The Long and Short of It: How to Wear a Short Sleeve Jacket in the Fall/Winter

DSC_0045The weather in Charlotte this weekend has been amazing…  Honestly, I really shouldn’t just say the weekend, it’s been pretty incredible for awhile.  We’ve reached nearly 70 degrees for several days in a row and it feels great.  I guess the downside is that it puts a bit of a damper on the whole holiday “weather outside is frightful” thing but oh well…  I’m sure cooler weather will be coming soon.

DSC_0038Anyway, I’m sure you noticed in my last post that I sported a short sleeve blazer look with a long sleeve tee.  With the great weather this weekend, I thought it would be a perfect time to experiment again with that layering style.  Layering is an essential part of cooler weather fashion.  And I find myself doing it more and more since the weather here has been even more fickle than usual.  Just as the denim vest and classic cardigan have become a perfect transitional and layering piece, a short sleeve or cropped sleeve blazer can serve that purpose as well.  But the truth is, I’m not a big vest person and the cardigan can be so overdone.  So, for me, this gives another unexpected layering option.  In fact, I love the idea of this look not being just for spring and summer.  It can be a staple piece year round!  Just take your blazer or jacket and layer it right over your long sleeve tee or turtleneck (and don’t shy away from mixing prints and colors when you do).DSC_0039

What I’m Wearing: Kenya L Designs Blazer – purchase here, J. Crew Turtleneck, J. Crew Mid-Rise Skinnies, Quipid Riding Boots, Versona Accessories (new Versona Accessories I might add.  Just picked up that awesome necklace last weekend (on clearance no less))!!  Woo-hoo!

What’s your favorite way to layer?  Let me know.  Have a good week everyone!!!!

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Lite Brite, Anyone? – Brights in Bold Fall Fashion

As I was uploading and reviewing the photos from today’s post, I couldn’t help but think of the Lite Brite  toy by Hasbro from the 80’s.  Does anybody else remember this toy?  Or am I completely dating myself?  Ok, so granted, I never actually had one — but I do vividly remember the commercials, in particular around the holidays, of little kids creating crazy designs on a dark board with neon bright pegs.  And I always thought it was the coolest thing….  Anyway, today’s photos definitely brought it back to me – bright colors against a dark back drop – hence the inspired title!

Anyway, my outfit inspiration from today actually came from a J. Crew look that I saw online last week. (Latest Obsession:  Printed Pencil SkirtBut the crazy thing is…  even though it was my full intention to recreate the J. Crew look, apparently I was actually re-channeling a previous look of my own!  Remember the Blazer and Skinny Jeans Restyled post?  Yep – it is the ABSOLUTE identical look.  The only thing that’s different?  Skirt instead of Jeans, Long Sleeve Tee instead of Tank and add in the Gray Tights.  CRAZY.  I mean who unintentionally does that?  Hilarious!  Apparently I really like this color combo!

Tip: Consider your short sleeve blazer as a “vest” of sorts.  Pair it over a long sleeve tee or blouse.  It creates a very unexpected yet polished look.

What I’m Wearing: Kenya L. Designs Blazer – purchase here, J. Crew Top, J. Crew Wool Pencil Skirt, Gray Sweater Tights, BCBG Girls Mary Jane’s, Michael Kors Purse and Watch, Versona Accessories

What’s been your latest style inspiration?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now Open: My Etsy Store

So, if you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you know that one of the primary reasons that I started this blog (wow… nearly 6 months ago) was to chronicle my journey designing and producing custom made blazers.  The past 6 months have gone by like a whirlwind but I have achieved one key milestone – my first set of blazers available for sale and the launch of my online Etsy Store.   It’s a small start — I have a lot more to do — but it IS a start and that in itself is pretty awesome.

My next big step is really to focus on promoting and growing my business and expanding my “in store” offerings.  In fact, you may have already noticed that I changed my blog site domain to kenyaldesigns.com and I added a link to my Etsy Shop directly from it.  I’m definitely interested in you guys feedback so please check out the change and the shop.  I’d love to hear your tips, ideas and suggestions on promotion or any other topic!!  And do share it out with others!!  In fact, I’ll be kicking off a contest in the next few weeks as an extra incentive (more details to come soon!!)

My 2nd set of blazers will be complete this weekend and available in the store mid-week next week.  Please add me as an Etsy Store Favorite so you’ll have first access as new items arrive.

And finally below are my fabric choices for the 3rd set of blazers which we’ll begin production on this weekend.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these selections or any other things that you’d like to see: new jacket styles, fabric and print ideas and of course color combination ideas.  You all are great inspiration so I’d love to get your perspective.    

And definitely contact me if you are interested in a custom order.

Check out some of my prior Kenya L Designs related posts: (The Big RevealThe Tuxedo Blazer, Trending Now… Blazers with ShortsKenya L Designs – 2nd Sample CompleteBlazer and Skinny Jeans RestyledCharlotte Fashion Week 2012)

Charlotte Fashion Week 2012

First off, I must apologize to everyone for being a bit absent this week from the blog world.  This was my busiest week in a LONG time and I just had no time at all to write.  I found myself going through a bit of withdrawal to be honest but thank goodness the week is over  — and I’m back!

So, how do you close out the craziest week ever you ask?

Well, by going to the Friday Night Show of Charlotte Fashion Week of course!!!  Yep, me and my girlfriends decided to venture out for our first ever Charlotte Fashion Week sponsored by Charlotte Seen. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect (and even less sure about what to wear) but I must admit that the night and event turned out pretty good overall.  I ultimately decided on a somewhat simple black and white look – with some leopard print added on for a touch of “flair”.  The only real snag of the evening was getting into the show and going through the seating process — all of which was a little “unorganized” shall we say.  We stood in line for an extended period of time (nearly an hour total)–  and for no apparent reason — which wasn’t very fun with 5 inch heels on.  But feet pain aside — all else was enjoyable.

The show was hosted at the NC Music Factory in the Reelworks Studio which was, I must say, a fabulous venue.  Of course I’ve never been to Bryant Park ever but I felt a little like I had a taste of it last night…  Charlotte style.  Runway shows have been happening every night since the event kicked off Wednesday, with a close out show happening Saturday night.  Each night was themed and our show featured some of Charlotte’s top emerging designers.

Below are some of my favorite designers and looks.

From KSH Couture (first 2 photos): These looks were full of color – festive, fun and girly.  Definitely one of my favorites.

From Anno Domini (3rd photo): This might be my favorite look of the night.  Very wearable, yet chic.  Again, one of my favorite designers of the night.

From Caroline Harmon (4th photo): I love this skirt.

From Cigi Cuz (5th photo): This dress was so fab – my photo doesn’t do it justice honestly.  It was simple yet very glam.  This look was in particular one of my favorites.  It just screams night out with the girls!!

From Carol Ann Copeland (final photo): Loved these pink sequin shorts.

All in all, we had a fabulous time and there were lots of great looks from some up and coming designers.  And of course, who can pass up an opportunity to be on the red carpet for goodness sake?

What do you think?  I’d love to hear which looks are your favorites….

What I’m Wearing: Kenya L. Designs Blazer, Corset and Skinny Pants by Victoria’s Secret, Kelsi Dagger Leopard Print Stilettos, Versona Accessories, Express Animal Print Clutch

Ready to Launch

So, those of you who have been reading the blog since the beginning may remember my very first post.  I shared a lot of my reasoning for starting the blog in that first post…  My main purpose at the time was to develop a “journal” of my journey to design and create a line of custom blazers.  It’s been some months since then and a couple of interesting things have happened.

First off, I haven’t done a very good job of journaling my milestones along the way.  I think the real reason is simply….  I discovered that I love to blog about lots of other things too.  I love to write.  And going through this process; designing and producing the blazers, blogging about fashion and style, feeling so much support and encouragement from the blogging community, from my friends and family, becoming a part of the blogging community…  well, that’s been the best part of it all.  This blog has become so much more than about my design dreams.  It’s become about me discovering what I love again.  And enjoying every moment of it.  I love where I am right now.  It feels good.  Really good.  My lesson — always do what you love.  Always.

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten all the mushy stuff out of the way….  you should know that my first production set of blazers is ready for launch!!

I am starting small, of course, but it is a start.  I’m prepping my Etsy store (and SO many other things) as we speak.  I plan to open it within the next 2 weeks.  (And don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting about that).  Still a lot more to do but super excited about this great milestone.  More to come.

Have a great week everyone!!!

Kenya L Designs Blazer – 2nd Sample – Complete!

Yep, that’s right, my second set of blazer samples are officially done!!  There is still a lot to do but I feel good about my progress to date….  and I think I’m pretty close to making my first set available for sale.  I made some tweaks to my first jacket sample (see below) and played around with different fabric choices and patterns this time too.  I think I have a pretty solid set that I’d like to make available for my initial “launch” of online sales.  I’m definitely taking baby steps with this process but even with the baby steps….  I must admit that it’s still a bit scary.  There is this uncertainty that always kind of sits there with me….  but I suppose that is normal, in particular for  me, as I am a well known worry wart!!

(And yes, I know my eyes are closed on this photo but I still love it — goofy= me)

Anyway, even with my constant need to worry….  this process over the past few months has been so much fun….  and enlightening.   I’ve discovered a lot about myself….  or maybe rediscovered.  It’s like I am figuring things out about myself — things that I have always known but that had been – I don’t know – buried inside.  I think we sometimes get so caught up in the grind of everyday life – that 9-5 – that we sometimes, somehow, lose ourselves and forget what we really love and are passionate about.  So, I think that’s what I’ve enjoyed the most over the past months….  just remembering those things about myself.  I’ve gotten so lost in THIS process… but in a good way.  It’s like a whole new world for me and I’m really excited about what is to come.

What I’m Wearing: Kenya L Designs Blazer, J. Crew Mid-Rise Toothpick Jeans, Nordstrom Rack Tank, J. Crew Necklace, Versona Accessories, Michael Kors Watch, BCBG Color Block Pumps

The Tuxedo Blazer

Seeing my first design come to life has invigorated me.  I have so many ideas! In fact, this past weekend,  I was like a kid in the candy store at Mary Jo’s (my favorite fabric spot)….  Literally running through the aisles –from one side of of the store to the other.  Sheer madness and yet giddy with excitement!!  I’m sure I received a few of those “weird” stares from some of my fellow patrons but I couldn’t help it …. it was so much fun!!  Seeing all the fabric choices just inspired me even more.

You see, the blazer itself is such a classic and simple fashion concept, yet there are almost an unlimited number of modifications that can be made to it.  Bold colors — patterned fabrics — small design tweaks and you have an entirely different look.  (I’m giddy again!!!)

This is my latest modification to my short sleeve blazer design…. an added tuxedo flair.  Elongated front panels (instead of the back tails).  Exaggerated lapels with tuxedo trim details.  So, what do you think?

I’ll be starting the construction of the next set of blazers within the next week so — more to come soon!!