Fall Staple: J. Crew Farrow Trouser

27/09/2011 § Leave a comment

Available in two colors and three lengths*, the J.Crew Farrow Trouser is definitely fall staple-worthy.  A wide-legged pleated trouser in wool herringbone with a bit of stretch, the waistband sits just slightly above your natural waist.  So versatile.  Perfection.

Don’t be surprised if you see me in these.  Maybe in both colors.**  Several days in a row.  Okay, maybe all the time.

*Sidenote: A ridiculous 37″ inseam is what they are considering “tall” these days?! Jenna Lyons’ long legs must be behind this…
**If you are only going to buy one pair, definitely opt for the grey.

Wants: Navy Blazer x Gold Buttons

21/09/2011 § 6 Comments

You’re probably already well aware of my preppyish tomboyish inclinations.  I’ve never met a monogram or a penny loafer that I didn’t like, but as I survey my fall wardrobe, I have a glaring omission that you will probably be surprised to learn.  Every time fall rolls around, I say to myself (and whoever might be listening), “Man, I really need a navy blazer with gold buttons”…and then nothing happens.  Every year.  I’m not sure why.  An iconic prep staple, if ever there was one, the navy blazer will figure largely for me this fall.  It must be wool, it must have gold buttons, but I’m flexible on whether it is double or single breasted.

I’ve collected a few candidates on my Svpply.  Which one do you prefer?

J. Crew Schoolboy blazer $188
Cheapest option, but a bit too much on the shrunken side.

Rugby Little Boy Polo Jacket $298
Really like the contrast collar, but I’m not a collar-popper.
Are those cuff buttons functional?

Ralph Lauren Blue Label Classic Blazer $398
Generally like, especially the lapels, but will I tire of the crest?

Brooks Brothers Classic Blazer $398
Oh Brooks Brothers, take me to Yawnsville.
I am a fan of Loro Piana wool, though…

Ralph Lauren Blue Label Polo Custom Blazer $598
Liking these lapels and this crest less than the other RL blazer.

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Shetland Jacket $650
Uff!! Thom Browne, you are so so good.
Love the additional pocket.

Boy. by Band of Outsiders cropped blazer $1,110
Hate the way they styled this.
Very much like how it manages to be double-breasted and not too boxy.

Boy. by Band of Outsiders blazer $1,125
Perfection.  Well, except for the price tag.

Ask Me Anything: The Perfect Button-Down

28/06/2011 § 4 Comments

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line: contact@quitecontinental.net
The amazing Ms. Jenna Lyons* Image via Style.com

Dear QC,
I’m relatively new to your blog, but am thoroughly enamored with your looks for summer (chinos, oxfords, and the like). I was wondering if you have any tips for choosing the best fit for button-down shirts? Do you shop men’s, women’s or both? I’m a bit curvy and not sure where to begin, I’m afraid I’ll be swimming in a men’s shirt, but won’t get the same look in a women’s cut!

I’m a size 12 and pretty curvaceous, as I have a 40 inch bust. I’m a recent graduate from Saint Louis University, so I shop on a budget, with few splurges. My best friends are upscale resale stores and on occasion eBay, but I try to find looks in stores where I can try things on first, and then buy pieces at a discount elsewhere.

Any suggestions would be fantastic!

First, thanks for your kind words and asking for my help!  Ah yes, you have figured out that I almost always have buttons on my shirt.  (In fact, I’m wearing a button-down right now…)  Let’s first get you sorted and then offer a few tips to everyone else.  I should first disclose that you and I have opposite “fit issues” when it comes to shirt shopping.  While mother nature has blessed you with a womanly bustline that has me positively green with envy, I’m what some might call “athletic”…if they were being nice.  But I think that my experience hunting for a perfect shirt will lend itself nicely to your search.

Our first stop is Brooks Brothers.  With women’s shirts available in sizes 0 to 20, I’m confident you could find something here.  Their Classic Fit is the fullest fit available, isn’t darted and has a french front, but I’m curious to see if you might like going up a size or two and trying their more tailored fits — namely, the Tailored and the Fitted.  The darts on a larger size might add a nice bit of shape, whereas the Classic Fit might end up being a bit too blousy.  (Sidenote: the Miracle Non-Iron shirts are amazing, especially for travel, business or otherwise.  I took one with me on a trip to Cairo and it held up beautifully crammed in my duffel.  They’re also excellent if you hate ironing as much as I do.)

Next up, J. Crew.  Here, I recommend the men’s shirts over the women’s.  I’m an especially big fan of their Vintage Chambray Utility Shirt, and have been wearing mine nonstop.  Last summer I went to the Liquor Store in Tribeca to try out the sizing.  I fit into an extra small, but preferred the small because this is a shirt that is meant to be worn a bit loose.  Luckily, these shirts go up to an extra extra large, so I’ll confident you’ll be able to find something comfy and casual.  (The J. Crew women’s shirts go up to an extra large or a 14, which should work.  To be safe, I’d suggest the Perfect Shirt with a bit of stretch, as I understand from my more endowed lady friends that the single biggest issue with wearing button-downs is that annoying gap that tends to open between button holes across the bust.) (I wouldn’t know as my buttons aren’t taxed in the least bit.  They’re practically on vacation.)

Lastly, if you only get one oxford shirt, I want you to get a bengal stripe by Ralph Lauren.  I’ve got more than a few and they only get better and softer with age.  On the women’s side they offer sizes up to 14, but just in case you find the fit unsatisfactory, I might suggest purchasing the men’s shirt and taking it to a tailor to add back or side darts to tweak the fit and make it your own.  (Sidenote: Go to a menswear shop and get measured to figure out what size you are in men’s dress shirts, as they are sold by neck size and sleeve length.)

Good luck!  Do let me know what you end up getting!

A few tips for those with me in the — ahem — “athletic” boat:

  • For dress shirts, the Brooks Brothers Tailored Fit cannot be beat.  The darts are excellently placed.
  • Also try J. Crew men’s shirts in slim/extra small.  An added bonus for tall girls like me, the sleeves are usually quite a bit longer than those you find normally on a woman’s shirt.
  • Check out the men’s shirts at Wharf.  Made in New England, they are of excellent quality, are offered in a small and are meant to shrink a bit.  (Sidenote: I hear that Wharf is working on a line of ladies shirts, which I am sure will be very exciting.)

*Postscript: By the by, I am rather obsessed with Jenna Jyons, President and executive creative director of J. Crew.  She’s 6 feet tall, brunette, from California, and the heir apparent at J. Crew — how could I not be a fan? The lovely Kendall Crow posted a great interview of Jenna and Derek Lam at Parsons (their alma matter) on her blog that you should take a look at, when you have a moment.  I love how Lyons is so funny and down to earth, and greatly admire her personal sense of style — not to mention how well she handled the whole (ridiculous) nail polish gender controversy.

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line: contact@quitecontinental.net

Tasha Tilberg for J. Crew Collection

11/05/2011 § 1 Comment

Lovely bit of Tomboy Style from the J. Crew Collection

I would wear all of this.  (I’m actually upset I’m not wearing this right now.)

Via FGR.

His & Hers: Summer Uniform

20/04/2011 § 4 Comments

Gents, you’ll know I really like you when I steal that perfectly broken-in shirt of yours and refuse to give it back.  When asked for its return, I’ll probably try to remind you that you gave it to me (and I’ll be lying).  For the girls like me who love to steal clothes from their boys (and for the boys who love their little closet thieves), an idea for a shared summer uniform for S/S 2011:

Via J.Crew: Unisex Saint James® Meridien II nautical tee
Girls, your true size will be beautifully slouchy.
For a more fitted look, go a size down.

Via J.Crew: Secret Wash lightweight button-down solid shirt
Available in slim/extra small, a perfectly gauzy summer shirt.

Via J.Crew: Chambray club short
Happened upon these at the Liquor Store.
Planning to wear them a bit loose with a cuff.

Via Zappos: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Ox
A classic. No need to justify.

Billykirk x Opening Ceremony 16″ Medium Carryall – Navy Stripe – 165-RS
Completely in love with this Billykirk carryall.
May be a bit busy for most men to carry, but if I saw a gent with this bag,
I’d know we were meant to be together forever.
…or at least for S/S 2011.

QC Shortlist: Summer Beckons

22/03/2011 § 3 Comments

Ray-Ban Catty Clubmasters available here. || J.Crew Polka Dot Underwire Tank available here. || Fred Perry x Amy Winehouse Interlaced Moccasin Stitched Shoe available here. || Kate Spade Hello Sunshine Willow available here. || Hermès Narrow Enamel Bracelet available here. || Lilly Pulitzer Betsey Dress available here. || The Lover available here. || Old-Fashioned Latticed Cherry Pie recipe here. ||

Prêt-à-Porter: Winterizing

02/03/2011 § 5 Comments

Cherie, spring is taking its sweet time to appear, is it not?  No matter, I have decided that I can’t wait for warmer climes to wear my lightweight dresses.  I officially reject the concept of season-appropriate clothing in an effort to combat my low-grade seasonal depression.  However, in order to avoid freezing to death, I’ll need to winterize.  Here, I’ve paired one of my favorite summer dresses with a wool cowl neck sweater, scarf and wool tights.

Have a few dresses you miss dearly?  There’s no reason to wait.  Bring them out and warm up with a few cozy layers.

Peek of an elbow patch.  I love grandpa sweaters.

Je porte: Rugby Ralph Lauren sweater, H&M dress and belt, Banana Republic tights, Common Projects shoes

Le shopping: Rugby Ralph Lauren sweater, similar dress, similar shoes, similar belt.

La photographe: Jennerator

Your Thoughts? J.Crew Melanie Skirt

16/02/2011 § 5 Comments

I had the good fortune to attend the IFB Evolving Influence conference last week at Milk Studios, where I met up with fellow bloggers (and loverlies) StyleOnTheCouch and Mon Petit Chou Chou for a few panels, networking and post-conference libations.  Aside from coming away feeling inspired, it seemed our most popular topic of conversation that day was sparkles.  Evidently, nothing says NYFW like sparkles.  They were everywhere – sparkles on sparkles on sparkles (on bloggers! Oh my!).  Now, I am a firm supporter of glittering bijoux, but sequins and rhinestones?  I’m not so sure.

Encouraged by mademoiselles Style and Chou Chou I set out to find something that sparkles that I didn’t hate.  I managed to find a little something at J.Crew.

The Melanie is a taupe stretch merino wool skirt with sparkly paillettes.  If I’m going to do sparkles, they’d have to be paillettes.  I definitely could see myself wearing this at night, but during the day?  Not so fast.  Perhaps if I paired it with an oxford and a swingy cardigan or blazer, I might not feel like a walking disco ball.  But then again, is that what I am supposed to be embracing with this look?  Should I be delighting in the “look at me”-ness of this garment?  Am I missing the sparkly point?

That’s a lot of sparklies.

Want the Melanie skirt?  Scoop it here.  And let me know how you wear it!

Quite Continental Wants: Timex Traveler for J. Crew

21/01/2011 § 2 Comments

Image by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Over the years, I’ve frequently worn a men’s watch.  I have a weakness for leather braided watchbands and a big, clean watch face, and women’s watches tend to be a bit dainty for my taste.  In fact, one of my favorite watches is one I actually nicked from my father that doesn’t even work, but that I still wear, because it reminds me of him — it’s more of a handsome keepsake than actual timepiece at this point.  I’ve also been nursing a crush on various men’s field watches (and particularly the J.Crew/Timex ones, at that).  However, something prevented me from pulling the trigger — and I think it was because I was subconsciously waiting for the J.Crew/Timex Traveler.

Loving the clean face and the classic styling here — this will never look dated, and it isn’t a precious twee lady watch.  Hmm, dare I call a watch “timeless“?  Also love the shocking pink strap here, but plan to pick up quite a few different watch straps to change it up, as needed.

Available in J.Crew stores and on jcrew.com.


Last Looks: Winter Sales + Classic Purchases

18/01/2011 § Leave a comment

With everyone’s attention turning to S/S 2011, and Pre-fall after that, I decided to take one last look at what remains of the Winter sales.  Not the time to finally buy that “of the moment” Fall/Winter investment piece (unless you don’t mind that you don’t have much time to wear it), I usually cast a rigid eye on the (usually very picked over) selection.  I look for classic pieces that will work forever and for transition pieces that will work in the immediately upcoming seasons.  A few of my finds are below, but be sure to check out the online boutiques yourself!

Rugby Ralph Lauren Shrunken Button-Cuff Crewneck
Originally $79.50, now $39.99This is practically a no-brainer purchase — cable-knit is the epitome of classic  — and is currently available in 6 colors.  The detail at the cuff is slightly reminiscent of the military trend that was really big for Fall/Winter, but it comes off more genteel here — like the timeless combination of gold buttons on a navy blazer.  Scoop it here.

Rugby Ralph Lauren New Essex Velvet Jacket
Originally $228, now $169.99

Like it or not, velvet figures big for Spring/Summer 2011 – here’s a chance to pick up a transitional piece at a reduced price.  Personally, I’ve always had a soft spot for velvet – at 13 I cajoled my mother to buy me an electric blue velvet blazer that I wore until it was threadbare – so any old excuse to add to my collection will do.  I especially like the tuxedo trim on this jacket — makes me want to listen to Frank Sinatra while sipping a gin gimlet.  Scoop it here.

Lauren Ralph Lauren Striped Grosgrain Ribbon Belt
Originally $38.00, now $9.99

The grosgrain ribbon belt is a prep classic, and is currently available in three different colors.  Even if you aren’t a prep at heart, this Spring/Summer is all about vibrant combinations of bright colors and patterns.  This belt is a great way to incorporate a little color into your wardrobe.  Scoop it here.

Freda Cecile Dress
Originally $505.60, now $202.24

After her LBD, every girl needs a LRD – and this shift dress by Freda is a versatile dress that can go from day to night, depending on how you dress it up or down.  For day, try it with a swingy blazer and nude heels, for evening pair it with black tights, a sky high black heel and statement bijoux.  Scoop it here

**It’s also worth mentioning that Matches took even deeper cuts (up to 70%!) to their sale this morning**

Joie French Dot Silk Top
Originally $284.46, now $141.37
This top promises to be classic and current at the same time.  While the dots are a classic nautical-inspired choice, the dolman sleeves and the delicate silk will be in tune with the ladylike look of Spring/Summer.  Pair this with another graphic print or cinch it with a full skirt – the possibilities are endless.  Scoop it here.

J.Crew Camden suede brogues
Originally $250, now $198
I’ve been a fan of J.Crew’s Camden brogues for a long time – and here is a chance to get them in stone-colored suede, just in time for Memorial Day…if you care to follow those rules.  Menswear for women isn’t going anywhere, so these are a solid buy.  Scoop them here.

Reiss Dezrae Trench
Originally $485, now $183
When pressed to pick one classic piece that makes me think “spring,” it’s got to be the trench coat.  If you’re already covered with a classic khaki-colored trench — an essential! — here is a chance to pick up an alternate in a fun color.  Only one size left, so you’ve got to act fast.  Scoop it here.

Happy hunting!

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