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Entries in Womenswear (236)


El-Buy: Red, White, and Blue-bque

Unpack your linen tunics and your white shoes!

It’s the official start of summertime in Chicago. I’m looking forward to bbqs and beer, an extra day off of work, and the black and white party that is the Indy 500.

Want to be an El-Yes this weekend? Celebrate in style with any of these great red, white, and blue options.

While you're shopping online, make sure to say “thank you” by donating to the American Legion or the Disabled American Veterans Fund.



Left: Neon Rose Striped Shirt from J.Crew ($72), Bleached Denim Mini from the Gap ($59.50), Navy and Red Caroline Shoes from Tory Burch ($225), Red Charlize Sunglasses from Kate Spade ($148)


Left Center: Burgandy Tank from American Apparel ($17), Printed Capri Pant from Kate Spade ($275), Gold Wedges from Moschino Cheap & Chic ($345), Red and White Enamel Bracelet from Hermes ($660), Canvas Tote from Tory Burch ($250)


Right Center: Navy and White Whale Tale Skirt from Vineyard Vines ($118), White Cotton T-shirt from Hanes ($9.99), Blue and Gold Sandals Mystique ($125), White Ceramic Watch from Michael Kors ($495)


Right: White Classic Jeans from Old Navy ($34.50), Red and White Sunset Sail Top from Vineyard Vines ($98.50), Red Coral Sandals from Mystique ($89.50)


El-No: La-di-da-di, we like to party

Hawaiian print shirt: Check

Tight-rolled leopard print pants: Check

Shiny red high heels: Check

Miss El-No is ready to party over the long holiday weekend! Evidently her plans include a luau and an 80’s themed safari. I think she might have been hitting up the Mai Tais when she got dressed this morning.

Want to be a Memorial Day weekend El-Yes? If your plans include a tropical vacation, check out this adorable beach dress from Boden. Staying in Chicago to take on the urban jungle? Try this great tank, printed skirt and leather sandal from Banana Republic


El-No: The Joke’s on Us

What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t work?

A stick.

What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?

Nacho Cheese

What do call jeans, a denim corset, and a jean jacket?


No really, what do you call that? I seriously have no idea… a three-piece Canadian tuxedo? A silly joke?

From design houses (like Chloe and Ralph Lauren) to mass fashion retailers (like Banana Republic and J.Crew), denim on denim is a trend that seems to be gaining momentum.

Ugh- does no one else remember Justin Timberlake’s legendary denim tuxedo at the 2001 American Music Awards? Somewhere, Levi Strauss is rolling over in his grave.

Want to successfully embrace this look and avoid looking like Miss El-No? Try mixing different tones and finishes of denim together a la Reese Witherspoon. Still not feeling it? Experiment with layering in other materials like a simple cotton t-shirt or statement leather belt.




El-No: The Preppy Mountain Climber

Grab the canteen and the trail mix! Looks like we are hiking down to Palm Beach.

Socialite turned entrepreneur Lilly Pulitzer, started her iconic brand over fifty years ago. Lilly ran a stand selling juice made with the local Florida citrus fruits. She asked her seamstress to whip up some colorful cotton dresses that could easily conceal the inevitable juice stains. And a star was born! Her colorful shift dresses and whimsical patterns signify that summer is upon us.

Now that the background story is laid, let’s talk about this look.

Love the Lilly; Hate the backpack.

Miss El-No, what are you doing here? Why on earth are you wearing a hiking backpack with this outfit? Get a shoulder bag lady! You are going to work in an office not on the Appalachian Trail. 

* I do want to note the recent Huffington Post article “The Backpack Comes Around Again.” Tory Burch, I guess we will have to agree to disagree. I think that is great that designers want to save our backs and shoulders but I really don’t see how designers are responsible. Here’s an idea. We could just carry less crap in our bags. 


El-No: Walk of Shame  

Get this girl a Gatorade, an Advil, and a cab home. Miss El-No’s sheer and short dress is verging on the edge of a Britney Spears/Paris Hilton circa 2007 moment. This lovely lady made a mistake last night (hopefully this is the only one). She paired a show stopping sheer dress with show stopping cut out shooties.

The cut out short boot trend is HUGE for Spring. You will find this footwear option dominating retailers and fashion publications during the warm weather months of 2010. 

So why is this an El-No?

The key to wearing a cut out shootie (shoe + bootie) is to let that be the star of the outfit. Pair these inventive kicks with a simple classic silhouette (preferably one that is knee length). Check out this amazing lace front peep toe ankle boot by the king of the sky-high sexy shoe: Azzedine Alaia.

Slept through too many early morning spin classes? Skip this trend if you have heavier legs since it will draw attention to thicker ankles and calves. 

* Great photo KB!


El-Yes: The One Who Got Away

I blame the CTA for my missing photograph.

Miss El-Yes was standing at a bus stop across the street when I saw her (well really it was the necklace that reeled me in- I’m a sucker for jewelry).  Anyway, I was rooting around in my purse looking for my phone when the #50 bus pulled up in front of me and blocked my view. Miss El-Yes and her Louboutins got on the bus and disappeared.

Stupid bus! Perhaps I should put an ad in the Missed Connections section of the Reader?

You: Best outfit ever

Me: Girl digging through enormous black purse, while holding Starbucks and cursing because I can’t find my blackberry

If you would like to copy Miss El-Yes’s look, find yourself a great pair of slim white jeans (perfect for Summer). Pair this with a simple black sleeveless shirt and black heels. Dress up this look with a statement accessory- a cool necklace or a bright Hermes scarf. And voila- instant chic! 


El-No: Guess?

I think it is obvious what is going on here.

Clearly, this woman is an extra in John Hughes tribute movie. That drawstring bag contains a few Swatches, a backup pair of jelly shoes, a banana clip, and a Popple.

That is the only plausible explanation for wearing rolled up stone washed Guess jean shorts.

Unless anyone else can think of something else? Bueller… Bueller… Bueller?


*Thanks for the photo SC!


El-No: Oh My God. Becky, Look At Her Butt.

I have a confession to make. With a bum straight out of a Sir Mix-A-Lot video, I don’t wear leggings and I am rarely in jeans. So it is no surprise that I never jumped on the jegging band wagon. 

Jeggings (jeans + leggings) sound good in theory- a comfortable non-restrictive version of the skinny jean that easily tucks into riding boots. But with that logic you could also argue in favor of the pajama jean (which is just plain crazy). I guess I’m saying that jeggings are an acquired taste that I never acquired. 

So what is the problem with this lovely reader submitted photo (thanks KB)? Well it isn’t the jeggings per se, rather the fit of the jeggings. If you are going to wear them, own it and commit to the tight spanx-like fit. They shouldn’t be baggy and they certainly shouldn’t be muffin top inducing low riders. And the most important advice of all: just because you can buy them in your size, doesn’t mean that you should. All trends are not created for all bodies and this is one that Miss El-No and I should skip. 

All fashions are cyclical, meaning that pant fits alternate between slim and wide leg. Just when fashion gets to an extreme version of one fit, we swing back the other way. Well I think that day might be on its way. Jeans certainly can’t get any tighter. So I’m planning to skip this trend and patiently wait for the wide leg pants that are just around the corner. 


El-No: Faux Fur, Fuschia, and Fast Walking

Slow down! Apparently those Chuck Taylors are quite comfortable because Miss El-No walked so fast that I couldn’t get a picture. All I could capture was a blur of fur and chartreuse spandex glistening in the night. 

So I had to take matters into my own hands. I reconstructed the full ensemble as a sketch. So please direct your attention to my illustration of a faux fur jacket, fuzzy fuschia shorts, neon green spandex, and yellow All Stars. Oy!

I am hoping that she was going to a super hero theme costume party and maybe added on the coat to stay warm in this sudden Spring chill? But I digress…

Shades of yellow and spring green (from goldenrod all the way to chartreuse) are always a great bet for warmer weather. Skip the spandex and incorporate this color story with accessories. Add in this great Tory Burch wristlet in yellow or these cute Lilly Pulitzer sandals in green. Want to dress up your suit? J.Crew to the rescue! Incorporate either this solid yellow scarf or patterned yellow scarf


El-Buy: Window Shopping from the #70 bus – Make it a Habit!

One of my favorite parts about my commute is the window-shopping (which occasionally turns into real shopping much to the chagrin of my wallet). I am always running late in the morning, so this casual strolling is usually saved for my walk home.

Habit is the type of store that makes a neighborhood great. It is filled with innovative and creative pieces by local designers (like store owner Lindsey Boland) and always has fantastic window displays. It is the store that you look forward to passing on your dog walk and stopping in on a Friday when you need something to wear out that night.

Now let’s get down to brass tacks here- the outfit in the window is perfect for summer (please hurry up and get here, I am sick of this weather). The nautical stripes are trend forward and the one shoulder silhouette is very flattering. Love!


1951 W Division St

Chicago, IL 60622


El-Yes: Black and White is Always Right

Paul McCartney is so wise. Ebony and ivory do live together in perfect harmony. 

Why mess with a good thing? This graphic and classic color combination works.

Sass up the look by adding in springtime brights (like the adorable purple number on Miss El-Yes). Check out Kate Spade’s brilliant blue skirt or refreshing orange shift dress

Colorblind? Tory Burch will save the day with her bold black and white patterned looks for spring. Try this crisp striped top or her fabulous Dixie Dress in the vintage print (yes, the pattern with the houses on it- after all, It Takes A Village). 

And Paul… you are totally my favorite Beatle. 


El-No: Dazed and Confused

The 1970s called. They want their outfit back.

For thousands of years, people have been wearing dyed decorative fabrics. In fact, Ancient Romans used mollusks and saffron to dye their draped clothing. Sounds more like seafood paella to me…Bartender, I’ll take a sangria.

Using vibrant dyes and tied rags to create unique patterns became popular during the 1970s. Well, tie-dye is back for Spring and should be worn SPARINGLY.

So what went wrong here? She is covered from head to toe in tie-dye!

A better approach to adding this trend into your wardrobe would be to anchor a modernized tie-dye garment with neutral accessories. Check out Italian brand Blumarine for inspiration. Want to add tie-dye to your wardrobe for less? Mix in this adorable Michael Stars scarf!




El-No: The Fashion Equivalent of a Mullet…Business on top and Party down below

Love the idea of springtime brights and florals! Hate the fact that I need sunglasses to look at this pink explosion.  

I’m just going to take a page out of Sally Fields’ Steel Magnolia playbook and say that she “looks like [she has] been hosed down with Pepto-Bismol.”

Lose the neon tights girlfriend!! 2009’s bright tights should be paired with dark neutral solids.

Next time, let the bright floral skirt take center stage by mixing in a neutral top, neutral shoes, and bare legs. Besides, it is SPRING in Chicago. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and pack the Fall/ Winter clothes and accessories away!

*** This is El-No’s first reader submitted photo! Thanks CBR- keep ‘em coming!




El-Yes: She’s a Oui, Oui, Oui All the Way Home

Mais Oui! I love a girl with a bike.

Get your mind out the gutter! Not in a “tattooed stipper/ porn star Jesse James” kind of way. This is more of a “chic french girl with a beret and a baguette” kind of love. 

This lovely girl is channeling her inner Audrey Hepburn (Funny Face) with her ankle length black leggings and adorable flat shoes. Black is always chic, but it becomes more fabulous when it is accented with a bit of color. 

Want to recreate this look at home? Try these Gap slim pants paired with these bright Tory Burch Revas


El-Yes: Red Rover, Red Rover, Send This Chic Girl On Over!

Stalking this El-Yes with my blackberry camera while simultaneously driving and playing on Facebook was hard work. Please don’t tell Oprah since I think that might be worse then texting and driving (Sorry O!!!!).

Why all the fuss over this girl? 

Sassy red trench coat= Yes please! This classic coat silhouette was first marketed by Thomas Burberry after WWI and has been turning heads ever since. The vibrant red color makes it the perfect pop for springtime in Chicago. 

Need to save your pennies? Check out this little number from Old Navy!


El-No: Muffins: Delicious for Breakfast, Disaster for Denim

Several things are wrong with the jean situation, but we’ll just tackle one: the dreaded muffin top.

We owe Alexander McQueen’s bumsters and former Mousekeeter Britney Spear’s midriff for the low-rise jean craze that started in 1996. Sadly, most of us don’t have the body of a teenage pop star (unless Justin Bieber is reading this???).

What to do? Skip the high-rise jeans (Jessica Simpson) and head for a mid-rise jean and a belt. Mid-rise jeans will keep your stomach in your pants and come in a variety of contemporary washes, leg widths, and price points. Try Gap, Levi’s, and Citizens of Humanity for ideas. 



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