Friday, November 4, 2011

Stripedy stripe stripes.

Stripes are probably one of my most favorite topics to talk about. I LOVE them. In fact, when reviewing my wardrobe this past week, it looked a little like this:

1. Monday: white button down, [sweater or vest?], gray slacks, gold ballerina slippers
2. Tuesday: striped long sleeve shirt, rust colored blazer, navy cords, gray heels
3. Wednesday: navy striped t-shirt, blue oxford shirt, maroon cords and moccasins
4. Thursday: jean shirt, short sleeved cardi with ski lodge stripe, gray slacks, khaki shoes
5. Today: striped turtleneck, jeans and moccasins

Some people opt for all things black, I opt for stripes. They are my staple. I think they're outrageously versatile, an easy way to add pattern to an outfit and perfect for layering. This is why I got so excited when my BFF Jen landed the most adorable striped dress while shopping in Columbus a couple weekends ago. Here she is...

Isn't she just precious?!?! It's from Forever21, it's beige lace and navy, it has a mock turtle.

For the record, yes, I always give my dad and my friend - who's name I'll keep anonymous - a hard time about wearing them but in this particular case, the mock turtle works. All other scenarios, I stand firm on staying away from them as much as possible. Especially when pairing with things like fleece vests (dad) and windbreaker pants (anonymous friend). It's a little too Larry David for me.

Moving on, Jen recently asked what she should pair with the dress. Needing a topic for my weekly fashion post and wanting to share these types of questions with the rest of you, I quickly made this dress a personal mission for showing just how versatile stripes can be. I know, it's weird because I never make things into a bigger deal than they really are. It's just sooo unlike me, right mom? ;)

After some quick ideas and points shared, this is what Jen came up with.

Navy tights, light brown knee high flat boots. I hope she's planning to pair a tan leather purse with the outfit which will help complete the look. Very complimentary, very simple, very adaptable. The challenges were the stripes being navy (tough neutral), the dress being short and the lace being dressy. The navy tights solved for the first two and the light brown boots helped keep the look casual enough for daily wear.

With more time to obsess think on it, I hopped on polyvore and got busy coordinating accessories. I wanted to stay away from the typical stand-alone dress, messy side chignon and nude heel since that's the no-brainer way to wear the dress. Instead, I got a tad more creative with how to include.

Here's what I came up with.

NOTE: I could have pulled from my closet but chose polyvore because I thought it might make me sad to make outfits for a dress I don't actually own. I know, I'm a baby.

A casual look, treating the dress as a shirt. Since stripes are preppie and the lace needed to be dressed down, I paired with masculine pieces that were tailored and complimentary to a lady's shape. This makes the dress feel more casual without seeming like you're interested in cross dressing. The sleek oversized men's vest compliments the length of the dress without overpowering or competing with the lace or the stripes. The dark denim and skinny shape adds height and the suede wedged oxford booties add texture and that extra sense of prep. I couldn't decide on whether a messenger bag or mustard clutch would be best - I think it depends on the situation.

This is a little riskier but I wanted to add depth and play with the juxtaposition between lacy dress and motorcycle mayhem. Not wanting the look to get too rocker chick, I kept the colors subtle and warm. The patterned navy tights balances the navy throughout the look while adding subtle texture, similar to the lace on the dress. The gray leg warmers keep the look cozy and layered while the gray wool motorcycle jacket adds structure and edge. I'm 50/50 on the boots and clutch - but like the idea of taller laceups and a multi-colored clutch to warm up the look in a more neutral way.

This next one is fun, a little fancy and a little flirty which, in my opinion, is the entire essence of the dress. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this look. I can just picture it at a party, with a glass of wine, laughing at jokes and being the center of attention without even knowing it - making all the other outfits green with envy. I, again, played off the preppiness stripes offer to an outfit, but kept it really leggy for the sake of the lace. Adding a gold buttoned, emblemed blazer (rolled sleeves) keeps the look polished and allows room for more femininity with some gold heels, a gold hair brooch and probably bright red lips. I pure blend of smart and sexy. Overtop, a long emerald peacoat and patterned scarf add some color and almost create an entirely different outfit!

This one's a very everyday-wear type of look. A way to make the dress come across like it was just thrown on for a typical Thursday work day. Again, treating the dress as a shirt, pairing it with some colored corduroys keeps it uber casual. I'm not 100% sold on the red or mauve but wanted to keep the bottom a warm color that seems to be unexpectedly paired with the top. Then, depending on the day, you can pair with some trusty moccasins or roll up the bottoms and add some nude or beige heels. Pair either option with some larger, more ornate earrings to complete the look.

So... what do you think? Would you wear any of these looks? Do you prefer one style to another? Aren't stripes the coolest?!

P.S. I own the Minnetonka moccasins and Mia wedge booties shown above. I'd highly recommend them as winter shoe staples and they look fantastic with any and all types of stripe.

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