So lately I’ve been asking myself the question, “What’s next for Skylar Yoo?” Over the last 8 months or so, our customers have resoundingly favored our feminist graphic tees. Aside from “Grit” which has that cool retro vibe, “Girls to the Front,” “Yes, She Can,” and “Fearless Girl,” have been our top selling tees. I don’t want to pigeonhole us to be just a “feminist” t-shirt company, I have bigger dreams!
So what’s my two year plan? Well, right now I’m taking inspiration from the designer Missoni who created this stunning rainbow fringe dress that Mandy Moore recently wore for her guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. (You know I have this thing for rainbows right?! I’m like a five-year-old girl, I know.)
Today, I thought I would round up some of the most beautiful, modern dresses currently being sold. As you know, I’m a sucker for rainbows and embroidery so you’ll see plenty of dresses with color and detail. Many of these dresses are quite costly, they’re from designer brands, but a few hover around $100. I hope you enjoy this list! (It was fun making it!)
Starting with the dress above: Just how beautiful, unique and modern does this rainbow dress look? It’s called Twist Front Dégradé Silk Dress by designer Sies Marjan. I hopped on over to his website and found this prismatic shirt and pencil skirt. Love how he plays with color!
You fashionistas out there, I’m sure you guessed this bright, woven dress was made by Missoni. The waves of color can be quite dizzying on this curve-hugging sweater dress.
Not only is this dress flattering (for women with big thighs and booties like me), it’s like a work of art. Notice the cascading flowers! A masterpiece by Carolina Herrera. (Fun fact, she was the designer of my wedding dress!)
This is embroidery at its finest! “Stalks of embroidered blooms decorate the sheer overlay of this A-line frock adorned with wispy puff sleeves for undeniable romance.” It’s so pretty, I want to hang this on my wall! The dress is by Red Valentino.
Self-Portrait can do no wrong! I loved their off the shoulder button down top (in white and black) and this pink lace dress is right in line with that aesthetic. What’s not to love?
I usually don’t like to include two items from the same designer in my lists but this dress is just too pretty to pass up! Self-Portrait’s floral lace tiered dress is crisp, fresh and modern in all white lace with a black belt.
This red dress from Reformation is a mini dress with a sweetheart neckline, ruffle edged hem, and strap ties. Wonder if this 40+ year old can pull this off! (The answer is…of course, right?)
Ok, we’re back to Reformation again! This rainbow striped dress immediately caught my eye. It looks cute and comfortable and it won’t break the bank since it’s under $100. A relaxed fit, the mini dress has a scoop neckline and adjustable straps.
Look closely and you’ll notice that this button up dress is made of embroidered flowers! In fact, it’s made of 100% linen, embroidered by artisans in India! It’s called Maureen Dress by Mara Hoffman.
The abstract design on this mini dress makes it pretty and unique. Created by designer Yumi Kim, the crepe dress is semi sheer.
This Alice + Olivia dress is just too pretty for words! Love the mock neckline with floral and beaded red embellishments. Top it off with cap sleeves and you have perfection!
With long sleeves, this red dress doesn’t quite look like something you’d wear in the summer but I’m guessing you can sport this classic year round. Balmain really outdid themselves with this button detailed dress. “With a blousy surplice bodice and curve-hugging miniskirt, this sharp-shoulder dress is regimented by golden buttons embossed with a vintage house crest.” Love!
P.S. Although I don’t think it’s available in stores, did you see the Givenchy rainbow skirt Cate Blanchett wore for a recent movie premiere? The colors of the hand-painted, pleated organza skirt traveled from dark violet to electric blue with some bright red thrown in. Worn with a knitted silk black top, It was perfection!!!
While fashion itself seems to be in a slumber (how many brick and mortar retail stores can they really close?!), one brand is out there KILLING IT! You may have run across some articles about millennials’ love affair with Gucci. Being a wannabe millennial myself (I swear I was born in the wrong decade!), I can totally see why. I just read this article over on Fast Company about the company’s vision and culture. Now I’m even more impressed! I love how Gucci’s head honcho, Marco Bizzarri, works with his creative director in taking risks. Sure they’re over-the-top but that’s what makes them unique!
Here are some of my favorite excerpts:
“Gucci, you may have noticed, is blowing up.”
“In January 2015, Gucci appointed a new CEO, Marco Bizzarri, who had previously led Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta. Bizzarri immediately brought on a new creative director, Alessandro Michele, who earned his design chops apprenticing under Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi, and is known for his eccentric maximalist taste. In three short years, the pair have transformed Gucci into an exciting, modern brand that has won over the under-35 set–an achievement that recently earned the company a place on Fast Company’s list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2018.”
“Bizzarri approached the 96-year-old fashion house with a critical eye. When he joined the company, the brand’s enormous double G logo seemed like a status symbol of a bygone era; Gucci bags and belts languished in dark corners of people’s closets. ‘The company was really losing speed and was a little bit dusty,” Bizzarri says. “There was too much emphasis on heritage. I wanted to move the company to be more inclusive, more joyful, full of more energy.’”
“At luxury fashion houses, especially, there is a great deal of pressure to protect the brand’s image and heritage. Bizzarri’s message to his employees was to relax. “This creates a shift in people’s minds,” he explains. ‘If you don’t take the work too seriously, you can experiment with things that people are not expecting. On the other hand, by taking it too seriously, you tend to replicate things you have already done, trying to be safe rather than innovative.’”
“I wanted to have a company culture to be one where emotion and creativity were at the front and business followed,” Bizzarri says. “A place where creativity is foster by joy, by happiness. This is a perspective that I shared with Alessandro.”
“If people enter our shop, they enter our house and we need to be hosts to them,” Bizzarri says. “Changing people’s mentalities and behavior, that is the most difficult thing to do. The approach should be welcoming and smiling in a genuine way that is not forced, because this is the way to be inclusive in the end.”
“Our approach, both in terms of product and visual campaigns, is to do something that is unique,” he says. “The point is that if you are able to spontaneously and genuinely talk to millennials in a way that they can see really comes from the heart, you are talking their language.”
“These social media gambits are timely and speak directly to millennials, but Bizzarri wants to make sure that the driving force behind everything that Gucci does is about being authentic, creative, and inclusive, because this is what will allow the brand to stand the test of time.”
“This genuine passion is something that can keep us ahead of the competition,” Bizzarri says. “I’ve read many things about millennials these days saying they are not loyal and switch from one brand to the text. This may be true, but it doesn’t apply to us.”
For as long as I can remember, Sam (my husband) has been making these small side comments about how he gets terrible sleep. The reason? The four of us each has his/her own blanket but Sam’s is the worst. (Poor guy!) He uses this rough blue and white blanket that’s shabby on one side and semi-soft on the other. You can barely call it a blanket. So! I decided that for Valentine’s Day I would surprise him with a gift…da da da da….a brand new comforter!
It couldn’t be any old comforter, it had to be the best. (Or at least the best bang for the buck.) Now I’m not sure how Mark Zuckerberg pulled it off but what popped up on my Facebook feed but an ad from a company called Buffy. What did they claim? They have “the fluffiest, softest, lightest comforter ever made.” And what did they compare it to? Sleeping in clouds! Yes, clouds! Ok, now that’s some good marketing.
You can test out the comforter in your own home or just buy it. Being the “all-in” type, I just hit buy. It came in a few days, we unpackaged it last night. So how is it? It’s freakin’ amazing! The comforter is huge (well, we got the King size), and it has just the perfect amount of lightness/heaviness. Sam runs hot but when I asked him how he slept last night with “Buffy” he exclaimed, “Great!” He wasn’t too hot or too cold. He actually got a restful night’s sleep!
Here’s the duvet cover I chose. I wanted something classic, clean-looking and soft. It was perfect.
My gift was a huge hit! Thanks, Buffy, for creating a five star product!
(This is not a paid sponsorship…I just really dig their product.)
Hello, all! Yes, I’m back after a long hiatus. I’ve been busy working on Skylar Yoo, it take a lot to start up a whole new company. Sorry if I’ve been neglecting this blog, I feel like I have so much to write about now. I’ll start out with just sharing ten of my favorite things – from books to beauty products.
1. The Go-Giver, Expanded Edition: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea: This short story gives you some heartfelt lessons on business and life in general. It outlines five laws for stratospheric success. I love the concept of giving without asking for anything in return. Here’s a good quote: “Watch out for the other guy. Watch out for his interests. Watch his back. Forget about fifty-fifty, son. Fifty-fifty’s a losing proposition. The only winning proposition is one hundred percent. Make your win about the other person, go after what he wants. Forget win-win – focus on the other person’s win.”
This, too: “You give, give, give. Why?…Because you love to. It’s not a strategy, it’s a way of life.”
2. Rihanna’s Red Lip Paint, “Stunna“: I’ve always admired a woman who can carry off bold red lips. It’s hard to find the perfect shade, you get me, girls?! That’s why when I finally tried Rihanna’s brand Fenty Beauty’s “Uncensored” I was extremely happy! Unlike a lot of glosses and lipsticks these days that are totally drying, this one is less so. It stays on for hours and it’s a universally great shade of red. (See Rihanna in it, above.) Give it a go! You won’t regret it. (I’m now onto trying her metallic hot pink lipstick and her glitter eyeliner in blue.
4. iPhone X: I recently received my iPhone X and can’t say enough how much I love it. I used to have the iPhone 6+ and that was a giant compared to this. The X is the perfect size, it’s not too heavy and I can use it with one hand. I love the the edge to edge OLED screen, how fast it is and, most importantly, Face ID. It’s weird not having a real, touchable home button but you get used to it. Good job, Apple, on making me fall in love with Apple again! (Speaking of which, I love my AirPods, too!)
5. Bandolino ballet flats in gold: I try to avoid heels whenever I can so when I see a good pair of flats I snatch them up. These gold ones, by Bandolino, are shimmery and cute. They don’t have a lot of support at the bottom, but they’re not for hiking a hill, they’re more for casual work wear. Lord & Taylor’s having a good sale on them right now!
9. Pink faux fur coat from Zara: This is one of my favorite coats right now. (I’ve started a small collection.) It’s super fluffy and warm. Who doesn’t love this color, too? It’s not too baby pink or too bright pink.
10. Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success (Maxwell, John C.) – This is kind of an older book (2005) but it still has a lot of valuable life lessons. Maxwell is a pastor so there are some references to God but overall you can learn a lot of what you can do today to be successful tomorrow. He includes a ton of quotes in this book so if that’s your jam, you’re going to love this. He narrows down the areas for critical success to 12 or what he calls the “”Daily Dozen.” This includes having a positive attitude, sticking to priorities and investing in good relationships. Solid.
Due to a leak in our kitchen, we are getting the opportunity to completely remodel our kitchen. One day we came home from work and found the whole island removed! I’ve always wanted a very modern but glamorous kitchen – all white with gold handles. Instead of going with Houzz, I decided to try out Laurel & Wolf.
We went with the highest plan, the Signature, which is $249 per room. After providing our “inspiration pics,” I shared Christina Applegate’s kitchen, you get three different room concepts from three different designers. For an extra $100, you get to work with one of the more experienced designers, which we read was well worth it.
We got our three designs back and this one (picture above) is the one that I instantly loved. It’s a ten day process, the designer creates a design board for you and you get to comment on each picture, telling him or her what you love or hate. Then, they fine tune their board.
I used to be a person who enjoyed the mall experience. Wander around department stores like Bloomingdales or Nordstroms and picking out a thing or two. BUT THEN! I discovered subscription boxes and I was hooked!
You may have heard that Amazon just entered to the game. (You have to be a Prime member.) There, you can select 3 to 15 items of clothes or accessories and you have seven days to decide on whether or not you’ll keep any of them. It’s good for the working women who doesn’t want to spend a lot on work clothes like dresses.
I tried Stich Fix and I just felt like it didn’t fit my personality. The clothes were too bright, didn’t fit and wasn’t up to par in quality. So I turned my attention to two companies in the game: MM.LaFleur and Le Tote.
MM.LaFleur makes polished clothes for the working women. Their prices are a bit high but they’re pretty fashionable despite the fact that they’re clothes for work. I usually just buy one out of the five or six pieces they send me. Their customer service is great, a stylist sends you an email asking you if there’s anything you need. After I try on all my clothes, I jump on my computer to give my feedback about each individual item. This ranges from style (did not fit, does not like the color) to price (too expensive). You have only four days to try on the clothes and then return them in their prepaid mailer. Recently, I got this this jacket called the Woolf. It’s like a stretchy blazer. It has small shoulder pads that give you that extra umph. It’s my new favorite piece of clothing. You can dress it up or down. Today I’m wearing a Skylar Yoo statement tee with it along with black leggings and heels.
The second company I’m buying from is Le Tote. This works like “Netflix.” You pay $49 dollars per month for three items of clothes and two accessories. After you’ve worn their clothes, you can return them for more. Cool thing is that you can keep your items as long as you like but, if you’re like me, you either buy it or you return it soon so you can get the next box. You’re basically paying the monthly fee so why not get the most bang for the buck (variety). It’s important to note that this company lets you “swap” out items and pick them out yourself, rather than have your stylist just send you what they think you want. They’re having a big clearance sale right now if you want to see what they offer. I recently got this blue floral blouse and I loved it enough to buy it.
Shopping will never be the same again! Bye bye department stores. Hello, online subscription boxes!
Wow! Now these are some shoe stopping shoes! Christian Louboutin looks like they’re taking a page out of the playbook of Saint Laurent’s rhinestone boots that was all the rage (especially when Rihanna wore it). Love how these come in a subtle but shimmering blush color, yet they still have their trademark red sole. Of course, these Loubtouin’s are sequins and Saint Laurent’s were made of rhinestones but both are pretty fab!
Designer Mara Hoffman is one of those cool designers I like to keep my eye on. I love her colorful bathing suits and her long dresses. She recently collaborated with Converse to create these ultra-unique shoes. (You know I have a thing for rainbows.) They don’t officially go on sale till August but I found them on Free People’s website today so you can purchase them early, before they run out. They’re actually embroidered shoes! They come in two colors, I prefer this one called Purple Multi.
I was browsing through Moda Operandi when I came across these rainbow colored clothes by New York-based designer Caroline Constas. How stunning is that gathered top with the ruffle skirt? As a person who loves ruffles and rainbows I almost cried when I saw these! (Not really, but it did make me emotional…like buy, buy, buy! But then, no, no, no.) I put these clothes in the, “Really beautiful but too expensive category.” (I should make a board called that on Pinterest!) The gathered top goes for $420. Yeah….no.
I have this theory that the retail industry is currently pushing out the middle market. High end luxury brands with beautiful unique designs will stay in business as will fast fashion brands that rip off the luxury market’s designs. With the rise of Instagram, I think a lot of women love following trend setting style influencers like Aimee Song or Chriselle Lim. I remember after seeing Aimee wear that black and white Self-Portrait blouse, I was like, “Where can I buy that?” The influencers know how to put their outfits together, they look A-MAZING so they amass a legion of fans who want to dress just like them too.
So who are the big losers? Coincidentally, they’re the same ones who built too many physical retail stores. BCBG, Bebe, J.Crew, The Limited, Abercrombie, Guess.
On the luxury end, it’s fun to discover new designers (or at least new to you/me). Browsing by designer, getting to know who they are is interesting too. In this Vogue article I learned that Caroline Constas is known for her off-the-shoulder tops (ok, like everyone) but ones that are “well priced, flattering, and not too flimsy as to pose a wardrobe malfunction risk.” She has a “straightforward signature—classic shirting with a twist.”
The woman is a force! “Constas is also savvy in that her business is vertically integrated, so her patternmakers, sewers, and seamstresses are all in-house. Not only does that maintain high margins, but it means she can be involved in every step of the process, from the size of the buttonholes to buying strategies. ‘Getting my hands in production and sales has been so important,’ she says. ‘I can’t imagine having a label and doing it differently. As a designer, you have a vision for what you think will do well in the market, but it’s great to be in those sales meetings and hear what buyers’ needs actually are. At the end of the day, it’s a business.’
That’s my kind of gal!
P.S. Sorry about the lack of posts! I’ve been swamped with Skylar Yoo, the fashion brand for bold women coming out in mid-October. I’ll try to post more!
Hello, I’m Alice Yoo! I’m founder and CEO of Skylar Yoo, a company dedicated to inspiring and empowering women to be bold. We sell apparel, art prints and accessories to the modern feminist.
In my former life, I was editor-in-chief of the art and culture blog My Modern Met, which I founded back in 2007. I curated and wrote about art, design and photography for more than seven years. (In fact, I published over 7,000 articles which were seen by millions of people worldwide.) I’m also co-author of a book called For Love: 25 Heartwarming Celebrations of Humanity, which is on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
I live in southern California along with my husband and my two toddler boys.
This blog is about what I love, the tough experiences that I’ve learned from, and my journey as a second time entrepreneur. Right now, I’m in the midst of a 365 day challenge, to read one book a day. If you share my passions or want to learn some cool new facts, come along for the ride. I hope to inspire, educate and entertain you!