The Well-Worn and VERY Popular L.L.Bean Boot

Pat Wellenbach / AP

Eric Rego stitches boots in the facility where L.L. Bean boots are assembled in Brunswick, Maine – in 2011: Photo, Wellenbach / AP

In the last line of my last post, I reference my L.L.Bean boots. These boots are my tried-and-true go to’s. I have owned them for so long that I can’t even remember how old they actually are. Long enough though for me to take them for granted. These odd-looking but classic “duck” shoes that have gotten me through cold, rain, sleet, snow, and everything in between are now in high demand. Who knew that these very boots, synonymous with outdoor practicality, are enjoying a surge of popularity! It started in 2011; the L.L. Bean boot that has been selling for over a century since 1912 suddenly became trendy. That’s when the duck-boot shortage first began and consumers were heartbroken when retailers ran out. Last year in fact the Bean boot became a holiday sensation.

The company continues to make boots in its Brunswick, Maine facility (where they pump out up to 3,000 Bean boots a day) rather than export operations, to preserve its brand. And its materials are primarily sourced in the United States. “There is a significant sense of pride associated with actually making something here in Maine, with Maine employees, and producing something that customers love,” says Donna Lamberth, Director of Manufacturing for L.L. Bean.

Today L.L. Bean is proactive, producing even more boots to stay ahead of the demand and prevent potential heartbreak for this year’s holiday shoppers.

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Can You Pull off Shorts At Work?

Optimized-P1060030Optimized-P1060025Optimized-P1060026You bet! There is a way to wear shorts to a work day – it may not be the obvious choice but it is a summer option, as long as you differentiate the look from your casual go-to weekend shorts. Instead, pair them with sturdy, solid pieces, so that the look is polished and professional.

I gave these Alice & Olivia shorts new life when I styled them for the office. I stepped out of my comfort zone with this look but isn’t that what fashion is about?

Shorts, Alice & Olivia; top, Talbots; shoes, vintage Ferragamo; blazer, Banana Republic

Photos by Abrina Hyatt

 

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My Off-The-Shoulder Blouse is Made Well!

Optimized-P1050926Optimized-P1050931Optimized-P1050935After a long search, I finally found an off-the-shoulder blouse that feels right. It took a lot of sorting and examining, and simply – trying on. Here is what I discovered about wearing this hot summer trend:

– off-the-shoulder blouses and dresses absolutely require that you stand straight and use your best posture

– I prefer this style blouse with a cover flap at the top. I found that the style without the flap was less flattering and simply hung on the body, without much shape

– although I had my mind set on a dress, off-the-shoulder blouses are just as versatile, and perhaps even more so, in that you can wear them with several options

I chose this white eyelet blouse by Madewell for its simplicity and style. I feel good about my choice. You?

Blouse, Madewell; sandals, Tory Burch; denim shorts, Kohl’s – Photo by Abrina Hyatt

 

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Shall I Go Off-the-Shoulder This Summer?

Copyright 2016: The New York Times Company

Copyright 2016: The New York Times Company

One of the early fashion trends for summer is the off-the-shoulder look – in blouses and dresses. Bill Cunningham caught the look on the streets of New York pre Memorial Day, giving us an early indication of a major trend this summer.

I love this off-the-shoulder look and am so tempted to buy a dress for myself. But I wonder…should I? I am grateful for my broad shoulders (thank you, Mom!).  And they do say (whomever “they” is!) it is good to focus on the positive when it comes to dressing. But I have to ask myself if this particular trend sits better on a younger person. I dress in what I like and what I think works for me; in fact, I am offended by the notion that as we age we can no longer wear certain things. I think that style is a personal choice and we should always wear what feels best and what brings out the best in us. But, I know I am aging. I feel it every day. And certain styles are giving me pause. Especially as the warm weather hits, and I am naturally exposing more skin. I felt that way when I pulled out my beloved denim shorts just a day ago. And I am pausing now, as I contemplate purchasing an off-the-shoulder dress.

But, in the end, I am happy to report, that it is just a pause. Shall I go off-the-shoulder? Yes – I will let my eye guide me. I may have to look for a dress that suits me and feels right on the body I have today –  but I will do it. It’s too cute a style not too. And I will also be wearing my denim shorts this summer. I’m buying it!

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Walking in Who What Wear

Optimized-P1050892Optimized-P1050894My new favorite outfit comes from the Who What Wear/Target collection. These culotte trousers and matching black and white striped shirt are at once dressy, yet simple and easy.

My culottes and I walked our very own Abbey Road today; I think this fashion look is here to stay.

Photos by Abrina Hyatt. Top and culottes, Who What Wear; shoes, Taryn Rose

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Athleisure: Not Just a Fad

Models walk the runway during the Alexander Wang x H&M collection launch event on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Models walk the runway during the Alexander Wang x H&M collection launch event on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Athleisure is the hottest thing in the apparel industry and much more than a fad or a passing trend: it is a lifestyle change that is here to stay. Martha Teishner’s piece on CBS Sunday Morning featured news on the rise of the athleisure industry. Says Teishner:  “Which brings us to 2015: Americans spent nearly $44 Billion Dollars on so-called ‘active wear’ – up 16% over 2014; meanwhile denim sales have taken a hit, down 5% or more, every year since 2013. Athleisure companies, such as Fabletics, have caught the wave.”

What is it about athleisure that is hitting the American fashion market – especially the women’s market – so hard? Could it be that we are working out more? Or are we simply dressing like we are? Whatever the answer, it is a lifestyle change that is hitting Main Street – and the Runway. And it is here to stay.

 

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The Princess Effect

Gettiy Images

Photo: Gettiy Images (wearing Glamorous’s maxi dress)

Now midway through her weeklong royal tour of India and Bhutan, Princess Kate is setting the fashion forecast. So many of her dresses and outfits are beyond our budgets, but the latest look from the Duchess of Cambridge is affordable: spotted in Dehli wearing Glamorous’s Red Navy Border Print Lace Up Maxi Dress ($71). Completely wearable, this boho-chic look can be worn to a garden party, to the beach, or for afternoon strolling. The website says the dress is available now for preorder, with the selected delivery option for the 30th of April.

I wonder what it feels like to be Princess Kate – knowing that you are setting fashion trends the minute you step out your door. I wonder …

Princess Kate wore a simple red frock, as well as a red tika spot and flower garland, at a boys' charity in Delhi on Tuesday DOMINIC LIPINSKI - POOL/GETTY IMAGES

Princess Kate wore a simple red frock, as well as a red tika spot and flower garland, at a boys’ charity in Delhi on Tuesday
DOMINIC LIPINSKI – POOL/GETTY IMAGES

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Bows Are Back!

IMGP1315-680x1024How happy am I to hear that blouses with bows, better known as pussy-bow blouses, are in. I have always loved wearing bows with my blouses – that feminine touch to a more masculine button-down. It is what I love about most about dressing; adding the unexpected. This trend has kicked into full gear, as Stylecaster notes in its recent street style feature. I’m buying it!

Blouse, CH Carolina Herrera, shoes Taryn Rose; Photo by Alexandra

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Babe Paley Sparks my Summer Fashion

IMG_2153New York City socialite and the epitome of high-style elegance in her day, Babe Paley, famously took off her scarf and tied it around her handbag, sparking a world-wide fashion trend still copied today. As the dog days of summer kick in I am compelled to try this simple and charming style accent myself. Thank you, Babe!

scarf, Cacharel; handbag – a gift from my friend; dress, Talbots; necklace, vintage

Photos: Linda Colarusso

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Overalls? I’m Not Buying It … Anymore

Optimized-Guarino_002-2Optimized-Guarino_003Over the last few years we have seen the overall trend take over as a springtime must-have. On many women they are adorable; certainly the high-waisted 70s style and even the full-leg, boyfriend style. But for me, I did my time in overalls and I will not go back. Let me explain: I had a pair of overalls over the four years that I was either pregnant, post-pregnant, or pregnant-again with my two boys. They were my go-to’s and at their peak were a dependable, stylish choice for my expanding waistline. Even when they ripped at the knee I continued to wear them, thinking: these are even more cool with ripsBut something happened at the end of those four years: I got sick of those overalls. And they started to lose their cool-factor. What I once considered cute and edgy became tired and baggy. I remember looking at myself in the mirror one day and saying, that’s it – I am done.

The last time I wore them my younger son was about 3 months old. He and I smiled for the camera and after we took these photos I said good bye to my one-time staple, for good. But just because I said good bye doesn’t mean I didn’t love them; they played a significant role in my life. It simply means it was time to let go and move forward. And so I have no remorse when I see others rocking their overalls. In fact, I applaud them. As for me, I am done. I’m not buying it … anymore!

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