Be Beaux Arts: That Special Je Ne Sais Quoi

As the temperatures rise and the flowers bloom, don't you feel like adopting a simplistic, natural lifestyle? Don't you have the urge to become a dairy maid at an Austrian farm, and wear nothing but grass sweeping linen dresses? Well, queen of style Marie Antoinette did. At her own mock farming village nestled in the Rousseau-esque gardens at Versailles, she could let go of all of her cares and frolic in the sunshine. Determined to remove herself from the rigors of court life, Marie Antoinette secreted herself away for hours or even days at her little retreat, and dressed the part of the simple country girl. Take your summer style cues from the decadent and unabashedly trendy queen and learn to live the good life.

J. Crew's white linen Talitha dress perfectly captures that carefree attitude. Lounge by the pond or enjoy a pique-nique in this confection of a dress. No need to worry about grass stains - they'll add a level of realism to your fantasy that is hard to fake.

Protect your fragile locks from the sun with a wide brimmed straw hat, also by J.Crew. Perfect for throwing coquettish glances at your handsome farm hand.

Though going barefoot would be more au naturel, no self-respecting queen could resist a little sparkle. These jewel encrusted flats by Kenneth Cole remind people why you deserve the title.
For when you get a bit chilly, casually toss on this ruffled scarf from Anthropologie. Really bunch it up for a dramatic effect.

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Anthropologie, How Do I Love Thee?

I have a well-documented and deep love for Anthropologie. Ever since I was charmed by its so-beautiful-it-could-be-framed catalog and gorgeous clothes in high school, I have never looked back. Some brush it off as merely a mall store, the kind that breed the dreaded sightings of other girls in your clothes. But I think it's so much more than that. I may not be the best example, but in the several years I have been shopping at Anthropologie and accumulating enough of their clothes to open my own Anthro annex, I have never encountered another girl wearing the same Anthro stuff as me. They have so many different brands in one spot, it's more like a department store than anything else.

I just find their vintage style clothes to be so unique, and so well-marketed as to make me want everything, even things that I do not consider particularly attractive. The catalogs are an endless source of inspiration, what with their inventive photo shoots and genius product styling. I mean, who can resist the clothes when they are displayed on beautiful models in such locales as seedy roadside diners, dusty third world outposts, and worn and weathered mansions? And the product names and descriptions! I think my ideal job would be to write those descriptions and come up with those names. I mean, would you rather buy "Silk Blouse" or "Painter's Palette Top"? Pretty easy decision, huh? I just love dreaming up scenarios in which I would wear a "Cape Victoria Top," or "Destination Trousers." "Crystal Village Blouse," "Seabed Dress," "Floating Lotus Tank," "Ms. Professor Cardigan"...don't they sound so romantic? Anyone can wear a sweater, but a "Ms. Professor Cardigan" requires someone with an imagination.

And in a sea of collaborations, Anthro's spot-on partnerships have gone somewhat unnoticed. Anna Sui's penchant for bright colors and the juxtaposition of patterns make her perfect for designing dresses exclusively for the store. More recently, Tocca and Hayden-Harnett both design exclusive bags, and French Sole have created ballet flats with very Anthro batik prints.

If nothing else, Anthropologie embodies the fantasy of fashion. Step into the store and it's like entering a stylish, worldly woman's wardrobe, filled with all the treasures that she has collected from her travels. Mixed with vintage, indie, or designer clothes, Anthropologie's wares fit in seamlessly while still managing to make a statement.



All You Need is Love

So, it's the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. I am a lover of the 60s, and though I tend to gravitate more towards the mod side than the hippie-dippy-trippy psychedelic side, I can appreciate the aesthetics and culture of 1967.
What would the 60s be without the Beatles? One of my favorite bands, and undoubtedly the greatest band ever to exist, their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band helped to define the era, and certainly stood at the forefront of the Summer of Love. The songs on this album just ooze with that freewheeling, laid back, stare at the lava lamp kind of lifestyle that made the 60s cool. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"...need I say more?

One of the best things about art is the way it acts as a kind of time capsule. Brush up on your knowledge of rock posters and psychedelic art with these two tomes. Aptly titled Summer of Love by Cristoph Grunenberg is a comprehensive guide to the art of the period through the exploration of album covers, photos, posters, and film. For history buffs like me, there is also an extensive look at the cultural context that shaped these indelible images. High Art, by Ted Owen offers a history of the rock poster, and does so with one of the coolest titles ever. The art in this book is much more interesting than the text, but if you're high on acid do people really expect you to be reading? (P.S. Drugs are bad!)

Tunic from Anthropologie, Sunglasses from Fred Flare, Bracelet and Minidress from Posh Vintage, Sandals by Kate Spade, Shorts from Forever21

Finally, the fashion! No need to be prim and proper and all buttoned up. Stay groovy while lounging in your pad or lying on the grass at some dirty music festival in these 60s threads. Round white frames are a nod to the mod, while an embroidered tunic has hippie cred. Tiny shorts and flat sandals complete the look. But if you're in the mood for something more authentic, slip into this vintage 1960s Missoni inspired Saks Fifth Avenue minidress, and vintage enamel bracelet. Peace and love! And clothes!

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Dress Up in You

Firstly, welcome to Modiste, the new incarnation of The Ivy! Ivy graduated from college and is now a "grown-up," trying to find that perfect balance between professionalism and style. But be assured that Modiste will offer more than the outfit ideas that made The Ivy famous. The word modiste is French, referring to a dressmaker. I like to think that I will be a dressmaker of sorts, showing my readers lots of lovely clothes and ways to put them together.

My first assignment, as suggested by an Ivy reader, is to show you some outfit ideas for interviews. While there are so many different interpretations of the word "appropriate" depending on the kind of job you're interviewing for, I think the safest way to dress for an interview is simple but creative. Don't show too much skin and definitely don't be sloppy.
For a conservative look, the wide leg trouser and button down is foolproof. While I'm sure we'd all love to just wear tank tops and miniskirts in the summer heat, this is probably not the best for an interview! Short sleeves are just fine, but if you think you need to be covered up more, bring a lightweight blazer or cardigan just in case. Wide leg trousers allow for maximum airiness. Top it off with colorful flats and a funky bag for some personality. Nobody wants to be stuck in a grey cubicle without some flair!
Ah, skirts. What could be more comfortable in the summer? Pick a knee length for your interview, and I find a-line or tulip skirts to be the most flattering. Heels are great with skirts, and perfectly acceptable interview wear, as long as they're not bondage gear or overly strappy. Simple closed toe pumps are the way to go. With skirts, it's all about balance, so pick a top with a higher neckline. This one is sheer and breathable, and a thin tank underneath will provide coverage without making you overheat. Again, let the accessories pop. Green earrings and a green bag look positively mahvelous with a bright coral top!