I am currently sitting in the campus cafe of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin (hence the "Howdy!"). Am I applying to school here, you ask? Not quite, but my born and raised Texas boyfriend sure is, and while he is sweating out the interview in that new suit I bought him for Christmas (boys pay attention: Alton Lane is your new best friend), I get to absorb the scholastic ambiance and people watch in the student cafe.
I didn't fly to Texas just to wait around in a cafeteria, however. This weekend marks the grand finale of a two-week celebration in San Antonio called Fiesta, which I've been told is a commemoration of the Battle of the Alamo (but in my experience it's more like a really expensive excuse to party. Which I'm fine with). The thing about Fiesta is that every day something different is going on, whether it is a black tie charity event, an artist's bazar, or a river parade with decorative floats and the occasional celebrity (Eva Longoria lead a float last year). And though each event is fabulous in its own right, they all seem to warrant different attire - which made packing for this 4 day trip in a carry on nearly impossible. Yet with every sleeveless dress and pair of heels I tossed into the "take" pile, I got more excited about my summer wardrobe. I started to daydream - wouldn't these shorts look so cute with a pair of new wedges? This dress is perfect for a warm evening under the stars, if only I had that purse to go with it...) In my reverie (or perhaps my delusion - it was 2:45 am and I had to get up for work the next morning), I began to make a list. Read on for my top 12 Must-Have picks for Summer!
Katie's 12 Summer Must-Haves in 2012
1. Tangerine Nail Polish
Lately it's as if I am seeing the world through orange-colored glasses. Everywhere I look I see the vibrant color - from the storefronts at J.Crew, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs to the bright hues splashed across model's lips in Vogue. With Essie's Orange, It's Obvious nail polish, you get that punchy pop of color without overwhelming the rest of your ensemble. Purchase it here.
2. Bandeau Bow Bikini
I found this swimsuit on Pinterest, and after doing some research I discovered that it is actually the work of an independent designer known as amourouse on Etsy! Each piece is handmade and tailored to the customer, so that it is guaranteed to be a perfect fit. She sells the bandeau tops alone for $75 each, or the tops and bottoms together for $125. Purchase it here.
3. High-Low Dress
These whimsical creations have graced the spring runway shows of Dior and Elie Saab alike - mystifying the audience as sheets of gorgeous fabric flow ethereally around the models' impossibly long legs. Now, thanks to fast-fashion house Zara and online retailer Tobi.com, we can all own the night in a more approachable frock. Purchase it here or here.
4. Leather Jacket
The chicest of summer outerwear - a girl's closet should never be without a leather jacket. At once edgy and classic, I prefer shades of cream and cognac for warmer months. Purchase it here.
5. Chan Luu Wrap Bracelets
I first heard of designer Chan Luu a few weeks ago when my jewelry-making mother showed me a few of her own gorgeous wrap bracelets inspired by the artist. The leather band gives the bracelets a tribal feel, while the array of semi-precious stones are pure elegance. Purchase it here.
6. Pink Lips
The spring alternative to classic red, pink is a flattering color on everyone. Right now I'm really loving Rouge Coco in Camelia by Chanel. Purchase it here.
7. The Straw Bag
The iconic summer tote is making a stylish comeback this year. Downsized to a structured handbag, the reinvented purse of the season (and by association, its owner) cultivates an air of modern playfulness and an essence of la vie sur la Riviera française. While my heart belongs to Fendi's Big Mama Straw Flap Bag, my wallet encourages the Brompton Straw Mini-Hobo from J.Crew.
8. Hollow Wedge Heels
One word: Obsessed. Those who know me understand that I am my mother's daughter, and that therefore I have been pre-dispositioned since birth to feel about shoes the way 14 year old girls feel about Justin Bieber. This summer, hollow wedge heels are no exception. Though Lanvin was the first to pioneer this abstract heel design, the Luisa Via Roma pair featured in the picture above are perfect to wear with a crisp white shirtdress and woven belt.
9. Floral Print
With pastels and florals appearing on the pages of every major fashion magazine, I couldn't help but want to incorporate the fun and flirty print into my own wardrobe. Whether it is a pair of Citizens denim jeans or the moderately priced shorts by Zara, this year is all about the power of the flower. Purchase it here.
10. Mad Men Sunglasses
Sure, Jon Hamm makes for a dazzling leading man with his perfectly coifed hair and the tailored-to-perfection suits he sports as Mad Men's Don Draper, but there is another feature of his tv persona that makes him so irresistible: his eyewear. Engineered by Randolph Aviators, his glasses are as timeless as the day-drinking and womanizing that usually accompanies their wearer. Conversely, the exaggerated cat-eye sunglasses worn by women of the Mad Men era seemed to have had their 15 minutes of fame in the 60s before disappearing from the fashion world - until now. Updated for a more modern look, wearing these shades by Norma Kamali will leave you feeling chic and powerful.
11. White on White
It's as simple as that - pairing a soft white cashmere top with a pair of crisp shorts or tailored pants is the ultimate in understated beauty. Top and shorts featured in the photo above by Max Mara.
12. Hair Scarves
Cute and super easy, hair scarves are a perfect accessory for your everyday summer outfit. Put your hair in a loose ballerina bun (tutorial coming soon in Cheveux!) and wrap a colorful scarf around the knot to complete the look. Any scarf will work, though I prefer the vintage silk scarves my sister and I found on the Rue du Rivoli in Paris.
There you have it - my top 12 beauty and fashion picks for 2012 - I hope you enjoyed!