February 29, 2012

Celebrating Black History Through Fashion: Two Peas in a Stylish Pod

This adorable photo was submitted by my girl (and queen of satire), Kim aka @AGirlAboutStyle.

Read her quick trip down memory lane:

This picture of my cousin Marc and me (age 3) was taken by my cousin Delilah (Marc's mom). 

Marc's pose and smile reminds me of a catalog model.  I always enjoyed going to visit my cousins, they spoiled me and there weren't as many rules at their house. The Soul Sister blacklight painting used to scare me and I remember there were orange and amber beads hanging in the doorway to the living room that I loved running through. This photo makes me smile, I look like I'm on the verge of cracking up. I love the nostalgia. The seventies are so well represented here. Can you dig it? 

We certainly dig it, Kim! Her love affair with style clearly began at a young age. And Marc? That white belt and popped collar shows that his cool sense of style was far beyond his years.   

Two peas in a stylish pod!

P.S. I have officially added that Soul Sister poster to my wishlist.

Click here to view more "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" submissions.

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Celebrating Black History Through Fashion: The Phi Beta Sigma Ball

This photo was submitted by Attorney Andrea Harvey of Harvey Law Office and dates back to 1974. 

Here is Andrea's description of this definitive moment in time:

This photo was taken of my parents when they were in college. In the Fall of 1974, the chapter of Phi Beta Sigma at Albany State University (then College) campus had a 'ball.' My father, being a Sigma and the coordinator of the event, invited my mother the Freshman, as his date. My mother was so excited- she sewed her own dress. She has always been a seamstress at heart and enjoyed sewing for events such as this. They were so innocent...going to their first formal event together. That next year in June they got married! Since they didn't have a wedding, this is the only "dressed up" photo of them as a couple from that time. 
I think it's true "vintage." I mean, come on. My dad has a FLY (literally) bow tie and my mom's hair is reminiscent of Diana Ross and the Supremes. It has always been my favorite photo of them.

Although this image is unrestored, the pertinent details shine through: mom's soft bob hairstyle and colorblocked dress as well as dad's ruffle collar AND cuffs.

So young yet so sharp.

Thanks for sharing this family photo, Andrea!

Click here to view more "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" submissions.

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February 28, 2012

MAGICLV Brand Discovery: Gräf & Lantz

One of the many highlights of my trip to MAGIC was discovering the quality wares of Gräf & Lantz. Made entirely in L.A., this brand's use of leather and felt immediately intrigued me.

Founders Holger Gräf and Daniel Lantz explained that what started off simply as a collection of felt and leather wine bottle holders has now expanded to bags, tech accessories and home goods.

Lantz's design skills mixed with Gräf's engineering background has resulted in a line that successfully marries the world's two oldest fabrics while dispelling the myth that felt items are too "crafty" and lack style.

Concerned about the durability of the products? No worries. Lantz ensured me that the merino wool felt, which he sources from Germany, is of the highest quality and will show no signs of pilling.

My top picks were the croc embossed totes, the colorblocked clutch bags and the iPad sleeves which consisted of brightly colored leather on one side and gray felt on the other.

The travel bags were also a favorite, with their perfect blend of ruggedness and refinement.

Although this was their upcoming Fall collection, many of these items are currently in the Gräf & Lantz online shop.

Here are more gems I spotted on the website:
clockwise from top left: Bradley messenger | Loden Green Pouch | Jaunt tote | Zenzi bag

I will most definitely be making a purchase in the near future. I'm thinking a Zenzi bag or colorblocked clutch for me and a Bradley messenger for hubby.

What do you think? Are you officially a fan of Gräf & Lantz now?

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February 27, 2012

Celebrating Black History Through Fashion: Matchy Matchy

I absolutely adore these photos submitted by my Twitter buddy, Tiffany!

Both pictures date back to the early 1970s and feature Tiffany's parents before heading out for one of their many date nights.

From dad's insane sideburns, velvet blazer and patterned ties to mom's plaid bell bottoms and halter dress, I'm not sure what I love most.  Needless to say, they are an extremely handsome couple who obviously likes to color coordinate and dress to the nines.

Now, I only have one question. Can I please get those specs that dad is wearing on the left?!

Click here to view more "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" submissions.

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Celebrating Black History Through Fashion: House Party Hosting

This retro photo was submitted by my fellow fashion and music junkie, Lenora.

Read why this is one of her most coveted photos:

So here is one of my most favorite pictures ever. It is of my Grandpa Leonard and Granny circa 1962 at one of the many house parties they would either throw or attend, which I understand was full of dancing and roaring good times. Love everything about this picture, namely how lovely and proud my grandparents looked.  It definitely takes me back to a time when men dressed like men and women dressed like ladies. My Grandpa looks so handsome smiling next to my Granny, who is just beautiful in her belted suit and pearls, so timeless. My Granny was always so glamorous and certainly my very first style icon. I have the fondest memories of playing in all her gorgeous minks and the stunning jewelry on her vanity, much of which I wear to this very day.

Look at Granny working that self-made peplum look! This photo definitely captures the couple's style and charismatic personalities. Oh, what I wouldn't give to a) attend one of those house parties and b) sift through Granny's accessories.

Thanks, Lenora, for sharing a piece of your personal history.

Click here to view more "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" submissions.

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February 24, 2012

Jewelry Swoon: Bauble Bar Acrylic Monogram Necklace

My love affair with acrylic jewelry continues with these hot-off-the-press monogram pendants at Bauble Bar. They are a refreshing take on the increasingly popular metal versions we've been seeing all over the place.

Sure, precious metal pendants are classic and oftentimes considered as heirloom pieces. But if you're looking to throw caution to the wind and have a little bit of fun, these colorful acrylic babies are the answer!

They are available in nine colors; from bright pink to a more subdued yet equally statement making tortoiseshell. And with a four week turnaround time, your necklace will arrive right at the start of Spring. Sweet!

Click here to place that order.


February 22, 2012

Etsy Showcase: Plastique

Plastique is an Etsy shop I've known about for awhile. It was the Chicago skyline necklace (above) that initially caught my attention. However, Plastique has even more to offer.  From well known skylines to turntable cufflinks, L.A.-based graphic designer Jen Murse has created an affordable jewelry line filled with instant conversation starters.

1. cufflinks | 2. DJ brass knuckles | 3. Golden Gate Bridge 3-finger ring | 4. London skyline | 5. tweet twitter necklace | 6. interchangeable ring set (teal) | 7. interchangeable ring set (red) | 8. prismatic square earrings

Each piece is made with laser cut acrylic and directly reflects the designs Murse creates on her computer. With geometric earrings, knuckle rings, and necklaces representing the world's best cities, this Etsy shop is the ideal online destination for gift hunting. There's even a cassette tape necklace that has just enough space for you to add a custom "mixtape" label. What a unique, personalized item for a music lover, right?

After adorning your body with Plastique goods, take to the walls of your home. Majority of the necklace pendants have been resized to larger dimensions, which results in eye-catching wall art.

The wall art is available via the Plastique online shop and appears to be a customer favorite (since all but one are currently sold out).

Click over to the Plastique Etsy Shop and get acquainted with the brand. With everything priced under $30, you'll be adding items to your virtual shopping cart in no time. Trust.

What do you think about Plastique? Which piece is your favorite?

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February 21, 2012

Celebrating Black History Through Fashion: Candid Moment

This vintage photo was submitted by the lovely Aramide (aka Dee Dee) of The Sassy Peach.

Here are her personal thoughts on it:

The pic is of my mom and dad in the '70s when they were very young, newly engaged I believe. My dad, who absolutely loves taking pictures, snapped this one of them in the mirror. I love how it's so natural, not staged and that it seems he kinda caught my mom off guard. Everything about this pic screams vintage to me, my dad's glasses (that hipsters now fashionably wear), the camera and most of all those 'fros! My mom has sadly passed since, which makes this picture that much more important to me. They just look like two young kids playing around and in love! I love it!

And we love it too, Dee Dee! Your parents were indeed a cool couple.

And who said mirror pictures started with social media?

Click here to view more "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" submissions.

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February 16, 2012

Celebrating Black History Through Fashion: '70s Style Mavens

What better way to kick off this year's Celebrating Black History Through Fashion series than with a photo of my mom (on the far right) with her sisters!

From my mom's high collared dress to my aunt's pinstriped jumpsuit, the Taylor sisters are working it!!

This has always been one of my favorite photos. One, because my mom and aunts represent all shades of brown. And two, because, although they are color coordinated, each sister's individual style shines through. Of course my mom is wearing red - which is still her favorite color to this day.

This photo is also physical proof of where my love for a belted waist and puff sleeves originated.  Thanks, mom.

I absolutely love these women, not only for helping to shape my personal style but for being fabulous inside and out!

Click here to view more "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion". Feel free to submit your  own photos to blackhistory@chitownfashionista.com.

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February 13, 2012

ChiTown Fashionista is in Vegas for MAGIC!

I'm currently in Las Vegas attending the MAGIC trade show! Over 5000 designers and brands are here taking over two convention centers to network with one another and connect with buyers and media.

I'm really looking forward to Launch Pad at WWDMAGIC (20 emerging brands showcasing their collection in a gallery-like setting), FN Platform (a showcase of 100s of footwear brands that I've aptly deemed as "shoe heaven") and Heart of Prêt (30+ European designers looking to gain some shine in the U.S.).

There will also be a slew of runway shows, book signings, seminars and blogger panels...not to mention the 'Dreaming of Chanel' exhibition featuring 16 vintage Chanel dresses.

And all of that equates to a lot of walking. Yes. Cute flats are in tow.

From upcoming trends to the brightest stars in clothing, footwear and accessories, I will be soaking it all in and sharing as much as possible with all of you!

So, you know the drill. Follow me on Twitter (or view my live tweets below) as I navigate the many aisles of MAGIC today and tomorrow.*

*Also follow hashtag #MAGICLV to stay up-to-date on all tweets related to the trade show.

Have you ever been to MAGIC? Do you have tips on the best way to conquer it all? Any specific brands or designers you want me to check out?

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February 9, 2012

[Closet Addition] Mary Katrantzou for Longchamp

It was Mary Katrantzou's Spring 2011 collection, which also happened to be her first solo runway show - that resulted in me, and countless others, falling in love with the London-based designer.

Katrantzou's use of print was not only refreshing, but also quite strategic. Using images from interiors featured in Architectural Digest and World of Interiors, she created looks that were both artistic and wearable.

So, when I discovered that she recently collaborated with Longchamp to launch a collection of bags, I immediately started my search to find out where I could get my hands on one.

In comes French retailer, Colette.

I was very familiar with the store but had no idea they had an online shop AND shipped to the U.S.! After a few minutes of deciding which size I wanted (hubby was laughing at me while I literally pulled out the measuring tape), I was adding the bag to my shopping cart and entering my credit card details. Since it was sent from Europe, shipping was not inexpensive. But I must admit, it arrived in lightning fast time and was worth every penny.

And if my photos aren't enough to entice you, check out this video of Katrantzou explaining the design process as well as the inspiration behind the collection.

Click HERE to check out the entire line of bags. And be sure to act fast to get your hands on this limited edition collection!

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February 8, 2012

6 Wedge Sneakers to Love...or Hate

1. Isabel Marant "Betty", $680. 2. See by Chloe Leather & Suede Hi-Top, $375. 3. Ash "Bowie"(in white), $267.  
4. Giuseppe Zanotti Python Sneaker Wedges, $650. 5. ZiGiny "Peaches", $80. 6. Ash "Bea" (in camel/coral), $302.

Currently, the hidden wedge sneaker is the footwear trend that has the fashion community divided. You either love them or you hate them. Me? I'm still on the fence. 

I believe almost anything can be made to look great depending on how you style it. However, I'm not sure that these will be flattering on me or if they could easily be incorporated to my wardrobe. I haven't completely given them the thumbs down though. If I encounter them in a store, I will most certainly try them on. But until then, I will continue to be intrigued from afar.

What do you think? Will you be buying into this trend? Or do you think the wedge sneaker is a hybrid shoe that makes absolutely no sense?

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February 6, 2012

My Jason Wu for Target Experience...as seen on Twitter

The Jason Wu for Target collection launched yesterday with much anticipation and excitement amongst the fashion community. Actually, many who don't necessarily stay abreast  of fashion news were enthusiastic about the collection simply based on the adorably captivating Jason Wu + Target commercial. Even my mom said, "can you pick me up one of those cute t-shirts with the cat on it".

As with any designer collaboration, it's serious business for those in the know. Staying up through the wee hours of the night to take advantage of the online sales or getting up extra early to beat the crowds in-store is the normal protocol. Remember my Lanvin for H&M adventure?

Luckily, I was still awake at 2AM on Sunday when the items went up for sale on the Target website. I quickly snatched up the t-shirt for mom and two blouses for myself. I was content with my purchases but still decided to head to the store to see the goods in person.

Of course, I took to Twitter to keep my fellow fashionistas informed. Here's how it went down:

Overall, I was not overly impressed with the clothing. As mentioned in one of my tweets, the jersey shirts and dresses, the trench and the tote were the best finds.* I was told that the quality of the navy poplin dress and the flared black dress were also on par. Needless to say, when my blouses arrive, they will be returned.

Oh well, can't win 'em all.

I know that quality and fabric choice has to be sacrificed to keep prices down. But what do you think? Should the Target designer collaborations focus a little more on quality, even if it means an increase in price? Or do you think cost should remain the priority and Target should continue to cut corners to keep the price as reasonable as possible? I know there is a happy medium. But I'm not sure Target has found it yet.

Let me know your thoughts. And also share what you scored from the collection!

*Since the handbags and scarves were nowhere in sight when I arrived, I can't comment on those.

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