all that glitters

Though I’m not normally one to condone blending into a crowd with an outfit in general, I find that this time of year, it is even more important to find looks that speak to the merriment of the season!  As I recently prepared for some of my festive fetes, I wanted to find a look that could make the perfect statement, with a little bit of stun, a little bit of sophistication, and a whole lot of sparkle!

I found the most utterly elegant Parker top and instantly knew this could be an heirloom-worthy piece that would surely render a show stealing moment.  In the front, a demure silhouette gilded with luxurious sequin and beading detail.  Turned around, a dramatic open back, enhanced by that extra touch of shimmery embellishment.  I paired it with a simple pencil skirt, modest diamond studs, a fun cocktail ring, and my look was ready for that first glass of bubbly!

This seasonless top will prove to be effortlessly versatile.  It can be paired with jewel-toned faux leather pants, for feminine look with a little punch…. with simple jeans, a cardigan, and leopard flats for the “oh no big deal, I’m just being glamorous at the grocery store again” option…. and even with a sharply tailored wool suit for a fresh combo that is sure to boost your confidence as you make that climb up the corporate ladder.

style focus | monochrome manic

As I perused through recaps of Paris fashion week, I was absolutely color shocked when I saw the Elie Saab’s Spring 2012 collection.  The stunning pieces included subtle features that were so beautifully exaggerated by the collection’s minimal color palette.  Pearly beiges, warm yellows and oranges, and deep-hued greens and blues were the backdrop for dramatic sequins, feminine lace, languid silohuettes, ‘holy legs!” slits, and ‘omjeesh that’s low’ necklines.  The collection of colors provided the perfect jumping off point for these standout features, which, alone, would have fallen short.

Got me do you use this approach in the home?  Check it…

House Beautiful Magazine. The cararra marble floor and crisp white walls serve as a reference point for the perfectly aged limed oak cabinets. The sheer white pleated shower curtain adds etherial peacefulness, creating a perfect calm as you enter the room.

Stephen Sills Associates. This is a perfect example of the monochromatic appeal. Every piece in the room is in keeping with the delicious, lemony warmth. Even the heavy curtains are instantly softened and lightened by the airy, sunny disposition conveyed by the space.

Sheila Bridges. Soothing oranges envelop the whimsical details of this room. I especially love the the collection of little slippers...makes me wonder what the rest of the rooms have to offer.

Veranda Magazine. Umm, GORGE!!! I'm obsessed with this room. The flirty green window treatments and cool graphite walls are beautifully showcased against the relaxed linen chairs and neutral floor. The gold textured chandelier adds charm and a rustic, yet elegant feel.

Amanda Nisbet Design. The high-gloss walls create visual interest in this room and add a surprising element of lightness when juxtaposed with the plush velvet blue chairs.

putting everything on the line

Stripes are like a classic Chanel…Never out of style, always in season, and eternally glamorous.  As a modernist, I love all things clean, crisp, and simple, so I am obviously not afraid to show my stripes.  Verticals, horizontals, chevrons…just line ‘em up!

I recently ran across this dress.  I mean…dyyyyyyying!  It needs to get in my closet.  Immediately.

(via casualelegance)

I generally love juxtaposing the polished, ladylike lines with more unexpected, rugged pieces.  I also like pairing stripes with other bold patterns and colors.  I use the parallels to promote order, providing an enveloping and grounding effect to my outfit.

Utilizing stripes in a home, however, takes a little more gumption.

Stripes create intriguing visual tension and contrast, serving as a room’s instant focal point.  Horizontal stripes can fool the eye, allowing narrow spaces to suddenly look wider.  Vertical stripes exude confidence, creating illusions of height and palatialness. Large bold stripes need to be balanced with a more neutral color palette and simple décor.  Smaller stripes can support bright colors and can be paired with other patterns and prints.  A mélange of appropriately scaled and proportioned striped pieces and statements in a room can infuse the space with a lively rhythm of controlled chaos. Alternatively, one spectacular, dramatic striped wall or rug can act as an exclamation point in a room…!

Here are some of my favorite striped spaces:

Still a little risk averse? Consider these fool-proof tips for decorating with stripes, as featured in Real Simple magazine:

  1. Use high-contrast stripes in unexpected spots. For powder rooms and foyers (spaces where people don’t linger), strong stripes can be charming. “I love a brilliant stripe in a closet,” says Darryl Carter, a designer in Washington, D.C. “It’s like the lining on a fine coat.”
  2. Match the size of the stripes to the size of the room. In general, the larger the space, the wider wall stripes should be, because thin stripes in a big expanse can look like mere texture from far away. And in a small room broad, bold stripes can feel jarring.
  3. Blend striped, floral, and solid accessories. A foolproof recipe for throw pillows: Put together three or four designs that are clearly distinct but share a palette. Try a wide stripe, a narrow stripe, a dainty paisley, and a solid. The effect is cohesive, with just enough randomness to feel homey.

style focus | shock it to me

Now, don’t get me wrong…I love all things simple.  Clean, classic looks can really make a bold statement.  But nothing adds a little shock value like florescent tinged fashions.

I try to expand my palette and infuse brights into my wardrobe and home every chance I get.  Paired with nudes, blushes, and creams, these technicolor trends help me make an impact in any scene.

Check out one of my current outfit faves that I’ve been spotted sporting around town!

Zara Linen Blazer | Zara Skinny Red Trousers | J.Crew Stripe Silk Tee | Stuart Weitzman Nude Pumps | Stella & Dot Garden Party Earrings | YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 13 Le Orange

(btw, Zara has been killin it this season, no?!)

For my home, one of my favorite places to shop for punchy home accents is CB2.  The store is filled with affordable modern finds in both neutral and saturated shades.  And now, with the opening of a new CB2 store in my neighborhood, I’ve had a VERY hard time staying away.  Take a look at some of the best bright finds!

I recently purchased the switchback rug for my living room… adore-ahblay, right?!!!

ikat-ching items

Ok, so the pronunciation may be a little off (pronounced “ee-kot”), but these tribal prints are definitely on point.  Ikat is an ancient technique that weaves tie-dyed threads into vibrant patterns.  I love the liveliness of these fabrics – strong and bold, yet clearly epitomizing the haphazard abandon of bohemian chic.

My love for ikat blossomed even more this weekend when I checked out ZGallerie’s new Spring collection and got a pair of their new Sumba aquamarine pillows (pictured below).  Two words. Ob. Sessed.

Check out some of my other favorite ikat-inspired picks that are sure to make their mark!

the color purple

Mila Kunis was absolute perfection at tonight’s Oscars!  Her parisian, draped, lacy Elie Saab Spring 2011 Couture Collection dress was coupled with exceptionally sweet hair, soft make up, and simple diamonds.  Subtle, elegant, romantic..amazing!  So unique amongst the sea of nudes, reds, and blacks.  LOVE!

The color purple has long been associated with royalty and nobility.  Even today, this stunning shade continues to provide much sophistication and rich inspiration for interior decor.  Soft lavendars and lilacs can be utilized to create romantic, delicate looks.  Deep, exuberant hues help create high drama and instantly grab attention.  No matter the pigment, tint, or intensity, purple is a shade that inspires unparalleled elegance.

Photo images: Elle Decor

style focus | perfectly paired prints

One of the hottest Spring trends that is sure to spark fear in even the most avid fashionistas is prints.  But fear not!  This season’s runways were bursting with perfectly paired prints.  Designers showed consumers how to mix and match patterns to easily avoid the crazy lady  look. From exotic ikat motifs to bold graphic designs, prints were piled on with ‘anything-goes’ ease.

The same trends can be translated to the home.  Vivid, analogous colors and bold prints can be paired to create slightly maximalist, but always admirable looks.

Remember the following Mixing, Matching, and Getting it Right techniques:

  • Plan and experiment: Start gradually. Begin with a vibrant pillow, then as the shade grows on you, consider where else you can tie it in. When you’re comfortable with the color, try it on one wall.
  • Pick prints you love: Select a large-scale print with several colors since this will give you multiple options for mixing and matching. Then, each pattern you subsequently choose should be gradually smaller. Don’t go too small, however, since the pattern will tend to look washed-out from a distance. Also, each pattern should be distinct from the others but not overwhelm them.
  • Don’t overdo color: The fabrics should build off the colors in your original large-scale print. In rooms with many patterns, keep a narrower color scheme.
  • Vary texture: Texture can create visual depth, but it’s the tactile qualities that foster interaction.
  • Create balance: Counter big, bold patterns with areas of solid color or neutrals. The more patterns you mix in a room, the more you need to layer in visual relief. Use solids to maintain harmony and highlight the patterns.

Design strategies and images: Kit Kemp via Elle Decor