A little white dress can seem a lot more intimidating to style, or wear, than a little black dress. Since lighter colors attract light they aren’t as naturally slimming as their darker hued counterparts, so when shopping for a white dress that can be worn year round look for something that is off white or cream colored rather than a stark white. A softer white won’t seem so out of context in the midst of grey winter months, will be a little more flattering to your figure, and ego, and will play off your natural skin tones a little more kindly than the crisp white of summer.
I picked up this white dress at an end of season sale a few summers ago, but because of the sheer long sleeves, cream toned print, and delicate beaded waistline it easily crosses over from a spring/summer frock to a fall/winter staple. Helping it make the transition from warm to cold weather is as simple as adding some black tights and wintery accessories.
The faux fur stands in for my usual statement necklace and adds an unexpected detail that lends a bit more of a bohemian feel to the look without skewing too far from my personal style. The light tan and creamy tones of the faux fur help draw out the cream tones of the brocade print. In the summer I would trade in the scarf for a floral crown or a braided crown to keep that ethereal, boho feel.
When I first conceived of this outfit I thought I would wear my black ankle boots to add a bit more of a rebellious feel, but when I tried to execute that look I just didn’t feel comfortable. The boots looked okay and would be killer on someone with a little more height, but they weren’t doing me any favors in the context of this outfit, so I went with my trusty gold metallic kitten heels to add a little height and to keep from feeling totally out of place in this style. While they are decidedly more girly than the shoe I thought I would go with, they are a little beat up and play off the tan tones in the scarf and the cream in the dress. The end result is that they add a bit of offbeat femininity, which I’m kind of digging in this look.
January was a very long, very stressful month. So you know, no pressure February, but if I have another four weeks of what last month dished up I will curl into fetal position and really lose my mind. I’m cautiously optimistic that this month will fare better than last, so I decided to go with a few closet favorites to kick off the first work week of the month and try to set the tone for a smoother next few weeks. I bought this floral midi skirt on major sale last summer and have worn it once-twice a week since. Even though the underlying color may seem summery, it’s definitely a piece that transitions from season to season depending on what you pair it with. The oversized muted black, grey, and white floral print helps tone down the bold pink and makes it easy to match the skirt with some more cold weather appopriate tops, as seen here and in this look from the fall.
When I last wore this skirt a coworker told me she loved it because it seems so comfortable with it’s quilt like texture and fit and flare silhouette. I think she thought she offended me with the quilt comment, but truly this is one of the most comfortable pieces I own and her comment actually made me think to try pairing the skirt with this grey sweatshirt. Thanks to her compliment, I’ve managed to style a work appropriate outfit that is essentially a sweatshirt and quilt…talk about true comfort! What I love about this cozy sweatshirt, is that while it does add comfort to a look, the rounded shoulders, narrow cut and embellished collar add some sophisticated femininity to keep things from reading too casual.
Having a clearly defined sense of style makes life a lot easier. Armed with a clear picture of what works for your personality, body type, and lifestyle makes shopping a breeze. Whether browsing the racks in a brick and mortar location or scrolling through images from the comfort of home, your time spent culling through all the offerings can be cut in half because you have a vision for what you need and want. A signature style also makes it easy for others to surprise you with an occasional closet treat by taking away a ton of stress and anxiety over whether something they picked out is perfect for you, freeing them to shop at ease and with efficiency.
Take these houndstooth pants, for instance. They are a surprise gift I received from an aunt who lives 1800 miles away. She really has no idea what garments hang in my closet or what shoes line my shelves, but she knows I love prints, tailored pants, anything with a 60s mod vibe, and clothing that is versatile enough to wear to work and on the weekends. My aunt totally nailed it with these houndstooth pants, partly because she has impeccable taste, but also because my style sensibilities are clearly established in my day to day wear that she was able to purchase a surprise for me with confidence.
These pants immediately fit into my closet and have become a work week staple. They have classic lines, an interesting print that pairs well with any color, and a quirky vibe that meshes well with my style aesthetic. They are also extremely comfortable, so they are pants that can go straight from a day of work to an evening of fun.
These houndstooth pants were just begging to be styled with a great pop of color and some mod touches. This mustard knit from Old Navy is one of the smartest purchases I made this season as it pairs well with skirts, as seen here, and adds an elevated note to a casual look. It has a bit of a school girl charm that reminds me of something a style conscious students would have worn during the 60s. To play off that, I stuck to accessorizing with an oversized black bow, which lends some quirkiness that pairs nicely with the print in the pants and the shoes. A girl might be serious about fashion, but she shouldn’t be too serious, right?
If you are unsure about your personal style I would love to help you have a clearer picture through a personal tutoring service that best meets your wardrobe and financial needs. If a personal stylist isn’t in the cards right now, Pinterest is another great way to begin to get a clear picture of who you are style wise. After a few weeks of pinning away, take a look back through the images you have curated and note colors, shapes, textures, and styles that crop up again and again. Those repeaters will help you narrow down an aesthetic that you long for and can help you begin to shape your wardrobe to better reflect the loveliness your heart desires. Follow Style Tutor on Pinterest for more inspiration as well!
Style Notes: Old Navy sweater (fall 2014) / Ann Taylor shirt (summer 2014; love) / ASOS bow (winter 2014) / Old Navy pants (winter 2014) / Halogen shoes via Last Chance (old; similar) / Loft sunglasses (summer 2014; similar)
This is the time of year where I long for a break from moderate winter weather, so if Mother Nature won’t cooperate at least I can turn to some closet staples that will help create an illusion of cooler temps without turning into a sweaty mess by the end of the day. With its herringbone print and faux leather sleeves, this shirt is one of those pieces that helps me pretend that I am experiencing some form of winter weather that requires heavier textures and layers without looking too crazy.
At its core this shirt is a structured t-shirt, which keeps it looking tailored and feeling extremely comfortable…a winning combo for the work week, especially on those days where your work day is extended a few extra hours due to meetings or deadlines or, on a much brighter note, you find yourself meeting up with friends or a dinner date after work. Rather than accessorizing with a statement necklace, I went with a fuzzy infinity scarf to lend a more cozy, wintry vibe to the look. Since leather can read a little tough, the scarf helps to tone down the rock ‘n roll vibe, but because it is in the same hues as the shirt and skirt and has a faux fur quality it still lends a sophisticated air to the outfit.
Style Notes: Esley shirt from Burlap Penguin (winter 2014; similar) / Anthropologie scarf (winter 2013; similar) / Isaac Mizrahi for Target (old; similar) / Ann Taylor shoes (summer 2014; similar) / Kate Spade bracelet (old; love) / Loft sunglasses (summer 2014; similar)
This look is something I wore while visiting family in IN over our winter break. We had fairly decent weather as far as winters in the Midwest go, but this particular day was pretty chilly and quite windy. Living in the land of perpetual sunshine, I relish days that are outside my weather norm, so I loved the dark skies and wintry temps, but I can imagine that weeks of that can cause a person to grow a tad weary. Not that further justification to wear sequins is needed, but for those of you who live in a part of the country that still faces long weeks of bleak, grey skies and bone chilling temperatures I think an unexpected dose of daytime sparkle may be just the thing to keep spirits high.
To keep things a little more casual I paired this sequin blazer with a black velvet sheath dress my mom has held on to since the grunge era of the 90s. It’s extremely comfortable while the rich, heavy texture serves to add an extra layer of warmth on a cold day. To play off the rock ‘n roll vibe of the blazer and dress I completed the look with a pair of black tights and a black ankle boot. Since this blazer has a boxier cut and the dress doesn’t have a defined waist the unbroken line of black from the tights to the boots creates an illusion of length and slenderness.
The sequin blazer is a statement piece in and of itself, so accessorizing isn’t necessary. If you are nervous about wearing sequins during the day keep things simple and let the blazer do the talking until you gain a little more confidence in your ability to rock some daytime sparkle. In the case of this look, I needed it to transition from a day of running around town with my family to a date night with my husband, so I chose to layer on a little extra sparkle with a statement necklace and bracelet that have a bit of an art deco feel.
If you are suffering from the post-holidays, winter weather blues give those sequined garments another look and take them out for a little day time adventure. It’s hard to be glum when you are shining like a disco ball!
Style Notes: Anthropologie blazer (fall 2014) / Gap dress (old; similar) / Old Navy tights (winter 2014; similar) / Gap boots (fall 2014; similar) / Anthropologie necklace (fall 2014) / Loft sunglasses (summer 2014; similar)
The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year, but good heavens, the running around trying to find personal, thoughtful gifts, attending numerous functions from school holiday programs to family and friend soirees, and wrapping up end of the year work related tasks can really take a toll. Throw in trying to come up with festive attire to carry you from day to night or from event to event without being too much of a repeat offender and the stress and anxiety can start to distract you from the joy of the season. That’s why I think it’s important to have some holiday “uniforms” that are guaranteed to keep you looking and feeling great during this lovely, crazy time.
A holiday style strategy I have developed over the years is to look for pieces that are pretty basic at their core, which will guarantee comfort, but that have some design features that help elevate their closet staple characteristics so they are appropriate for the season or occasion. This look is a perfect example of one that combines closet musts like a blazer, black t-shirt cut top, and a tailored pair of trousers with special elements like sequins, embellishments, and a bold print.
This sequin blazer is the incarnation of all my sparkly dreams and definitely meets the requirements of a holiday go-to. The jacket is cut a little looser and longer than a typical blazer, so it’s very comfortable and easy to move around in. Sparkles are a must this time of year, but can really work any time you want to add a little fun to what you are wearing. For a holiday ready look try pairing a sequined blazer with pieces that are statement making in and of themselves. After the holidays you can still get a lot of wear out of a sequined blazer by pairing it with a simple t-shirt or tank and a great fitting pair of distressed, boyfriend, or skinny cut denim for a more laid back look.
These plaid pants are another perfect example of a basic piece that stands out because of the bold print. When paired with the sequined blazer and feather embellished shirt they add just the right dose of festive fun to this holiday party look. And after the parties are over, try pairing them with a chambray for a more casual look or a great fitting black turtleneck sweater for the office.
Having a few pieces you can turn to during busy times like the holidays can help alleviate unnecessary stress freeing you up to join the festivities with confidence and a little more inner peace! What are your go-to items for holiday dressing?
In case you are in the market for a sequined blazer I’ve rounded up a few that are $100 or under: