I have always been a huge fan of Rag & Bone, even when they were only dressing the boys in handsome selvedge jeans. This collection, inspired by Saharan motocross racing, does not disappoint with its mix of androgynous utility chic and white on white layering (a big theme this season).
One of my favorite pieces from the runway is this sexy summer dress. It has a nice silhouette, a fitted top and flared skirt, and I think it looks great on a lot of different body types. I also love the netting detail on the back of the dress. That will keep you feeling as cool as you look when the temps start to rise.
$595 at Neiman Marcus, www.neimanmarcus.com
You can rent a Herve Leger dress, an Alexander McQueen box clutch, or swag for your ever-growing children. All of that makes perfect sense—especially to Parks and Recreation fans—but can the rental business cross into beauty?
It’s happening, my friends: Lacquerous.com, a website that allows you to rent three bottles of designer polish for $18 per month.
That may sound steep, but a bottle of luxury lacquer by brands like Tom Ford, Butter London and Chanel can run $15-$30. If you’re a little skeeved by the idea of communal polish, Laquerous would like to point out that your local nail salon has been sharing their goods for years.
I’m not yet sold, but I am intrigued. Would you try it?
If you peeked into my closet, you’d know that I love a good pair of brogues. Or a good 10 pairs.
Why not? They’re stylish. They’re versatile. They can be dressy suit shoes or—as is the case with this pair of House of Hounds ‘Lester’ kicks—funky and fun, perfect with jeans or seersucker.
Crafted from brown leather with echoes of a spectator shoe, this long-wing version has natural linen detail on a crepe sole with matching brown laces. Perfect for spring—if it ever really arrives.
$160 at Topman, 830 N. Michigan Ave., 312-280-6834
We all hate on the CTA, but there’s no denying that it's part of what makes our city so fetchingly flawed.
I love this hand-stitched ode to the El, which turns the transit map into a wearable geometric work of art befitting of any true blue Chicagoan. For 12 years, locally produced Transit Tees has been silk screening and embroidering cleverly embellished transportation-focused styles that also include station-specific designs (shout out to Chicago Blue Line!).
Whether strolling the lakefront path or trying to maintain my composure on a jam-packed 66 bus, I’d be proud to sport this tee.
$44 at tattooedtees.com
Come April, you’re dying to cast off your sweaters. But the still-changeable weather (down some 30 degrees since yesterday!) makes that problematic.
This J. Crew Collection cashmere shell is an excellent solution. Made of 14-gauge Italian yarn, it’s significantly warmer than a silk or cotton sleeveless top. Wear it under a jacket on nippy mornings; throw off the outer layer to get some sun on your arms at lunchtime.
While it comes in seven colors, coral (“neon rose” in J. Crew-speak) is the winner.
$118 at jcrew.com
Even though I listened to Nirvana and Red Hot Chili Peppers back in the day, I was never a big devotee of grunge style. It was too messy and not girly enough for me.
But when I saw Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2013 collection, I fell in love. He managed to take the themes of dishabille (contrasting plaids and an oversized fit) and combine them with his own penchant for using luxurious fabrics, beautiful color, and prints with a bit of shiny embellishment.
I want to own the whole lineup in this collection. But, for now, I’ll start with this plaid-on-plaid ensemble.
Shirt, $685, and skirt, $865, at Blake, 212 W. Chicago Ave., 312-202-0047
When it comes to cosmetics, everyone’s a critic. Only a handful of products are universally loved: NARS blush in Orgasm, Smith's Rosebud Salve, Crème de la Mer moisturizer—your typical cult classics.
If there were an official list, I’d add the Naked Palette by Urban Decay. I finally caved and bought one, and I have no regrets. Every shade is completely wearable, with shades ranging from soft bisque to golden bronze to smoky grey.
The popularity of this palette prompted Nars to release a sequel last year, but the Naked2 is not a direct improvement on the original: Those with warm skin tones will probably prefer the original, while cool skin tones generally gravitate towards the latter.
If you’re not willing to commit to a $50 palette, start with the shade Half Baked, $18. The shimmery, golden shadow is the only color to make it into both palettes.
$50 at urbandecay.com
A good trench coat belongs in any man’s closet. But make no mistake: like the pea coat, this staple has morphed into something far different than the calf-length, collar-popped, Humphrey Bogart stereotype.
Trenches are shorter now, for starters, the more stylish coats often stopping a few inches above the knee. They’re also meant to be worn closer to the figure rather than the looser look of yore. Neutral colors still rule, though a much more varied palette has seized the fashion day this year. Salmon, even burgundy or navy blue, can add pop.
I’m partial to this tried and true beige, with some interesting features to freshen the look. This Javelins Double Breasted Trench Coat caught my eye. It sports an oversized convertible collar with leather buckle straps, front slant pockets, and an on-sleeve zip pocket. The adjustable waist belt is removable. The best part? Because it’s made of a cotton/polyester blend, you can throw it in the wash. Talk about a welcomed April shower.
$398 at Nordstrom, 520 N. Michigan Ave., 312-464-1515
Last week, I read an interview with the ultra-stylish Jessica Alba, who proclaimed the fitted blazer a spring wardrobe essential. She’s absolutely correct: When pulled on over a maxi dress or paired with pastel jeans and heels, it’s an instant dose of sophistication. Thus launched my weeklong search for the perfect specimen.
I spent my lunch hours scouring the Mag Mile’s department stores and boutiques, sifting through racks of chic but—yikes—expensive blazers, struggling to find something non-chintzy for less than $100. Things looked bleak as I wandered through Zara. But then, in a rare moment of retail genius, I beelined for the kids’ department.
There it hung: Amongst the boys’ duds, a lightweight checked number complete with sassy elbow patches. The sleeves, when rolled up, reveal a contrasting pattern that adds even more pizzazz. And it’s no Armani, but the fabric doesn’t scream “cheapo.” I wear a size 2 and the “11-12 years” size fits like a dream.
Sorry, boys. But you don’t get to keep this one all to yourselves.
$55.90 at Zara
It can take the eye a while to adjust to a new shape or silhouette, but adjust it does. (Remember when knee-length skirts seemed hopelessly dowdy?)
We’re in the midst of one such adjustment now, to the blocky low heel. Ignore the whiff of Queen Mum about this height—it will surely dissipate—and think about how fabulous it will be to stand just a little taller while remaining almost as comfortable as if you were wearing slippers.
One of the best of the Spring 2013 crop is the napa-with-patent-trim Christian Dior Cannage. The gold latticework that encases its 3-cm heel references not only the gardener’s staple but also the classic pattern found on Dior bags for years. Could there be anything springier?
Price: $695 (comes in blue, red, beige, and black)
Store: Neapolitan, 715 Elm Street, Winnetka, 847-441-7784
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