The 2011 West

Take me to the one place on Earth where the sun shines 300 days of the year and I am guaranteed to always spot unusual and inspiring fashion worn by the locals. The kind of fashion that reminds you about the endless options clothing actually offers.  To my left, as I sit casually outside a delicious restaurant with my good friend, Tina, on the famous Pearl Street located in Boulder, Colorado, I instantly do a double take as I spot a man sitting on a bench.  He catches my eye first with his black fedora, donned with enormous feathers from different types of birds, then, as I look again, I see his hat is paired with a leather and canvas bomber jacket (even though it’s 90 degrees outside) light blue, tuxedo strip trousers, and fur-lined boots. Really?

Well, welcome to the new West, where memories of hippy fashions go out the window and in enters re-energizing, classic Americana appeal consisting of Navajo prints, bold colors, and feather and crochet embellishments everywhere!  But what makes these classic pieces fit in 2011 fashion are the clean tailored lines seen in coats, vests, pants, and more.

Compliments of Elle.com

The western frenzy is expanding outside the Rocky Mountains and taking over the rest of the United States.  The world was already celebrating this look coming back earlier this spring with collections of all white dresses, eyelet shorts, lace jackets, and fringe leather accents.  For fall, this trend is staying strong with more expressive patterns, uniquely pieced items, and feathered everything – even hair wraps!

Compliments of Elle.com

I’ve found in the past few years that Colorado fashion is a mix for me between relaxed and ready activewear, truly western inspired looks, and those who dress with a European sense (things I would expect to see in the U.K. or France).

What I love even more about Colorado is how Earth friendly companies and people are statewide!  I feel as though La Porte, has in many ways, thanks to the citizens, improved their ways of life by recycling more and taking reusable bags to the grocery store but we still have a long way to go to match our efforts to a state like Colorado.

For instance, Boulder has adapted the Boulder Bike Sharing Project, a project exactly like those in Paris and other European countries.  This project in a nutshell is about reducing single person vehicles and offering a healthier form of transportation by offering hundreds of city owned bikes at different stations around the county.  In Paris, you would pay merely 1 euro to rent a bike for a day, travel wherever you needed, and simply return it to whichever station you pleased when you were finished. Boulder has adapted this same project, simply in a smaller scale to start.

Boulder Bike Share Project

Last Thursday, a friend of mine and I went hiking the Flat Irons in the mountains.  After catching our breath due to altitude difference on the first hill, I looked around and spotted the National Center for Atmospheric Research.  A place I have been to several times before, it studies climate changes and pollution and aims to educate citizens about Earth-saving experiences!  Even the little things like saying goodbye to plastic water bottles good for only one use and investing $10 into taking along instead a canister you have to wash and reuse.

Flat Irons

Even brewing companies such as Oskar Blues Brewery in Colorado are taking on new challenges in becoming an eco-friendly place.  After taking the brewery tour and sampling a few of their tasty selections, I learned that they have reverted back to using cans for their beer instead of bottles.  Put aside what you might be thinking about the taste of beer in cans from the past because Oskar Blues lines their aluminum cans with a water based coating so the flavor doesn’t change.  Because they use cans, they are able to help reduce fuel costs on the road and their carbon footprint on the world by 35%! Chalk it up to helping save the environment one drink at a time!

So, besides being inspired by the new kind of western fashions, get inspired about environment friendly fashion and what we can do to help re-dress our world in an entirely new way.  If you haven’t been to Colorado, I highly suggest a trip. Just be careful…most who venture out there, don’t want to return!

One Hue at a Time!

Something just doesn’t seem to add up.  I just returned from London, a city known for its rain filled, overcast days, where I actually had beautiful weather all week, to Chicago, where I found it to be cold and drizzly!  Well, forget the dreary weather outside and start to think of all your favorite spring things! From round retro shades and polka-dot espadrilles, to straw boater-hats and nautical stripes galore!  Afternoons spent strolling along the pier of Lake Michigan or bike rides down county roads are soon to come!  There sure is something beautifully nostalgic about Midwest summers and dressing for the season only makes the days better!

This season is filled with a large spectrum of 60’s and 70’s neon brights, an endless array of pattern and print, and textures that only boggle the mind in their ingeniousness.  But if all of these loud options not only cause you confusion but give you a screeching headache as well, fear not, for there is a style for the season out there for you! Enter – monochromatic looks! 

 

Monochromatic looks are all about taking one color and wearing it head-to-toe!  As a favored minimalist, I love the idea and wardrobe challenge of putting together an entire outfit in the same hue! Picture top-to-bottom camel, red on red, grays, greens, and blues paired with none of their other color wheel friends except themselves.  No, just because your entire look is the same color does not mean that it is going to be boring.  I look at it as sophisticated minimalism and an opportunity to show off a great piece whether it be a pair lace up espadrilles, frame leather bag, or feathered jewelry. 

Courtesy of Elle.com

The key to pulling off a monochromatic look is making sure the pieces of your wardrobe are all the same shade (or close compliments) and in my personal opinion, look best when they are tailored properly to fit your shape.  For example, if you are an hour glass figure with a wider hip area, you might want to opt out of wearing the slim, crop, silk-cotton trousers, and lean more towards the wide-leg or flare option to balance you out.  If the color you are choosing to wear that day happens to be white, choose one of your white pieces, such as your skirt, to have a texture to it or small print, like polka-dots (as long as the majority of the item is white)!  And don’t forget about my favorite piece – the belt! Belts can bring an entire look together and make it more polished. Throw one on with your high-waisted harem pants or over your shirtdress to complete your ensemble.  Color matching accessories such as watches, bangles, and earrings can help add some fun to your outfit as well.  If you’re dressing all over evergreen, throw on a pair of peacock earrings to spice it up!

From Greece's, Madame Figaro http://www.madamefigaro.gr

With so many colors to choose from this spring and summer, you will find it hard to get bored and difficult to run out of options.  This is a season where almost anything goes, so take that risk – wear the shade you may not have thought you could pull off before and step outside in those shoes you may have only seen in British Vogue! These next few months should be about having fun with your dress and living with no regrets!