and pamper yourself with a new outfit!

 

Croissant Anyone?

Who can resist that sweet, buttery goodness of a croissant?  Not me, nor anyone else who frequents the Del Ray Café!  We can all do it in style with this beautiful linen top by CP Shades, a California company who has put the “C” in comfort and casual.  The light pink tone is simply lovely and brings out the essence of springtime.

 

Blueberry Pancakes?  I’ve Died and gone to Heaven!

If blueberry pancakes make you swoon then this navy and white dress by Julie Brown will perfect the day! It is an absolute classic yet has added whimsy with giant, happy flowers spread throughout the garment.  It can easily be dressed up with heels and a few sparkly accessories, or take on a more casual tone by wearing simple jewelry and a pair of Jack Rogers sandals.  Such a plus to own a dress with multiple uses!

 

I’ll Take a Harissa Salad with that Biscuit!

Who loves the Stomping Ground? Raise your hand!  This fast-casual dining establishment quickly became a Del Ray favorite with its fresh biscuits and innovative menu.  Here you can begin your Mother’s Day and move on quickly for any activities you may have planned.  This off-the-shoulder jumper is perfect for any casual venue that includes eating, shopping, concert going…you name it!  The material is uber-soft and sweet details are present from the tasseled tie to whipped stitched pockets to the white woven hemline.  Throw a sweater on if a spring chill sets in but this outfit will take you all the way through summer!

 

Be good to yourself and have a happy Mother’s Day!

Talking About Fashion 05.09.17 Meg Lombardo

Several weeks ago, as I was mindlessly scrolling through my social media feed, I saw an ad for a women’s clothing start-up. This start-up targets professional women who desire classic, well-made silhouettes and appreciate the convenience of not having to shop in a store. The ad’s first line, a quote from the founder of the company, reads “Your clothes should be the least interesting thing about you.” Wait–(record scratch sound effect)–they should? I strongly disagree!

First, a few disclaimers before I dive into why I disagree, and why I believe this statement does a disservice to women. I understand and certainly appreciate that many women don’t like to shop, but still desire a polished, professional look. I also understand that even for those who enjoy shopping, the activity just isn’t a high priority (or a possibility) given the time constraints of the many roles — boss, mom, spouse, partner, counselor, entrepreneur, doctor, coach — that women play daily. The desire to look work-appropriate, combined with the need for convenience, has given rise to different service models that use a combination of technology and personal preferences to deliver clothing and accessories to your doorstep. Having a pre-matched box of clothing and accessories that yield ready-made outfits takes the thought out of having to get dressed every day and saves precious time and energy. I fully appreciate this type of service, and understand why many women are taking advantage of it.

Why though, if this company is providing a convenient service that presumably helps women look professional and feel good about themselves, don’t they say just that? Why does the first line of the ad — which is quite divisive — seem to devalue the exact product they provide: style! In doing so, it also devalues the belief of many women that not only is it okay, but actually beneficial, to use clothing as a form of personal expression in a professional environment.

I love to learn and talk about both the creative and business aspects of the fashion industry, and I also love to shop. I’m assuming if you read Stylebook, and you have made it to this point in my piece, that to some extent you do, too. Fashion can be an art form, a mode of self-expression, a way to make a statement, or simply a hobby.  Women who appreciate fashion — and in turn their clothing — aren’t shallow, judgmental, or superficial. They enjoy thinking about what their clothing choices communicate and the image that certain styles help them project.  And, newsflash: women who have an interest in fashion can also be quite knowledgeable on other topics! In fact, I can have a conversation with you that spans topics such as the best way to implement a large-scale IT system, how to navigate generational differences in the workforce , the 10 hottest spring fashion trends, and why department stores are struggling in our current economy. A woman’s love of fashion, and her ability to use clothing as a form of expression, does not make her one-dimensional. And it certainly doesn’t diminish her accomplishments in other areas of personal and professional life. The company’s ad, though, almost implies that if your clothes are interesting, then the rest of you is not. I think the readers of Stylebook know that nothing could be further from the truth.

As I finish writing this piece, International Women’s Day is coming to an end. Women have fought, and continue to fight, for an equal playing field. We’ve made incredible strides, but as we know there is still more work to be done.  The ability for a woman to determine her own aesthetic by choosing clothing that projects an image with which she is comfortable a powerful tool. And I find the many ways that women utilize that tool to be extremely interesting.

Ombré: It’s Not Just for Coachella Anymore! 05.04.17 Celeste Crutchfield

The Coachella music festival always thrusts Boho fashion into the spotlight.  Some of the festival fashion may be a little extreme but the ombré trend is by far one of our favorites.  The colors of spring and summer are so fresh and vibrant it is lovely to see a gradient of your favorite shade go from dark to light on a delicious and rich fabric.  It brings out your inner hippy…although much more refined!

Subtle Chic

These ombré linen dresses are simply divine!  The colors are so light and fresh that the ombré effect is subtle and delicate.  The casual dresses will fit into a variety of events and will be perfectly at home in the upcoming BBQ season!

 

Understated Tie-Dye

Yes, I was one of those gals who, back in the day, had a swirled, rainbow colored, tie-dye shirt.  What. Was. I. Thinking.  You can still get your tie-dye fix in this soft-shaded, super-comfy, over-sized top.  It pairs perfectly with skinny jeans, leggings, or shorts, and can become a beach cover-up in a pinch!

 

The Gradient Factor

Gradient ombré is when completely different colors fade into one another.  This dress is a perfect example!  The top of the dress fades from charcoal gray, to white, to tan.  Add the heathered component of each color and the dress appears multi-dimensional.  It is a very stylish throw-on-and-go dress much needed for the warm months ahead!

It’s never too late to get your Om on!

Designer Spotlight: Ruby Yaya 05.02.17 Celeste Crutchfield

Fresh, fun, colorful, artisanal…these are only a few of the adjectives to describe the beautiful clothing by Ruby Yaya.  The line celebrates global fashion and is civic minded, promoting fair labor practices.  It offers effortless elegance and targets an attitude rather than age for all stylish women.

 

Bohemian Chic

rubyyaya_dress_bluwht.png

This top is as unique as it is worldly.  The intricate hemline repeats itself on the sleeve and the embroidery evokes a simpler life.  It pairs beautifully with white jeans or linen pants, a muted tote, and our popular Jack Roger sandals!

 

Beauty of Embellishments

The gentleness of a muted blue background is the perfect backdrop for the striking, lime green embroidery that enhances the neckline, sleeves, and hem. Strategically placed sequins add a little sparkle! Even the ties include the whimsy of fringe!

 

Subtle, Rumpled Elegance

Each piece of Ruby Yaya clothing is rumpled in a way that adds a wonderful texture.  Bonus: that means no ironing or steaming necessary!  This blue and white dress is subtle, rumpled, elegance.  It speaks the language of summer with its color and tie-dye appearance.  It is super soft, super comfortable, and perfect everyday, for a casual evening, and all forms of travel.

 

Ruby Yaya is a unique treasure and we are happy to share it with you!

Tunics: Dresses, Tops, or Cover-ups? Yes!

While tunics are ubiquitous all year long, it’s in those humid summer months that we especially appreciate the ease and versatility of this wardrobe staple. Fabrics such as cotton, linen, and silk are as lightweight and breathable as the season demands. And the colors?  Vibrant, mixed hues used in multiple patterns and designs.  Beautiful, easy, and, best of all, tunics can also be worn in a variety of ways!

IMG_4485.jpg

I love to wear them as dresses during the day, and they transition perfectly to an evening affair. Our lovely model Chidi is 5’10” tall.  A tunic on her is just a tad bit on the short side, so she styles her tunics by pairing them with skinny denim, white jeans, or shorts.  All these looks can easily be worn to a Nats game, BBQ, or for a simple stroll down the Avenue.

And yes…they double as beach cover-ups!

These lovely tunics are only a sample of what is in the store…we look forward to helping you find the perfect one for you!

 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Gifts for the Grad 04.12.17

Don’t you feel it?  The air is buzzing!  College acceptances have arrived, senioritis has set in, and graduation for high school and college seniors is right around the corner!  Kiskadee has many gift options, including specialty items we can order for your grad.  Special, personalized orders do take a little extra time to arrive in the shop, so please plan ahead and let us help you pick the perfect gift for your graduate! All items shown are only examples…we have many more.

Smathers & Branson is a local business that specializes in needlepoint merchandise. They have hats, belts, flasks, key fobs, card wallets…just to name a few!  Bonus: they have many collegiate trademarks which can be used on multiple products just for your graduate.

Monograming is the perfect way for the collegiate to say, “This is mine!” without…well…actually having to say it!  Heartstrings is terrific for many items including shower caddies, towels, totes, and robes.  Not shown are jewelry boxes, frames, bath towels…too many to mention!  You are able to choose terrific colors for the merchandise and the monograming…pick your grad’s favorite color combination!

Monogram jewelry is always popular at graduation and Mother’s Day…it’s a twofer! You can choose from colorful acrylic jewelry available in necklaces and cuff bracelets, or silver and gold monogramed necklaces.  Your graduate will cherish these extra special pieces for many years to come!

4 Tips To Rock that Jumpsuit 04.05.17 Darby Rush

I adore jumpsuits!  Like a dress, they are one-and-done…a complete outfit.  They blessed the 70s and have returned in fabulous fabrics, vibrant prints, and fresh new styles.  However, some women find jumpsuits a tad bit intimidating.  As I say, and my mother, too, you never know until you try it on!  Here are a few tips to keep in mind…

1. Find Your Fit

Like any clothing, you want the perfect fit.  You don’t want to spend your hard earned money on sloppy!  Nothing too tight, nothing too loose…you want it juuuust right.  You want to be able to show off your figure and just enough skin to exude class and sex appeal.

2. Show Your Waist

A jumpsuit without a defined waist = The Blob.  It was a bad movie back in the day and it is an even worse look.  The black bodice of this Alice and Trixie jumpsuit clearly delineates wear the waist ends and the legs begin.  And yes…jumpsuits can make your legs look a mile long!  Should you purchase a jumpsuit without a defined waist, wrap a belt or scarf around your middle to give you that curvaceous look.

3. Break out the Heels!

As stated above, jumpsuits are a leg-elongator!  And with a wide-legged jumpsuit, heels are an absolute must.  A flat or a sandal would make the bottom of the jumpsuit look sloppy and thus ill fitting.  You want to feed that long-legged illusion!  An added benefit to a wide leg and heels…your waist will look smaller!

4. Yes! It Can Be Formal!

In the Washington, D.C., area we are no strangers to formal functions.  Dare to be different and wear a jumpsuit!  With the appropriate fit, fabric, and draping you won’t need any accessories or embellishments.  Instead, you will rock the establishment and ring in a new vibe in elegance and sophistication.

Jumpsuits are a statement style…strike the pose girlfriends!

From Dawn to Dinner, What to Wear This Easter 04.11.17 Darby Rush

Although meteorologically spring began March 20, it can still be chilly and gloomy.  For many, Easter symbolizes the actual arrival of spring…daffodils and lilies have bloomed, the cherry blossoms have peaked, the days have grown longer, and the outdoors beckon for colorful eggs to be hidden among the tall grass.  Easter is a beautiful day celebrated with friends, family, children, food, sunrise services, and of course, Easter egg hunts.  Multiple activities require easy dressing and Kiskadee does not disappoint!

Sunrise Service

Simple, sweet, yet full of details, this dress is perfect for Easter services.  The dress is fully lined with a lovely Swiss dot overlay.   It is not too demure either…the hemline embraces fringe that adds a bit of whimsy and on-trend effect.

Brunch

You have been up since 5am, attended services, and now you are starved!  Slip out of your Sunday best and head to that gospel brunch in this stunner!  So fun with gold scroll details at the hem and sleeves and just a touch of shimmer from strategically placed sequins.  The color is fresh and reminiscent of spring while the fabric is forgiving to hide that brunch belly!  Yes, it is all about the food!

Easter Egg Hunt

The kids have been driving you nuts…it is finally their turn!  Whether you color hardboiled eggs or stuff plastic eggs with chocolate, an Easter egg hunt requires maximum comfort and style!  This shift is perfect for an afternoon with the Easter Bunny and will carry you far into the summer.  It is fully lined, supremely comfortable, and it’s a steal at $81!

These pants are so gorgeous they may grab the spotlight from the Easter Bunny!  They flow beautifully and the side slit is slightly flirtatious.  The color gray pairs well with a multitude of shades and best of all…they are washable!

Easter Dinner

End the day in spectacular fashion by wearing this gorgeous dress to dinner.  It can be dressed up or down, depending on your Easter custom.  The vibrant teal hue is similar to a blank canvas…adorn it with a statement necklace and heels, or dress it down sans necklace but with stacked bracelets and sandals.  It is perfect for three+ seasons!

Spring Office Dressing: 5 Ways NOT To Be Boring

At least five days a week, we have to think about what to wear to the office.  Don’t let it be a chore!  Fashion is an extension of our personality and it doesn’t have to wait for the weekends.  Work clothing can also be vibrant, classic, confident, and stylish!  Here are a few examples of how to dispense with the ho-hum of work dressing!

1. The Classic Look

Bam!  There is nothing more classic than a navy sheath for work!  However, this is not your basic sheath.  It has a wonderful, crinkled texture while the red windowpane adds an air of confidence…you can’t wear red without it!  The statement necklace lends a creative air and a bit of fun.  It is the perfect “I mean business” dress!

2. Business Casual

What. Is. That.  Perplexing indeed!  We have put together the perfect “in-between” outfit.  We took a beautiful, sleeveless spring dress and topped it with a dual-textured linen blazer.  The blazer is completely on-trend with its unfinished edge on the lapels and hem.  The addition of the statement necklace lends an edge to a fabulous outfit!

3. Glamorous Attire

Yes, you can be glamorous and run the world!  Wild patterns, bright colors, bright lips, high heels…bring it on!  Your employees and fellow co-workers will appreciate the break of the mundane with your kaleidoscope of color!

4. Sophisticated Office Wear

Bring on the neutrals!  This gorgeous cream dress exudes sophistication.  Neutral does not mean plain!  It has a stunning texture reminiscent of an intricate weave yet the fringe adds an on-trend whimsical element.  Simple, refined, perfect.

5. Yes, Office Dressing Can Be Feminine

If you love flowy dresses, sweet patterns, and simple necklaces then the feminine, smart look is for you.  It is refined, easy, bordering on sweet, but you are known for your brains!

Don’t let the office dictate your style!

Spring Shoe Love: New Arrivals at Kiskadee!

I love this time of year in the shop…out with the old and in with the new, especially springtime shoes!  There is a plethora of lovely neutral nudes, sling backs, mules, peep toes, and of course plenty of skin.  As much as I love boots, it will soon be time to put them away and put your tootsies in a tall wedge with just enough platform you won’t notice the height, just your va-voom legs!  Start planning your springtime wardrobe and why not start with shoes!

Casual Kicks

Emphasis on comfort!  Each shoe is perfect for strolling The Avenue, watching spring baseball or soccer, or simply relaxing.  But we insist you do it with style!

IMG_4222.jpg

Ahhhh…this is what we call the famous “marshmallow” shoe by Johnston & Murphy.  The sole is so extremely comfortable it feels as if you are walking on the jet-puffed sugary confections.  Perfect for errands or the dreaded — I mean super! — spring break trip to Disney World!

Athleisure at its best!  This off-white sneaker by Johnston & Murphy is refined yet the Italian leather snake print takes this casual shoe to another level!

You cannot sport a causal wardrobe without the addition of a driving moc!  Patricia Green does it beautifully with the subtle gold tone. The all-over perforations keep you and your feet stylish and plenty cool.

Trendy Classics

Some shoes are just meant for a springtime dress, fabulous shorts, or chic jeans.  Of course no one says you can’t wear them to the Del Ray Farmers Market, too!

We still cannot get enough of the sexy and versatile tie-up shoe.  This incredibly comfortable wedge by Chocolate Blu has a terrific toe platform so our body is not pitched and our toes are unencumbered by any pressure.  The neutral taupe color, canvas heel, and detailed stitching will complement any outfit.

Chocolate Blu has done it again with this amazing sling-back wedge.  The heel is the perfect height to wear with just about anything…try these beauties with shorts!  And I can’t say enough about the stellar yet subtle nude suede color…can we say goes with everything?

So many of us welcome the block heel!  This stunning, light gray suede mule by Charles David is lovely, comfy, and…drum roll please…sturdy!

The Statements

Sometimes, you just gotta have that statement heel…

You can’t have enough black shoes…even in spring!  This sexy heel is brought to you by Johnston & Murphy.  The stacked stiletto with multiple straps and laces add a new and detailed dimension to these gorgeous sandals.  Try them with an amazing white dress for a fantastic contrast.

Yes!  A wedge can be a statement heel!  Johnston & Murphy combined a peep toe, sexy ankle strap, nude suede, and a tall, fun cork wedge all into one textural explosion.  These shoes are sure to accompany you on multiple occasions and through three different seasons!

Calypso St. Barth = Happy Happy

Hakuna Matata, baby!  Timon and Pumbaa, the beloved mongoose and warthog in The Lion King, had it right when they shared this wise saying to Simba…don’t worry, be happy!  That is how I feel every year when I open Calypso’s new arrivals.  The vibrant colors, glistening metallic, and breezy fabrics harken to long days on the beach and feet buried in warm sand…it makes me happy happy!

If you are soon on your way to the islands or simply anticipating the arrival of summer, Calypso is a wardrobe must-have you will reach for all season long.

A delicate, paisley embroidery frames this ethereal and sweetly feminine dress.  The pom-pom trim adds a whimsical flare to what is a gorgeously detailed dress.  Its breezy, cotton gauze fabric will let you breathe as the heat and humidity rise along with the glorious sun.  The dress will also double as a cover-up for all your after-water activities.

A mélange of colors splash throughout this lovely dress.   Large, vibrant flowers bloom and giant paisleys burst playfully while bordered by intricate, gold detailing.  The look, inspired by the artistic and culturally diverse country of India, is sewn into a silhouette that is universally flattering and complimentary to all figures.

\Rhapsody in shades of blue makes this dress an absolute stunner!  The repetitive tribal print is unique and the elaborate, gold embroidery enhances the Aztec influence.   Once again, Calypso makes a universally flattering fit for all women.  Break out the Ginger Collins because the combination of blue, white, and gold is quintessential summer!

Calypso is perfect if you are dreaming of a place far away or closer to home.  Regardless it carries a legacy of beauty and a kaleidoscope of colors that I hope makes you happy happy!

Ready for Spring: Lilla P 02.17.17 Darby Rush

It may be February but spring has sprung with Lilla P’s fresh, wearable styles. If you like classics with a twist, elevated basics to match your contemporary lifestyle, Lilla P delivers.  Kiskadee’s customers love Lilla P and for good reason…its quality, comfort, and panache are unparalleled!

An elegant, everyday go-to, this knit sweater is sure to top any outfit.  The loose V-neck, soft shape of the shoulders, and ribbed hem will flatter all figures.  And the creamy color?  You can’t beat a neutral…it is a wardrobe essential!

Soft, subtle shades mingle in this beautiful open stitched sweater.  It is meant for spring!  Artistry abounds in the intricate detailing at the collar, wrists, and hemline.  The open dots simply adds another level of feminine prettiness to this gorgeous sweater.

We all love athleisure and Lilla P does not disappoint!  You will be super comfy, stylish, and on-trend with these fab and fun “sweatshirts.”  The short sleeve tee is whimsical with its tennis shoelace inspired cross-stitch, which is carried over to the lovely jacket.  Both pieces are so uber comfortable they will constantly be in your wardrobe rotation!

Spring will be here soon and, well, can’t wait!

Embrace the Sassy Shoulder Trend! From Casual to Party Looks

Were you too timid to try the cold shoulder trend in 2016?  It is roaring back stronger than ever!  No matter your age, the cold shoulder trend is incredibly flattering for all women.  Women’s shoulders look great at any decade and convey strength, sexiness, and confidence.  Why cover them up?!

Casual Style

This scrumptious Bailey 44 top is as flowy as it is breezy.  The fabric is incredibly soft and the drape is beautiful.  Some may feel the neutral color is too minimalist but the shoulder cutout takes it to a new level.  Wear as is or kick it up a notch with a gorgeous scarf and chunky jewelry.

Summertime Style

Got white jeans?  A cold-shoulder top is the way to go and the perfect peek-a-boo for summer.  Of course it can also top shorts, skorts, maxi skirts, short skirts…get the picture? Its versatility knows no bounds!

Party Style

Duh – the cold shoulder is a perfect addition to any party style! Choose a top in an extravagant fabric or pattern and enveloped in details.  This gorgeous black and gray Bailey 44 silk top has it all!  The sheen is stunning and the sweeping side gather will flatter your curves.

 

3 Dresses that Will Transition You from Winter to Spring 02.07.17 Darby Rush

I must say, this winter has been like none other.  One day it is 35 degrees, the next day 55.  Cold one day, hot the next, lukewarm another.  It is not easy to dress for unpredictable weather! However, with layering, a few key pieces, and styling tricks you can transition from winter to spring looking mahvelous!

Dresses are so versatile all year and thus perfect for using as transitional pieces. They can be topped with a poncho or moto jacket and paired with tights and boots for wintertime. Remove those layers, add sandals, and you are ready for spring!  Keep it simple, use your key layering pieces, and transitioning will be a piece of cake!

In my opinion, this dress needs nothing!  The soft coral color is flattering to all skin tones and the rich faux suede exudes textural warmth to last through early spring and then reappear in fall.  Keep neutral color booties on your tootsies when it is chilly but keep sandals handy when the warmer temps arrive.

Shirtdresses are THE epitome of a wardrobe essential.  And, in the color denim blue even more so!   The longer length of this dress is perfect to wear with tights and boots during colder months and (starting to notice the theme?) sandals in spring.  This gorgeous dress is a blank slate, looks fantastic alone, but you can add jewelry and a scarf to perfect your style and flair.

A knit dress is a three-season wonder.  Navy is a color welcome any time of year and the white, crisscross detailing extends a necessary pop of color.   Cozy and comfortable, it stretches in the right areas and the long sleeves offer a layer of warmth when necessary.  If you need more, pop on a neutral colored jacket like this one from BlankNYC and you enter spring with a wardrobe ready to rock the new season!

In Search of the Perfect Tee 02.01.17 Darby Rush

I’m always on the quest for the perfect t-shirt, and believe it or not, that is harder than it sounds.  It must have the perfect balance of strong, natural fibers for softness and stretch, it must be comfortable, and it can’t be ordinary!

“Perfection is less interesting.”  — Anne Carson

My quest stopped at my hair salon, The Studio.  It probably isn’t as strange as it sounds; we gals know our hairstylists are practically our best friends! In deep discussion with my stylist Rebecca and her business partner Jane, I mentioned my quest and how I always admired Jane’s tees.  They had a level of interest, flair, and ease I had not seen elsewhere.  Ever since that fateful day, Kiskadee has carried Wilt and a cult following was born!

Wilt began in 2009, founded by classically trained pattern maker Roxanne Heptner.  She wanted to create an uncomplicated tee with uneven hems, beautiful lines, and a comfy lived-in look as an alternative to what was not offered in the market.  Her playful designs turned the structured tee on its head!

“A beauty of things imperfect, unfinished, and evolving.”  

Wilt draws inspiration from the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi.  Embrace imperfection…it looks gorgeous on you!  Every garment is draped on the body to get fit and fold.  Unique silhouettes are developed and hemlines drop, fishtail, or slant…no detail is spared.

“Imperfection is perfection to a beautiful perspective.”

Each Wilt tee is treated to a special coloration process that is instrumental to its finished look.  It is garment washed and pre-shrunk so each tee will maintain its color essence and proper fit.  Better yet, Wilt tees can be washed and worn like your favorite jeans, stay true to their spirit, and preserve their well lived-in look.

If you know Wilt, you already love it.  If you don’t know it, we’ve got it, come and try it!

The Best Time To Buy Winter Investment Pieces? Right Now 01.27.17 Meg Lombardo

As a Stylebook reader, the terms cost-per-wear (CPW) and investment piece are probably very familiar to you since many Stylebook contributors reference them frequently. Cost per wear is often used to decide if an item, usually an investment piece, is “worth” its cost. Cost per wear drops as the item is increasingly worn. Investment pieces are typically cornerstones of a wardrobe given their fabric, cut, luxe details, and overall wearability.  An increasing number of women prefer investing in fewer, more versatile pieces that can be styled multiple ways to meet their lifestyle needs.

As the name suggests, investment pieces often come with a significant price tag. While they are a smart wardrobe addition they don’t always fit into our budget at the time we want to purchase them. Investment pieces for a winter wardrobe — think fur and cashmere — are typically purchased during the season when our dollars are prioritized for things like holiday presents and gatherings. The good news is that as stores prepare for resort and spring arrivals, winter investment pieces are reduced to make way for new merchandise.

Kiskadee has great selection of winter investment pieces, which are now 50 percent off during their winter sale. If you were eyeing a fur vest or cashmere wrap there is no better time to add one of these versatile pieces to your winter wardrobe—at a significant discount!  I styled a few of my favorites with basics from my closet and suggested how each piece could be styled several others ways — driving the cost per wear of each item down while keep your wardrobe fresh, functional, and most of all, fun!

This poncho screams “apres-ski” to me!  I love it for a few reasons — the heft of the weave, the neutral color palette, and its restrained volume. The shape of the sleeves, the discreet “V” shape – both at the neckline and created by the fringe at the bottom — and the color blocking draw your eye vertically and lengthens the overall look rather than overpowering it.  Pairing it with streamlined basics like distressed straight-leg denim and nude booties keeps proportions in check. Think about this piece with leggings and riding boots for a casual look. Pairing the poncho with cropped, narrow-leg trousers in a heavier fabric (to balance the weight of the poncho) and pointy-toe flats will create a look that’s slightly dressier. 

Equal parts practical and glamourous, a fur vest is a cold weather statement piece that will keep you warm throughout the winter without sacrificing style. Its versatility extends from cozy weekend-casual to workplace-appropriate and beyond. Styled with a silk blouse, distressed girlfriend jeans, and booties, the vest adds just the right amount of glamour to a look perfect for weekend brunch or a museum visit. When paired with black culottes, a turtle neck in of-the-moment Bordeaux, and ankle wrap wedges, the look is transformed to workplace appropriate. For evening, think about swapping the turtleneck with a cream, sleeveless shell and adding a pop of color with an oversize clutch or pointy-toe block heels and a statement earring. For a significant dose of glamour, add the fur vest atop a slip dress and a long lariat — a striking but refined nod to 90s dressing. 

End-of-season is a great time to purchase a timeless outerwear piece. This Vera Wang vegan leather-accented wool coat is a versatile yet sleek addition to a winter wardrobe. While I love the look of a full- length coat, for me they are too constricting and just uncomfortable.  The length of this coat — just above the knee — is flattering and allows for ease of movement. The vegan leather trim around the placket and on the arms adds just the right amount of edge while the “V” that is formed at the neckline when the coat is snapped draws the eye vertically, creating a slim line. I gravitate towards refined looks with an unexpected edge, and this coat fits the bill perfectly.

Blush tones continue to be a favorite accent color this winter and are now part of the “new neutrals” color palette. Pairing blush with cashmere in the form of an accent piece is pretty much cozy perfection and the ultimate in versatility. I draped this over a black sheath dress and added a few thin, gold, layered chains to create a work-appropriate look. Over a turtleneck or sweater with denim, this wrap adds a subtle pop of color, while draping this over a sleeveless or strapless dress for an evening out will keep the winter chill at bay while not overwhelming a dressier look. 

Winter Must-Haves 01.20.17 Darby Rush

Winter Must-Haves

01.20.17 Darby Rush

There are certain “must haves” during the dead of winter, the things that are tried and true, the items you know will perk you up on even the dreariest winter day.  Here is what is on my list; let u!

How To Do Resort Wear 01.17.17 Darby Rush

I’m dreaming of sunshine, warmth, and my beloved flip flops on my feet.  That means heading to Florida in the pursuit of heat. Prior to vacation, I log onto the resort website and plan my activities.  I check out the fitness center, peruse the pool decks, salivate over the menus, then gulp, I go all verklempt.  I see two words “resort wear.” What DOES that mean?  Is it casual-ish?  Formal-ish?  The dreaded somewhere in-between!?  Will I have to leave behind my beloved flip flops?!

Thankfully I work at Kiskadee where my casual style can translate beautifully into resort wear.  I can pair any top with white jeans or flowy linen pants and rock resort casual with confidence.  There are a few considerations while packing but keep in mind resort wear can certainly be a lot of fun!

Essential Pieces

A bathing suit cover-up is number one on the list!  This striped hoody pull-over by Caroline Grace is fantastic in navy and white.  Made of cotton and cashmere it is comfy and, more importantly, breathable for the Florida heat.

Fabric Considerations

Florida’s balmy weather requires clothing lighter in weight and resort wear does not disappoint.  This airy top by Johnny Was is simply luxurious.  Beautifully appointed with silk-covered buttons, it is a myriad of prints that collide in a burst of color.

Also, knits should be under consideration because they pack well and typically don’t wrinkle.  This top by 525 America adds a bit of surprise with the fun open back, aka, party in the back!

Pick Your Color

As mentioned, pick white as your base color and you cannot go wrong.  It is extremely versatile and will make any top pop! This multi-blue-hued-and-white tunic by Johnny Was mimics the Atlantic Ocean and Florida sky.  Crisp and clear, it anchors a resort wear look.

And yes, I will be packing my flip flops!

WTW to Inaugural Festivities 01.12.17 Darby Rush

No matter your political affiliation, the inauguration of the President of the United States is a very inspiring and patriotic affair.  There are a multitude of festivities surrounding the actual swearing in ceremony and I’m not only speaking of the Inaugural Balls! Kiskadee has many styles perfect to wear to the lunches, receptions, and dinners leading up to the big day!

Lunch

One thing is for certain, don’t wear your jeans to an Inaugural-related activity, lunch included!  Now is the time to dress for the occasion!  Skirts, slacks, leather pants, fanciful blouses and ponchos…all are appropriate for a luncheon.  Plus, these fashions can be used for many occasions once the Inauguration is over and life in Washington, D.C. returns to some type of normalcy.

Reception

There are many, many receptions leading up to the Inauguration.  Corporations, state societies, members of Congress all host various receptions in honor of our next President.  Step it up a notch by showing a bit of skin and adding sparkle!  Many of these events are crowded so an added pop to your top will get you noticed!  Chic and on-trend, these outfits are sure to please.

Dinner

Inaugural dinners lean toward semi-formal dress.  With all the activities you have been attending, you may be exhausted!  Comfort is key.  Both the stunning jumpsuit and gold, ruched dress have a bit of stretch and are soft to the touch.  You will exude confidence and sophistication the entire evening!

Resolve To Break Your Style Rut! 3 Easy Steps To Start Fresh 01.04.17 Darby Rush

Greet the New Year with new style!  We can all fall easily into ruts, whether it is eating the same cereal each morning, completing the same daily exercise routine, or walking Rover over the same route each evening.  Why do we fall into ruts?  My guess is that it is easy, no thinking involved! However, easy doesn’t necessarily translate into enjoyment.  Life is too short…let’s make ourselves happy!

Where to start busting a rut?  Your style, of course!  We love our customers and we take your comments to heart.  We hear a lot of “…I don’t do that,” “I only wear this,” “I’m too old for that.”  What do we say?  NOT!  Seem daunting?  That is why we are here…to help!  Below are a few suggestions to get you going in the New Year.

1.  Start with color!

Don’t take this the wrong way…we love neutrals!  Several of our customers have said they “don’t wear color.”  They only wear black, gray, or white.  You can still wear your neutrals on the bottom but go for color on top.  It can add color to your cheeks, brighten your eyes, and add the necessary pop to complete your outfit!  How? Start muted…

…such as trying this beautiful purple top,

 …move on to a colorful textured blouse,

…then go all out with a patterned dress!

2.  Show some skin!

Now this doesn’t mean expose yourself.  However, showing a bit of shoulder is perfect!  Be open to try off-the-shoulder or the new cold shoulder trend.  They are both classic and refined yet super sexy, and can be worn just as easily with jeans or silk pants.

3.  Try a new trend!

We love to hear the joy in our customers’ voices when they lay eyes on our collection of chokers: “I wore that in the ‘80’s!”  They’re baaaack and a wonderful way to introduce a “new” trend into your wardrobe.  And no, you are not too old…no such thing!  Simply choose the choker that speaks to you and wear it with confidence!

Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.

– Designer Edith Wharton.