GUEST BLOGGER: Holly Becker
Hello! My name is Holly and some of you may know me from decor8. I am so glad that Victoria invited me here today while she's poolside sipping boozy cocktails wedged between two hot men with British accents. And you know the stylish Victoria has a lovely beach towel in pink and yellow and her fruity concoction is topped with a mini pink umbrella. While Victoria lounges, let's talk about a subject I rarely cover on my own blog, fashion! I must confess, before Project Runway, I knew very little about cohesive collections vs. flamboyant couture fashion, garment construction, and how fiercely competitive the industry really is. I also thought fierce described a really mean person and not a gorgeous dress. A few things I did know before Project Runway: What I love to wear and how much I'm willing to pay to look somewhat presentable.
from Delia's, and bag is from DrikaB bag on Etsy.
Before showing you a lovely clothing label, I feel like ranting a little about clothes, namely cost. My fashion style is Lo-May. That stands for Low Maintenance. With that comes a passion for finding good stuff at great prices and sure, while I just might splurge on a pair of $150 jeans that make my butt look good over owning 5 pairs at $30 each that give me muffin top, I am not particularly fond of shelling out that much cash for denim. Sure, sometimes my butt may look better in them but I also have to cover my butt -- l have bills to pay and my landlord will not care how 'up there' my booty looks if I can't cough up his rent money. I found an alternative to the $150 versions on the market, they are called The Flirt, mid-rise flair bootcut jeans at Old Navy. They are currently on sale for $20! AND they don't make me look like the Michelin man.
Now let's talk handbags. Don't get me started. I live in the countryside in New Hampshire on an apple orchard, style isn't nearly as important to farmers as owning a good tractor. When I travel to the suburban malls (I need some culture he he) every third teenage girl I see is toting some little Coach number. My friend spent $500 on her daughter's handbag because she wants her child to have what she didn't. Of course you want your child to have some of the things that you didn't have, but most of us thirtysomething girls never had expensive handbags because in the 1980's, Coach didn't exist, selling lifestyle and bling to children wasn't part of mainstream culture, and being cool meant you had a Members Only jacket that you wore until it had holes in it, or you owned an Izod polo shirt or Converse All-Star sneakers that you had all of your friends sign. Am I right? I can't imagine how hard it is for parents and children nowadays. When I see teens with expensive handbags I'm reminded of why I feel so lucky to have grown up in the 80's despite big hair and baggy jeans with, oh dear, pleats. When I look for handbags, I shop Etsy where I purchase a good amount of them or I hit the sale section at Anthropologie. I love my DrikaB bag, this San Francisco designer is the best.
When it comes to shoes, yes they must be cute but comfort is of equal priority. When I was in my early twenties, I wobbled around on stilts like the rest of 'em, but now that I'm in my thirties I live in flats, I wear them so often that when I do slide on heels I usually fall before I leave the house. I think women can and should wear heels as long as they want, God knows there is no age cut off for that. My grandmother lived on a farm for fifty years and wore high heels until she was in her late 80's. While doing chores and cooking. Oh yes. My great aunt is a ballroom dancer in Chicago, 84 years old, and still twirling around in her heeled shoes. I often wonder what these ladies have in their morning cereal that I don't because, Sex in the City cast included, I don't know how they do it. I am missing that gene entirely. Whenever I wear slinky shoes I walk like I'm drunk. No matter how cute, I won't pay over $100 for a pair, well maybe $150, IF I put down the 6 boxes in my arms and purchase only one pair. I find the cutest shoes at Zappos and end of the season sales at J.Crew are the best - they have adorable ballet flats there. Though I won't be caught ever wearing plastic imitation-leather (oh, how painful!), $15 for a pair of cotton wedge shoes from Target paired with $40 Flirt jeans from Old Navy and an patterned cotton tunic with some gorgeous crochet around the neck or some pastel Indian pattern (think Virginia Johnson), and that's how I dress a good chunk of the summer.
For accessories, I go with Etsy and Target stuff for the most part, or I hit Forever 21, Anthropologie, or Urban Outfitters because sure, it's throw-away costume jewelry but by the time it falls apart or turns orange, I'm over it anyway. Oh and when it comes to t-shirts and pull overs, Delia's can't be beat. I really like their stuff though I admit I'm like 15 years older than their average shopper and there is no way I can fit into most of it. But lucky for me, cotton is stretchy and I like to layer t-shirts in the summer, so I prefer them fitted.
Okay, so enough chatter, time for one of my favorite fashion labels. I'm glad you stayed with me because I tend to ramble when I'm hot on something. Now let's look at clothes. There is one label that I will share with you today called Noa Noa based out of Denmark where all the beautiful things seem to flow freely from. Maybe you know of them? I first started shopping Noa Noa back in 2006. They have stores dotted around mostly northern Europe and are quite a delight to shop. There is one around the corner from me in Germany where we have a little apartment. It's always one of the highlights of my trips there. Noa Noa collections change quite a lot with each season, you never know what their designers will be inspired by next, it's hard to predict. Sometimes I will pass by their shop after they've just styled their latest collection in the window and I don't recognize it as being the same store. Of course the moment I step closer to inspect the details, it most certainly is a Noa Noa designed collection. Like every cohesive collection (thanks Project Runway!) they have their staple pieces, but also little things that only the regulars would notice like discreet feminine textures and embellishments, attention to detail, cut of the garments, and how they fancy layering.
Speaking of layering, you will notice some type of scarf with each collection even in the summer. Northern Europeans seem to love them and given how fast the weather can change during any given month, a scarf is a must have accessory. Noa Noa garments are also very flattering on most figures. If you watch Clinton and Stacy on TLC's What Not To Wear, you know just how much of a difference there is between a skirt that flatters and one that has mini arrows all over it pointing out every flaw. For the summer they appear to be giving a nod to vintage bathing beauties and while I'm not big on nautical themes, this completely works for me because it's soft and feminine, a nod to times' past with a definite modern feel. If I wear some of these styles, I won't look like I'm in period gear or I escaped from one of those vintage tourist-y photo places on the boardwalk. If you bookmark Noa Noa and browse their site each season, you'll find so much inspiration that you just may find yourself translating it into your personal style, how you decorate your home, the art you create, or something as easy as how you style your mood board. Love this company and a bonus, their prices are much more affordable than say, an Anthropologie, and you get amazing one-on-one customer service in-store, their shops are small and boutique-like, garments are carefully arranged (in other words, it's not trashed), and it's not so large and overwhelming that you walk in excited and exit empty handed because you didn't know where to start.
Have a lovely weekend everyone and thank you for having me, Ms. V! Over and out - Holly