Inspired by Nordstrom’s http://www.shopnordstrom.com (visit Nordstrom at the Mall of America) Kate Spade look (see main photo), mixing a jeweled cardigan, bow-pleat silk floral sleeveless blouse, and highly textured tweed pencil skirt, I decided to put together my own affordable version. The Nordstrom-Kate Spade outfit comes to a total of about $825. I put together something similar for around $320 shopping at Ann Taylor http://www.anntaylor.com and Talbots http://www.talbots.com at Rosedale Mall in Roseville. With the sales going on these days I’m sure this amount could be even less. The secret to the look is the offbeat and unexpected combination of patterns, fabrics, colors, and textures.
Taking the Kate Spade look apart, we start with the basic combination of the lovely and multicolored floral print silk blouse and the tweed skirt. The colors of the blouse are rich fall shades of deep mustard yellow, green, purple-plum, with touches of white/ivory. This luxe and feminine look, with soft shine and subtle draping with its bow-front, is paired with a very nubby wool tweed pencil skirt in complimentary shades of green, mustard, and plum, accented by a quite large grosgrain ribbon waistband for definition. We’ve got several textures and fabrics going on already here and combination of feminine floral with masculine tweed is surprising and nicely fresh — the tweed is made feminine and young by its large pattern and high texture which removes it from menswear. Then an additional twist — the cardi in merino wool in cool forest green. The choice of green picks up a minor color from the floral blouse (whose dominant color is mustard) and in that way ties it together without being too obvious or predictable with the green of the skirt. The real twist here, however, is the jewel trim at the neckline of the cardigan which frames the blouse and the model’s face as would a jeweled necklace. The effect is one of jeweled or gold studs in the image and this rather sharply geometrical pattern and hard shine is in stark contrast to the feminine effect of the floral blouse. The box-like geometric pattern of the jeweled neckline picks up the repeating vertical/horizontal pattern of the tweed skirt and also modernizes and urbanizes the look. Altogether stunning!
So, in my version of the look I began with a generously patterned and colored silk-like polyester ‘charmeuse’ blouse with ruffle effect at the neckline from Ann Taylor. This blouse is a painterly print of rich shades of mustard/rust, deep navy blue, and white/ivory. Not quite a floral, it’s rather a loosely abstracted animal print with a feminine sheen and soft detailing. Next, I went to Talbots to find a nubby tweed pencil skirt in brown/off-white with a slight ruffle at the hem. This skirt is a wool/acrylic mix with ribbon trim. Then, to follow the Kate Spade approach, I paired this look with its warm tones of brown and rust with a cotton/viscose cardigan from Ann Taylor in a vibrant but cool shade of teal. While this cardi does not have the jeweled embellishment of the Kate Spade cardi (difficult to duplicate that exactly), I found a wonderful basket-weave gold bracelet at Talbots that does the trick for us and hardens the look just slightly. The Kate Spade look is featured with opaque tights in plum — that may be a bit much for our look. I’d say that for the office keep the legs neutral/bare and wear with warm tone rather substantial shoes, as shown in the image of the Talbots tweed skirt in the slideshow.
So, pull out your tweed skirts, mix with some richly colored and feminine silk blouses, throw on a slightly offbeat color cardi and some chunky metallic jewelry, and you’re ready to go.
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