When I was a kid my mom had a pair of flamingo earrings that I was obsessed with. I loved holding them and squealed with delight whenever she would let me wear them. Around that same time she also had an amazing hot pink pair of Reebok high tops. It was the height of the 80s and she was a Floridian at heart. I am sure to our small, Midwest town those earrings and shoes seemed out of place, but to me they spoke of the glamor and sophistication my mother exuded and must have surely picked up when living in places like Key West. I admired her ability to wear them with ease, even if she was just running into the store to buy milk. Watching her wear what she liked with abandon gave me the courage to see fashion as a way to be someone else or, even better, transport myself out of the ordinary.
When I saw this Kate Spade purse I immediately thought of my mom’s earrings, which have long been lost, and knew it had to be mine. It makes me smile and so even though there really is no practical reason for owning a flamingo print purse I splurged a little! If my mom of the 80s could time travel to 2015 I think she would give me a high five for going for it and indulging in something completely ridiculous and totally fun.
I’ve long been keen on them, but this has truly been the summer of the flamingo and so because I am my mother’s daughter, I also picked up this fantastic flamingo print skirt. It’s midi length and over-sized A-line shape is not for the faint of heart but are totally me. I love the uber feminine silhouette contrasted with the print of an awkwardly interesting bird.
Since the skirt is a classic cut I wanted to pair it with something feminine on top, but I didn’t want to go too sweet. This black and white striped knit in a t-shirt shape adds another classic element while retaining a bit more of a casual vibe. The addition of a statement necklace would help dress things up for a night out on the town or for a fun event. Here I paired it with a fun poof that is a playful nod to the flamingo’s feathers! Why not have a little fun, right?
The flamingo print makes such a bold statement that I didn’t want to get too crazy by adding in another color or print with the shoe. I’ve had these kitten heel striped sandals for ages and they make for the perfect compliment to the t-shirt knit on top and ensemble as a whole. I really like the way the black and white stripes of the shirt and shoes play off the crisp white and hints of black in the skirt.
Style Notes: Loft sweater (summer 2015; purchased at 70% off) / Chicwish skirt (summer 2015); Dillards heels (old; similar) / Kate Spade purse (summer 2015) / Kate Spade bracelet (summer 2015; purchased on sale) / Ban.do poof (old) / MAC Diva (spring 2015) / Essie Brides No Grooms (summer 2015)
With its fit and flare silhouette, bold color, and feminine details the Gramercy Dress by Shabby Apple is made for a variety of occasions. This would be a fun dress to wear to a bridal or baby shower, a wedding, an anniversary dinner, brunch, garden party or a blogging conference. Personally, I think this dress would be a great bridesmaid dress for a spring to early fall wedding, beach wedding, or a bride who is looking for unique dresses that her bridesmaids can wear long past the “I dos”.
Part of this dress’ charm is the way it combines traditional elements like lace and a feminine cut with unexpected details like the bold color, ruffled neckline, and scalloped hemline for the perfect blend of classic and modern. The vibrant pink looks great against a variety of skin tones and photographs well, so even if you aren’t on the hunt for bridesmaid dresses, this dress would be a good one to pick up for events where you will be photographed a lot.
Here I styled it with accessories that bring in pops of blue and mint because I love they way they stand out against the bold color of the dress and pick up on colors in the heels. The dress is definitely strong enough to stand on its own, so if you aren’t into accessories or don’t want to worry about them this is an easy dress to throw on and head out the door with confidence and style. If I were styling these dresses for a wedding I would play up the whimsical qualities in the dress and forgo a traditional necklace for a fun pin or bracelet that would compliment the dress rather than detract from it. The ruffled neckline adds enough interest on its own, so for a more streamlined look a necklace or pin isn’t necessary.
Shoes are another way to add some unexpected details and fun to any look, especially one meant for a special occasion or event. These Kate Spade heels are the epitome of femininity and are the perfect way to bring in some bling without having to go overboard with flashy accessories.
Style Notes: Shabby Apple dress c/o (spring 2015) / ban.do pin (old) / Anthropologie bracelet (old; love) / Kate Spade purse (old; similar) / Kate Spade heels via Last Chance (summer 2015; budget friendly) / MAC Diva (spring 2015) / Essie Brides No Grooms (summer 2015)
Ladies, I have champagne and caviar tastes on a beer and pizza budget. Without even trying I can and will always like the most expensive item on a rack, no matter if I am shopping at Goodwill or Barney’s. It’s a frustrating talent! Over the years I have learned a few tricks to prevent my bank account from being in the red while keeping my closet stocked full of fun, stylish, and functional clothes. First and foremost, know your personal style. Knowing who you are clothing wise will keep you from bending to every fashion whim and will help you narrow down the brands and retailers who cater to your aesthetic. Once you’ve defined your style palate, stalk the brands, both budget friendly and budget busting, who carry clothing and accessories that speak to your fashion sensibilities. Screen shot these items or make a Pinterest board of your must-haves so you are armed with examples of what you like when you go shopping. Even if you cannot afford those covetable brands, you at least have colors, prints, and silhouettes you can look for wherever you shop.
I was browsing the Kate Spade website the other day and nearly swooned when I saw this skirt. Alas, a $250 polka dot midi skirt is not in the cards for this teacher, no matter how glorious of a skirt it might be. Imagine my happiness, then, when I found this windowpane plaid midi skirt for $20. Granted, it is not the same quirky print nor does this skirt have the same quality fabric or construction, but it does have the same bold color scheme as my dream skirt, has the same feminine lines, and will allow my children to eat and for us to keep the A.C. on during the warm summer months. The take away here is no matter how small your budget might be, you can still allow yourself some dream browsing on more expensive retailer websites and then let that dreaming inform your shopping at retailers that you can actually afford.
Windowpane plaid is a bold, somewhat masculine print, so while I wanted it to take center stage I also wanted to bring in a few feminine touches to play off the skirt’s silhouette and to provide a little balance. I chose to pair it with a black top with feminine cut sleeves and accessories that compliment the blue and black print while bringing in a little pop of color to keep things fun!
This is a look that can easily work for both work and play. Depending on your work environment the pops of yellow could be switched for black heels and if accessories are frowned upon the skirt’s print adds enough interest to keep things from being too bland. Outside of work, use accessories to add some color and play up the quirky nature of the print. Cobalt blue has been a really big color trend this year, but it’s a seasonless, timeless color in my book, so the garments you pick up during the summer in this color scheme will still work in the fall and winter making your money stretch even further!
There are a couple of things I believe every well-stocked closet should have. A crisp white blouse, especially for spring and summer, a feminine cut skirt, or two, and a classic but functional handbag. While there are certainly a few more items that make the wardrobe must-haves list, a great top, skirt, and handbag make for a strong place to start and can be accessorized to transition from work to play.
I’m really loving eyelet this season as it adds some interest to an otherwise plain white blouse, which means you don’t have to spend too much time worrying about accessories. In this case, I skipped a necklace and chose a quirky bracelet and statement belt to round out the look. Eyelet also helps keep things cool on those steamy summer days, which in 115 degree heat is much needed. Here, I styled it with a lacey bralette, but to keep things more work appropriate just put a white tank underneath for a little more coverage without adding too heavy of a layer.
I’m a sucker for a well-made handbag. When I was younger I used to buy all my bags from lower priced and lower quality sources thinking I was saving myself a ton of money on something that just needed to carry my wallet, some gum, and phone. The thing about lower priced items is that you usually pay for what you get, so while the initial investment might not have been such a hit to the wallet I wound up spending more on handbags by going the cheap route than if I had just saved my money and purchased a higher priced bag that would last several years rather than several weeks or months. With age comes wisdom, so I’ve learned over the years that saving for pricier shoes and bags is always a good idea as they will hold up over time and if purchased in classic colors and silhouettes will withstand the test of trends.
There are a lot of great looking bags of even greater quality in the $100-$200 price point, which I believe is a reasonable place to start when looking to get into a higher quality bag. Again, the initial investment might seem a bit rough, but if you skipped the weekly latte you’d have your start up money in less than a year! Obviously, all the big name handbag designers have bags that make a $100-$200 bag seem like something my daughter could buy on her allowance, but even those designers try to make handbags within a lower price range to create brand loyalty with the hopes you will some day purchase a $1000+ bag. If you’ve ever looked at designer bags within this $100-$200 range you know that while they are of good quality and in interesting silhouettes and colors, they are often really small and so lose a lot of functionality. If it’s quality, functionality, and personality you are after then there are some amazing independent designers out there who are really cornering the market on affordability and practicality. One of my favorite indie handbag designers is Jordana Paige. Ladies, Jordana understands women; she totally gets that we are looking for quality, sophistication, and versatility in bags and has set about granting our every wish.
I’m carrying the Cora here, which is the working mother’s dream come true. It’s large enough to hold all the day’s necessities and even has a pocket designed to hold your tablet for those days you are on the go or when you need a little back up entertainment for the kiddos! Even better, the front pocket detaches from the bag and transitions into a clutch for those evenings you are able to fit in a little extracurricular activity or two! Talk about thoughtful design!
Now through Saturday, July 4, 2015 Jordana is offering 40% select bags. Enter code USAST at checkout:
Style Notes: Gap shirt (spring 2015; similar) / H&M skirt (old; similar) / Loft belt (spring 2015; love) / Julianne Hough for Sole Society shoes via Last Chance (summer 2014; similar) / Kate Spade bracelet (summer 2015) / Jordana Paige Cora handbag c/0 (for 10% off enter Coupon Code ST915 at checkout. Expires 9/1/15)
Summertime means a few things to me: catching up on reading, swimming, buckets of ice tea, visiting family and friends back home, picnics, and BBQs. We are headed to IN in a couple of weeks and will spend most of our evenings on my parents’ back porch grilling and eating with family and friends, watching the kids run around the backyard, and playing a rousing game of croquet. Of course, the perfect summer picnic or backyard BBQ requires an adorable frock that’s comfortable, easy to move in for all those fun backyard games, and appropriate for the occasion. When Shabby Apple sent me this gingham print dress I immediately thought of IN and all the meals and fun to be had outdoors!
I can’t resist a feminine cut dress and it doesn’t get much more feminine than a gingham wrap dress. The tie at the waistline adds definition and creates the illusion of a narrow waist while also making this a simple dress to throw on and head out the door. If the backyard festivities include a dip in the pool this dress would make a great coverup so you don’t have to waste precious time changing at the party. If you have little ones, you know how quickly you need to be pool ready once they see the water!
Stylish simplicity is the key to feeling unencumbered while enjoying those backyard games, so keep accessories to a minimum. Here I let the print take center stage and only added a belt at the waist for a little extra definition. The embellished slides add visual interest as well, but are also great shoes to kick off and take off running through the grass for a game of tag.
If you get a little steamy cooking over the grill or the competition gets a little fierce once the games begin, throwing a head wrap or headband in your hair, especially if you have shorter hair and can’t put it back in a ponytail, is a great way to stay cool and look chic. It’s also a great go-to accessory when getting out of a pool to look pulled together, even if your hair is a little limp!
Want a little more summertime fun inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board, Summertime Fun with Shabby Apple, for yummy recipe ideas, decor inspo, and of course, fabulous fashion!
Style Notes: Shabby Apple dress (c/0; spring 2015) / Target sandals (spring 2015) / Sunglasses (old; love) / Nordstrom headband via Last Chance (spring 2015; cute) / MAC Diva (spring 2015) / Essie Groove is in the Heart (spring 2015)
This post brought to you by Shabby Apple. All opinions are 100% mine.
In the summer I am all about clothes that are high on style without compromising on comfort and ease of wear. An all white ensemble is one of the most effortless looks to don without being too dressed down and can easily take you from morning to night with an addition of an accessory or a quick change of shoes. While all white is a major trend this summer, let’s be honest, it’s always a good idea for late spring and summer, so whether your personal style trends boho or classic you can easily find some white closet staples to see you through the summer heat.
Short of scoring major bargains, I try to avoid doing a lot of shopping during June and July to save money for back to school purchases, so my closet gets heavily remixed during this time. Here I took one of my favorite summer purchases from last year and paired it with a white midi skirt I scored on major sale this spring. Remember to shop your closet before spending more money when trying a trend or emulating a look you’ve seen on someone else!
Both of these are items I can easily wear to work, but they also work for more casual events. If I wanted to wear this look to work, church, or professional meetings I would simply tuck the shirt in for a more polished look, but for summer outings I like the knotted tie at the waist that can easily be styled to bare a little bit of midriff. I love a good crop top, but at 37 and after two babies just a peek of my abs is all anyone needs to be subjected too! A crisp white blouse, chambray, or other button down tied at the waist is a quick and easy way to make a work staple a little more casual.
Another way to keep things casual and cool is to try a pair of slides rather than a traditional wedge, espadrille, or heeled sandal. Slides are obviously high on comfort, but this season there are a lot of statement slides that add instant embellishment to a look. One of my styling tricks for surviving the extreme temps and humidity of summer is to look for pieces that have statement making elements built in so you can avoid layering on accessories in the heat. Target has a variety of options this year; if you aren’t too sure about this shoe trend start there so you don’t invest a ton of money. What I especially like about this pair is that they look just as great with a pair of short, jeans, skirt, or dress. They are definitely a must-have when packing for summer trips as they offer a lot of styling options.