The Faces of Reed Books

Reed Books is a bookstore in downtown Birmingham. With a residency of several decades, it has become a staple of the community. While people come from all over the world to view the thousands of books that line the shelves and the floors, there is much more to this bookstore than just the books. While Mr. Jim Reed, owner of Reed Books, will want to greet you with a smile, there are more faces that will welcome you into the store. Take a look…

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Fashion Forward: Advice from Birmingham stylist Megan LaRussa Chenoweth

(Image by Clarence Barbour)

By: Taylor Pigman

“I always knew I wanted to work in fashion. I was known throughout college and high school as the fashion girl,” Birmingham stylist Megan LaRussa Chenoweth said.

Owner of Southern Femme, Chenoweth is a stylist who works on a personal level with her clients. She styles and writes the fashion section of the Birmingham Magazine and has a recurring fashion segment on Fox 6 every month.

“I love meeting new people, I love helping women feel their best and I love fashion. It’s combining all these things I love,” Chenoweth said.

From a young age, Chenoweth loved fashion. Shopping trips to Atlanta with her mom, working in retail at Saks Fifth Avenue and a summer spent studying fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City only made Chenoweth’s love of fashion grow stronger.

However, it was a family wedding, in which Chenoweth was asked to style the women in her family, that led her to where she is now.

“I took all of them shopping and everybody looked fabulous and I thought, ‘This is really fun,’” Chenoweth said. “It just kind of fell into my lap and I thought, ‘OK, this is my passion.’”

Being a stylist, Chenoweth is around fashion all day long. Over the years, she has found designers whose work she loves and whose collections draw her in. Chenoweth counts Marc Jacobs, Lela Rose, Rebecca Taylor and Céline among some of her favorite designers.

“I’ve always loved that Marc Jacobs was always about being unique and different,” said Chenoweth.

For day-to-day pieces, she loves Lela Rose and Rebecca Taylor for their feminine, yet edgy looks.

However, being a stylist, Chenoweth has also seen many fashion trends come and go. As for the one trend she has never liked? Culottes.

“I hated them the first time when I was in college, they were the gaucho culottes that everybody wore and they were like sweatpants and they’re just unflattering on everybody,” Chenoweth said.

So ladies, when choosing new pieces for the fall, Chenoweth’s advice would be to avoid the culottes and go for a great pair of dark wash jeans or cords.

Be sure to check out Megan’s website at www.southernfemme.com. You can also see her work in the current issue of Birmingham Magazine.

Megan’s top pieces for every woman’s wardrobe:

· Dark Wash Jeans: Find a style or fit that you love. Jeans are so easy to dress up or down. “Every woman needs a great pair of pure indigo dark wash jeans that flatters her silhouette,” Chenoweth said.

· Blazer or Cardigan: Whether you prefer a blazer or cardigan, either piece can easily pull an outfit together. “Whatever your style may be, just make sure they’re tailored to you.”

· Silk Blouse: Chenoweth suggests C. Wonder and Equipment for fun and polished pieces. “It’s something you could wear out, dress it up with heels, tucked into a pencil skirt with a cardigan. It’s something you can wear a million ways,” Chenoweth said.

· Nude Pumps: Nude pumps help elongate your legs. “Go for a color that matches your skin tone to give the illusion of longer legs,” Chenoweth said.

· Chic Flats or Sandals: For spring and summer choose a polished sandal or a polished, cute ballet flat or loafer for fall and winter. “I see so many women wearing a clog or a flip flop and it just ruins the whole outfit; it’s not polished at all,” Chenoweth said.

Look good this fall and winter with these fashion tips

Do you ever find yourself in the middle of summer staring at your scarves and boots shoved in the back of your closet, longing to be able to adorn them again? Well the wait is over! Here are hottest fashions that women and men can be found wearing this season.

girls

   Two words: military and denim. That’s right, the military look is really in right now as well as denim (and I’m not just talking pants).

The military look can be fashioned by wearing a simple military style jacket. Also, if you don’t have a pair of combat boots, you might want to think about getting yourself a pair! These boots started strutting onto the scene last year and are still hot, hot, hot! Also, if it is still a bit warm outside during the fall, a new trend is wearing your combat boots with a pair of shorts.  _MG_6272 copy

Denim is also making a huge comeback.

Denim was really popular in the 90s, and the trend seemed to die down in the early 2000s. Of course people have continued to wear denim jeans, but now we are starting to see denim vests make it back onto the scene, as have denim tops.

Denim tops are most commonly seen in a button up, long sleeve shirt fashion. Chambray is also a common alternative for the “denim” look.

Besides the military and denim look, sweaters are still a must-have for your fall and winter closet. However, super size it!

Oversized cable-knit sweaters have been in for a couple years now and don’t seem to be exiting the fashion world any time soon. So if you’re a small, go for a medium! If you’re a medium, grab a large. If you want your sweaters to be even looser, you can even go up two sizes. Baggier sweaters even allow for you to be able to layer more underneath on days when the temperature really takes a plunge.

Scarves are always a fun way to accessorize your fall and winter outfits. Infinity scarves are the most popular right now, but in my opinion, triangle scarves are a really fun alternative as well.

_MG_6180 copy If you want to add some prints to your clothing to spice things up a bit, Aztec print is totally in right now. It looks really cool on cardigans and could be the perfect addition to a solid colored top to add some zest.

Finally, an outfit is no outfit without the perfect pair of bottoms to complete the look. Jeans are always a classic, skinny or bootleg jeans make for a neater look. However, if you want to add some color to the bottom half of an outfit wine and olive jeans are a fantastic option. This look often looks best if it’s paired with a more neutral top.

Ladies, if you find that you have some of these items listed hanging up in your closet then chances are you are a fall and winter fashionista!

guys

   Guys, you can be fashionable too. In fact, girls like it when guys are dressed in style. Just as it was for the ladies, denim is a hot commodity for a guy’s closet as well.

Denim or chambray button-up shirts are a simple but useful addition to a wardrobe. Believe it or not, _MG_5878 copy denim or chambray shirts are commonly paired with, wait for it, jeans! As long as the denim is two different shades then you are more- than-likely looking good. Who would have thought that denim on denim would become popular again?

Plaid flannel or button-up shirts are a manly staple. It is almost impossible to find a guy who looks bad wearing plaid (but only in tops; bottoms are an absolute no-no).

Guys, tuck in those shirttails. Trust me, it’s what’s in right now, and it makes you look really nice.

Don’t fear the cardigan!

Yes, I know some of you guys are reading this and thinking, “there is no way I would ever be caught wearing a cardigan.” Well, the cardigan is actually making its way into the masculine world. Proper fitting cardigans could be the perfect addition to a fall or winter _MG_5963 copyoutfit.

Also, tighter pants equals better look.

I’m not saying skin-tight skinny jeans are the way to go (not sure if that looks flattering on anyone!), but baggy jeans make you look really sloppy and like you don’t really care much for your appearance. Tighter jeans with a cuff at the end give the appearance that you care, and trust me everyone will notice.

Brown shoes are almost always a great way to go! I’m not talking just any brown shoe though. Clarks are really popular right now; they give a rugged yet dapper look. Of course, brown Sperry’s are also a preppy alternative, but Clarks are going to be able to keep your feet warmer if it gets really chilly outside.

Dudes, if you keep it rugged but neat, you are nailing the whole fall and winter look!

By Jenna Adams

Photographs by Jenna Adams

Summer Office Attire

By Reed Richardson

Counting down the days until summer? We are too. And as a working gal, that means adjusting outfits to the summer heat while remaining appropriate and professional. Here are five fun pieces to try.

RR trouser

 

The cropped trouser

Pants are always appropriate for the office, and if you wear a lighter fabric with a pinch of a higher hemline, you will be oh-so-ready for summer. Bright colors and floral prints can only help your cause. Pair with your favorite flats or heels and perhaps a complementing blazer for the finished look.

(Click picture for product information.)

RR dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

The shirtdress

Put on this one-piece button down, slide into your favorite pumps and grab the car keys because you’re ready to go. Sporting a shirtdress is easy breezy, and if you wear one with long sleeves, there is no need to tote around a cardigan. Perhaps this piece is more for the business casual crowd, but all in all it’s a fabulous choice for comfort and cuteness.

(Click picture for product information.)

RR Peplum

 

 

 

 

 

 

The peplum shell

Sometimes a lady just needs to wear a suit, and that’s fine! But every once in a while put a little pep in your step by pairing it with a lovely peplum shell. It gives fun and feminine flair under that serious suit.

*Remember this is recommended to be worn under a blazer, jacket, etc.

(Click picture for product information.)

RR Peep

 

 

 

 

 

 

The peep-toe

 Depending on your office dress code, your company may or may not allow a summery sandal. But never fear! You corporate working gals can have just as much fun with a peep-toe pump or wedge. This classy style lets your feet breathe and your pedicure show, all while remaining positively professional.

(Click picture for product information.)

RR skirt

 

 

 

 

The textured skirt

A skirt is a lady’s best friend in the heat of summer. Not only can you perk up your bottom ensemble with bold prints and happy colors, but you can also try incorporating various textures such as lace, tweed and leather. Who’s stopping you?

(Click picture for product information.)

 

 

 

 

*Whatever you wear, wherever you work, don’t forget these top five no-nos concerning the workplace wardrobe.

1. No sheer or see-through clothing. Just because you have plans after work, doesn’t mean they should interfere with work wardrobe policies. Besides, offices are most likely a little chilly.

2. No flip flops, sneakers, sandals. Unless you work at a super laid back company, or perhaps you happen to be the next Steve Jobs, you gotta dress the part, head to TOE.

3. No plunging necklines. One open button should be enough. Please refer back to no-no #1.

4. No sleeveless shirts. This rule generally applies to the more business formal workplaces. But for the most part, it’s a good rule to follow, and it’s never a bad idea to have a light layer whether cotton cardigan, linen blazer or even a simple cap-sleeve.

5. No shorts. Is an explanation even necessary?

 

 

Photos courtesy of polyvore.com

How scarves saved my wardrobe

Truth time: The scarf is the perfect accessory.

In all seriousness, scarves are probably the most versatile items you can have in your wardrobe. Available in a wide range of material weights, patterns and styles, plus the fact that most can be worn in at least fifteen different ways makes them one of the great closet saviors.

Speaking from experience

Here’s some more truth for you: my wardrobe is hopelessly plain.  Plain closet

My closet is stocked almost exclusively with solid colored tops, skirts and dresses, most of them in neutral tones. The fact that I match is usually the only compliment I can give myself.

But here is where the scarf saved me.

On an overseas trip a few years ago, I quickly grew tired of the limited wardrobe I had available in my suitcase (and by quickly, I mean by the end of the first week).

I was relaying my predicament to a friend when we happened upon a small market. There amongst the stalls we found stacks and stacks of colorful scarves in floral and geometric patterns. We pawed through them with giddiness, each coming away with a handful of vibrant fabric.

And thus began my love affair with the scarf.

Scarves: What can’t they do?

I was well aware of the merits of scarves in keeping the neck warm during winter, but the use of lightweight scarves to lend color and versatility to an otherwise plain spring and summer outfit was a revelation to me.

Colorful scarvesIf the summer staple of a simple white t-shirt paired with denim shorts has you yawning, fret not. Colorful scarves are an easy way to spice up even the most basic of ensembles.

Additionally, scarves are a lifesaver when you travel. They weigh next to nothing, take up very little room and can even be used as packing material around delicate objects if you so desire.

If you’re packing for a long trip that involves a few dressier occasions, you can often get away with taking just one basic dress and then a handful of scarves that coordinate. You can use a silky scarf tied in a circle for a nicer event, while a floral jersey scarf simply draped around the neck can dress down an outfit nicely. The opportunities are endless.

Beginning the collection

I am now the proud owner of an overflowing scarf drawer, full of color, vibrancy and hope for a formerly hopeless wardrobe.

My scarves cover the gamut from heavy to light weight, from dark to bright colors and from plain to patterned styles. At this point, it’s pretty rare for one of my outfits to require a scarf I don’t have.

If you’re looking to begin adding some scarves to your wardrobe, you might try starting with some of the basics:

  • grey infinity scarf
  • pashmina-style scarf in a basic color
  • lightweight floral scarf

These all make excellent and versatile options for adding that little extra something to even the most boring outfit.

And besides, it’s infinitely cheaper than a brand new wardrobe.

 

Check out these five new ways to tie your scarves!

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Story and photos by Jackie Long