Archive | October, 2011

Tights vs. Socks

31 Oct

Knee high and over the knee socks are booming back into stock, replacing the traditional tights you may wear with an outfit.  This classic school girl look is actually pretty cute and fun to play up.  You can pair them with anything– heels, flats or boots.   For this time of year, in the midwest, I would pair the socks with penny loafers or tall riding boots. You can buy knee highs/over the knee socks at H&M, TopShop, Target, and  Complete the look with a tan or patterned skirt or sleek black shorts, a tank and cardigan.  I love this look shown in American Apparel (left). 
You also have a lot of options with socks–texture wise.  Wear thick durable knit socks for cold weather, or thin breathable nylons for a bit warmer weather.  Essentially you’ll get the same overall look, but it’s fun to play with texture when appropriate.  Also, there are many different designs and colors on socks, has a lot of options so check out their website.  This photo from H&M has a cool spin on the style–wearing both tights and knee high socks.  This model displays thin nylon tights with a pattern, layered under solid black knit knee highs.


Feathers: DIY vs. Professional

27 Oct

Is it worth getting feather hair extensions professionally placed over doing it yourself?

In my opinion… no way!

Although salons place the feathers for you and take walk-in appointments, it’s just not worth the money to me.  Depending on where you go, and the individual who places the feathers in your hair, you never know how long the extension will stay put.  It could potentially fall out within a week or two which is not reliable enough for the money.  Most credible salons around the Iowa City area charge around $40 for a three-pack of skinny feathers.  This is why doing it yourself is less risky and more worth it.

                                                                  Photo courtesy of Etsy, Inc.

How to DIY:

First, you will need to purchase feathers.  To shop online for feathers you should visit Artwear Miami.  Here you can find both feather extensions and clips.  Feather clips are great if you don’t want to commit to clamping in a bundle of feathers that may last for a month or two.  So, after you purchase your feathers you will need a hair clamp to keep them secured to your hair.  (Clamps come with feather purchases from Artwear Miami.)  The round, aluminum clamp resembles a bead and is lined with silicone to help it stick in your hair. You’ll want to weave your hair and feathers through the bead and fasten everything together using pliers.  The pliers will squish the bead/clamp flat.  This keeps the hair and feathers tight, and this step alone determines how long they will stay put. (i.e. the tighter you fasten the bead the longer everything will stay secure.)

Where to place your feathers:

When placing your feathers you should consider two things: look and comfort.  In order to come up with the perfect placement you need to have a balance between the two.  If you want it on the outside of your hair, I suggest using a clip that you can take in and out daily.  Otherwise, if you use the semi-permanent clamp extension, I advise you to put it underneath your hair, just behind the ear.  This way you can see the extension when your hair is down or up in a pony tail, and your head won’t ache from the metal bead resting between your head and your pillow.

Here is a great tutorial on youtube that walks you through the steps on how to master the art of putting feather hair extensions in yourself!

Top 10 Shopping Destinations in Downtown Iowa City

24 Oct

NOTE: These are in alphabetical order and are not rated individually because they all offer something unique!  Click here to go to the map and find out where each store is located in relation to each other.

Active Endeavors: located at 138 S Clinton Street. This store is targeted to the outdoor enthusiast, selling winter apparel, hiking boots, sleeping bags, etc.  They carry brands such as Patagonia and The North Face.  (Don’t know which brand one to buy?  Check back in a couple days for my next post comparing Patagonia and TNF jackets.)

InBox: located at 114 S Clinton Street.  The owner buys some of her apparrel from U.K. brands–you know what that means, they are always on top of trends!  Don’t be afraid to try on a fringey shirt or holey leggings, you may surprise yourself and will be ahead of the pack in terms of fashion.

Iowa Book: located at 8 S Clinton Street, right across for the Old Capitol building. Haven’t you heard the commercial?  “Iowa Book… It’s a one of a kind book store.”  Yes, yes it is–tons of Hawkeye gear including the Victoria’s Secret line.

Catherine’s: located at 7 S Dubuque Street.  Catherine’s is a bit more pricey than the rest of these stores so I’d only go here for nice quality designer jean–they carry 7 For All Mankind, J Brand and Hudson Jeans.

Cheap & Chic: located at 105 S Dubuque Street.  This store is actually owned by the same people who run Catherine’s just down the block.  Always check this place before Catherine’s as they sell some of the same things here…FOR LESS!  Definitely a place to go for a reasonably priced cute shirt.

Dulcinea: located at 2 S. Dubuque Street.  This corner store always has a variety of dresses in stock.  If you’re looking for anything from a babydoll dress to a floor length dress check here.

Lorenz 2.0: located at 109 S. Linn Street. Two words: Shoes galore.

Raygun: located in the pedestrian mall at 103 East College Street, this funky shop makes funny T-shirts featuring Iowa.  For example a popular one is: “Iowa City: all of the creativity went into its name.  You can also have them print your own designs.

Silver Spider: located in the Old Capitol Mall at 201 S Clinton Street #154.  JEWELRY JEWELRY JEWELRY! This place has it ALL.  No joke, anything you could want is at this place.  And don’t forget to add an inappropriate magnet to your bag when you go to check out.

Textiles: located in the Pedestrian Mall at 109 S Dubuque Street. This store targets a bit of an older crowed i.e. not college students, more like college students’ moms.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pop in to check out their Hobo International handbags and belts, they also always have a huge stock of scarves!

How To: Nail Art

20 Oct

Watch my tutorial on how to do your own nail designs using the new Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen!

Products:  Essie Nail Polish in “bahama mama”, Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen in “Hot Pink”, Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Top Coat–All can be found at your local CVS or Walgreens Pharmacy for under $10 each.

Estimated time: 30 minutes (mostly drying time)

Earrings: Studs vs. Statement

17 Oct

A go to earring for me has always been the classic stud. Basic silver/gold ball or diamond studs are so versatile, they are simple enough to wear daytime and sophisticated enough for night wear.  Studs will always be in though, so when a new trend arises its nice to mix up or traditional look.  Two new trends are long feather earrings and wrap around earrings.

The statement feather earring is best worn in just one ear.  To offset the feather wear your hair in a low side ponytail like Jessica Szohr, below. (Photo courtesy of  Jessica is most famous for her role in Gossip Girl.  Click here to find a similar black feather earring to this one from Hot Topic.

Another fun trend is the wrap around earring–which should be worn with your hair pulled back so you can fully see the design.  There are a lot of crazy designs that wrap around your entire ear, and look like they’d weigh your ears down.  Here’s a simple version of a wrap around earring:

You can find wrap around earrings at and feather earrings at Claire’s, Hot Topic, Macy’s, etc. Let me know if you try any of these looks out!

What is fashion to you?

13 Oct

People around the Iowa City area captured in their everyday life share what fashion means to them.

Tote bag: Vera Bradley vs. Longchamp

12 Oct

Vera Bradley and Longchamp produce two of the most popular tote bags among college aged women. I decided to compare the two brands after seeing countless ladies on the Iowa campus with one or the other:

Longchamp is known for its traditional classic style.  You will always find a leather strap, gold button, small inner pocket and zipper for their signature line–Le Pliage.  This bag is waterproof and comes in a variety of colors.  They are mostly solid colors but sometimes stray to a simple design.  Size is approximately: 12″ x 12″ x 7.5″  Cost: $145

Vera Bradley has branded its bags with bold, recognizable prints.  They are cotton quilted which gives an appealing texture.  The tote is equipped with six pockets and a toggle closure. Rough size dimensions: 19″ x 15″ x 6″ with an 11″ strap  Cost: $80

Although the Vera Bradley tote costs less, I think you get a bigger bang for you buck with Longchamp.  Because Longchamp has a waterproof aspect, this is more ideal for every day wear and tear, and its easily cleaned inside and out with a wet washcloth.  Also a huge plus to the bag is that it folds up into a tiny, relatively flat package so it’s great to take on vacation.  And of course, I’m a big fan of Longchamp’s simple, elegant style.  Their totes never go out of fashion and they match with more outfits as they are solid colors.

I would recommend Vera Bradley for travel luggage–they would be extremely easy to spot at the airport!

Scarves: Infinity vs. Traditional

7 Oct

I just bought a scarf from InBox a couple days ago–had to take advantage of that 25% of sale! Anyways I’m totally obsessed with it. It’s an infinity scarf; basically material in the shape of a donut that you put around your neck!  (Also called neck warmers, circle scarves, and loop scarves).  This has been a trend over the past couple years, but has really become mainstream this year.  The brand of my infinity scarf is Cheap Monday.  Inbox carries this European brand, which is really cool.  It’s pretty awesome that Stevie has the power to bring these looks to the great state of Iowa when they’re in style. (Opposed to coming “in style” in the midwest after the east and west coast have been there and done that).

Jocelyn EXCLUSIVE Short Rabbit Infinity Scarf: Brown
I saw this rabbit fur infinity scarf from Intermix featured on today.  It gives you an idea of how you can play with texture to make your scarf pop from your outfit.

I’ve found that infinity scarves are so easy to throw on over a coat or jacket.  They’re very simple and can look very elegant especially in a solid color.  Although with traditional scarves you have choices of how to wear it (knots, looping, tying, etc.) it’s nice to not have to fuss about it.  You don’t have to worry about traditional scarf ends flying up in your face in windy weather (embarrassing!)  It’s always a little awkward trying to strap down fluttering ends when in public.  The infinity scarf sits like a necklace, pretty snug to your neck, so it’s hassle free.

Inbox and Lyla’s Boutique had infinity scarves in stock the past couple fall seasons, so if you’re in the Iowa City area check out those stores.  Nordstrom is always a great place to look for variety, and you can order offline, so that’s another store to keep in mind.  When buying an infinity scarf look for chunky thick ones, that will be sure to keep you warm.  I really like this Michael Kors fax fur infinity scarf, or “neck warmer”.  The texture will add a lot to any outfit, and stand out from a jacket.  Because it’s an infinity scarf, it has less material than a traditional one, so the fur won’t look like it’s too much.  I also really like the Hunter Herringbone circle scarf–it’s a two toned black and white wool weave.  Can’t go wrong there!

Another plus–if you purchase a circle scarf that has a long width, it doubles as a hoodie.  It can protect your head against wind, light rain and snow just like a sweatshirt hood would.  Here is an example:

Photos courtesy of (This site prices these around $20!)

Podcast Interview Featuring Stevie Tummey

6 Oct

Hey Everybody!  Here is my first podcast.  I decided to interview Stevie Tummey, an Iowa City native who opened her own business in downtown Iowa City–a women’s clothing store called InBox.  The boutique brings great styles and brands to the area, so I wanted to learn a bit more about how Stevie started her business and how she gets the best, newest trends into her store.  And of course, tying in the ‘This vs That’ theme of my blog, by finding out how she chooses between articles of clothing for her window displays.  You can follow the script below while listening to the podcast!  Enjoy!

Laurie Lehman: Welcome to my first podcast of ‘Laurie’s This vs That’, I’m Laurie Lehman.  Alright, so I’m here today with Stevie Tummey, 27 year old store owner of InBox, downtown Iowa City–Say hello Stevie!

Stevie Tummey: Hello!

LL: How are you doing today?

ST: I’m doing fabulous.  We’re having a 25% off sale today so it’s brought in a lot of traffic and that’s exciting, and it’s beautiful outside!

LL: I’d like to ask you a few questions on how you started up and decided to open your own business

ST:  Well, I’ve always had a passion for fashion and have been in retail for the past 13 years.  So, my first job was in this exact location Preferred Stock Iowa CIty was also a clothing store.  I have worked in retail or sales for several years and I love boutiques and I love to shop and I decided that the time was right with the economy being so down, that most businesses when they start can make it through anything.

LL:  When did you decide that you could actually start up the business on your own or how did you get the funding for it?

ST:  So, I decided that; I was in California for about a year hanging out, living my life and was interested in opening my own business.  And I saw the real estate prices in California compared to Iowa City when I would come back to visit my family and so at that point I realized that I would probably be able to you know the lease of a place and such in Iowa City, so then I have always been good at saving money. So, I’d saved up a lot of money and I also then went to a private investor and got a personal loan for the business.  So, that’s how I started the business on August 5, 2009!

LL: Would you mind describing the process you go through on your buying trips, to get your clothes?

ST: Depending on what time of year it is, I really enjoy traveling and sometimes I take my husband and daughter if we’re going out to L.A. and it’s a far trip then I’ll take them.  And, we will take a flight and go out and there’s a fashion district and fashion mart and we go shop all day long for like eight to ten hours days.  It’s very stressful because it’s not just fun shopping it’s actually for the store and it has to be stuff that other people want to buy and wear so it puts more pressure on me as opposed to just going shopping for a pair of pants for myself.  So that’s one way I go on a buying trip, the other way is; Chicago has a fashion mart, a merchandise mart, so I go there, a couple times a year I’ve taken the manager of the store Allysa Mullen she has gone with me before and we have a lot of fun there.  We just usually go down for the day, leave really early in the morning and stay all day and see our favorite brands and then come back home.  And, the third way I buy is, I have emails that come to me from my favorite brands, so I’m a frequent buyer on their line so they send me emails with new products and I buy it online.

LL: Do you go anywhere else besides Chicago and L.A.?

ST: I’ve been to New York or buying trips and my goal is to be able to take a trip to Europe to go buy.

LL:  Well, as you know my blog is actually a fashion blog that’s called ‘This vs That’, and it’s where I take two fashion accessories, two articles of clothing, or two different brands or even ideas and compare and contrast the two and I kind of pick the winner each time I post.  And I was just wondering if you could kind of talk about your window displays and how you decide what to put in there.  Would you rather put jeans on more so than a dress, or vice-versa?

ST:  So, our window displays we try and change weekly.  We also try and put new merchandise in the window.  Colorful stuff definitely helps, sparkly stuff, most often times we go with a theme.  Maybe every (we call our mannequins girls) so every girl in the window is going out.  We like to accessorize them a lot and I really enjoy putting jeans on the mannequins because they give people a great idea but dresses, I think, look better.  And it’s more fun to shop for dresses, because usually it’s an occassion that you’re shopping for as opposed to jeans who no one really likes to try jeans on.

LL: Yeah, I’d have to say that I usually would pick up a dress, or be more attracted to a dress in a store window than jeans.  I’m not really looking for that in boutiques.

ST: Right.  So, that’s how we do it.  We also have a professional merchandiser come in and she helps guide what we want, with our concepts, and she makes it come to life and is amazing.

LL:  Alright, well thanks for being a part of my podcast today.

ST: Yes

LL: There you have it, that was ‘Laurie’s This vs That’ podcast, I’m Laurie Lehman

Podcast music: Love & Hate Relationship by MonSteReo

Jackets: Patagonia vs. The North Face

2 Oct

Patagonia or The North Face? That is the question.

These two brands target the same audiences, attracting the average joe looking for a jacket to the hardcore outdoor enthusiast.  I’m comparing the brands’ most popular fall-winter jackets.  They’re both full zip, fleece jackets worn by men and women.

The North Face: Denali Jacket .

Price: $165

Features: Full zip, mostly fleece with abrasion-resistant fabric overlays shoulders, chest and elbows.  Standard fit, two hand pockets, one chest pocket

Patagonia: Full Zip Re-Tool Jacket .

Price: $139

Features: Full zip, polyester fleece, “feminine” silhouette, two hand pockets, one chest pocket

I’ve always been partial to TNF jacket, as I bought a few in high school.  They’re great and roomy inside, which is good for layering OVER a sweatshirt it.  Now, if you’re looking for a jacket that is contoured a little more to your figure, I would go with the Patagonia, it is a good layering piece but would work best UNDER your main winter coat. It’s just too body skimming to fit anything bulky like a sweatshirt under it.  Also the Patagonia texture is super soft, which is a plus.  So depending on how you want to wear it, as your main coat or as an inside layer, choose accordingly!  But of course, go to a store and try both on before you determine what you want–Active Endeavors downtown Iowa City carries both, so stop by after class.