Carrie Bradshaw’s Stylist: Classic Pieces Worn in Interesting Ways

For almost 15 years, Isle of Skye Cashmere was both “brick and mortar” and online.

What I liked best about the “brick and mortar” store was helping customers find clothes that looked great on them.

I saw too many women following what I consider misguided fashion advice – advice driven by the media’s focus on “fast fashion” and an obsession with the latest trends and colors.

So much of the fashion business is focused on getting you to buy the newest thing, not on helping you look great.

If you’ve shopped in my store, or if you’ve read my thoughts about personal style, you know that some of the ideas I’ve tried to help my customers avoid include:

  • Choosing clothes based on the latest fashion trends.
  • Becoming a walking billboard for a designer’s logo or initials.
  • Dressing like your young daughter.

In fact, my advice in selecting clothes centers on a few simple principles I articulated almost 15 years ago.

I built my business around these principles:

  • At Isle of Skye Cashmere, our selection of clothes is based on a personal aesthetic that values classic style and quality over fashion and fad.
  • Our style sense starts with the idea that a woman’s wardrobe should be built on a foundation of high quality, classic pieces.
  • Classic styling is all about your personality taking center stage, not your clothes.

Despite what you read in the popular press, if you dig a bit deeper, you’ll find that the most successful professionals in the fashion industry believe in the same ideas.

I recently read an interview with Patricia Field, the costume designer for “Sex and the City” and a legend in the fashion industry.

Based on the fabulous wardrobe she created for Carrie Bradshaw, many people may imagine her style philosophy centers on an edgy, trendy look.

But in an interview New York magazine, here is what Patricia Field had to say about her own style sensibility:

“My style has always been about classic pieces worn in interesting ways.

“Trendy pieces felt silly because they’re just too locked into a time period, and they haven’t had a chance to prove themselves, so to speak. They come and go.

“Even though many people see me as an edgy type of fashion person, at the base of my fashion philosophy is classics.

“When I’m getting dressed today, I have a closet full of pieces that I’ve had for many years and continue to enjoy without looking “vintage.” That’s what I’m talking about – classics that are timeless.

“You could have a Chanel jacket and you could put it with a pair of jeans. You don’t have to wear it with Chanel head to toe. That’s the example that people understand.

“You could wear a string of pearls with a white T-shirt. It’s perfectly fine; they’re both classic. But it’s how you put it together. It’s about the styling.”

This past week, I sent an email to my loyal customers about the Coco Boatneck Cashmere Sweater. I mentioned that this sweater is a great basic that could be paired with slacks or skirts for a sophisticated, dressy look.

Coco Cashmere Boatneck Sweater

If you need a bit of help in imagining how to make the Coco Cashmere Boatneck Sweater work for you, look no further than fashion icon Olivia Palermo. For style inspiration rooted in the classics, I love so many of Olivia’s looks.

Olivia is well known in the fashion industry as a model, stylist, and style ambassador. In New York, she is one of the fashion paparazzi’s favorite subjects.

For her wedding last winter, Olivia paired a cream 3/4 sleeve cashmere boatneck with a tulle skirt to make a stunning wedding outfit. I love the look – simple, understated elegance.

The boatneck works beautifully to frame her face and balance her silhouette. Nothing could better illustrate Patricia Field’s concept of “classic pieces worn in interesting ways.”Her personality and natural beauty take center stage, not the clothes.

Olivia Palermo Cashmere Boatneck Sweater

If you need help in finding a classic cashmere sweater that helps create your best look, please call (888-343-6771) or email me at info@isleofskyecashmere.com.

At Isle of Skye Cashmere, our sweaters are designed and made to look better, feel better, and last longer than any other sweaters you own.

Also, if you’re looking for a size or color already sold out, please get in touch with us. More are on the way from Scotland. We’ll hold one for you.

Rita Jones
Isle of Skye Cashmere – Owner & Founder

 

Simple and Classic or Modern and Stylish? The Caroline Crew Neck

We don’t believe in “fast fashion” cashmere sweaters that are made with inferior raw materials, cheap construction methods, and underpaid workers.

Our sweaters are made with the best yarns in the world. They are knit and hand finished in Scotland with meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.

If you’re building a wardrobe with “fewer, better things,” you’ll need a few versatile, simple basics for a foundation; and the crew neck cashmere sweater is a great place to start.

Our crew neck pullover is a foundation wardrobe piece that can go from weekend casual to office polished to evening dressy. It’s a must have in building a wardrobe with “fewer, better things”.

Now, I sometimes hear that this simple sweater is just too boring; that it’s too old-fashioned and dated to wear today.

Well the crew neck is in fact a classic.

It’s a piece that Audrey Hepburn was often photographed in – but it’s also a look for today: one of Angelina Jolie’s favorite “uniform pieces” is a beige round neck sweater.

audrey-crew-neck angelina-crew-neck

If you are going to master the art of dressing with fewer, better things, you need to start with the basics and use your creativity and imagination.

A simple piece like the crew neck pullover can go from totally casual to red carpet ready. It all depends on the pants or skirt you pair it with and the accessories you add.

Let me walk you through 5 modern looks, with some of the most fashionable women around,  to show you how it works.

For starters, the crew neck pullover is the winter equivalent of your best white tee. You can pair it with jeans for a look that is totally casual, but still stylish.

Below you will find Jessica Alba looking effortlessly pulled together. She wears her crew neck sweater with gray jeans and rain boots. The final style touches are the scarf and cross body purse.

jessica-alba-crew-neck

Angelina Jolie takes her uniform outfit to all black for travel.

The black cashmere sweater and black stretch pants are so simple and stylish, yet comfortable and practical. She adds a few finishing touches – sunglasses and bag – and the look is anything but ordinary.

anglelina-round-neck-travel

If you want  a more polished, dressy look, try your crew neck with a pencil skirt.

Below, Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whitely pairs her crew neck with a statement asymmetrical print and black heels. It’s a deceptively simple outfit that just about anyone can put together.

rosie-huntington-whiteley-long-sleeve-sweater-with-an-abstract-print-pencil-skirt

Glamour Magazine gives its take on styling the round neck in an article titled What to Wear to Work Tomorrow: A Floral-Print Dress, a Crew Neck Sweater, and Pointy-Toe Pumps.

They say,

Layer a thin crewneck sweater over a short-sleeve floral-print dress to create a look that’s perfect for the temperature both inside and outside the office. Finish with pointy-toe pumps and a sleek structured shoulder bag.

The concept is the same – pair a basic crew neck sweater with a great dress. Add a couple of simple accessories and your look is totally polished.

floral-dress-round-neck

If you want to add a bit of edge to your classic outfits, you can follow Black Lively’s lead.

She pairs her black cashmere round neck with a leather skirt and strappy sandals for a trendy downtown look. Sure, it’s monochrome…but it’s a head-turning look.

blacke-lively-round-neck

And finally, the basic cashmere crew neck is so versatile you can even take it to the red carpet. Below Natalie Portman looks stunning when she pairs her elegant cashmere sweater with a long, metallic gown.

natalie-portman-round-neck-long-skirt

We think our Caroline Cashmere Crew Neck is the perfect starting place for any wardrobe.

The fit of the Caroline is perfectly versatile – snug enough to wear comfortably under a blazer, but not too tight to wear on its own.

Of course, the crew neck design provides cozy warmth, but the 2-ply weight makes it a great layering piece. We knit our Caroline Crew Neck at 21 gauge – much tighter than crew necks of ordinary quality.

This gives our sweaters a silky, smooth drape and helps ensure that they won’t lose their shape over time.

Sure, it’s simple. Sure it’s a classic. But as you’ve seen, the most stylish women in the world are using it as a foundation piece for their most modern, eye-catching looks.

If you are looking for a size and color of our Caroline Crew Neck that’s already sold out, please contact me by phone (888-343-6771) or email (info@isleofskyecashmere.com).

More are on the way from Scotland, and I will hold one for you.

Rita Jones
Founder and Owner – Isle of Skye Cashmere

Legendary Quality and Iconic Style: The Black Cashmere Turtleneck

My last blog post dealt with “uniform dressing” – a simpler, more stylish way to dress. Prior to that I made the case for a different kind of wardrobe, one with “fewer, better things.”

For today, I’d like to offer a simple starting point – one I’m sure will make uniform dressing work: the black cashmere turtleneck, one of my favorites!

Elana Fishmen, in her piece The Insanely Versatile Top Your Winter Wardrobe Needs, says it perfectly:

The plain white t-shirt may be your go-to wardrobe basic during the warmer spring and summer months – but in the fall and winter, it’s all about the black turtleneck.

Some clothes –a handful of classics– are unaffected by trends. They look great always.

Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O – they’re two from many of the most celebrated fashion icons that have made the black turtleneck a winter wardrobe staple.fashion-icons-black-turtleneck

Today, we still find pop-icons like Taylor Swift looking stylish and modern in a black turtleneck.

taylor-swift-black-tn

Kristen Iversen has a great piece in Brooklyn Magazine called The 35 Most Important Women in Turtlenecks.

She writes:

The turtleneck is about as universally flattering as a garment can get, drawing the eye up to a woman’s face, as if it rests on a pedestal, only so that the eye can travel back down again.

It’s my feeling that a black cashmere turtleneck always elevates a look: the high neck elongates the torso, and, of course, black is the ultimate visual body slimmer.

What’s more: with a black cashmere turtleneck as a foundation piece, you have so many stylish outfit options.

The sweater can look totally dressed up in one outfit but laid back in another.

Wear it with jeans, and you’re downtown chic. Pair it with a pencil skirt or tailored pants, and your look is uptown luxury and elegance.

Or, for your go-to outfit for a black tie event, try wearing your black cashmere turtleneck with a long skirt and statement necklace.

You can use your black turtleneck as the centerpiece of an elegant monochromatic look, or you can pair with almost any other color.

And just because the black turtleneck is a basic, don’t think it’s too conservative! You can pair it with something unexpected if you want to go a bit adventurous in your styling.

For example, we love this look below: Blair Eadie, famous fashion blogger at www.atlantic-pacific.com, wears her black turtleneck with a white tutu and black Christian Louboutin’s. Her look is simply stunning!

black-turtleneck-white-tutu

We think our Caroline Cashmere Turtleneck sets the standard in a high quality investment piece. The fit of the Caroline is perfectly versatile – snug enough to wear comfortably under a blazer, but not too tight to wear on its own.

Of course, the turtleneck design provides cozy warmth, but the 2-ply weight makes it a great layering piece. We knit our Caroline Turtleneck at 21 gauge – much tighter than turtlenecks of ordinary quality. This gives our sweaters a silky, smooth drape and helps ensure that they won’t lose their shape over time.

By now, I hope I’ve made the case for the black cashmere turtleneck as a timeless standard – a wardrobe “must have”.

But, for a bit of wardrobe variety, don’t be afraid to try a winter white, a classic camel, or rich brown. These are great basic and versatile colors that add depth to this timeless look.

If you are looking for a size and color of our Caroline Turtlenecks that are already sold out, please contact me by phone (888-343-6771) or email (info@isleofskyecashmere.com). More are on the way from Scotland and I will hold one for you.

Rita Jones
Founder and Owner – Isle of Skye Cashmere

Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret: Uniform Dressing

The past few weeks I’ve made the case for a different kind of wardrobe, one with “fewer better things.” Today I want to take a more practical approach, sharing a sense of style I learned about when I was living in France for the year called “uniform dressing.”

The most fashionable French women don’t follow trends or fads, but each has an individual style rooted in personal choice. Each wears what looks good and feels good to create their signature look.

Most buy a small number of high quality investment pieces to mix and match; of course, this doesn’t mean they’re wearing the same outfit every day, but it does mean consistency in style, silhouette, and color palette.

Tim Gunn, of Project Runway fame, explains the concept like this:

“By uniform, I don’t mean a Stepford Wives blueprint of exacting sameness. I mean a cache of separates that can successfully interact.

“It’s essential that you identify looks, not merely items of clothing, but combinations that will be worn together – the silhouettes, proportions, colors, and textures that flatter and enhance you. Then, stick with them! Do not stray! And don’t ever forget about fit!”

He continues:

“The best in “the fashion industry don’t buy into all the trends and fads of fashion – most of them develop a style their own and stick with it. It seems to free them from insecurity and the kind of fashion slavery the rest of us are victims of…”

In case you’re still a skeptic, here’s another proponent of French uniform dressing: Ines de la Fressange.

Ines is a French model, fashion designer, and member of the International “Best Dressed Hall of Fame.” What’s more: she’s an iconic example of French uniform dressing.

One of Ines’ foundation uniform pieces is a navy cashmere sweater. She pairs it with white jeans or black pants, or layers it under a blazer.

uniform-dressing-navy-cashmere-sweater

Here’s what Vogue had to say about stylish French women (Ines in particular) and uniform dressing:

“We’re talking about the most intensely coveted sartorial secret of all: effortless, indubitably stylish uniform dressing. No deliberate statement-making, no peacocking of designer freebies, no trends. Rather than trying to squeeze oneself into someone else’s image—whether it’s fresh off the runway or vintage-sourced—uniform dressing involves making a piece of clothing a natural fit for the wearer’s own style.”

It’s not about fitting the clothes, see: It’s about the clothes fitting you.”

“Just look to French style icon Ines de la Fressange, who has become almost synonymous with her daily uniform…”

“This utterly refreshing lack of label-mongering is the cleverest way to always look appropriate and never dated, and it’s the tried-and-true secret among French women of her generation.”

“It’s the epitome of personal style, of the art of dressing like a real woman, one with a job, and a life, and things to do beyond going to an event to get her picture taken. And what’s more effortless—or chic—than that?”

So if you’re looking to build a wardrobe of “fewer, better things,” consider starting with styles you find flattering in basic colors – navy, camel, or gray.

Our Caroline body style is a great choice – it’s fit is flattering on most women. It comes in different neck styles (V-neck, crew neck, turtleneck) and the fit works in both a cardigan and pullover. The 2-ply knit weight works as a 3-season sweater, and it’s perfect for layering.

If you need any help with your selections, or you want a color or size that we don’t have in stock, please give me a call at 888-343-6771 or email me at info@isleofskyecashmere.com. We have more sweaters coming in from Scotland each week, and I can help you find what you want to begin you journey towards “uniform dressing”.

Rita Jones
Found and Owner – Isle of Skye Cashmere

Classic Style and Lasting Quality

In the Fall of 2010, when my store was open, I wrote down my ideas about clothing and style in a document titled “Style Manifesto”. You can read the full text here, but the introductory paragraph describes the basic concept around which I created my store:

At Isle of Skye Cashmere, our selection of clothes is based on a personal aesthetic that values classic style and quality over fashion and fad.

Our style sense starts with the idea that a woman’s wardrobe should be built on a foundation of high quality classic pieces. These foundation pieces should be your investment pieces – of lasting quality and the best you can afford.

Rita in Paris
Rita in Paris near Place Vendome – Repetto Store

Although my store has closed and I am focusing on my online cashmere sweater business, my ideas about this business have not changed.

My goal is to help you look and feel your best in our sweaters. I specialize in selling my own brand of cashmere sweaters knit in Scotland with only the very best yarn. Isle of Skye Cashmere sweaters are designed and made to look better, feel better, and last longer than any other sweaters you own. They are knit and hand-finished by the mills that make cashmere sweaters for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes. The cashmere sweaters from our mills stand apart in the runway shows in Paris and Milan because their attention to the details of style, fit, finish, and overall quality make them the best in the world.

I believe in a classic, sophisticated style of dressing that emphasizes beautiful fabrics, impeccable fit, and a foundation of basic colors. Our selection of cashmere sweater styles and colors reflects this point of view.

If you have any questions about Isle of Skye cashmere sweaters, please call our toll free line at 888-343-6771. Most of the time, this is forwarded directly to my cell phone so that I can personally answer your questions and help you in any way. If I am unable to take your call, just leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Rita Jones

 

Tailoring Is the Secret of a Well-Dressed Woman

tailored blazer cashmere isle of skye sweatersAlterations have the power to turn an okay garment and transform it into something that looks like it was made just for you. In this time of “fast fashion” and disposable clothing, many women don’t want to invest the money in a high-quality garment that doesn’t fit them correctly. One of the fantastic things that we do here at Isle of Skye Cashmere is offer free alterations on garments bought in the store.

I highly recommend taking the time to tailor your clothes so they fit you like a glove. Although proper fit is the primary reason for tailoring, alterations can also help to modernize your clothes or update them to line up with your evolving sense of style. One of the most common garments that need to be tailored to ensure a correct fit are blazers. Our blazers that are made with Loro Piana cashmere are beautiful – but with proper tailoring, they become extraordinary! Our seamstress, Chanta, has many years of experience working with these fantastic blazers.

Tailoring your clothes can help you cultivate a wardrobe filled with things that you love to wear! We tailor clothes bought in the store as well as clothes bought elsewhere. We’d love to help you perfect your wardrobe.

Bree
Isle of Skye Cashmere
(513) 271-2589
Wed-Fri: 10am-5pm
Sat: 10am-4pm

Jewel Tones for Fall/Winter

Jewel__Tones_Isle_of_Skye_CashmereWhile browsing through recent runway shows (such as Prada, Chanel, and Dior) I noticed a recurring theme: jewel tones. These ruby, sapphire, emerald, and citrine colors were bold, yet sophisticated.

I believe that the easier, and sometimes better, way to wear color this fall is to pair it with neutral colors. Against a neutral palette, the colored piece(s) you choose to wear will really pop! A couple of ways to incorporate color into a neutral-colored outfit would include: wearing a pair of shoes that coordinate with your purse/clutch, wearing a bright colored coat, or even a chunky, colored necklace. Even makeup and nail polish will allow you to wear color.

In the photo, I styled the model with a pair of our DL1961 jeans in a black wash, a button-up white blouse, a red cashmere V-neck sweater, and a red cape that I made. The pop of the ruby-red in the cape and sweater really ties her outfit together nicely.

Don’t retire your colors just because summer has ended for the year. Find fun ways to incorporate your colored pieces into your Fall/Winter wardrobe and you won’t regret it!

Come in Wednesday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Saturdays 10 AM to 4 PM to see our amazing sweaters in fantastic colors!

Bree
Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave
Cininnati OH 45243