Styled with Anthro: versatile work and on-the-go

Monday, November 29, 2010

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Even though I consider myself a pretty good stylist, I sometimes wander around Anthropologie stumped on how to put an outfit together. I see this item or that item that I like, but I can't quite make the leap from hodgepodge of items to full look. In times like those Anthropologie's personal shoppers are invaluable. They bring a new perspective to outfit design and can assemble a look for any occasion, or the everyday.

Inspired by the beautiful looks personal shoppers have helped me create for myself and my clients, Effortless Anthropologie and Anthropologie have teamed up for a new series: Styled with Anthro. I've gathered community outfit requests and together with Jeff, the Head Personal Shopper for the New York City Anthropologie stores, and Christina, Merchandiser of Apparel and Accessories, from Anthropologie's home office in Philadelphia, we created and photographed several outfits. The looks all showcase the Anthropologie method of combining pattern and texture into a wide range of outfit ideas.

To add an extra layer to this series, we've incorporated community volunteer models representing a range of sizes and body types. Each post will feature new models -- one in the 2/4 range, one in the 8/10 range and one in the 12/14 range. Part of the conversation will be dressing for your body type and what items will flatter your shape.

Since this is the first post in the series Anthropologie will be checking in for community reaction. So please let us know what you think in the comments -- your feedback will help decide whether this series continues!

This post is part 1 of 2. For these initial looks, Anthro's expert team focused on versatile items that can do everything you need them to: work, events, and casual wear.


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Meet our round 1 models! You can click on any photo to zoom in.

Meet round 1's models! On the left is Keenan, and on the right is Usha. Thanks to these lovely ladies for agreeing to be the series guinea pigs. The third model? Yours truly. Special thanks as well to my wonderful friend Freada, who took care of makeup for this shoot.

While Jeff and Christina prepped our fitting room pod at the Rockefeller Center Anthropologie, Keenan, Usha and I picked out some items from the floor. We arrived right as the store opened. It was great having the store to ourselves for a little bit!


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Once everyone was ready we headed downstairs to try on the first look. This look is one of two built around the AG Stevie Cords ($158) in wine and the Waving Grain Pumps ($148).

We were excited when Jeff gave us all the Primula Corset Top ($78) and the Knitting Needle Cardigan ($98), but when Christina showed us the cords our excitement quickly turned to apprehension. Cords tend to be unforgiving. Christina shooed us into our fitting rooms with words of encouragement. So glad she did! When the three of us emerged we were already raving about how well the pants fit. They have just a hint of stretch in them but held their shape well for the 2 or so hours we were in them. I want to stress that these clothes are all straight off the rack -- there was no tailoring, pinning or any tricks to make the items fit better.

In assembling this look, Jeff and Christina looked for a longer cardigan to keep the proportions long and lean. When your top hits at high hip or above like the corset does, look for a longer top layer. When your top is long, look for a top layer that is the same length as your top. This helps the eye see one tailored shape.

If you work in a casual office environment this would be a great work outfit. You could also wear a tee shirt or top under the corset. Since the print on the corset top is so strong, Anthro's team looked for complementary tones for the other outfit items. The yellow Waving Grain Pumps ($148) add a pop of color that fits into the color story of the look.


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Keenan wore a size large in the cardigan and loved the nice, long sleeves. The itch factor was low but she advised layering if you're concerned. She wore a 30 in the cords, one size down from her normal pants size. She noted that the inseam was about an inch shorter than she would have liked. For the corset top Keenan wore a 12 and noted that it was a close fit around the chest. In the pumps she had on a 10, and while she normally wears an 11 the 10 felt great.


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Usha wore an extra small in the cardigan and liked the give in the arms. She did not find the cardigan itchy. For the cords she wore a 26 and felt they were perfect length. Jeff pegged the bottom of the cords for a modern spin on the look -- we all loved that idea! In the corset Usha wore a 2 which felt very comfortable to her. She took a 7.5 in the Waving Grain Pumps ($148) and felt she could have sized down to a 7.


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I took my usual size medium in the cardigan and found the fit to be comfortable over my arms, shoulders, back and chest. The corset was too tight over my chest in my usual size 6, so I'd size up to an 8 to buy. My usual size 31 in the cords was bordering on big. The 30s worked better and I'd buy in that size. My normal size 9 was perfect in the pumps.

We were all impressed by how well the same four items worked on each of us. All of us felt we would have passed the corset top by on our own. And the cords? We wouldn't have tried those either.


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For the next look, we kept the cords and pumps but changed the top half of the look. Jeff and Christina picked a patterned top for each of us. Usha and I tried on variations of the Deuxhill Cowlneck ($88) while Keenan tried the Flutter Sleeve Tunic ($88). Since the weather this time of year tends to fluctuate between pleasant and chilly, our stylists gave Keenan and Usha layering options.



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On Keenan: Rumpled Moto Jacket ($398) in brown, 
AG Stevie Cords ($158) in wine, Waving Grain Pumps ($148),  
Alt look: To a Tee Blazer ($98) in grey, Pachyderm Scarf (not online).

We all gasped when we saw the Rumpled Moto Jacket ($398)  in brown, which seems to be a store-only color as of now. We clamored over it ("Don't worry -- we have one for each of you!" Jeff assured us.) Here in the city leather jackets are great for protecting us from wind gusts. To soften the look, the Anthro team layered the Hiking Ruffles Cardigan ($78) in brown under the jacket. Take the jacket off and you've still got a beautiful look. With the pretty printed blouse underneath this look has feminine touches with a slight edge.

If you're not into leather jackets, sub in a tweed blazer or a dark brown tailored jacket. Look for something that hits you high hip, and tease the ruffles of the cardigan out from underneath to complete the look. This look could easily be paired with a skirt (look for something that hits right at the knee or just above), trousers or wide leg pants as well.

Keenan wore a large in the jacket and found it comfortable. She took a large in the cardigan and loved the seam on the ruffles that kept the back from getting too bulky. Christina picked out a lovely pair of chandelier earrings, the Cloudburst Chandeliers ($58) , that framed Keenan's face elegantly. Keenan's base top was the Flutter Sleeve Tunic ($88), which she wore with one of Eloise's camis underneath.

To add an extra option for work, Jeff swapped the cardigan and leather jacket for Cartonnier's To a Tee Blazer ($98) in grey. Keenan said she'd never found a blazer that fit her before, but this one worked well for her in a large. For what it's worth, I've had similar luck with Cartonnier. For the taller among us the brand seems to work wonders. A scarf (not currently online) finished off the look.


The Deuxhill Cowlnecks ($88) Usha and I wore.
 

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On Usha: Rumpled Moto Jacket ($398)  in brown,  
Hiking Ruffles Cardigan ($78) in brown, Deuxhill Cowlneck ($88) in navy,  
AG Stevie Cords ($158) in wine, Waving Grain Pumps ($148)

For Usha, the Deuxhill Cowlneck ($88) was a pattern she hadn't considered before but loved once it was on. She wore it in a 0 and found the fit comfortably loose to just a bit big. The brown of the cardigan (size xs) and jacket brought out the brown tones in the cords nicely. The stylists addded a clutch for a bit of sparkle and shine, and Usha was ready for casual work or perhaps a girls' night out dinner meetup?


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On me: Deuxhill Cowlneck ($88) in black motif,  
AG Stevie Cords ($158) in wine, Waving Grain Pumps ($148).

On me, we took things back a bit to basics. I went without the cardigan and jacket for this look and swapped in the Deuxhill Cowlneck ($88) in black motif. I wore my usual size 6 in the top. I loved how the top brought out the wine color of the cords, and even though there were tones of both black and brown everything worked nicely together. In this look the shoes really stood out in a pretty and polished way. I could easily wear this look to work or for a date after. Simple, but stylish.


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Ready for the next round?


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On Keenan: Flutter Sleeve Tunic ($88),  A Separate Space Skirt ($98), 

Keenan really liked the Flutter Sleeve Tunic ($88), so Christina and Jeff next presented her an alternate look for the top. Moulinette Souers' A Separate Space Skirt ($98) looks deceptively long on the website. While it is certainly not a mini, it hit Keenan perfectly at the knee. She wore a size 8, a couple of sizes below normal because the skirt sits at the waist. For a finishing touch, they added the Feather-Clasped Belt ($58). You'll see this belt again in a moment on Usha.

Keenan noted that she never tucked shirts into skirts or pants because it made her feel short-torsoed. I can understand the apprehension -- I've often felt like I looked all chest when I tried to tuck tops in. But we all agreed that she looked proportional and fantstic. Jeff and Christina noted that the skirt was the perfect length to create a long silhouette, while the strong print on top kept the eye from compacting the top half. The result? Everything in proportion. And once again the Waving Grain Pumps ($148) fit right into the look. Keenan would not have thought to combine these items on her own, but the personal shopping team showed us all how to make it work.




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On Usha: Golden Fleece Bolero ($158), Deuxhill Cowlneck ($88) in navy, 

Our final look in part 1 was for Usha. Like Keenan, she loved her base top so she kept the Deuxhill Cowlneck on for another round. This time the stylists took her look up a notch with the Golden Fleece Bolero and the Leather Circle Skirt. The Bolero, much like the cords, was an item we were initially all nervous about but loved once we had it on. Usha wore a size 0 in it, though she thought she'd need a 2. It fit fine through her shoulders, the normal reason why she'd size up. The bolero seemed to be made of dyed or sprayed wool. It certainly shines like gold! While we all feared it would itch, the inside is lined with super soft material so it feels like wearing a comfy sweatshirt. The look of course is anything but casual.

The circle skirt is shorter than it looks online. Usha felt comfortable in the 0 though Keenan and I both had to size up. The shorter proportions of the skirt and bolero make this look young and fun, while the cowlneck adds a grounded sense of maturity. We loved how the Anthro team clasped the belt and let the loose end lay out. It was an unexpected cool touch. For a 20-something on the go, this could be your go-to outfit. I was certainly enamored!


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The Waving Grain Pumps ($148) certainly seemed to be the star of this first set, and we all admired how well the pumps worked on all three of us despite our varying skin tones.

That's the end of part 1! Coming on Wednesday: part 2 -- events and the after-events. Plus how to set up a personal shopping appointment, and what to expect during your appointment. Let us know what you think of the series in the comments!