I feel good about two things today: One, James Brown is alive and well on a Madison Avenue sidewalk.
What first caught my attention was the casual but professional mix of a blue jean shirt and a black pencil skirt, paired with nude patent flats (from Payless!)
Our latest fall fashion issue hits the streets today, and it's a doozy.
Because of the clean lines and form-fitting silhouettes we saw from local retailers, we choose to go with a "Mad Men"-inspired theme. And we weren't the only ones.
We shot at one of the most stylish and sophisticated places in town: the Orpheum Theatre. I can't actually show you any of the images yet — you'll have to pick up a copy on newsstands — but I can show you some behind the scenes images. (Sucky behind the scenes images, but maybe it'll whet your appetite, anyway. I'm not much of a shutterbug.)
Here are some of our models getting their makeup done by the simply amazing team from Gould's.
Even Orpheum president Pat Halloran even got into the action.
Amid all the Shop & Swap craziness — taking vouchers, hanging up clothes, trying things on, giving away a bicycle — Justin and I actually took a few style pictures, too.
You know, like we used to do in the old days. Or before it got cold.
At any rate, meet interior designer Ashliey Garner. She wore an Isaac Mizrahi floral skirt paired with a wrap shirt from Ann Taylor Loft, and shoes from Target to the event.
The skirt is one she says works for a variety of occasions, given its breezy feel and the inclusion of a few well-placed sequins.
She puts her outfits together the same way she does interiors.
"I envision a room and it comes together," she says.
(Also, if you look behind Ashliey's right shoulder, you can see another woman leaving the Swap & Shop with her haul.)
The key to a great jean jacket is to never, ever wear it with jeans.
I say that first mostly for my own benefit. I always try to pair them with jeans and then it's either too matchy-matchy or awful, and I think -- as I'm throwing the jacket back into the closet -- how do people wear jeans with jean jackets? And then, at some point, I will inevitably remember, they don't.
LaTasha Cornett obviously has this rule well under control, however.
This is what I would call a classic minimalist outfit: a cute Limited jean jacket combined with a white tee-shirt, black pants, and then — to add a zing of visual interest — a pair of pointy-toed red heels.
"I tend to have a lack of color in my wardrobe," LaTasha says. "I tend to stick to grays and blacks. ... I don't tend to do trendy items."
But the poppy shoes (it's been a while since we've seen shoes that pop!) make the outfit.
Holly Beuke works in development at the University of Memphis. So it's no surprise that she combined this cute, tan suit from Ann Taylor with a blue blouse.
She says her style veers toward classic lines with a bit of flair. Because of her job, however, she has a lot of Tiger blue in her closet.
"Alumni notice when you wear blue," she says. "They also notice when you wear orange, but I don't wear orange."
As the event coordinator for Minglewood Hall, Angela Martinez has perfected day-to-night dressing.
"I have to be ready for appointments during the day and concerts at night," she said.
On this particular evening several weeks ago, she was headed to Shelton Clothiers' Mark It for Market event. We loved how she paired several classic pieces — the leather jacket, the pearls — in an unexpected way.
"I do like classics, but you have to throw in something a little eclectic," she said.
In addition to her jacket and pearls, she was wearing a cardigan, a gray pencil skirt, and a pair of Gucci slingbacks.
Just because someone is dressed casually doesn't mean they can't have style.
Case in point: Marie Blount.
With this she paired a striking jacket — love the 3/4 sleeves — with black pants and a blue tee.
When I complimented her on the jacket, she said, "I probably paid $15 for this at Rue 21."
Turns out Blount is a girl after my own heart. She considers herself a bargain shopper and says she often helps pick out things for her friends. With $100, she can find them "the look for less," including accessories, sometimes even a purse.
Downtown's Shelton Clothiers, long a favorite for men's suiting, has good news for the fairer sex: They're opening a women's store this spring.
"We have an established customer base," says Christine Shelton. "This is a natural extension of our brand."
To celebrate — and see just what women want — they held "Mark It for Market" last weekend. With images lining the walls, attendees were supposed to mark what they wanted the Sheltons to buy while they're at market this week.
Merry Mitchell is working with them to open the store and is already something of a walking billboard.
Shelton Clothiers already carries pashminas like the one Merry is wearing, and they also plan to carry what Merry says are very comfortable pants.
"It's like you're naked," she says. "It's a light-weight material."
The pants come in a variety of colors: black, brown, gray, teal, and purple. Merry paired them with a simple black sweater and a classic jean jacket — "the one every girl should have in her closet" — but noted you could dress the pants up with a silk blouse and wear them to a cocktail party.
The other interesting thing about the material is that the pants aren't hemmed. But don't worry, you don't need a tailor. Merry says you can cut them off and they're fine. No hemming required.
I have to say, tons of colors, feels like you're naked, no hemming required: I'm intrigued.
What does a president wear?
Well if it's the president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, Terry Woodard, the answer is chocolate brown pants and a matching jacket.
"I wanted to bring out my brown eyes and I wanted to stay warm," she says.
And probably a scarf. When I mentioned how I loved the Pop! of her scarf, she told me she collects them. Like, really collects them.
"I have more scarves in my closet than anything else," she says. "I have more scarves then shoes."
This week, in my other life, I wrote about the new downtown law school and how good it is for the area.
And Dani Huff is a perfect example of why.
Justin and I caught up with the law student Friday night, wearing a super-cute dress she got from a Knoxville boutique and cowgirl boots.
She said she wore the dress because it was comfortable and stylish.
"I thought it went well with my cowgirl boots and that's always fun," she said.
There's no objection here.
Also, I thought her bag was a great choice. She said it's the one she's been carrying for about a month, but I liked the way it complemented the pattern of her dress.
My friend and pilates partner, Jill-of-all-trades/freelance photographer Melissa Sweazy, always looks super cute. (When we work out, her socks even match her t-shirt.)
So it stands to reason that her already super-cute daughter Harlow is just a little muffin.
See what I mean?
Melissa says Harlow is outfitted (in these photos at least, I don't know about her overall wardrobe) mostly in Old Navy, with boots from Target and an H&M hat.
As for the coat, Melissa notes that it would work well for full-grown women: "The plaid coat needs to be stocked in adult sizes or the next lady who compliments her on it may actually steal it off her little toddler body."
CMI, the parent company of the Flyer and Style Sessions, isn't quite known for its fashion.
It's not its fault; journalists, with the exception of the Elsa Klenschs and the Anna Wintours of the world, have never been known for their sense of style.
The term "ink-stained wretch" comes to mind, and if you're going to be ink-stained, you're not going to want to wear anything that you don't want ruined.
Luckily for Hannah Sayle, Memphis magazine's and MBQ's newest addition, we're not having to run the printing press ourselves anymore. (My clothes are better for it, but I do miss how it gave me great guns.)
Here Hannah is wearing a Robert Rodriguez dress with a slip and sheer overlay, which I *think* she might have gotten from one of these sites. (I would call her and ask, but then we'd probably start talking about something else and this entry would never get posted.)
"I’m a big fan of A-line skirts because they draw attention to my waist," she says. "I paired it with an old pair of high-heeled boots from Banana Republic -- because even though high heels make me look like a giantess, I like the slimming effect. The necklace is a twisted copper ring from Urban Outfitters."
Very good, Hannah. Now get back to work and stop reading the interwebs. The rest of you, feel free to stay and hang out a while.
Not that y'all asked, but fall is my favorite season.
I love the light, that little bite in the air, and the way you can go outside without immediately passing out from heat stroke.
Actually, what I like most is the way you can wear sweaters and such sans outerwear. Or with outerwear. Or whatever makes you most comfortable. It's really a very versatile time.
Take kindergarten teacher Jamie Thompson, for instance.
She is wearing a light, long-sleeved green-on-green argyle sweater with plaid slacks, sunglasses, and pumps.
To me, this seems very versatile: she could easily wear this just about anywhere and be comfortable: inside, outside, to lunch, to the office, or for doing what she was doing: watching her two small children play outside of City Hall.
Constance Johnson likes what she calls "the easy style."
When we ran into her outside of the COGIC convention last week, she was wearing a green cardigan layered over a black lacey tee, a banded skirt, and black boots (Everyone has been wearing boots lately! I know they were in last year bigtime, but it seems like they've only gotten bigger since then!)
"I don't like to be confined," she says of her outfit. "I didn't want to walk around and tiptoe in some heels. ... I can be comfortable and praise the Lord at the same time."
I bet some of you ladies who don't like heels are giving her an "Amen" right now.
Just guess what Valencia Woods' favorite color is.
I'll give you a hint: There's an Aerosmith song by the same name. And a pop star with a Top 40 hit right now on the pop charts. And a Victoria's Secret clothing line.
"I wear pink every day," says Woods. "I love pink."
She will generally pair her pink with black — like she did on this day — or she'll pair it with lime green or purple.