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Christmas, Classic Style, Fall/Winter Style, Style 101, Trend Studies, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing, Work Style

Holiday Dressing Must Haves

No Comments 19 December 2014

sequined blazer, black feather embellished shirt, red plaid pants

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.

sequined blazer, black feather embellished shirt, red plaid pants

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.

sequined blazer, black feather embellished shirt, red plaid pants

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.

sequined blazer, black feather embellished shirt, red plaid pants

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.

sequined blazer, black feather embellished shirt, red plaid pants

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:

Style Notes: Anthropologie blazer (fall 2014) / Anthropologie shirt (fall 2014) / Gap pants (fall 2014) / Anthropologie necklace (fall 2014) / Halogen shoes via Last Chance (summer 2014; similar)

Classic Style, Fall/Winter Style, Style 101, Trend Studies, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing, Work Style

Holiday Dressing on A Budget

No Comments 09 December 2014

embellished collar black and silver floral dress, white collared shirt, black tights, and silver metallic heels

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.

embellished collar black and silver floral dress, white collared shirt, black tights, and silver metallic heels

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.

embellished collar black and silver floral dress, white collared shirt, black tights, and silver metallic heels

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.

embellished collar black and silver floral dress, white collared shirt, black tights, and silver metallic heels

Style Notes: Eliza J dress via Last Chance (old; similar; skirt version) / Ann Taylor shirt (summer 2014; love) / Gap tights (old) / Ann Taylor shoes (summer 2014; similar)

 

Classic Style, Fall/Winter Style, Style 101, Trend Studies, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing, Work Style

Day to Night: Embellished Sweater

2 Comments 05 December 2014

jcrew embellished sweater, leopard print pencil skirt, black heel

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.

jcrew embellished sweater, leopard print pencil skirt, black heel

Day//

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.

Style Notes: J.Crew sweater (winter 2012; love) / Ann Taylor shirt (summer 2014; similar) / Loft skirt (fall 2012; similar) / Halogen shoes via Last Chance (fall 2014; similar)

Night//

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.

jcrew embellished sweater, leopard print skinny pants, black heel

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.

jcrew embellished sweater, leopard print skinny pants, black heel

Style Notes: J.Crew sweater (winter 2012; love) / Ann Taylor shirt (summer 2014; similar) / Loft pants (fall 2012; love) / Halogen shoes via Last Chance (fall 2014; similar)

Classic Style, Fall/Winter Style, Style 101, Trend Studies, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing

Sparkle and Shine

2 Comments 12 November 2014

gold sequined dress with draped back and metallic heels

A sequin dress, blazer, or skirt are quintessential holiday attire in my style book.  Personally, I think a sequined garment is always a good idea, but if there is ever a time to sparkle and shine it’s definitely during this time of year.  The problem I’ve always run into, though, when looking for a sequined dress is that they are either way out of my price range or they are cut for a newly turned 21 year old who is about to hit Vegas.  I’m 37 and a mother of two, so a dress that looks ready to hit the clubs is not in the cards for me and there isn’t a lot of extra cash sitting around to spend on a garment that I cannot wear to a variety of occasions.   While I love sparkly things as much as the next girl, let’s face it, a sequined dress isn’t the kind of garment that can be worn to just any old occasion, so when I started looking for one a few years ago I spent a great deal of time looking for one with a more classic, feminine silhouette so it would withstand the test of time and trends.

gold sequined dress with draped back and metallic heels

I’m actually wearing this dress backwards here; since I wanted a more timeless, sophisticated silhouette I like the effect of a more conservative collar line in the front.  This certainly makes the dress a whole lot easier to pull off without having to worry about how far you are leaning over in mixed company.  (What’s underneath is better left not exposed to everyone in the room.)  Wearing the dress this way also creates a little element of surprise.  I love the way the draped collar creates a bit of an exposed back without going too far.  You can never go wrong with a little bit of sex appeal, right?  Just make sure to not go overboard with how much skin you reveal.  The key here is that the overall dress has a very feminine, classic feel so the draped back is just right rather than too risque.

gold sequined dress with draped back and metallic heels

Another great aspect of this dress is the slight draping where the bodice meets the skirt.  There is a little bit of elastic right below the bodice to help create that effect, which you can further exaggerate by pulling the dress’ waistline slightly above your own.  The draping adds to the femininity of the dress and is an easy way to hide a multitude of sins or a few too many bites of dinner or dessert at holiday functions, so you can continue to celebrate with comfort and confidence.

gold sequined dress with draped back and metallic heels

Here are a few more affordable and stylish sparkly options for this holiday season:

Asos: Top and Skirt

Nordstrom: Skirt

Topshop: Dress, Shirt, and Skirt

Style Notes:  Eliza J dress via Last Chance (summer 2012; similar) / Banana Republic shoes (summer 2014) / Old Navy ring (fall 2014; similar)

Classic Style, Events, Fall/Winter Style, Outfit Inspiration, Style 101, Style Files, Trend Studies, Weekend Style, What I'm Wearing

Party Ready

2 Comments 05 November 2014

 

statement necklace, white knit, white feather skirt, gold metallic heels

Dressing for the holidays can be a tricky endeavor. It’s hard to strike a balance between comfort and sophistication, glamour and confidence, refinement and whimsy. Furthermore, unless the event is a black tie affair it can be difficult to know exactly what is appropriate party attire, not to mention how much time is wasted getting stressed over the thought of what every other woman in the room is going to be wearing and how we will measure up. The comparison game can be the biggest hindrance to getting dressed any day of the week, let alone for a special reason. When that self-doubt begins to creep in, it’s important to remember that you are beautifully and wonderfully made and that the biggest part of looking great is a quiet confidence and a kind spirit. You’ve probably got that in spades, so choosing the right garment is really about finding something that is comfortable enough to sit in, eat in, and hopefully, dance the evening away in! In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a frock that evokes femininity with a twist of quirkiness, but really anything that showcases your personality and leaves you free to enjoy the evening rather than worrying about what you’re wearing is a winner. The garment should leave you feeling polished, pretty and ready to join in the season’s revelries.

statement necklace, white knit, white feather skirt, gold metallic heels

I have to tell you, I feel like a million bucks in this outfit. It’s extremely comfortable, full of style, and totally fits my personality. White on white is such a classic look for winter, so unless you are attending a winter wedding it’s definitely a go-to color palate that will leave you looking seasonally appropriate. The cozy knit, which would typically be worn on a lazy winter weekend day rather than to a dressier event, paired with the party ready feather skirt keeps this look from being too traditional or expected.   I always appreciate a woman who looks put together and event appropriate but still manages to throw in an unexpected twist or two.

statement necklace, white knit, white feather skirt, gold metallic heels

This is the kind of look I would wear to a holiday dinner with friends or family, to a work party, to an event like the ballet, or to ring in the New Year.  That feather skirt is just begging to be taken out for a night of dancing and celebrating!

statement necklace, white knit, white feather skirt, gold metallic heels

I love the juxtaposition of the cozy knit with a fancy skirt, but to keep the top from looking too out of place I accessorized with a statement necklace that adds a little sparkle, which is a must this time of year.

statement necklace, white knit, white feather skirt, gold metallic heels

Remember, you are beautiful, so don’t be afraid to shine from head to toe this holiday season!

Style Notes: Old Navy (fall 2014) / Milly dress worn as a skirt via Last Chance (summer 2011; similar) / Anthropologie necklace (spring 2014; similar) / Ann Taylor shoes (summer 2014; similar) / Lindsay Letters print (fall 2014; check out the Lindsay Letters holiday collection)

 

Classic Style, Fall/Winter Style, Style 101, Trend Studies, What I'm Wearing, Work Style

Enchanted with Fall

No Comments 30 October 2014

This time of year, between the beginning of autumn and the holiday season, is magical, isn’t it?  There’s a crispness to the mornings and evenings that echoes of cooler days to come.  A hot pot of coffee, a waft of cinnamon in the air, and the promise of hours spent bundled on the couch reading books carry me through a long work week.

Mustard sweater with black scalloped trimmed white collar and cuffs, black and white striped a-line skirt, leaoprd heels, and owl purse

I picked up this knit two summers ago at a small boutique in my parents’ hometown.  While I knew it would return to the desert with me and be promptly put away for a few more months, I couldn’t resist the perfect fall hue or the quirky crisp white collar and cuffs.  Now that cooler temps are beginning to hit the valley I find myself turning to this sweater once again.

Mustard sweater with black scalloped trimmed white collar and cuffs, black and white striped a-line skirt, leaoprd heels, and owl purse

What I love about this outfit is how perfectly it melds functuanilty and style. The collared sweater, a-line skirt, kitten heel shoe, and sensible handbag create a perfectly polished look that can be worn to work, lunch with friends, or dinner with my husband.

Mustard sweater with black scalloped trimmed white collar and cuffs, black and white striped a-line skirt, leaoprd heels, and owl purse

It’s the extra details, though, that elevate these basic pieces and make them infinitely more interesting and full of personality.  The sweater, bag, and shoes repeat lovely autumn tones of mustard, rust, and brown while the black scalloped stitching on the sweater’s white collar and cuffs echoes the black and white stripes on the skirt.

Mustard sweater with black scalloped trimmed white collar and cuffs, black and white striped a-line skirt, leaoprd heels, and owl purse

This outfit strikes an ideal balance of a put together look that can be worn to a variety of occasions and a look with just enough whimsy to embrace the enchantment of a new season.

Style Notes:  Sweater (winter 2013; similar) / Anthropologie skirt (spring 2012; similar) / Halogen shoes via Last Chance (fall 2012; similar) / Kate Spade purse (fall 2014; budget friendly) / Loft sunglasses (summer 2014; similar)

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