pencil it in

On May 18, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I cannot get enough of midi length skirts and dresses right now, especially in a pencil silhouette. There is a retro ambiance to this length, hemmed somewhere around the calf, that is conservative while still feeling chic.

asos midi jersey pencil skirt

I find this length revealing in all the best ways, much more universally flattering than something that reveals the knee, and drawing attention to the calves and ankles in a way I find particularly feminine. I think this holds for a full or a fitted skirt, it’s all about that length.IMG_9281

The slinky jersey accentuates the pencil silhouette here, creating that fertile tapered curve from the width of the hips to the narrow point of the knees. Clothes that reveal more or less everything but do so with plenty of fabric nearly always come across as sophisticated to me. I positioned the skirt fairly high up on the waist as well, and do I only imagine that I seem taller?

The curvier you are, the better this silhouette looks.

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And white. Of course.

One can imagine this look with a black skirt but…white is definitely the bold, conspicuous way to go. Somehow white skirts are exponentially more appealing to me than white pants. Why is that? I’ll have to think more on that.

I can imagine it with a teal skirt or something along those lines as well, or a bright shoe, but I wanted to keep it duochromatic.

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Remember this necklace?

I like a natural look like this, a peachy/bronzy look with no eyeliner. This is the Charlotte Tilbury Beach Stick in Formentera as bronzer/highlighter, NARS Gilda blush, a beautiful matte burnt coral, and Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Penelope Pink with a little Korres lip glaze over top to pink it up (Penelope Pink is not that pink, despite the name, it’s a really nice nude). The Beach Sticks are lovely, by the way, remind me of the Kjaer Weis cheek creams, and a bit like a NARS multiple upon initial application but with more of a cream-to-powder formula as you blend. Very easy to blend with fingers.

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Try putting a touch of your blush (or bronzer) just above your crease with a loose blending brush to tie everything together. It doesn’t really matter what other colors you may or may not have going on on the lid (I have gold here, incidentally, loving my Lorac PRO palette), it works with anything.

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asos white midi jersey pencil skirt

J Crew silk blouse, asos jersey midi pencil skirt, Zara suede d’orsay pumps, thrifted jewelry.

J Crew polka dot silk blouse

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that J Crew look

On October 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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All  I wanted to do yesterday was wear these red shoes. Sometimes my wants are so few.

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It took so many tries before I could find the proportions I wanted for this style. The clean triangle toe, the straps of a particular width and placement. Many (many!) failures before coming across these red suede heels from Steve Madden, which love. Ankle straps get some flack for cutting the leg-lengthening effect heels otherwise have but they have the unquestionable virtue of holding the shoe securely to your foot. Not to mention making such minimal silhouettes as this possible. Anyway, I’m not convinced they negate whatever added height,* and who cares anyhow. If you like them. They’re trending now, and I approve.

*A lot of the supposed optical illusions fashion tricks are meant to conjure are suspect to me. I see what they are getting at but often doubt they are truly working. More common than seeing the illusion is seeing the trick, for me. Not that I don’t employ them when it suits me… Let’s get back to the main text.

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I was in the mood for a pencil skirt and that careless, layered J Crew look took over from there.

This look is so genius, in a way, so easy to tap into, with certain elements ultra-polished and tailored and other elements strategically undone, unkempt. The hair can’t be too precise, the layers can’t be too perfectly aligned. Colorful solids with one bold and colorful pattern peeking through somewhere. Natural face with the possible exception of a red lip.

Usually their looks are a bit too fussy looking for me, with only the thinnest veneer of  unfussiness or carelessness superimposed, but I like the color and pattern play and can like them as a starting point (or outright, once in a while).

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I got another cap, because this hair/hat combo had to be reprised.

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I am trying to make a firm reminder for myself that I should do this all the time. Leave hair down! Squash with hat!

UGH. SO GOOD.

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Oh, here’s one thing you can do with black lipstick. Avon lip pencil in deep plum with the NYX Macaron lipstick in Chambord (which is just black) in the center. Basically taking the bordeaux lip to its natural extreme. I like. You like? I like.

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J Crew linen sweater, thrifted plaid shirt, J Crew No. 2 pencil skirt, Steve Madden Abagail heels, Free People vegan leather tote, pearl ring from Pearl Paradise, Solange Azagury-Partridge lips ring, jasper necklace (eBay) as bracelet, Nike FC Barcelona cap.

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building blocks

On September 17, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

If you are attacked as regards your style, never reply; it is for your work alone to make answer.

                                            — Voltaire, Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary. 1802

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Here’s the shirt I picked up from the Altuzarra for Target collection (available on Net-a-Porter). Really nice cut, just an OK fabric, polyester crêpe de chine, which just means a plain lightweight weave with a crisp appearance. Some pieces are especially fruitful starting places for a look, and I get so many images and ideas when I see this cornflower pinstripe buttoned number. Things just start falling into place, snowballing as if of their own accord into a fully formed ensemble. For instance…

First: pencil skirt. Not black, though, not dark at all, I think. Something pale, gray possible, or flax. I want a heathered texture, for whatever reason. Something in a warm fabric for early autumn, literally and figuratively. This thin woolen blend No. 2 pencil skirt from J. Crew suits. This is a critical fork in the road, and determines all the colors to come.

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Then shoes, I think (though any element may be the starting place, and any may yield the next). And I still have those heeled huaraches from the Altuzarra show on my mind, so something along those lines, but in a richer shade now.

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Then lipstick, surely. I could go in a few directions here, anything on the red or plum spectrums, even a rusty orange, but a medium to dark fuchsia wins the day. Cannot recommend the Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy line enough.

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Then I see browns, golds, ivories for the other accents. Pearls, of course pearls. This is the Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand palette, an excellent option for a basic mix of easy shimmery and matte neutrals. I like this strong blue anchor (not that it is a bold blue, but that it is a definite, conspicuous piece of color), gently shadowed and warmed by pale neutrals. I know I’ve hit upon a a good color vein, or combination of color threads, when it pleases me to see them together. There is a certain almost visceral satisfaction to these happy combinations, as if sating your (ravenous, always) eyes with a nourishing meal.

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It doesn’t matter what the colors are, really. Which categories they satisfy. Just as it is beneficial to begin thinking of makeup as one massive collection of pigments with various textures (not lipstick, but creamy pigment, not eyeshadow but powder pigment – so the potential applications begin to multiply), so you begin to think of your entire wardrobe (and more and more of life begins to fall into the category of wardrobe, of style) as a collection of colors in varying shapes and sizes, textures. Building blocks.

Then I toss in a watch. Gold-toned, surely. Love the sleek, clean designs of Danish brand Skagen’s watches.

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Just one example.

distraction: the silhouette

On April 13, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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Now that’s more like it.

This is a cozy step beyond the sweater dress...

image via pinterest

details: conservative fringe at Ermanno Scervino

On April 12, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

I didn’t think I had any interest in fringe (with a few playful costumey exceptions) but this skirt has me seriously reconsidering. It has completely won me over.

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image via pinterest

This is from Ermanno Scervino’s Spring Summer 2012 RTW collection, which is well worth a browse. Lovely silhouettes and a soft, romantic (creamy lace, muted pastels) color palette. Gorgeous wrap belts echoed in the wrapped ankle straps of the sandals. I like.

A few highlights:

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images via fashionising

 

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