Monday, August 18, 2014

6 Pieces Of Style Advice Straight From The Garden

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Here at Dobbin, we love gardening almost as much as we love fashion. When we're not sketching dresses for next season, overseeing production, or filling orders, you can find us with our hands in the dirt (or, at the very least, pinning dreamy landscapes to our Pinterest page). In fact, flower beds, floral shops, and luxe landscape often inform our clothing designs. From color palettes to signature scents, here are a few fashion tips you can glean from the garden:

1. Don't be afraid of color. While the merits of a little black dress can never be overstated, it's a shame that so many women shy away from bold color in their wardrobes. All it takes is one look at a lush, colorful garden to see what we're missing when we fill our closets with nothing but slightly varied shades of ebony. What about watermelon pink? Vivid blue? Kelly green? Adding just one bold color to your closet can wake up your look and re-energize your whole wardrobe. Try playing with unexpected combinations, too: purple and orange. Red and pink. Blue and green. The options are truly endless.



2. Find a signature scent. Gardens aren't just feasts for the eyes - they are bounties for our noses as well. How many times have you leaned over to smell a gardenia, rose, or lilac, knowing exactly what scent to expect but still delighting in the familiar fragrance? We can achieve that same effect by finding a signature scent and wearing it every day. Anyone who gets close enough to detect it will start to associate the scent with you. A signature scent is sexy, classic, and a little mysterious. Bonus garden inspiration points for choosing a floral scent in a bottle that's almost as pretty as a real flower.


Rose, bergamot, pink pepper, and that bottle? Yes, please!
3. White, black, gray, and taupe aren't the only neutrals. For the past few years, fashion experts have insisted that it's time to expand our definition of "neutral." What is or isn't a neutral depends more on context than any hard and fast rules. Looking at a photo of a colorful flowerbed really drives this point home. Which colors fade into the background, allowing the others to take center stage? In the case of a garden, the most neutral colors are often shades of green - vivid and lively on their own, but when paired with hot pink or bright purple, suddenly they act more as a subtle backdrop than a bold hue of their own. You'd be surprised which shades can act as neutrals in your wardrobe. Play around with red, green, and yellow pieces (especially accessories) in the context of different outfits, and see what happens!



4. Weed out unnecessary extras to make the truly special things shine. You'd never notice even the brightest, most perfect bloom if it were overrun with weeds and foliage. The same goes for the gorgeous pieces in your closet. Don't get caught up in the pace of fast fashion and fill your wardrobe with cheap pieces you don't truly love. Buy quality pieces that make you feel amazing, and cull your closet of any less-than-amazing extras that are weighing you down. Not only will a well-edited wardrobe make it easier to get dressed in the morning, it helps hone your personal style and create memorable looks that are all your own.



5. Try mixing shades within the same color family. An outfit composed of contrasting, saturated colors will always grab attention, but there's another way to play with color: a limited palette within the same color family. Try pairing a pink dress with a red necklace. Splurge on an ombre scarf in a range of deep purples and barely-there lavenders. Add a light blue ribbon belt to a bright blue dress, like we've done below with our Vivian Dress. You don't need a ton of different colors in your outfit to make an impact -- a couple shades of the same one is often enough.


6. Perfection is overrated. Our favorite yards and gardens aren't the ones that are perfectly symmetrical and immaculately landscaped. They're the ones that have a sense of spontaneity, freedom, and playfulness. The same can be said for our favorite outfits. The fashion choices we make should feel organic, not uptight and prescribed by strict rules and worries. Fashion, at its heart, is about self-expression and joy. When we dress to reflect that fact, we look our best, feel our best, and reflect our best self to the world. Don't forget to stop and smell the roses, and don't forget to have a little fun with fashion. Why shrink into the background when you can bloom?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dobbin Q&A: Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen

Hey, that dress looks familiar!
Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen is one of our favorite fashion bloggers for many reasons: she's able to deftly balance her personal style with the more buttoned-up dress code of her corporate job in Washington, DC; she gives great fashion advice; and whether she's talking about trends, music, or a sweet moment with her 5-year-old daughter, she always comes across as smart, funny, and refreshingly real. We asked Allie for her thoughts on appropriate office attire, favorite outfits, and the future of fashion. 

Anyone who follows your blog and Instagram feed knows you work in a corporate environment, but your off-hours wardrobe is decidedly more laid back and bohemian. How do you reconcile your personal fashion sense with your office dress code?

Luckily my office is pretty open-minded with what they consider appropriate business attire, so I can get away with more boho of pieces the days I don’t have in-person meetings or conferences. However, I always shop first for the job as it’s the reason I can afford my weekend wear. I gravitate towards solids which can better dress up and down, and jackets which can look weekend cool with a band tee and boyfriend jeans or appropriate for the office with a blouse and trousers.



Do you have any tips for other women who'd like to infuse a bit of their own style into their work outfits while still looking professional?

The best way is with color. I notice many women stick to dark shades and neutrals in the workplace, but studies have shown people react positively to color. So why not switch it up and wear a blouse in candy pink or a dress in teal green? It’s also a great way to give new life to office wardrobe staples. When done in moderation, accessories can really infuse personal style, but it’s important to remember you’re at an office, not on a runway. Keep the really flashy, jangly, and trendy pieces for the weekend.

How do you define professionalism, in terms of dress and personal presentation?

Respect, be it for the company you work for, the clients who employ you, the staff who you manage, and those who manage and mentor you. We don’t wear white to a wedding out of respect to the bride, we don’t wear a tube top to a place of worship out of respect, a professional shows respect for the job she has by dressing appropriately, for her position and not her self.


We love the way she styled our Simone dress!
Tell us about your favorite outfit. 

It’s very simple, a navy and white striped boatneck from J. Crew Factory, NYDJ’s “Hayden” jeans in a dark rinse, and black riding boots in cold weather and Converse Shorelines in white in the warmer months.  My favorite accessory is a sterling silver cuff I bought for myself in 1997 after my first post-college job interview; I got the job and consider the cuff a lucky charm!

What's the most common style mistake you see women making these days? Any style mistakes from your own past that still make you cringe?

I think a common fashion mistake I regularly see is being too matchy-matchy. Red lipstick, red belt, red shoes, red bag, red headband, red nails. Being too color coordinated cheapens a look. I know it can be scary to mix neutrals; a great way to start is with animal print accessories; a leopard haircalf belt or cheetah print pair of pumps can be a neutral and breaks up the monotony. A colorful belt in patent leather can work with regular leather or suede shoes without looking too disjointed. Chanel is famous for encouraging women to take off one accessory before leaving the house, I encourage women to switch out one matchy matchy accessory for something unexpected!

As for me, I recall a time when I had a pink oversized silk shirt that I wore with shimmery pink shadow, pink lipgloss, and those tiny claw clips (also pink) that held my hair back like a headband. That was a popular combination for me in the late ‘90s!

When it comes to your wardrobe, how do you decide what pieces to invest in and which ones to save on?

I learn from history. It’s easy to assume that “staples” should be what you invest in, but often the unexpected accents to a wardrobe get the most wear and last the longest in your closet and heart.  For me, I find shift and sheath dresses to be a piece I’ll wear season after season and year after year so I don’t feel so bad spending a bit more to have it fit well and last. I also don’t hesitate to spend money on boots; I wear boots almost all fall and winter and find that when I purchase quality, they last longer and usually have a more timeless silhouette. However, for another their investment item may be blazers or handbags, or penny loafers. When it comes to investment pieces, you know better than any style expert or book as to what will provide the best return on investment.


Rocking one of our classic pencil skirts.
After many years of fast fashion dominance, there seems to (finally!) be a renewed interest in quality, with a specific focus on American-made clothing. Any thoughts on this shift, either in regards to your own shopping choices, or the future of fashion in general?

I’m thrilled to see it. We’ve had our heads in the sand for too long but tragedies such as the one in Bangladesh have forced us to be aware of where our clothing comes from and how it is made. I’m trying to feature more American-made independent brands on Wardrobe Oxygen to show you can find quality, style, and fun trends made ethically right in our backyard and there’s been a big change in the brands that take up the most real estate in my closet.

Who are your personal style icons? Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

Diane von Furstenberg, she is such an inspiration. I love her personal style, her attitude, her clothing line, her everything. I found a copy of the 1977 Diane von Furstenberg’s Book of Beauty at a thrift store and 90% of that book is still relevant today and a great tool on how to live a quality life. Pardon my French, but DVF is a badass!


Leather accessories add an edge to our Eva dress.
Describe your style in three words.

Classic boho rocker? Hard question, I have multiple personalities in my closet, but all seem to be inspired by music!

OK, we have to ask: what's your favorite Dobbin garment? And why do you love Dobbin?

My favorite Dobbin garment has to be the Jackie Stretch Ponte Dress; I have it in navy and it’s the perfect dress for most anything! I dress it up with pearls and heels, wear it to work with pumps, worn under a blazer, and even worn on the weekend with flats and a cardigan while running errands.

I love Dobbin because I know it’s quality, it’s stylish without becoming dated, it fits my curvy frame, and it’s made in America. But the biggest reason I love Dobbin is because it’s a company run with heart. I’ve seen how Jess and Catherine care about their customers, how well they interact on social media, and how much they want to provide a great line of clothing.

Thanks so much, Allie! 

Be sure to bookmark Wardrobe Oxygen for more insight and inspiration.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Timeless Style Icon: Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve

Born: October 22nd, 1943


Why We Love Her: In the 1960s, she was part of a wave of glamorous French actresses that dazzled on screen and off, inspiring millions of American women (including us) to add "move to Paris and wear hair in a bouffant" to our list of life goals. Throughout her career, she used her position of fame to speak out for social justice and women's rights. She was a muse for Yves Saint Laurent. Over the course of her six decade career, Deneuve seems to have only grown more comfortable in her own skin. Today, she's as poised and radiant as ever.




Signature Looks: Hair bows, trench coats, flared skirts, peter pan collars, floral sundresses, cable knit sweaters - and often, alas, a cigarette dangling from her lips.


Catherine Deneuve

What Makes Her Style Timeless: Catherine played with trends and favored playful, feminine accessories, but like most French women, she knew the key to true style was simplicity and confidence. Her looks were memorable, but never overdone or over-complicated. 

Catherine Deneuve


Dobbin Dress She'd Wear Today: The Vivian. It's chic, simple, and a bit retro. The fit and flare shape captures the essence of feminine glamour that Catherine has always been known for. Plus, we think she'd be smitten with the grosgrain belt tied in - what else? - an oversized bow. 
The Vivian Dress: Deneuve-approved!


"Opportunities are often things you haven't noticed the first time around."
~Catherine Deneuve

Friday, August 1, 2014

The List

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