Every girl needs a few dresses that she can turn to in a pinch. I’m talking about the kind of dresses that look and feel special, but are completely effortless to style, make you feel like a million bucks, and can withstand the fashion tides so that you can remain confident they will forever be your savior when time is of the essence. I think a good rule of thumb is to try to stock your closet with at least one go-to dress per season. Make sure the dress has classic, feminine lines, will work for a variety of occasions, and looks great straight off the hanger. There is no need to spend a ton of money to look great either. In the case of holiday dresses, I would start scouring retailers’ websites and brick and mortar locations now for great promotions and mark-downs as they begin to clear out winter inventory. You may only get a few wears out of the dress this time around, but by sticking to timeless silhouettes and details you are guaranteed to get a lot of use for holiday events for many years to come.
This dress happens to be one of those lucky end of the season finds, as are the silver metallic shoes, and even though they are from two different seasons (dress: winter, shoes: summer), they complement each other rather well. Yet, another case for garments and accessories that are classic in cut and color scheme! At the core this dress is a classic, feminine LBD, which will never steer you wrong when it’s time to dress for a holiday function, date night, or work event. The dress, though, takes a turn for the unexpected, with the modern bold floral print in a seasonally appropriate silver sheen. The print helps elevate the look and keeps the dress from looking like every other LBD. Remember, when looking for dresses that can become mainstays for those times you need a fancier look you want to find something that is a little out of the ordinary and has unique features that will help you feel great and make you stand out from the crowd in a positive way.
The built in statement necklace along the collar line of this dress is another feature that makes it a closet staple. You have to love a piece that makes getting dressed so easy. There is literally no thinking involved: slip this little number on, pair with some tights if it’s chilly out, and put on your dancing shoes and you are ready to head out the door. Here I styled this look with a crisp white button down to show how I would wear the dress for work or to a work related event, but if the occasion called for a dressier look or I wanted to change things up for the evening, I would wear the dress without the extra layer. The shoulder straps cut in high along the neckline, which makes for an elegant shoulder silhouette.
Sweater weather is one of my favorite times of the year. After months and months of sweltering heat that can only be survived with sleeveless or short sleeved garments, to be able to swathe oneself in coziness is a true luxury. While I love sweaters, I find that a lot of them just seem run of the mill knits, so whenever I find one that truly stands out I make a point of adding it to my wardrobe. When J.Crew, who I swear knows my every closet desire before I even do, came out with this sweater a few winter’s ago I knew it had to be mine. I love the rich caramel of the sweater, a perfect fall to winter hue, but I especially adore the quirky Parisian woman print. While whimsical prints and details add visual interest and personality to a look, I totally understand that they can also be hard to style for some, so I thought I would share with you how I would wear this fun knit for both work and play.
Since the sweater leans on the fun side I chose to pair it with an equally fun printed pencil skirt. The straight lines of a pencil skirt are tailored made for a work environment, but if a printed version is a little too much for your place of business a black pencil skirt would look just as good paired with the sweater and would add a bit more of a serious tone to the look. If, however, you work in a creative field or one that allows for a bit more personal expression in how you dress I say embrace the whimsical features of your knit and play off those with your skirt or pant choice. Rather than pairing the sweater with a statement necklace, I went with a more polished look by layering a shirt with a crisp black collar under the sweater. The collar brings a tailored element to the look that echoes a traditional business appropriate button down. The repeating black elements in the collar, sweater and skirt’s prints, and the heels help unify this outfit and keep it from reading too silly to be taken seriously at the office.
I don’t know how your typical work day goes, but even though my clock day ends fairly early I inevitably find myself at work far longer than I planned, so on the days when I have after work activities I either wear something to work that will easily transition to the evening or pack items to change into later. With two kids and a very hectic work schedule, however, it is way easier on me if I can keep the need to change to a minimum. In the case of this sweater, my work outfit is actually pretty okay as is for most of my evening engagements, but since it is not always fun to wear a skirt all day and well into the night I wanted to show you how easy it is to wear a more relaxed look without expending a lot of energy after a long day of work.
For evening, I chose a pair of skinny cut pants in a velvety finish. These pants are amazing because they easily roll up in a bag without wrinkling, so at the end of the work day it’s as simple as a quick change. The print echoes that of the pencil skirt, but the deeper shade of brown helps add more dimension for an evening look. This is the kind of look I would wear out to happy hour with friends, dinner with my family, or on a dinner and movie date with my husband. It’s stylish and comfortable and warm enough to enjoy the cooler evening weather at one of the many restaurants here in Phoenix that has a great outdoor patio.
While I am all for gold sequins, shiny reds, and bold plaids for the holidays sometimes it’s refreshing to return to the classics, like an all-black ensemble. It’s instantly slimming, chic, appropriate for a variety of the season’s events, and can be easily dressed up with a statement piece. This shirt from Anthropologie is the perfect example of a classic garment with a little twist. At it’s core it’s essentially a t-shirt, but the tweedy fabric with a little bit of sheen and the feather embellished hemline elevate the shirt from a basic to a statement piece. This is the kind of shirt you could easily layer under a blazer for work and then wear sans blazer for after hours fetes.
Since the shirt is the focus, I didn’t want to go too crazy with accessories, so I chose a statement necklace that echoes the sheen of the shirt as well as the tribal quality of the feathers. The black beads and the gold details provide a nice contrast against the shirt, and work to add a little extra bling for the holidays, but they don’t try too hard or detract from the shirt.
I chose to pair the shirt with a high waisted, skinny cut pair of black jeans because this shirt is cut a little boxy. A skinny or tailored leg on bottom provides balance and helps maintain a sleek silhouette, not to mention how great it is to be able to head out for a night of fun knowing you will be absolutely stylish and comfortable the entire night. Dressing with confidence frees you up to really enjoy the function and people who are attending!
Style Notes: Anthropologie shirt (fall 2014) / Gap jeans (summer 2014; similar) / Halogen shoes via Last Chance (fall 2014; similar) / Anthropologie necklace (fall 2014) / Marc Jacobs purse via Last Chance (spring 2012 ; similar) / Loft sunglasses (summer 2014; love) / Old Navy ring (fall 2014; similar)
I live for excuses to dress up and hit the town looking a little snazzier than the norm. Living on a limited budget makes it impossible, though, to run out and buy a dress anytime an unexpected occasion to dress up arises, so what I have learned over the years is to spend money wisely and invest in pieces, no matter the season, that transcend trends and weather. While the initial cost might be a tad more than I would normally spend on a garment, if it’s well made, has a classic silhouette, and could be worn to a variety of events that call for a more formal look then the investment is worth it to me because I know that the piece will have longevity.
I bought this dress a few summers ago. While I was able to purchase it with an employee discount, the price was still outside of my normal spending. Once I slipped it on, however, I knew the extra money was worth sacrificing a few future purchases as the dress is a dream. It’s feminine, a classic cut, and is demure enough to be worn to weddings, church events, and dressier school functions while retaining enough pizazz to be worn to an anniversary dinner, holiday party, or a fancy night out on the town. This dress is truly a charmer as it can be worn in warmer weather with a few key accessories, as seen here, or can be adapted to carry you into the holiday season and cooler temps.
For the holiday season I am all about touches of glamour in outfits when attending a party, work function, or just getting together with family or friends. To make this look more seasonally appropriate, I added a fur capelet I inherited from my Great Gran (she had it custom made in the 50s) to stay warm and to add a little Old Hollywood glam to the dress, a sparkly belt that reminds me of Christmas stars, and a statement bracelet that complements the ladylike vibe of the ensemble.
I love that while the color palette is simple (black, white, and tan) the accessories help to elevate the overall look and keep it from seeming like every other holiday dress out there. These are all pieces I already own, but have never combined in this way, so while I didn’t spend a dime putting together this look it still feels like I am wearing an entirely new outfit.
This holiday season don’t be afraid to shop your closet for special pieces that you already own. Think outside the box and don’t limit yourself by thinking you can only choose from traditional fall or winter pieces. Remember, if a garment is made from quality fabric and has a classic cut and color palette it can easily be worn this time of year. To make it work, key accessories to consider are ones that will add a little holiday sparkle and glamour. If you don’t own anything that fits that bill, you can pick up affordable holiday ready accessories at retailers like Target, Forever 21, and Windsor or, even better for your wallet, borrow some from your mom, sister, or a close friend.
Style Notes: Anthropologie dress (summer 2013; similar) / Anthropologie belt (winter 2013; love) / Ann Taylor shoes (summer 2014; similar) / Fur capelet (inherited from my Great Gran; similar) / Forever 21 bracelet (fall 2011; similar)
This is one of those looks that works well for a casual Friday at work, a day of running errands that might very well turn into a happy hour with friends or a movie with your best guy, or for a play date meet up with moms and littles. At its core, this outfit is comprised of some pretty comfortable basics – a sweater, blouse, and skinny jeans – that fit a variety of the roles we play throughout the day. It is, however, anything but ordinary.
Part of what sets this outfit apart is the charming bow blouse layered under the purple knit. During these chillier fall days layers are a way to add some warmth without compromising on style. I love the way the the oversized bow acts as a statement piece without being too flashy for the office or too dressy for hanging out with the kids, meeting up with friends, or a casual dinner. It has a perfect mix of quirky feminine charm that pairs nicely with the less girly jeans.
To keep the look feeling fresh I cuffed the jeans and paired the look with a kitten heel metallic heel. The cuffed ankle lends a casual air to the denim while the metallic heel adds a modern touch without being too edgy.
I’m not usually a sweatshirt kind of girl, but when a sweatshirt pays homage to the greatest band of all time who am I to resist its cozy allure? Part of what keeps me from wearing sweatshirts on the regular is that their unstructured shape doesn’t always mesh with my preference for more polished, dressier garments, but I am willing to take a step outside my comfort zone for something with a quirky vibe. The trick to feeling confident in something you would normally steer clear of is to find a way to make it work with your every day style.
One thing that makes this sweatshirt a winner for me is the fact that it has a great 60s mod vibe to it with the bold white typography set against a black background. Finding something outside your comfort zone that has design elements or features that you adore makes it a whole lot easier to don that garment and retain a sense of yourself. To further the playfulness of the sweatshirt, I layered it over a sleeveless shirt with a great orange peter pan collar. I love the way the pop of color really stands out against the black and white elements. When it came time to figure out what to pair the sweatshirt with this pencil skirt from Target immediately came to mind. The plaid print continues the 60s feel of the look and provides a hint of preppy charm that’s in keeping with my personal style.
Graphic tees and sweatshirts are kind of having a moment. Here are a few more that I am loving:
Style Notes: Beatles sweatshirt- only found in store at Nordstrom (summer 2014) / Anthropologie shirt (spring 2013; love) / Target skirt (fall 2014; similar) / Ann Taylor shoes (summer 2014; similar) / Kate Spade purse (fall 2014; similar)