Friday, May 21, 2010

Summer Inspiration: The Notebook

It might be because I've been watching so much True Blood and Mad Men, and it might be because I really do love The Notebook, but for some reason I've fixated on the '40s/'50s South as my summer inspiration.  (True Blood = South, Mad Men = '50s, see, it makes sense).  It has all the trappings of regular '40s style, the little sweaters, the fit-and-flare cuts, etc, but since it's the South you get lighter fabrics, slightly skimpier cuts, and a ton of kitschy floral patterns.  Here's some pictorial inspiration:

I'm basing this look around a dress because I feel like the sundress is pretty much the perfect thing for summer, and also totally representative of The Notebook (and True Blood, come to think of it).  

Going to San Francisco Dress, $47.99 at, Felicity Frock, $52.99 at, You Were Mint for Me Dress, $49.99 at Modcloth is so great for all things retro-themed.  I picked these three dresses because they represent three different takes on the same look.  The first floral dress is the girlier of the day dresses, with the combination of the floral print, the purple hue, and the tiny ruffles.  It's definitely the kitschiest, but also the sweetest option.  The second dress is a more versatile, neutral take on the day look.  It's hard to see the print, but it's a really, really small floral print.  It almost has a pioneer dress sort of feel, but the halter neckline and fit-and-flare cut keep it in the theme.  This is a great option for a look that's not so stereotypically girly.  The last dress is the most evening appropriate, and basically the cutest thing ever.  The print is very, very retro, especially with the mint background to the print, but the bustier cut of the bodice makes it just a little more modern.

J. Crew Slim Braided Belt, $29.50 at, J. Crew Featherweight Cotton Bling-button Cardigan, $62 at, Paloma Barcelo Amaya Wedge Sandals, $295 at I'd pair all three of these dresses with this menswear belt.  It would give just the right amount of weight and visual contrast to those extremely girly dresses, and the texture of the belt adds a nice bit of visual contrast.  I'd throw on this J. Crew cardigan over the dresses.  The off-white won't clash with any of the prints, and the cropped sleeves and fitted body are very '40s appropriate.  Light sweaters like this are great for the summer because they're an easy way to layer and fit perfectly into your purse if the weather heats up.  I like wedges with this outfit because they really do have a retro summer vibe, and they're so much more practical than heels for whatever running around you may be doing.  The woven texture contrasts with the primness of the floral prints, and the berry hue of the leather ties into the warm tones in the floral prints.

OPI for Sephora Polish in Cover Me in Petals, $9 at, NARS Multiple in Lamu, $38 at, Smashbox Eyelights Palette in Smokebox, $34 at This red-orange-coral (they should really come up with a new word for that) polish just feels so retro summertime to me.  It's cheerful, it's flattering, it looks great with a tan, and it's a great pop of color against the muted color palettes of these dresses.  Plus, since it's OPI, you know it's good.  As for makeup, since it's summer and hot/humid, I like to keep makeup relatively simple.  Aside from basic foundation and coverage, I'd go for this NARS multiple in Lamu to add a hint of bronzy shimmer.  I swatched it in Sephora a few days ago and OMG, it's gorgeous.  It's a warmed up apricot hue with a ton of gold shimmer that would look totally natural as a bronzer even on my ridiculously pale skin, and the shimmer stands in for a highlighter.  For eyes, I'd do something really straightforward, just a hint of the ivory from this palette in the inner corners and on the browbone, a wash of the taupe across the lid, and a bit of the black smudged into the lashline for definition. 

Image Sources:
Notebook pics in order:,,, San Francisco dress:, Felicity frock:, Mint dress:, J. Crew belt:, J. Crew cardigan:, Paloma Barcelo wedges:, OPI polish:, NARS multiple:, Smashbox palette:

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