I must say, I was quite upset when Zac Posen said he was closing his fashion label. It certainly feels like something is missing without him (in the little corner of the high fashion world I admire at least). I was very inspired by his creations. So many of them took my breath away. I am still holding out hope that he’ll be back. If you’ve watched “House of Z” on Netflix, you know he is a resilient man and this isn’t the first time he’s fallen down, only to get back up better than ever.
Anyway. What I’m trying to get at is that although I still very much miss Zac, a new designer has caught my eye and his work gives me the same kind of feels (almost) as Zac’s. Let me introduce to you Brandon Maxell (these looks were in his spring/summer 2020 collection):
The first time Brandon came onto my radar was with this dress Mandy Moore wore to the 71st Annual Emmy Awards. I had to know who the designer was. I was in awe. I’m still in awe. The color blocking. The draping. The fit. Pure perfection.
I really like that although he has some killer gowns that we’d normally only see on celebrities (like Mandy), he also has a huge variety of everyday pieces that any woman could wear. Even if a person can’t afford his clothing (I know I can’t) – his looks can inspire us to get creative with what we have or can afford! I already know I’ll be doing an “Outfit Imitation” with thrift finds of one or more of his looks. He takes classic pieces and looks at them with fresh eyes, using new fabrics, combinations, and fits.
It’s also commendable that he does menswear in addition to womenswear. I’m wondering if it’s easy for him to do both because his womenswear collections obviously have a strong menswear influence.
I don’t know much about who he is as a person or his backstory yet, but what I found online via Wikipedia is this: Brandon Maxwell (born September 18, 1984) is an American fashion designer, television personality, director and photographer. He is the founder and creative director of Brandon Maxwell, the luxury women’s ready-to-wear label. Prior to launching his eponymous womenswear label, Maxwell entered the fashion industry as a stylist. He began assisting Deborah Afshani in 2009, followed by Nicola Formichetti in 2010, where he was introduced to Lady Gaga, as Nicola was her stylist at the time. In 2012, Maxwell took on the role of Lady Gaga’s fashion director. Many influential women, including Michelle Obama, Karlie Kloss, Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda, Viola Davis, Queen Rania of Jordan, and Kerry Washington, among many others, wear Maxwell's brand.
And he’s on the Bravo’s new version of Project Runway. Knowing this makes me want to get cable!
In summary, I’m completely obsessed with Brandon. He’s rolling out his pre-fall 2020 ready-to-wear line right now and WOW. Here are some pieces I love (I have literally visited his Instagram page multiple times to re-look at these outfits):
I think I like him so much because 1) I didn’t know until I found him that this is my ideal way of styling clothing and is (luckily) close to the way I dress already – only elevated – which makes me want to push my wardrobe further; 2) a lot of his looks are attainable without having to buy his pieces and they’re not so “off the wall” that you can’t find something similar at a lower price point (not saying what he’s doing has “been done before,” of course I would buy if I could, I just can’t, so mimicking is the next best thing); 3) his use of color is sublime; and 4) I’m just extremely inspired by him.
What do you think? Do you like his stuff, too? What designers are really speaking to you right now? I’d love to know! I’ll forever be looking for more designers to fill the Zac Posen size hole in my heart.
All photos on this page are courtesy of Brandon Maxwell's official Instagram page @brandonmaxwell.
I really enjoy watching Met Gala photos roll in on social media on the night of the event. Fashion as art. One of my favorite things! Makes me feel all the feels.
This year’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” theme was especially interesting. Camp in this context meant exaggerated, extravagant, gaudy, ironic, kitschy, and tongue-in-cheek. The outfits walked down the carpet were all of this and more.
I wanted to share some of my favorite looks.
The winner of the evening in my opinion was Lady Gaga. I mean come on, she did a full on performance as she ascended the stairs to the gala, showing off 4 different looks!
Loved the colors and cape detail on this look. It definitely matches up with Florence’s ethereal presence.
I thought this was a fun, young look that really stood out. From head to toe Elle looks gorgeous.
I am not a Kardashian fan, but I couldn’t deny how much I liked Kim’s dress. It was beautiful, she looked great, and I loved how the crystals dripping from her dress looked so much like water droplets.
The only time I like Gucci is when this man is wearing it. Harry 4-ever.
I would so wear this! So girly and soft. I really like Emma’s dewy make-up and the floral crown was the perfect touch.
And last but certainly not least, my boy, Zac Posen, killed it with his designs! He worked with GE Additive and Protolabs to create looks using a 3D printer. The results were stunning!
The "I crave new shoes" switch got turned off inside me awhile ago. I used to veer to that section first, buy way too many, would get pairs that were too big or small if I liked them enough, etc. There were several instances where a shoe would be a few sizes to small for me, usually in my sister's size, and I forced her to buy them so I could live vicariously through her. Yeah. I loved shoes that much.
Nowadays, I try to stick to the basics and wear the basics until they literally give out on me. I came to this point with the brown and black pairs of tall boots I bought over five years ago. The brown pair lost their heels. The black pair became so saturated with salt (Iowa life) I couldn't keep them clean anymore.
I heard that Payless was going out of business across the country, including the one in our local mall. I thought this would be a great opportunity to find a deeply discounted pair of one or both of the tall boots I had to dispose of (RIP). If you've ever shopped for tall boots, you know they're not cheap.
I was right! The current promotion they are running in store only right now is 20% of all shoes, 40% all tall boots. Score! I was able to snatch up these pairs:
I wore the black pair to an event my organization had a booth at for 10 hours and they were very comfortable! I even walked on a good amount of ice in them and didn't fall. So I think that speaks volumes about the stability of the boot due to the heel's height and thickness!
While at Payless, I of course checked out what else they had and ended up leaving with two pairs of shoes I had my eye on for a few months. A pair of slip on tennis shoes in a yummy burgundy shade:
And this pair of booties that I'm not going to lie, I dreamt about. I had visions of me in these boots. I had to have them. They will help me fulfill all of my punk rock girl band fantasies (minus me actually being in a punk rock girl band part...). I'll wear these for the first time tonight for a girls' night and I can't wait to pair them with a pair of tight skinnies and a fitted biker jacket.
This is the look I'm going for on girls' night:
Also loving this option for work:
And that's that. Check back in another 5+ years for the post where I share the new shoes I had to purchase because all of these pooped out on me!
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
It's the holiday season and that means it's TIME TO SPARKLE!
Although we don't have any plans for New Years Eve yet, I wanted to have something fabulous on hand just in case. Something sparkly.
I found just what I was looking for at Ann Taylor:
The total cost of this outfit is $365! I knew I could pull together a similar outfit for much less.
I set out for our local Stuff, Etc. store. Stuff tends to have higher prices than other thrift stores, but they also normally have better quality and name brand items because they run on consignment. For this type of outfit, I figured they'd be my best bet.
At first, I wasn't too thrilled with my finds. They had a pretty limited selection of skirts. Because of that, I wandered into their dresses. That's when things really started to come together!
I found a great soft pink and rose gold sequined dress to start:
Then I found this white cable knit sweater:
And to top it all off, I found the most beautiful and perfect (and maybe worn one time) Nine West rose gold metallic heels:
Just look at the combination of these three items together - SWOON - #goals #ootdeveryday #paletteperfection:
This outfit is EVERYTHING. I feel so lovely in it. I want to wear it everyday. Can I wear it everyday? Too much?
Wondering how I styled the sweater and dress? I made the dress into a skirt! The top of the dress was a light enough material that I simply folded it down inside the skirt and tucked the sweater in to mimic the look of the outfit I wanted to copy.
In total, this outfit cost me just $29! Although I think the dress will be reserved for special occasions, I can see myself wearing the sweater and heels on a regular basis.
I'm now ready to ring in the new year in style - even if we don't go anywhere - you better believe I'll be rocking this look!
If you'd like to learn more about my "Outfit Imitation" series, click here!
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
One of my biggest personal goals is to lead a more sustainable life. Rethinking. Reusing. Repurposing. A place I have really been honing in on is my closet. What do I really need? What can I rework into a new look? What can I use for something entirely different?
Because of this, I wanted to rethink this area of my blog. I don't necessarily want to encourage readers to go out and buy brand new things. Because that's not what I do. If I see something new I like, I normally ask myself, "Can I find it used or can I create it myself?" Many of my fashion posts already feature items that can't be linked because they're not new. They're deep discount or thrift shop finds that I've had for years.
I'm going to start a new series called "Outfit Imitation." The only new items you'll see featured in this series will be included in the outfits I'm copying because they inspire me! I'll visit a variety of different thrift shops to create the looks I'm after and share all of the details with you.
I can only hope that through this series others will begin looking at used clothing or the pieces they already have in a different way, finding that imitating the items we think we "NEED to have fresh of the rack" can provide the same level of satisfaction, if not more.
The first outfit I'm imitating is from my previous post about LOFT:
I love this outfit because it's very much my style. A long skirt belted at the waist with an oversize cardigan is my dream uniform for the upcoming winter months.
In one stop at the Crossroads Goodwill in Waterloo, I was able to find all of the pieces I needed to duplicate this outfit:
Here's more of a close up:
The total cost for the cardigan, belt, skirt and shoes was $15.50. If I were to purchase all of the items pictured in the LOFT photo, I would have been out around $300!
When I'm "over" this look, it will return to circulation in a thrift store for someone else to discover and love. It gives me happy feels when I think about clothing having a long life span with several different owners. It's pretty special when you think about what an important role clothing plays in how we express and feel about ourselves.
Show me what outfits are inspiring YOU. I'd love to see the thrift store gems you find to recreate your favorite looks! Tag me on Instagram (@countrywrennest) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll feature any looks I'm sent on the blog within this new series!
My favorite high fashion designer line is, and always will be, Alexander McQueen. I'm quite obsessed, actually. From skulls and leather to floral and lace, this line offers collections that are me in clothing form. I only wish the prices weren't absolutely insane...for a "commoner" like me, owning one of these pieces is highly unlikely, so daydreaming about them will just have to do!
A long-time favorite accessory of mine is their Knuckle Box Clutch:
Being a collector of scarves, I've also pined over their classic skull scarf:
In one of their most recent runway shows, they walked some KILLER leather jackets with floral embellishments down the runway layered over flowy, floral dresses. The contrast was absolutely stunning:
Do you remember these? Alexander McQueen introduced the Armadillo shoe - OUCH - but what a beautiful, special creation:
A few years ago they launched a line with mirrored prints and out of this world silhouettes. It started a huge retail trend (mimicking the print concept at least):
And lastly - here are a few of Alexander McQueen's most famous works. I love each piece equally. I appreciate the fantasy and the pushed limits. I love the exotic materials and whimsy feel. Every single detail is like fashion porn to me - it makes my heart race!