Cardigans 103: Intermediate: Playing with Color


In last week’s cardigan post we talked about four formulae for adding layers to our look, specifically using light cardigans.  Formulae #’s 1-4 were somewhat basic, fairly expected and proven usages of the cardigan as a layering technique (haha, like that technical lingo? Wait till we get to Advanced Cardigan…).

Well, today’s Frilling Formulae are a step up from Basic.  A little less-expected.  A little more daring.  A little more Frilling.  And very colorful!

Remember how Formula #1 involved matching the cardigan color to a color in the pattern?  Well, as we progress to Intermediate Cardigan, we want to think about harmonizing our colors rather than matching them.  First we learn the matching rule, then we learn to break it.

Formula #5: Tone-on-Tone
Also known as Monochromatic.  I love this look.  It’s a trick I personally pull a lot.  I just love piling on layers of the same color.  In fact, I think I exercised a fair amount of restraint by not wearing pink shoes and lipstick.  That would be overkill, right?  Anyway, the point is to layer varying shades of the same color, or varying textures of the same color.  Here I have my favorite pink Madewell v-neck tee with a hot pink cardi overtop. The scarf could just have easily been a neutral color, or a necklace, or removed entirely.  I kept the bottom neutral with dark skinnies.

Aurelia is mixing lavenders here, with a cute striped short.  (Incidentally: Ellie, this is a version of your warm-weather outfit.)

…And she’s doing the same outfit concept here, but with mixed-pinks on top.  See?  Super useful.

Formula #6: Bright-on-Bright (or Pastel-on-Pastel, or Pastel-on-Bright, or Neon-on-Neon)

Color blocking has been a big trend the past few seasons, and this is a variation on it.  Take two strong colors, and put them in the same outfit.  Zoey D is always doing this on New Girl.  I always love it.

Aurelia has also been known to rock a brightly color-blocked look, this time in neon!:

These three examples are all of cardigans and dresses.  But a bright top paired with a bright cardigan atop a neutral or printed skirt or pants accomplishes the same thing in terms of this formula.


The Patterned Cardigan
So far we’ve only discussed solid cardigans.  Now its time to step it up to patterns! The You Frill Me gals LOVE pattern.  You will be amazed at how much use you’ll get out of a couple patterned layers. I only have a few patterned cardis, but I wear the heck out of them.  If you’re afraid of pattern, or just unfamiliar, here is the simplest way to wear it

Formula #7: Patterned Cardi + Solid Base Layer
Your base layer – say a cami, blouse, or tee -  can be neutral.  For sure, the easiest is to throw a pattern on top of a navy, white, or black tee.  And that surely works.  But we’re talking about playing with lively, bright color here, soooo…. why not pair stripes or animal print with a bright or pastel solid?

Naomi texted me this quick pic she took of a combo she likes to wear, pairing her teal and navy stripe with a bright coral top.  I love these colors.  She is definitely thinking about color harmony here, but what’s interesting about this striped cardi is that I’m guessing she gets tons of use out of it since the teal and navy can work with a lot of different colors.  For instance, a yellow top would be just as cute with it. Or red.  Or cobalt (mixing hues). Or pink.  You get it.

Alternatively, Naomi could use this same cardi and follow the reverse of Formula #1, and wear a coordinating (matchy-matching) base layer.  But it wouldn’t be as playful, would it?

And here is one of my own favorite printed cardigans.  This sucker gets tons of use.  We think stripes and animal print are two of the easiest patterns to wear and remix.  In fact, I mostly consider the animal print to be neutral, and tend to use this particular cardigan just like I use a neutral one, and mix it with lots of different prints and colors.  I just threw it on with a v-neck tee and a cobalt cami (I like a camisole to keep my tummy covered while nursing) for a regular weekday.  But it dresses up easily too.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of pattern.  Oh yes my Frills, there will be more.  Advanced Cardigans is aaaaaall about pattern.  And other fun things.

So what do you think?  Opine in the comments!


May 16, 2013 1:06 PM | Comments | Categories: Fashion, Lifestyle | Tags: ,

Frilling Fashionista: Naomi’s Knack for Solids


I am FRILLED to introduce you all to my lovely, always-fashionable friend Naomi.  A couple weeks ago she let me photograph some of her FRILLING outfits.  This lady is a bona-fide fashionista (who used to work at Neiman Marcus!) not to mention an all-round beautiful person, and her sense of style is awesomely inimitable.

I love many things about her style, but one thing I really appreciate (prolly since I’m not so good at it myself) is how she can rock bold, solid colored pieces, and nail it every time.  This is a skill.  Mixing solids ain’t for sissies. I think it’s more advanced than pattern-mixing, myself.  And Naomi does it with confidence and flair and gets it RIGHT, and then accessorizes it brilliantly.

Exhibit A.

She has three strong colors on (three!) and still manages to look cohesive, smart, and grown-up. See how she keeps the accessories neutral in color? And then adds a quirky boot that somehow works brilliantly to flabbergast us further with her skillz?  How does she do that?

Exhibit B:

Fairly basic in theory, right?  Jeans, tee, jacket, loafers.  Three solid pieces, thoughtfully put together, and frilled up with just the right amount of sparkle and pattern.  And another slightly quirky, but imminently versatile shoe.

(Yes, you can wear big sparkly gaudy FRILLING earrings just any old day!  Naomi said so!)

Yes, the shoes are awesome and probably a closet workhorse.  But I’d like to take a moment to point out this jacket.  I think everyone needs a stylish, lightweight, structured jacket.  They just come in handy in all sorts of ways.  Of course, for some of us (aherm….me), this could be a standard-but-trusty jean jacket.  Not for Naomi – hers is white with cool zippers and a moto vibe.  Let that be a lesson to us all.


Exhibit C:

This may be my favorite of the three looks, but I am a sucker for a good maxi skirt.  Here she’s got a strong pattern in the skirt, balanced by a strong solid on top.  (Oh, cobalt + tangerine, I heart you!)  Then added a neutral cardigan, and a fabulous-but-neutral shoe.

Oh, and a little sparkle here and there, just for FRILLS.

I asked Naomi a few questions so we could get a peek into her style psyche, and this is what she said:

Define your personal style in just a few words:
“Always changing, love solids, dark colors, and an amalgamation of high end and low end”

Quality or Quantity?
“I’m definitely a quality gal! Its hard to always afford quality, but the satisfaction I get from buying a good quality piece that lasts me years is awesome! The amount of clothes I have doesn’t matter, when I know I will usually go to my designer brands before the Target, Forever 21 stuff anyway. “

Where do you like to shop?
“I love TJ Maxx! I can get unique items there and good brands for affordable prices. I also like Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Center and Buffalo Exchange. Those are my top places. I do sometimes mix in some Target, H&M, and Forever 21. I also have a lot of stuff from Banana Republic and Loft in my closet as well. They just fit me perfectly. “

What drives your purchases (trendiness, usefulness, impulses, etc)?
“…Need. I know what I have in my closet like the back of my hand. If I really want a specific type of top to go with a specific skirt (I usually have an idea of what that is ahead of time) then I’ll go get one. I know what kinds of pieces are the most figure flattering and I tend to stick to a certain silhouette. When I try venturing out and buying a huge tunic or something in fashion that doesn’t flatter my figure, it usually just sits in my closet doing nothing. So I try to maximize my wardrobe by selecting pieces that are versatile and I know I’ll love and get a lot of wear out of… I also sell clothes EVERY season to Buffalo Exchange. So my wardrobe is constantly turning around and changing.

What inspires your fashion choices?
“…Fit and color. I’m a huge believer that fit is more important than fashion. Also, I know what colors I can wear that will do something for me and the colors that will do nothing for me. Beiges, tans, pale colors, don’t do anything for me, so I can try to add those colors to bottoms or accessories, instead of tops or dresses.

Do you have a “uniform”?
“If I had to pick a uniform, it would be a cotton mini skirt and a cotton tank top. I can pair it with tights, boots, and a cute jacket for Winter or a scarf and sandals for Summer. I could wear that combination everyday! “

Name three major must-have, can’t-live-without-em, workhorse items in your wardrobe?
“A scarf! Can’t live without one! A cashmere or wool blend cardigan (I’m very cold natured), and cotton/spandex leggings for their versatility. “

If you could have only one pair of shoes in your closet, what would they be?
“It would have to my leopard print Liz Claiborne flats as shown in the pictures. They are so comfortable and can make any boring outfit feel fun!”

Any advice for the more color-challenged among us?
“It’s always a good idea to match hues. If you are a wearing a bright hue you want to pair with another bright hue. For example, the salmon/creme chevron skirt might not have looked as good with a pale color on top. If you’re color blocking, you always want to throw in some neutrals. That’s one reason I love that neutral OPI “Did you ear about Van Gogh” Nail color I’m wearing in the photos. It goes with all the color I like to wear. I try to stick to neutral jewelry when wearing color as well. If you don’t know what to wear with a certain color— Black or White is always a great go to!”

But wait.  What is that we see there?  Is that a hint of a pooch we see?  Why, yes, it is!  Naomi is going to be joining the ranks of us Mamas pretty soon.  She’s now 19 weeks and counting!  A gorgeous mama-to-be if I do say so myself.

Naomi, you FRILL us! And congratulations to you and your hubby on your bump!


April 25, 2013 11:08 AM | Comments | Categories: Lifestyle | No Tags

Spring Doings








1. B potting some seeds with her grandpa “Pop A”
2. Baby Taco, ready for takeoff.  5 months old.
3. We dyed some eggs.
4. Huntin’ em up.
5. Everyday: “B, what would you like to do today?” “Um, some painting.”
6. A new gnome hat, which unfortunately resembles a dunce cap currently.  I’ll have to embellish it, I suppose…

At 5 months, Baby Taco is…

  • the drooliest baby around
  • finally sleeping, after much gentle persistence on our part, fairly regular hours (7 to 7 with one dream feed and one early-morning-waking)
  • quite particular about my always being in her line of sight
  • seriously interested in her sister
  • in love (what 5 month old isn’t?) with Sophie the Giraffe
  • already outgrown all the 6 month clothes
  • happiest outdoors


April 5, 2013 10:01 AM | Comments | Categories: Baby, Lifestyle | No Tags

Chocolate Cupcakes + Orange Cream Cheese Icing


Hi everyone! Happy Monday! Last week I posted a few snapshots of a recent baby shower I helped host. This week I wanted to give you the details on the chocolate cupcakes with orange cream cheese icing that I made. I made the daisy cupcake toppers out of water, powdered sugar and meringue powder. I piped out the shape of the flower on a Wilton flower nail and then let them harden for a few days. Go here for a good tutorial explaining the process if you are interested.

The chocolate cupcakes are a mix. I often make cupcakes from scratch, but I use a mix when baking simple flavors such as chocolate, white or yellow cakes. I have found that the boxed mixes are just as good and a lot more convenient in these cases.

I do, however, ALWAYS make my frostings from scratch. Interested in this recipe? Get it below!

Orange Cream Cheese Icing (Adapted from the Cake Mix Doctor)


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 oz bar of neufchatel cheese
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • orange zest from 1 orange
  • orange juice from 1 orange


  1. cream together first two ingredients
  2. beat powdered sugar in one cup at a time
  3. add orange zest and juice
  4. beat with electric mixer until smooth


Family Photos


When Little B was 13 weeks old, we had a photographer come to our home in San Francisco and do a family shoot.  I wanted to do another when T was 13 weeks old.  The lovely Aubrey Stopa came to our house for a couple hours on a Saturday morning, and here is some of what she captured.


My friends, these are two different babies.  Can you tell which is which? I think it’s safe to say they’re sisters…


Thanks Aubrey!  You Frill us!

March 22, 2013 9:46 AM | Comments | Categories: Baby, Lifestyle | Tags: , ,

A baby shower


This weekend I helped host a baby shower for one of my dear friends. It was the first shower I hosted since Fran’s Tea Party last October. Here are a few pictures I thought I’d share:

A fun bow-making craft:

Raffle prizes:

Hostess gifts:

All of the hostesses with the momma!

March 19, 2013 8:00 AM | Comments | Categories: Baby, Lifestyle | Tags: ,



So Austin’s annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences and Festivals are still going on as we speak, and I wanted to post a few snapshots of some of the fun we’ve been having downtown. Not all of the pics are that great, but I’m too frilled by the memories to not document them!

Texas Style Council Mixer at Langford Market

Fran chatting with Blaine from Orange Chair Wardrobe. I absolutely adore her style! So casual, yet chic, and every detail was so thoughtfully frilling!

We learned how to do an ombre nail thanks to Meghann at Nails Y’all.

Here are some of the awesome ladies we were able to meet at the mixer:

Nicole | Writes Like a Girl

Kristen | the Mrs. and the MOMMA

Gina | Keystone54

Blaine | Orange Chair Wardrobe

Chanel | Chanel Wears

Jenni | Story of my Life

Indiana | Adored Austin


Techweek Chicago Party

My husband’s start up was invited to exhibit their brand here, so we joined in on the fun!

Fran’s frilling street-style

March 14, 2013 12:48 AM | Comments | Categories: Fashion, Lifestyle, Parties | Tags: , , ,

Frilling Ways to Chambray: Monochromatic Hues


Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday! Last week we started a frilling new series highlighting the many different ways to style a chambray top. I debuted the series with a classic, sophisticated look. This week I layered my chambray with J. Crew’s Tippi sweater and I also purposely created a monochromatic palette of blues.

Check out the details:

A popped collar. People have mixed opinions on the popped collar. I say that sometimes it can work.

A chunky ring and another deliciously gaudy bauble around my neck. Blues on blues on blues.

Layered polka dots to add some FRILLS. I love the layers of blues AND the layers of polka dots. I pretty much love anything that takes extra thought and care.

Sweater: J. Crew / Chambray: J. Crew  / Skirt: J. Crew (old. similar at F21) / Necklace: J. Crew (old. similar style at Bauble Bar)  / Tights: Madewell / Shoes: Clark’s Indigo / Ring: Circle & Square / Lip color: MAC (Russian Red) 

How do you style your chambray?

March 12, 2013 8:00 AM | Comments | Categories: Fashion, Lifestyle, Outfit posts | Tags: , , ,

Born to Play


And this is one reason we like Texas: cause we get to play in the dirt…


…with crazy post-nap hair…

…and wear flipflops…

…in winter.


PS: Thank God for Oxy-Clean.

February 26, 2013 9:40 AM | Comments | Categories: Lifestyle | Tags: , ,



Do you practice any sort of Lenten fasting? This year I’ve given up one of my favorite things: reading blogs.  (Er, obvs I’ve not given up posting on them.) I like Lent.  I like the opportunity it gives me to reign things in, take stock of how I’m spending my time (or money or energy or calories, depending on what I’m fasting from any given year.)

And I really like blogs.  They are like magazines you get to read for free, about any topic you’re interested in.  They can be endlessly inspiring, but if I’m not careful, they can be an endless time suck, and a distraction from the nourishment and spiritual boost deeper reading can give me.  So this year instead of reading blogs I’m reading the daily office each day, as well as reading through several books.

RHE’s _A Year of Biblical Womanhood_, in which she de-mythologizes (is that a word?) and challenges common assumptions about what it means to be a woman who follows God. Love RHE.  I’m allowing myself to read her blog, because I consider it a form of nourishment.

Kathleen Norris’ _The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and Women’s Work_. This slim volume, really an elongated essay, is kicking my stay-at-home-mom ass, challenging me to consider all work, even laundry and dishes and diapers, as holy.

I’m re-reading (for the second or third time, can’t remember) Anne Lamott’s book of essays, _Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith_.  It blessed me the first (and second?) time, and I was listening recently to a friend talking about how impactful it was in her faith experience, and thought I’d grab it off the shelf again.

These are the three I’m reading through so far, but I think I’ll likely be finished with all of them by this weekend.  Anybody got any recommendations for more spiritually nourishing reading?  I’m considering reading some CS Lewis I haven’t gotten to yet, maybe _The Great Divorce_.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Anne Lamott’s essay, “Ashes” about Ash Wednesday, which was a week ago today and is the beginning of Lent in the traditional Church calendar, and which sums up some of the reasons Lent is meaningful for me:

“Ash Wednesday…is supposed to be about preparation, about consecration, about moving toward Easter, toward resurrection and renewal. It offers us a chance to break through the distractions that keep us from living the basic Easter message of love, of living in wonder rather than doubt. For some people, it is about fasting, to symbolize both solidarity with the hungry and the hunger for God…

The ashes remind us of the finality of death. Like the theologian said, death is God’s no to all human presumption… [In awaiting redemption and resurrection] how can we cooperate with grace? How can we open ourselves up to it? How can we till the field? And so people mark themselves with ashes to show that they trust in the alchemy God can work with those ashes–jogging us awake, moving us toward greater attention and openness and love.”

February 20, 2013 9:59 AM | Comments | Categories: Lifestyle | Tags: , , ,
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fran & aurelia

Fran likes knitting, cooking, reading design blogs, curating her home, and wearing chunky jewelry.

Aurelia likes baking, fashion, hosting lovely dinner parties, and laughing at clever and witty things.