You have white pants. You like them. You want to wear them. But you don’t want to look like Biff, just off the yacht.
How do you tone them down for work?
First, the don’ts: Unless you’re going for the Captain Stubing / Good Humor look, do not not wear a white shirt. Ditto white shoes.
Now, the dos: Try a lightweight chambray shirt, like this one. It's the modern interpretation of work wear from J. Crew. With a tone-matched T-shirt underneath, this breathable, chambray will soften the white slacks (and look great with jeans).
Pair it all with some casual, worn-in looking shoes, maybe roll up the trousers a turn, toss on a blue blazer, and you’re ready for the desk, rather than the deck.
$70 at jcrew.com.
Circa 1998, I purchased a pair of American Eagle wide-leg trousers—a plaid pattern, drawstring waist, and not the least bit flattering. I sported them proudly through the hallways of my high school. They didn’t make the move to college with me, so they’re still in my old dresser at my parents’ house. Now, whenever I visit the folks, the first thing I do is slip into those beauties. By now, they have become a joke among my family, but there’s just something about those flowy legs and the soft cotton against my skin—especially in this day (decade?) of skinny jeans.
I’m not sure (and I didn’t much care) whether wide-legs were even “in” back in ’98, but this season, they certainly seem to be! I adore these easy breezy pants from Anthro. The graphic design and pop of pink are effortlessly summery. They’re totally lounge-worthy, but pair them with wedges and some wrist candy (these, perhaps), and—voila!—you’re suddenly chic.
$68 at anthropologie.com
I think we can all agree that when it’s time to get fancy on a blisteringly hot evening, the ideal choice is a dress that:
1. Is made of a breathable, natural fabric
2. Floats gently away from the body rather than clinging to it
3. Is dark enough to conceal evidence of a “glow” (my late grandmother’s ladylike euphemism for “sweat”).
My pick for this season is Lanvin’s jewel-shoulder cotton midi dress (my preference is black, but it is also available in prune). Not only does it fulfill the previous three requirements, but its hem hits that sweet spot right below the knee: the new length that you’ll be seeing much more of come fall. Bonus: It’s got some bling built right in, so you needn’t fuss with jewelry when you’re feeling all, you know, glowy.
$399 (down from $995!) in black, at 15 E. Oak St., 312-587-1700, or at barneys.com; $495 in prune, at Lanvin, 116 E. Oak St., 312-765-7075
Seven years ago, while on a business trip to Paris, I bought an exquisite fine gauge cardigan with stitched-on lace trim by a line that I had never heard of called Sacai. The sweater is still one of my favorites, and I have fallen ever deeper in love with the line designed by Chitose Abe, a relatively young Japanese designer who worked for eight years at Comme des Garcons. Her designs collage together various classic wardrobe elements—like v-neck cardigans with ruffled silk backs or t-shirts with lace panels—all in quiet neutral tones resulting in just the right amount of avant garde drama.
These shorts are a perfect example of this collage effect, with the very basic pleated short silhouette in front and the pretty pleating in back. It’s a gorgeous silhouette and is just dressy enough to go from alfresco brunch to afternoon cocktail party. In other words, perfect for summer!
On sale for $519 at Barneys, 15 E Oak or barneys.com
On a never-ending quest to master that whole “day to night, desk to drinks” thing, I had to check out Benefit’s latest concealer, Fakeup. Its claim to fame is a hydrating ring of Vitamin E and apple seed extract that moisturizes skin while it conceals.
While reapplying makeup tends to cake and accentuate fine lines, the hydrating ring in Fakeup keeps the product from creasing. It’s the perfect under eye concealer for quick touchups throughout the day—plenty reason to give it a home in my handbag.
Form following function isn’t often a rule honored by fashion—we often have to suffer greatly to look great. But in the case of a certain kind of sock, function fits in just fine with form.
I’m talking specifically about copper socks. The phrase may evoke images of brassy metallic boots, but actually, they are very much normal looking foot coverings with copper woven into the fabric. Why copper? Because, it turns out, copper is not only healthy for its microbe-killing properties, it’s great for killing bacteria and fungi that plague the, ahem, smell-challenged peds. Don’t take my word for it. In 2008, the EPA approved copper as the only metal proved to boot pathogens to the curb.
There are a number of copper socks on the market. There’s nothing show-stopping about Carhartt’s traditional copper ion lightweight boot sock, and you may think this is a fall and winter apparel item. Think again. Unless you feel comfortable going sockless in the 90-degree plus heat—and who among us does, really—add these to your stable.
I used my grandmother’s brooch to fasten the sash I wore to my wedding reception on Saturday. You’d better believe I was feeling proud of my craftiness until yesterday, when I came across this stroke of genius: a vintage brooch cast in bronze to take on a new life as a gorgeous necklace.
For the past year, Chicago artist Lana Nikolenko has been repurposing objects such as cuff links, pins, and other vintage finds (even the occasional shark tooth) to handcraft such baubles and sell them on her Etsy page. She recently debuted her line, MadeIn, at the Do Division fest. If we’re lucky, we’ll be seeing her creations at more festivals this summer.
$60 at MadeIn
Jumpsuits may be in, but getting out of one—say, in the close confines of an airplane lavatory—can be tricky.
Choose this Diane von Furstenberg outfit instead.
It offers all the practicality of two separate pieces while giving the chic, elongating effect of one seamless garment. The split sleeves of the black Astor silk top are easy-breezy in hot weather while hiding the underside of the upper arm (just in case you've been neglecting your triceps at the gym). And the matching cropped viscose/polyamide pants, with a hint of stretch (dubbed the Clean Pinca), are the perfect basic.
$275 for the top; $275 for the pants, at Neiman Marcus, 737 N. Michigan Ave., or at neimanmarcus.com.
Now that we’ve tackled swimsuits, my thoughts turn to that other essential pool/beach garment—the cover-up. What once used to be just a simple pareo or an oversized T-shirt has developed into a chic genre of its own, available in an array of shapes, fabrics and lengths.
Based on my many observations lounging poolside, simplicity is generally sexier and most flattering. Cover-ups in solid colors and natural fabrics with a little reveal in a short length are the way to go. The Ava by Miguelina is sure to be a standout on the coast of Lake Michigan or in St. Tropez and can take you from a nice Champagne brunch to the boardwalk.
Just don’t forget the sunblock!
$340 at Neapolitan, 715 W Elm St, Winnetka or shopbop.com
Because there really aren’t enough reasons to freak out about our ever-accelerating stress levels, I recently had this little piece of knowledge dropped on me: Studies show that stress causes an inflammatory response in the body, which can lead to premature aging, dryness and redness in the skin.
Hydration is key, and Kiehl’s (which happens to make some of my favorite moisturizers) has gone the extra step of adding extra stress-reducing ingredients to its latest product, the Skin Rescuer. Chamomile soothes and calms skin; shea butter and mannose (a rare sugar) hydrates and protects; and rosa gallica extract (sourced from flower petals) has been shown to minimize the skin’s inflammatory response to stress.
For all that, the moisturizer is surprisingly lightweight, non-irritating and absorbs quickly with a silky, non-greasy finish. Top with SPF and it becomes a great daily moisturizer for anyone dealing with stress—so, that would be everyone.
$40 at Kiehl’s, 907 W. Armitage Ave. or kiehls.com
About this blog
Style Sheet is Chicago magazine’s blog devoted to all things stylish. Every weekday our trusty columnists track down the best offerings in men’s and women’s apparel, beauty, and grooming so you can just sit back and click.
Carly Boers | An associate editor at Chicago magazine, Boers loves a bargain and is addicted to new jeans and cute accessories. Look for her $100-or-less Cheap & Chic pick on Tuesdays.
Heiji Choy Black | Always on the hunt for the new, the exceptional, and the avant garde, Black edits Chicago magazine’s fashion coverage. Look for her Fashion Forward pick on Fridays. Twitter: @heijiblack