Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Untie Your Shoe Strings... Take Off Your Cufflinks...

Greetings Gentle Readers,

Just coming to you with a little something short and sweet. Oft in our #AfternoonTip series of Tweets on Twitter (Are you following us on Twitter? You should be... if you were yo
u'd already know this! @SartoriallySvvy or just click here) we talk not only about how to put together and pull off great looks, wardrobing secrets, and tips to up the ante on your personal style, but how to care for your precious pieces, and how to add polish and panache and those perfect punches to every ensemble. So, we figured why not bring a bit of that to you, our dear gentle readers in something a little longer than 140 characters. Something that people often fail to realize, is that it's not only having quality garments, but caring for them, and ensuring that they last and stand the test of time. This way, they'll look as great in 10 years as they did the 1st day that you bought them... That being said, we decided to bring you the 4 essential items every Sartorially Savvy gentleman should have on his dresser. And ladies, you might think this is strictly for the fellas, but, you should take heed also. Perhaps you can impart a little wisdom (or a nice gift) to your favorite gentleman. So, without further ado...

The Fantastic Four

1. Shoe horns: Remember when you were younger and you'd try to stuff your foot into your shoes without unlacing them, and crushing the backs, (and effectively jeopardizing the structural integrity of the shoe, taking years off its life, rendering it close to unable to keep your foot in place in the shoe) and you'd hear your mother yell at you (or in our case, knock you upside your head) and tell you to unlace the shoes and use a shoe horn. Well, all that is for a good reason, though you may have not known it at the time. And now that you're older, and probably investing a bit more into your footwear, your mother's instruction still holds true. And sure many of you may think that using your finger(s) to get into loafers and lace-ups alike is just as effective, but we're here to tell you, it's not. Not only does using your finger stretch out the back of your shoes, over time, making them too big, but it's inefficient! A shoe horn goes in the back of your shoe, you slide your foot in, and you're good to go. Whereas, using your finger, you're jamming your foot into the shoe, and trying to get your now crushed and stuck finger out. Can we say, counterproductive. You can get a shoehorn everywhere that shoes are sold. Most higher end places will give you a shoe horn when you try on a pair of shoes, and you can keep it.

2. Collar Stays: Probably the most obscure on our Fantastic Four, but they've been around forever. Look in the collar of any proper dress shirt and you're likely to find a pair of collar stays. A collar stay is... well, it's pretty self explanatory. It's a metal tab that keeps a collar in place, crisp and stiff. They also prevent the dreaded "pancake collar" where the collar of your shirt falls completely flat and spread out... like... a... pancake. If, on the rarity you purchase a dress shirt, and it does not already have collar stays, it will assuredly have the slots for them underneath the collar. When you're not wearing a tie, collar stay is especially pertinent to keep the collar crisp (Even though you should still keep them in when you're wearing a tie too). Just a little personal tip (that we learned the hard way ONE good time) always remember to remove your collar stays when laundering your dress shirts.... Just trust us on this one.

3. Tie bars: A recent resurgence in retro styles (Thank you "Mad Men") has made this vintage accessory in vogue once more. Tie bars have been around since since the 19th century when wearing ties 1st became popular. Designed to keep ties in place and looking neat and clean; a tie bar fastens a necktie to a shirt, effectively keeping it from moving, come rain, sleet, snow, wind, hail... etc. Throughout the course of time, these utilitarian tools have become, as most things do, stylized, turning into one of the most acceptable and popular forms of jewelry for men. Tie bars come in various and sundry shapes, styles, widths and sizes... it's kind of a "whatever floats your boat" type deal. So, by all means, express a little personality and personal style. (P.S. if anyone would like to donate that Thom Browne for Harry Winston tie bar that's pictured here... we'd greatly, greatly, greatly appreciate it. Just saying...)

4. Cufflinks: Continuing our trend of functional yet stylish pieces... brings us to the classic cufflink. Before there were buttons to fasten the cuffs of a shirt together, other devices had to be used. Cufflinks are designed only for use with shirts which have buttonholes on both sides of the cuff, but no buttons. These may be either single or double-length (French) cuffs, and may be worn either "kissing," with the ends pinched together, or "barrel-style," with one end overlapping the other. Kissing cuffs are the usual standard. Like tie bars, cuff links are standard issue when it comes to men's jewelry, and thus, are often ways in which many men express personal style, personality traits or hobbies (Which is precisely how you should treat them). Play tennis? Cop a pair of tennis ball &raquet cuff links... Can't think of a hobby that you'd like binding the cuff of your shirt, a pair of classic monogrammed links is always in style and can become a heirloom for generations to come (vintage shops and thrift stores are excellent places to find unique links to start or add to your collection). (Unrelated side-note: Dear Santa, it would be magnificent if these Cartier links magically appeared in our collection... once again, just saying.)

And that wraps up our Fantastic Four. So remember fellas (and ladies looking for great gift ideas for fellas) these 4 things should be on your dressers for the rest of your days... Because a truly Sartorially Savvy gent knows that style's in the subtlety. Until next time, we remain...

Stylishly yours,
Sartorially Savvy
"Fashion fades, style is eternal." ~Yves Saint Laurent

P.S. For your up to the minute tips on staying classically stylish, timelessly chic, and always Sartorially Savvy follow us on Twitter (@SartoriallySvvy or click here)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Silk Lined Blazers... Diamond Cream Facials... VVS Cuff Links...

Greetings Gentle Readers, (Cue music) It's the most wonderful time of the year.... Kids jingle belling and all that jazz... It's also the time of year for opulent occasions, office parties, jazzy cocktail receptions, festive fetes and the like, which means dressing for them. Dressing this time of year can be a little tricky; you'll get 4 different invitations with 4 different dress codes ranging from "festive chic" and "dressy cocktail" to "holiday casual" and "cocktail casual." And all of them mean separate things!! Now, before you drive yourself crazy, check out our break down of what exactly these terms mean here... But for a little more specific instruction, we've got you covered with a personal favorite. Holiday parties and end of the year gatherings are optimum times to step it up a little... go for a little more drama and style. Now being a well dressed and stylish usually means avoiding all things sartorially over-dramatic, but there's something to be said for combining the two. Which is precisely what we're here to tell you how to do... Enter: The Statement Blazer. The joy of something like a statement blazer is that it takes something you as a Sartorially Savvy reader are well versed in (a blazer) and kicks it up a notch. Now, if that sounds daunting, worry not fellas, we've got you. Sit back, relax, and take notes...

Statement Blazers: How to pull 'em off...

1. Think Outside the Box: The crayon box that is... well, in the cliche way too... But mainly the crayon box. Now is the optimum time to experiment with bold colors. Take for example Drake's look; Mr. Graham's rocking a deep teal that makes the color statement of his entire ensemble. Bold, but not too out there, complimentary to his skin tone, and eye catching (in a good way). A key to pulling off a bolder color like this is subduing everything else about your ensemble; Drake paired his single-button, shawl collar evening jacket with a crisp white dress shirt and black slacks. This keeps the focus on the blazer. And as we always say, every ensemble should have a focal point. In these instances, this will be your blazer. When Estelle stepped out to a recent movie premier in head to toe McQueen the look, she followed this philosophy to the tee. While her all black basics are chic and stylish, the focus is her stunning blazer by the recently deceased British designer. Estelle's look shows that the ladies can play this game too. And well... Ladies, don't be intimidated. Follow the leads given here: Pick a brilliant color or pattern, and subdue the garments you pair them with. This doesn't make the remainder of your ensemble boring as Estelle's cropped leather pants ensure; just subdued. A special note about a jacket as formal as this; leave the jeans at home. The silken texture, the shawl collar, and the single button all say evening, meaning, pair this with slacks, or if the occasion calls for it, maybe even tuxedo pants.

2. Touchable Texture: Ok, so, see that lovely lovely Sports Illustrated swimsuit model with John Legend there? What is it that Johnny boy has that you don't? Is the the platinum plaques? The Grammy's? The ridiculous talent? Well, maybe... But it's also that amazing velvet blazer. A velvet blazer might not land you a Sports Illustrated model... but it'll sure have the cuties unable to keep their hands off you and your touchably soft jacket... and who knows, maybe even one of them will be a Sports Illustrated model. The point here: Now's the perfect time to try a little texture. Velvet is an excellent choice. Many designers and retailers make velvet blazers, and this time of year, they're in no short supply. We suggest trying in a deep, rich jewel tone like navy blue, emerald green, or eggplant purple. All other blazer rules apply here; as always fit is essential. When it comes to accessorizing, take a cue again from Mr. Legend and try a pocket square. Patrick Robinson, creative director of Gap, also gets it right and borrows cue from our "All Black Everything" post. Also unlike the aforementioned more formal option, you can pair a velvet blazer with dark jeans for a more dressy casual look (make sure the occasion which you're attending is jeans appropriate). You can take the route of Mr.'s Legend &Robinson and pair with a shirt and tie, or opt for a v-neck sweater.

(cue music)... And lots of holiday cheer!!! It's the most wonderful time of the year!! And hopefully, your best dressed time of the year... That 'bout does it for this go 'round. Until next time, we remain....

Stylishly yours,
Sartorially Savvy

P.S. For your up to the minute tips on staying classically stylish, timelessly chic, and always Sartorially Savvy, follow us on Twitter (@SartoriallySvvy or click here)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pretty, Witty, Girly, Worldly....

...One who likes to party, but comes home early.

Greetings Gentle Readers,

As the holiday season approaches, and with it, annual parties, gatherings, fetes, shindigs, and balls; "What to wear??" is often in the foremost thoughts of even the most well heeled woman. So, we decided to take this opportunity for a little preemptive measure...

The party dress is as substantial as suiting in a well dressed woman's wardrobe, especially this time of year. Now we're not talking about just some ole' frock that you throw on, or a simple and chic black number you wear to the annual office Christmas party, we're talking about a knock-down, drag-out, head-turning, neck-craning "Who is THAT?!?" number. The one you have in your closet when you want to, as Beyonce' said, "Pull out the big guns." That being said, obviously, this isn't the piece you wear to every single shindig you venture to this season... But for that epic occasion, the one you started planning for as soon as you found out about it? We've got you covered... So, ladies, sit back, relax and let's get it poppin'... Shall we? Looking great knows no shape, size, or skin tone. So, just because you're not runway thin (or even if you are) it doesn't mean you can't be the best dressed belle at the ball. That being said, finding the perfect party dress can be a bit of a daunting task... So, we've decided to equip you with 3 sure-fire tips to finding something that you'll absolutely love, and everyone will love on you (some might love it so much, they try to get it off you... but that's another topic for another time)
3 Points for Picking the Perfect Party Dress

1. Dress YOUR body: Dress the body you have, not the one you want, but the one you are currently in possession of. Actually, this is a tip for everyday... But it's particularly poignant here because trying to dress the body you wish you had, or the one you used to have, is counter productive. That woman doesn't exist. She left when you lost that 20 lbs you had been trying to lose since junior year. So, let's address... edit, let's dress the woman standing before us, and ensure she's as breathtakingly beautiful as possible. Of course, all of this correlates directly back to our favorite topic, fit, as we always say, "If it doesn't fit, it doesn't work." So, once the hurdle of dressing the body you currently have, and not the one you used to have or the one you wish you had, focus on finding the perfect fit.

Accent Your Assets: Once again, you should be doing this whenever you get dressed, but, it takes on a different meaning here... As often times if you have luscious legs, or killer cleavage or a beautiful back, you can't really show them off in the office... now's when you can. Plus, playing to strengths de-emphasizes any areas that you might not be so secure about. The dress pictured to the right is a perfect example of playing to your strengths... The lovely Miss Butler has the decolletage for sweetheart necklines, and this is what we chose as a focal point for the fete she was attending. The ruching on the dress helps camouflage problem areas and adds elegant details to this saucy number and the champagne color pops perfectly off her mocha skin tone. Now, perhaps cleavage isn't your most powerful weapon... Maybe you're a more leggy lady, go with that! Hike those hemlines up (as long as you can keep all necessary elements covered, you're good) Kia's legendarily long legs were walking through our mind when we pulled the dress to the left for her. If legs are going to be your focal point, keep it short on bottom and fairly conservative elsewhere. Keep in mind that the focus is on the legs. Not on the legs, the arms, the cleavage, the back, and so forth.

3. Go Bold or Go Home: These are annual occasions that we're talking about dressing for. The people in attendance might be people you only see a few times a year, and honestly, even if you see them everyday, this is a special occasion. So play to win. Go for drama. Be bold, be daring and step outside your comfort zone (even if it's only one step, it counts.) Hike up the hemline, or hike down the neckline (notice that *or* there... pick one), try bold color combinations and different silhouettes. Remember the old adage: no risk, no reward. The drama created by the movement of the dress to the left is one of our favorite things about the look that we pulled for the lovely De'Ven. What would otherwise be a simple navy tank dress is transformed to a statement piece that pulls in the eye. Use drama to take your look up a notch. Be bold with unexpected, asymmetrical necklines, draping and cutouts. To the right is one of our favorite looks from the S/S 2011 Gucci show. The intricacy of the knotting on the bodice creates drama and coupled with the luscious saturation of the burnt orange color in in the skirt makes for a showstopping number; definitely big gun worthy. Another one of our favorite aspects of this look is that nothing about it is particularly "scandalous," yet, it's still very sexy. This means that you don't have to show an inordinate amount of skin to be sexy and bold.
If you've noticed on most of these looks, the accessories are kept to a minimum, something about that makes them all the more chic to us... a bracelet here, necklace there, small earrings... that's all you need. The stories here are the dresses. To tell an accessory story, you'd need to simplify the dress you chose. The goal here is a cohesive, well put together ensemble with the focus being on the dress. Keep "complimentary" in mind when choosing shoes and accessories. That about does it for this go 'round. We're sure you, our dear, gentle, well dressed reader will knock 'em dead this holiday season, as you do every day. Until next time, we remain...

Stylishly yours,
Sartorially Savvy
"Fashion fades, but style is eternal." ~Yves Saint Laurent

P.S. For your up to the minute tips on staying classically stylish, timelessly chic and always Sartorially Savvy follow us on Twitter (@SartoriallySvvy or click here)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

So Pop You Layer...

Greetings Gentle Readers,

We hope you had a peaceful and positive Thanksgiving. We're just coming out of our
turkey-induced coma, hence the delay since our last post. But, we're back! As the weather turns from "quite chilly" to "a bit brisk" we get to employ one of our favorite cold weather dressing techniques: layering.

We love layering for several reasons; proper layering not only keeps you
warm, but creates depth, texture, adds sophistication and style and helps enhance a color story. So, this go 'round we figured we'd shed a little light on a few of our style secrets to help put the fellas on game as to keeping warm, while looking cool. For the fellas, layering is exclusively a top-heavy activity (How exactly would one pull off 2 pairs of pants anyway?). That being said, we'll be focusing on pairing shirting (button-downs, polos, etc), sweaters, and blazers/suit jackets in chic combination. Without further ado, let's pop this off shall we?

3 Laws to Succinct, Stylish & Sophisticated

1. Fit: By now, you should have known this was coming... Honestly. We keep trying to tell you, that fit, is everything. Here's why it matters here. You see the look up to the left? Everything from this S/S 2010 Ralph Lauren look is tailored to fit this model and he looks crisp, clean and polished. If you layer ill-fitting garments, it only exaggerates that which does not fit and throws off the proportion of the ensemble: if your sweater is too small and your blazer is too big, then it appears as if you got dressed out of 2 peoples closets, neither of which are your own. Simply put: every tag on each of your garments should read the same size (with the exception of blazers/suit jackets, which should read your REAL jacket size, not some imaginary 1 size up #)

2. Color Story: Layering is prime time to tell a stylish and sophisticated color story. If you glance at the look to the left, as well as up to the right at Mr. Gross you'll see what we mean by "color story." When you layer, you have the opportunity to mix and match different shades, hues, and tones. Lance Gross is using greys and blacks to tell his color story, a classic combination that works for every skin tone, every shape, and ever size. A color story should use multiple shades, hues and tones; matching the exact blue in your tie to the exact blue in your shirt to the exact blue in your sweater is basic and trivial. A more grown up, stylish and sophisticated option would be to use different blues and other complementary colors, as illustrated up to the left and directly to the right. Use your layers to tell your color story. Remember, it's not about whether or not it matches, as long as it goes.

3. Depth & Texture: Effective layering also means creating depth and texture, additional effective agents of style and sophistication. One of our personal favorite ways to pull this off is with an oxford, cardigan, and blazer, as illustrated in the 1st look (the Ralph Lauren runway look) and to the left. It's a bit unexpected to pair a blazer with a cardigan (most would expect a vest underneath a blazer/suit jacket) but it's a timeless and classic combination. A ribbed cardigan or a tweed blazer are perfect pieces to add touches of texture, and both would serve the double purpose of adding depth as well.

Accessorizing layers is really quite simple as well. Stick to pieces that compliment or contrast with your core garments. For example, for the look in blue that we pulled, we chose a tie that had blues and a yellow in it this tied (no pun intended) the blues in the garments together with the the yellow in the pocket square. Topped off with a little lapel pin, and called it day. When layering in muted color stories, such as the one pictured on Lance Gross or the grey and black look up to the left, an accessory in a pop of color can add a nice accent. As always, keep coordination in mind. Well, that about does it for this installment. Until next time, we remain....

Stylishly yours,
Sartorially Savvy

"Fashion fades, style is eternal." ~Yves Saint Laurent

P.S. For your up to the minute tips on staying classically stylish, timelessly chic and always Sartorially Savvy, follow us on Twitter (@SartoriallySvvy or click here)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Purp By The Pound

Greetings Gentle Readers,

We've decided to try a little something new (after all, fashion and style are constantly evolving, so, why shouldn't the way that information about fashion and style is presented evolve also?!). So, this time around, We're taking
a particular color, instead of an ensemble as a whole (think: John Legend's double breasted suit), or concept (think menswear inspired ensembles) and show you how to make it work for your wardrobe. We're also trying something new in that this is one of our 1st truly coed pieces. Hopefully, at the end of this, you'll see how to utilize this spectacular shade for yourself. Alright, let's get it poppin'...

Purple is one of those colors that we've never really understood why people were intimidated to utilize in their wardrobes. It's one of those "new neutral" tones, meaning, it goes with almost any other color in your wardrobe, but an added benefit is that it's much more striking and unexpected than a grey, black, navy or brown; thus rendering it an often more stylish option. Which, to us, means there's added incentive rock it. So, we've decided (at least for the purposes of this post) to make it our personal mission to dispel the myths about purple...

Purple isn't just a great casual option either. As a matter of fact, we like our purple most in rich evening tones, like a velvet tuxedo jacket for the fellas or, the ladies like the stunning cocktail dress from the S/S 2011 Gucci collection pictured on Chanel Iman. Of course, purple is also a great option for work, it's all about tone. The sweaters that Swizz Beatz and we are rocking would work perfectly for the office, however, if you're going to layer a purple sweater for the office, we'd recommend choosing a lighter dress shirt and complimentary tie. The darker the shirt, the more evening and casual the look becomes. That being said, we're gonna flip the script a little and break down purple for the well dressed gentleman first... Ladies, stick around and find out how to incorporate purple into your fella's wardrobe (or tell him how) or fast forward down to your section, either way, worry not, we've got you...


Your best bet when rocking purple is to focus up top. Meaning, sweaters, shirts, ties, etc. There are very few of us who can pull off purple chinos and jeans. To those who can... kudos, we tip our hat to you (a notable exception here is shorting, but, we'll save that for more weather appropriate times, as it's a bit brisk here on the Eastern Seaboard of the US). We'd recommend a look much like the one we pulled for a day in the city; purple sweater and dress shirt, grey slacks, and complimentary tie and belt. As we said, if this were for the office, we'd have switched out the darker dress shirt for a lighter shade of purple, like lavender, or even a heather grey. But, this was for a much more casual occasion, so, we opted for the dark. We finished the look off with coordinating sneakers; also not something we'd do for the office. This ensemble would also work for a night out on the town, sub out the sneakers for loafers or lace-ups and you'd be well dressed and good to go. We like purple and grey as a color combination. It's quite sleek and sophisticated, and while we've chosen slacks here, jeans work just as well. And this would serve as an excellent opportunity to try grey jeans.

We've taken some snapshots of some other purple options for your wardrobe, these are timeless classics, that will remain stylish forever. Wearing them in a hue such as purple should alleviate any doubt as to whether or not you can rock purple. Having such staples as these in purple plays it safe, while keeping it cool, so don't be afraid to utilize these at all. Garments such as polos (long and short sleeve), cardigans, v-necks and cable knit crew neck sweaters (ok, we know this is like the 3000th time we've talked about a cable knit crew neck sweater, but they're great, and we love them, and they're classic and timeless, and you should have one by now) are items you likely already have in your wardrobe, and if something works for you in one color, chances are it will work for you in others. So fellas, stack your closet, play to what you know! We're not saying you have to go out looking like Grimace, or a giant grape. But adding a dash to two of purple is a great way to infuse a bit of color into your closet.

Alright, now, ladies, your purple options are far less limited than that of the gentleman's. But this is generally the case in wardrobing. You can rock purple on top in knits, tops, sweaters, and blouses, on the bottom in slacks, chinos, jeans, shorts, and skirts, or all over in the form of a dress. This makes your options seemingly limitless. However, whenever there are limitless options, there is often limitless confusion. To avoid the confusion and looking like the aforementioned McDonald's character (shout outs to Grimace) or a giant grape, here's how we suggest you rock your purple:

Pick a focal piece: Sure you could wear purple from head to toe, but, that would once again bring up those pesky Grimace and grape comparisons. And by head to toe, we mean; purple top, purple skirt, purple shoes, purple hosiery, purple bag, purple jewelry etc. A purple dress, shoes, and bag is fine. But they should be different shades of purple. This adds depth and complexity to the ensemble. But back to the matter at hand: Your best bet is to pick a focal piece; Where your purple will pop in your ensemble, or how purple will play into the overall color scheme (Sidenote: You can rock more than two different colors at once, but they should be cohesive, complementary and play into the overall color story.). Take for example the 1st look we pulled here for our model the lovely Ms. Womack: The purple pops, yet plays perfectly in the color story and into the overall theme of the outfit. We chose the purple shorts for specifically that purpose; everything else is an accent. We went for a touch of texture with the checkered pattern on the tights (here's how to mix patterns: when one is pronounced, the shorts, the other is subtle, the tights) but otherwise kept the rest of the look subdued but still chic and sophisticated. As we earlier said, purple is one of those "new neutrals," meaning it pairs well with most other colors. So, while we chose black here, this look would have worked if the blazer or camisole were another color, or even two different shades of the same color. Keep this in mind in your purple pairings.

For the 2nd look, we chose a purple tunic sweater and dark grey skinny jeans. Accessorized with strands of long pearls, black suede chunky heeled pumps, and a crock embossed clutch. Again keeping it fairly simple, but always sophisticated and chic and letting the purple be the focal point of the ensemble. As a converse to the 1st look, this serves as an example of doing purple on top. This look would have worked with tights or leggings, but we liked the idea of jeans as a more stylish alternative. Though all the pieces flow seamlessly, the tunic is obviously the focal point of this ensemble. The feminine detailing on the sleeve and the rhinestones on the back add ladylike details and drawing points for the eye. The remaining garments and accessories are accentual and add polish and finishing touches. This is important to keep in mind whenever you have a focal piece in any ensemble, be it an accessory, shoe, or garment: everything else is accentual, complimentary and cohesive. We like purple as a focal point color because it serves a dual purpose; As many find purple a difficult tone to pull off, it will likely serve as an unexpected choice, and because it automatically stands out, it will become the default focal point of your ensembles (which means you should always make wise choices in purple since it draws in the eye).

So fellas, pretty much the accessories in purple that you should be concerned with are ties and pocket squares. Mixing tone and pattern are surefire ways to achieve an elevated level of style. Simple and easy, no? Bet. Now, ladies, for you, as it usually is, it's a bit more complicated.... It's more of that, so-many-options-leading-to-mass-confusion-thing. But that's to be expected. Ladies when accessorizing with purple, you should still follow the Focal Point rule, however, it's a little different because shoes and accessories are usually on a smaller scale (size wise) than garments. This means that you let them stand out as the focal point of the ensemble, and build your look around them OR you can build your look and accent with purple shoes and accessories. It's all a matter of mood, taste, and occasion. If you choose to have the shoes and accessories be the focal point, then coordinating ensemble should be subdued. Try muted tones (greys, browns, tans, blacks and navies make excellent options), or a monochromatic theme. If you do choose pattern, then it should have a hint of purple in it, just to play back into the overall look and statement you're making. Should you choose the converse, and opt to go in the opposite direction, make sure you choose purples that easily pair with the other garments you elect for that ensemble. For example, the purple python platform pumps pictured left (try saying that 5 times fast!!) would work excellently with a pair of jeans, a pencil skirt and black tights, trousers, or cropped chinos. The obvious choice is to coordinate with the black in the shoe, but you could go another route with dark denim, khaki, brown tones, grey and navy. And on top a lighter pastel like a custard yellow would work well. In terms of bags, ladies, a purple bag works in the same capacity as your favorite brown and black go-tos; use it as such.

Well, that about does it... We know that was a lot of information, but hopefully the pictures helped convey the points we were making. A special shout out to our lovely model Ms. Brandi Womack (proof that it pays to have life-long gorgeous friends), check her amazing blog "Keeping Up with the Huxtables" up at Until next time, we remain...

Stylishly yours,
Sartorially Savvy
"Fashion fades, style is eternal" ~Yves Saint Laurent

P.S. For your up to the minute tips on staying classically stylish, timelessly chic, and always Sartorially Savvy follow us on Twitter (@SartoriallySvvy or click here)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pass the Courvoisier...

Greetings Gentle Readers,

While reviewing the fall 2010 runway shows, we noticed the emergence of one of our favorite color combinations; cognac-ish hues of brown paired with shades of grey. This super sophisticated pairing has long been one of our favorites and go-to's in dressing. A lot of people are apprehensive when it comes to mixing such staple neutrals because shades of brown apparel (which cognac is, even though it's almost close to a deep red) tend to b
e paired with shades of brown shoes and accessories, and generally, when pairing greys, people instantly go with black for shoes and accessories. Well, we're here to tell you, "That ain't necessarily so..." Obviously, as we can see from the looks featured in this post, these two tones go quite well together. And you don't have to be a runway model or an extremely talented stylist to pull them off. Let us put you on game...

3 Simple & Easy ways to pair
grey & cognac
1) Expect the unexpected: This color combination isn't the 1st that will come to anyone's mind, so up the ante and go for even more unexpected garment choices; One of our favorite things about the looks featured is where the colors are placed in the wardrobe scheme. You don't have to have an exact percentage of each color, subtlety and nuance work extremely well. For example, in the 1st two looks, the cognac stands out, but the number of grey garments vastly out number it; in the 1st look, (up to the left) the cognac sweater pops through underneath the peacoat (what y'all know 'bout peacoats?? Click here for a refresher) and is the only piece in the ensemble that is cognac, yet it makes it's presence known and the boots perfectly polish off the color statement. When using this pairing, we find it much more chic to lean on the grey and let the cognac accent. It's not exactly a bold color, but, in this pairing a few pieces go the distance.

2) Matching's wack! Matching's cheap!: "Matchy-matchy" is not what we're going for here. As a matter of fact, it's pretty much the antithesis of everything this look is about. This is all about a cohesive color statement. Who cares that the grey in your slacks isn't the same grey in your sweater? Do you want to look like a crayon? No, seriously... This is an expression of style, panache, polish, and sophistication. Focus on coordination and whether or not the garments go instead of if they match. For example, in the 2nd look pictured, notice the different shades of grey, the grey in the shirt isn't the same grey as the tie and the grey in the cardigan isn't the same grey as the slacks. We also love the pairing of the cognac colored belt with the grey boots. In casual settings this is an extremely stylish option (with suiting, and dressier atmospheres your shoes and belt must ALWAYS be the same color; brown shoes =brown belt) that adds style. Notice here that the only two pieces in this look are cognac, this is a largely a grey ensemble, but the cognac not pops and compliments and makes for great finishing touches. (Also, if anyone would like to gift us those boots and that jacket... we'd greatly appreciate it... just saying...)

3) Effective Layers: An additional commonality that these 3 looks share is their effective use of layers. Layering is one of favorite tools for smart autumn dressing, not only does it keep you warm, but you'll be well dressed as well, which to us, is equally as important. When you're mixing neutrals (which both of these colors, in all their shades are) layering is especially effective because it allows you to create depth and texture in your ensemble. Most of the layering here is done with the greys, leaving the cognac to be the finishing touch, which is one way to go, but we also like layering the cognac under a garment or two of grey for a little added depth and style (like in the 1st look with the v-neck sweater). Finally a word about accessories, we like what Usher's done here in paring both tones in his scarf. That's a great way to combine colors. Another way to go is to keep your accessories exclusively one color, and alternate. Either way works just fine.

Well, that about does it for this time around. Use this stylish color combination in your upcoming ensembles, we can almost guarantee turned heads and comments, and always in a good way. Until next time, we remain...

Stylishly yours,
Sartorially Savvy
"Fashion fades, style is eternal." ~Yves Saint Laurent

P.S. For your up to the minute tips on staying classically stylish, timelessly chic and always Sartorially Savvy follow us on Twitter (@SartoriallySvvy or just click here)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

She's Fine... Halle Berry

Greetings Gentle Readers,

For as long as we can remember we've been a giant fan of the impossibly stunning Ms. Halle Berry. One of our favorite qualities about Ms. Berry is her effortless style. She always looks amazing, whether on the red carpet or at the grocery store, and never over done. Recently, Halle's been all over the media, attending numerous red carpet events, launch parties, and movie premiers... And at every turn (as usual) she's looked great. Here are our favorite 3 recent examples of Ms. Berry's effortless, impeccable style. And how you can take implement the tools Halle did in your daily dressing.

<-- 1) This black strapless Dolce and Gabbana that Halle wore for a recent Harry Winston launch party was the perfect accent to the (likely) millions of dollars in diamonds she was wearing, and the diamonds, go perfectly with the dress. A long gown such as this one should be the 1st choice for such an affair, but what we really love about this, is the simplicity, which is a key part of Halle's style; The dress fits perfec
tly (how many times can we say how imperative fit is?!?!?!) and the diamonds sparkle brilliantly, and they make independent, yet complimentary statements. We also love the fact that Ms. Berry chose a bracelet, ring, and subtle (as if that can really apply when it comes to Winston diamonds) drop earrings as accents. With the open sweetheart neckline, it would have been an obvious choice to elect for some brilliant Winston baubles around the neck, but the choice not to is that much more chic and stylish. Topped off with a small black clutch, and we've got a good contender for visual perfection. The lesson here: while most of us won't ever be rocking Harry Winston diamonds, when you are making a bold and blingy jewelry statement, make sure that the focus is on the facets. Sure your garments and other accessories should look great also, but they should play backseat to the baubles.

<--> 2) At the premier of her new film Frankie & Alice, Ms. Berry rocked this strapless Pamella Rowland frock. The dress is complimented by a snakeskin clutch, low key jewelry, and Christian Louboutin strappy slingback sandals. This look is an excellent example of polish and subtle sex appeal. Nothing here is overtly raunchy or screams debauchery, but, it is undeniable that Halle's sexy here (and everywhere else for that matter); there's not a lot of cleavage or an egregious amount of leg, but it's still an extremely sexy look. Sure there's skin showing, but it's in unexpected places, which is probably one of favorite things about it... Unexpected skin is often more sexy than cliche cleavage or legs for days (not saying that those things are bad at all!!!!) just that sometimes, a little switch up is key. Another aspect that we appreciate about this look is the length of the dress. There's something about knee length that screams classic sex appeal to us... And we like it. Accessory wise, this look is another winner. A few strategically placed baubles here and there add a nice finishing touch. Our favorite accessory here though is the snakeskin clutch. It's just that extra pop of pizazz that every outfit needs. Snakeskin is timeless, classic, and always a bit edgy. Use it in your accessories and shoes for edgy yet classy pops. Avoid garments in snakeskin though... it tends to come off a bit tawdry. Color choice was also an essential element as to why this dress works so well; it's a shade of white that compliments Halle's caramel complexion and doesn't wash her out. This is important to note because a lot of people think that they cannot wear certain colors, which isn't really the case at all. You just have to choose the right shade for your skin tone. So...
The Lesson(s) here:
1. Unexpected skin adds for sumptuous, scintillating, sex appeal
2. A little animal print goes a long way, moderation is key
3. You can wear any and every color, just find the right shades for you skin tone.

<--> 3) Worn to the American Film Institute's "Conversations with Halle Berry" event in Los Angeles, this figure flattering Elie Saab dress is Berry at her best; simple, sexy, classic and chic. This is what the "little black dress" dreams it looks like. We're crazy about a few things in this look; The figure-accenting detailing on the dress, the length (once again, that knee length proving that you don't have to show a ton of skin to have sex appeal), the boatneck cut of the dress, and the bamboo detailing on the heel of her Gucci pumps (We're a bit of a Gucci bamboo detail fanatic). Once again, a key element to why this works so well is the fit of the dress. It's as if Halle was Mr. Saab's fit model when he cut the pattern for this frock (she may have been, after all, it was Halle who put Saab on the fashion map when she donned his crimson masterpiece to the 2002 Oscars when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress). The fit here is what really makes this dress. Skin tight without being trashy or ill-fitting, displaying the decolletage in a tasteful way, and with accents that give a knowing wink to the hourglass figure that this dress makes. We also like the cap sleeve detail, it adds to the classic 60's silhouette from which this dress draws its inspiration. This could as easily be seen on an episode of Mad Men as it is on this red carpet. Not over-accessorized or over-styled, the dress does all the talking without saying too much. We could also easily write a love letter to those Gucci pumps... but we'll spare you all on that one and just say, we're fans. A great shoe that works excellently on the red carpet, and would also work in the office, for a night out on the town, or with jeans and and a cable knit crewneck sweater on the weekends.
The Lesson(s) Here:
1. Classic silhouettes never go out of style. What worked then will work now. Update vintage inspired looks with current accessories to add modern polish.
2. A great pair of black pumps will take you from work to play, from day to night and from season to season. Invest in good ones and take care of them; heels replaced annually, polishing, and resoling.
3. Sometimes you're the best accessory for an ensemble. Don't always worry about the bag and baubles, and let the gorgeous woman you are with the banging body you have shine through

That about does it for this go 'round. We hope that you can us these small secrets for a little Berry appeal of your own. Until next time, we remain...

Stylishly yours,
Sartorially Savvy
"Fashion fades, style is eternal." ~Yves Saint Laurent

P.S. For your up to the minute tips on staying classically stylish, timelessly chic, and always Sartorially Savvy follow us on Twitter (@SartoriallySvvy or just click here)