Every woman has the right to play out different sides of her persona through her wardrobe. Most days I tend toward the sleek and straightforward, but every once in a while there are super feminine collections that make me want to dress up ladylike and twirl around like a little girl.
The Spring 2013 collection from Chloé was one of those heavenly collections that looked like it floated down from a cloud, with the kind of sheer fabrics, frills, and flounces that many young ladies dream about.
This taffeta top is plenty girly, but the navy brings it in line with most of my wardrobe. I love it with the matching navy shorts, but I also imagine it with a flippy A-line skirt and, if I were to really dream, a matching silk parasol.
$1,995 at Neiman Marcus or neimanmarcus.com
Though most hair accessories bring me straight back to the bedazzled clips and oversized bows of my childhood, the right accent can add a modern touch of style to an otherwise simple ‘do.
Take, for example, those chic Balenciaga tiaras that walked down the spring runway. While a $335 hair halo isn’t in the cards right now, these $18 bumble bee hairpins by Etsy seller Elizabeth Perry Collections certainly are.
The sweet little stingers are the perfect way to add a touch of whimsy and style to an otherwise boring, messy updo.
$18 at etsy.com
Even though the sun is out today, we Chicagoans are a weather-wary lot. Which means we can always find use for a cardigan.
Enter the Stafford from AllSaints. With a sleek, narrow collar trim and ribbed cuffs and hem, this spring sweater looks good worn open or closed. And, made of lightweight gauge cotton (in light gray and charcoal) it does indeed offer the “clean finish,” that its designers promise, even as it wards off the chilly April goosebumps.
And if things get really nasty again (which, let’s face it, they likely will) it’s also available in a hoody.
$145 at AllSaints Spitalfields, 700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-283-0400
Warning: Do not carry this bag unless you’re comfortable being accosted by strangers.
I was enamored by the tote—with a rugged finish of coarse Bangladeshi fiber and smooth, dyed-leather straps—the minute I saw it. But after the umpteenth admirer stopped me to ask where I bought it (and more than one going as far as copping a feel!), I knew I’d picked a winner.
As with all of my favorite accessories, this one comes with a cool back story: LA-based Apolis partnered with Chicago’s very own Haberdash to create a wearable ad for its “Local + Global” project, which is aimed at empowering people through opportunity. (Check it out.)
I can’t wait to carry the oversized, waterproof tote to farmers’ markets this summer, packing it with produce as I stroll from vendor to vendor. That is, if I manage to dodge the bag’s admirers.
$68 at korvue.shophaberdash.com
It was only a matter of time. New York City potter-turned-home-furnishings-juggernaut Jonathan Adler was bound to expand to fashion.
Among the accessories newly on offer: This slightly psychedelic swath of cotton and silk, like a classic Missoni print after one too many cocktails.
Billed as a pareo (the Navy Acid Palm Pareo, to be exact), it also works excellently for looping around your neck while you wait for the thermometer to climb. And because it’s a generous 60 by 44 inches, you’ll be assured of plenty of coverage poolside. Someday....
$98 at Jonathan Adler, 676 N. Wabash Ave., 312-274-9920
Maybe it’s my love for architecture—buildings by Buckminster Fuller, in particular. Or perhaps its an affinity for chiseled minerals and gems. Either way, I’m always drawn to accessories and bags that emphasize geometric structure.
Chanel played with this theme a few seasons ago, with geode-inspired clutches and shoes. Roger Vivier has a line of bags with pieced-together hexagons and triangles. Now, Bottega Veneta has come out with a line of enameled antique silver jewelry, comprised of geometric shapes that look like chiseled crystals.
I especially love this ring from the collection. It looks tough and beautiful at the same time—when I get dressed, that's how I always want to look.
$620 at Bottega Veneta or bottegaveneta.com
Sine Qua Non has started a new craze: the Gemstone Blowout, a frizz-reducing, shine-enhancing blowdry using a blend of Bumble and Bumble products infused with crushed pearl, tourmaline, Brazilian green malachite and sapphire.
Tourmaline hairstyling tools have become the new gold standard of styling technology, so the idea of adding these ingredients to product makes sense. I left with a shiny, bouncy blowout that still looked great the morning after.
With a dash of hair powder, I’m told I can milk this style for three days. The service (normally $55) is discounted on Blowout Thursdays at all four Sine Qua Non locations.
$35, sinequanonsalons.com for locations
PS: Here's how it looked on me:
As with the color white, linen fashions for men once hewed to the silly and fairly arbitrary not before Memorial Day rule. Thankfully, in the same way that politicians’ positions on issues great and small seem to be “evolving,” so too have views on the immensely practical, highly comfortable, mercifully breathable fabric that has long been a summer staple.
Take this stylish, classically styled linen blazer from H&M. Fully lined and textured with lightly brushed linen (and available in four colors), it’s the perfect for this seemingly endless ’tween spell in which our souls daily cry out for spring, but the weather stubbornly refuses its full cooperation. The only thing better than the look is the immensely reasonable price—it’s cheaper than most sunglasses.
$70 at H&M, 840 N. Michigan Ave.
My fashion-forward girlfriends have been rocking oversized wristwatches for ages. Although the style looks fab on my gal pals, this is one of those trends I’d passed off as “not for me.” I envisioned slapping one on my scrawny wrist and instantly achieving a senior citizen/bag lady appearance. (Not my desired style).
But last week, I caught wind of Chicago-based 1:Face Watch, which donates its proceeds to a half-dozen worthy charities. The sharp watches have a tempered glass face that handily doubles as a mirror and is—you guessed it—jumbo. But heck, I will risk looking like an Olsen twin in the name of charity.
The smooth rubber bands come in a rainbow of hues, each of which supports a different cause. One white watch feeds 16 children, 14 bright pink watches pay for one woman’s mammogram, and so on. Figuring that since I was going big, I may as well go bold too, I chose fire-engine red. In the process, I helped an AIDS patient get access to treatment.
And you know what? That big watch looks great on my little arm, if I do say so myself.
$40 at 1facewatch.com
The closest thing to the Platonic ideal of a ring has got to be the Nudo. By Italian jeweler Pomellato, it’s a perfect faceted hunk of a gemstone affixed, sans visible prongs, into a substantial 18-karat rose gold band. Minimal enough to accompany edgy apparel yet classic enough to be worn by your grandma, it’s designed to be stackable (a nice touch). Last month, Pomellato introduced a new Nudo size (bigger!) and color (blue topaz). Buy it and you’ll pass it down to your granddaughter someday.
$3,100 at Pomellato, 41 E. Oak St., 312-649-9720
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