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Category Archives: accessories

Fall for Flannels

Nov 05 0 Comments

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Deciding to write this blog was more than just a passing whim-of-a-thought, rather, it holds a very absurd yet purposeful meaning in my life – especially my life at present. Yes, we all know that flannels have been around for eons, but what hasn’t been in my life as long as these wily woodsman weaves is my boyfriend, who shall remain anonymous. “T” as we shall refer to him hails from the “northern” part of the country and although he can rock a two piece suit, RayBan’s and fedora like no ones business in the very professional sector that he works in, he is absolutely obsessed with the “concept” of bringing the back the flannel: any time of the week …any time of day…anywhere in the world.



As someone who feels reasonably comfortable calling herself a fashionista, however narcissistically prophetic that term might sound, I felt somewhat timorous as to how I would approach “T” about his perchance for flannels without, (let me make this clear), ABSOLUTELY not wanting to change him at all, but rather simply trying to expand his mind to the beauty of the oh-so-many other types of “comfy” shirts that exist and may, JUST MAY, perhaps bring the big city out of the boy with out compromising what I love about my boy outside the big city.


When I reluctantly decided to broach the conversation, (not to mention with the hovering of a slightly broken heart for the pandora’s box of truth I was about to unlatch) I did my best to explain to him that although wearing flannels in Chicago may feel somewhat unique, the truth of the matter is that the hipsters of Brooklyn and neo-expressionists of downtown LA and Silver Lake have been on top of this trend for years.


To push my point further, but to also give credence to his, we talked about the worthwhile fact that some of the greatest artists of all time were flannel-wearing men themselves (Kurt Cobain, Terry Richardson, Jared Leto, Eddie Vedder). So although I was initially pained to entertain the idea of doing a blog on something that’s novelty has pretty much been on an ever-circulating “trendy” spin and dry washing machine cycle since the evolution of 90s rock, I decided that in the spirit of my love for “T,” but even more so for my general discontent to adhere to writing anything in a blasé matter adhering to social conformities, I decided this topic in particular was worth shining new light on the old. With an equitable approach, I am decidedly hellbent on taking you through the framework of flannel, near and far, from the fishermen of Fargo to the fashion flambeau’s of Florence. Fall in love. I know I have.



Although flannel is technically considered a “plaid,” what is unique about this pattern worn by lumberjacks and garage bands alike, is it’s versatility stems back to the 19th century. It’s popularity has the unique ability to transcend social gaps and gender, fashion and practicality. Before the days of Sienna Miller wearing $350 Alexander Wang flannels outside of Cipriani, Karlie Kloss riding her bike through the streets of Paris with the all-too-easy-to-spot “no one’s looking at me, are they?” Or my beloved Cara Delevingne posing in  thousand dollar Burberry flannels trenches for international glossies, what had been lost through all this fashion jargon is the true purpose of the fabric, which was to provide one thing and one thing alone: warmth!



 Along with it’s warmth, the durability and affordability of flannel quickly became popular across Europe. During the 19th century, wool factories in England and France blossomed thanks to the more efficient mechanical processes, which were in turn utilized by mills all over Britain during the Industrial Revolution. In 1889 American entrepreneur Hamilton Carhartt, seeing the need to improve the working man’s uniform in the United States, opened his factory in Detroit, MI and started producing tough flannel garments, a first for the US.


During America’s transitional period throughout the 19th century, specifically in the later parts, flannels played an important role in the factories and railroads that were seemingly under never endless construction. Flannel, already utilized during the Civil War as a cheap, tough material for soldiers’ undershirts and simple four-button coats, easily found a place as the ideal fabric for workmen.


At the turn of the 20th century, perhaps because of its association with construction and frontiersmen, the flannel shirt became a symbol for rugged men, as (in many parts of the country/world) it still continues to epitomize today. Flannel’s first acknowledgment in the world of “designer” fashion came in 1975 when legendary designer Geoffrey Beene developed the scent “Grey Flannel”, one of the first ever designer-made colognes.

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Not just any flannel – but grey flannel – became a hallmark in menswear (and eventually womenswear). The 50’s epitomized the popularity grey plaid suits (*to make a distinction, although often confused with plaid, plaid is merely a pattern of woven flannel whereas true flannel is not just a pattern, but a fabric idiomatic with the warmth in which it provides).


Generations later, through the ever-growing rebellion against the war and the voice of a generation that stood for liberation, flannel resurged with a vengeance the early ’90s as part of the grunge music scene. The shirts that had united America’s working class in the 1950s became a symbol of the anti-conformity zeitgeist. Pacific northwestern bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam were garbed in messy plaid flannels that were both cheap and built strictly for comfort — the polar opposite of the neat gray flannel suit of the ’50s.


Today we see flannel worn just as much by men as we do by women. And the one thing that hasn’t changed – flannel continues to suspend social classes, religious preferences, racial barriers, and so much more. With that said, I’ll get off my podium and relinquish my dissertation to show you some of the real goods; a few of my favorite flannel pieces, and some of my favorite way WOMEN who are wearing them.




  • Layering
  • Mixing prints
  • Bold accessories
  • Leopard and leather
  • Playing with proportions (tight skirt, loose top)
  • ONE piece of flannel at a time!
  • Let your hair look natural and free




  • Black boots/heels
  • Always gold (accessories)
  • Playoff on Rockabilly 2015
  • Leather Skirts
  • “Distress-ive but Impressive” vibe
  • Play with proportions (skinny pants, boxy jackets)
  • Well Taken Care of Hair! 
  • When in doubt, red, black and/or blue
  • Draw attention to the legs
  • Don’t be afraid to accessorize
  • Keep the handbag small
  • Don’t obsess about buttoning the right button or letting your layers do just that: layer!

Ready to go out on your own plaid pursuit? Below I have chosen some of my favorite plaid/flannel items all available for purchase on the internet. When it comes to your wardrobe, don’t just plead the fifth…plaid it!






Jump Around!

Oct 17 0 Comments

This summer was all about romping around in rompers, so it should be of no surprise that this Fall we’re going to be jumping right into jumpsuits. Although we haven’t seen a jumpsuit revival quite like this since the 1970’s, they call them JUMPsuits for a reason. Once you have found the right one (which I am here to help you with), you can literally jump right into it and make a nearly effortless super quick jump in and out of your closet, seamlessly moving on with your day. Even my mother, Nan Ruvel, who is an always on the go interior designer, couldn’t help but boast about how absolutely in love with this trend she was *(a trend that at her age, my age, and truly any age, women can all JUMP on board with!) In fact, mom was so excited at the prospect of today’s blog subject she insisted on making her first SGABW cameo appearance in her favorite polka jumpsuit. I styled mom by adding pearls to bring out the pattern and (not pictured) she threw on a casual white denim jacket to keep warm in the cool Fall weather (although dare I say, doesn’t my mom look hot?! xo!


Even though my mother is a celebrity in my eyes (wink wink), many “real” celebrities are jaunting in jumpsuits with an enviable yet attainable panache from day to night. From supermodels like Petra Nemcova to actresses like Emma Stone, some of my favorite celebrity “jumpers” are absolutely killing it in this trend.







There are loads of great jumpsuits available on nearly every woman’s budget, however finding the perfect jumpsuit for Fall is very similar to finding the right diamond; pay close attention to cut and color. When it comes to cut, the trend for the bottom right now is a loose billowing leg or a straight cut above the ankles. On top the cut is not so much about a “trend” as it is about choosing something that is both flattering and occasion appropriate. On the subject of color, the laws of the land are pretty obvious but I will lay them out for you just in case; black is always safe, sticking to solid colors as opposed to prints generally bodes better for Fall, and please, PLEASE, don’t feel stupid if you’re looking for a solid orange jumpsuit and can’t find one (or worse yet if you do, and fail to accessorize properly)… because when someone yells “Piper Chapman!” at you, you better hightail it back to Litchfield before I send the real fashion police on you.


 With that said, below I have compiled some of my favorite jumpsuits available online and paired them in a creative, albeit methodical, layout that I like to call the 4 S’s to Success.

The aforementioned S’s work as follows: S + S + S + S = Success

Start with the Suit

add the


add the


add the


= Success!

Still not making sense? Take a look below to see a variety of xSamples ; )


jump1 jump3

With so much inspiration, you may very well be JUMPing out of your seat to go buy a jumpsuit. However, many of my more practical readers may find themselves wondering; Can I still transition my shorter romper into Fall? The answer: yes. The reality is that you need to be creative with it though. Work around the nature of the short hem and skimpier cuts by introducing simple yet clever pieces to your look such as wraparound skirts, leggings, and above-the-knee boots.




7 Days of CARAcatures

Oct 13 0 Comments

Love her or hate her, Cara Delevingne is undisputedly the model of the moment. Those eyebrows, that walk, her style – everything about her screams supermodel.


What I like most about Cara, and makes me believe there is more than two years of longevity in her career, is her multifaceted talents that expand beyond the catwalk. Cara is a consummate music fanatic; herself a drum player and singer (prepare yourselves for the upcoming duet of Cara and Pharell in the latest Chanel ad campaign!), as well as a contributing designer for brands such as DKNY. Whatever she does, you can tell that this saucy Brit truly walks to the beat of her own drum  (excuse the drum pun).


At 5’7, when most models are at least 5’9, Cara owns every inch of her presence when she walks into a room, almost like a modern day Kate Moss. Unlike the other girls who show up to castings in black shirts and jeans, Cara has a style so uniquely her own that she makes jaunting around Le Carrousel du Louvre look like a fashion show in and of itself.


Born into an aristocratic family in Hammersmith, London, Cara was one of three sisters (including model Poppy). Fashion and success were almost fortuitously fateful as her paternal grandfather is the renowned Condé Nast executive Nicholas Coleridge, and her maternal grandfather was executive and English Heritage chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens. Being immersed in such a high brow fashion world at an early age led Cara to her first official assignment at age eleven in an editorial shot by Bruce Weber for Vogue Italia. After a break from the modeling world, in 2009 Cara was once again discovered by Sarah Doukas of Storm Management (the scout who ironically was responsible for discovering Kate Moss). Since then Cara has walked the runways and landed the campaigns of companies such as Burberry, Chanel, Tom Ford, and Yves Saint Laurent to name a few.


So, like any stylist, I thought I would have a little fun and dress Cara up for a Chicago Fall week. Where she’s going – I have no idea, but I tried to remain true to both her own unique style as well as mine. AND, to make things just a little bit sweeter, I tried to replicate her outfits at an affordable cost. Have some fun with my CARAcatures and be sure to comment and let me know which ones are your favorites!

Goofy CARAcature #1cara1

How to Get the Look for Less?


Goofy CARAcature #2CARA2

How to Get the Look for Less?


Goofy CARAcature #3CARA3

How to Get the Look for Less?


Goofy CARAcature #4cara4

How to Get the Look for Less?


Goofy CARAcature #5cara5

How to Get the Look for Less?


Goofy CARAcature #6cara6

How to Get the Look for Less?


Goofy CARAcature #7cara8

How to Get the Look for Less?



SIGN up for Fall

Oct 12 1 Comments

By now, if you are a reader of my blog you invariably share at least some common interests with me, namely fashion and astrology. If you have followed my blog over the past few years, you will note that from time to time I always like to throw in a post about astrology and how the colors behind the astrological signs relate to our present lives. Since the seasons are changing and Fall is at our doorstep, I thought it befitting to provide you with a guide, sign by sign, of what you should be flaunting, favoriting, and fixating upon as you step outside this Fall.

Author Spring Liao presents us with a table that matches sign by sign your specific color for Fall 2015, as well as some other interesting tid bits about what to expect from your spirit, body, and mind these next few months.















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© 2015 Alexa Winner. All Rights Reserved.