Friday, December 19, 2014

All dressed up and nowhere to go but work.

It happens quite often that I find myself with a rather shiny, sparkly dress that just does not fit into my daily life. Living in a small town in the Midwest tends to lend to that problem. However, just because I don't have a glamorous party or dinner to go to does not mean I can't work those pieces into my normal wardrobe.

Take this Jack "Liz Party Dress" I received in my Le Tote. It is beautiful and perfect for that big holiday party. The shine and texture along with a cutout upper back makes it one of the best pieces you could find for a party. The dress hardly needs accessories - simple pieces would do.  

I don't have time to hold on to this dress (hello, I want ALL the totes), so I wanted to wear it without making a big fuss. Work, yes, I would wear it to work. But how?

A blazer always adds extra structure to any outfit. I knew this would be a key piece to creating that particular look. To tone down the shimmer and shine of the dress I added a cardigan. The fuchsia is striking against the gold and black, adding that perfect pop of color. And then I had to decide on the shoes. A classic pump still seemed too much, so I did a low key wedge Oxford. Thus creating a simple work look using a totally glam dress.

I also wanted to see what throwing on a huge, comfortable sweater over the dress would do. I don't think I will ever get enough of navy, gold, and black together. I call it the I-had-a-rough-night-out-and-it's-morning-brunch outfit. Certainly low key while still looking put together. Adding a pair of ballet flats will keep the outfit in check.

I was on the receiving end of the loveliest compliments today all thanks to this beautiful dress. It was wonderful to wear such a piece and I would definitely love to see it in my Le Tote again. Don't throw that perfect dress to the back of the closet, but use it again in many different ways!
 Want to sign up for Le Tote? Use this link:[referral_code]=76E44A!
Blazer: Express
Dress: Jack
Cardigan: Aeropostale
Shoes: Target
Tights: Forever 21
Watch: Timex

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rent the Runway

You see the ads all the time. Rent the Runway. You nod and think "that's a good idea", but you never actually go to the site or rent that dress. Hundreds of dollars are spent on formal dresses that will never  be worn again. Never. No matter how much you think you can reuse that dress (well, if I add a blazer to it...), you never will. Once those photographs pop up on your Facebook feed it's over. Don't worry, I have been there too. And I finally rented that dress

After giving Le Tote a shot, I realized how awesome renting articles of clothing actually is. So why not try Rent the Runway? I browsed for hours searching for the perfect cocktail dress. The event: IAA Prodigy Awards Dinner. I had never been to an event (besides the occasional wedding) that was mostly formal. I also did not want to spend $400 on a beautiful dress that I would only wear once. 

Renting a dress is so very easy. Except for the part of actually picking THE one. Start by clicking on what size you need (or think you need), choose a level of formality, price range, length, neckline, etc. The list goes on. You will also need to pick the time frame for your event. You can rent clothing from four or eight days and have it arrive the day before the event (I had mine delivered two days before, but there was no need). The possibilities are basically endless

Once you do find the perfect dress for your event (or for fun!), you get to pick your size. I highly recommend going through the different testimonials. Each dress fits differently and you just never know if you need to go up or down a size (I went up). I would never have gotten the correct size if I hadn't looked through the testimonials (they include pictures as well!). The site also lets you pick a "free" size. Two dresses are shipped to you. So if you are unsure of a particular size, don't worry, you will have a back up! 

I absolutely loved my dress. I received too many compliments to count and had a blast. I paid $30 for four days for a dress that retailed $440. It really doesn't get much better. 

Elle: Tibi Metallic Jacquard Dress
Charlotte: Eva Franco Nova Dress (also Rent the Runway)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Le Tote: Fashion in a Box

While the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is 42, my answer to my ultimate question is Le Tote. What's my question? How can I find new items to add to my wardrobe without spending my entire paycheck? 

Le Tote is a clothing site that lets you rent designer pieces. Basically you have your own personal wardrobe on the website. You "add to your closet" pieces that you love or want to try and they will send them to you (in no particular order). You pay a flat monthly fee and can receive as many "totes" a month as you desire. 

In the Glamour Box (which is what I have) three articles of clothing and two accessories will be shipped out. Did I mention these were designer pieces? BCBGeneration, French Connection, Sanctuary, and many others can be found on the site. Just one of any of those items would cost more than what I am paying for each tote. That is not even the best part. Find something you just cannot live without? There is an option to purchase an item. Just don't send it back with your tote and they will charge your account. It gets even better (I know, right?). As a member, each item is discounted for buying. The discounts run anywhere from $10 to $40 off retail price. Don't like how a piece fits? Just send it back and rate it as such on your account. 

So, how does Le Tote know what to send you? A stylist picks out each piece based on the measurements sent in and what you "liked" on the site. You create your own style profile by uploading pictures of yourself in the pieces and by rating each item. Want to wear it again? Just ask them to send it again! This is a win win situation for everyone involved. Try something you would never just buy because it doesn't fit your style or it's just something that doesn't seem like a good fit. Le Tote lets you explore your style without the risk of buying something you will never wear again. Go forth and shop without causing harm to your bank account.

Photos are from my first "tote".

Black Top: Briselle Blouse
Lace Dress: Charlotte Cap Sleeve Dress
Bracelet: Cupid's Arrow Bracelet
Grey Dress: French Lucy Flare Dress
Necklace: Adia Jess Necklace 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Altuzarra for Target

There is almost nothing better than waking up before the sun, grabbing a hot chocolate, and waiting for a store to open. With each Target collaboration that is announced, I giddily plan the early trek to my nearest store. The Altuzarra collection release was no different. I counted down the days from the announcement all the way to the very morning of its release. 

This time, however, I did not do my research well enough. Generally I scrutinize each piece in the collection before I go to shop. I never know what will be in the store, but I also wanted to know what I liked beforehand. I decided I did not want to know what my favorite piece could or would be. I didn't want to be disappointed. So, I took my chances and blindly went in to shop. 

And my nearest Target decided not to carry the line. 

No matter. Furiously leaving the store after five minutes of searching the premises only to be let down, I immediately decided my best chances of recovery were to check the online stores. Surprisingly, enough was left for me to actually pick and choose. During my wait to enter the store I perused the collection and knew if I only bought one piece it would be the faux fur jacket (no longer in stock online). Alas, it was in stock in my size. I pushed it to my cart and checked back for other pieces I may want. My second and last piece purchased was the satin Orchid print Oxford shirt. Happy once again, I drove home and patiently waited for my treasures. 

After what seemed like ages, the package arrived. I spilled the contents and pulled out each piece carefully. The jacket, the biggest and bulkiest, came first. It was better than I could have ever imagined. Soft and thick, the jacket is probably one of the best items I've purchased in quite some time! It is a little big on me (what's new?), but I'll be able to layer it nicely for the winter months. After twirling around in my jacket, I pulled out the shirt. Beautiful. The exceptionally soft fabric contrasting with the starch white collar and cuffs made it both professional and slightly sexy

Thank you Altuzarra and Target for your affordable fashion. I will dutifully wait for the next collection. And make sure to check stores ahead of time. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Look for Less: Nikki Reed

I have become completely obsessed with finding outfits that are work appropriate, but still leave room for the imagination. Really, this just means I don't want to give up wearing cool prints and colors just because I work in an office. I am also obsessed with People StyleWatch's The Look For Less column. It is comforting to know I can find similar items that my favorite starlet is wearing without going into some serious debt. StyleWatch does a fantastic job finding nearly matching outfits, however, the outfits are still too expensive for me (I have said this before and I will probably keep saying it). I challenged myself to find the look for even less. Sticking with my business casual mania, I chose Nikki Reed's blazer and pencil skirt outfit from People StyleWatch's August issue.

The coral sweater and striped skirt are what drew me to this outfit. Sleek and simple, this outfit would work at the office and out for drinks with the girls (and red carpets). The clutch (Nikki's is Kate Spade) truly takes this look up a notch with the sparkle and shine. Also, the fact that Nikki does not have her arms through the blazer creates a polished silhouette and keeps her looking perfectly lady-like. No surprise there that I fell head over heels. 

While looking for my pieces I really wanted to keep my look under $100. I will be honest, I did not make that happen. However, (not counting shipping or taxes) I came to a whopping total of $113.79. StyleWatch's total cost was $244.24. I can just hear the savings. 

Blazer: Forever 21 $27.90
Sweater: Target $14
Skirt: Windsor $18.90
Clutch: Call It Spring $17.50
Rings: Aéropostale Bethany Mota $2.99
Shoe: Charlotte Russe $32.50

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Not Your Casual Denim

I own five chambray shirts. Not a single one is the same, but the chambray shirt has become a new classic item for every wardrobe. There is my light wash, dark wash, medium wash, acid wash with studs... okay I have four (one must have gotten lost). Not even your trusty pair of denim jeans can beat the fluidity of the chambray shirt. 

The only problem is how do you incorporate your chambray shirt into your business casual life? For me, my shirts have always been used to create an undone look, to add a certain laid back quality that nothing else could give. I used to wear at least one chambray shirt once a week and now they sit in my closet staring sadly at me each morning. However, I finally created a business casual look that included my favorite chambray. 

The key is to keep the look strikingly structured. Each piece must be ready to atone for the chambray's lack of business attitude. While it is a button up, it isn't the classic Oxford that is part of the uniform of the business bunch. That does not mean it shouldn't have its own spotlight. 

Adding the blazer instead of a cardigan framed the chambray top while the midi skirt added the polish. Topping the denim cake with extra fabulous accessories seals the deal. For those who don't have a "Causal Friday" this is the perfect way to add a little flair to your day-to-day outfits. 

Incorporating a charming touch here and there will have you creating more unique ensembles. Have fun with your outfits and become excited to get dressed in the morning. 

Blazer: Forever 21
Chambray: Aéropostale
Skirt: Express
Shoes: Aldo
Necklace: J.Crew
Bracelets: Pitaya and Aéropostale
Bag: Hautelook
Book: It, Alexa Chung

Friday, July 11, 2014

What Lela London Wore - Throwback with New Look

It is time for another round of What Lela London Wore! Said in my best game show voice. It is no secret that I adore Lela's style. Preppy, girly, a bit unexpected, and full of skirts and dresses, it closely resembles mine. I get a lot of my inspiration from her outfit posts. I do not usually have the opportunity to see certain silhouettes, patterns, colors, etc. on shorter women, so it is wonderful to see Lela push the boundaries (or so I call them because they are my boundaries). 

Lela recently posted about a swing dress she had fallen in love with during a challenge with New Look. I am always wary about anything that does not have a defined waist. Working with the munchkin size I have it never occurred to me that a dress that kind of just fell away from my body would ever make me look nice. Again, I was wrong. 

I searched the web high and low to find a similar style of dress. The color was also key. That beautiful pale blue is a color I have been coveting lately. My search ended with ASOS. I was surprised to find a dress so close to Lela's. I immediately checked for my size and added the dress to my cart. And I am so thrilled with my purchase. The fabric is light and airy. I find the silhouette seems to elongate my body with a slightly shorter front and longer back. And the lace is beautiful. 

Once again, thank you Lela, for showing me I can wear so much more than I originally believed. P.S. Even though this is a summer dress, Lela's styling with black tights makes me believe it could transition well into fall and winter with the right accessories. 

Dress: ASOS Love swing dress
Shoes: Aldo
Bag: Pitaya
Bangles: Vintage
Socks: Forever 21

To Tommy, From Zooey

If you are following me on Instagram (and if you aren't, follow me here!) you know I am doing a challenge from Dean Street Society called #StyleMeJuly. Each day there is a daily inspiration to wear, try, and be. The prompt for June 10th was "my celeb style icon". Two people immediately jumped into my head when considering my outfit: Audrey Hepburn and Zooey Deschanel (no surprises there). Seeing as how I was already in the week with a lot of black and white, I chose Zooey. 

And what better way to showcase my love for Zooey's style than with a piece from her Tommy Hilfiger collection. The termed "modical" dresses are a perfect reflection of her style. No fuss, playful, and charming, every piece called my name. I settled on this number after comparing it to how it looked on the model and Zooey. Not that Zooey's and my body types are similar in any way, but it was easier to decide based on how it was hanging on her body than the model's. The print, colors, and the peek-a-boo navy seemed a perfect combination.

What I admire most is how unforgiving she is about how girly her style is. My favorite quote is from her Glamour cover spread: "I'm just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can't be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f--king feminist and wear a f--king Peter Pan collar. So f--king what?" 

Zooey, you just keep rocking those polka dots. And I will too. 

Dress: To Tommy, From Zooey - it's on sale! 
Shoes: Aldo
Necklace: Aéropostale

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Off Duty (Not) Model

The first thought that comes to mind when I read or hear the words "off duty" is a gorgeous, leggy model wearing her "street" clothes. It is meant to describe a person not currently in their work uniform and can be applied to any position, but the off duty model is seared into my brain. 

I began using the "off duty" hashtag on Instagram (follow me!) to describe any outfit that I did not wear to work. It wasn't until recently that I actually thought about what those words meant when describing an outfit. Just because you are off duty does not make what you are wearing a true off duty outfit. Putting on those yoga pants and that baggy t-shirt you still have from high school does not make an off duty outfit. 

It is key to keep the off duty look purely you. My typical off duty look will include a tee from a particular fandom I have been obsessing over. Then I make it as girly as I can. Adding a skirt is a must - generally a circle skirt for me, but I was feeling a bit more rock-n-roll today. Throw on some pretty jewels (or whatever type of jewelry you're into) and other fabulous accessories. I love wearing socks with heels, especially socks with some frill. For me, it keeps the skirt from being too sexy (hello, it's only noon). 

Whatever your style, you can find the perfect off duty look, even if it takes Googling "off duty model" to see what is out there. Take that raggedy tee from high school and tuck it into a skirt or some kick ass skinny jeans and add a colorful statement necklace. It's how you wear it that makes the difference. Walk with your head high instead of slumping through the streets. Get creative and have fun - the streets are your runway.  

Transformers tee: Hot Topic
Skirt: Aéropostale
Shoes: Aldo
Socks: Forever 21
Purse: Forever 21
Necklaces: J.Crew and Forever 21
Bracelet: Vintage
Umbrella: Target

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Midi Skirt and the Mini Lady

I will be the first to admit, my driver's license states my height as 5'0'' even. I will be the last to admit that it is wrong, however unlikely it is that I am actually 5 feet short and not somewhere on the cusp of 4'10'' or 4'11''. The lack of stature has plagued me through my life in regards to clothing choices and what I deemed I could or could not wear because of it. In other words, the shorter the better!

Flipping through racks of dresses and skirts, I skimmed over anything that was not labeled "mini". Even the lucky mini dresses or skirts deemed short enough fell to my knees. So, when the midi skirt came onto the scene, I immediately wrote it off as something my petite body could not handle. 

Oh boy was I wrong. 

The first time I tried on a midi skirt, I was shopping for outfits for a new job. I needed to add business casual aspects to my already overflowing casual closet. I was in Express picking up any and every pencil skirt and chiffon top. My eyes fell upon a full black skirt. It was beautiful. And it was a midi length. I put it back on the rack and stared wistfully as my heart and brain fought for control. My heart won and I grabbed it off the rack and bee-lined for the fitting rooms. I did not try it on first. I wanted to get everything out of the way before my heart was broken. 

And it wasn't! I fell head over heels for that midi skirt. The best part was that even though it didn't hit high above the knee (but well below it), the skirt still elongated my legs - thank you high waist. I refuse to wear anything but the highest heels with it, but I can now appreciate this new and challenging length. Finding this skirt has allowed me to open my mind to other possibilities I had brushed past just because of my height. A weight was lifted off my shoulders. 

Now you, dear reader, go and find yourself a pair of shoes, a top, or a skirt that you would not have dared touched and try it on just to see. You may surprise yourself and find that perfect piece you didn't even realize you wanted. And to my fellow petites, try that longer length. You won't regret it. 

Cardigan: New York and Co.
Polka dot tank: Express
Midi skirt: Express
Purse: Hautelook
Shoes: Aldo 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Olivia Palermo and the Wedding Short

Wedding season is upon us and with it comes the ultimate fashion question. What (or who) will the bride be wearing? This question has in fact been on our lips ever since Olivia Palermo's engagement to Johannes Huebl. The street style darling was sure to wow us and that she did. 

Olivia stunned in Carolina Herrera, but not in the traditional sense. The bride chose not a gown, but a three piece ensemble. As an admirer of the non-traditional route in the wedding dress department, I found Olivia's choice absolutely charming and completely true to character. Olivia wore a cashmere sweater and a full tulle skirt with a high slit in the front covering a pair of shorts. That's right. Shorts! 

And just to make her look even more delightful, she chose the same Manolo Blahniks Carrie Bradshaw wore during her civil ceremony to Mr. Big. The simple hair, makeup, and jewelry pulled the ensemble together to create my favorite wedding look ever.   

While you may or may not be getting married, dear reader, that does not mean you can't pull this look off as well. Say "I do" to the all white outfit this summer. 

For a streamlined look, you will want to keep the shorts simple. A tailored style will go far in a soft, satin-like material. These shorts (origami or pleated) from Forever 21 will work with and without the skirt. Since it is summer, a light weight sweater is a better option. This tuck stitch option from Nordstrom is captivating and being 100% cotton will allow you to breathe. The tulle skirt will be the show stopper of the outfit. Try your hand at the DIY tulle skirt for a potentially cheaper option (slit included). However, if you are like me and making a skirt just would not do, this beauty from Etsy will work just fine. And the pièce de résistance, the blue heel. I chose the Jessica Simpson option for comfort and quality. You will not fail to stun while wearing such an eye catching shoe. 

Olivia's wedding dress choice will surely change the game. It will be pleasant to see more non-traditional choices from future brides this season.  

 Congratulations Olivia and Johannes! 


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Coming Soon: Altuzarra for Target

Target announced today their next high fashion collaboration. Altuzarra is the next partner to create a ready-to-wear line complete with accessories and shoes for the corporation. The collection with be available September 14 and of course, yours truly will be there anxiously awaiting Target's doors to open. 

Altuzarra is known for incorporating French elegance and American ease. This twist makes it highly appealing for the every day woman who is polished, but who also wants a touch of comfort. Joseph Altuzarra said, "As a designer, I believe firmly in the transformative power of fashion. It has the ability to not only change how you look, but also how you feel. I've admired the elegance that Target brings to fast fashion. By working together on this capsule collection, we hope to instill a sense of power, confidence and beauty in women everywhere." With pieces ranging in price from $17.99 to $89.99, the collection will be worth checking out. There will even be lingerie pieces! I know I cannot wait for a closer look at the individual pieces and the teaser trailer only makes me want it more. 

Feel free to join me as I jump for joy over this collaboration! Fingers crossed pictures of the pieces start popping up soon. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mix and Match: Earrings

What is trendy and what is stylish are sometimes a million miles apart. Occasionally I will flip through a magazine or stumble across a picture on the web and wonder who thought it could possibly be a brilliant idea to configure something so... odd. I first came across a pack of mismatched earrings as I was working. At first I believed the package was damaged and someone had just accidentally got it wrong, however I kept opening up packages that did not match at all. I immediately turned my nose up and proceeded to match my earrings.

After a bit I forgot all about the package of mismatched earrings. Then the awards shows popped up and the stars pranced down the red carpet, shining in their jewels. On a few gorgeous ladies, I noticed the earrings that sat so prettily on their lobes were not quite symmetrical.

Earcuffs and chandelier earrings were paired with studs or smaller earrings. The effect was truly stunning. My interest was piqued, but only just. Earcuffs did not seem very... well... me. And I only enjoy stud earrings and do not even own chandelier earrings (yikes!). Soon it dropped off my radar once again. 

While perusing the latest StyleWatch magazine, I noticed an entire page basically blasting praise for mismatched earrings. The best part was the magazine offered an array of looks using studs - all of which I found endearing. It is safe to say I am 100% hooked on this trend and you should be too! The best part is you do not even have to go shopping for more earrings. Use what you have and switch them up! It is like finding twenty more outfits in my closet. 

Emma Watson charming as ever.

Testing out the first go. Camera stud and heart stud. I found while analyzing what I had and trying pieces together, if you keep to similar colors or metals it looks more cohesive. Below are other pairings I cannot wait to try. 

Remember, symmetry is what humans find beautiful. Do not be surprised if you find it weird or unsettling. Find what you like and go for it! I could spend all day pairing up different earrings!

P.S. My earrings are mish mash of Forever 21, Aeropostale, and Aldo earrings.