Parle Americano

After surveying the spring/summer 2011 collections, I was struck by a couple of majorly inspiring trends.  I’ve already covered two of these in some detail: minimalism, a la Celine and Chloe, and ethereal “floatiness,” a la the chiffon concoctions of J. Mendel and Donna Karan.  One I’ve not yet touched upon?  The persistence of the classic Americana aesthetic — stripes, denims, bright reds, sturdy cognacs, etc — which has enjoyed sustained influence over the past couple of seasons of runway looks, scoring major points in the SS ’11 collections of Stella McCartney, Derek Lam, and Celine, among others.

{One of my favorite Derek Lam looks — image from}

{from L to R: Stella McCartney, Celine, and Derek Lam — all images from}

This post is therefore all about distinctively American sportswear, that slightly androgynous, let’s-roll-up-our-sleeves-and-get-down-to-business, admirably unfussy (even downright rebellious) aesthetic.  First things first: I’ve been obsessing over deep blue gingham check for some time now, and I keep gravitating towards its vibrancy when I open my closet in the morning.  I’d pair a classic blouse style (AKA New York, $148, LesNouvelles) tucked into some wide-leggers (gasp!) and adorn with an unexpected heavy statement piece (love this Suzanna Dai style — $365, Suzanna Dai):

I’d finish with these too-good-to-be-true Rupert Sanderson sandals (perfectly architectural — $860, ShopSavannahs):

And an oversized clasp-lock clutch ($94, ASOS) along with a wrist-ful of leather bangles (around $185 apiece, Fendi):

I’d top it all off with a classic Penfield parka (love the buffalo check lining — and it’s on sale for $140, Penfield):

Something about the high fashion-ality of the necklace and the ruggedness of the utility jacket makes my heart sing.  P.S. I’ve not yet done a full investigation as to whose wide-legged denim meets my needs, but I’m intrigued by Emerson Made’s version (love the styling on that site) and Gap has run a convincing campaign that piques my interest.

Let’s be honest, though.  I’ll likely wind up snagging mine from J. Brand or Paige — I’m a denim loyalist.  I’m also loving this blouse-y silk top (on sale for $69, Madewell), which I envision tucking into a navy-and-white striped mini (APC, $137, LaGarconne) and topping with a tangly gold statement necklace ($300, Noir):

And even though they ain’t even my style, I can’t help but envision some sort of strappy, heavy-looking brown-leather pump — something like this unbelievable find from Forever 21 (que?! — $28, Forever21):

Accent with a cross-body be-tasseled leather bag (Wendy Nichol, $395, Stuart&Wright):

Also digging the bold, graphic quality of pairing a loose white voile top ($100, Built By Wendy) with some snug red jeans (Paul & Joe, $260, Net-A-Porter):

With a blank canvas like this, you know I’m dying to layer on the festive add-ons — like this ridiculous Jewels of the Kalahari piece, which is no longer available, but was hand-crafted for a limited-edition collection of 19 pieces by Botswanan artisans!  (You can read the fascinating story of how this collection came to be here.)

Do you die?  I’d add some classic American add-ons: a gleaming borrowed-from-the-boys watch ($275, Michael Kors) and a chunky polished gold ring ($95, Jules Smith):

I’d finish with some nude/blush flats (love the scalloped accent — Chloe, $425, Kirna Zabete):

Perhaps a classic Levi’s checked workshirt ($105, Industry) tucked into a navy skirt (Adam, $91, TheOutnet) is more your speed:
Finish with some striped flats ($145, Pretty Ballerinas) and a leather-accented navy tote (YSL, $675, Matches):

Then accent with some wood-effect add-ons, like a stack of bangles ($36/bangle, Econscious):

And possibly this wood-accented necklace ($15, Modcloth):

Perfectly kitschy.  I’d on a gray-denim parka jacket ($118, Madewell) in a slightly feminine cut (check out the nipped waist!), and you’re set:

The above jacket would also look lovely atop a navy-striped tee ($85, Madewell), paired with a short, fuller skirt (Paul & Joe, $195, Net-A-Porter):

I’d pair with some kicky red flats, and I’m over the uber-BRIGHT geranium color of this ASOS pair (on sale for $31, ASOS):

And then all you’d need is a classic mini-leather bag — I never thought I’d be interested in the cross-body style until now ($370, J. W. Hulme):

And, finally, some basic gold circle studs ($35, Gorjana) and a stack of slim gold bangles ($110 for set, Jules Smith):

And how much do you love the idea of an easy-on denim shirtdress ($248, ShopBird)?

I’d probably layer over opaque tights during these winter months and finish with my Loeffler Randall mini-wedges ($695, Loeffler Randall) and this statement-making tote ($440, FleaBag):

This hammered coin necklace is the perfect topper (Kenneth Jay Lane, $42, TheOutnet):

It would all look excellent beneath a cropped, heathered bomber ($440, Hayden Harnett)

Finish it all off with some sporty Carrera aviators ($150, Nordstrom):

Or for work?  I am obsessed with the idea of a classic denim button-down ($32, Uniqlo) with the.skirt. of the season, by Stella McCartney (I’ve only seen this in stores — costs around $800 — but I’ve seen a comparable version at H&M of all places!): the skirt.  The texture is beyond.  I’d finish with these Louboutin declics in yummy brown leather ($690, Net-A-Porter) and an unexpected red suede clutch (about $250, Tila March):

I’d layer two beaded necklaces atop ($110 apiece, Pret-A-Beaute):

Ugh!  I could go on and on with these Americana styles, but I’ll cut myself off here, with one final thought: a prairie-reminiscent ditsy printed blouse (Rebecca Taylor, $245, PinkMascara) with mid-rise J. Brands ($175, Net-A-Porter) and some classic Ray Ban aviators ($139, Shopbop):

These chunky brown leather heels ($90, Heels) complete the look alongside the Chloe Marcie bag ($1,790, Net-A-Porter):

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