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:
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.