Album Style – Justin Timberlake

Like everyone else in the world, I was giddy when I heard Justin Timberlake was due to release his first album, The 20/20 Experience, in nearly six years. I heard snips of the new album on iTunes, teasers on the radio, glued myself to the TV for five days straight watching JT on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the week leading up to the album release date. Am I embarrassed by this behavior? I’ll admit, a little. Did I do it anyway? Yes. And now that I have my CD (yes, I said CD. I desperately needed the exclusive Target CD with extra tracks instead of downloading from iTunes), it has scarcely left my car CD player.

I anticipated hearing an album I would enjoy, and it delivered everything I expected and more. However, I couldn’t make sense of the random mix of songs. I starting thinking about how curating a musical album is similar to deciding what looks to include in a fashion show. So, as I would do while viewing a fashion show, I started a mental search to find the common thread. In doing so, I couldn’t resist creating a virtual fashion show to illustrate what the album would look like.

The 20/20 Experience is an album full of “Throwback” tunes. Track #2, Suit and Tie, sounds like classic Marvin Gaye. Track #8, Let the Groove Get In, has a ’70′s vibe with a cuban beat. Track #1, Pusher Love Girl, has hints of the jams from the early ’90′s. And my personal favorite Track #9, Mirrors, has the sound of the great JT himself from the early 2,000′s.

Here is what The 20/20 Experience looks like to me. Do you agree?

Justin Timberlake - 20-20 - Track 2 Suit and TieJustin Timberlake - 20-20 - Track 8 Let the Groove Get InJustin Timberlate - 20-20 - Track 1 Pusher Love GirlJustin Timberlake - 20-20 - Track 9 Mirrors

Spring Ahead – Clock Style

Timex_alarm_clockAs I turned my clocks ahead an hour today, I studied my trusty alarm clock and felt like I was looking at it for the first time.  What I discovered is that trusty is the most positive word I can associate with it.  The old Timex alarm clock has been a daily fixture in my life since my freshman year in college.  In fact, there’s still a little scrape on the side of it from getting wedged between my lofted dorm bed and the wall.  That scape happened nearly sixteen years ago!  Everything else in my condo has evolved since then, but the clock is stuck in time.  Perhaps I need to “spring ahead” more literally with my time. 

Thanks to my dear friend, Pinterest, I spent my afternoon pinning my favorite timepieces to my Time for a New Clock board.  I’d love to share my final selection with you, but I have yet to make one.  It’s a big decision.  The new addition will likely be around for a while.  This time I want to get it right.

OldStyle

View from hotel window.jpgI am fortunate enough to work on a high-profile design project which brings me to Chicago for a few days in the name of research. The task is to figure out what’s working and what’s not working for an office space designed by my firm to gain insight and apply solutions to future projects. The last time I felt inspired to write was my last visit to Chicago, so I find it appropriate I pick up where I left off nearly six months ago. Incidentally, it’s the same high-profile design project that pulled me away from posting new content.

As I sit on the very deep window sill of my hotel room at the Hard Rock Hotel with a view of the city to the North, and go over my thoughts from the day, I can’t help but notice how design infiltrates my every thought. Others seem unaware of the sights around them, and I’m irritated. What blows me away is the heads-down posture of walkers unaware of the beauty of historic buildings and holiday window displays surrounding them as they hustle to their destinations. I can’t believe it when my colleagues-for-the-week seem unaware of the artfully prepared food in front of them at an art deco inspired restaurant in the building named after the World’s Fair architect, Burnham. Astounded, I watch as the employees of the space I am researching appear immune to the panoramic views from the 53rd and 54th floors of the building they work in directly adjacent to Millennium Park, and Lake Michigan.

Perhaps the seeming neglect nags at me because Chicago is my favorite contradiction. It’s a place of innovation, and a place of great history. It’s of place of modern design, and of old buildings. It’s a city with natural beauty and landscape, paired against a thriving man-made metropolis. It’s timeless, and it’s stuck in time. It’s all of the things I strive for in my design work, and all that I try mercilessly to avoid. It’s the city where Donald Trump and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe have both made their mark on the skyline. Perhaps it’s my visitor’s lens that allows me a different perspective than those who breathe it daily.

You might call me an urban romantic because I get lost in the buildings, designs, history, and even fashions surrounding me, while the world hustles, and eats, and works around me. I catch myself wondering why I constantly search for timeless designs and innovations, when what surrounds me from over a hundred years past stands the test of time admired by designers and tourists from around the world.

Over dinner this evening, I noticed a group of diners wearing plaid shirts and jackets. Plaid is the trend du jour in the fashion and design world, back from the Catholic school uniforms and 80′s sofas of the past. It’s been prevalent for many cycles in fashion and interiors, and I giggled at the irony of my sitting there observing the trend while wearing a vintage 1950’s plaid skirt. I was the contradiction. My conclusion from my stay is: what’s old is new, what’s new is recycled, what’s recycled gets old, repeat. While in Chicago, I have the viewing pleasure of seeing it from all angles.

I am heading back to the Twin Cities tomorrow with my work research in hand. My team’s observations of how people work and use the designed environment lead us dangerously back to office designs of the past from many decades ago. Based on what I see of the Chicago skyline as I look out the window, it’s apparent to me it was really only a matter of time. Repeat.

Chicago Style – NeoCon

For the next two days I will be at the epicenter of interior design at the Merchanise Mart in Chicago known as the one and only NeoCon.  I will be touring interior product showrooms, attending seminars, networking with manufacturer’s sales reps, enjoying happy hours and parties, and bringing it all back to influence and inform my designs for my corporate design clients and projects.  Of course, that’s not all.  I will also be wearing a carefully selected travel friendly wardrobe.  The style challenge?  To create a combination of outfits around my least favorite kind of footwear, The Flat.  From what I hear, NeoCon consists of all of the things I’ve already described, but the main component of my trip will be walking.  With my heels, platforms and wedges safely stowed in my St. Paul closet, I’ll be leaving on a jet-plane with the following nautical inspired delights:

flat sandals with tassels & feathers and red ballet flats

red, white and blue meet stripes and scarves

blazers and scarves are my go-to looks for plane travel

this dress has pockets – perfect for travel

bag with fringe benefits

my favorite striped carry-on tote

7 Mile Style

Post Run Style – Or Lack Thereof

I am an interior designer, I am an animal lover, I am a style blogger, and I am a runner.  I trained for and finished my first Twin Cities Marathon last fall, and am in the midst of training for my second.  Running has many benefits as you may know, but my favorite benefit is the opportunity to expand my wardrobe.  Well, maybe not my favorite, but it’s an added bonus at a minimum.  

My running style adheres to the same rules as the rest of my wardrobe, but the most important rule is that everything be equally functional and attractive.  With the exception of all of the pink running gear out there (how am I supposed to feel powerful in…. pink?!), there are some really great designs made of quick-dry sweat-wicking fabric, and bold colors with light reflecting stripes.  Neon brights are the trend of the moment, and my personal favorite.

Today I ventured out for my “long” training run of seven miles.  It was 88 degrees, sunny, and humid.  I did okay and completed my run, but I realized roughly halfway through that I could have cared less what I looked like or what I was wearing.  It was simply too hot to care, and I was more focused on completing my mileage than contemplating the latest styles.  Kind of freeing really.  So why bother hunting down running gear that is dual function – attractive and hard-working?  Because it gets me out the door when I don’t want to go.  When it’s raining or I’ve had a long work day or I’m just tired, it’s easier for me to lace up those running shoes when the shoe looks powerful and cool.  It’s more exciting for me to strap on the stopwatch that looks like it could pilot Google.  I feel like I can tackle any amount of miles when the tank I pull on makes my upper body look ripped.  The image of myself wearing the high-tech gear is a very powerful motivator.  I can get on board with style that promotes good health.

Not feeling it?  Here are some running styles to get you motivated:

Retro Style – RetroRama

What is better than tiny Gimlet cocktails, vintage clothing, shopping, bingo, and a fashion show filled with local MN fashion designers?  Why, nothing of course!  I had an evening full of retro eye candy last night at the annual RetroRama event held at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. 

Of the many things to see at RetoRama, the fashion show was my favorite.  The show highlighted vintage looks made current by local MN designers.  The impressive list of designers included: Emma Berg, Danielle Everine, Max Lohrbach, Samantha Rei, and Christopher Straub. 

Getting dressed was my second favorite activity of the evening.  I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to wear my retro tweed and velvet full skirt, and I finally had my chance last night.  I scored this skirt at an estate sale in the Summit Hill neighborhood in St. Paul years ago for the bargain price of $15.  Last night I chose to pair it with gobs of pearls (faux), black satin gloves, geek chick D&G glasses, a wide black belt, and my red t-strap heels.  My retro partner in crime and fellow interior designer, Kasey Reynolds, joined me wearing a little black mod dress, red-toed stacked heel pumps, and a fabulous red patent fold-over clutch. 

Megan Style – For the Love of Fashion

Picture of youthful summer fun. My sister on the left and me on the right.

Before I even knew what a fashion show or stylist was, I was organizing neighborhood summer fashion shows on my patio.  Well, they weren’t exactly fashion shows.  I called them “Miss America” because that’s the only reference to glamour I had in elementary school here in Minnesota.  My shows didn’t have a talent portion, or an interview portion, or any portions other than the Swimsuit and Evening Gown Competitions.  We’d pull out my mom’s old maternity clothes, a hula hoop, and some clothes pins, and voila we’d create a hoop skirt.  Yes, that really happened.  The “judges” would sit on the deck stairs with a view of the patio and the contestants would model their looks one by one until a “winner” was selected.  I’ll cut to the chase and tell you I was always the winner.  You should also know, I was always the oldest.  Not a very fair contest.  However, it wasn’t the winning that really mattered.  It was the fun of escaping reality and creating something new from something old and tired.  Trust me, very old and very tired. 

Now that I’m an adult, I look back at those times and realize I haven’t changed one bit.  I do know what a fashion show is, and I do know what a stylist is.  The clothes aren’t quite so old or quite so tired, but I still love to spend time in my closet and try things on in new combinations.  I have a mannequin (named Monnequin), and an extra rolling rack where I line up my outfits for the week Sunday nights.  I still have the appreciation for expressing myself through what I wear.  It doesn’t matter what things go wrong in life, or what someone may say behind my back, or what success I have, or what failure I have; I’m always at home and at peace in my closet.  It’s the only place I am completely confident.  When people tell me to close my eyes and imagine my happy place, my closet is where I always go.