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Pop of Color

 

 

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Paz Collective Scarf// Ann Taylor Funnel Neck Coat //  Franchi Clutch (similar here and here) // World Market Earrings (similar here) // Frame Denim Jeans // Joe’s Jeans Heels // Loft Tee

While dressing for winter can be quite pricey, it’s also relatively simple. You really only need a great coat and great accessories that you mix, match and wear on repeat. That being said simple is not always easy, as I can attest. It takes some time to find a great coat. I had thought I wanted a camel wrap coat, but considering the one I want is WAY out of my budget, I started looking at alternate options. I found this great grey coat quite randomly at Ann Taylor. I love the silhouette, color, and collar, which can be worn several different ways. However, when I bought it, I realized I didn’t really have a scarf to wear with it. I think a beautiful scarf adds just the pop of color you need near your face when you’re wearing a neutral ensemble. I found this one by Paz Colllective at the Menil Collection in Houston. Museum gift shops are always my favorite as you can find really unique things that you can’t find anywhere else. I really love all the different colors in this one and the fact that the base is grey and there’s a little black means I can wear it with just about anything.

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White Space

As an art history major, I theoretically understand the importance of white space. Almost every work of art has it, and it’s almost always essential to making a beautiful piece. Yet understanding it theoretically is very different from understanding it practically. Practicality is really the realm of the artist. It is the artist that is skilled at saying this painting would be better if I didn’t put something in that space.

The problem with my theoretical understanding is that on some level I’m also an artist. I, like you, have many blank canvases in my life to paint. These include my time, my home, and my wardrobe among other things. I often find that these areas of my life are filled with too many things that I don’t love. One of my favorite authors, Leo Babauta, touched on how to remedy this problem in his article, “Too Much to Do, Not Enough Time.” He writes: “You have too many things to fit into your container, and you’ve decided to only put the important and beautiful things into the container. That means a bunch of things you think you “should” do are not going to fit.” What Leo is essentially instructing each of us to do is to become the artists of our own lives. When you boil it down, essentially the work of an artist is to choose – to choose to only depict what is most relevant and beautiful to the subject matter. And in order to emphasize the subject matter, the artist left out a lot of things he might have felt he “should” incorporate. For instance, think about the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso. What makes this painting truly beautiful and meaningful is really what Picasso chose to leave out. Rather than depicting the women as they actually were (as he probably “should” have done as a highly trained visual artist), he chose to depict only their most basic forms, and it is what he left out that makes this painting a modern masterpiece.

As you think about those blank canvases in your life today, and your hope that they be a little more beautiful and meaningful, I invite you to ask yourself, “what can I leave out?” You might just find that this white space is just the thing your life needs to truly come alive.

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The Importance of Style & Intelligence

I took a tour of McCormick Observatory a few months ago, and came across this old picture of an astronomer at the University of Virginia. I really got a chuckle out of the fact that he was wearing a full suit and tie to stare at the stars. It also reminded me of the famous Oscar Wilde quote “you can never be overdressed or overeducated” because this picture is such a perfect visual depiction of that idea.

As someone who’s interested in both fashion and learning, I’ve always loved this quote because it marries two areas that often seem quite opposed. I think we more commonly think that highly intelligent people do not have fashion sense, and that stylish people are not well-educated. However, I, like Wilde, do not find the realms mutually exclusive.

In fact, by linking these two ideas together, Wilde insists on the importance of both, and that each is dependent on the other. You are not truly well-dressed if you have not educated yourself, and you are not fully educated if you cannot dress properly. While they are distinct arts, they both indicate a level of respect for oneself and one’s world. You are in effect saying I care enough about myself to take care of my appearance, and I care enough about the world I live in to learn about it. Both show gratitude for the gifts you’ve been given and are important areas to cultivate in our lives. 

What I Learned: Altuzarra for Target

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Did anyone else take Economics 101? About the only thing I remember is the concept of scarcity, which wikipedia nicely reminded me is “the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources.” Well that about sums it up doesn’t it. No matter who we are, this concept applies to us. Whether we work for minimum wage or have a trust fund to our name, we have to decide how to spend our limited resources whether those are time, money or both. That’s what we’re all about here at Kai’li Millner — helping you be more stylish while having you waste the fewest number of resources be they dollars or time. Which finally brings me to the Altuzarra for Target collaboration. The great thing about these collaborations is that you can have a little high fashion in your life without breaking the bank.

What surprised me most about this collaboration, is what I learned from shopping it. As I’m always looking for high quality basics, when I first looked at the lookbook, what I really wanted was the shoes and belts. They looked great on the website, and I could imagine myself using them to pull together any number of great outfits. However, when I saw the pieces in person, I was rather disappointed. I wanted to like them, but if I was being honest with myself in the dressing room, the pieces to have from this collection were not the accessories, but rather the clothes themselves. I was literally stunned when I tried on the skirt because it looked so good, and for $34.99 I could sacrifice not being able to wear it to the office (it has a classic Altuzarra slit, which wouldn’t fly where I work). What made this collection was not necessarily the materials, but how each item was cut. Every piece was literally spot on, and I dare so nobody would realize this was Target material.

So here’s what I learned in a nutshell:

Here’s what I learned:

1. What you see online, is not necessarily what you get in person. The senses don’t lie.

2. Be willing to deviate from your plan and trust your gut in the dressing room.

3. It’s really hard to fake good accessories. Even if they are well-designed, the materials will give them away.

4. A few fun pieces can really inject some style into your wardrobe and elevate those high quality basics.

Did you check out the Altuzarra for Target collaboration? What did you learn?