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.

Perfect Coats for the DMV 12.27.16

It is FREEZING outside! As I write this it happens to be THE coldest day of 2016…a 12 degree wind chill factor!  However, the Mid-Atlantic region can be a bit bi-polar in weather. As we are well aware, 12 degrees today can lead to 50 degrees a few days later, so there is always the dilemma of how to keep ahead of Mother Nature.  Luckily, there is no need purchase a utilitarian and puffy coat like the Michelin Tire Man. Kiskadee has are many stylish coats that are a perfect match for all of our climate variables.

Masculine Coat

Masculine coats have been around for quite a while (think of the original sailor inspired pea coat) but this coat by Vera Wang adds a twist with its boxy shape and faux leather sleeves.  Plus, the leather trim at the collar adds a modern and edgy flair to an otherwise traditional and classic style.  The coat has hidden buttons and deep pockets to keep you warm.

Multi-textured Coa

No wardrobe is complete without the addition of a beautiful, black, mixed-media coat.  This elegant coat has it all: a detachable faux fur collar, a wool-blend bodice trimmed in velvet, with the remainder of the coat in a mock hound’s-tooth of tulle.  This elegant coat can be used for the most special of occasions and is sure to make an impression at any venue.

Reversible Coat

You can’t go wrong with a coat that reverses from cozy faux fur to a raincoat! This chic coat will protect you from snow then, as the temps rise and snow turns to rain, slip the coat in reverse!  It can be worn to work and just as easily to a cocktail party.  It is classy AND incredibly useful!

And our favorite…Coatology

I cannot extoll the virtues of our Coatology vest enough.  It is the perfect three-season outerwear.  Instead of wearing a heavy coat while shopping, wear a Coatology vest and avoid overheating!  However, if you need an extra layer for outdoors, slip the vest on underneath your winter coat for a boost in warmth. It is filled with premium down to help regulate your temperature and its CYA (cover your ass…ets) length protects your bum and thighs from the elements.  It is one of our best sellers and much loved by staff and customers alike!

Is it spring yet…?

What to Wear New Year’s Eve 12.26.16 Darby Rush

Break out the sparkles and shine…it is New Year’s Eve!  If there is any time of year to step out of your style comfort zone, it is now!  Whether you are sticking close to home or planning a big night out, embrace the opportunity to dress up, steal the spotlight, and welcome in 2017!

Sparkle Bright

Break out the sparkles and shine…it is New Year’s Eve!  If there is any time of year to step out of your style comfort zone, it is now!  Whether you are sticking close to home or planning a big night out, embrace the opportunity to dress up, steal the spotlight, and welcome in 2017!

Sparkle Bright

Classy, chic, and gorgeous, this dress is sure to turn heads.  The black velvet, burnout overlay is sophisticated and oozes class.  You can pair it with heels or choose booties for an edgier look.

Fun and Flirty

Black, boring?  Not with this mini!  The skirt may not be appropriate for the office but the feathery fringe is perfect for a party!  You can easily pair this skirt with a skin baring top but for protection against any chill, we paired it with a simple black turtle neck, fab over the knee boots, and a stand out necklace for a bit of pop.

Leather

A great option and perfect at any time of year, this faux leather top can be used New Year’s and beyond.  It is sexy and perfectly comfortable paired with black pants, jeans, or a classic pencil skirt.  If you are worried about the chill pop on this fun fur collared poncho for warmth and pizzazz!

Chic lines

Hemlines don’t need to be sky high and necklines don’t need to plunge in order to get attention.  Sparkle is the unofficial uniform for revelers and this dress does not disappoint. Beautiful crystal flowers adorn a georgette overlay that flows gracefully over a matte satin dress.  It is refined and absolutely exquisite.

Whatever outfit you choose, be comfortable, be yourself, and most of all, have a wonderful New Year!

Not-So-Basic Black: Think Leather + Fur for Holiday Party Looks 12.21.16 Meg Lombardo

Last month Alicia wrote a great Stylebook piece discussing the most flattering ways to wear black, and I’ll admit it, I’m one of the women Alicia mentioned that has a closet full of this color. This is partially a result of black being an easy every-day uniform, but also because black is slimming, so versatile and — with the right styling — just about always appropriate. With the holiday season in full swing LBDs are typically a go-to piece for most of us, but what about changing your LBD this year? Incorporating luxe texture and detail, like that found in leather and fur, amps up basic black and elevates your look to holiday-party ready.

Historically, leather and fur have been reserved for the colder months in the form of outerwear pieces, but now are four-season appropriate. Fur, both real and faux, now adorns everything from handbags (fur purse pom-pom anyone?) to the seen-on-every-starlet designer mule. Leather, too, is now also worn year-round. In different colors and textures depending on the season, pieces like leather tanks and dresses are here to stay. Basic black pieces are much richer in a luxe texture like leather or fur, and when accented with neutral tones and a hint of metallic, a basic black look is instantly elevated.

In faux vegan leather, this BCBG dress is a definite statement piece, and really requires little else. The suede block-heeled booties keep the look from being overly dressy, but to dress it a simple gold, strappy high sandal will do the trick.  In a knit or silk, this fit-and-flare black silhouette would be pretty and versatile, but the vegan leather elevates the look to something more edgy and unexpected. 

Faux black vegan culottes are an updated alternative to a basic black trouser and pair so well with fur pieces and neutral accents. The different textures of each of these pieces work together to both elevate and soften basic black. The longer rabbit fur vest and culottes are accented with a simple cream silk blouse, while several layered gold chains add some dainty detail. The pleating on the black Nicole Miller blouse, combined with the full bell sleeve that is so on-trend, provide a perfect backdrop for a blush cashmere-blend wrap with faux fur details.  In each of these color-blocked looks the more substantial vegan leather is elevated with fur accents, but softened by the fluidity of the material and colors of the accent pieces and accessories.

Shoe choice with culottes is important, especially given their cut. A heel is usually best, and since kitten heels are back, they are perfect if higher heels aren’t for you. For a slightly dressier look consider an open- toe strappy suede sandal like this one from Schutz.

Whether you’re hosting a casual holiday luncheon or attending a holiday brunch, denim can be the perfect accent to dress down a too formal all-black look. This rabbit fur cape is a stunner, and is warm without being bulky. Paired with dark denim skinnies and a silk cream blouse, it’s casually elegant while also visually interesting given the toughness of the denim, luxe of the fur, and fluidity of the blouse. The metallic accents on the pointy-toe flats and necklace keep the look fun and add a pop of sparkle, which is always appropriate when spreading holiday cheer!

What to Wear for Christmas Traditions 12.20.16 Darby Rush

Everybody has special Christmas traditions.  On Christmas Eve you may light your neighborhood in luminaries, fill your home with the delicious smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies, decorate your tree, read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, then spend hours assembling toys with all their teeny tiny pieces.  And that’s after attempting to open the toy’s packaging of steel-like plastic…when did Santa’s Elves become so advanced?  They must have engineering degrees from MIT!

No matter how you spend your Christmas, it is always a special occasion spent with family and friends who come together from near and far.  Whether you are looking for a beautiful top, gorgeous dress, or statement accessories for that added “wow” factor, we have style ideas to inject inspiration into your Christmas fashion.

Christmas Eve

Dare to be different!  This stunning jumpsuit by Nicole Miller lends a “Bam!” to any Christmas Eve activity.  It has a formality yet playfulness that makes it perfect for dinner out on the town or a more formal dinner at home.  The contrasting textures of the bodice and pants is pure elegance and, with the appearance of a higher waist, your legs will look long and lean.

Christmas Morning

 

If you have wee ones your Christmas morning may start at 5am… if you are lucky.  With teens you are tapping your watch begging them to wake them up!  Either way, bring out the joy of Christmas morning in this gorgeous red top by Hale Bob.  The beautiful, burned-out velvet motif is swirled throughout the blouse giving it a subtle 3-D look.  It is perfect for hosting a festive brunch at home or, if you are headed out, throw on this gorgeous wrap and you will be fashionable and stay toasty warm against any morning chill.

Christmas Dinner

The celebration is not over yet!  Before you head over to the in-laws or grandma’s house you need to dress stylishly and confidently. This top by Nicole Miller will look equally fashionable when paired with culottes or jeans.  The accordion pleats and bell sleeves lend an air of refinement yet the bold black color screams confidence.  You will be on-trend, incredibly stylish, and in possession of a top that can be used multiple times throughout the holiday season!

 

The Holiday Party Season Starts Here! 12.14.16 Darby Rush

It’s holiday party time!  Everyone is making their way to holiday lunches, dinners, office parties, and evening soirées.  Take the stress out of your holiday attire by viewing our ideas below. You may conveniently have something in your closet but we are here to help if not!

Luncheon or Work Party

You want to be festive but not overdone.  Plus, working in the Washington area may require a more conservative dress when attending evening office celebrations.  A perfect way to balance the work/fun dress dilemma is to add a bit of fur.  This poncho will make you look and feel absolutely delightful!  The fur detail at the neck and sleeve makes for an elegant appearance.  Plus, it pairs equally well with pants or a pencil skirt.  The poncho can definitely transfer from the office to a cocktail party in an elegant fashion.  It is simple, effortless, and sophisticated.

Holiday Show

You can dress like you normally would for any old theater production but why?  ‘Tis the season to celebrate, so have fun with your wardrobe!  Break out this beaded sensation from Joie.  It is a chic stunner that is smart and classy for any occasion.  The elegant beading of the blouse will make the outfit require minimal, if any, accessories…one less thing to think about!  A beautiful wrap will ward off the chill of the theater and any post-theater activities planned.

Cocktail + Dinner Parties

Go all out for these merry occasions!  You can’t go wrong with black and gold…it is a bold color scheme that demands attention.  If you need a little understated elegance, this dress by Julie Brown is one you will reach for again and again.  The design is classic, and the smooth, silky fabric looks and feels exceptional. 

An added “wow” will be yours in this gold and black metallic knit dress by Michael Stars.  As mentioned in a previous post, this dress will fit, hug, and shape your body while remaining comfortable the entire evening.  It doesn’t need much in the way of accessories except for black strappy sandals or pumps.   If you haven’t noticed yet, we are all about simplicity this season, streamlining your fashion choices, reducing stress, and making s

5 Do’s and Don’ts for the Holiday Season 12.12.16 Darby Rush

Why is the holiday season full of stress for so many?  I LOVE the holidays but the forced family fun can be exhausting.  Plus, surrounded by all sorts of goodies, I’m not eating my best and I’m being overserved at every party.  However, I will survive!  Here are a few ideas on how to navigate the season of being merry.

Splurge doesn’t have to mean spending a pretty penny on every present, but I love to give thoughtful and generous gifts to those I love.  I enjoy buying gifts my family wants, not necessarily needs, because that they can do for themselves.  Plus, it adds an element of surprise!  Fur scarves and mittens are luxurious items your loved ones may not buy for themselves and they are classic pieces that can be used immediately. And you can never go wrong with unique jewelry!  I enjoy spoiling my family members with distinctive jewelry…a little arm, neck, or ear candy can deliver a delightful bombshell to the lovely ladies in your life!

2. Don’t drink too much.

Nuff said.  But at least you started out the evening in a beautiful top by Julie Brown!

3.  Going out?  Dress to impress!

Toss the LBD and bring out the sparkles and sequins for your holiday evening activities!  This gold and black metallic knit dress is an absolute stunner.  SO comfortable and forgiving…no worries about noshing on an extra canapé or two!  The ruching moves with you and stays put.  Plus, as we know with ruching, it hides any perceived flaws.  Bum ruching works magic on the behind!

4.  Dress casually when hanging with the fam and friends.

Ahhhh comfort…the type you only find when relaxing with your family and friends.  Throw on your most comfortable jeans and t-shirt and top it with a cozy jacket or vest shown here.  Snuggle up by the fire, sink back in the comfy couch, and simply enjoy the wonderful contentedness when surrounded with the ones you love most. 

5.  Do take time for yourself.

Recognize if your chi is low but stress high.  Exercise is a wonderful way to reduce stress.  Take a yoga, barre, or Pilates class at Mind the Mat.  These mindfulness experts will restore your strength and lighten your soul.  Or, take a nap!  Better yet, do both.  Peacefulness will be reestablished and you will be ready conquer the day and look forward to an exciting New Year!

Ode to Cashmere (Part 1) 11.21.16 Darby Rush

Cashmere is coveted for many reasons. It keeps us warm in the winter months, without the itch and bulk of wool.  It is oh-so-soft to the touch and against the body, like a beloved robe (but WAY more elegant!). However, shopping for cashmere can be an eye-popping experience…it is expensive! In this and upcoming posts we will demystify this sumptuous fabric, covering everything from quality to caretaking!

A Cozy Investment

Why does this luxurious fabric cost so much?  It comes down to quality.  The highest quality comes from goats in the high plains of Mongolia, where the goats develop thick fleeces in the freezing winters.  But actual cashmere comes from the downy fine under-hair of the fleece, which acts as the goat’s insulation.  These longer fibers, taken from the underbelly and the neck of the goat, are most expensive and woven into higher-quality cashmere.

Spotting Quality Cashmere

The biggest difference between a $100 sweater and luxury cashmere is the number of plies. Good cashmere sweaters should be at least two-ply. Touch the fabric to see how dense and soft it is.  The texture you feel depends upon how it was milled. If it sheds it most likely was over milled.  Under milled will make the fabric lose its trademark softness.  Also, stretch the fabric a bit.  Quality cashmere should spring back because it is tightly woven.  Expect to spend $300 or more.

But Don’t be discouraged! There Is Terrific Mid-priced Cashmere…

However, superb $200 mid-priced cashmere has made its way into the sweater market.  It is two-ply, supremely soft, yet is milled using the less expensive shorter cashmere downy fibers.  

…and Beautiful Cashmere Blends

You can still own cozy and comfy cashmere woven into a blend of other warming fabrics.  It can be interlaced with silk, wool, and mohair just to name a few.  The stunning colors, smooth feel, and different textures can be modern yet classic in its design.

Yes…winter is coming!  Review your wardrobe and invest in a material that will keep you warm for years to come!

Yes, Chokers Are for EVERY Age! 11.17.16 Darby Rush

The chokers of our youth are back!  As we see their re-emergence on the likes of Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and other 20-something It Girls, those of us in our 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond may question if we are now too old for this fresh trend. Nope! Although fashion tends to cater to the young and restless, there really is no expiration date. We have been through the experimental age and as adults we now understand how to interpret fashion trends and make them our own.

Fine, thin, subtle chokers in fabric, crystals, or pearls can adorn any neck and be an extremely beautiful addition to any ensemble. Extremely versatile, chokers can be worn with t-shirts, wraps, fur, sequins…anything!

Experiment and find your choker style!

Avoid the Angst and Enjoy Thanksgiving! 11.14.16 Darby Rush

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many…what is not to like about spending a splendid day with delicious food and visiting with family and friends! But yes, angst can creep in…do we brine or not brine the turkey? Will stuffing fly if there is a heated family debate about private email servers and making green bean casserole great again?  Will stress make you call the Butterball Hotline and ask how you should dress for dinner as opposed to how to dress a turkey?  Whether you are hosting dinner or headed on a road trip, we can set your closet dilemma at ease!

1)  A Country Thanksgiving

Country and chic do not have to mean strange bedfellows!  You can be fashion-forward yet casual in this outfit by keeping your base layers classic.  The “WOW” factor comes from the fab Conrad C fur vest, a lariat choker, and layered bracelets!

2)  A City Thanksgiving

En route to a dressier affair?  Dress to impress by mixing neutrals and textures alike.  This stunning cashmere skirt does all that yet the layered necklaces and over-the-knee boots add a sexy dimension that, yes, you can exude at Thanksgiving dinner!

3)  Hostess with the Mostess

Swap out that stained apron for this sheared sequined stunner by Toulani!  The top pairs equally well with black skinnies, blue jeans, or winter-white flares. It is so elegant on its own but the addition of the beaded choker lends an edgy look to the woman who slayed Thanksgiving dinner for all of her family and friends!

Be inspired to put your fashion foot forward for all of your Thanksgiving activities!

Fuzzy Fashion Finds! 11.09.16 Darby Rush

Like a warm bear hug, fuzzy fashions envelope you in delightful comfort and protection from Mr. Frost’s frigid elements.  When creating new fall and winter collections, designers seek out unique materials and thrive on combining different textures…fuzzy fashions meet that high expectation.  You can rock this trend in felted vests with fuzzy trim, suede heels with furry pompoms, or traditional pom-pom-topped cable knit hats.  Add this soft, edgy texture to your wardrobe and get your fuzz on!

Fuzzy Vests

Lux at its best, fuzzy vests are a stylist’s best friend.  Sophisticated yet bold, edgy yet refined, you can push the fashion envelope with these wardrobe toppers and excel beyond the fashion curve!

Fuzzy Ponchos

If your style is more casual you will want to reach for this season’s fuzzy trimmed ponchos.  Toss on as you head to the farmers market, toss on as you head to a football game, toss on as you settle down on your comfy couch to read your favorite novel…the fuzzy poncho will be your best friend as the temps decline!

Fuzzy Accessories

We always preach accessories can make a stylish outfit pop!  Keep your neck warm in this oh-so-soft scarf and your hands toasty in furry muffs!  And we never neglect our feet…talk about shoe love in suede topped with a fuzzy pom-pom.  And our head?  Need I say more?  We all know the greatest amount of heat escapes from an unprotected head.  Cover your noggin this beautifully knit cap that comes in black, gray, and cream!

Make a Statement in Necklaces by Local, Independent Designers 11.08.16 Darby Rush

The fall and winter are not just seasons in which to layer your clothing but also to showcase accessories.  Statement necklaces come in all shapes, sizes, and lengths. This season’s darker colors are a perfect way to showcase gold, silver, and natural and semi-precious stones.  Being a small boutique, we enjoy sharing the entrepreneurial spirit so we are thrilled to carry local, unique, and independent jewelry designers.  Whether you enjoy chunky necklaces or layering delicate chains, we have plenty of options to make your outfit pop!

ADMK

Local Northern Virginian Meghan Kurtz designs the wonderful ADMK jewelry line.  She hand-designs her jewelry and personally selects the highest quality material from semi-precious stones to cultured freshwater pearls to precious metals.  Shown here are a stunning necklace made with a large gray onyx teardrop and beads and a showstopper pearl beaded necklace with a gorgeous polished Marcasite.

Orangetwist

Orangetwist is also located in Northern Virginia — so much talent in our area!  Like all our independent jewelry designers, Orangetwist also hand selects their pearls, crystals, and semi-precious stones.   This beautiful long pendant necklace of crystal and pearls mimics the current fringe trend, and their classic, hand-knotted pearl chokers and necklaces are customer favorites.

Anne Vaughan Jewelry

What do enterprising young mothers do in order to spend more time with their children?  Start a fantastic jewelry designing business! Working in her Floyd, Virginia studio, Anne conceives each design and oversees the selection of every component.  She strives to introduce new designs every few months so her jewelry lines always stay fresh.

Meg Carter

Meg has always been creative!  And little did she know when she made a necklace out of an abandoned hermit crab shell that Meg Carter Designs would be the huge success it is today.  The well-known Old Town Alexandria designer creates beautiful necklaces with seashells, colorful beads, and whimsical clasps.  Her signature look adorns many lovely women throughout our neighborhood and beyond!

Ruth Barzel

Statement pieces need not be large; simplicity can speak for itself.  Ruth Barzel’s designs are elegant and refined.  She takes pride in each creation from the initial drawing to the selection of all her fine materials.  Ruth’s designs reflect minimalism at its best.

4 Style Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them) 11.02.16 Darby Rush

Fashion is very personal and sometimes, it can be in the eye of the beholder.  However, some trends can go from stylish to trashy if you don’t avoid some common mistakes many of us make.  These guidelines will help you navigate and avoid any future style errors!

1)  Wearing Clothes That Are Too Baggy

We all perceived body imperfections we want to hide.  However, wearing clothing that is too large or baggy will actually make you look bigger!  Properly fitted clothing, in various fabrics, will accentuate the positive…forget about the negative!  These loose fitting (not too loose!) boyfriend jeans will disguise any lumps or bumps.   Top it with a boxy sweater that falls at the waist and you have the perfect proportions for a chic outfit!

2) Under-Accessorizing

What makes an outfit go BAM? Accessories! Many women fear they will over-accessorize or it is just simply too complicated.  However, simply add a necklace or a statement pair of shoes and voila!  You are accessorized…it is that easy!

3) Not Wearing the Proper Bra

Together with Bra Lady Pam we have preached how a proper fitting bra can make or break an outfit…this picture says it all ladies!

4) Pairing Distressed Denim Frumpy Pieces

Don’t wear your distressed denim with your college sweatshirt…no need to look sloppy!  Pair it with a stunning silk blouse, like this beauty from Joie, and top it with an on-trend bomber jacket for a more polished look.

But remember: style guidelines are just that…guidelines!  Make your own and please share those with us!