Solo Lisa Reads: The Case for Falling in Love by Mari Ruti

Are you the type of girl who plays hard-to-get and only picks up the phone after a few rings? Do you wait a prescribed number of days before returning a guy's messages? Do you turn to self-help experts and your girlfriends to decipher your significant other's every move instead of, well, just asking him what he's thinking or feeling? If so, prepare to throw everything you think you know about love out the window and pick up a copy of The Case for Falling in Love by Mari Ruti, PhD.

Ruti draws on gender studies, psychoanalysis, philosophy and pop culture to argue that the current self-help culture is doing more harm than good for prospective lovers. Love, she asserts, is a genuine connection between two individuals--sometimes messy, often unstructured--but that is precisely what's so wonderful about it. By advising prospective lovers to follow petty rules and play games with each other, self-help authors are diminishing the wonder of love. Moreover, many self-help authors base their advice on outdated gender stereotypes. Following it is likely to land you exactly the sort of man it depicts: a sullen, insensitive type with low emotional intelligence who's unlikely to share his feelings and gets a kick out of being the macho man to your damsel in distress.

So what should a modern girl do instead? Ruti advises those looking for love to just let it unfold--no games, no strategems, just honesty. Stop trying so hard to force everything. Stop viewing men as creatures from another planet. And even if a relationship doesn't work out, love can teach us some profound life lessons and offer an opportunity for self-reflection and growth.

Ruti's writing style is simple, straightforward and compulsively readable as she leads readers by the hand and explores the nuances of love. Her wide-ranging examples include anything from anecdotes, emails with friends and Freudian and Lacanian theory to Plato and E.T.A. Hoffmann. As a Gossip Girl fan, however, my favourite section was Chapter 4, in which she argues that 9/10 times Gossip Girl offers a better portrait of modern love than any self-help book. (The introduction actually made me LOL: "There are times when I can't decide if I would rather have Nate or be Nate. I want to know which shampoo he uses.") If you're looking for the perfect antidote to the self-help book, The Case for Falling in Love is it.


Shopbop Sandal Sale

Let's ignore the fact that Vancouver's summery warmth has reverted back to rainy dreariness and indulge in some Monday morning shoe therapy. It's hard to believe that the time for spring/summer markdowns has already come when it feels as though spring never came at all, isn't it? Now's the perfect time to pick up a new pair of sandals for the impending warm weather, and on sale no less!

Even though colour-blocking is a huge trend right now, I can't help but be drawn to neutral-coloured materials that exude an organic warmth. Here are my favourites from the shoe sale section of Shopbop.

Schutz clog platform sandals, $131.09

Modern Vintage 'Shy' woven flat sandals, $141.06

Chie Mihara 'Jumira' flat T-strap sandals, $239.37

Diane von Furstenberg 'Eva' scarf tie sandals, $195.92 (you might remember them from this post)

Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent 'Jemma' wedge sandals, $249.35

Fun question for readers who've been suffering the same sort of weather blues: What's the first pair of open-toed shoes you're dying to dig out of hiding and wear when the sun returns?


Trying Out Spruce Body Lab's Be Smooth Body Scrub

Beauty treatments make you feel 110% more relaxed and pampered when you let someone else do the hard work for you. Or at least this was what I was thinking when I accepted an invitation to try the Be Smooth Body Scrub at Spruce Body Lab, a Yaletown spa located on Richards and Helmcken amidst a row of unassuming storefronts. Until my visit last week, my only body scrub experience had been DIY in-shower exfoliation. So imagine what a treat it was to be in the expert hands of Spruce's general manager/creative director and skin therapist, Kathryn Sawers.

Inside, the welcoming green-and-white decor was fresh, modern and soothing. Artwork and inspiring quotes filled the walls. On the far side of the space, skincare products lined the shelves. Open since 2005, Spruce Body Lab was previously featured in publications such as Flare, Fashion, Elle Canada and the New York Times.

After changing into the fluffy robe and flip flops provided by the spa, my treatment began in one of the private hydrotherapy rooms. Kathryn rubbed Spruce's in-house body scrub into my skin with medium-firm pressure to slough off dull, deadened cells. The scrub itself is composed entirely of natural ingredients: sugar; sunflower, sweet almond, rice bran and avocado oils; and blood orange, lavender, vanilla, geranium and sweet marjoram essential oils for a sweet fragrance.

As a spa newbie, I thought I would be quite self-conscious undergoing a treatment that I had to strip down for. But Kathryn was a true pro. She expertly flipped and folded towels to protect my privacy and only expose whatever body part she was exfoliating, and she made me feel completely at ease with her friendly and professional demeanour. When the scrub was done, Kathryn left the hydrotherapy room so I could rinse off the sugar particles in the luxurious shower stall. Picture a Kohler rain shower head above and the massage-like effect of the water coming from the water tiles all around you, and you'll understand why I wanted to stay in there much longer than was necessary. It was heavenly. The treatment then continued with body lotion application (again, Spruce's in-house formula), followed by a mini hand and foot massage, and finally a facial using Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant and other products.

The products that Kathryn used on my face (left to right): Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Firm and Active Moist, Colorescience Line Tamer primer, SPF mineral powder and Setting Mist

I emerged from Spruce relaxed and glowing; my skin had never felt so soft and smooth, and my face was radiant thanks to the facial and colorescience SPF products. I'm definitely returning to Spruce in the future. If their body scrubs are this good, just think what their RMT massages and other services are like.

Thanks to Kathryn and Spruce Body Lab for the chance to experience the Be Smooth Body Scrub. For more information or to book an appointment, check out the spa's website.


Product Review: Dermalogica Redness Relief SPF 20 & Concealing Spot Treatment

One of the perks of being a fashion and beauty blogger is trying the latest products, sometimes even before they're publicly available. Such was the case when I attended a media preview at Dermalogica headquarters in Vancouver last month. I walked away with their two newest products in hand: Redness Relief SPF 20 and the Concealing Spot Treatment.

For those who are unfamiliar with Dermalogica, the line was founded in 1986 by Jane Wurwand. As the official skincare line of the International Dermal Institute, it has earned a reputation among skin therapy professionals for producing effective products that deliver results. Dermalogica is free of irritating ingredients such as lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial colors and fragrances, and it emphasizes overall skin health rather than fluffy packaging and superficial "prettifying," for lack of a better word.

Redness Relief SPF 20 exemplifies Dermalogica's philosophy to a tee. It's not just a moisturizer. It also promises to relieve inflammation and redness with its green tint and soothing oat and botanical extracts, while a mix of mineral and chemical sunscreens protects skin from harmful UV rays. The gentle formula is ideal for "resurfaced skin" (i.e. skin that's undergone cosmetic procedures like chemical peels) and sensitive complexions.

I really like Redness Relief SPF 20 as a basic everyday SPF moisturizer that lives up to its claims. The green tint was a bit weird initially, but it did even out the redness as promised and disappeared completely when I rubbed the moisturizer into my skin. There was no ashy effect thanks to the micronized mineral particles. The light, non-greasy, unscented formula made it easy for me to forget that I was wearing it at all. For a more polished look, Redness Relief SPF 20 also doubles as a good primer under foundation.

Unfortunately, I was less pleased with the Concealing Spot Treatment, a tinted concealer that also claims to banish blemishes. The active ingredients, sulfur and zinc oxide, are touted as good alternatives to benzoyl peroxide but seemed rather ineffective; I didn't find that it sped up the healing process for my blemishes. The tint was a bit too dark for my fair Asian complexion. On top of that, the formula's pungent sulfur smell lingered long after application. I kept catching whiffs of it during the day when I least expected it. Sexy. Given that it wasn't the greatest concealer or the greatest blemish treatment, I give this product a pass.

Are you a fan of Dermalogica products? Which ones have you tried?

UPDATE: I tried the Concealing Spot Treatment again with better results.


Givenchy Very Irresistible L'Intense Giveaway

"Intense" is the feeling I get during a dance class that pushes me to my limits, the unwavering focus that overtakes me when I write, the feeling of love I have for those I cherish. "Intense" also happens to be the name of Givenchy's newest fragrance, Very Irresistible L'Intense.

The original Very Irresistible launched in 2003 with Liv Tyler as its spokesperson and Givenchy's muse. Who could forget the lively charm of the Very Irresistible ads? I still love them years later.

Now Very Irresistible returns in an edgier, but no less feminine or elegant, incarnation with L'Intense. At the press preview I attended, I learned that this latest incarnation is supposed to reflect Liv Tyler's own ongoing personal evolution, symbolizing her growing maturity and her return to her rock royalty roots. Featuring notes of purple plum, intense rose, patchouli and musk, this fragrance starts out strong, then fades to a spicy floral before becoming a lingering woody musk.

Liv Tyler in an ad for Very Irresistible L'Intense

Admirers of the bottle should note that the signature twist shape was inspired by Hubert de Givenchy himself, who once said that he wanted to create something with a twist. To complement the pink hue and sensual rose notes of the fragrance inside, the bottle is slightly shadowy and bears a tattoo-like silver rose.

Very Irresistible L'Intense is available nationwide at The Bay and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Two lucky Solo Lisa readers will each receive a 30 ml bottle of Very Irresistible L'Intense. To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what "intense" means to you. International entries welcome. All entries must have some means of contact (e.g. blog, Twitter, email). Any entries without a means of contact are automatically disqualified. The contest ends Friday June 3rd, 12pm Pacific Time. The winner will be chosen randomly. Good luck!


And the winner of Jeanne Beker's Finding Myself in Fashion is...

CC from Le Sigh

Congratulations CC! I'll be emailing you shortly with details on how you can claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered. For those who didn't win, stay tuned: I have another giveaway coming up tomorrow with not one but two prizes.


Today's Outfit: Slightly Distrustful of Sunshine

  • Anthropologie necklace and cardigan
  • Zara cami
  • Banana Republic jeans
  • Joe Fresh flats

Spring weather in Vancouver always reminds me of this passage from Anne of Green Gables:

"Here sat Marilla Cuthbert, when she sat at all, always slightly distrustful of sunshine, which seemed to her too dancing and irresponsible a thing for a world which was meant to be taken seriously; and here she sat now, knitting, and the table behind her was laid for supper."

"Slightly distrustful of sunshine" sums up my attitude perfectly. Sunshine can turn on a dime and bring wind, cloudiness, rain and even hail. I've walked out of the house on sunny days wearing just a sweater and regretted it, shivering throughout the day. I've also layered up at the sight of cloudy skies only to suffocate because it was so warm and humid outside. It's typical for Vancouverites to have sunglasses perched on their heads and umbrellas in their hands at the same time. The weather may have finally warmed up and brought some much needed sun, but I'm not ready to bring on the dresses and sandals yet. The distrust runs deep. A 3/4 sleeve cotton cardigan, cuffed jeans and crisp white ballet flats are a nod to the season while still providing warmth when the breeze gets brisk.

Speaking of cardigans, I'm absolutely in love with the Bette cardigan I'm wearing--a find from my shopping trip to Vancouver's first Anthropologie with Alicia. (The necklace is from the same shopping trip!) It's my idea of the perfect spring sweater: high-quality cotton-blend knit, 3/4 sleeves, flattering classic proportion, bright colour. So tempted to return and get it in another colour or two.

To my Canadian readers, Happy Victoria Day long weekend! What are your plans?


Luxe or Less: The Wayfarer Look

Ray-Ban Wayfarers are a ubiquitous favourite among celebrities, hipsters and coveteurs of classic cool for a reason. The frames flatter a variety of face shapes; they look as good on Anna Wintour as they do on Joseph Gordon Levitt. And at $150-200 a pair, unlike high-end designer shades, they won't break the bank.

Or will they? After all, the definition of what breaks the bank is relative. If you're on a student budget or notoriously careless with shades, spending that much on a single pair may not be feasible. Luckily for the budget-conscious, knockoffs abound.

I have Wayfarers, but I've also been alternating them with a lookalike pair by Matix Clothing that I received from a media preview. The Matix pair is perfect for days when I want to wear sunglasses without toting a case for them. (What can I say? I'm OCD and worried about scratching more expensive shades.)

For the girly spirit, Urban Outfitters has these pink pearlized Sahara Wayfarer shades ($14). They even come with rose-tinted lenses.

And for a quirky modern twist, the Meridian sunglasses ($24) from Anthropologie fit the bill nicely.

Would you wear Wayfarers or Wayfarer lookalikes?


Jeweled Flats, My Non-Basic Basic

Do you have staple pieces in your wardrobe that you wear constantly and can't live without, pieces that rarely make some fashion expert's "X, Y or Z pieces every woman needs in her wardrobe" list? Jeweled flats are one such staple for me. Basic black flats are just fine, but sparkly embellishments on the toe make a casual shoe much more special. Whether the jeweled flats are by Miu Miu or a lower-end brand, I'm drawn to them like a magpie to treasure. Not only are they comfortable and walkable, they add a dressy touch to even the simplest of outfits. Slip on a pair with skinny jeans, a plain tee, a blazer and scarf and you'll see what I mean.

Of course, if you're on a tight budget and can't afford to buy a pair of sparkly flats, you could always opt for simple ones like those by Yosi Samra and add some sparkly shoe clips.

Are you a fan of jeweled flats? What are some of your non-basic basics?


Published in FLARE Magazine!

In case you haven't heard via Twitter, I have an article in the June 2011 issue of FLARE magazine! As a fashion blogger and professional writer there's no greater thrill, especially since I'm also a subscriber and devoted reader. Many thanks to editor-in-chief Lisa Tant for this amazing opportunity to tell a very personal story; managing editor Catalina Margulis for her insightful editorial comments and professionalism; photographer Evaan Kheraj for the great job he did on the photoshoot; and hair and makeup artist Melanie Neufeld for making me look amazing. And last but not least, thanks to my mother for all the love, patience and support she has shown me over the years.

The June 2011 issue of FLARE is on news stands now, so pick up your copy today! I hope you enjoy reading the article as much as I enjoyed writing it.


Luxe or Less: Bib Necklace Love

If your closet is filled with tees, blouses and dress shirts in need of an accessory pick-me-up, consider adding a bib necklace or two to your jewelry box. A popular trend that's managed to last many seasons, the statement necklace shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, more and more styles are coming out. Whether you like floral chiffon blooms, metals, colourful stones, sparkly gems or wooden beads, there's one to suit every style and budget. Now the question becomes: Can you narrow it down to just one or two? If you're going to wear yours as much as I wear my collection of necklaces, you can definitely justify purchasing more than that.

DANNIJO 'Mochni' bib necklace ($477.44 at Shopbop)

'Mayoria' necklace ($128 at Anthropologie)

'Tayrona' necklace ($58 at Anthropologie)

Turquoise necklace (approx. $10-20 at H&M)

In other news, are any fellow Vancouverites as excited as I am that this city's first Anthropologie location is opening tomorrow?!


Sun and SUNO

I could use a little more sun and SUNO in my life, if only because the former would let me wear gorgeous sun dresses designed by the latter. Take this crisscross cutout dress ($691.29 on Shopbop), for example. The spaghetti straps can cross in front for a keyhole halter look or across the back for a racerback style. The fabric drapes and flows well, and the abstract floral print is oh so beguiling. If I had an extra $700 lying around, this would definitely be the dress I'll wear as the boy's date to a wedding on the Victoria Day long weekend.

Good news if you're a Vancouverite: This very dress is also available at Violet Boutique.


From NYC to Violet Boutique, With Love

Feminine dresses, pretty patterns, Breton stripes, statement necklaces, tailored pieces with a twist. If this list includes any of your fashion lusts, then Violet Boutique is the stuff that dream closets are made of.

Owner Genevieve Allen has created a haven for the girl who likes a dash of whimsy with her wardrobe.

Genevieve Allen

I had a chance to check out Violet Boutique last week at the SUNO Erin WHIT media preview, which celebrated the arrival of three notable New York-based lines. SUNO's New York designers and tailors work with Kenyan artisans to produce brightly patterned pieces and quirky accessories. I particularly loved the sundresses and chunky beaded necklaces. WHIT is the romantic yet preppy brainchild of designer Whitney Pozgay, whose impressive resume includes stints at Kate Spade and Steven Alan. Erin Fetherston is known for her quintessentially girly girl designs--very Upper East Side playful socialite.

For more about Violet Boutique, check out this excellent profile by I'm the It Girl. Happy shopping!


Solo Lisa Reads: Finding Myself in Fashion by Jeanne Beker--Plus Giveaway!

Host of Fashion Television, editor, clothing line creative director, author, trained actress and mime, there anything that the indomitable Jeanne Beker can't do? In her new autobiography Finding Myself in Fashion, Beker opens up about her personal and professional life in an unprecedented way. Engaging and articulate, this book recounts her encounters with some of fashion's biggest names and candidly discusses the ups and downs in Beker's personal life.

Finding Myself in Fashion is structured as a series of non-sequential vignettes, each chapter plunging the reader into a new time, place and subject. I had trouble following along at first, but eventually I settled into the narrative groove and went along for the ride. And what a ride it is. After 25 years as host of FT, she has seen it all: Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent's retirement, Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow's suicides, 9/11 and the resultant cancellation of New York Fashion Week. Beker does a great job of capturing the allure, charisma and creative genius of the fashion designers that she covers. It's obvious that she never ceases to find them inspiring, which in turn inspired me to admire them even more.

Interspersed with stories of the upper echelon of the fashion world are accounts of Beker's own life: how her parents survived the Holocaust; her painful divorce and romantic misadventures; her two girls, Bekky and Joey; how she found her idyllic country home; and so on. Finding Myself in Fashion ends with Beker touring across the country to promote her EDIT clothing line, during which I had a chance to meet her. But even as I finished the last paragraph and turned the page, I got the sense that although the story ends there, the next great chapter of this amazing woman's life has yet to begin.

Special thanks to Penguin Books for sending me an advance copy of the book to review. Finding Myself in Fashion is available in bookstores nationwide, but one lucky Solo Lisa reader can win a copy of their own!

For a chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite Jeanne Beker memory is. (Did you grow up watching FT and fantasizing about interviewing Karl Lagerfeld? Did you enjoy watching her as a judge on Canada's Next Top Model? Did you read her Globe & Mail columns in the Style section religiously?) If you don't have a blog or Twitter, leave your email address so I can contact you. All entries without a means of contact are disqualified. The contest ends Friday May 20th, 12pm Pacific time. The winner will be chosen randomly. Good luck!


Luxe or Less: Classic Spring Trenches

Usually my Luxe or Less posts feature expensive covetable items and affordable alternatives, but this time even the affordable version is still a bit of a splurge. After all, a classic belted khaki trench coat is worth the money. I've been wearing my T. Babaton 'Carter' trench from Aritzia non-stop because it's suitable for sunny weather, windy days, drizzling rain, and all the fickle spring weather in between. For this reason, I'd rather spend more on a high-quality coat that stays crisp and wears well from one year to another than a cheap one that wrinkles and wears out after one season.

My luxe pick comes from Canadian label SMYTHE, which has made a name for itself doing impeccable blazers and outerwear. The 'Clean' cotton trench ($745.99 on Shopbop) puts a fashion-forward spin on a wardrobe staple with its thick textured cotton canvas, oversized lapels and blazer-style flap pockets. It's timeless enough to look au courant in five years, but the details set it apart from the sea of khaki trenches.

And for my "less" pick, we have the Banana Republic classic trench ($240). It's belted, double-breasted, cuffed, khaki--all the elements you'd look for in a classic trench at a more reasonable price. And because it's BR, this trench even comes in a petite size too.

Are you a fan of trenches for spring?

Disclaimer: This post marks an exciting development--Shopbop is now a sponsor of Solo Lisa! I spent a lot of time ogling items on their site even before the sponsorship, so I'm really excited about this collaboration. Expect more designer items from Shopbop in future posts!


Solo Lisa Reads: Anything Other Than Naked by Glen R. Sondag

To all the men out there: If you've ever been confused by the subtle differences between suit and shirt styles in a menswear store, then Anything Other Than Naked by Glen R. Sondag is for you. This breezy 86-page read promises to be "a guide for men on how to dress properly for every occasion" and largely delivers on its promise, although not without a few missteps.

You might be wondering, "Who is this guy to be calling himself a style expert among men?" Although he's not a well-known fashion expert or blogger, first-time author Sondag prides himself on looking put-together. He credits his sartorial flair to the early influence of his seamstress mother; his years spent working at a menswear store while in college; and the 38 years he spent working in the New York Stock Exchange and having to look sharp while on the job. Through these experiences, he learned the basic rules for dressing well that not all men may know.

As a straightforward tome on dressing well, Sondag's book is quite well done. Chapters are short, organized into easy-to-read sections and laid out clearly. Subjects covered include suiting, shirts, sweaters, trousers, and so on. Sondag also includes plenty of helpful illustrations showing the difference between dress shoe styles, types of shirt collars, or various tie knots, as well as how-to diagrams for things like how to tie a bow tie. Those who are clueless about menswear will definitely learn a thing or two. After all, you have to know the style rules before you break them with aplomb à la one of the dapper gentlemen on The Sartorialist, right?

That being said, I did find myself getting annoyed at Sondag's didactic tone more than once. Anything Other Than Naked began as a manual for his four sons and escalated into a bigger project, so perhaps the authoritative, and sometimes patronizing, tone was a legacy of his "I'm speaking as father to son" narrative voice. Sondag rarely strays off the beaten path of tried-and-true edicts such as "The bottom button on a suit should always be unbuttoned" and "Your belt should match your shoes." I also wish that the visuals were of better quality. Many of the images, though helpful, are low-res black-and-white thumbnails that look as if they were pulled off the Internet.

If you're a guy who wants to learn the style rules your father never told you, or a girl who wants to better help a guy shop, then Anything Other Than Naked is for you. However, if you're already familiar with the rules and are looking for some fashion-forward inspiration, you should look elsewhere.


Obakki Fall/Winter 2011 Show

Last Thursday, several hundred of Vancouver's most stylish gathered at the historic St. Andrews-Wesley Church downtown for the Obakki fall/winter 2011 show. Unlike the previous invite-only shows at their trendy Gastown flagship store, this one was open to the public with all proceeds from ticket sales going to the Obakki Foundation. They also livestreamed it online--proof positive that the internationally recognized Vancouver label (which counts Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson as fans) is growing in scope and influence.

As I found out when I wrote about them for Vancouver Fashion eZine, every season's collection is based on the imaginary adventures of the fictional Obakki man and woman. This season, the next chapter seems to focus on the Obakki woman alone. In the video clip that played before the show began, the Obakki woman was seen wandering through an old Victorian mansion's rooms and gardens--reading, lighting candles and daydreaming with an air of somber contemplation.

"We’ve launched a collection that combines nostalgic romance with a distinctive modern edge," explained founder and creative director Treana Peake. It was this sense of nostalgic romance that prompted them to choose St. Andrews-Wesley Church as the perfect backdrop to complement the vintage-inspired yet modern charm of the clothes. Candles, stained glass windows, and old wooden pews only added to the atmosphere.

Although the vintage dimension is a departure from Obakki's purely modern and minimalist aesthetic, as always the pieces walked a fine line between structure and loose draping and were feminine to the core. Luxe fabrications included Japanese lace, Italian silks, mohair and angora. Neutrals formed most of the colour palette, but a lovely printed silk with dashes of red and coral was used in several pieces. Some dresses boasted lingerie-like details, while others had flapper-inspired fringe, loose ruffles or artful drapes. Textured white faux fur was used in jackets and in collars.

My personal favourite (not pictured, but similar to the one above) was a fitted black-lace-on-nude lace dress with a knee-length skirt. The unlined lace sleeves ended at the elbows in a delicate scalloped edge. Another look I coveted (not pictured here) was a deep crimson belted trench done in a slightly drapey fabric with minimal details and clean lines.

Aside from the clothes, I also loved the hair and beauty looks for this show. The models sported a creative take on the classic half updo that featured fishtail braids and deliberately tousled locks. Dark burgundy and deep wine lip colours provided the perfect finishing touch for porcelain complexions and minimal eye makeup.

Special thanks to Obakki for the show invite and to Peter Jensen for the beautiful photos in this post.


Today's Outfit: Lighten Up

  • T. Babaton 'Carter' trench
  • Banana Republic cardigan
  • Talula oxford shirt
  • Joe Fresh belt
  • H&M shorts
  • Dynamite tights
  • American Apparel oxfords

Blame it on the lacklustre spring weather we've been having lately, but I realized after my last outfit post that what I was wearing was dark, wintry and not at all spring-like. Where were the bright colours, light layers and latest spring trends? Well, just as Mother Nature is taking her time easing into warmer weather, I seem to be edging towards spring in baby steps. Before I dive headfirst into this season's colour-blocked clothes, I'm piling on clothes in lighter neutrals: olive-y khaki, light blue, gray, tan. Not a bright hue among the bunch, but the overall lightness of these combined pieces is a lot better than black on black. If you're looking for an alternative to colour-blocking, how about non-black neutral-blocking?

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