Summer 2011

STA D.I.Y.: The Inspiration Book

Truth: I’m a magazine hoarder. September issue season is similar to the second coming of Christmas. While I love each one that the mailman delivers, it leaves me with the inevitable surplus of material lying around my home. What’s a girl to do with so much material month after month?

Answer: Inspiration books/boards. With my passion for society and fashion, my inspiration books serve as the best current indicator of my personal style.

A bit different than journaling, there’s a few tips that every would-be inspiration bookie should keep in mind:

Pick the palette that’s right for you. For me, it’s a big basic black Moleskine notebook with graph paper. I prefer a sleek and simple canvas for its diverse inner-workings. For others, a journal with a favorite quote or motto may work. If you travel frequently, a notebook or sketchbook that you stumble across any random market may be perfect to use. Whatever you do, don’t just settle for that leftover Five Star notebook from your sophomore year communications class. Even the exterior of your inspiration book should reflect a piece of you.
Know that a notebook isn’t right for you? If you don’t want to put together a book, you can always translate this same concept into an inspiration board using a simple piece of poster board. Hang it on the wall next to your closet for instant inspiration!

Use a broad set of materials. While my main focus is my own personal style, I constantly remind myself that my style goes beyond my favored military blazers and one-shoulder frocks. Inspiration can be found not only in the latest issue of Vogue, but also in the Pottery Barn catalog that lands on my doorstep. Love the ocean? Grab a sailing magazine. Find an amazing photo on Tumblr that speaks to you? Print it out and grab a glue stick. Don’t limit an inspiration book to one topic – it’s a space to let loose on everything you love.

Intertwine your personal styles. An inspiration book is a perfect place to further explore your current style. Without a doubt, a trend will appear within the pictures you choose. (For me, it was a lot of Sienna Miller, Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Bilson and Ashley Olsen.) Use your images as a guide to (loosely!) define your style and tweak it to make it uniquely you. (You’ll find that yes, you can mix the button-down you adore on Kate Middleton and the boho skirt that Mary Kate Olsen rocks in the same outfit). Should you find yourself wearing similar pieces on a regular basis, this is the perfect way to find new and interesting additions to make your outfits that much more special.

Target what you have. Spy a picture of your L.L.Bean tote in Elle? The Catherine Malandrino LBD you nabbed on your last STA jaunt? The high-waisted Ralph Lauren pants you covet in your closet? Make sure to tear those pages out and work them into your inspiration book. See how professional stylists work them into their photo shoots for a new take on your longtime favorites.

The best part? Inspiration books always act as the best personal magazine. Can’t decide what to wear to work in the morning? Tempted to grab your default leggings and tunic combo without thinking? Flip open any page of your newly minted inspiration book for any quick dose of panache you need.

~Meredith, fashioniSTA/Shopper Extraordinaire

MFA’s Jewels, Gems, and Treasures: Ancient to Modern

Once upon a time, feathers, claws, coral, and rock crystals drew as much attention as that huge rock on your neighbor’s

finger. These crazy pieces were used as a sort of silent communication system, stating your status to all who passed by. B.C.-era bling also served to be personally symbolic, seen as protective charms that could keep the wearer from harm. Since then, jewelry has evolved into fashionable accents viewed less as status symbols (engagement rings aside) or Harry-Potter-esque amulets and more as little “pops” we add to our daily wardrobe to pull ourselves together.

But jewelry as… art? If your love of all things sparkly goes beyond the typical gal’s “these earrings go with this outfit” mindset, then you will be blown away by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts most recent exhibition. Jewels, Gems, and Treasures: Ancient to Modern opened on July 19th, showcasing about 75 pieces dating from 2400 BC to 2003. This exhibition ushers in the inauguration of the MFA’s new “Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery,” which promises to be a home for thematic rotating jewelry shows.

Among the standout pieces of historical value are a diamond earring/enamel brooch set from the 1860’s (right), worn by Mary Todd Lincoln as she mourned her presidential husband; a diamond earring/necklace Tiffany set (now considered to be

one of the oldest surviving American-made necklaces) given by gun tycoon Samuel Colt in 1856 to his bride; enameled cuff bracelets which once belonged to Coco Chanel; cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post’s platinum-diamond- emerald brooch; six deity-topped pendants previously owned by Nubian queens (above, right); and a brooch-and-earrings set adorned with taxidermy hummingbirds (below), which were all the rage in 1860’s England. This already-impressive list excludes the scores of art deco pieces on display by contemporary artisans. You’ll have to see them all for yourself!

The MFA’s new gallery marks the first exhibition dedicated entirely to jewelry at a major U.S. art museum. “This seems to be as significant as when art museums began having departments and curators for textiles,” says Marjorie Schwarzer, author of Riches, Rivals, and Radicals: 100 Years of Museums in America. “It’s taking these art forms that were considered ‘craft’ and then were considered ‘women’s arts’ and elevating them to fine art.” As Ruth Peltason, author of Living Jewels: Masterpieces from Nature: Coral, Pearls, Horn, Shell, Wood & Other Exotica points out, “if we can get intelligent people talking to us about jewelry, then we won’t just see it as ‘would I wear that ring?’ or ‘gee, I’d like to own that necklace.’ Instead, we can look at it as something of its time and ask ‘Who are those great makers? Who are those great artists?’”

From a fashioniSTA’s standpoint, it’s all about staying ahead of the trends. After all, history repeats itself on the runway! By visiting an exhibit like this, you can ogle the jewelry from hundreds of years ago and compare it to what we are wearing today, seeing how these pieces continue to inspire our current styles. Prepare yourself to be dazzled as well as inspired. If you’re in the Boston area, be sure to check out this breathtaking exhibition, on display through November 25th.

~Kim, Store Manager - Harvard Square/FashioniSTA

Pick Your Summer Sale Personality

No one likes when the summer ends. But what can soften the blow? The STA End-of-the-Summer Sale, of course! While promotions are always a good idea, these blowouts can sometimes turn out the best deals on the latest trends and best wardrobe staples. Right now all summer items are 50% off, so pick your shopping persona and hurry in for the best deals!

The Treasure Hunter
This is the girl that lives for the hunt. If you’re her, you’ve scoped out the stores throughout the summer, keeping her eye on certain pieces. The sale is the perfect opportunity for you to finally pounce on those key designer items that you’ve wanted all season, at an even bigger discount!

The Negotiator
If you’re always trying to see how low you can go and how much you can save, whether you’re shopping for groceries or a statement wardrobe piece, consider yourself a Negotiator. Pricing can be a game, and you are the master of it. Never to be outdone, this sale is the key to your victory, providing you with ample opportunity to snag the lowest prices on everything you want!

The Trendsetter
Are you a fashion-forward, style-conscious girl (or guy)? Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but having an eye for the latest trends and a passion for style experimentation can get pretty expensive. This sale is the perfect way to get try out the trends without breaking the bank, whether you’re dipping a toe into the style adventure pond or you dove in years ago. From sheer tops to wild prints, whether it’s one piece or a full closet’s worth, this sale is your golden ticket.

The Minimalist
Maybe it’s about living on a budget or you just hate the idea of excess and clutter. Either way, being a Minimalist means that you carefully select key items like a girl (or guy) on a mission, purchasing only if you really need it and it is an investment piece. This sale is the perfect opportunity to save on items you need, and maybe if you’re feeling bold, on something you only want.

Whether you’re a first-time STA shopper or a seasoned veteran, this sale is style gold. It’s the perfect opportunity to score big without spending big. Have an STA sale success story? Let us know! Post on our Facebook wall (, tweet us (@STAconsignment), comment below or email us ([email protected]).

~Ashley, FashioniSTA

Get Your Summer Sale Fix Early!


Can’t wait for the end-of-summer sales? You’re in luck! We’re having a preview sale THIS WEEKEND, from Friday, July 29th through Sunday, July 31st! 30% -50% off all things summer, 10% off new arrivals!  Come scope out the deals or stock up for your August vacation. Whatever the reason, you know this is one preview you won’t want to miss.

Wedding Guest Style: What NOT to Do

We are in the thick of the summer wedding season, and whether you’re going to one or five, it’s important that you never let yourself fall into the inappropriate guest category.

The biggest mistake you could make at a wedding is wearing white. While this may seem like an obvious rule, girls still show up to these events in white dresses (hello, Real Housewives of NYC). Anything in the white-color spectrum should never make it through the doors of a wedding unless you are the bride. This includes ivory, cream and – depending on the fabric – even pale yellow. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how alternative the wedding party is, unless you are Pippa Middleton at the royal wedding, people will think you either are the bride or are competing with her. Make sure that nothing detracts from the bride and go with a bolder color or a pretty pastel instead of white. An exception: should the bride be on the alternative side and she has made it clear that her wedding dress will be a color (ivory doesn’t count), then you may wear white.

Another top wedding mistake? Showing too much skin. Nothing says desperate bride-wannabe if you show up baring too much cleavage and leg. A good rule of thumb is to keep you dress or skirt at just above the knee or longer, especially if the ceremony is in a church. It is better to err on the side of caution when there is a priest involved. I’m all for the whole minidress movement, but in this case, the only thing worse than wearing something borderline club-appropriate is having it in white.
Even going strapless can be construed as too much if the wedding is inside of a church. No matter what your beliefs may be on baring your shoulders, keep in mind that there are older family members present that probably have strict concepts on what is considered church-appropriate. If you have a fantastic strapless dress in mind, throw a blazer or cardigan on top of it for the ceremony, then feel free to go bare-shouldered for the reception. I know that with the hot weather, putting on another layer is less than desirable. Should the venue be non-air conditioned, go with a short-sleeved blazer, lightweight or crocheted cardigan, or a light pashmina that you can easily slip on and off.

Final thought: if you have to ask, you shouldn’t wear it.

~Ashley, FashioniSTA

Wedding Guest Style: Dazzle Any Destination

You’ve made the cut on the guest list, do you really care whose wedding you’re attending? No, you just want to look good. When it comes to weddings, they are great opportunities to wear that stunning dress that is too fancy for work and too subdued for clubbing. Depending on the destination of the nuptials, your outfit could range from effortlessly coastal to Westminster Abbey conservative. We’ll show you how to dazzle any wedding theme.

Going Coastal
Beachside weddings are beautiful, but between the salt water and the sand, it can make finding an outfit difficult. These weddings are more on the casual side, but it still pays to put a little effort in and dress “wedding casual” rather than “beach casual.” For this occasion, a printed dress is a great way to go, and – if you don’t mind lifting it up so it doesn’t drag in the sand – a printed, cotton maxi dress is a fabulous option. Ikat and oversized paisley prints are perfect for this type of occasion
This is also an event to go light on the liquid assets – meaning leave anything overly embellished at home. Big earrings are still a good idea, but go for solid gold, silver or enamel tones rather than baubles. Earrings will also complement a pulled-back hairstyle, such as a low bun or a ponytail, ensuring that the outdoor elements won’t make you look like a beach disaster. Also a good idea to skip? Anything with a heel. Go with flat sandals, and if you’re a fan of sparkles, this is a good place for them.

Outdoors Go Wedding Glam
An outdoor wedding is like a beach wedding, although you don’t have to worry as much about the elements. However, the fancy factor is turned up a bit in this case. For the summertime, a lightweight sundress is a great way to go. Embrace the season and go with a bright, floral pattern to bring out your feminine side, and add ruffles or tiers for added interest. Top off this look with delicate accessories and – if the weather is hot – a fresh chignon, flowers optional. For a preppier look, go with a lattice-printed or textured shift dress and top it off with an embellished or bold pair of stud earrings. Since no one likes feeling like they’re walking in quicksand, go with flats or wide-bottomed wedges. And remember, don’t forget the sunglasses!

Nighttime Event Done Right
For those of you attending a nighttime wedding, definitely feel free to glam up a bit. First take a good look at the invitation. A black tie wedding requires formal attire, which usually means something floor-length, but with the right accessories, you can go a little shorter. Go with a black satin dress and add a pair of drop or chandelier earrings with a chic updo. For extra glitz, top off your look with a bejeweled headband. A white tie wedding is so rare it’s almost like a unicorn, but should you be privy to an event like this – after you invite me as your plus-one, of course – prepare to break out the full gown glam. However, a great trend right now is the tea length dress, which has been seen this year on a number of fashionistas including Ashley Olsen at CFDA Awards (right) and Dianna Agron at both the SAG Awards and the Vanity Fair Oscars party. Should you want to go a little trendier, try out a solid color gown in this length If you’re more of a traditionalist, go with a silk chiffon gown in a bright or jewel tone. Keep the accessories tasteful by going with one embellished piece of jewelry — like a cocktail ring or earrings — and keep everything else simple.
If neither of these restrictions is placed on your invite, feel free to go a little trendier, but continue to keep the glam up. Go for a belted, one-shoulder dress in a jewel tone or a black multi-textured dress with bold accessories. No matter what, make sure your outfit radiates a fun and joyful vibe, it will give the impression to the bride and groom that you’re simply excited to be there for them.

Make It Royal
For a church wedding, definitely go more conservative. Should you still live and breathe British (and really, who doesn’t?), take your own invite opportunity to bring a little UK across the pond. Go with an embellished headband to accent a simple, solid-color shift dress. Finish off the look with a light jacket (cooler weather permitting, of course) in the same color as your dress, or go with a black blazer for a chic take on color blocking. Finish off the look with closed-toe pumps in a neutral color to keep it classy.
If you’re looking to go a bit bolder, you can try out the hat trend (for inspiration, look here). This bold statement will make you fit for an invitation to the next royal wedding.

Jet-Set Ready
Headed out of town? Go with a silk jersey wrap dress, like one from Tory Burch, for easy transport should your destination not include an iron. The wrap style will make it easy to go from suitcase to the dance floor in no time. The other good thing about this type of dress is that you can find it in all colors and patterns, so it’s easy to match to any wedding situation. Should this destination wedding be slightly more formal, you can also find silk jersey dresses with longer hemlines, such as a wrapped bodice gown from Issa. Final reminder: stock up on Spanx, tights, bobby pins, sunscreen, and all other life-saving accessories. You might not have the resources to get them on location.

Remember fashioniSTAs: don’t rely on an open bar to feed your self-confidence. When it comes to wedding, when in doubt, go slightly more formal and you’ll never feel uncomfortable.

~Ashley, FashioniSTA

Dress the Part: Day-to-Night

Let’s say you’re spending your weekend lounging in the backyard with a plate of delights hot off the grill, relaxing on the patio, iced tea in hand. Sounds like heaven, right? But suddenly your phone flashes and there’s (insert BFF’s name here), begging you to be her wingman as she cruises for man candy downtown in a few hours. Being the gracious soul that you are, you agree, but only later realize how quickly time flies when you’re having fun in the sun. You can’t meet her out looking the way you do, all casual and toned down, but you only have 15 minutes to freshen up before you head out again! Ahhhhh!

They key to transitioning from day-to-night without a complete outfit change lies in your accessorizing. You can change almost any outfit from casual and classy to glam and dramatic by simply swapping out the hardware! Check out our STA Harvard Square picks below to see the transition from simply day to sultry night.

Day Look: Dress, Free People (size 6) $39 / Necklace, $14 / Flats, Banana Republic (size 10) $19 / Wicker Bag: Lewis $19

Night Look: Dress, Free People (size 6) $39 / Jacket, Earl Jeans (size L) $39 / Necklace, $14 / Bag: Salvatore Ferragamo $99 / Shoes, Madden Girl (size 6) $25

Day Look: Cardigan, Ann Taylor (../blog/size_M.css) $19 / Dress, no label (../blog/size_M.css) $19 / Necklace, $12 / Bag, H&M $9 / Sandals, Michael by Michael Kors (size 7.5) $49

Night Look: Dress, no label (../blog/size_M.css) $19 / Necklace, $18 / Studded Belt, $15 / Bag, L.A.M.B. $79 (NWT!) / Sandals, Aldo (size 7.5) $25

~Kim, FashioniSTA/Store Manager Harvard Square

Summer Your Style With These Easy Tips!

The warm weather has finally arrived, ok, more like almost arrived, but we’ll take what we can!  And we really can’t think of a better way to spend these warmer days then out shopping for a new spring wardrobe.  But where to start?

Flower Power

The 70s are back ladies.  It looks like it’s time to start digging through your mom’s old clothes, not to mention the racks at STA.  High wasted flares, over-sized sunglasses (when were they ever out?), cropped tops, wedges, flowery tops, the choices are endless and can be a little overwhelming for us stuck in skinny jean limbo.   To gradually incorporate the look in your wardrobe start with a nice pair of high wasted flared jeans paired with a simple tucked in white t-shirt or lightweight sweater, add a layered necklace and some wedges, and you instantly have a causally chic, put-together look.

Orange You Glad It’s Summer?

Every window display we’ve been passing seems to be trying to us one thing – get your orange on!  And, lucky for us any shad will do - peach, coral, light pink - take your pick.  To avoid looking like a pumpkin, pair a light, peachier shade with skinny black jeans and a pair of hot black pumps.  For more of a nautical look, try a coral top tucked into high wasted white flared pants (top, Topshop; jeans, Seven for all Mankind).  Or for a preppy look, match a top in a lighter, pinkish shade of orange with a brown cardigan, cropped jeans and a cute pair of flats.

Buh Bye Blue Jeans

Blue jeans are great, but it’s spring so try a colored pair of pants to spruce up your look.  If you’re feeling bold grab a bright color like teal or red but if you’re feeling more subdued go for pastel with lavender or beige.  Most of the colored jeans out there come in cropped and ankle cut styles which make even the brightest of brights seem a little less overpowering and more wearable.   Pair with a simple top and some wedges and you’re ready for a night out or with a loose button-down and some slip on sneaks for a day of eating and shopping.

~Kristen, Second Time Around

Dress the Part: Nighttime Gathering

After all the daytime grilling and lounging, it’s time go out and really celebrate summer! People will be out and about feeling rested, energized, and amped up about the holiday weekend! Time to ditch the denim and get on with your glam!

Whether your style is sparkly, bohemian, or classic, there are ways to look your finest. Maxi dresses always add a touch of drama, and heeled gladiator booties are perfect for summer nights out. Adding a little gold will go great with that glow you garnered after sitting outside all day, and this is the only season where you can really rock your sleeveless dresses sans cover-up.

Dress: Guess Jeans (../blog/size_M.css) $25 / Necklace: $18 / Sandals: Stuart Weitzman (size 9) $89

Dress: Notice (size S) $49 / Wood & Leather Necklace: $16 / Rope & Shell Belt: $15 / Clutch: Vintage Gucci $79 / Shoes: LF, size 8 $29

Dress: Zara Woman (size L) $29 / Elastic & Velour Belt: $15 / Patent Leather Bag: Etienne Aigner $25 / Shoes: Dana Buchman (size 8.5) $49

Dress: Dharma Imports (../blog/size_M.css) $38 — NWT! / Leather & Grommet Tote: Carlos Falchi $89 / Sandals: Miz Mooz (size 7.5) $25

~Kim, FashioniSTA/Store Manager - Harvard Square

Celebrate July 4th in style!

Score the perfect item you have been coveting for the Summer…and make your own fashion fireworks this fourth!