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

 

From Great to Amazing…

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about the importance of building a stylish wardrobe from a foundation of classic pieces. But, we also know that the secret weapon of every stylish woman is the unexpected item(s) that turns a great look into an amazing one. As shown on the left, Heidi Klum knows how to style a classic jeans/blazer/cashmere sweater look with great heels, jewelry, and the pushed up sleeves.

At Isle of Skye Cashmere, we have lots of ideas on how to get that amazing look. Our favorite way to do this is with a great looking cashmere sweater in an eye-popping color. But we also love to add gorgeous shoes, a knockout handbag, a piece of signature jewelry, or a cashmere scarf in a “wow” color or pattern. Here is some advice we give our customers as we work with them to add drama to classically styled outfits:

  • Color – Try accenting your black or white basics with dramatic colors such as a Caribbean Blue or a Ferrari Red, or your personal favorite “statement” color. You can add these accents  with a cashmere sweater, a tailored cotton shirt, or a  silk skirt. Chose colors that work best for you…not what the fashion magazines say is “in” this year.
  • Great shoes – Ballet flats and  pumps are the classics, and black is the most versatile. But Repetto Ballet Flats and Christian Leboutin pumps come in great colors that add “wow” to any outfit.
  • Prints can be risky, because a print that is too bold or busy can be unflattering to many body shapes. A great place to start is low contrast prints, such as soft toned plaids and floral pastels. Worn with a complementary solid piece or accessory, they can look great on most women.  One way to be more dramatic with a bolder print is with a scarf.  Try accenting your classic pieces with a beautiful Cashmere print, or a Hermes silk scarf.
  • A great handbag means great proportion, perfect size, and mouthwatering colors. The Hermes Kelly and Birkin bags are classics, but not practical for many women. But these classics have inspired other similar designs in handcrafted Italian leather. Consider choosing a classic style in a color that makes a statement.
  • Belts – with jeans, over a sweater, nipping the waist of a tailored dress. A simple, elegant and beautifully made belt can be the perfect accent piece to any outfit.
  • Jewelry – The French believe that a woman’s life story lies in her jewelry box. Your classic style can take the exuberance of your most dramatic statement jewelry. But it will also look amazing with the simplest stud earrings or pearl necklace. Accessorize with jewelry that tells your story.
  • Fashion Fun – Add an interesting piece representing the latest fashion trend. Fashion items come and go, so it’s fun to buy an inexpensive, but trendy item to add some drama to your classic pieces.

A key to getting that amazing look is knowing when to stop with the accent items – sometimes you have to experiment to get it just right. Stylish dressing is all about understated elegance –  if there are too many pieces competing to make a statement, then its usually just one loud mess.

Cashmere Princess
Fashion Apprentice – Isle of Skye Cashmere

Isle of Skye Cashmere Summertime Style

Summertime…

And cashmere cardigans make living easy. For those cool nights on the Cape, nothing quite compares. Likewise with cashmere shawls: they’ll keep you comfortable, chic. Warm but never too warm, our sweaters and shawls –made with pure Scottish Cashmere– are perfect for those balmy island nights, for those late evening walks down shore. So say you’re fogged in on the Grey Lady –‘Sconset, Nantucket– or maybe you’ve gone out west –the Bay Area– to visit an ambitious, adventurous son (this August mine is married a year!): a sweater or shawl ensures you won’t miss out on Surfside clambakes, on late afternoon rambles through Golden Gate Park. Lightweight, whisper soft: Isle of Skye Cashmere is clothing to wear with any kind of weather – no matter the coast. It makes comfort and style easy; it gives shelter from the fog. Summertime with family and friends! If only things were always this good!

Paris Street Style – Some Thoughts

We are starting to get a few customers shopping for clothes in preparation for a Spring trip to Paris.

I ran across a great article on ParisInsidersGuide.com that sums up perfectly the right mindset for dressing in the City of Light:

 

“When you’re in Paris, girls, you need to step it up a notch while turning down the volume.

 

Stepping it up a notch means means dressing like a woman and not a teenage boy. Please, no hoodies, khaki man pants, white running shoes, shirts with logos, fleece, sportswear, yoga pants, outerwear meant for hiking, sweat shirt, sweat pants, patteren old-lady acrylic sweaters, matching leisure pants and jackets, poor quality footwear….you get the drift.

 

Turning down the volume means dressing simply but beautifully. Women in Paris know what looks good on them and how to work their best assets. Its not fancy clothes with glitter and glam – Paris fashion at its best is always understated.”

 

Bar Red JeansIf you are looking for a visual of how to do this right, check out the picture of Bar Refaeli getting into her car in Paris.

 

To look this good in Paris  or at home, consider pulling together your spring wardrobe with these basics:

 

Great jeans -skinny dark wash or colored
A simple basic top – black, navy white
Tailored Blazer
Black boots or colorful flats
Great Sunglasses

 

If you’d like to get a head start on your Paris street look for the spring, you can stop by to check our our early shipment of colored denim.
Read about it here.

Rita

Dressing with Style

Even after 40 years, we can look to  Audrey Hepburn, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as an example of what dressing with style is all about.  Audrey’s wardrobe in that movie was designed by Hubert de Givenchy, who believed in clean lines and restraint.  The editors of InStyle Magazine make our case so eloquently that we will quote them:

Givenchy’s message of simplicity is the essence of timeless design. It’s the reason a look endures, not only for seasons, but for decades. Trends, on the other hand, are mercurial by nature. Chasing them is not only exhausting and expensive, but the payoff – a fleeting moment of hipness followed by a lifetime of groaning at old photos — is pretty paltry, too. That isn’t to say that trendy items have no place in the wardrobe of a well-dressed woman. But they should be used sparingly,like seasoning, so they complement a wardrobe of your favorite classics without overwhelming them.

So what are our favorite classic pieces? Well, at Isle of Skye Cashmere, we would start with the list below. And by the way, you can find them all at our store:

  • Tailored Pants – a pair of flat front pants without pockets made from high quality, lightweight Italian wool is the foundation of classic style.  The length should work with the heel height you wear most often. The leg style (tapered, straight, and flared) should be one works best for your body type.
  • Tailored Skirt – A knee-length black skirt made from lightweight Italian wool that fits perfectly and gives a slim, tailored appearance. The pencil skirt is a classic, but the flared skirt works better for some body shapes. Choose the style works best for your body.
  • Tailored White Shirt – chic and simple of high quality Italian cotton. It can be paired with jeans (Jackie O in Hyannis Port), black pants (Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction), a long skirt (Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday), or a gown (Sharon Stone at the Oscars).
  • Cashmere Cardigan and Turtleneck. Every woman needs a well-made cashmere cardigan in her favorite color. This one piece can brighten up a whole wardrobe of black and white basics…. it works beautifully over a white shirt with jeans or a tailored black dress. The classic jewel neck cardigan can be made into a vee-neck by buttoning the bottom buttons only.  The cashmere turtleneck also goes casual or dressy. It will give your jeans a Left Bank Parisian chic and bring sleek luxury to your tailored pants or pencil skirt. Black is a timeless favorite for the cashmere turtleneck, but a creamy white, rich camel, or chocolate brown are all great basics.
  • Blazer –   A great Cashmere or Italian Wool blazer is the starting point for so many great looks. Like the other basic tops, you can pair it with jeans, tailored pants, or a skirt. Start with a versatile color like black or navy. A well-tailored single breasted jacket suits most bodies best. Avoid fussy details like big lapels or buttons that think they are jewelry – these limit the life of your jacket.
  • Great Jeans are simple and practical. Great jeans are elegant and rebellious. They are so versatile – they can dress anything down and make even the most uptight item look relaxed.
  • The Simple Chic (Black) Dress – This is the dress that is going to let you shine – it is going to flatter you, but not detract from you. It lets your hair, your accessories, and your personality take center stage. The simple sheath dress is a classic; layer it under a jacket for day, but remove the jacket and accessorize it for evening. The classic version is black, but it looks great in white (or a soft toned print) too. Add drama with killer heels and jewelry.

I am a big fan of  Tom Ford, the renowned designer turned film director who re-vitalized Gucci and has just released his own women’s collection. Tom knows all about style: ” Style is very different from fashion. Once you find something that works, keep it.”

Cashmere Princess
Fashion Apprentice – Isle of Skye Cashmere

How We Think About Style

At Isle of Skye Cashmere, our point of view about style 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 – the best you can afford:

  • These should be impeccably tailored to fit your body well. A poor fitting designer piece looks much worse than a perfectly tailored item bought at a less expensive store.
  • They should be constructed from the highest quality fabric; great fabrics are the foundation of beautiful clothes. You get maximum versatility from high quality multi-season natural fabrics such as lightweight wool, silks, and fine cashmere knits.
  • The foundation colors should be basic and versatile. Black is a great place to start because it is elegant, versatile and slimming. But, white, camel, chocolate brown, and navy are all great foundation colors to add to your basic black pieces.

The secret weapon of every stylish woman is the unexpected item(s) that turns a great look into an amazing one. Of course, one way to do this is with a great looking cashmere cardigan in an eye-popping color. You can also add gorgeous shoes, a knockout handbag, a piece of signature jewelry, or a cashmere scarf in a “wow” color or pattern. There are lots of other ways to add personality pieces to your look…we’ll talk more about this later.

Cashmere Princess
Fashion Intern – Isle of Skye Cashmere

Victoria’s Secret

Victoria Beckham is an international style icon. She is one of the most photographed women in the world, appearing frequently on the cover of International Editions of Vogue. She has the connections to wrangle a front row seat at the Runway Show of any designer in the world.  And, money is truly no object in pulling together her wardrobe.

In a world with so many choices and so few limits, where do you start?.  Where does Victoria Beckham get her style inspiration? Well, Victoria revealed the secret in her recent book, That Extra Half an Inch:

My own inspiration comes from fashion icons of the last century: Grace Kelly, Jackie Onassis, and my muse-for-all seasons, Audrey Hepburn. Breakfast at Tiffany’s must be my favorite movie of all time, and you can still wear anything from that today. And what do these women have in common? Simplicity. The understanding that it’s all about shape – not just body shape, but the silhouette – the hat, the sunglasses, the bag, the shoes. Looks that have staying power.

We share the same inspiration as Victoria Beckham, and we love her statement on simplicity and staying power.  For the stylish woman, the essence of simplicity is an emphasis on quality over quantity and timelessness and versatility over trendiness. Nina Garcia, of Project Runway fame, expands on these ideas:

Today’s fashion cycles are getting shorter…there are more trends and more choices….Don’t be the woman who gets caught up on these fads. You should be the woman who has a personal style and who is not afraid to wear your favorite pieces repeatedly. Remember….when you invest deeply in pieces that you love and will love season after season, these items become yours. They show the world that you know who you are. You are no fashion victim. You are an original. Start dressing like one.

At Isle of Skye Cashmere, we want to help you develop your personal style. Please stop by to talk to us about it.

Cashmere Princess
Fashion Apprentice – Isle of Skye Cashmere

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

Store Sale for 2 Days only : Sept 30 – Oct 1

Dear Friends:Rita

As many of you know, I have closed the Isle of Skye Retail Store while I continue my rehabilitation for my broken femur. My surgeons have told me it will take a full year to rehab, and I take them at their word.

During this time, I continue to have the Isle of Skye Cashmere website open.

I know my Cincinnati customers prefer to come to the store, so I have decided to open for my valued customers. My store will be open for a Special Sale , Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1 from 11am – 5:30pm. All Isle of Skye Cashmere sweaters will be on sale at 40% off. My other merchandise will be on sale at 50% off.

This will be a great opportunity to stock up on Christmas gifts!

In addition, I have invited ThRedheads and Girl with Pearl ( from
Cleveland) to join in this sale.

ThRedHeads offers “Men’s formalwear with Flair. Tux shirts with a
Twist and gorgeous cumberbund sets.” All ThRedHeads merchandise will be on sale at 35% off.

Girl with Pearl offers “Luxe pearls, pendants, gemstones, lizard
purses, buckles and more.” All Girl with Pearl merchandise will be on sale at 35% off.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone! I miss you all!

Rita Jones

Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave.
Cincinnati OH 45243