How the Simplicity of Alex Katz Inspires My Style

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The worlds of fashion and art constantly cross paths. Moschino’s MacDonald’s handbags nod to the pop-art of Andy Warhol, think Campbell’s soup cans and Brillo pads. Or, in photography, think that 1999 Steven Meisel editorial of Nicole Kidman reenacting John Singer Sargeant paintings. Painters may not exactly follow trends the way fashion designers do, but they do feed off of their environments, and being as most people wear clothes. Fashion does play a part.

My subject matter is not particularly interesting,” Katz says with a smile…

Alex Katz, 89, began painting in the 1950′s when Abstract Expressionism was en vogue, he noticed no one was painting people, or landscapes. So he decided to take that route. Of course, painting people, there is nothing unique about it. He told the Smithsonian in a 2009 interview, “My subject matter is not particularly interesting,” Katz says with a smile. “It’s not hot subject matter—you know, no crucifixions, no violence, no sex.” His paintings are a stripped down version of the world, which is where they become interesting. Though the paintings span fifty years, they still have a timeless quality. n a sense, his work portrays a universal truth. Even if you don’t live the life of an artist in New York, I can relate to the snapshots of his paintings. They’re like little moments in my memory.

What I find interesting about Katz’s work is that even though his paintings are about nothing really,  he finds a way to make them interesting without resorting to embellishment or gimmicky tricks. The paintings are distinctly personal (many of his paintings include is wife since 1958, Ava) yet universal. So, maybe I wouldn’t recreate a painting for one of my outfits, but in the search of my own personal style, the lesson is, that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I don’t have to resort to gimmicks to make my outfits “pop.” They don’t have to be special to be striking.

But… my style does have to be distinctly personal.

alex_katz1 alex_katz_anna_wintour (yes, that’s Anna Wintour!)  alex_katz3 alex_katz4 alex_katz5 alex_katz6 alex_katz7 alex_katz8 alex_katz9 alex_katz10 alex_katz11 alex_katz12 alex_katz13

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jennineHow the Simplicity of Alex Katz Inspires My Style
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Pretty or Chic?

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I used to go to this early morning support group. 6am early. In order to get there, I would just roll out of bed, throw on a sweatshirt, ratty jeans, sneakers and a baseball cap and go. For months, I did this. Then I got a job which required me to be there at 8am, so I woke up early and got dressed, put on makeup, etc. before leaving the house.

“Woah! You’re… pretty!” said one of the guys in the group.

Sure, it makes sense. We ALL look “prettier” when we dress up and wear makeup. The late Isabella Blow was notorious for using fashion to feel better, “If I feel really low, I go to see Philip [Treacy], cover my face [with his hats] and feel fantastic… Wearing a hat is like cosmetic surgery.” Blow would transform herself from what some perceived as “plain” into an exotic beauty with the extraordinary use of hats and clothes.

“If I feel really low, I go to see Philip [Treacy], cover my face [with his hats] and feel fantastic… Wearing a hat is like cosmetic surgery.” ~Isabella Blow

On the flip side, think Kim Kardashian or Lana Del Rey. They are both “beautiful”, and they obviously put a lot of effort in their image, but do you think they have great style? Beauty does not automatically give you style.

This year, with the rise of normcore, dressing down has never been more trendy. Baggy jeans, the more ripped, the better paired with Birkenstocks is practically the most trendy thing you can wear this summer. The no-makeup look is also super hot this summer. After several years of over-the-top styling and six-inch platform shoes, I do have to say dressing down is a welcome shift in trends. However, I have to wonder if the people who really carry it off, carry it off because they’re… pretty.

To put it into perspective, if, for my outfit posts, I were to wear the same exact outfit as pictured above, would it get pinned all over Pinterest?

No. I probably would just look like I gave up on life.

Now, this by no means is a ploy to get compliments or support. I’m completely comfortable with my looks …and my insecurities.

But it does make me wonder where the line between beauty and style lies.

Is a person beautiful because they have great style? Does a person have great style because they’re beautiful? Or is it their personality that makes them have great style and/or beauty?

Where do you draw the line between beauty and style?

[Image via Pinterest]
jenninePretty or Chic?
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Samuji: The Pursuit of Timelessness

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It may be the middle of summer, but if you’re anything like me, you might already be setting your eyes (and your wish list) to fall.

Recently, I came across this Finnish brand, Samuji, which has exactly the look I’ve been coveting this year. Classic, futuristic, simple, rich in texture and silhouettes, this three-year-old label shares very much the direction many other fashion designers are taking these days: pursuing timelessness.

The pleated trousers with a slightly wide leg and cropped at the ankles look like a pair of slacks had a baby with a pair of culottes. So if you’re afraid to try culottes, but want a pair of updated pants, this is your lucky day. Sumuji’s boxy but lavish wool coats and crisp button down shirts, the collections do have a ring of timelessness, but, in a way, that’s very 2014. I do already own pieces that are in a lot of ways similar to what’s in this collection, but for some reason I still want everything here anyway.

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jennineSamuji: The Pursuit of Timelessness
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Look, Ma! No Hands! 11 Chic Fanny Packs

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A few months ago, while looking for a new bag, I asked Twitter if I should get a fanny pack or a cross body bag. Twitter peeps voted on the cross body, but months later, I can’t get that dang fanny pack out of my mind? Maybe it’s because I’m chasing an almost-walking baby. Or maybe my pockets aren’t big enough. Or maybe I’m tired of my handbag swinging around the front every time I have to pick up my baby.

Or just maybe fanny packs…. are fast becoming a “thing.”

I tried on a fanny pack at the Podoll’s Boutique, and now I can’t stop thinking about how it will make my life easier. Big enough to fit the essentials: wallet, phone, keys, the fanny pack strapped to your waist won’t go anywhere, and you can even wear it with a shirt dress or a blazer without much fuss. What more can you ask?

 

 

  1. Alex Bender Belt Bag $69.73
  2. Erin Dana: Evan Large Fanny Pack $198
  3. Clare V.: Supreme Large Fanny Pack
  4. On Lock Belt Bag $38
  5. Tory Burch Leather Belt Bag $325
  6. Newbark Leather Belt Bag $990
  7. B-Low the Belt: Samantha Belt Bag $225
  8. MICHAEL Michael Kors Perf Belt Bag $87.99
  9. Mishka Bags: White Leather Belt Bag $110
  10. Adya & Co Small Snake Bag $199
  11. B-Low the Belt: Belt Bag $325

Image via wwd.com

jennineLook, Ma! No Hands! 11 Chic Fanny Packs
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Do Your Denims Match?

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Four years ago, when double-denim first came “back” the rule was to make sure your denims had a high contrast. Meaning: If your jeans are dark denim, your shirt must be light denim. These days, there are no rules with denim. You can mix your denims. And you can match your denims. It’s all pretty much whatever works.

Lately, though, I’ve been finding that I love matching my denims as closely as possible. Low contrast denim has a sort of jumpsuit feel without the disrobing fiascos in the restrooms. Who wants that? Not me. Jumpsuits make me claustrophobic. But I do love the look.

This Sunday, we had a family brunch with Coquette and her family. Sunday brunches are always tough. You want to look nice, but you don’t want to try too hard. My answer to “not trying too hard” is always double denim. Double denim is trendy, but casual, and always easy to wear. Especially easy to wear if you’re still trying to get enough coffee in you to be human. (For me, that’s basically any time before noon.)

So my lovelies… are you a denim mixer or a denim matcher?

Wearing: Jeans: Paige Denim • Top: 7 For All Mankind • Bag: Proenza Schouler • Sunglasses: Celine • Shoes: Dolce Vita

jennineDo Your Denims Match?
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11 American Fashion Inventions We Just Cannot Live Without

When it comes to thinking of “American” fashion, most of us just think of American designers. That the real innovators of fashion somehow all go to Paris or Milan, maybe even London. The truth is, beyond design, Americans have also innovated the fashion industry by inventing things we cannot live without. No, not the iPhone. I’m talking things like jeans. What wardrobe is complete without a tee shirt and jeans? Can you imagine life without zippers? Remember before we had Spanx?

Tomorrow is the 4th of July. While most of us will be wearing red, white and blue to show our appreciation for the good ol’ US of A with fashion, those who really wanted to take it up a notch can wear items of clothing invented in America.

The Blue Jean

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 Seriously, everyone wears jeans, even my baby!
1873 Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis

The T-Shirt

tee_shirtIf you don’t own at least one tee shirt… come on. Who are you?
1913, US Navy. (Image Source 21st eme)

Pantyhose

pantyhoseEven though pantyhose isn’t required anymore for office attire, during the winter they will save your life.
1953, Allen Grant, Sr.

The Safety Pin

safetypinsThe savior to all wardrobe malfunctions.
1849, Walter Hunt 

The Modern Bra

braSomething’s gotta hold my boobs up.
1914, Mary Phelps Jacob

The Zipper

zipperEven Houdini couldn’t get out of this dress without a zipper.
1851, Elias Howe

Spandex

spandex Oh Spandex, you have so many uses. Thank you for making my jeans more comfortable.
1959, C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers (DuPont) 

Spanx

spanxNot Spanx pictured above but to be clear, I would not wear that dress without Spanx.
2000, Sara Blakely 

The String Bikini

stringbikniSelling fad diets since 1974.
1974, Glen Tororich and Brandi Perret-DuJon (Photo via Nieman Marcus)

Mass-Produced Sunglasses

sunglassesSo the rest of us can be like Anna Wintour.
1929, Sam Foster

The Pedal Pusher

pedalpushersProbably the most feminine pant.
1944, Dede Johnson

jennine11 American Fashion Inventions We Just Cannot Live Without
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Stylish & Eco-Friendly Lounging in Les Lunes

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I would like to say that as a fashion blogger, that I am always perfectly dressed at all times. Even if I’m working from home and am not seeing anyone who doesn’t live in the apartment all day.

The truth is, a lot of times I’m wearing sweatpants or leggings or jersey shorts, with a tee shirt, or a tank top in the summer, a cozy sweater in the winter. A comfortable bra. And a ponytail. That is what I wear while blogging most of the time. Heck, I even sleep in one of those Barely There sleep bras.

Les Lunes, a San Francisco based company creates eco-friendly, yet stylish morsels to wear around the house. Most of the pieces are made of rayon from bamboo, a sustainable fabric that is super soft to the touch and almost weightless. The cozy cardigans which are perfect for wearing around the house, yet not too pajama like, if you need to run errands. Hey, there isn’t a day where I don’t leave the house in almost-pajamas.  Might as well make sure they’re stylish pajamas.

jennineStylish & Eco-Friendly Lounging in Les Lunes