June 27, 2014 Smooth Transition: Curating your Closet for the Cold

by fashion contributor, Julie

Some fear change, others embrace it, but we can all agree that the shifts in the seasons can leave our closets a little more than confused. There’s nothing more heart sinking than staring hopelessly at hangers draped with all “wrong” garments.

This irrational fear of what the temperamental transitional weather will bring is real and affects even the strongest and most stylish of us. There is a cure, ladies: there is a way to perfectly curate your closet and make the not so stellar “in between” time much more bearably beautiful!

DO Play HIDE and seek
Investing in a creamy smooth, supple, light leather jacket is not only a timelessly chic way to update your wardrobe, it’s the perfect all year piece that can never be over worn.

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Mirador Suede Jacket on sale at $349, Toscana Peplum Jacket on sale at $299

DO Get deep
There’s no need to completely press the mute button on all your colors when the weather starts to wither. Pick rich plums and navies, or any jeweltone that pleases your eye.

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Due East Cardigan $229, Wenona Tunic on sale at $72

DO Mix your maxies
Toss the sandals and flip-flops sister! Bougie-up your summer maxi dresses with a pair of boots. AND if you want to make those maxies last all year long, learn to layer them!

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Fade Away Maxidress on sale at $199, Puno Tank Dress on sale at $149

DO the 50/50
Don’t be afraid to split the difference and wear a summer weather piece with a fall favorite. Think layering a simple tank dress with a bold and cozy cardi.

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Kiri Cardigan $159, Tribal Vest $169

DO DO DO Scarf-up all the accessories you can
And by accessories we mean scarves! Swaddle your neck in silks, luxe pimas, and any other fabric you deem necessary of a face nuzzle. Not only will you be perfectly hip and flawlessly finished, you’ll also feel cool, calm, and collected wrapped in non-stop comfy.

scarves

Illyria Scarf $99,  Blue Horizon Scarf $99

Fearing the time where summer meets fall is no longer needed. Sure, all transitions can be awkward, but wearing what tickles your fancy is the best ‘Do’ of all, and it will ensure that you’ll look fabulous through the change!

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June 17, 2014 “My pictures are my eyes”: a Look at Peru’s Own Mario Testino

by fashion contributor, Julie
An Andean woman in traditional dress. Photo from Mario Testino's  Alta Moda exhibit

An Andean woman in traditional dress. Photo from Mario Testino’s Alta Moda exhibit

VISION. The only word needed when speaking of the world’s most famous fashion photographer of our time. Peruvian-born Mario Testino’s knack for finding the lustrous and almost unattainable beauty in the beautiful, but more impressively the not-so-beautiful, has made him the most invaluable creative staple in the world of fashion. Shooting for the likes of Burberry, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, and Chanel. Posing such posh people as Anna Wintour, the entire bloodline of the British Royal family, and a gaggle of glamorous super models and celebrities.

Although Testino has uncovered, devoured, and savored immense success via international globetrotting, all the while keeping such esteemed and cultured company, the little boy from Lima has never taken his eye off his home. In between publishing a plethora of books and being awarded the Order of British Empire for his service in photography and charity, he’s managed to unearth and bring the beauty of his homeland to the surface for us all to set our eyes upon.

One of his newest bodies of work entitled Alta Moda (High Fashion) is a rich, almost VOGUE-like collection of traditional costumes worn by the Andes people in the Cusco Region of South Peru. The subjects are oozing with ultra decadent color so indescribable and unimaginably vivid, while capturing the textures of the fabrics and traditional adornments in such a tactile manner that one’s hand can’t help but slowly drift up in disbelief to touch for itself. Capturing a culture in just a few shutters of the camera is no easy feat. Making that culture reach out of the frame, grab you by your sweet face and force you to soak in every detail, takes a talent that’s almost haunting.

Alta Moda can be viewed in the Barranco area of Lima, Peru at the Mario Testino Museum, a part of Testino’s MATE foundation that he founded in 2012.

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June 6, 2014 It’s Up To Hem…

by style contributor, Julie

There’s no skirting the issue, a woman’s hemline has always said a lot about her. And oddly enough it has also said a lot about the state of our union. When things are good our gams come out, and historically when we’re facing some national drama, our dress hems take a drastic drop. Thank goodness ladies have been liberated and can now go to any length they deem necessary to conquer the world. Here’s a short recap of the lengthy history of how hemlines have evolved from floor grazing get-ups to eye-popping thigh height and back again. The No-Nonsense 1900’s: The turn of the century was a pretty posh era. Elegance was opulence and a lady was expected to conduct herself in the most honorable of ways. For the upper class, anything that accentuated more than the ankle would have ended up in what we know now as “Page 6” SCANDAL! 1900s

Anaïs Dress $239, Julius LeBlanc Stewart: Portrait of Mrs. Francis Stanton Blake

Nearly To the Knees 1910’s: Prim and Proper started to become slightly unpopular as we faced the First World War. A little air of independence was starting to tickle the senses of women who once wore modest fashion as a sign of womanhood.  And those hems flirted with almost hitting just below the knees. 1910

Bennet Dress $179, Sabine Shift $118

The WOWing 1920’s: One word…Flappers! This decade was all about glitz, glamour, and social independence. Anything over the top that pushed the boundaries of boring was in vogue. Those knees were out and proud for the first time and it was utterly fabulous! Flapper

Zelda Dress $320, Mademoiselle Rhea stashing a flask in her garter

Much More Modest ‘30’s: The crash of the market also meant the crash of the hemline. As the nation became more conservative with their dollars so came caution with their morals. So it was Sayōnara knees, here we come calves!Fotor0606104239

Agra Pima Cotton Dress $189,  Borneo Dress $139

The Fabulous ‘40’s and ‘50’s: Post war meant women went feminine once again. Sophisticated didn’t mean short, it meant flare! The Mid-calve A-line was everything and became an iconic style “throw-backers” mimic today. Flare

Ikat Skirt $89 , Arabesque T-Shirt Dress $118

So Short 60’s: The sixties were ripe with newfound freedom, newfound wealth and a newfound interest in flamboyant fashion. Enter Madam Mary Quant, the mother of the Mini Skirt and thus the movement of MOD. With fashion on her side and a youthful hunger to rebel, hemlines were brought to a new almost nosebleed height.Fotor0529140244

Tendrils Skirt $129, Talia Sheath $129, Petra Skirt $139

The Sultry 70’s: As quickly as they ran up, the seventies saw the hemline hustle right back down. This time however, it wasn’t the same kind of long that our sisters before us donned. Nope, these were body-hugging hemlines that were all about swank and sex appeal. The maxi was born and we “couldn’t get enough of their love”.

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Cozumel Skirt $379, Anjali Skirt $169

The past ups and downs of these not-so-long-ago decades were instrumental in deciding the lengths of our dress – from the 1980’s until now, women have enjoyed a “wear what makes you feel good” attitude. The bridge of independence was built and we sashay across it in any skirt length we choose. The only requirement, accessorizing with confidence!

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May 22, 2014 Please Remain Neutral

by guest blogger, Julie

There’s no question that black is the global beacon for chic, considered très jolie in any language. But aren’t we sick of being either so ultra posh that color can’t handle us, or experiencing such sensory overload when searching through our closet that black is our fall back? I know I am!

Summer is coming, my friends, and it’s time to push your black to the back and make room for the new shades of swank…its time to go NUDE!

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Cropped Flamé Cardigan $118,  Panthera Sheath $218

Hues like blushes, tans, creamy nudes, and dove greys make some ladies shiver in their stilettos. Maneuvering into neutral territory to most means washed out, unexciting and unflattering.  Yes, this can be true if you’re not careful in the colors you choose,  but when executed correctly there’s nothing more inherently feminine, nothing more elegantly understated, than a good ‘ole buttery beige!

If you keep these helpful hints at the forefront, you’re sure to make your black blush with no problem at all!

  1. Go Ahead, Mix Your Lights and Darks: Always pick a pale that is opposite from your skin tone. If you’re fair, select a shade that’s several levels darker and vice versa. Contrast is key.
  2. Keep it in the Family:  If you love the all-over neutral look (which we do), be sure to not stray to far from your chosen color family. Beiges, Bronzes, and Nudes go swimmingly together…remember that!
  3. Don’t Fall Flat: Drama in your social life is a hassle but drama in your dressing is oh-so interesting. Adding texture is a tricky way to keep your nudes and blushes from going blah. So go ahead, “ruffle” some feathers.

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Windswept Cardigan $118, Lace Racerback Tunic $169

We all know it’s an ultra-extravagant indulgence to drink a crisp, jumping-with-bubbles champagne, but what’s even more decadent is a champagne that’s very well worn. It’s never been so luxurious to remain neutral!

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May 19, 2014 Springtime in Mrs. Miller’s Iris Garden

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Peruvian Connection’s headquarters is situated on a family farm, amid the rolling hills and lush woodlands of Eastern Kansas.  Here on Canaan Farm is where CEO, Annie Hurlbut, grew up, and co-founder, Biddy Hurlbut, gallivanted through her mother’s iris garden.  Long before Peruvian Connection came into existence, their backyard was well-known for its exquisite flower garden.

iriscollageBiddy’s mother, Corinne Miller, developed a passion for iris in the 1950′s. Charles Miller, Biddy’s father, was a pilot and flew her mother around the country to visit iris hybridizers.  In Iowa, the Millers admired a burnt red iris named Pepperpot. When Charles asked if he could purchase it, he was told no, because there were just a couple of the experimental plants.  But he persisted.

“She gave him a plant and charged him $125 for it,” Biddy Hurlbut said.  The plants thrived in the Tonganoxie garden.  As did many more.

Mrs. Miller tested new varieties every year in partnership with national iris hybridizers.  At one time, the garden had approximately 2500 different varieties of iris and was a part of the National Iris Society’s tour.

collage2Today, Mrs. Miller’s garden is less diverse than it once was, with several hundred iris varieties, but has been recently renovated and is as enchanting as ever.  In addition to iris, there are loads of colorful poppies, peonies, columbine and other perennials. A popular site for painters, photographers and Peruvian Connection employees over their lunch hour, this time of year is the most special as the iris are in all their glory.

Dad

Mrs. Miller’s Iris Garden was a favorite subject of Kansas landscape painter, Robert Sudlow.

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