Monthly Archives: March 2011

GARDEN PARTY: spring florals

2011 spring florals

In case you hadn’t heard, floral prints scream springtime fashion. It’s a not-so-unknown seasonal secret that all designers, big and small, bank on from one year to the next.

In the 2011 D&G spring-summer collection, for example, the famed designers showcase a stunning assortment of dresses, rompers, and skirts that are straight out of a garden party. All those floral prints, embellishments, and accessories are an unmistakable reminder that spring fashions are in full bloom.

So in an ongoing effort to point you in the direction of current-day trends, we thought we’d list off a few of our own floral-inspired pieces so you can work them into your wardrobe this season.

1. The girly-girl mini. Complete with slit pockets and a ruched waistline, Dolce Vita’s Lilah skirt is the perfect little number to show off your legs as soon as the weather permits. Elongate those gorgeous gams with a pair of Nine West orange Helfire sandals, and you’ll be hot to trot.

2. The sweet summer dress. Slip into one of Mac & Jac’s signature floral-print designs: the Chloe dress. Feminine and easy to wear, this instant classic will be your go-to piece for cocktails and brunches alike. Accessorize this busy pattern with a solid-colored bag, like Bottega Veneta’s large white hobo.

3. The flashy leggings. Get your flirt on in a pair of sexy floral lace leggings by MeMoi. Unique, provocative, and most definitely eye-catching, these formfitting wonders look best when paired with a simple black tunic and some killer high-heeled black pumps.

4. The floral jewels. Delicate floral jewelry accessories will infuse your style with a hint of understated elegance. Add a sparkling Swarovski crystal brooch to a simple blazer, or adorn your outfit with a rhinestone flower earring and pendant set.

While there is nothing revolutionary about floral prints and accessories—they’re perhaps the season’s most predictable fashion staple—they represent a timeless theme that consistently makes a comeback year after year. So chances are whatever floral piece you invest in today will last you for decades to come.

Nate Berkus: home décor connoisseur

If you’re planning on giving your home a face-lift this spring, you might as well take advice from one of the industry’s greatest: Nate Berkus, TV celebrity from The Nate Berkus Show—and, as you may recall, a recurring interior design expert on Oprah. The bona fide home décor guru kindly gives us the lowdown on how to best decorate our space in this candid interview.

Q: Spring is on our doorstep, and summer is just a few months away. What trends and color palettes should we look out for to refresh our homes?

A: I’m not big on trends. I say layer what you love most into your home. That means you’ll want to live with it for years to come, not just the next season. I can say this: what I’m obsessed with right now are chalky whites and pale grays, with a bright color accent to make a statement. And, because it’s the start of the flea market season, I’m excited to hit the fairgrounds to see what one-of-a-kind finds I can lug home.

Q: Spring cleaning is always a challenge. What tricks do you have when it comes to organizing a space in a tasteful way?

A: I’m totally OCD when it comes to staying organized. If I open a drawer and realize it’s gotten messy, I’ll end up pulling everything out just to put it back the way it should be! My number one trick for your home though is to edit…then edit some more. Living well doesn’t mean living with everything you own all at once. Create your tablescapes and save the leftover items for later. Make sure to carefully mark what you’re packing away though. You’ll be happy you did next year when you decide to “shop your cupboards” to refresh your look.

Q: Area rugs can dress up a space beautifully and our members are big fans of oriental designs. How should they go about choosing the right one for their home?

A: Next to your walls, your floors are the largest surface space in your home. In my book, they shouldn’t go unappointed. Adding a rug adds texture, color, pattern, you name it…it’s an anchor for your overall design. Many people reach for solid or Oriental rugs, but Mexican and other graphic prints shouldn’t be overlooked. So long as they have a neutral ground color, you’d be surprised how a more overt pattern like a stripe or a zigzag can add interest to your space without feeling overpowering.

Q: Time to get up-close and personal: What is your favorite piece of furniture in your home, and why?

A: You’re asking this of the guy who can tell you the story behind every object in my home, so picking one piece is no easy feat! But, I’ll go with a daybed that I had sent home from Paris after studying there in college. It was my first real piece of furniture and I’ve carried it with me from home to home. It’s special because of the memories attached to it.

Q: If we want to get more tips and trends from you, where should we go?

A: You can catch me 5 days a week as host of “The Nate Berkus Show” and on where my products are currently sold.

Need to spice up your space? Shop our REFRESH YOUR HOME events today!

ELLE DECOR on 2011 spring-summer trends

Elle Decor - Allison Mezzafonte

In the spirit of our REFRESH YOUR HOME promotion, we decided to engage in some casual Q&A with some of the industry’s most respected connoisseurs. First up? ELLE DECOR’s very own Executive Online Editor Allison Mezzafonte, and her take on this year’s trends, some tips on classics, and the dos and don’ts of interior décor.

Q: What are some must-have décor elements for the spring-summer season?

A: Emerald green, which was big on the runway last fall, is popping up all over this spring and we are so excited to see it. This rich jewel tone is bold yet sophisticated and will add major impact to a space, whether it’s with a chic crystal vase from Lalique, or with an upholstered piece in a silk-cotton ikat by Madeline Weinrib (both pieces in above picture). We’ve featured some of our favorite emerald green pieces in this month’s Trend Alert at

BTR tip: Bright, popping pieces like the ones mentioned above, or like an eye-catching barstool by Zuo Modern can revitalize your space in an instant.

Q: What is the most timeless piece of furniture or home décor element that one could own?

A: A truly timeless piece won’t fade with designs of the day, so be sure to choose something you love, something you can live with. An item that will appreciate in value over time and become a family heirloom is a great investment—consider a piece of artwork by an artist whom you admire, a beautiful silver service, or a lovely set of dishes.

BTR tip: A timeless Mark Rothko painting (or print—more affordable) can add a splash of color to your space and call out other similar shades in your décor.

Q: What are the hottest color palettes in 2011?

A: Bright, bold shades of orange are everywhere this year. Another great color trend we’ve spotted is orange paired with pinks and violets in fabrics. Together, they create a pretty watercolor effect; it’s like an off shoot of the classic ikat, but a little bit softer.

BTR tip: Make the best of bold orange and emerald green by dressing your floor with a gorgeous area rug by eCarpet Gallery’s The Legacy Collection.

Q: What’s the biggest interior decoration faux-pas?

A: Shopping out of necessity. You should only buy things you truly love. Wait until you find the right piece—it is so worth the wait.

BTR tip: Take advantage of all five REFRESH YOUR HOME events to revamp your space with pieces you love at a price you can afford!

All events begin Friday, March 25, 2011 at 11:00 AM (ET).

Behind the Screen: a peek at stylish BTR employees

Here’s more behind-the-scenes style talk with one of our resident fashionistas, Alex. She’s all about bold accessories, sky-high heels, and vintage pieces. Get to know how she creates her fabulous outfits and what she’d never be caught dead wearing.

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: Chic and glam, yet wearable. I’ll wear leggings most days, combine them with a tee, a cute vest, or sweater. I’m always in heels and love wearing a lot of bracelets and big rings. To me, pulling an outfit together is easy when you have accessories. I’d like to think I create my own trends for myself. A leopard print, although quite intense for most, is definitely one of my basics.

When I see something that inspires me, I like to build an outfit around it. Some of my favorites include high-waisted, flared jeans, and a miniskirt. I’ll often wear a mini, add a blazer, a pair of chunky heels, and I’m good to go. My mood definitely determines my style for the day.

Q: What/who inspires your personal style?

A: Ever since I could remember, I admired my grandmother and mother’s styles. They are both very elegant and chic. They often wear black clothing and accessorize with long pearl necklaces, belts, bangles, and rings. Regardless of whether they’re making dinner, going to the grocery store, or going out to a great restaurant, they are always dressed to impress. For years I’ve been the one to search their closets for vintage pieces like Chanel belts and purses. They don’t let me forget that I started very young in creating my own little fashion world.

Q: What do you love buying at Beyond the Rack?

A: Everything!

Q: What are your favorite trends you see now?

A: I don’t really see too many new trends. Bright colors are coming out for spring. I think trends are good for making a regular outfit fun and up-to-date. You can throw on a pair of leggings, a simple T-shirt, a classy blazer or sweater, and add a “trendy” pair of boots. That, to me, never fails!

Q: What, in your opinion, is the worst fashion faux-pas?

A: Faux fur. And a couple of things I’ll never put on: sweatpants and/or running shoes. This happens only when I go to the gym or play tennis.

Q: What are your top 3 fashion labels?

A: Louboutin, Chanel, and Wolford.

Stay tuned in the weeks to come for more behind-the-scene peeks at our most fashionable BTR employees!

$1000 RED CARPET KIT winner!

If you had any doubts as to whether or not it’s worth it for you to invite friends to join Beyond the Rack, this just might convince you.

Christina from Iowa is the lucky winner of a $1000 red carpet kit that includes the following designer picks:

  1. Willacy New York evening clutch
  2. Smashbox 10-piece makeup kit
  3. Grayce by Molly Sims drop earrings
  4. Erica Anenberg 22K gold-plated dome ring
  5. Andrew Hamilton Crawford cocktail ring
  6. Kenneth Jay Lane bangle bracelet set

To top it all off, she’ll also get the usual $10 credit for each friend’s first purchase. (Can you say “shopping spree”?)

So congrats, Christina. Glam it up the next time you go out and flaunt your winnings for all they’re worth!

Behind the Screen: a peek at stylish BTR employees

In case you were wondering whether or not real people (as opposed to machines) were responsible for the fabulous fashions you shop for every day, here’s your chance to meet the fabulous team that makes it all happen!

Starting today, gear up for weekly snapshots of stylish BTR employees and their take on the latest trends, what inspires them, and the ultimate fashion no-no.

On the menu today: Mary, our buyer for denim and lingerie.

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: Simple with eccentric touches. I love making a simple, casual outfit more stylish with accessories like scarves and bracelets. For me, I like to mix it up with the use of fabrics and colors. I love thermal scarves and cool, leopard prints.

Q: What/who inspires your personal style?

A: I don’t idolize specific celebs or fashion icons. I get the most inspiration from the people who surround me every day, and close friends. BTR co-workers definitely inspire me!

Q: What do you love buying at Beyond the Rack?

A: Oh boy, what do I NOT love buying from BTR! It’s addictive, I tell you. But I get the most thrills from the shoe events! Gotta love a great pair of shoes on sale!

Q: What is your favorite trend that you see right now?

A: Loving the ‘70s throwback. It’s very big on pops of color and shine.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the worst fashion faux-pas?

A: Socks and sandals. Ugh. Make up your mind! If you’re cold, wear shoes.

Q: What are your top 3 fashion labels?

A: Mink Pink, Haute Hippie, and Line (which we actually have on sale today).

And there you have it: the lady responsible for Rock & Republic denim events and Lou Paris lingerie sales has spoken.

Stay tuned in the weeks to come for more behind-the-scene peeks at our most fashionable BTR employees!

Stylist Phillip Bloch on spring 2011 trends

He’s got class, he’s got sass, and he’s got an opinion about everything when it comes to fashion. He is none other than celebrity stylist-turned-author Phillip Bloch.

In his new book The Shopping Diet, Bloch generously gives us regular folks—you know, we who actually need to budget our wardrobe expenses—the best tips on how to rock the hottest styles for less.

And who gets their name dropped as one of the top online shopping clubs? Yup. Little old BTR.

Aside from giving us an awesome claim to fame, the fashion guru himself recently honored us with a candid interview during which he reveals all sorts of juicy details about what’s hot and what’s not this coming spring.

Phillip Bloch on neutrals

“Something I love about this year’s spring fashions is the color palette: lots of white, nude, beige, and cream,” says Bloch. He also raves about flowing fabrics and loose fits that are not only feminine, but “very forgiving.” The two elements combined—the natural shades and slouchy designs—give spring wardrobes a delightfully fresh appeal.

Look for your own neutral hues on BTR today. Fan favorites include a pretty taupe-colored chiffon dress, a billowy white boho blouse, and a feminine secretary shirt-dress in champagne—all fab pieces from the Josh event on today.

Phillip Bloch on the LBD

Fashion flash: the tight black mini dress à la Kim Kardashian is totally overdone and officially out. “Um, excuse me, miss, you forgot the rest of your outfit,” says Bloch, poking fun at the many girls who sported the ultra-short staple all throughout 2010.

Perhaps one of my favorite fashion quotes of the year comes from Bloch’s statement about the classic LBD: “Your little black dress doesn’t have to be black. Go with brown, plum, navy…” Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Need a non-black little black dress? Check out the following styles on BTR: a navy asymmetrical silk design by 212, a grape-colored fitted dress by Taylor Dresses, and a marine-hued chiffon design by Josh.

Phillip Bloch on the motorcycle jacket

What the cardigan represented in 2010, the little leather jacket does in 2011. “It’s the new pashmina,” claims Bloch. “It’s modern, fresh, and versatile.” You can even pair the cool new cover-up with an evening gown, explains the style expert. “It’s all about transformational dressing.” Duly noted.

Get your own little leather jacket at BTR: Treasure Rock features a cropped faux-leather design, and a stud-embellished biker variation.

So what invaluable lessons did we learn from Phillip Bloch today?

  • That neutral hues are anything but bland
  • That slouchy Flash Dance fashions are making a comeback
  • That non-black is the new black
  • That the cropped motorcycle jacket you’ve kept at the back of your closet for the past decade is ready to see the light of day

Oh, and that Bloch’s The Shopping Diet provides fashion lovers with priceless advice. (Especially that part about us.)

LET’S STAY IN TONIGHT romantic gift bag winners!

Let's Stay In Tonight winners

Remember when we asked you all to tell us why you and your special someone deserved a romantic night at home for two?

After much deliberation over a total of 428 amazing, heartwarming, and moving stories, we finally chose our winners.

Congratulations to Kristen and Ryan D. from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Both very deserving of some one-on-one downtime after a difficult year, they’ll now be able to enjoy a romantic gift bag for two that includes:

  • His and her cozy bathrobes
  • The rom-com and tear-jerker DVDs Couples Retreat, Bride Wars, Walk the Line, and William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet
  • A micro mink reversible throw
  • A set of champagne flutes

Their story? It goes like this:

“If memory serves, I did get married and have a husband. He’s about 5’9″, sandy blonde hair, booming voice, goofy grin… have you seen him? I can tell he’s been around, because there are empty pudding cups throughout the house, and someone has been shoveling the sidewalk. I remember holding on to his glasses and wedding band while he had surgery last month, and bringing him soup; but then it was quickly back to our 75 hour work weeks.

For Valentine’s, since he knew we wouldn’t be seeing each other in person, he got to work while I slept last night. He covered the house in post its, 45 to be exact, telling me each and every reason why he loves me. This morning was like a treasure hunt! I finally found the last 4 in the shower and the fridge. “Reason 24: I love the way you can’t help but sing when there is music playing.”

I gently propped a photo book I just made, filled with of our favorite memories over the past 8 years together, on his office chair. When I find my weary way home tonight, I will likely pass out before he even gets home, but I know he will come and place a kiss on my forehead to let me know he loves me. Then, honestly, he’ll probably have another pudding and leave the empty cup somewhere for me to find tomorrow.

My husband and I deserve a cuddly night in, if for no other reason that I am beginning to forget how lovely his blue eyes are, how geeky his jokes are, and how tightly he holds me. We’ve had a really tough year, bouncing from hospital to hospital, taking care of our families, going to school, working, saving, and surviving the harsh Wisconsin cold. Instead of wallowing in pity, I want to celebrate him and our love for one night, forgetting how tough it has been, and just being happy to be near each other. I love him!”

From all of us at BTR: may you two lovebirds enjoy your special night at home, whenever it may be!

Invite friends for a chance to win a $1000 red carpet kit!

Red Carpet Kit

Now is your chance to rock a red carpet look that is worthy of Hollywood’s silver screen elite. Accessorize your next evening out with a classy clutch and a glorious assortment of designer jewels, and put your best face forward with a complete Smashbox makeup set.

Want to play? All you need to do is invite friends for your chance to win this spectacular red carpet kit (valued at $1000).

May the best fashion-lover win!