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Entries in Womenswear (236)


El-Buy: Eat Your Heart Out F. Scott Fitzgerald


Regrettably, I have not been practicing the Charleston. It just hasn't made it into my fitness regime. 

 So this Friday, I plan to sip speakeasy cocktails and twirl my ropes of pearls from the side of the dance floor. I will be channelling the Jazz Age at the Junior League of Chicago's annual Summer Soiree: A Gatsby Garden Party. 

I will be celebrating this fete with some fabulous flapper fashion. Flappers, the young social set of the Twenties, got their name from their dresses. Their drop waist dresses were embellished with sequins and spangles- which made flapping noises while the girls were dancing. Those are some hot moves mama!

Here are some ideas to wear to this Prohibition themed extravaganza. Go get your ticket and your feathered headband today!



Gatsby Garden Party


ECI beaded dress
$138 -



Maryjane shoes
$136 -


J crew jewelry
$118 -


ASOS goldtone earrings
$14 -


ASOS engraved earrings
$21 -


ASOS origami jewelry
$26 -


Forever21 beading necklace
$7.80 -











El-No: The September Issue

Last night, I dreamt about color blocked heeled loafers (obvi too much exposure to the September fashion magazines).

I’m wholeheartedly ready for cozy cashmere and tailgating. Did you hear that Fall? Bring it.

Of course I have been on the lookout for autumnal transition looks, which brings me to Miss El-No. I discovered her while I was on the way to Starbucks.

Maybe I just REALLY needed a coffee but at first glance I thought that she might have some sort of odd leg tattoos or perhaps a case of leprosy. They I realized that it was just some very unfortunate footless tights. Such a relief, I was afraid I was going to have to call the CDC.

I love that Miss El-No was looking to get more mileage out of her cream lace dress, but I think that this could have been accomplished without causing a national health scare.

Here are some ideas:

Weekend Casual: Layer this cream dress over a great pair of distressed jeans. Knot a chunky brown belt at the middle and pair with these amazing tasseled pumps. Thrown on a cute leopard cardi for cooler temps.

Dinner and Drinks: Pair this cream lace dress with a cropped black leather jacket, some sassy black heels, and this fabulous Zara clutch



El-No: Beep. Beep. Who Got The Keys To The Jeep. Vrooooom.

Obviously high on endorphins from my after work gym session, I failed at snapping a picture of Miss El-No last night. 

I was driving home when I noticed Miss El-No standing on the side of the road. At first I thought that I was dehydrated and having some sort of odd vision. An exposed lace bra and a striped knit bustier? That is crazy talk. 

I had to get a picture. The one handed fishing expedition through my gym bag commenced. Where was my phone? I found it and poised for a picture. What would Carrie Underwood do in this situation? 

Jesus take the wheel

Take it from my hands

Cause I can't do this on my own 

Unfortunately, Jesus did not account for the light changing or the police car to my left. Hence the illustration instead of a photograph. Moral: Jesus is bad at photography.

Miss El-No's open bust corset top reminds me of the bare breasted ensembles of the Ancient Minoan women. I have never heard of the Minoan Snake Goddesses serving as a fashion inspiration, but there is a first time for everything. 

If she isn't trying to channel the Ancient World, I suggest she get a shirt. 


El-No: Move Over Miley

I feel like I'm watching an ABC Family movie.

In this episode, the silly kid sister sneaks off to the city to strike it big (music/ modeling/ spelling bee).

She's alone except for her cartoon character backpack. "That'll show them!" she whines. It seems they forgot her special occasion (birthday/ school play/ opening day of her lemonade stand franchise).

Panicked, her parents know just what to do. They drive in and find the little girl at the train station. Awwwwww. "We'll never ignore you again!" Hugs all around.

The little girl is so happy that she is driven to sing and dance. A talent agent just happens to be at the train station! She gets discovered. Awwwwww. "We're so proud of you!" High Five!

And... Scene.

Call the Disney channel. This shiz is gold.

This sweet story almost made me forget that this reader submitted photo is of an adult wearing stir up pants with Minnie Mouse style flip flops.

But it didn't. Even the most saccharine of shows can't make this combination seem like a good idea for an adult.



*Thanks for the photo MHD!


El-No: Fluff and Fold

Around here, laundry day (also know as "The Only Day Granny Panties Have A Chance Of Making It Into The Rotation") comes once a week. 

Judging by the hodge-podge of a situation we have here, I am suspecting that Miss El-No might have just dropped off her gear at Bubbleland or Yo Yo Laundromat. She seems to be one roll of quarters short of a complete outfit. 

The jorts can work with the black cowboy boots. The athletic Y-bra makes sense with the racer back workout tank. The studded bag can make friends with the boots. But can they all play together? Not unless she is going to a Yoga Rodeo sponsored by Harley Davidson. 

I vote for a laundry day do-over. How about the Samesies Dress ($47.99) from ModCloth? It comes in either Cherry or Almond- one of which is sure to compliment everyone . This simple dress will work for a casual day of errands or a sassy night out with friends. Just change up the accessories and you'll have a winner.

Even Mr. Sudsy agrees!  



El-Buy: American Dress

I am a dress person. 

This isn't news to anyone who knows me. I find them to be lazy and uncomplicated- which I love. I can slip on a dress or skirt and feel feminine (without much effort) and well dressed. The great thing about a dress is that once you put it on, you are done. There is nothing else to do but grab your sunnies and walk out the door. 

Obviously, I am drawn to other dress people. I feel a gravitation pull towards my kindred fashion spirits.

They get it. 

The American Look was defined in the Forties and Fifties by designer Claire McCardell. She created tailored dresses, like this one housed at the Fashion Resource Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, constructed in wash and wear/ drip dry fabrics. Her beautiful garments rejected the complexity of the contemporary design world and instead allowed women to dress in a simple (yet lovely) manner.

She gets it. 

Shabby Apple, an affordable dress mecca, also understands my love for the ease of a one piece ensemble. I want everything but I am particularly in love with their Roamin' Holiday collection. I plan to purchase the Primavera ($84) and the Tiber ($88). 




El-No: Coco Knows Best

Coco Chanel once said that you should take one thing off before you leave for the day. It is her little reminder that simpler is usually better.

I don't think Miss El-No followed this advice.

I saw her walking in the Loop yesterday- and by "walking" I mean tottering slowly on her sky high shoes. The poor thing even turned her ankle mid-shuffle.

The bags, the shoes, the net sweater, the hair clip: it was too much. Just way to much gear!

I think Coco would tell Miss El-No to strip it all down to her LBD. She can add on a practical pair of flats (for that commute home). Looks like a winner to me. 


El-No: Shortiepalooza

Lolla is this weekend.

That means bands, drinks, and being outdoors. Sounds like the perfect summer combination to me.

But shorts, my garment nemesis, will undoubtedly be involved in many weekend ensembles. I don’t want to hate on an entire category of bottoms, but they really perplex me. Isn’t there a happy medium between Mom shorts and a costume at VIPs?

I plan to carry around cranberry juice boxes with me. Like a fashionable Florence Nightingale, I will distribute them to all of the girls whose too tight/ small shorts look like they might inflict a UTI. I hope to save some lives.

A Short Guide To Shorts:

  • Pleats are hard (even ironic pleats). They can add unnecessary fabric and bulk.
  • Be kind to your business – tight isn’t sexy. Make sure that you have a little breathing room and are wearing the correct size.
  • Find a length that works for you! Not everyone can wear shorties or board shorts. Figure out what works the best with your height and build.

Day Concert: Lucca Couture Chiffon Scallop Short for $29.99 from Urban Outfitters; or Sidewalk Short for $65 from J. Crew

Night Concert: Dallas Dance Off Short for $69.99 from ModCloth; or Duchesse Ruffle Short for $395 from J.Crew 


El-Yes: Chroma Chameleon

She had me with her fabulous color scheme- the Andy Warhol canvas shopping tote was an added bonus.

I’m a sucker for pigment and pattern mixing. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I read color trend reports and actually own several books about color palettes and their underlying psychology. I even follow Pantone on Twitter.

I am truly chroma crazy. But who gonna check me boo?

So it is with true color wheel envy that I write about this refreshing combination of white, chartreuse, and magenta. I want it. I need these J. Crew pieces for Fall.

Pants: New Café Capri in Wool ($118) in Baked Citron and Bright Dahlia

Sweaters: Tippi Sweater ($69.50) in Bright Dahlia and the Stripe Breaker Sweater ($78) in Champagne Honey

Blazer: School Boy Velvet Blazer ($168) in Heather Chartreuse

Skirt: Sash Skirt ($135) in Burnt Olive

Shoes: Mona Suede Pumps ($198) in Wild Berry 



El-Yes: Everything's Coming Up Roses

Best mood ever. 

I love Van Morrison. Instead of a cup of coffee, I started my day off with Ro Ro Rosey. I've been singing all morning. 

Ro ro ro ro ro ro ro rosey,
Ro ro ro ro ro ro ro rosey.
You're the apple of my eye,
Ice cream in my cherry pie, pie.

I think my outfit today might need to reflect my rose colored disposition. How about this beautiful Rebecca Minkoff top? 

Coming Up Roses

Rebecca Minkoff sleeveless blouse
$168 -

GAP long pants
$35 -

Kate Spade wedge heel sandals
$238 -

Rebecca Minkoff tassel bag
$250 -

Kate Spade gem earrings
$98 -


El-No: What Do Campers and Feminists Have In Common? 

I wore bloomers as a kid. True story.

Each summer, I trekked off to Camp Arcadia in Casco, Maine. I sailed, hiked, and got dirty- all while wearing a faded blue cotton camp uniform. This uniform consisted of blue shorts and blue t-shirts (on Sundays we sassed it up with navy shorts and white polos). But the best part about this summer costume was the optional bloomers.

Every summer we rented our uniforms from the camp. Occasionally a super old faded pair of bloomers appeared in the stack of rental garments. This was like finding gold. These relics were soft with age and the elastic bits had dulled or broken – meaning they were cool and worn (in that “everything old is awesome” New England sensibility).

I hate to admit this but I actually snuck a pair home with me one August. They lived in my underwear drawer until I retuned to Maine the following summer. I viewed the stowaways as insurance that I would have bloomers the following year… although in retrospect, I guess it was theft (opps).

A headstrong feminist created bloomers, a loose pair of shorts/ pants that are elasticized in the leg opening, during the Civil War. This little lady loved to ride her bicycle, which was practically impossible with a floor length skirt. Her solution? She cut her skirt off to the knees and sewed herself some loose long underwear that gathered at the ankles. Her name was Amelia Bloomer, so these loose undergarments were called bloomers.

I have mad bloomer love running through my veins, but these particular elastic diaper like shorts have offended me. They are too short and too tight to be proper bloomers. Amelia would probably run you over with her bike if she saw this situation.

Skip the elastic shorts and opt for these Chambray of Light shorts from ModCloth instead. For only $39.99, you’ll have plenty of money left to celebrate the summer with some smores and a book about Women's Suffrage.

*Thanks for the photo J!



El-Yes: A Hot Outfit For Hot Weather

I saw her on the way to the Blue Line. She was looking summery chic, while I was being that annoying person on her cell phone in public.

In the blink of an eye, Miss El-Yes disappeared into CVS. I didn’t have enough time to snap a picture (and besides I was on the phone with my mother- we were discussing a potential iPad purchase. Yes, my mom might become tech savvy!)

It is so hot outside, but Miss El-Yes looked effortlessly elegant. An adorable sleeveless blouse, crisp white linen pants, and woven ballet flats seem like the perfect way to combat the humidity.

Fight the heat with a bottle of water and these fashionable duds!

Blouse: Loosened Shelby Blouse from Anthropologie for $58

Pants: Theory Crunch Linen Pants from Neiman Marcus Cusp for $245

Shoes: Last Straw Ballet Flats from J.Crew for $128


El-No: Mrs. New Booty

Booty. Booty. Booty. Booty. Rock`n everywhere.

Booty. Booty. Booty. Booty. Rock`n everywhere.

Booty. Booty. Booty. Booty. Rock`n everywhere.

Usually it is a bad sign when an outfit makes me think of Bubba Sparxx and the Ying Yang Twins.

Truth be told, this weekend was a scorcher. But hot weather doesn't mean that you need to have your business... Rock`n everywhere. Rock`n everywhere.

Shhhhhh. Let me whisper in your ear. Get yourself together, go and buy some new gear.

No really, Miss. El-No needs to take the rapper's advice and go shopping for shorts that fit. Put the goodies away girlfriend. I suggest you check out these colorful cool shorts at Zara. For only $19.99 a pair, you can afford to get the magenta and the teal. Love!

*Thanks for the photo SM!



El-Buy: Textured Textiles

Last night, at SAIC, I had the pleasure of examining a Nina Ricci floral confection. The three dimensional botanical surface design was just inspiring.

All of those delicate flowers propelled me to go online shopping.

Behold my trend board. I call it “ Texture, inspired by texture!


Nina Ricci polka dot dress
$4,790 -

Felicity Brown strapless dress
$1,529 -

J Mendel chiffon dress
$1,199 -

Max and Cleo wrap dress
$158 -

Cocktail party dress
$55 -

Giuseppe Zanotti stiletto high heels
$1,095 -

Lanvin pin brooch
$168 -

Flower brooch
£2.40 -



El-No: A Lid For Every Pot

Ahhhh love.

Romance is in the air. I’m glad they found each other. I'm sure it is hard to stumble upon someone else who loves uncomplimentary denim as much as holding hands.

Overalls have a long tradition in the USA- they were worn first as part of the military uniforms for the American militia during the Revolutionary War. Originally called Spatterdashers, overalls were popular for year round use (linen in the summer and wool in the winter). American denim extraordinaire Levi Strauss eventually used jean material and rivets to create the overalls that we know today. They became a staple in the tradition of industrial work in America.

Unless you are a factory worker, farmer, small child, or manual laborer, I would avoid overalls.  I don’t care that designers make overalls… Seriously, they are unflattering. Because there is no defined waistline, these overalls highlight the widest part of a women’s body- her hips. Yikes!

Maybe this $118 Sahara Romper from 7 For All Mankind would be a better choice? This eco-friendly denim option still provides the ease of a one piece but is much more attractive and creates a slimmer waist. 

*Thanks for the photo DF


El-No: Hipsters On Ice 

A variety of thoughts passed through my mind when I discovered Miss El-No in the CVS near The School of the Art Institute. Here is my inner dialogue:

I had no idea that the Ice Capades were in town. It must be Hipsters on Ice. She probably will do her interpretive program to the Black Keys. I wonder if the event is sponsored by American Apparel?

Yes, sometimes I talk to myself.

Miss El-No, you are as cute as can be… but why are you wearing a golden tube top/mini skirt combo? There is a time and a place for everything and this isn’t one of them. Save the metallic ice dancing outfit for your hot date with Johnny Weir.

Break free from your inner ice princess with these glamorous (non Skating With The Stars) golden duds. 

Day: Indira ikat dress for $148 from J.Crew

Happy Hour: Minoan Magestry dress for $47.99 from ModCloth

Evening: Metallic Lucille shift dress for $425 from Kate Spade



El-Yes: Planet Of The Apes


I took an urban safari over the holiday weekend.

My metropolitan expedition led me to the monkey house at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Nothing says “America’s birthday” like baboons playing with beach balls.

Hoards of jort wearing tourists crowded into the building to watch the primates swing from a matrix of cables and tree branches. Those guys move pretty fast on the ropes- similar to my mad assisted pull up machine skillz at the gym.

Through the squeals of gibbon glee, I noticed Miss El-Yes. Dressed in an adorable skirt and sweater, she was recording and studying the monkeys. I love that she dressed up for the Zoo.

When I need a cute skirt, I always head to Anthropologie. I think Miss El-Yes would be a fan of this fabulous finds:

Piped Sailor Skirt for $118

Cultivation Skirt for $68

Sagebrush Skirt for $128

Acropora Pencil Skirt for $148



El-Vacation: Red White and Blue-BQ

Beer, burgers, and fireworks. Yes please!

I love summer bbqs. I plan to get my fill over this long weekend. Of course, I will need some fashionably  patriotic gear to get me through the weekend.

Cue Lilly Pulitzer.

Red White and Blue-BQ


El-Yes? El-No? Maybe So

Mother Nature seems a bit confused.

Rain. Sun. Rain. Sun. With this baffling summer weather, I was bound to find some rainbows.

I spotted my first multi-colored Mrs. at a meeting. From her colorful shoes (which she scored at Robin Richman... natch) to her vintage pin, I was enraptured. I guess I have stripe lust because I am in love with this skirt. It serves as a focal point for this multi hued madness and makes it work as an ensemble. While this isn't for the fashion faint of heart, it is graphic and successful.

But just when I was getting ready to embrace the rainbow, I spotted an outfit that was ROYGIV revolting.

This colorful chickie has way too much going on. An over abundance of jewels, crazy socks, two unrelated solid color pieces, and boots- perhaps this is the work of a schizophrenic leprechaun?

It's a color conundrum. Why is one a risky "do" and the other a risky "don't"?

The key to playing with pigment is to have one or two crazy anchor pieces to which the rest of the outfit and palette relate. Miss El-No could have been a yes if she ditched one arms worth of bangles and replaced the socks/ boots with a simple sandal and a bare leg. What works for clothing works with life: Keep It Simple Sister!



El-No: A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Cardio

I have been looking for a way to tone up for summer. Pilates and yoga? Hours on the treadmill?

Step aside Jillian Michaels; Miss El-No has it unlocked.

Apparently the new trend is cardio hoedown. Now I haven’t actually seen this advertised anywhere, but I am confident that it is coming to a sports club near us. Yee-haw!

Gym class line dancing is the only logical explanation for the Umbro soccer shorts/ cowboy boot combination. Either that or Patsy Cline here doesn’t know that performance materials are for playing sports. At least that was the intent when performance synthetics started being produced in the Eighties.

Miss El-No, please ditch the exercise gear and upgrade to something a little more summertime sassy. How about this cute dress from Shabby Apple? It pairs comfy jersey fabric with crisp sateen for only $86 and will look perfect with those boots. Order now and you will have it in time to wear it to the Carrie Underwood concert at Ravina.

*Thanks for the photo GAR!