Lookbook: Paris by Day

Apologies for our recent absence! Michelle has been busy hosting a fabulous pop up shop in New York City for the past two weeks and I just returned last week from Paris. At my birthday dinner, my husband surprised me with an envelope of tickets to the Paris Opéra Bastille and the Roland-Garros French Open! I had two days to pack and he had arranged for my mother to fly in to watch our son. It was the sweetest surprise and perfect little getaway to celebrate our three year anniversary and relax a little before baby boy #2 arrives in early October. 

Paris is my absolute favorite city in the world. I could walk around and stare at the beautiful architecture all day. The best hotels, restaurants, shopping, museums...

For a day of café-hopping, shopping, perusing the Musee d'Orsay and a walk along the Seine, I wore a sleeveless silk blouse, white skinny jeans, and accessorized with a colorful Hermes scarf and classic Chanel ballet flats. 

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     We stayed at the   Saint James Hotel  , a boutique Relais & Ch â teaux property, which I would highly recommend. The only ch â teau-hotel in Paris, it was redesigned in 2009 by New York designer Bambi Sloan; I loved its grand, yet whimsical decor. There is a gorgeous library bar and outdoor garden, and the Guerlain spa was heaven.

We stayed at the Saint James Hotel, a boutique Relais & Châteaux property, which I would highly recommend. The only château-hotel in Paris, it was redesigned in 2009 by New York designer Bambi Sloan; I loved its grand, yet whimsical decor. There is a gorgeous library bar and outdoor garden, and the Guerlain spa was heaven.

What to wear to Paris
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     Breakfast at Café de Flore, one of the oldest and most charming cafes in Paris. Situated on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, it is perfect for people watching.

Breakfast at Café de Flore, one of the oldest and most charming cafes in Paris. Situated on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, it is perfect for people watching.

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     The hot chocolate is a must!

The hot chocolate is a must!

River Seine, Paris
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     The   Musee d'Orsay  , located on the left bank of the Seine, was originally a train station. The architecture is simply stunning, and the museum houses the largest impressionist and post-impressionist art, including Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh and a sculpture collection including Degas and Rodin.

The Musee d'Orsay, located on the left bank of the Seine, was originally a train station. The architecture is simply stunning, and the museum houses the largest impressionist and post-impressionist art, including Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh and a sculpture collection including Degas and Rodin.

Napoleon sculpture at Musee d'Orsay
Musee d'Orsay, Paris

JOIE BLOUSE  //  J.BRAND JEANS  //  HERMES SCARF  //  OLIVER PEOPLES SUNGLASSES  //  LOUIS VUITTON BAG  //  CHANEL FLATS (not sold online) SIMILAR, SIMILAR, SIMILAR

Insider Tips: Cashmere Care Guide

As winter is winding down, many of us are contemplating the best way to clean and pack away our cashmere for the season. A common misconception is to send wool and cashmere to the dry cleaner; however, washing by hand or by gentle machine cycle actually helps preserve the delicate fibers. We consulted with the unrivaled fabric care gurus at The Laundress for their expertise on the subject. On a side note, if you've never used their products, you must try them. They leave your sweaters feeling so soft and the cedar scent smells amazing! Below, The Laundress details how to wash and store your cashmere and also shares some helpful tips for year-round care.

Cashmere care essentials from The Laundress

Cashmere care essentials from The Laundress

Handwash

The best and safest way to care for wool and cashmere, and the only way to wash items with any type of embellishment/beading. The Laundress says, when in doubt - handwash!

-Fill a wash basin or sink with cool water, then mix in Wool & Cashmere Shampoo. Turn the item inside out and submerge in the water, using your hands to gently move the item around. Soak for up to 30 minutes.

- Rinse under cool water until the water is no longer soapy. If there is color in the water; this is normal, it is simply the yarn dye releasing color. 

- Do not wring to dry. Press the item against the sink or basin to remove water. Do not put in dryer.

Machine Wash

You may also machine wash most woolens using a delicate, woolens or hand wash cycle. Do not machine wash items with embellishment.

- Turn the item inside out and insert into a mesh washing bag. Select the woolens, delicate or handwash cycle on the machine and set the temperature to cold and spin to low. Add the appropriate amount of Wool & Cashmere Shampoo.

-Remove clothes promptly to reduce wrinkles. Do not put in dryer.

Dry & Finish

- Lay flat to dry: woolens are best dried when lying flat in their natural shape. Lay the item on top of a flat towel or drying rack and arrange in its original shape. To expedite drying: place item on top of a towel, making sure it is flat and in its original shape. Then roll it up in the towel (like a sleeping bag) to remove excess water.

-Steam to remove wrinkles. Pressing an iron on wool will crush or flatten their sensitive fibers.

General Care & Storage

-Refresh between wears using the Wool & Cashmere Spray, which helps protect against moths and keeps items smelling fresh. Brush between wears with a cashmere brush to remove lint, fuzz and hair and release natural oils and rejuvenate yarns.

- De-pill: When wool fibers become loose, they form little balls, or pills. Pilling is a direct result of wearing and they tend to form in areas of friction, such as under the arms. For knits and fine-gauge woolens (lightweight sweaters and scarves): gently glide a sweater comb in one direction across the pilled area. For heavier woolens (heavy sweaters, blankets, upholstery): drag a sweater stone or pumice stone in one direction across the pilled area. 

- Storing: always store knits folded to prevent stretching and distorting. Make sure items are clean before storing them for long-term and packed away with a natural bug repellent - lavender pouches or cedar blocks. Wool and cashmere store best in a breathable cotton bag - do not store in plastic (dry cleaning bags or plastic storage bins).

 

 

Style Profile : Kate Pickett

Pickett’s Press was founded in 2008, by Kate Pickett. Pickett's Press provides beautiful custom letterpress stationary for all occasions. Kate has loved drawing, illustrations, letterpress printing and beautiful paper practically since birth. After a stint as an investment banker, Kate attended Harvard Business School, where she created her business plan for Pickett’s Press. She followed this formal education with on the job retail training at Kate’s Paperie, as the buyer for stationery for all US stores. Letterpress printing is a craft - lovingly practiced by artisans and enthusiasts. At Pickett’s Press, each piece of paper is hand-fed through antique presses, which allows for the unique look and character. It is a meticulous, finicky, and at times, pain-staking process, but the result is a thing of beauty. And this is why even though letterpress is the oldest form of printing available, Pickett's Press is thrilled to practice it today.

style icons: Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn.  I’m old school.  For contemporary, I went to school with Shoshanna (of the eponymous line) since kindergarten and she really does always look fabulous… if only

favorite designers: Alaia; Lanvin; Vince and Theory for everyday; Oscar de la Renta for dressy

favorite stores: Bergdorf Goodman.  Hands down.

handbag: I’m a Birkin girl- I’ve had the same one for fall and the same one for summer since 2003 and wow do those bags wear well!

shoes: Tabitha Simmons; Lanvin flats; Chanel boots; the Jimmy Choo fur lined winter boots

denim: I’m a Jbrand loyalist

city day look:  Winter- black pants, black or gray sweater, Chanel motorcycle boots, great J Mendel fur jacket or Moncler coat on super cold days; fox pompom hat from children’s room at Bergdorf Goodman (shhh… best find in the store!) summer- Black skirt, jimmy choo flats, black t-shirt, blazer sometimes. Always- simple diamond studs

country day look: Skinny cords or leggings; Vince or Ralph Lauren sweater, great boots, Barbour jacket

evening look:  For dressy black tie, an Oscar de la Renta gown, for cocktails I like to vary it up- Alaia, Andrew GN, Carolina Herrera, sometimes even Herve Leger works well.

currently eyeing for your closet: Tabitha Simmons is a fellow mom in my son’s 3rd grad class and I’ve been obsessed with her shoes since preschool… I can’t wait for the denim espadrille sandals.  I also adore Veronica Beard and can’t wait to get my hands on the collarless jacket.

items you splurge on: Coats, handbags and shoes.  With a pair of cheap J.Crew minnie pants, a black t-shirt, a fabulous bag, expensive shoes and a great jacket on can go anywhere.

items you save on: T-shirts and underwear- I buy t-shirts from Joe Fresh and Uniqlo- i love them- and underwear that is JUST like hanky panky from Target

beauty essentials: CeraVe am and pm cream, Anthelios sunscreen, Maybelline great lash mascara

signature scent: It’s been Fracas since I was 18- will never switch! I’m loyal.

salon: Frederic Fekkai- same colorist since I was 18 (gosh I seem boring!)

hotel: Isles de France, St Barths- I’ve been going on my birthday since I turned 30 and have never looked back… my very favorite ever!

restaurant: Sette Mezzo in NYC has seen me through marriages, divorces, children’s births, birthdays, and much more.

3 essentials you can't live without: CeraVe am and pm cream, Anthelios sunscreen and Maybelline great lash mascara

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Lookbook: Hot Pink Dress

It's no secret that I love hot pink, so when I spotted this dress at Calypso, it was a must. The delicate gold embroidery and sequin detail gives the dress a very worldly feel, as if it could have been picked up on a trip to Marrakech. With the vibrant color and embellishment, the dress is the pièce de résistance, so I kept my jewelry minimal and accessories neutral. Perfect for a dinner party at our friend's home in Palm Beach!

Hot Pink Dress
Hot Pink Dress.jpg

Dress: Calypso St. Barth. //  SandalsPradasimilarsimilar. //  Handbag: Louis Vuitton.

Trends: Gingham

This spring gingham is back. Designers like Michael Kors, Altuzarra and Oscar de la Renta have put a modern twist on this preppy print. It's a great addition to an outfit. Like any print, less is more. A head to toe gingham look is best left on the runway. Take one piece and pair it with a solid. We've put together a selection of a few favorites! 

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Lookbook: Spring Neutrals

Considering yesterday's snowstorm in the northeast, it is still a bit early to be dressing for spring! Nonetheless, I thought I'd provide a little spring inspiration from our recent trip to Palm Beach.  This was a great day-to-evening look that I wore for afternoon shopping along Worth Avenue (more to come on that later) and then dinner at Bice. One of my favorite, and most versatile, wardrobe essentials is a little tailored jacket that can be worn over the most basic pieces to add a bit of polish and pull the look together. Here, I paired a classic ivory tweed jacket from my days at Oscar with white jeans and a white tank top. To complement the white and ivory, I kept my accessories neutral - nude platform sandals and a ladylike top-handle bag in blush. As winter is (hopefully) about to start winding down, this is the perfect time to start working these light neutrals into your wardrobe!  

Spring Neutrals

Jacket: Oscar de la Renta, similarsimilar.  //  Jeans: J.Brand.  //  SandalsPrada, similar, similar. //  Handbag: Louis Vuitton.

Trends: A Modern Take on 70's Bohemian

In case you missed it, one of our favorite Fairfield County, CT blogs, Fairfieldista, featured an article we did on one of our favorite spring trends, the 70's-inspired bohemian look. Fairfieldista is a great resource for local events, family activities, restaurants, and of course, fashion!

This spring, there is a huge 1970’s influence with classic bohemian pieces re-imagined in a modern way. Suede is prevalent on everything from sleeveless dresses and trench coats to cross-body bags and lace-up sandals. Fringe is also big and can be seen gracing handbags, jackets and even long skirts. Another key component of this overarching theme is the maxi dress, done in flowing silks and chiffons in beautiful, rich prints. For footwear, wedges, platforms and gladiators are everywhere.

How to wear this trend without feeling like it’s too overdone? The trick to keeping the look modern is to choose one statement piece and keep the rest of your look simple and sleek. For example, ground a long gypsy-style dress with simple strappy sandals. If you’d like to try a suede jacket with fringe, pair with high-waisted jeans and a solid cotton sweater or tank and sleek wedges. Accessories are a great way to add a hint of bohemian flair. Wear a simple, chic outfit and go all out with a fabulous pair of lace-up gladiators or fringe cross-body bag.

As just seen gracing countless runways from New York to Milan, this trend has staying power and will continue through fall.

70's Bohemian

70's Bohemian

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Lookbook: Texture

No need to let a long winter give you the blues. Have fun with outerwear and color this winter. We love this Alberta Ferreti coat because it plays with different textures and gives a pop of color. You can mix and match with real and faux fur. You can pair a long fur/faux vest over a coat. It gives you that change in texture. Play with different colors. Make it fun. Change it up. Have fun with it this winter, we don't know how long it will last! 

Alberta Ferretti Fur Coat

Alberta Ferretti Fur Coat

Style Profile : Malini Murjani

Avant-garde designer and style icon Malini Murjani was born in Hong Kong and raised in London, Switzerland, and New York. A true child of the universal art and fashion worlds, Malini attributes her love affair with aesthetics to her musings with an array of cultures and stylings. Malini was first propelled into the international spotlight as a result of her roles as creative director and consultant to legendary fashion houses spanning from Tommy Hilfiger to Halston. While perfecting her craft, she was inspired to launch her own line of luxury accessories, thereby christening the birth of the acclaimed Malini Murjani brand. The line, founded upon an intermingling of exotic skins, edgy metals, bold tones, and classic shapes, embodies the designer's rich upbringing. 

Malini Murjani

style icons: Coco Chanel, Gwen Stefani (love what she wore to the Grammys!) Sienna Miller

favorite designers: Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney 

favorite stores: Kirna Zabete, NYC. 10 Corso Como, Milan. Stacey Todd, LA

handbag: Malini Murjani Blondie wood clutch and anything python

shoes: Gianvito Rossi, Alaia

denim: R13

city day look: The Row….jeans, boots, silk blouse, long gold chains

country day look: Isabel Marant … leggings, Hunter boots, Rag and Bone cashmere sweaters

evening look: so depends on my mood - skinny jeans with Charlotte Olympia pumps, jacket OR a dress…

currently eyeing for your closet: A vintage cuff

items you splurge on: boots, sunglasses and art!

items you save on: Handbags- always carry my own

beauty essentials: Mario Badescu products, Bliss body butter, Tracie Martyn eye pads

signature scent: Tom Ford 

salon: Sally Hershberger 

destination: Udaipur, India

hotel: Taj Lake Palace

restaurant: Nobu, Malibu

3 essentials you can't live without: Iphone, Sunglasses and my 4 year old daughter

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What to Pack: Palm Beach

The Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach

The Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach

After what seems like the longest winter, I am thrilled to be heading south to Florida with my husband and son for a couple weeks. Hopefully when we return, these frigid temps in Connecticut will have passed! I must admit, I haven't done much spring shopping yet (the idea of trying on spring clothes without a hint of a tan is not very appealing to me) but here is a selection of must-pack items based on styles I already have (or want!). Perfect for days spent lounging by the pool, shopping along Worth Avenue and dinners al fresco. After a week in Palm Beach we will be going further south to Islamorada. The Keys are decidedly more casual and I am completely content to stay in my swimsuit all day and only get dressed for dinner.  On a side note, I haven't been to Palm Beach in ages... does anybody have any recommendations for shopping, restaurants, etc.?

Palm Beach Packing Essentials

Palm Beach Packing Essentials

1. Turquoise jewelry looks so good with a tan, and these Kenneth Jay Lane drop earrings are no exception. $125.

2. We love this oversize straw hat by Sensi Studio to shade the face from sun while lounging by the pool. $230.

3. The scalloped detail on this Marysia bikini is so unique and the pretty blush is timeless. $260.

4. We adore everything about this top by J.W. Anderson - the modern assymetric shape, the pleating and the classic shirting stripes. $855.

5. Such a great classic wardrobe staple, this Moschino shirtdress can be dressed up or down for so many occasions. $950.

6This colorful pareo by Etro is done in the most beautiful print and who can resist the tassel detail? $500.

7. Classic white skinny jeans go with everything and seamlessly go from day to night. An absolute essential. $175.

8. If you want to pack light, go with a pair of classic black or tortoise shell sunglasses as they can be worn with nearly everything. We love this pair by Oliver Peoples. $335.

9. This blush/bronzer duo by Guerlain perfectly enhances a tan and can be customized based on your skin color.date. $76.

10. Valentino's rockstud jelly sandals go seamlessly from pool to lunch. $295.

11. For those of us who don't yet have a tan... St. Tropez self-tanning lotion is great for layering and gives a natural, golden bronze glow. $42.

Love Is In The Air

Show your love for color this Valentine's day!

 

1. Make a statement with this Herve Van Der Straeten gold beauty. $1,165. Stylebop

2. We love the the flow of this silk magenta capelet dress by Antonio Berardi. $2,605. Moda Operandi

3. For kissable lips this Aerin rose balm lipstick is a must. $30. Aerin

4. NYC jewelry designer Amy Heilberg creates beautiful pieces. Her dome cocktail ring helps to take this look up a notch. AHJewels

5. For a sexy shoe look no further than Tom Ford. $1,190. Bergdorf Goodman

6. Creed's Spring Flowers scent will help keep you irresistible all night. $175. Nordstrom

7. Spread the love with Forest of Chintz's sequin clutch. $666. Runway2Street

 

What to Wear: Winter Neutrals

In case you haven't heard, our little groundhog friend has predicted six more weeks of winter. As our winter wardrobes are growing a bit tired, it might be time to re-work a few things and revitalize our look before we can finally move on to our spring wardrobes. One way to make the transition, while still staying warm, is to lighten up with neutrals - camel, grey, blush and ivory. Some fun new sunglasses can't hurt either. Here are some great items to smooth the transition, or just work with similar pieces you already have. 

Winter Neutrals

Winter Neutrals

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Lookbook: Uptown Girls

Last weekend was Refined co-founder, Michelle's, birthday!  For those who don't know Michelle, she is the quintessential uptown girl, so, naturally, her birthday celebrations took place at some of our favorite spots on the Upper East Side. The night started with dinner at le Bilboquet (their cajun chicken is to die for) and ended with drinks at Beautique.  Michelle wore the most incredible Alberta Ferretti broadtail coat with grey fox and crystal embroidery and a stunning Moschino sequined dress. Happy birthday, M!! x

Dinner at le Bilboquet

Dinner at le Bilboquet

Birthday sparklers at le Bilboquet

Birthday sparklers at le Bilboquet

Post-dinner, off to Beautique

Post-dinner, off to Beautique

Details of Michelle's exquisite Alberta Ferretti coat and her mother's vintage lizard clutch

Details of Michelle's exquisite Alberta Ferretti coat and her mother's vintage lizard clutch

Lookbook: Winter White

We are big proponents of wearing white denim year-round, although pulling it off can be a bit intimidating. Here, our dear friend, Erin, shows how to take your white jeans effortlessly through winter. For a look that can go from the city to the mountains (in her case - DC to Vail Village), she paired her white denim with an ivory sweater and a functional, yet sleek, black puffer coat. She finished the look with shearling-cuffed flat booties and a classic Burberry check scarf. Après ski perfection!

Winter White

Coat: Burberry, similar, similar.  //  Scarf: Burberry.  //  Jeans: J. Crew. //  Boots: Matt Bernson.

Shopping Guide: Vail

I just returned from a lovely weekend in Vail with friends. Although most of our days were filled with skiing, après ski drinks and amazing dinners, we were able to squeeze in a bit of shopping time. Having grown up spending Christmases in Vail, I have become well-acquainted with the local shopping scene over the years. Gorsuch, The Golden Bear and Axel's are not only personal favorites, but are very much a part of Vail's identity. If you plan on visiting soon, be sure to keep these three on your radar!

Gorsuch

Gorsuch

Brunello Cucinelli ready-to-wear at Gorsuch

Brunello Cucinelli ready-to-wear at Gorsuch

Moncler ski coats at Gorsuch

Moncler ski coats at Gorsuch

1. Gorsuch - Truly a Vail landmark, Gorsuch was founded by Renie and David Gorsuch, former skiers on the 1960 U.S. Olympic Ski Team. They opened their Alpine-inspired lifestyle flagship in Vail Village in 1966 and now have eight locations, including stores in Aspen, Beaver Creek and Park City.

Brimming with luxurious European ready-to-wear suitable for the Alps or the Rockies, look for outstanding selections of Brunello Cucinelli and Etro for both men and women.  They are also known for stocking traditional Austrian jackets and beautiful ruffled blouses that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere. Complete your look with a handbag from Bottega Veneta or Nancy Gonzalez and be sure to check out the unrivaled array of fur boots.

Their ski gear selection will have you hitting the slopes in style with the likes of Moncler, Bogner, Frauenschuh, Emilio Pucci and Canada Goose. From sleek neutrals with fur trim to shiny metallics and vibrant colors and prints, there is something to suit every skier's style.

We must not forget their fabulous home selection - take a walk downstairs and you'll be dreaming for a mountain home adorned in sumptuous furs, cashmere throws and rustic antlers.

The Golden Bear

The Golden Bear

The iconic Golden Bear necklaces

The iconic Golden Bear necklaces

The Golden Bear - The symbol of Vail Valley and a long-standing tradition, The Golden Bear opened in 1975 in Vail Village. The pièces de résistance are the Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear necklaces (pictured above). In addition to the beloved golden bears, they are known for beautiful pave diamond, hand-hammered gold and sterling silver jewelry.

The store has since expanded to include an abundant selection of home accessories and giftware including signature bear-embossed wine glasses, pewter trays and leather frames.

Axel's

Axel's

Cowboy boot wall at Axel's

Cowboy boot wall at Axel's

Women's clothing at Axel's

Women's clothing at Axel's

Axel's - Another family-owned gem, Axel's has been the standard of classic European elegance in the Vail Valley since 1990. Axel Wilhelmsen, who grew up in Norway, and his wife and children still travel to Italy to hand-select the finest merchandise for their shop.  

Axel's is known for its exquisite selection of cashmere, sheepskin coats, hand-made European riding boots and cowboy boots and hand-engraved silver jewelry and belt buckles. Look for Italian designers such as Kiton and Boglioli and English John Lobb shoes, but note that the majority of clothing and accessories are actually designed in-house to better represent the unique Axel aesthetic. The fine craftsmanship, attention to detail and art of layering portrayed in this shop is truly unmatched.