Summer Style Tips – from Brussels with love – Part 2
With the steaming hot summer in full swing, check out Part 2 of my series of ‘Summer Style Tips from Brussels’ offering a mix of ideas on fashion style for men and women, skincare, home styling, and lifestyle. Follow the series to get the full experience.
Remember last week’s recommendations on the ‘ugly’ sandals, espadrilles, rooftops in Brussels, swimsuits for men and women, sunscreen products, and boho fashion?
Well darlings, there is more where that came from:)
But before we dive in, let me repeat one thing. This is not me telling you what to wear, how to style your home, or who to be. It’s just my way of sharing what I experience as my ultimate source of joy and energy: the pursuit of beauty.
Perhaps you share that passion and we can indulge together…
1. LRNCE: minimalism with a soul
My sister was the first to point her out to me. One day she said: “You have to check out this amazing Belgian woman in Marrakech. Her name is Laurence but take out the vowels”.
That’s how I discovered LRNCE.
Soon after, every self-respecting Belgian fashion, design and lifestyle magazine was writing about her. With good reason! Laurence Leenaert is a one of a kind artist-designer of ceramics, rugs, textiles, kimonos, bags, and home objects with an unmistakable signature style. It has that rare quality of being both easy to recognize but hard to define.
It’s a unique blend of ethnic, bohemian, tribal, mid-century, Mediterranean, Picasso and Miró references, striking a subtle balance between innocent and worldly, retro and modern, eclectic and minimal.
Laurence started out designing her art on objects in a small medina in Marrakech in 2013, and conquered the world from there. She has since moved to her own workshop/showroom (in the picture below), but she’s staying put in Marrakech, adding a tangible touch of artisan to her hand-crafted, locally sourced products.
Now, LRNCE is literally everywhere, featuring in the most on-trend design and lifestyle magazines and Instagram accounts.
Exquisite boutique hotels, like Experimental Menorca and Parilio Paros (in the pictures below) are making her objects the centre piece of their neo-Deco design concept infused with terracotta hues, natural materials, and geometric shapes.
This new minimalism is warm, soulful, and nature-conscious. It embodies style, art, and craft as a way of life.
Want to buy? Time to add Marrakech to your list of post-Covid escapes. And in the meantime, you can also just buy her objects online.
You will pay 120€ for a vase, 350€ for a lamp, and anywhere between 500 and 3000€ for a rug or framed work.
2. This summer’s wardrobe must-have for men and women: a plain white t-shirt
I have – more than once – bought a pair of trousers or a skirt that I've never worn because I couldn’t find the right top to match it with.
I know. But from now on, that’s a thing of the past. I’ve got the perfect summer 2020 solution for you, and you won’t believe how simple it is: a white t-shirt!
A white t-shirt, with a little knot in front, or just a French tuck, basically fits every outfit, every style, and every silhouette. It’s like a miracle! Wear it on top of your shorts for a relaxed beach look, or add a jacket and high-heeled pumps for your rooftop-apéro.
Match it with a maxi-boho skirt, denim trousers, or high rise pleaded trousers or shorts. There is basically no item a white t-shirt can’t match.
Where to buy? Everywhere, but Massimo Dutti is a good place to start. Their end-of-summer collection is a pure t-shirt delight.
From left to right in the picture: a plain cotton t-shirt, a linen t-shirt with turn-up detail, a muscle t-shirt (no sleeves and small shoulder pads), and my personal favourite with shoulder pleads, all Massimo Dutti. Take your pick!
And for men? Same thing! A white t-shirt is THE go-with-everything solution for all your wardrobe troubles. It has that effortless, nonchalant ‘je ne sais quoi’ with anything from casual sweat pants to a formal suit.
For the perfect white t-shirt for men, check OPUMO. This online platform is my latest go-to reference for male fashion, homeware, art, furniture, audio and technology.
Why? Because the people behind this site carefully handpick only the best, timeless design items from a range of original, emerging brands. Clearly, they understand a thing or two about good taste.
Look at this white t-shirt from L’Estrange x OPUMO, for instance. It’s designed with a back-plead, a curved hem and split sides for that perfect cut. That’s how to do ‘plain’!
Personally, I also quite like the James Dean effect when you turn up the sleeves (like in the picture above), but that’s usually the point where my Italian husband starts frowning in disagreement:)
Whatever your fancy, the white t-shirt is back baby!
3. Holy Water Cuberdon Gin
To be honest, when I first discovered this local gin, I was mostly interested in the bottle. I love the design and I thought it would look really sleek to add a whole row of these to my living room bookshelves:)
But then I started reading up on this product and I realised this is a totally unique concept.
It is the only gin made with Cuberdons, aka neuzekes (or littles noses), a cone-shaped raspberry candy only available in Belgium (mostly in the area of Gent). Neuzekes have a limited shelf life, because they only stay gooey on the inside for a couple of weeks. This makes them uninteresting as an export product, but adds to their uniqueness and artisanal local flair.
So cuberdons are definitely a cool local product, but is it also a good idea to make gin with them?
Not likely, I thought at first. No sugary gooey gin for me, thank you:) But then I tried it, served with a Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic, and I turned around instantly. Rather than tasting like candy, this is a proper, punchy gin with a subtle infusion of soft raspberry aromas, blending marvellously with the other juniper, coriander, citrus peel, cinnamon, iris root and lavender tones.
It just comes to show once again, we are scared of pink for no reason whatsoever. Bring on that garden party my friends!
You will pay 45€ for bottle of Holy Water Cuberdon Gin.
4. Boho kimonos
In my first blog of this series, I briefly touched upon boho fashion from Ibiza. Little did I know so many of you would reply with such enthusiasm, asking me for more tips and recommendations in the same lines. Well, girlfriends, your wish is my command:)
Let me fill you in on THE boho trend of this summer: a long Woodstock-inspired kimono with patchwork or an ethic print.
Whether you are heading to the beach, the market, the restaurant, or the club, all you need in Ibiza this year is a bikini, a pair of shorts, and a boho kimono.
Do you have to be in Ibiza to find the perfect kimono? Basically, yes:) That is why I will be offering a ‘boho fashion trip’ to Ibiza, for a limited number of people, as soon as it is safe Covid-wise. I'll take you to the best shops all around the island. And while I'm at it, I'll show you the hidden beaches, off-the-beaten-track bars and exquisite restaurants. Want to be the first to know? Sign up to my newsletter on my website, or follow me on Instagram or Facebook, and I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, you can of course search for an Ibiza-worthy kimono online.
I quite like these, from Ibizamode, a Dutch multi-brand online store for boho fashion. Prices for kimonos range between 50 and 100 €.
Another viable option is the Fleur the Pirate kimono collection (price range150 to 175€) at Tendences N, a similar online store, but French.
Do me one favour though. If you’re going to buy any of these, please tone down the accessories. There is no need to go overboard with bags, hats, and jewels. The kimonos in the picture are quite spectacular, but what's with this busy over-accessorizing???
Too eager is never cool, so keep it simple, ladies!
5. Vintage beach umbrellas
Talking about Ibiza and beaches, I absolutely have to share this years’ outdoor trend with you: the vintage-inspired beach umbrella with tassels. Now honestly, how cute are these? This, my friends, is how I like my shade! No wonder Pinterest is going nuts over them.
Now, I’ve done a bit of research, and I am pretty sure Sunday Supply (pictured below) is your best bet. This Australian brand (shipping to Europe from the UK) has turned the vintage-inspired umbrella into their signature item.
They produce high-quality umbrellas with UPF50+, water and fade resistant fabric with some of the most to-die-for prints.
Watch out for this potential name confusion though: you need a beach umbrella for your garden (270€), but a travel umbrella for the beach (215€)...
Watch out for more tips in two weeks!
And that’s it from my side again. In a week or two, you can expect the third and final blog of this Summer Style series. There will be more on fashion, design, home styling, skincare, and places to go in Brussels. Don’t miss it!
How can you help spread the love in the meantime? Easy peasy: just share this blog with your network and friends. Because shared joy is double joy, my friends!!!
Want to read the first summer blog of this series? Here it is.
WHO AM I?
I am a confidently feminine woman, living in Brussels with my husband and two children. I coach men and women from my Brussels and expat network on matters of style and lifestyle.
I like to think of style in a broad sense, covering fashion style, selfcare, home style and lifestyle. Mixing it up is a really fun way of exploring and empowering the different sides of yourself.
I don’t get anything out of naming my favourite brands or places, other than the pure joy of sharing. I am not an influencer and I don’t intend to become one. My only agenda is to promote style, good taste, and authenticity. Perhaps this can be a refreshing change from the sponsored influencers’ content.
I also organise style nights, fashion city trips and private sales, because I love to bring people together. Sharing your style and lifestyle journey with people who are on the same page, is a great way of enjoying the process and making new friends!
Check out my website to sign up for your free initial coaching session, or follow me on Instagram for more style and lifestyle tips.