- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Id0FrFe2.dpuf Hell or High Fashion: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Screen Queen

Skirt, Burberry.  Sweater, F21.  Shoes, H&M.  Bag, vintage.

I've always used clothing as a way to make a personal statement, but a new trend in the fashion world is making it easier than ever to get your point across.  Screened tees and statement sweaters are everywhere lately and I, for one, am really excited about it! 
Screened tees (t-shirts featuring screen printed graphics) used to have a very plebian feel.  Clothing with words and pictures blazoned across the front were for the masses, something you picked up at your father's company picnic or as merch at a concert.  But with the rise of the hipster came the rise of the screened tee: suddenly it was COOL to wear that company picnic shirt (with a healthy dose of irony), and retailers even started making faux-vintage clothing advertising imaginary little league teams and field days.  The high-end fashion world has finally caught up with under-the-radar hipsters, and now luxury statement shirts are all the rage. 

While I love the hipster interpretation, I wanted to upgrade my newest statement sweater with a Parisian-in-the-park feel to match it's message en francais.  The nautical stripes on this Forever 21 knit give it a springtime feel, so I imagined myself a French girl on her way to the local farmer's  market, and this is the outfit that I came up with!
It's Spring here in California but the days have actually been pretty gloomy and cold.  To achieve that warm-weather vibe and still protect myself from the LA elements, I chose pieces that look fresh and current but are executed in heavier wools.  This knit sweater paired perfectly with my favorite vintage find: a wool perma-pleated midi skirt from Burberry!  I found this gem hidden in the 80% off rack of Second Time Around in Boston years ago and it's been with me ever since.  Even though I don't get a lot of use out of this skirt, I feel like it's a legacy item that I can pass down to my granddaughters someday- what's more classic than vintage Burberry?!
I kept the rest of my outfit really simple- no jewelry, casual wedge sandals, easy straw purse.  I have endless coffee table books on French fashion, and it seems the mark of true Parisian style is not caring too much!  Obssessing over the perfect outfit and piling on the accessories tends to make you look like you're trying too hard, and that elusive "je ne sais quoi" is lost in the sauce.   Simplicity is key!
Of course, there are tons of other ways to fashionably flaunt the statement tee trend.  I snapped some pics a few weeks ago (pre-haircut) of some different ways to rock a screened look, like pairing an oversized sweater with skintight leggings or rolling up the sleeves on a short sleeved tee and combining it with an edgy skirt.

Fashion Tips from "Screen Queen":
1.  Get in on the screened tee action!  No matter how you wear it- ironic hipster or high-fashion fashionista- the look is cool, not corny.  Urban Outfitters has a great selection of funny statement tees & tanks for guys, and I'm loving the newest designer offerings for us girls.  This Nueva York tee and this cheeky "Tea Shirt" top are high on my list of must-haves!
2.  Even though it's technically Spring, we're experiencing left-over-winter-weather all over the country.  You can get a head start on Spring fashion by adding a few pieces to your collection that are bright and on-trend for the SS13 season, but are made of heavy knit cottons or warm wools. Maybe it's too cold to break out your favorite pink tank top right now, but try a pair of jeans in that same bright Spring pink- you'll be covered from the cold AND ready for the new season!
3.  In a style rut?  Create a character for yourself and dress to their personality!  In this outfit I became a young Parisian about town, which let me experiment with a new style.  Try dressing yourself as a 50s housewife, a 70s hippie, or a minimal 90s model- but limit yourself to what you already have in your closet.  That way, you get to experience a new way of putting things together, but it will still feel 100% you!
4.  Shop vintage and second-hand.  My vintage shopping runs have scored me this amazing Burberry skirt, classic Chanel flats, and quite a few Ferragamo bags that will always be in fashion.  I love the idea of buying a garment that has already lived a fabulous life!  I know these items will stand the test of time and be passed down from generation to generation.  It's never too early to start cultivating a collection that will be coveted by your kids and grandkids!

Did you guys see my StyleSnap on Instagram yesterday?  For mini-blogs between Hell or High Fashion posts, be sure to follow me @jdefino.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Bug's Life

Shirt, Gap.  Sweater & jeans, H&M.  Shoes, DVF.  Necklace, Alexis Bittar.  Hat, F21.

I love bugs.  I don't necessarily care for the real-life kind, but put a cartoon crawler or sparkly spider on literally any type of apparel and I'll buy it!  This obsession has led to more bug-printed clothing, shoes, rings, and brooches than I can count on my hands and feet- and I still can't stop!  This ladybug purse, these spider sandals, and these eight-legged earrings are all at the top of my "Buy" list.   I'm going to make such a great eccentric old cat lady someday!
While my wildlife wardrobe will of course look amazing at 80, I don't want to give off that "old lady" vibe just yet.  One of my constant challenges is wearing something that is seen as eccentric and old and making it young, hip, and fresh. 

I last wore this ladybug button down for my feature on KMS California UK's style website, RealStyleInspiration.com.  (You can read that article here!)  The shirt is pretty detailed: it's called the "Shrunken Boyfriend" fit (my favorite style from the Gap- I have about 3 different prints in this cut!) so it's a longer and looser than most dress shirts, and it's covered in pink and red cartoon critters. 
A tiny, all-over print on a white background tends to be less than flattering- white is somewhat widening, and a tiny print can make it seem like your body has a lot of surface space to cover- so I took care of that potential problem by throwing a sweater on top!  This ensures that the fun print gets shown off at the collar and tails, but a solid sweater offers a bit more shape.
Because one bug is never enough, I added my favorite Alexis Bittar scarab necklace to the mix!  This necklace is really special to me- I worked at Alexis Bittar for a long time and pined over this piece almost every day.  It was the most expensive piece in the whole collection though, and at $900 I knew I could never call it my own.   But as luck would have it, I landed my first paying modeling gig with KMS California when there was just one of these babies left in the store!  I used some of my earnings (coupled with a very generous employee discount) to treat myself.  Now this scarab piece will always remind me of that great experience- I'm so glad I indulged!!
To keep the knit sweater/bug combo fresh and fun, I added a slouchy pair of boyfriend jeans on bottom.  This low-riding, relaxed fit screams "trendy and young", which is just what I needed to balance out my octogenarian tendencies!  A very hipster bowler hat and the sexiest stilleto sandals I own reinforced the "hip twentysomething" idea, keeping my look balanced and age-approriate.
Fashion Tips from "A Bug's Life":
1.  Collect what you love, even if it's weird!  Do you have a strange obsession with a certain style or print?  Let yourself go crazy with it from time to time if it makes you happy!  Skull-printed pieces are everywhere right now- if that's your  print of choice, limit yourself to one or two pieces per outfit.  A skeleton scarf paired with skull stud earrings is chic when balanced out with classic neutrals; a skull scarf on top of a skull dress with skull jewelry is too much. 
2.  Act your age.  I really do believe that anyone of any age can rock any style trend, but you have to adapt it to your particular situation.  Of course a man in his 40s should wear skinny jeans if he wants to-- paired with a sleek button down and blazer (as opposed to a casual screened tee), skinnies can be totally age-appropriate! 
For us girls, playsuits and overalls are HUGE right now.  To avoid looking like a preschooler at the park, skip the socks & sneakers and try pairing your overalls with chunky heels.  Make it work!
3.  Treat yourself.  As fully grown adults, investing in clothing and accessories is a great idea (you know you're not going to grow out of it in a year!).  I've begun adding special pieces to my closet to commemorate big events in my life: I'll look back on my first modeling job every time I wear my Alexis Bittar necklace and be proud of the work I did.  I indulged in classic Prada heels for my college graduation, and now whenever I put them on I wear them with a sense of accomplishment. 
So buy yourself that classic leather wallet with your first paycheck from a new job, or celebrate a big birthday with a sleek pair of cufflinks.  You'll be reminded of the best times in your life when you wear them, and that sense of confidence is the best accessory!

I'm starting an in-between-blogs Instagram feature called "StyleSnaps" this week- little screen shots of outfit details that don't make it to Hell or High Fashion.  Follow me on Instagram @jdefino for more style updates!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grin and Bare It

Jacket, AG.  Top, Forever 21.  Skirt, American Apparel.  Shoes, Zara.  Bag, Vintage.
It's definitely started to feel like Spring here in LA!  The days are longer and the temperature has been sitting pretty in the 70s for a few weeks now.  My extensive collection of little sundresses gives me a lot of great outfits to choose from, but they can get boring after a while.  Normally a one-piece, quick and easy dress devotee, I've been playing with separates more and more to create a unique Spring/Summer look.

One common complaint from my personal shopping clients is, "I don't know what to wear during the summer months."  The heat really seems to mess with people- I'm constantly hearing "It's too hot to put in effort!" or "I didn't have the energy to look further than a tank and cut-offs".  Hot weather isn't an excuse to forget about fashion- it IS a great excuse to challenge yourself though!

Head scarf, American Apparel.  Earrings, Forever 21.

This season, I've been focusing on creating a wardrobe of fun mix-and-match pieces that can be combined in infinite ways.  In fact, I haven't bought a dress in quite a while!  Crop tops, long printed skirts, and bright cardis and blazers have taken over my wardrobe.  With so many options, I'm guaranteeing that I'll never feel bored with Spring/Summer fashion again.

One of my favorite finds so far is this fun midi-length skirt from American Apparel.  This style is 50% off right now and available in tons of different colors, so go scoop one up now while you can!  "Midi" skirts (also known as "tea length") are really having a moment right now.  Because the length is so conservative, you can really have fun with color, print, and the other pieces you pair it with. 

I took that conservative/wild approach and paired my long, high-waisted skirt with a cute little cropped top!  I picked up this gem from Forever 21 last summer (with high-waisted short shorts to match) and it's been waiting for the perfect outfit to come along ever since.  I feel OK about baring my midriff to the world in this look because I'm covered up everywhere else!  I wouldn't dream of wearing a belly-baring shirt with a mini skirt or even with tight pants- a balance of tight/loose or short/long is what keeps a daring outfit classy.

That being said, sometimes the sun got a little too hot to handle in this jacket!

The 50s/60s flair of this look inspired me to do something a little different with my hair!  I grabbed a head wrap from American Apparel and channeled Brigitte Bardot in this iconic pic:

A little straw basket purse and mod floral earrings tied everything together for a classic but funky way to handle the spring heat! 

Fashion Tips from "Grin and Bare It":

1.  The weather is no excuse for sloppy dressing.  Cooler days give you the opportunity to experiment with layering, and hotter days should challenge you to come up with fun, unexpected combinations that won't weigh you down.  Jewelry and shoes are great ways to add more "oomph" to your summer look: you can wear your traditional summer uniform of short shorts and a tank, but elevate them with bright layered jewels or funky wedge sandals. 

2.  This season is the season to bare it!  Cropped tops and underwear-as-outerwear are huge in the fashion world, so there are plenty of options for you to try out.  Just remember that when you decide to show off one part of your body, you should conceal another- that sense of "peek-a-boo" keeps your look mysterious and classy instead of party-girl crazy.

3.  Separates are the best way to punch up your wardrobe.  While dresses are fun and easy, they don't offer as much variety as separate pieces do.  Have at least one bright shirt, one striped shirt, and one floral shirt in your wardrobe to pair with different colored jeans, printed shorts, and fun skirts- you'll never run out of options!

Now that we've covered warm weather wardrobes, what other common complaints do you have?  I'd love to help!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Black Tie Optional

Top, 3.1 Phillip Lim.  Jeans, H&M.  Belt, Zara.  Bag, Ferragamo.  Shoes, Reed Krakoff.
 Never before have I been so interested in the idea of menswear as womenswear.  For most of my life I've leaned towards girlier pieces and feminine shapes, but the past few months have marked a transitional phase in my fashion focus.  Starting with this outfit that relaunched my blog after a months-long hiatus, I've begun to appreciate the contrast and depth that a masculine touch can bring to an outfit.  This casual tuxedo look brings a few of my favorite menswear-inspired pieces together!
Following a huge closet purge, I created a shopping list for myself.  This list includes items I need as basics in my wardrobe, newer trendy pieces to update my look, and even out-there ideas that I want to try out.  Working from this list keeps me on-track when I'm shopping; hopefully it will keep me from filling up my closet (again) with pieces that I wear a few times and forget about!  A tuxedo-printed sweatshirt from Wildfox was at the top of my list, but it sold out before I could buy it.  When I found this 3.1 Philip Lim top burried in the racks of Wasteland I knew it belonged in my closet: it was super cute, super affordable, and on my new shopping list!
I love the exaggerated tuxedo details, executed in feminine silks with ruffle details.  This top incorporates the standard menswear concepts but keeps the overall look totally femme- the floppy organza bow is my favorite! 
I gave this somewhat-flowy top a little bit of shape by tucking it into my newest pair of jeans.  This boyfriend cut is my new favorite closet staple; I love how the relaxed fit and color give a casual feel to even my fanciest tops and shmanciest high heels. 
While heels are usually a no-brainer for me, I chose to rock my favorite black ballet flats with this outfit instead.  The classic, no-fuss vibe of a traditional ballet flat just felt right- plus these shoes never get the attention the deserve!  I love how the bow detailing on these shoes pairs back to the bow on my shirt.  As I've said again and again, it's the littlest details that make the look!
A classic Ferragamo bag threw yet another bow into the mix, and a men's belt from Zara streamlined my shape a little more.
Fashion Tips from "Black Tie Optional":
1.  To avoid have a closet full of spontaneous purchases that don't really have a lasting place in your wardrobe, keep a running list of fashion wants and needs.  Do you wish you had a colorful cardigan everytime you reach for a sundress and the weather isn't cooperating?  Throw it on the list! Is your favorite pair of jeans on the way out but you can't bear to part with them?  Add a pair to your list- once you have a new version, it'll be easier to toss the old.
If you have no idea what your closet is aching for, ask me!  I offer this service and many others as a personal shopper- see jessicadefinostyle.com for more info.
2.  The mix of masculine and feminine, fancy and casual, or high and low can add a certain "je ne sais quoi" to your style.  Opposites attract- so try those denim cutoffs with a floaty silk top, or (for the male readers) an untucked button down, bow tie, and colorful shorts. 
3.  Keeping a running theme in your head-to-toe look is fun!  If your dress has a bow-shaped belt, add a bow to your hair in a different color and size to "tie" it all together (get it??)!  Try denim sneakers with your jeans, a leather jacket with leather boots, or different colored stripes in one outfit. 
What's at the top of your shopping list??

Monday, April 15, 2013

Greener Pastures

Top, American Apparel.  Skirt, Ruche.  Shoes and Necklace, H&M.
I've never been a huge fan of wearing green.  Mixed with my red lipstick, green clothes make me feel like a Christmas mess.  Lately, though, I haven't been able to get enough of it!  This spring, green feels fresh and even edgy, especially in playful separates like this baseball tee and leather skirt. 
Oscar de la Renta's Resort 2013 runway show really inspired me to step out of my traditional Crayola box of black, white, and red. 
Oscar de la Renta Resort 2013 (via Style.com)
How cool is this outfit? I love how this vaguely 50s skirt and fresh, bright color combo take on a punky edge.  I wanted to do the same thing with my green look, and luckily I had a similar baseball tee lying around in my closet!
I tucked my tee into this amazing green leather skirt to play with it's traditional boxy fit and make it feminine.  The full, A-line cut of my favorite new skirt (from ShopRuche.com) was the perfect companion- it's nipped-in waist and flirty fit accentuated an hourglass figure and gave this outfit the girly vibe I was going for!
I couldn't resist adding on one more green item in the form of my favorite Anna Dello Russo X H&M necklace! This necklace feels perfect when paired with a T-shirt- it takes the casual basic up a notch, without seeming too out-of-place (it is, after all, a cheap plastic H&M necklace!). 
Clutch, Forever 21.
This outfit felt a little silly when I first put it on- I thought maybe I had gone overboard on one color. A simple black/silver pair of stilletos and a matte black/grey clutch took away all of my worries- the dark colors break up the monochrome look.

Fashion Tips from "Greener Pastures":
1. The internet is your fashion friend.  Need some inspiration?  There's never a shortage of outfit inspo on pinterest.com (see my boards Style and Guy Style for ideas!), Style.com (I like to browse the latest runway collections or check out Tommy Ton's street snaps), and Lookbook.nu (each outfit pictured has a breakdown of where to buy the featured pieces!).
2. Try a monochrome look with neutral accessories.  What keeps my outfit from looking cartoonish is the fact that not EVERY piece I'm wearing is green.  Black accents (shoes, clutch, nails) can bring an out-there idea back down to earth.  Guys, why not try wearing a bold blue suit with a plain tie and dress shoes?  Knowing when to push the limits and when to rely on unassuming neutrals is a mark of true style!
3.  Play with proportions.  That men's buttondown you wear over leggings could be totally transformed by tucking it in to a high-waisted pencil skirt (remember Sharon Stone wearing her hubby's Gap tee to the Oscars??).  By giving boxy basics a femme form you can essentially double your wardrobe options!
4.   Don't be afraid to wear your favorite jewels during the day!  I know it can feel a little uncomfortable wearing a huge piece of jewelry with a casual outfit, because conventionally sparkly jewels are considered "night out" accessories. Pushing past this misconception will open up so many new "everyday" possibilities for you! Statement jewelry from chain stores like H&M, Forever21, and Topshop is meant for this kind of dressing because it even though it may seem dressy, it's cheap enough that you can feel comfortable wearing it anywhere and everywhere.
For style updates in between blog posts, check out my Twitter, Pinterest, and personal website.  And as always, feel free to message or e-mail me with any pressing fashion questions!