Tuesday, June 30, 2009

LBD by Day

I bought this little black cocktail dress for last New Year's Eve, and it's been collecting dust ever since. In an attempt to make it more casual and daytime-friendly, I layered it over a plain white tee and added a scarf, belt, bangles and ankle boots. Do you think it works, or does the eveningwear stick out like a sore thumb?
Dress: F21, $? // Shirt: Love Rocks, TJMaxx, $10 // Scarf: Vintage, from Grandma // Belt: Vintage, thrifted, $1 // Bangles: Old Navy, $1 each // Boots: Urban Outfitters, $25

Monday, June 29, 2009

Reader Question

On a recent visit to Stockholm, I was convinced by my boyfriend and an enthusiastic salesclerk to purchase some trendy leggings made by a Swedish designer, and supposedly all the rage in Scandinavia. Since then, much to my boyfriend's dismay, I have found no occasions and few outfits to match these leggings.

My boyfriend, obsessed with me trading my usual black threads in for flamboyant and colorful attire, suggested pairing the leggings with these cutoff jean shorts, and dark green H&M sweater. I put this outfit on to humor him, but really I think it makes me look like a Dr. Seuss character at best, colorblind at worst. Still, we agreed that if you approved of his crazy combination, I would wear it out in public at least once.

So, what do you think? And, with what else can I match these leggings that would be a bit more on the conservative side?

Dr. Seuss in Syracuse
Dear Dr. Suess in Syracuse,

I think the leggings are really fun and were a good purchase! My only issue with this outfit is the way it divides your body into sections. It could use a little more continuity between the top, shorts and leggings. This effect could be lessened by wearing a top that is closer in color to the shorts such as a white peasant blouse or even just a plain white tee or tank. Alternatively, I think these leggings would look great with a dress. With only two pieces, you wouldn't have to worry about the "sectioning." If color is a limiting factor, you could go for a dress in a neutral color like white (once again). If you're feeling adventurous, try a dress with a print! I think stripes really lend to pattern-mixing because they're such a simple design. I'm all about pairing bold colors, but if that's stopping you from wearing the leggings, then start out with neutrals. Work your way up to crazy color pairings. My #1 piece of advice: wear the leggings!

Friday, June 26, 2009

On a Pedestal

After being sick all week, I'm so glad to be wearing anything but pajamas! This look features an extra large white button-up worn as a dress, black biker shorts and a brand new online impulse buy - the shoes. What can I say? I was intoxicated by their massive faux wood platform. Sadly, I don't know if it was meant to be. They don't look quite as appealing in person, and the 5.5" stilettos make me teeter so much that they're impractical at best and a sprained ankle waiting to happen at worst. If they were wedges, it would have been a match made in heaven.
Dress: Thrifted, $3 // Shorts: Thrifted, $2 // Necklaces: Wildman, $13, gift // Shoes: gojane.com, $20

Thursday, June 25, 2009

LuLu's Discount

LuLu's is offering a 15% discount to Kansas Couture readers! Just enter coupon code KANSAS at checkout now through August 1st. They have a great selection of clothing and accessories. I especially like their rompers! And that floral number in the corner? Shorts! Love them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lakeside Chic

As you can probably infer from the name of this blog, I'm completely landlocked. While Kansas lacks expansive sandy beaches and salty ocean waves, we do have some nice lakes. A lake trip with friends this past weekend gave me the opportunity to sport my "beach" style. I started with my favorite swimsuit. I'm all about one-pieces. Though I've had this one for a few years, I still love it and can't stop wearing it. Some short shorts served as a cover-up, and I topped it all off with vintage sunnies, a head scarf and my flat glads.
Swimsuit: Target, $30 // Shorts: Younique Jeans, TJMaxx, $16 // Sunglasses: Vintage, thrifted, $5 // Scarf: Vintage, from my grandma // Shoes: Old Navy, $20

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beat-the-Heat Chic: A Guide to Summer Style

A reader recently asked me a great question: how do dress stylishly and mix and match the items in your closet when it's scorching hot outside? Without the "luxury of layering," it can be tricky to keep your daily looks interesting and varied. It may not be revolutionary, but here's my little guide to beating the heat in style.


Invest in some great skirts. My favorite silhouette is short, full, high-waist skirts. Get one or two that are a bright solid color and one or two that have a nice print -- floral, tribal, abstract, stripes, tie-dye...whatever you like!


Pair these skirts with lightweight tanktops or tube tops. Again, it's good to have some in solid colors and some with prints. Experiment with different shapes -- loose, form-fitting, racerback, one-shoulder. Look for interesting details like braided straps, ruffles or bows. An easy rule of thumb is to pair a solid tank with a printed skirt and viceversa.

Since you have to keep clothing simple, make a statement with your accessories! Add a chunky beaded necklace in a bold color or a long gold chain with an interesting pendant. Wear a stack of bangles. Try some big earrings. Put a thin belt over the waistline of your skirt. But don't overdo it. If your accessories stand out, I'd recommend limiting it to two or three. Of course, if you have more than that, and you think it looks fabulous, go for it!


Finish your look with a pair of strappy sandals like flat gladiators or, if you want some height, platform wedges.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Glam Game

I recall some sporty spring runway collections, and I've seen several references recently to glamming up athletic wear. My usual look is far from sporty, but the concept really intrigued me, so I gave it a shot (no sport pun intended). These lavender running shorts are part of my extremely limited work-out collection. I hiked them up around my natural waist and gave them a fancier feel with a black lace top, thin white belt, statement necklace and mesh peep-toe slides. Does it work, or do I look like a crazy lady? What do you guys think of making running shorts chic? Do exercise clothes belong strictly at the gym, or can they live in harmony with your favorite stilettos?
Shirt: F21, Goodwill, $6 // Shorts: Goodwill, $2 // Necklace: F21, $10 // Shoes: Abaete for Payless

Neutral Territory

Today was a scorcher. It was already hot and muggy when I left my house at 8 a.m., so the goal was to look reasonably presentable for work while staying reasonably cool. Besides the nice olive green of the skirt, I mixed a bunch of neutrals for this look: black, white, gold, brown, navy.
Shirt: Aphorism, TJMaxx, $7 // Skirt: Vintage, thrifted, $3 // Necklace: Wildman Vintage, $13 // Shoes: Payless

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rockin' Romper

Last Friday I went to a Metric show, and the hot, spunky lead singer was wearing the cutest skin-tight sparkly strapless romper. While I don't have the shock of bleach blond hair or killer dance moves to go with it, her look inspired me to pull out my own glam romper. I realized I hadn't worn it since winter (and therefore never without tights). The royal purple and polished silver make a nice combination, even though the necklace kind of masks the sweetheart neckline. It's usually not all droopy on one side like that; it just needs to be yanked up. Damn strapless garments! That's going to bother me every time I look at this picture. Anyway... the t-strap cork wedges keep the look a little more casual rather than full-blown rock star. Oh, how I'd love to be a live performer who gets to wear crazy outfits all the time. Too bad I have no musical talent...
Romper: F21, $14 // Necklace: F21, $10 // Bangles: Old Navy, $1 each // Shoes: Payless

Monday, June 15, 2009

To a Tee

A plain white t-shirt tucked into a printed mini is a great go-to summer outfit. Paired with flat gladiator sandals, it's just as easy and comfy as a tank-top, shorts and sneakers, but so much chicer! I haven't worn this neon floral mini in a long time, and I was glad to break it out with bare legs instead of tights. A chunky yellow necklace and braided leather belt complete the look.
Shirt: Love Rocks, TJMaxx, $10 // Skirt: F21, $14 // Necklace: Vintage, thrifted, $4 // Shoes: Old Navy, $20

Friday, June 12, 2009

Running with Scissors

I really shouldn't be allowed to use scissors unsupervised. This poor shirt has been through so much, it hardly counts as a shirt any longer. It was originally a Target XL t-shirt that I thought would look cute over leggings or something. Not so much. So then I just cut a ton off the bottom, and it became an oddly wide short shirt. After taking the scissors to it one last time, I think I finally came up with something I'll wear. I cut the sleeves off and fashioned it into a loose racerback. I obviously have to wear another shirt underneath it, but I like the layered look.
Shirt: Target, $5 // Jeans: Almost Famous, TJMaxx, $20 // Shoes: Lela Rose for Payless

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fedora Do or Fedora Don't?

I'm leaning towards don't because I'm so not a hat person. While I enjoy hats immensely on others, they look silly on me, like I'm trying too hard. It's sad because I love accessories. Maybe I just need practice. Anyway, I've been wanting a fedora for awhile and finally got one. I kept the debut simple with a casual t-shirt dress and flat gladiators.
Dress: Old Navy, $15 // Hat: Target, $13 // Sandals: Old Navy, $20 // Belt: Came with a F21 dress

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Your Personal Shopper: Thomas

My friend Thomas wanted to revamp his summer wardrobe and asked me to provide some shopping assistance. Though I don't consider myself a men's fashion expert, I was happy to give a few pointers. While brainstorming, it occurred to me that ladies have it much easier during the warm months. They can sport breezy dresses, fun skirts and strappy sandals, but the lads have fairly limited options for looking good while staying cool. Despite this, we managed to come up with a simple casual outfit formula. Shirt: short-sleeved vintage button-up. We hit up Wildman Vintage and found a goldmine. Shorts: cut off an old pair of jeans. Denim cut-offs have a much hipper feel than baggy cargos. I actually did the job myself...with a knife. Shoes: we opted for boat shoes as a flip-flop and sneaker alternative. They are a true classic designed for summer activities. Overall, I think we achieved a nice preppy hipster look...or hip prepster. However you want to look at it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weardrobe on urbanoutfitters.com

Check it out! Urban Outfitters is featuring some Weardrobe members (myself included) on their homepage. Thanks Weardrobe for inviting me to be a part of the closet project!

Closet Raid: Molly

As promised, I've finally done another Closet Raid! My lovely friend Molly recently graduated from KU and is going to New York City for a week before starting med school in July. Naturally, she wants to take her style to the next level for this fabulous urban getaway. With this in mind, I styled four looks using only the clothes already in her closet. While maintaining the essence of her personal style, we wanted to push the boundaries with color as well as new and interesting combinations of her staple items.


Perfect for traipsing around the city on foot--going to an outdoor market, having a casual lunch, popping into an art museum--this daytime look is all about chic comfort. Molly had not yet worn this tunic and requested that I incorporate into a look. White cotton is ideal for warm weather: light and cool, crisp and fresh, brings out your tan. I thought, "Why not wear it as a dress?" It's summer! Show of those gorgeous stems! I cinched it with a braided brown leather belt to add some shape, added trendy yet practical flat gladiator sandals and accessorized with bold, oversized earrings and simple gold bangles. Perfect for a gal on the go!

By far my favorite look of the bunch! You're well aware of my fondness of mini-skirts, but beyond that, this outfit is perfect on Molly. She's like an artsy expatriate returning from Paris with lots of stories to tell. The silhouette is fresh, modern and flatters her beautifully. The lightweight scarf and bold floral hair accessory capture her bohemian sensibility. The contrasting pops of color are a playful change of pace. Perfect for a low-key night out -- drinks at a trendy bar in Soho followed by a hip show in Williamsburg.

The combination of satiny fabrics in royal blue and rust and decadant details like ruffles and ribbons make for a rich, sensual look. The espadrilles with their ankle ties are reminiscent of the pointe shoes Molly has so often donned as a ballerina. Coupled with the fullness of the skirt, I imagine this ensemble inspiring spontaneous dancing. The brown patent belt brings it all together, and I just couldn't resist using the flower again. Hair accessories are huge right now, and they just don't have the same effect in my long straight locks as they do amidst Molly's curls.

This is Molly's signature look, so she really didn't need much help from me. She rocks the LBD like no one else! Designed for dinner at an upscale restaurant, I started with this form-fitting dress, layered on three necklaces, added a sexy lace jacket and gave the look a hint of color with some hot burgundy heels.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What Happened to Your Jeans?

The concept of "destroyed denim" kind of irks me, but I think it looks really cool. Once again, the power of the trend prevails. I wore this new pair with a slouchy striped shirt, chunky necklace and strappy red wedges for a laidback, West Coast feel. The necklace hit at just the wrong place, but I loved the colors with this look, so I made it longer by attaching it to another necklace. Handy little trick!
Top: hip, TJMaxx, $10 // Jeans: Almost Famous, TJMaxx, $20 // Necklace: Vintage, Beyond the Door, $4 // Shoes: Payless

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Au Naturale

Today I wore a slouchy tank dress, a scarf as a sash/belt and snake-print sandals. I accessorized with a chunky wood necklace, but it's shrouded by my wild mane! Which reminds me, I really need to get a haircut. Debating whether to just clean it up with a trim or try something different... That familiar stirring (that usually coincides with the start of summer) is urging me to chop it all off, but I'll probably resist.

Dress: Old Navy, Plato's Closet, $6 // Necklace: Vintage, Antique Mall, $6 // Scarf: Vintage, gift from Mom // Shoes: Payless

Recalling Fall

While staring at my closet trying to figure out what to wear, it dawned on me that all my favorite skirts are just a little too short for work. In an attempt at modesty, I added some lace tights to my full denim mini. Before I knew it, I was wearing an outfit straight out of this past autumn. Though far from springy, this look felt right today.
Shirt: F21, $12 // Skirt: F21, $5 // Tights: UO, gift // Necklace: Wildman Vintage // Shoes: Payless

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wild World

Though there's not much to this look, I felt a little wild wearing it to work today. Something about the combination of electric purple and animal print. My Richard Chai for Target dress is so easy to throw on and be done, but it was a bit chilly this morning. This short-sleeved leopard cardi seemed a fitting addition as I took off on a rainy commute.
Dress: Richard Chai for Target, $35 // Cardi: Forever21, $22 // Shoes: Payless

Monday, June 1, 2009

Some Like It Hot

It was a scorcher today. Luckily, I was working from home and could get away with wearing minimal clothing. I paired a pink zebra-print tank with a knit skirt from Target that will definitely be a summer staple. So comfy and versatile! Also, I finally got some new bling. Long gold necklaces with big pendants are my favorite accessory. Unfortunately, I have a knack for losing and breaking them. I've been without one for awhile but scored this beauty at Wildman Vintage over the weekend.
Tank: Express, TJMaxx, $8 // Skirt: Target, $10 // Necklace: Wildman, $13 // Sandals: Vintage, thrifted, $6