The Well Heeled Loafer

Block Heeled Loafer…huh? Brings to mind scary George Washingtonesque and pilgrimlike buckle shoes or my sweet grandmother Ethel whose swollen ankles could only handle a sturdy chunky-heel-loafer-old-lady-pump thing.  Well not anymore, ladies!  They are in, they are chic, and they need to be in your closet.

Check out these beauties below just to wet your appetite. Then read on…..

Those feet in the top picture.  Those belong to yours truly.  As you can see, my first foray into the heeled loafer was pretty much a “go big or go home sort of thing”.  My husband, when we were moving into a new house, somehow managed to give away a bag of all my best and favored shoes that I purposefully had garnered and put into my car for safekeeping.  As in, ” I see a bag of Anna’s shoes. Surely she wants to donate these. Nevermind that if I take a good hard look at said contents, there might be some tiny spark of recognition that THESE ARE THE SHOES I SEE HER IN EVERY DAY. THIS MIGHT NOT BE THE DONATION BAG!!! ” Anyway, that’s a story for another time. And yes, we are still married and yes, I have forgiven him and yes, I still think he hung the moon. Although kind of feel like I might need to be sainted though for my benevolent and forgiving nature. But I digress. So shortly thereafter, I happened to be on the road, doing a little shopping, feeling a little shoe-less and in dire need of some retail therapy.  I felt my eye, no my whole being, being drawn to a pair of patent leather, red white and blue, block heel Gucci loafers. Yep. Thats right. Like I said, go big or go home. Somehow I experienced some sort of fugue, black-out, break from reality moment, and before I knew it, they were in a smart little shopping bag, I was skipping out of the store, hopping into my little convertible roadster and was back on the road, sunnies on, scarf whipping in the wind…( I don’t really have a roadster or a whipping-in-the-wind scarf, but the visual is so much better and never let the truth get in the way of a good story, right?)

 So, long story long, I have worn these babies out, and if you amortize them per wear, (I think I used that term right), they were a damn bargain. Sort of. But the takeaway is, the block heeled loafer is a fashion moment waiting to happen for you no matter where your tastes lie, your stage of life or your budget. Yes! Yes! The AK Atelier blurred lines strike again (see my personal narrative if you aren’t familiar). Basically that means there is something for everyone out there in the chunky heeled loafer world, so find your favorite by taking a look at these style and sourcing pics below:

As you can see from these photos and probably any others you come across, Gucci sets the gold standard for this iconic shoe, and if you and your pocketbook are so inclined, they are a purchase that you will not regret. But do not despair!  Sources for the chunky heel loafer are abundant from more reasonably priced lines and stores, several of which are shown above. All you have to do is a little investigative shopping, and there are worse things to be tasked with, right?

My favorite companion to the block heel loafer? Definitely denim paired with anything on top…a cool open coat, a menswear white shirt, a chunky sweater worn with a half tuck, or a funky rock and roll tee with a cropped leather jacket. You literally have gobs of potential combinations to ensure your chic-ness for days! I also love pairing this classic shoe with jumpsuits, shift dresses, cropped flare trousers…..the possibilities are endless.  So please, share your style pics and great finds in the comments below.  I am on the hunt for another pair!

Photos Courtesy of : ColeHaan, Nordstrom Rack, Everlane, Boden, Net-a-Porter, Maison de Cinq, Pure Wow, Look and Fashion, The Daily Telegraph

All Things French

The thing about French women is that their chicness just seems so effortless.  It’s as if they rise out of bed and leap straight out the door with their beautiful French skin and maddeningly high cheekbones, and they haven’t even yet said boo. Well, they may have skipped briefly into their sunny little kitchens with the mile high windows and whipped up a quick little cafe au lait, before their 5 minute stop by the closet to oh so casually don their kitten heels, pencil skirt and sweater, grab their dainty little handbags, dab a quick touch of lipstick and perfume behind their perfectly little pinned back French ears, and THEN head out the door.  Do I sound bitter?  Well, I’m not, because first of all I love all things French which includes the lovely style and aesthetic of the quintessentially fashionable “dame francaise”, and because claiming the French look as one of your own go-to styles is easy and beautiful in its simplicity.  And, of course, the absolute best thing about his look and why it is a huge winner is in my blog brain is because BLURRED LINES are all over it!  With a few tweaks here and there, it works for all ages, body types and within your natural fashion aesthetic. Straight lines are so much more complicated.  

What you need:

  • Kitten heels or pointy toe pumps
  • Flats – definitely black and other other neutrals
  • Simple thong sandals
  • Black pants
  • Jeans
  • White blouse
  • Navy and white striped or black and white striped cotton pullover type shirt
  • Blazer
  • Trench coat and/or leopard car coat depending on the season.
  • Simple pullover sweaters in neutral tones…white, black, camel, red
  • Cardigan sweaters
  • Skirt – pencil or gathered
  • Neck scarves
  • Clutch purse and/or small handbag
  • Sunnies
  • Red or pink lipstick
  • Nail polish, red or pink

What You Do:

As you gather up the pieces, many of which are probably already in your closet, you can go classic or street style with your new French wardrobe repertoire.

For classic French, you can almost mindlessly combine any of the above closet essentials and voila, you’ve gone over to the French side.  Get your basics together and you can literally mix and match away.  This is foolproof, I overslept, I’m-too-tired-to-think-of- what-to-wear dressing ladies.  

Some examples of CLASSIC FRENCH looks:

  • Plain black trousers, flats, white blouse, coordinating neck scarf and handbag, trench coat over the shoulder, red lips and nails, hair in a neat pony, and sunnies.  This is more of a tucked in, conservative look. Want it a little more casual?  Do jeans instead of the black trousers, choose your long white blouse with a half tuck.  Want to take it to dinner? Throw on kitten heels, load up on multiple strands of pearls a la Coco Chanel, wear your hair down.
  • Pointy toe heels, pencil skirt or gathered skirt – both need to be below the knee – crew neck sweater or crisp white blouse, pearls, simple necklace or neck scarf and coordinating clutch, cardigan tied over the shoulder for chillier weather.
  • Striped cotton long or short sleeve tee with a crew or polo neckline, jeans, flats or thong sandals, red or white belt, neck scarf and sunnies.
  • Keep makeup simple with the bright lips and nails being your pop of color.

For a more street style Parisian look, take your basics and think “funkier version of”.  Your jeans can have holes.  Go with a leather jacket instead of the blazer, your heels can get a little funkier with gold buckles and encrusted pearls, your hand bags a little bigger and more embellished, your sweaters still solid colors but chunkier. Pile on the necklaces instead of simple pearls.  BUT, and this is the kicker, DONT WEAR ALL THESE TRUMPED UP PIECES IN ONE OUTFIT IF YOU ARE GOING FOR A FRENCH FASHION AESTHETIC.  Get your high style groovin’ by adding one or two of these chic alternates to your French foundation, and you are ready for the streets of Paris!

Some examples of STREET STYLE FRENCH looks:

  • Blue jeans with holes, white blouse, neck scarf, leather jacket, simple pointy toe stilettos, chunky pearls instead of classic ones.
  • Cropped faded blue jeans, flats or simple sneakers with a camel colored sweater tucked in, neck scarf, neat pony and red lips.
  • Gathered skirt and chunky sweater instead of a simple crewneck, funkier heels, beret or neck scarf, coordinating clutch, pink lips and nails.
  • Leopard car coat and boyfriend jeans, with simple pointy toe high pumps, white blouse and chunky pearls. Red lips and nails. Bright funky clutch.

So get going! This one is easy. I bet you can walk into your closet right now and pull  together your first French look without having to purchase a thing.  And if a little shopping trip is in order to complete the look, well, now that never hurt anybody, did it?

Images courtesy of Mpire ModePinterest Damsel in DiorPoshmark – Nordstrom – LoftPinterest – Pinterest – Theyallhateus – Amazing Outfits – The StripeWit & Delight – Nordstrom – Tommyton – Best Products – Ebay – Glam Radar – Goop – Pinterest – Your Style Vault – Vogue – Sheer Luxe – The Cut – Universal Standard – Practically FashionElle – VogueWhoWhatWearConsigli x PrincipiantiF Yeah SunglassesLook du Jour – Man Repeller Just the Design

Trend Report – Floralpalooza!

No one would ever accuse me of being a floral fanatic whether it be in fashion, home design or decor.  Fresh flowers, yes, yes, yes and always! But take one look in my closet or around my house, and there is nary a floral-inspired dress, fabric, piece of art or accessory to be found.  And if there is a floral motif lurking somewhere, it is so loose and abstract, that it would be up to personal interpretation, as in “is that or is that not a flower?”  

That is until now. I think it’s about time to rethink the whole floral thing.  

Truthfully, one of my personal mantras is that we should always be willing to break our own rules. If you have happened upon my blog narrative, you know that I am not big on rules anyway, most especially when it comes to any creative endeavor.  We should always be looking for ways to expand our aesthetic vision.  This is how we continue to express ourselves in new, innovative ways as we dress, design and create, and to push ourselves beyond our aesthetic comfort zone.   My floral hang up has been that I have too long associated them in fashion with outfits that crossed over into southern belle territory, scary ruffles and and floral chintz chairs somehow trying to pass themselves off as skirts.  Not anymore.  Flowery apparel is right in line with the blurred lines of the AK Atelier fashion ideology. So no matter your age or where your clothing tastes lie, spring and summer flowers are blooming outdoors, and they need to be blooming in our closets too!  Don’t be a fashion spectator.  Come along with me and lets take the floral challenge together!

Let’s start with fashion.  

Here are some ways I am introducing this hothouse trend into my wardrobe:

My first foray into florals was an online purchase from Nordstrom. Love their vast shoe collection! Jungle floral @Stuartweitzman platform sandals. Love! Love! Wear them all the time.
When visiting my daughter Annie in Austin,TX, I got this large scale floral pattern @acnestudios dress. Worn here with a Gucci belt and @coclicony shoes. Easy one piece dressing and a great day to evening piece.

Below are three jaw dropping floral-chic looks.  Personal wardrobe goals: long coat and cool trousers sporting this hot trend.   Will keep you posted on my progress…

Here are some style shots to motivate and inspire you in the AK Atelier Floral Challenge! Share your style pics below or tips/tricks on how you incorporate a floral motif in your daily garb.

Photos Courtesy of Sheer Luxe, Lola Cruz, Zara, Shopbop, Flory Day, The August Diaries, Boho Moments, Pasa BohoObsev, Asos, OK Chikas, Zorket.