The Most Flattering and Slimming Top

Photo by Nick Chao. Model: Anna Wu. Peplum by Sally Esposito.

In all my years of loving fashion, I've never leaned toward the peplum. For a curvy girl like me, who has a small waist and wide hips, I always thought this would be a major fashion disaster and would showcase my figure in an unflattering way. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Recently, I tried on a peplum at Anthropologie and was thoroughly impressed with how it actually cinched in my waist and provided a slimming silhouette to my worrisome areas. Since then, I've been on a hunt for as many affordable peplums as I can find. I'm learning how to make them with my friend/fellow blogger Sally Esposito (who created the design above). A limited collection of these hand-made one-of-a-kind peplums (each one is slightly different) are for sale at Stripe, a boutique in Santa Cruz. If you can't get to Stripe, you can custom order one by contacting Esposito directly. Below are a collection of some of my favorites in all styles—pink and coral, floral, stripes, and polka dots. Trust me, this is one of the most figure-flattering silhouettes I've found thus far. (Shop the look below.)

 

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Shoes by Sophia Webster

 

After lurking late at night on one of my favorite guilty pleasure sites, cocoperez.com, my eyelids were beginning to feel heavy and I was about to call it a night when I spotted a colorful pair of heels on Kourtney Kardashian. (Kind of embarrassing, I know.) They literally took my breath away (my cousin asked me if I was OK because I  I started breathing heavily), which seldom occurs when I spot a colorful shoe. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my crazy shoe fetish, which primarily consists of different shades of black. Or white.

 

 

Enter Sophia Webster. A young British shoe designer who debuted her collection for Spring/Summer 2013 after working as a design assistant to Nicholas Kirkwood for two years. She’s been awarded with several promising awards (like Conde Nast Footwear New Emerging Designer of the Year award for 2012) that applauded her keen aesthetic of effortlessly creating shoes that are modern, feminine, and commercially viable, yet creatively fresh. Not many individuals can marry the colors lemon, purple, pastel turquoise, coral, and black together without turning their design into something overly costume-y. For a full look at her collection, check out sophiawebster.co.uk.

We're Off To See The Wizard—Summer Fashion

 

Photos by Nick Chao (click on images to visit gallery). Also see high resolution images here.

After a whirlwind vacation, Dorothy's getting ready to head home. She's seen and done it all. Almost. She still needs to meet the Wizard, though. On her way, she's intercepted by the Wicked Witch who wants one last stand off and she's brought her A-game in form-fitting black leather and a dramatic necklace from Blank Verse. Glinda the Good Witch attempts to rescue Dorothy from the clutches of darker fashion choices, but Dorothy is torn. Will she choose black or white for her final summer dress to impress the great and powerful Oz? Maybe a little of both will do the trick as she settles on a modern silk frock accompanied by the romantic and bohemian jewelry of Blank Verse.

While leather might not be as common for the summer, it's a unique and more unexpected choice for dramatic occasions. And if you can't manage a floor length version, try incorporating touches here and there to jazz up your outfit.

The white pleated dress might seem sweet at first glance, but it's a perfect canvas for your every whim. It could even wind up being the ideal wedding gown for a more casual or non-traditional bride.

However you mix it up, be sure to add black and white to your summer attire in order to make an entrance at all of your travel destinations.

Coco (Dorothy): Necklace, $120, Blank Verse Jewelry / Cuff, $225, Blank Verse Jewelry / Dress, $69, H.Fredrickson from Cameron Marks / Desiree (Glinda the Good Witch): Dress, $126, 213Industry from Stripe / Earrings, $75, Blank Verse Jewelry / Necklace, $95, Blank Verse Jewelry / Cuff, $125, Blank Verse Jewelry / Anna (Wicked Witch): Dress, Stylist's Own / Necklace, $95, Blank Verse Jewelry

Photographer: Nick Chao / Producer, Creative Director: Christa Martin / Fashion Stylist: Missy Schnaps / Hair Stylist: Ginger Vaughn / Makeup Artist: Anna Wu / Wardrobe Supervisor: Sally Esposito / Production Manager: Gina Peters / Host: Laamie Young / Filmmaker and Assistant: Deva Blaisdell-Anderson. Models: Desiree Amariei, Anna Wu, Coco Barrett-Tormey.

Follow The Yellow Brick Road—Summer Fashion

 

Photos by Nick Chao (click on images to visit gallery).

Dorothy takes a sharp turn on her adventure. She discovers a peculiar path that promises to take her to a beautiful city. On this yellow brick road, she dons an emerald green vintage frock, inspired by Pantone's color of the year. Red shoes (of course), and Blank Verse baubles complete her travel attire. Meanwhile, she has some fashion competition with the Wicked Witch, who's bedecked in an original black, textured, one-of-a-kind gown created by Santa Cruz fashion designer Sally Esposito. The Wicked Witch adds to her look with green nails, and a stunning necklace by Blank Verse.

On your own travels this summer, go bold with color and try wearing emerald green—it's a winning color with endless opportunities to accessorize. Try red heels instead of the traditional black, and throw on a romatic cuff like the one here from Blank Verse. Add a daring necklace and you'll make quite an entrance at that bachelorette party or out having drinks in the city. If you're feeling creative and a little moody, this black, long gown by Sally Esposito is a perfect choice for an alternative wedding dress, or a black tie event.

Coco (Dorothy): Necklace, $185, Blank Verse Jewelry / Ring, Personal Collection / Old Movies Bracelet (similar), $225, Blank Verse Jewelry / Shoes, Stylist's Own / Dress, $69, Vintage, Stylist's Own / Anna (The Wicked Witch): Dress, $795, Sally Esposito Designs on Etsy / Necklace, $225, Blank Verse Jewelry / Bracelet, Personal Collection / Ring, Model's Own from Stripe.

Photographer: Nick Chao / Producer, Creative Director: Christa Martin / Fashion Stylist: Missy Schnaps / Hair Stylist: Ginger Vaughn / Makeup Artist: Anna Wu / Wardrobe Supervisor: Sally Esposito / Production Manager: Gina Peters / Host: Laamie Young / Filmmaker and Assistant: Deva Blaisdell-Anderson / Models: Coco Barrett-Tormey, Anna Wu. Set designers: Nick Chao and Deva Blaisdell-Anderson.

Scent-sational Vetiver

I am a big fan of swapping out my favorite beauty products every season as the elements change. Along with switching up my skincare, makeup, and wardrobe, my perfume gets changed up, too. While it is absolutely unnecessary for anyone else to do this, it makes me feel better about being a crazy hoarder and having so much product, clothing, shoes, etc. It’s a way to ensure that I don’t play favorites for too long, and that everything gets used up before it expires.

A few friends always make fun of me for sporting “granny scented” perfumes. I’ve always been drawn to warm and heavy scents (think Tom Ford, Chanel, anything with amber or musk as a note), but for Spring/Summer I decided to lighten up by sticking to scents with vetiver as a key note. My ultimate favorite is Vetyverio, from Diptyque ($120). The scent stays with you all day, and opens with fruity citrus notes of mandarin, grapefruit, lemon, and bergamot, but has a floral bouquet of ylang-ylang and rose, and is anchored by the scent of dry cedar, vetiver, and musk. This scent is not too overwhelming and in my opinion, it's perfect for any occasion.

Another more floral-forward scent I have discovered this season is Florabotanica, from Balenciaga ($95). This was given to me as a sample from Sephora, and after one spritz, I could not stop thinking about it. It is perfectly light and feminine, with key notes of carnation, wild mint, Turkish rose essence, hemp leaves, vetiver roots, and white amber. This scent is the most floral-forward of my three new scents for summer.

Lastly, I was just gifted Elizabeth W’s Vetiver Eau De Parfum ($42) for my birthday. This scent is the cleanest of all three, and is hand blended and based solely around the single note of vetiver. Aside from the perfume, I also have a linen spray with the same scent. It definitely makes doing laundry a lot more fun and can be found locally at Stripe.