Saturday, October 18, 2008

words of wisdom from a style guru

"Remember this: no one is looking at your imperfections because they are all to busy worrying about thier own"
"You can't listen to other people if you want your own style."

Friday, October 17, 2008

a Love Letter to Lou


INSPIRING! So magnificently stylish I was moved to name my cashmere grey kitty after her. Lou Doillon is one of the most interesting women to grace fashion in a while. She Parisian royalty, being the daughter of Jane Birkin and the half sister to equally awe inspiring Charlotte Gainsbourgh. She is the epitome of cool. Actress, designer, musician and all around creative bohemian. The bangs, the overbite, those cat eyes and the long and lanky frame make every outfit and look utterly, breathtakingly, COOL! Lou has been known to sport style with an undone, roughed up, less then perfect demeanor that makes the term effortless come to life. Known to dawn everything from top hats to tutu's and dressing down a frothy frock with a tough motorcycle jacket, she is inspiring legions of followers all over the world.

You can grab a piece of her style by buying her line for LEE COOPER denim company. She whipped out high waisted short shorts and wide leg trousers with piping. Her goal this season was to give girls who like to dress up ,but feel that its impossible in day to day denim life, a prescription for their high-low look dilemma. And of course, she nailed it.

Take a tip from Lou and don't let your look get too perfect...mussed up is where its at.

Making a city size "walk-in" work

Recently, the love of my life and I moved to my favorite city in America...San Francisco!! Naturally, I would be with a person who is interested in style and ,when given the chance and the funds, shopping. This can be a daunting task when trying to shove my extensive ,and ever growing, wardrobe plus his wonderful coats and STACKS of t-shirts into what was considered a walk in closet in the 1920's. Though it is much bigger then most and definitely roomy enough to walk and even lay down in, there was a lack of rack and shelving space.
But never fear!!! This is where my excellent organizational skills and crafty folding tricks come into hand. I know this is a problem that many people face when deciding to move in with the loved let me impart my wisdom.

First step: EDIT
This should happen every season actually. This is the time to toss anything that fits poorly, is falling apart and couldn't be salvaged, and is just not your style. Everyone should get a grasp on their personal style. I love tear sheets. Look through magazines. What sparks your interest? What makes you swoon the minute you see it and keeps you day dreaming of what you would look like dressed like that? Who and what inspires you? It can be anything! I learned from an article on Izzac Mizzrahi that he tells women to create a scrapbook of inspiration and to use this when shopping and getting dressed. Once you know who you are, and stop just following trends, editing will be much easier and should happen less and less. There will always be items that are keepsakes, and for this I say store in a garment bag and lay flat on a top shelf. After you edit don't just throw it away...our landfills are ridiculous now a days. Instead, donate what you can or invite your girlfriends over to go through your discards.

If you must, like I had to, install shelving. Home Depot is great for this, you can just install brackets and lay as many shelves as you need. Its all about vertical storage, go as high as you can. The collectibles and special pieces that don't get worn should go on the top and then seasonal clothes (preferably in a trunk or garment bag so they stay in condition), then shoes that aren't worn as often. As you get closer to eye level start folding jeans, cotton dresses and skirts, tees and sweaters. As much as you can get on the shelves in a shop-able way, the better. I like to hang my nice dresses and blouses (as I currently have one small rack) and keep my seasonal/favorite shoes on the floor under the rack. Boots/booties, mary-jane heels, flats, moccasins and TOMS. All of these will come in handy this autumn/winter and need to be accessible.

What to do with all those fabulous accessories (so important this season in personalizing your look)? I made use of my nooks and cranny's and open wall space. Cute curtain holders, vintage doorknobs, anything you can attach to the wall to hang scarves, necklaces, and purses on is key. Again, more shelving could always be installed. As for undergarments, I have little cotton lined baskets that I store on shelves to house my precious linens ;)

As long as you keep it organized (organization is key) and as long as you gave your guy a proper amount of space in the closet (this can be tough but use your noggin or write me and we can figure it out) the rest is for you to play with. Your closet should help you have a relaxing and easy dressing experience. I had extra wall space in the closet and a TINY bathroom so I took a couple feet of the wall and made a vanity space. I cant take credit for this ingenious idea (its IKEA) but I do love it so much. Its an affordable way to add a bit of glamour to every morning. By a LACK shelf from IKEA and install it in your closet, at about lap height. Above this you can add mirror and below a little stool and voile! Instant glamour. Space to do your hair and make up and let your guy take the bathroom. You can also add an inspiration board to your closet to help you get inspired every morning.

The key of this experiment is to make life just a bit more orderly and easy. Dressing shouldn't be a daunting task, once you understand your style and clean up the closet, the rest should be fun!
Fashion is FUN!!! start saying that ;)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

stylestaters: Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

In celebration of Earth Day I have decided to showcase a woman with not only a classic style but a classic conscience. Natalie Portman has been a vegan since age nine, is a Harvard graduate, and has continued to chose thoughtful roles both onscreen and off. Miss Portman's most recent works have included working with FINCA , a non profit org. that gives small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, and developing a beautiful line of vegan footwear with Te Cesan. She has taken two things I greatly respect, intelligence and style, and blended them effortlessly.

Natalie's style has always consisted of basics, classic body conscience cuts, and beautiful jewel tones and simple black and white. She is our generations Audrey Hepburn, in her style and her humanitarian work. For this we dedicate this earth day on stylestate to Natalie Portman.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

stylestaters: Chloe Sevigny

Chloe Sevigny
before there were the Olsen twins, there was Chloe Sevigny

While your little niece (and who are we kidding, you too!) idolizes MK and Ashley for their hodge- podge style and mismatched designer and grunge wear, you aspire to dress for the more mature, but equally inspired crowd, and thus you look to Chloe Sevigny.

Long before the Olsen twins were running around being mini fashion icons, Chloe Sevigny was consistently on the worst of the worst dressed lists, being picked on for her courageous efforts in mixing and matching and having a F-you attitude about it. Chloe knew fashion was fun and still does. Though in her early days of experimenting some outfits went awry, it was the fact that she wore them with that knowing smirk that made them always look cool and effortless. As she has grown she has come to coin a certain look and stuck with it. Still a founder of what has been coined as "indie style" she continually wears androgynous outfits, signature Ray Bans, and combos that most people wouldn't dare to try but wish they would have. Chloe is a fashion renegade. And with no stylist in toe to help her stay on top of whats hot, shes a gal who thinks for herself...and that is forever refreshing.

A constant supporter and friend to many of today's young fashion designers, Miss Sevigny has branched out on her own and brought her signature look to Opening Ceremony. There you will find staples of her wardrobe. Baby doll dress, ciggie pants, and Little House on the Prairie floral prints, thrown together with that punk rock attitude we have come to covet in Chloe.

"i think i AM on the radar for style-setters. And then it trickles down from what they do."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

stylestatements: Dita Von Teese

"It's important to be confident with your own style."
-Dita Von Teese, Us magazine

Monday, March 17, 2008

stylestaters: Debbie Harry


For our first issue of stylestaters (the part of the blog where I take time to showcase one of the many influential men or women exuding personal style) I have chosen new wave/punk goddess Debbie Harry. Not only is she the original bottle blond, but she is one of the first females to lead an all male band, and do it in kick ass style. One of our eras most prominent fashionistas, Gwen Stefani has even cited Debbie Harry as her biggest influences.

Debbie Harry was born to a modest, church going family with little money. Shopping trips usually became disagreements between mother and daughter. Where Debbie wanted to wear items dripping in sexuality or crazy cuts and frills, mother guided her toward more sophisticated and streamlined looks. Upon graduating high school, Harry left for New York. She made ends meet working as a waitress at Max's Kansas City. The influence of New York in the sixties and Harry's devil may care attitude contributed widely to her iconic style. Once forming the group Blondie, during the birth of the music video era, her style became instantly recognizable and forever emulated.

Debbie Harry simply followed her own spirit and wore what she felt comfortable in. She has been quoted as saying

" I like to look and feel good in what I'm wearing, but I dont like to not high maintenance." (

what is stylestate?

style n. 1. the way in which something is expressed 2. the combination of distinctive features of artistic expression characterizing a particular person 3. a quality of imagination and individuality expressed in one's actions and tastes

state n. 1. a condition or mode of being 2. a condition of being in a stage or form, as a structure, growth, or developement 3. a mental or emotional condition

Welcome to stylestate.

a blog to provide every and all fashionistas, artists, dreamers and thinkers with a place to share ideas, learn about your fashion contemporaries, bring insight into what it really means to have style, and help us state who we are as individuals with our style.

illustration by Ruben Toledo

I have always believed that we as individuals, especially those with an interest in fashion, should express who we are on the inside by what we present on the outside. What better way to express ourselves and even understand ourselves then through fashion. That is the essence of personal style, is it not? Its your personality. This is why i have never undrstood this trend of, well, trends! I admitt, i have been victim to them at times also. Whether on purpose or by accident of the trend coming around to something that was a staple to my personal style. But, i shudder at the idea of actually following trends. We all want to imitate those that exude personal style, but when we imitate we are doing the opposite of what our fashion contemporaries are. They are not copying or following trends. They are paving the way or at least staying true to themselves and what they love. If you love your knee high boots and have since before the trend, then I say keep rockin' them. If big sunglasses or ray bans were your shades of choice before the Olsens or the Kirstens or Kates made them infamous to our generation, then keep on keepin on. The point is find what you love and in those now famous words "make it work".

Finding your stylestate:

This is a page to come to and learn. Learn about yourself, your contemporaries, your passions, your world and in turn, your personal style. Its a place to give props to those that are inspiring you and pushing you to push your own wardrobe envelope. Its a place to read, write, learn and then go into your closet and put on something you love with a little more meaning then before. The more knowledge you have the more you can referance. The things that you love and that inspire you are what you should be referancing everytime you go into your closet, your jewelry box, even your makeup bag. Do not be afraid to wear what you love or what makes you feel great. The key to great style is confidance. Why do we admire women like Kate Moss and the Olsen twins, or Karen or Jackie O. ? It is because they effortlessly pull off things that we wish we could. Well, you can. You can wear whatever you want! Just wear it with confidence and with comfort. If you are at all uncomfortable in what you have on, it will come through.

Each week I will post tips to better organize your closet and wardrobe, fashion history articles, inspiration boards, fashion shout outs, and street style.

Each month I will post a new photo shoot.

And I will always look forward to hearing how you or someone you know took a fashion risk or effortlessly displays their personality in their wardrobe. Its all about encouraging each other and having fun with fashion.

What's your stylestate?

-Ashley B