Advice from Vogue: Be Crisp, Tailored, and Simple

Jessica Cashmere SweaterIn the November issue of Vogue (with Anne Hathaway on the cover), Marcia DeSanctis tells us what she learned about style one summer spent on the Cote D’Azur with a French woman named Shirin. Some of my favorite quotes from the article:

Marcia’s observation on Shirin’s closet: “Her clothes hung in geometric simplicity. The pallette was black, tan, and white. There were trim linen blouses and A-line skirts of cotton gabardine, Yves St. Laurent and Courreges, and dresses cut at the the neck to highlight a perfect necklace.”

Marcia remembers Shirin’s style while shopping: “The spangles and crazy prints had tempted me, but something steered me away from all of that clutter. Shirin could not have known that her example had already made her mark: be crisp, tailored, and simple. Never skimp on shoes.”

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

6 Ways to Wear Green

Green has always been one of my favorite colors, but it’s not always the easiest color to wear. It can sometimes be hard to find the right shade for your coloring and your wardrobe. Luckily, this color is on-trend this season, so there are plenty of rich, beautiful shades to choose from right now! Isle of Skye has offered a soft, heathered, grass-green in many of our sweater styles for a couple of years now and we just received a gorgeous, deep Loden green in a couple of our cable styles. We have some beautiful hues in several other styles as well, but they are going fast! Whether green has been a staple in your wardrobe for years, or you are just starting to explore this new trend, I thought I’d offer a couple tips on how to style this secretly versatile color!

AshleyFinalGreen1#1: Wear it as a NEUTRAL – In working with color, I have found that colors can actually be more versatile than neutrals, because it can be worn with ALL your basics. A classic v-neck cashmere cardigan in a beautiful, rich green is as versatile as the style itself! You can wear it with black, brown, white, navy, grey, denim or khaki!

#2: Wear it WITH a neutral – Most shades of green are going to look great with any shade of khaki, oatmeal, beige or taupe. You can always wear an oatmeal cardigan or sweater set with a pair of green pants, or use a vivid shade of green to set off an achromatic outfit.

#3: Make it your POP COLOR – Kelly Green doesn’t have to be reserved for St. Patty’s Day. One of my go-to pieces is a stunning Kelly green Samantha Sung dress, and the color is beautiful with a tan or without! Wear this wonderful jewel tone in a cable cashmere sweater with a simple white blouse and a pair of dark jeans for an easy outfit that really stands out.

#4: Wear it WITH a pop color – Olive Green looks FANTASTIC with Fuchsia. One of my favorite outfits right now is a pair of olive green J Brand jeans with a tailored white blouse and a pair of Fuchsia suede L.K.Bennett pumps. The bright pink accents the earthy green perfectly!

#5: Wear it with BABY BLUE – Darker greens, like Olive or Loden, pair beautifully with light blues for a soft, sophisticated look. Pair a dark green pullover or cardigan with a pair of light-wash jeans for a casual, but unexpected look, or try the reverse. Wear a baby blue cardigan with a pair of olive green jeans or trousers for a dressier day-into-evening outfit. If you are wearing a cardigan, stick to an off-white blouse or camisole to maintain a refined palette.


#6: Accent it with LEOPARD PRINT – Add a touch of cat-titude by wearing olive green jeans or kelly green trousers with a leopard print belt, scarf or shoes! The neutral animal print on a nature-inspired hue is the perfect way to accessorize this color.

I hope you are as excited as I am to run home and see what outfits I can come up with…I’m falling in love with the color green all over again!


Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave
Madeira OH 45243

How to Pull Your Look Together: It’s All in the Details!

Whether dressing for work, a day out with your girlfriends or a romantic dinner-date downtown, I find an outfit isn’t quite complete without the finishing touches. Accessorizing is the best way to transform an outfit and show off your own unique style, and you don’t have to have access to Vogue’s sample closet either! In fact, some of my all-time favorite outfits have been created with just a few fantastic pieces.

2013 10 07 Ashley Blog Pic 2

Start with a pair of beautifully tailored pants or great fitting jeans and a clean, simple top…the crew neck cashmere tunic shown to the left, creates the perfect canvas for jewelry and scarves. Keep your outfit simple, classic and comfortable, then jazz it up using some of your favorite pieces! Add a statement necklace, or layer long, delicate chains together to create a statement of your own. Try stacking some chunky bracelets together and add a scarf…a beautiful, printed scarf, like the one shown on the right…to really pull your look together.2013-10-07-Ashley-Blog-Pic-4

Be sure to maintain a balance though, it can be easy to over-do it. I like to balance a stack of bracelets on one arm with a single ring on the opposite hand…or, if you’re wearing great earrings, you probably don’t need a necklace. I usually layer pieces on, then edit before walking out the door. In most cases, less is more. Now go ahead and try it for yourself!               by Ashley at Isle of Skye Cashmere



Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave
Madeira OH 45243

It Starts Today: Help Every Child Succeed in Cincinnati

Isle of Skye Cashmere store begins our fundraising week for Every Child Succeeds in Cincinnati today, Saturday, December 4. We will continue from Tuesday December 7 to Saturday December 11. Store hours are 10am to 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, we will stay open until 9pm for a special Men’s Shopping Night. And, on Saturday, we close at 3pm. 20% of all our store sales during this time will be donated to Every Child Succeeds.

Over the last 5 years, with the help of loyal customers, I have raised over $50,000 for Every Child Succeeds. With the pressure on our state budget this year, ECS needs support from the private community more than ever. I support Every Child Succeeds because I believe that helping to save a child is the best holiday gift that we can give.
Loro-Piana-Cashmere-Blazer-Look Good!
Isle of Skye Cashmere specializes in fine Scottish  Cashmere.

Do Good!
20% of all store sales this week goes to Every Child Succeeds, a Children’s Hospital Program that delivers vital services to children of at-risk, first time moms. These moms are typically unmarried, low income, and have no access to prenatal care. Their children are at high risk for poor health, delayed learning and social development, neglect, and abuse. ECS has proved it helps save at-risk children by lowering infant mortality, creating safe and healthy home environments, and delivering normal learning, language and social development for over 90% of the children in the program.

$250 Gift Cards!
We’re giving away two $250 gift cards at the end of the week. No purchase is necessary, just stop by the store to register!

Please come by Isle of Skye Cashmere this week, and help in my support of Every Child Succeeds! I hope to see you.

Rita Jones
Isle of Skye Cashmere
7006 Center St.
Madeira OH 45243


The Loro Piana Cashmere Blazer

Loro Piana Cashmere Blazer

“A killer jacket is the ultimate wardrobe enhancer: it adds a touch of instant sophistication paired with any other pieces – from jeans to dresses – and, without looking like it’s trying too hard, can do wonders for your figure.

Ideally every closet would boast at least one investment piece jacket. That’s the one made from superior fabric …that is perfectly fitted to your body.”