The Sound of Fashion: Little Amber Bottles

Time for another one of my favorite features, The Sound of Fashion, where I interpret the sound of a particular band's album using clothes. This time I have chosen Blanche's new album, Little Amber Bottles. Blanche is a group of five guys and dolls who do what can best be described as goth-country-Americana-rock. Trust me, it's fabulous. They, like me, have an affinity for all things old-fashioned, particularly of Dustbowl-era America. Their sound is classic and modern all at once, but you can definitely hear the strains of 1920s country, 1800s lyrical sensibilities, and 1950s rock.

A pretty lace blouse with floral embroidery is sweet and feminine, but paired with menswear inspired knickers, the look becomes more mysterious. A bracelet of jewel-toned glass cameos and straight from Cold Mountain lace up boots complete the outfit. Don't forget a pair of black lace gloves and and a mint julep. Yee haw!

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Delightfully Decadent

Foto Decadent has been in the back of my mind for a while. I have heard so many great things about it, but I never really gave more than a minute's glance. Thanks to Jennine of The Coveted, however, I am now absolutely smitten! It is the perfect place to find truly artistic and innovative fashion photography, something I am constantly on the lookout for.

I ventured there today and found a gorgeous editorial by Denise Grunstein. I love the Alice in Wonderland look, and the atmospheric lighting. The whole thing has a mysterious, slightly macabre undertone, with whimsical costumes and rich, saturated colors. A feast for the eyes! Go here for more.

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Wrap Up Warm on This Winter Night

A reader asked me what she should wear in the coldest, heaviest, most bitter winter weather and still look stylish. This is an issue that affects anyone who has to deal with bad winters, so I thought I would do a whole post for it. Now, this is easily something that I could devote an entire blog to, being from New England, but I have whittled it down to a few key suggestions.Let's start with the top half. I like the concept of light layers, because when it's really cold, one measly sweater isn't enough for braving the elements, and it's way too hot for the indoor heat. Start with a simple long sleeve thermal tee or even a whisper thin sweater. Then add a cardigan on top. These grey options, from Casch Copenhagen and Banana Republic are perfect, because they have design interest but are also very warm. Or, put on a cozy turtleneck, like the ivory one seen above, also by Banana Republic. You could also layer a short sleeved sweater over your tee, and then top it with a wool blazer, for a very Balenciaga look.

I think keeping things fairly neutral is the best way to mix and match. That way, you can begin with only a few key pieces, and re-wear them without wearing the exact same outfit. Two to three tees, four pullover sweaters, one cardigan, and perhaps one blazer should be enough for a solid foundation. A simple checked scarf (Banana again) and a colorful hat (both by Anthropologie) keep you warm and they add color to an otherwise neutral palette.

Now for the bottom. Wool trousers are great for warmth, but not so great if it's going to be wet, so go for a nice super skinny denim trouser instead. They'll keep you warm and they will dry better if snow or sleet happens to get on them. Wear nice thick socks and pull on some nice weatherproof boots over the jeans. If you want something a little more dressed up, and it's going to be a dry day, go ahead and wear a skirt. This red one is cut a little long, and it's wool, so it will be warm, especially if you wear it with thick tights. Again, knee high boots are best. Pick ones with flat, rubber soles so you don't slip all over the place. Long coats will keep you warmest. One that is somewhat fitted on top and flares out a little on the bottom is best for fit and comfort. If you pick one that is too fitted all the way down you won't be able to move, but one that is too baggy won't keep you very warm.

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Be Beaux Arts: Medieval Maiden

For this installment of BBA, I have chosen Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Jane Morris (The Blue Silk Dress), 1868. Rossetti was one of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of the 19th century, a group of artists who borrowed from the styles of the Old Masters, often choosing to paint Medieval subjects. Interestingly, the dresses they chose for their models - deep, saturated colors in silks and velvets - became somewhat of a fashion trend in the 1860s, known as the Artistic or Aesthetic Dress Movement. They were usually loose fitting, with puffed sleeves, and quite plain otherwise. The focus was on the simplicity of form, and the sensual pleasure offered by swaths of luxurious fabric. One was expected to have the same reaction when viewing these stunning works of art, which often featured vivid color, striking contrasts (the play of light and dark, for example), and texture.

So if you want to be the heroine of a Pre-Raphaelite painting, like Jane Morris, you'll need one lovely dress. This Calypso one is perfect, as it just happens to be blue silk, and of course the style of the dress is very simple. Large, ornate earrings hint at a time gone by. Roses frequently made appearances in Pre-Raphaelite paintings, with their many sensual connotations. Lay this gorgeous pink one on your lap, tuck it behind your ear, or insert it into a leather bound journal to keep track of your many dreams.

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