Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's All In the Details

Sometimes it's the details that really make an article of clothing.  And some manufacturers are better than others in this department.  I'm not refering to anything tacky, but just fun, quality apparel with unexpected details tend to be just that much more special.  At the risk of making this blog a gigantic commercial for Naartjie, I do have to say that for a lower-priced brand like they are, they can certainly play on near-equal footing with the big boys, like Oilily, whose costs are completely prohibitive for all but the ridiculously-wealthy.  Oilily is known for quality and attention to detail, from a beautiful finish on the underside of the garment, to a secret pocket, whimsical lining or added embellishment that just makes you smile. 

Those are the kinds of things I often look for in clothes.  I still feel you need to have basics to balance the detailed pieces out, and the details certainly don't need to be big or flashy, but I've found shirts with buttons on elbow cuffs, leggings with buttons on the calves, an extra bit of ribbon along a bottom hem or a contrast stitch...those things make the item feel special, make someone stop and say, "Wow, I like that!"    

If you showcase a large amount of detail, make sure you balance it out with something simple.  In the outfit below, I added a plain pink t-shirt, layered with a plain, chunky-knit, hooded pink cardigan for warmth.


The dress below was a bit of a splurge that I just had to have from Naartjie's Spring 1 collection (purchased at 40% off on a Treasure Tuesday a few weeks ago).  I had seen it in their online catalog, and loved the contrasting fabrics and patterns and how beautifully they all worked together.  They were part of a fairy-tale inspiration that reminded me so much of what childhood is all about.  I have paired it with a pair of capri jeggings, but have also purchased the lace-detail capris shown with it online.
Don't be afraid to try different combinations.  Don't shy away from details.  Even with boy's clothing, a cuff in a contrasting color, cross-stitching, fun linings below collars, extra buttons or funky pockets, a pant that rolls and buttons into a capri - just have fun with it!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Look of the Day: Creating Unexpected Layers

Almost everything is "layer-able."  All you have to do it try it, and keep an open mind.  I will often overlook an item when shopping, no matter how much of a bargain, because I think it's not something I would put on my daughter by itself, but have to catch myself and think about the possibilities.  Like the dress in the photos below.  It's an adorable dress, and I got it from Old Navy on a whim when I saw the $5.99 price tag in the clearance area, but I'd walked past it several times before finally deciding on it (and before seeing the price!).  Having such a vast expanse of just one color makes me uncomfortable - it feels too traditional to me.  Things need to be broken up, and adding a shirt that I'd purchased from H&M for $5 coupled with the fun $6.99 leggings from Naartjie, I felt like I'd accomplished just that.  Bear in mind, while the outfit cost roughly $18.00 altogether, these are all items that can be mixed and matched and used with other things.  To me, $18.00 to dress a child can be too much.  If it's only one outfit.  But this is comprised of at least 2. 


The shoes were second-hand from the local thrift store for just a buck or two.  The soles looked pretty un-worn, and they fit perfectly.

Don't be afraid to roll pants, too.  I'm pretty sure I could write a whole post on that.  If they're too long, roll them.  If they're cutting the look off at the ankle and you want to create more emphasis on their shoes, cuff them.  I think the detail from her socks to her shoes is cute enough to highlight, and it looks whimsical to crop the bottoms with a new finish.  But don't cuff them at the ankle - bring them up a bit higher, like capris.

 Make sure it looks like you want the shirt to go with the dress by rolling the sleeves and ensuring the top collar of the dress is still a visible layer beneath the shirt. Otherwise, it may end up looking like you stuck the shirt over it as an afterthought, or for warmth.
Samantha's sitter in the afternoons has proclaimed this outfit to be her favorite.