Scholarly Style

You may not be heading back to school this Fall, but the end of summer is still the perfect time to start fresh (forget about New Years — this is the real deal). Kick it off with collegiate style that will no doubt get you in the mood for cooler weather and new ambitions. Button downs, sweaters and tailored blazers are key pieces. Cropped and oversized versions, plus out-there prints keep the look feeling modern. For a street smart edge, switch out classic loafers or heels for slip-on trainers or leather lace-up chucks; bombers and varsity jackets take the place of a traditional jacket.

college prep | fall trends | notesfromthebackrow.com

 

fall trends | college prep | notesfromthebackrow.com

 

1. Crop sweater, $20, HM.com; 2. Striped button down, $30, Uniqlo.com; 3. Blazer, $96, Topshop.com; 4. Tartan trousers, $556, Vivienne Westwood Red Label, Farfetch.com; 5. Pointed-toe loafers, $130, Ivanka Trump, Bloomingdales.com; 6. Cross body bag, $2,047, YSL, MatchesFashion.com; 7. Skirt, $105, Boutique, Topshop.com; 8. Heels, $65, Sole Society, Nordstrom.com; 9. Tassel bag, $371, Love Moschino, Asos.com; 10. White button down, $30, Uniqlo.com; 11. Bomber jacket, $365, Karl Lagerfeld, Net-a-porter.com

 

#FASHIONJOB : Urban Edge

Oversized demin jackets have become the ultimate layering piece. They’re just as versatile as a classic blazer, but can totally transform an outfit — whether you’re going all out normcore or just want to give a pair of tailored pants an urban edge.

One of our editorial assistants knows how to rock this trendy piece and has been mixing it into her enviable ensembles all summer long. I love it paired with slim cut black jeans, a button down (oversized or otherwise) and heels (also a great look for Fall) or thrown on top of a graphic tee and basic skirt. A stack of gold bracelets, leather booties and an on-trend bag will keep the look polished.

work outfit | fashion job | notesfromthebackrow.com

 

1. Oversized denim jacket, $70, Zara.com; 2. Graphic tee, $81, Sergedenimes.com; 3. Furry cross-body bag, $295, Deadly Ponies, Shopbop.com; 4. Pyramind bracelet, $31, & Other Stories, Stories.com; Rosebud bracelet, $320, Aurelie Bidermann, Shopbop.com; 5. Skirt, $30, Uniqlo.com; 6. Booties, $130, Topshop.com

Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Cut in dressmaking is like grammar in a language. A good design should be like a well made sentence, and it should only express one idea at a time. — Charles James

After it’s three month long stint at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, the Charles James exhibit finally came to a close on Sunday night after becoming the Institute’s 5th most popular exhibit ever. I was able to catch it on it’s last day and was completely blown away. I knew very little about James before coming face to face with his life’s work, but by the time I left I was eager to know more about the man behind the elaborate and carefully constructed gowns.

What struck me about James’ work, was the architectural quality of each design, the purposeful seams and the way exquisite fabrics seemed to float in midair. An enormous amount of research and thought went into each and every design — his butterfly and beetle gowns perfectly capture the essence of their namesakes — and the courtier (a trained hatmaker) took a methodical, even mathematical approach to each, fashioning elaborate structures to support their unique shapes. The gowns on their own are absolutely remarkable, works of art even, but they truly come to life on a woman’s body, as seen through a series of old photographs taken at shows, presentations and events.

Though he never achieved the level of success worthy of his incredible talent during his lifetime, the Costume Institute has now made Charles James a household name, giving his genius and artistry the recognition it deserves.

Keep reading for my photos from the Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit:

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#PersonalStyle Interview : Emma Cullen

Emma Cullen is the type of person that could roll out of bed, throw on a burlap sac and look amazing. I’ve always loved her style, which is simple, sophisticated and always on-point. So, it wasn’t even a question that she had to be the person to kick off the personal style interview series. Here I talk to Emma about her must-have pieces for fall, trends she can’t stand and the pieces she can’t live without.

emmaphoto

Name: Emma Cullen

Occupation: Recent finance masters grad and foodie looking to enter the grocery industry.

Contemplated entering the retail fashion world for a long time, but decided food was more up my alley. Fashion will always be a passion of mine. I love pulling outfits together with my friends and sisters. Whether it be adding new pieces or using what we’ve got in our closets.

Residence: London, UK

Provenance: Toronto, Canada

 

How would you describe your style?
Comfortable and classic.

What’s your fashion philosophy?
Never buy anything you need to purchase another piece in order to make “work” in your wardrobe…I’ve definitely been guilty of this but it can become a vicious cycle where one purchase just leads to another.

Go-to Look:
Good quality ballet flats, skinny jeans, a white top, big scarf (I’m always getting cold) and jacket. In the summer I usually go for a loose fitting silk sleeveless top, skinny jeans, flats and a small side bag big enough to hold my cards, phone and a lipstick.

Style Icons:
Jane Birkin and Olivia Palermo

The thing you can’t live without:
French Sole ballet flats. They last forever and have such an elegant cut to them, I particularly love the Henrietta style.

Favorite place to shop: 
It would have to be Zara. I love how they’re always reinnovating classic styles. Having been a student for the last year, they are especially great as a lot of their pieces are transferable between the classroom and workplace. Not to mention Zara is one of the few high street stores that I find actually fits tall people! I also love Canadian brand Aritzia. You see it everywhere at home but living in the UK it still carries a certain novelty for me.

Online vs. in-store:
In store for sure. Shopping is how I relax. I love that moment when you find an item and a whole array of outfit ideas pop into your head. Also, London’s shops are such a spectacle and entertaining in their own right. Take for example Selfridges — there is always something going on.

Splurges vs. Saves:
Splurges: Shoes and jeans. I love walking and as a result wear through shoes constantly. I’ve realized recently I’m better off buying good quality shoes I can resole than a new pair of crappy shoes every 2 months. When it comes to jeans I LOVE rag and bone. They fit like a glove and last longer than a lot of other jean brands at a similar price point.Especially to get the length right — spending the extra money is worth it. Saves: T-shirts. I rarely spend more than $20 on a T-shirt. Nothing beats the Gap for classic comfort.

5 Fall Must-Have Items:

personal style interview | fall winter 2014 must-haves | notesfromthebackrow.com

You’re stranded on a desert island and can only bring 3 things from your closet – what do you grab?
Bathing suit, a linen towel (quick drying and the sand doesn’t get stuck), and a durable cotton shift dress.

Favorite accessory: 
My silver Lulu Frost #2 code ring stacked on top of a simple Monica Vinader band. I want to get the #6 code ring next to represent the 6 people in my family.

Favorite brand or designer:
Oh tough one! A monthly highlight is always when the new J Crew catalogue comes out, I love Claudie Pierlot and am always inspired by Chloe.

First stylish purchase:
You mean other than my Spice Girls backpack? Probably a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo flats. That was my first lesson in getting shoes resoled before it’s too late.

Travel Essentials:
Day to day — I rarely carry a purse with me, which is silly because I’m constantly dropping my phone. Luckily, I have a Rifle Paper Co phone inlay case which has protected it…thus far.Otherwise I carry a card case with my Oyster and other cards and that’s it. I’m REALLY picky when it comes to bags and haven’t found the right one yet. Hopefully when I do I’ll be better at carrying day-to-day essentials.

Vacation: My tortoise shell persol sunglasses, card holder, burts bees lip balm and Bobbi Brown CC cream. I’ve learnt tans just aren’t worth the sacrifices down the line.

Trends on your black-list:
Short-shorts. And I mean those really short ones. Nobody needs to see your butt cheeks.

What was the last thing you bought that you instantly regretted?
A nautical striped top with a sailing whale cartoon on the front. I’ve loved whales since I was little and think that got the best of me when I spotted this top at Brick Lane market. Luckily it didn’t break the bank.

Memorable fashion victim moments: 
The first one that springs to mind… Probably when I was in high school, scooping ice cream as my summer job I saved up for 2 lacoste polos. I’d seen them layered in an issue of teen vogue and thought it was so cool. So even on the hottest of days I’d walk around with one polo on top of the other. NO idea what I was thinking.

 

The Bucket List

I’ve honestly never liked bucket bags. They always reminded of the 90s, a dark, dark time when I wore polkadot stretch pants in obscene colors and had the frizziest hair known to man (long before I discovered the round brush, the hair straightener or hair products in general). My opinion has changed over the years as the bag has evolved (I really only remember them seeming offensively round) and they’ve now been added to my must-have list for fall. Saint Laurent makes one in a delicious shade of bordeaux that is to-die-for, but there are also plenty of gorgeous options that won’t break the bank. Here are 12 styles I love.

fall trends | bucket bags | notesfromthebackrow.com

 

1. Mini Haircalf Bag, Elizabeth and James, $545, Shopbop.com;2. Black Fringe Bag, Antik Batik, $360, Net-a-porter.com; 3. Gray Convertible Bag, Elizabeth and James, $485, Nordstrom.com; 4. Blanket-Inset Bag, Pendleton, $179, UrbanOutfitters.com; 5. Green Leather Bag, Zara, $159, Zara.com; 6. Red Embossed Bag, Sancia, $469, UrbanOutfitters.com; 7. Stingray Pouch, Topshop, $64, Topshop.com; 8. Brown Leather Bucket, Madewell, $198, Shopbop.com; 9. Croc Bag, Zara, $179, Zara.com; 10. Zip Bag, Zara, Zara.com $11. Python Cross-body Bag, Vince Camuto, $148, Bloomingdales.com; 12. Black Leather Bucket, Kelsi Dagger, $188, Anthropologie.com

#FASHIONJOB: Minimalist Chic

Sometimes less is more. And honestly, you can never go wrong when you take essential pieces, like a great pair of jeans, a classic blazer and a simple white top, and throw them together. Instantly, effortlessly chic — this is one outfit you need to get into your rotation. It’s the solution for a morning when the alarm somehow doesn’t manage to go off and you have 10 minutes to pull yourself together and get out the door.

Add on a long, gold pendant necklace to tie the look together. Sandals can easily be switched out for oxfords or loafers as the cooler months approach. Easy and perfectly polished.

I don’t know what she does or who she is, but there is one girl in the office who rocks this style at least 1-2 times a week and I love it. It’s so incredibly simple, but she always looks amazing. There’s definitely something to be said for sticking to the basics.

work outfit | fashion job | notesfromthebackrow.com

1. Navy blazer, $645, Helmut Lang, lagarconne.com; 2. Top, $70, Zara.com; 3. Jeans, $135, Madewell.com; 4. Tote, $168, Madewell, Madewell.com; 5. Pendant necklace, $20, Nastygal.com; 6. Sandals, $85, Topshop.com

#NowTrending : Menswear Flats

It’s August 1st — which means fall is fast approaching. Pre-fall collections have now officially hit stores, so it’s time to start stocking up on the best that the FW 2014 runways have to offer.

Seen on the streets, the  feet of the fashion blogger elite and the runways, menswear-inspired shoes are a must-have for this season. Classic loafers and oxfords are given a modern upgrade with pointed-toes, shiny metallics and bold prints. Pair with a skirt or dress for a contemporary masculine edge or with slim cut pants and an oversized blazer to create the perfect androgynous mystique.

fall 2014 shoes | menswear flats  | notesfromthebackrow.com

 

1. Pink loafers, $95, KLARA, Topshop.com; 2. Metallic cap toe loafers, $295, Rachel Zoe, Shopbop.com; 3. Metallic loafers, $59, Charles Keith, CharlesKeith.com; 4. Printed oxfords, $54, ASOS, ASOS.com; 5. Patent loafers, $40, Zara, Zara.com; 6. Buckle loafers, $85, KONK, Topshop.com; 7. Striped metal plate loafers, $89, Charles Keith, CharlesKeith.com; 8. Metallic oxfords, $248, Rachel Comey, Shopbop.com

#GetTheLook : Emma Watson at Valentino Fall Couture 2014

Lace, leather and red hot heels — Emma Watson wows us once again with an ensemble that is oh-so on point. A black lace Valentino bralette and matching skirt offered just the right amount of sexiness and feminine sophistication — sheer lace subtly showed off a bit of leg, while the high waisted skirt allowed for just a glimpse of toned midriff. A single long drop earring (this trend is going to explode) and black leather jacket  tied it all together to give the look a modern, rocker-chic edge. Subtle, natural make-up keeps the look from appearing too over-the-top.

Here’s how to get Emma’s edgy look:

emma watson valentino | notesfromthebackrow.comemma watson valentino |notesfromthebackrow.com

 

1. Lace bralette, $44, Topshop.com, Topshop; 2. Sheer lace skirt, $198, Aliceandolivia.com, Alice and Olivia; 3. Leather jacket, $250, Mango.com, Mango; 4. Red pumps, $175, Nordstrom.com, Michael Kors; 5. Tassel earrings, $15, ASOS.com, ASOS; 6. Minaudiere, $295, Bloomingdales.com, Badgley Mischka

#FashionJob: Outfits I Love Spotted In and Around The Office

I work with a pretty stylish set of women. So it’s no surprise that there have been many, many times where I’ve caught myself stealing glances of so and so’s outfit and thinking, “Where did she get that?” To celebrate their style, I’ve decided to start a weekly post dedicated to the stylish ensembles I’ve seen around the office.

To kick things off, I’ve chosen a sophisticated yet super simple look spotted on one of our style editors. Not only does it look amazing on, it’s so easy to pull off and it’s comprised of basic pieces that can be worn again and again.

office outfit | notesfromthebackrow.com

 

1. Striped Top, $36, RiverIsland.com, River Island; 2. Chandelier Earrings, $88, Oscardelarenta.com, Oscar de la Renta; 3. Gold Ring, $1,950, AnnaSheffield.com, Anna Sheffield; 4. Lether Satchel Bag, $2,490, YSL.com, Yves Saint Laurent; 5. Black Skirt, $60, HouseofFraser.co.uk, Pieces; 6. Ankle Strap Sandal, $325, Nordstrom.com, Michael Kors