Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday: Winter Florals

Food and fashion are two of my favorite things, and here's a working theory of mine: fall is the brunch of seasons.

Spring is dawn, new beginnings; obviously, breakfast. Summer is light, bright, and carefree: lunch. Winter is meatier, more substantive, so definitely dinner. But fall is that happy time in between -- substantial but not heavy, tasty and satisfying. And my very favorite thing about brunch is that anything goes. It's breakfast, lunch, and everything in between. You want an omelet? Yes, definitely. Lobster? OK! French toast? Sure. How about some prime rib? Yum. Don't forget the champagne…it's cool, it's brunch.

Fall fashion is the same way. You have your tweeds, turtlenecks, plaid shirts and puffy vests -- classic fall pieces. But there's quite a lot of leeway. If you're not ready to put away that floaty dress you love, throw a chunky cardigan over it. Summer sandals work when you wear them with opaque tights. And if you love a pretty print, why not florals? Specifically, winter florals.

Winter florals bring color and energy into your wardrobe. The print adds sweetness; cool tones against a darker background set just the right mood:

clockwise l to r:

Loft Autumn Blossom Flutter Dress ($90) -- quite popular among bloggers this season, the bold print and rich color palette suggest a cool 70's vibe without being overly trendy or costume-y.

Zara Printed Leather Court Shoe ($119) -- an easy pick-me-up for so many different fall looks. A simple sweater and pants become a great outfit with the right shoes.

Thakoon for DesigNation Floral High-Low Hem Blouse ($37.50) -- this top is one of the more interesting pieces in Kohl's recent designer collaboration. The fabric is elegant but the cut is casual -- a very cool look.

Yumi Kim Museum Row Maxi ($258) -- what a dress, right? Who knew you could be so sexy while being so covered up.

Vintage Floral Short Coat ($53) -- I don't know, this oddball, Grandma's couch cushion print kind of appeals to me. It's not for everyone, but it's interesting.

Bettye by Bettye Mueller Pedigree Flats ($65) -- great shoes at a great price. So much more versatile than you'd expect.

Modcloth Elegant Instruction Dress ($170) -- when you want to make your SO's eyes pop out of their head cartoon-style.

LK Bennett Marli Silk Print Top ($145) -- I like the drapey cut and the lovely watercolor effect print.

Monday, September 28, 2015

September Budget

This month was fun. September is really a full throttle fashion month and I spent a lot of time browsing, dreaming, and actually buying.

Last month was a really light month -- my original total was $78 but I ended up returning the linen blazer, reducing my total to a whopping $33. Luckily I found more than a few things that caught my eye this month, so I was glad to have a little extra to dip into if I needed it.

Here's how this month looked:

Starting budget: $200 (plus $170ish from last month, if needed)


september budget

clockwise from l to r:

H&M Lace Top ($25) -- feminine, flirty, in the prettiest shade of green. I'm excited to wear this now but I know I'll love it for casual holiday parties come December.

Kate Spade Francoise Top (birthday gift) -- this pretty top is now sold out, but I snagged it for about $150 as a birthday gift for myself. Every year I treat myself to a special something, so this won't count against my monthly budget.

Mossimo Gold/Black Bracelet Watch ($10, on sale) -- *cue the choir of angels* You know I love me a chunky gold watch with a black dial, and I've been drooling over some pricey versions for months. I was considering splurging on as my birthday gift this year, and the Target came through with a great low-cost option. I've been wearing it non-stop and I LOVE the way it looks -- it doesn't have the heft of an expensive watch, but it's so easy to wear.  I'll admit I'm going to need to exchange this particular one because the clasp doesn't stay closed. I'm not mad (it was ten bucks), but I'm hoping I just got a bad one.

Forever 21 Frayed Striped Scarf ($15) -- this scarf looks so chic in person.

Dr. Scholl's Exercise Sandals ($20) -- super classic sandal with a fun stripe-y twist.

Banana Republic Factory Textured Raglan Top ($17, on sale) -- a sporty, cozy top that's equally perfect for lazy weekends (with leggings) and work (with tailored trousers). Bonus: I'm pretty sure the star of the Lifetime movie I was watching today (a murderous psychopath, no less) was wearing this top.

Target Reagan Platform Loafers ($32) -- these classic penny loafers on steroids have a jolie laide quality that I love.

Banana Republic Factory Cuff-Sleeved Top ($6, on sale) -- snagged this super soft top on a great outlet trip over Labor Day weekend. The photo doesn't really do it justice, this tee is long and perfectly drapey, exactly what I love to wear with leggings while I'm working from home.

Not pictured:

H&M Button-Front Dress ($35) -- a simple little black dress in a flattering style (instantly reminded me of this great Boden dress, minus the awesome retro print).

H&M Knit Sweater ($25) -- I love shoulder buttons, and I was drooling over a rack of these sweaters on Instagram a few weeks ago. I really wanted all of them, but decided on the gray as it fills a little hole in my wardrobe.

Total: $185 ($15 under budget)

Turns out I was still able to stay within budget without dipping into funds from last month. Awesome.

Last month I shared a bit of a wish list for September shopping, and I only ended up with one item (the KS blouse); the Zara top wasn't right in person, and I waited too long on the Old Navy bag as its now sold out. Still thinking about the sexy mermaid swimsuit, but I feel like I'll need to have a fun vacation booked before I pull the trigger.

For October, I don't really have any purchases in mind. I've certainly seen plenty of things that I love, but I need to admit that I have a reaaalllyy stocked closet right now. I'll be on the lookout for a first round of fall price cuts, but tiny sales aren't likely to turn my head. I'm stalking a few items on eBay as well, and might use this opportunity to spend some of my monthly budget on resale deals.

What did you add to your closet this month? Sharing is caring, so let me know what you're loving right now.

As usual, linking up with Fran and the Budget Bloggers -- check out what the ladies bought this month!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weekend To Do List

Happy Sunday Funday, kids! Did you spend your entire weekend eating delicious foods? I did! I have a birthday coming up, which for me is an excuse to just stuff my face. 

1. I was up bright and early on Friday morning (seriously -- alarm went off at 3:30) to fly to New York for a long weekend. I was home by 10am and set up a makeshift office in my childhood bedroom for a full day of work. It was a loooonnggg day, but I made it through and headed out for Birthday Dinner #1, a cozy little dinner with my family. We went to Toast, a great little restaurant near my parents' house. It's everyone's favorite breakfast spot by day and perfect spot for drinks and dessert by night. Their dinner menu includes entrees, tapas-style sharing dishes, and cheese plates -- we ordered a bunch of things and shared some tasty bites. The food was great, but I wanted to save plenty of room for dessert: chocolate fondue. We ordered the milk chocolate fondue, which came with an enormous platter of fruit, cookies, marshmallows, rice krispy treats, and an entire funnel cake. Perfection.

2. I spent Saturday in the city, soaking up the gorgeous fall weather and catching up with friends. It is weird to feel a little bit like a tourist in a city that has been home to me for most of my adult life, but it's been more than 2 years since I was a resident and New York is a city that changes every single day. Being in NYC means being surrounded by the familiar (never get tired of walking through Bryant Park on a sunny Saturday) and the unfamilar (there's a third H&M on 34th Street now?!?). Happily, my subway game is still strong -- got a seat on each ride, and knew which car would be closest to the exit at my destination station.

High on my to-do list was the John Singer Sargent exhibit at The Met. My undergrad and graduate degrees are in art history and my master's thesis was on Sargent portraits, so this was a treat. I met my best friend Sara on the museum steps on a perfect fall afternoon for some serious art-ing. It was a gorgeous show, and then we did a lap of some of our favorite permanent galleries -- photography! Egyptian carvings! Impressionists! It was like speed dating for fine art. I wish we'd had more time, but stop number two was equally important: lunch. Last year we discovered the best Cobb salads in New York City hiding in fun, low-key little Mexican restaurant and it's our favorite lunch spot whenever we get together. The key is that they are SO generous with the good stuff: chicken, bacon, avocado. Yum.

3. If you're a regular reader, you've probably figured out I'm not the kind of girl who can live on salad alone (even if had about half an avocado on it -- seriously, SO generous). I am proud to say I completed the NYC street food hat trick while running around all day: a hot dog (procured from a cart in front of The Met, because we needed a little sustenance before art-ing), a giant pretzel (scarfed down after elbowing a ton of tourists in H&M). and a Mr. Softee cone (as a reward for a great day). Those are the street foods I am always craving, so why not knock them out in one day? I didn't wear my Fitbit, but I'm pretty sure I walked at least a million steps over the course of the day and easily burned it all off.

4. After lunch, Sara and I did a little power shopping. We hit some of our favorite spots, and even though I might have said something to the effect of "I'm just going to browse...", I left with a few gems. My favorite is this gorgeous little top from H&M. It a really rich, sophisticated shade of green with delicate detailing at the neck and sweet little gossamer ruffles at the sleeves. Perfect on its own, great under a blazer. You'll see the rest of my purchases in Monday's September budget roundup.

5. And today, more eating, more celebrating. I started with brunch with extended family at one of our favorite spots that offers an enormous buffet of Mediterranean dishes and classic breakfast foods. The mimosas are a great touch and always lead to some silly conversations. Everyone leaves with big smiles and full bellies. 

After a nice nap, I was ready for Birthday Dinner #2 with one of my oldest friends and her five (yes, 5?) kids. Christy and I have been friends since 5th grade and I love catching up with her when I'm home. We took a picnic dinner to a local playground (and enjoyed a little adult conversation while the little ones climbed, swung, and slid) and then headed to a carnival. I kind of love carnival games, and I had a blast watching the kids ride all of the stomach churning rides they could handle. Ah, to be young and stupid and willing and able to be spun around like a top over and over again.

Going to bed with a happy heart and happy belly -- it's so nice to be home and be with some of my favorite people on earth. I have a few more days in New York, including a few more birthday dinners (and CAKE!!!!). This week I'll begin a brand new year on this earth, and I'm sure it is going to be a great one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wishlist Wednesday: Pretty in Plaid

It's fall, y'all. Let's get cozy this week and love on some plaid:
clockwise from l to r:

1. Adam Lippes x Target Crepe Blouse in Painterly Blue Plaid ($30) -- I'm pretty excited to check out the upcoming Adam Lippes collab at Target (hits stores on September 27). I expect this will not be the shit show that was Lily Pulitzer, and the plaid-themed pieces look cozy and modern. This blouse is a cool take on the traditional plaid pattern and would be perfect with ankle pants or skinny jeans for an easy, pulled together look.

2. Isabel Marant Etoile Red Plaid Wool Rusty Tote ($280) -- love this classic bag shape in a timeless print.

3. Aeropostale Plaid Woven Shirt ($30) -- I'm pretty particular about the fit of a plaid shirt. I like a slim cut shirt that skims the body but still gives you room to move. This one looks like it fits the bill, and I love the touches of blue in the pattern.

4. Keds x Kate Spade New York Triple Decker ($85) -- a great little casual sneaker, and the hot pink color is fun and unexpected.

5. Madewell Tartan Mix Scarf ($44) -- I'm planning on adding a blanket scarf in a cool black watch plaid pattern to my wardrobe. So great against basic black, navy, and camel.

6. Tory Burch Stretch Poplin Skirt ($250) -- endless outfit opportunities with this neutral plaid skirt.

7. Adam Lippes x Target Pointed-Toe Ballet Flats ($30) -- if these are moderately comfortable they are going to become my favorite go-to fall shoe.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Emmy Fashion

The best part of any award ceremony is the fashion (which is why I can't watch the VMAs anymore -- it's just like an assault on my eyeballs...and my soul). It's been a while since we've had a really wow iconic moment on the red carpet (I think it's partly because Rachel Zoe isn't styling anymore -- she is annoying, but she has an impeccable eye), but at last night's Emmys I saw quite a few looks that I really loved, and some that just made me sad. Let's recap:

The Good 

Best dressed for me was January Jones in a funky emerald green pantsuit. Out of all of the looks on the carpet, this is what I wanted to be wearing. Nontraditional, yes. I'm sure some would say this isn't dressy enough, but I say: one, she's not a nominee and two, it's the Emmys. These are actors whose best work is viewed by people who have been watching Netflix for hours, probably pants-less. I think off-beat and a little casual works here. I don't always love what January wears, but she's never boring and she is a true chameleon. The color is perfection, her hair and makeup are lovely, and the fit is sharp and sexy.

I also loved Kerry Washington's look...mostly. I don't mind a tea-length dress, but I just wish this one was floor-length. Still, I love the shine, I love the neckline, and I love how it all works to show off the very best part of the look, KW's face. I mean, seriously. That face.

This Naeem Khan dress is so, so beautiful. Unfortunately, it's kind of wearing Ellie Kemper instead of the other way around. It's gorgeous, vibrant, interesting, and very unique. It needed different hair and makeup, or maybe just an all together different gal to wear it. Still, just knowing it exists makes me very, very happy.

I don't know who Jaimie Alexander is, but she can wear a dress. Sleek, sexy, and colorful -- lots of fun. I think this is her first trip to the Emmys, and I'd say it was quite a debut. (Side note though: the hair, bleh. I don't know, was it the heat? I saw way too many wet, greasy 'dos out there).

Lady Gaga loves to shock, and sometimes simple and understated is the most shocking thing one can do.

Mindy is never afraid of color, and I smiled every time she popped on screen in this juicy citrus shade. She just always looks like she's having a ball, and isn't that the best way to look at a big party?

OK, I didn't completely love the dress, but she wore it well. Her look is strong, elegant, confident -- honestly, the dress is kind of the last thing you notice. So I'm putting her on my list for her historic win and fantastic speech. Listen, I discovered Viola Davis on an episode of Law and Order:Criminal Intent years ago, and I've just been waiting for everyone else to come around and fall in love with her, too. What took so long?

Zoe Kazan caught my attention when she floated on stage as part of the Olive Kitteridge team (totally adding that to my watch list, it sounds amazing). I'll say that I probably wouldn't like this dress if I saw it up close, but from afar the red and white stripes blurred into a vibrant pink that looked fantastic with her simple blond bob. Honorable mention.

The Bad

Text from me to my BFF: I missed the red carpet -- how does everyone look?

BFF: I saw Heidi Klum wearing a dress that is part figure skater, part Big Bird and I decided would never turn on the TV again.

I love Christina Hendricks, and you know I love me some Joan Holloway, but I don't love this dress. It's not her worst look, but I still hate it. It just seems to be working so hard, yet not working for her. Her hair and makeup are simple and fine.

Ugh. I don't really know what Julianne Hough does, but she's far too young to be wearing this tacky, ugly dress. 

There's nothing really wrong with the dress -- it's simple, maybe a tad safe -- but I think the look as a whole is a miss. It almost looks like she's just out of the shower with a fluffy pink towel draped just so around her. Jessica Pare is gorgeous (almost distractingly so on Mad Men), but the severe hair and subdued makeup don't do her any favors.

I was hoping there would be a puppet show at some point but no, just a weird dress.

Did you have a favorite look last night, or were you watching Fear the Walking Dead?

Weekend To Do

Hey, it's the return of the Weekend To Do list. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I did things on those few weekends I skipped, just didn't get my act together to document them. But there were awesome times, trust.

Anyway, here we go...

weekend to do

1. Very smart of me to restart this on a fairly boring weekend. I kicked Friday off with a bang by...staying in and cuddling my couch and my dog. I did laundry and a little cleaning and watched a couple of episodes of Empire (totally late to that game -- it's silly but fun, and I'm trying to get through the first season before season two gets underway). Not exciting, but I'll be out of town later this week and wanted to get my house in order (literally) before taking off.

Also, the above is not my laundry bag, but it is the chicest laundry bag I've ever seen. It also costs over $1,000. In other words, perfect for holding my Target skivvies and my sweaty running clothes, right?

2. Saturday morning I was up early for a long run, kicking off my half marathon training season (I'm running the Princess Half Marathon in Disney World next February). It was a little too hot, and I'm a little too out of shape, but I got it done. The best part of running is when it's over, and that's true whether you have a bad run or a great one. I dragged my sweaty self over to Chipotle for a burrito bowl to refuel and enjoyed a nice hour chowing down and catching up on blogs.

3. Honestly, I kind of wanted to spend Saturday night laying on the couch watching Dateline NBC, but I can't give into my hermit-like tendencies all the time. I headed out to a new-ish nightspot in town, a touristy but fun bar on Disney property called Trader Sam's. There's not a lot in the way of nightlife in my little family-friendly section of town, so having a local spot for evening shenanigans is kind of exciting. It's a fun place that has the right mix of adult fun and Disney magic. My drink was basically rum with a Dole Whip in it, and it was delightful. I could have sucked down three of them (though thanks to some very Disney prices, I exercised moderation).

4. My Sunday was pretty free, so I indulged in more than a bit of shopping. I had a GREAT day (which was fun, since I really haven't done much shopping lately):

I made a Target run to take advantage of their sale on accessories (buy one get one 50% off), and I picked up these shoes, which I've been eyeing for a few weeks. Traditional penny loafers are a little too preppy for me, but these crazy girls are like loafers on steroids. They're ridiculous and fun (and comfy to walk in!). Since the BOGO deal was mix and match, I headed to the bag selection to see if there was anything appealing but as usual, found myself pretty underwhelmed. Target bags just look cheap (and their prices really aren't). So I scooted over to the jewelry section and found this beauty. If you're a regular reader, you know how much I've been lusting after a chunky gold watch with a black dial. I was thinking about splurging on this one for my birthday, but I picked up Target's version instead and saved myself almost $300. Target does it again.

I also picked up a bottle of this Pixi Glow Tonic, which is just recently available in the US and comes with some pretty rave reviews from across the pond. I'm not usually one to jump on that great new skincare item and I don't usually use a toner, but I'm willing to take a chance on a fairly inexpensive potential miracle.

Then I hit TJ Maxx on a whim - I know the secret to getting great scores at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods is just making regular visits, so I made a quick dash in when I passed my favorite one. I'd done the same last week and walked out empty handed, so I didn't even get a cart. Ha. So naive. Cut to me waiting in an endless checkout line, both arms loaded down with goodies. So. many. treasures...

First, a fistful of Essie polishes. I'm exclusively an Essie girl. I love the vibrant colors, and I think the polish is great quality. I am not adventurous when it comes to polish colors -- I like a few classics and use those over and over again. My two all-time favorites are Mademoiselle (classic ballet pink) and Capri (summery orange-red). So imagine my joy when I plucked both from the shelf at just $4 a pop. I was feeling giddy and grabbed two other fun shades -- Madison Ave Hue (great bright pink, perfect for fingers and toes) and Nude Beach (a pale iridescent pink, when I'm really feeling crazy). 

I walked just a few feet further into the store and stumbled on this adorable pair of classic Dr. Scholl's sandals. I've actually always wanted a pair, and the navy and white stripes are just adorable. 

As with any good TJ Maxx haul, the rest of my purchases were a bit random -- a great rug, cute birthday cards, yummy fall-scented candles, treats for my dog, etc. At the register I spotted bottles of Dr. Bonner's Castille Soap, which was a nice surprise -- I grabbed the sweet almond and peppermint scents, my favorite. This is a great all-purpose body wash, shampoo, laundry soap, and more, and the crunchy granola side of me loves that this soap doesn't have those scary ingredients that I should probably be more vigilant about avoiding. 

Next was my local outlet mall. Sadly, I was there to return the tipped linen blazer I was excited about last month. When the jacket finally arrived in the mail, I was a bit disappointed by the color -- I wanted a clean ivory, and this had a pinkish hue that bothered me. It was also a little long, so I figured I'd get my $45 back. After the sales associate processed the return, she mentioned that it would go to clearance and that the current selling price would be $26. Tempting, right? 

It was a lovely jacket and a fantastic value at that price, even if I only wore it a few times. I considered rebuying it, but ultimately decided to pass -- it isn't what I want, and I thought I'd let someone else enjoy the thrill of a fantastic bargain. Sometimes you just pay it forward. I did score a cute sweater at Banana Republic -- a star-speckled intarsia sweater that looks quite a lot like this one, for about 1% of the price.

5. Finally, I'm spending Sunday evening with the Emmys and a couple of slices of veggie pizza. I missed the red carpet so I'm more interested in the audience shots than some of the boring categories, but so far it's been fun.

Monday, get ready for us!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Three Ways: Art Deco Heels

"Hi, my name is Alison, and I fall in love with the wrong shoes."

So, guess what? I'm obsessed with stupidly expensive shoes. Something that never happens (except when I loved these, or these; I am still seriously jonesing for these). Don't think I can justify a splurge right now but let's pretend they are in my closet, ready to party.

Opening Night

These shoes definitely want to get dressed up and go out, maybe to great night at the theater or the ballet (hard to believe but it is almost Nutcracker season -- since high school, one of my favorite holiday traditions has been seeing a performance at Lincoln Center). I've fallen in love with this gorgeous graphic print dress, which can definitely be dressed up or down. I have a few fancy topper coats that are perfect for this kind of occasion -- this faux fur collar coat is very pretty. These starburst earrings are my go-to for getting gussied up, and this clutch is simple but smart.

Birthday Dinner

I think these shoes would be perfect for a more low-key special occasion, like your best friend's birthday dinner. This tuxedo top is cool and super easy. And a pair of slim ankle pants will make sure the attention is wear it belongs: on your feet. A gold bracelet, enormous cocktail ring, and cute bag add sparkle.

Workday Fabulous

If you have a casual Friday policy in your office, you might be able to turn it into fabulous Friday with these shoes. Let them peek out from under some long and lean flare-leg jeans and you'll flash just the right amount of personality for the workplace. Keep everything else pretty simple -- this tie-neck blouse is pretty and professional. I always love a couple of chunky rings, and how great is this sleek watch?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fall Wishlist: Wrapping Up

Hey, we made it -- the end of my fall shopping series. A list of a few (16, to be exact) of the biggest and most wearable trends for this season. If you missed anything, here is a quick round-up:

fwl P1

Fall is a season that is made for classics, and I really love indulging in some of those quintessentially autumnal pieces. I haven't done much shopping yet, but I have a good working list. I'm definitely planning on adding a few of these sweaters to my closet, I want a great black and white blouse, one of those great moto jackets, and a new bag.

And of course basics are great, but you probably want to add a little personality to your fall wardrobe. So don't forget to have some fun with a few less-than-obvious picks: 

Ugh, I really want everything. Crazy dresses, wiener sweaters, impractical and expensive shoes: gimme. Let's hope the sale gods are feeling generous in a month or so.

We just had our first breezy, (almost) cool evening here in Orlando tonight and I could actually picture myself wearing sleeves. Weather-wise we've got our best days ahead of us -- time to get my wardrobe ready!

Have you been doing any fall shopping yet? Anything good on your wishlist?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fall Wishlist Part VIII

7. Crisp White Blazer

Unless you're my college roommate, you know that wearing white after Labor Day ain't no thang. So don't be afraid to do it. And a white blazer can be a really useful piece, a great way to pull toghether your look.

J. Crew Regent Blazer -- the lines are super sharp, and slightly longer length and single button create a really nice lean line.

H&M Peplum Jacket -- peplum was everywhere last year, but if it is a flattering silhouette on you, don't worry about whether it's trendy or not. This soft peplum would look great with pants or skirts.

Modcloth I Glam Hardly Believe It Blazer -- I love the military inspired buttons, and the sexy feminine cut.

Topshop 'Poppy' Collarless Blazer -- a cool, modern shape that's perfect for work or play.

The beauty of this blazer is that you can throw it over just about anything. For example...

For an easy weekend look, I'd throw this blazer on top of my favorite new tee and jeans. Some chunky, heavy accessories keep it from looking too summery. The same blazer would also be perfect over a simple, tailored dress. You'll look crisp and polished, and everyone will notice your amazing bag and shoes.

8. Wes-Inspired

I've never been a huge Wes Anderson fan, but the fashion world is perpetually enamored with his very specific quirky-misfit style. There were a number of fall collections that seemed to draw inspiration from Anderson's oddball characters (including, quite surprisingly, Gucci), and I have seen that influence in pieces that are in stores right now. If you're game, consider adding a bit of retro, off-beat inspiration to your look.

H&M Lace Dress -- great vintage looking skater dress. Your mom probably wore something really similar in the 70s.

Modcloth Home on the Driving Range Top -- with baby barrettes and a shit ton of eyeliner, you could be Margot Tenenbaum's long lost sister.

Boden Panel Vintage Tunic Dress -- this dress is sporty and playful, and you'd probably find a million excuses to wear it.

Tory Burch Sport Performance Merino V-Neck Sweater -- I can't help but be drawn to this sporty, preppy sweater -- did I tell you I was captain of my high school tennis team?

So assuming you're not just shopping for your Halloween costume, how do you wear these pieces? Let's play...

If you want to embrace your quirky side, you can experiment with pattern mixing and introducing a pop or two of color. You could layer a printed shirt underneath dress and have fun with some bright Mary Jane heels. It's a lot of look, but mixing shades of blue and brown makes it very possible. If you're not ready to go quite that far, a pretty color block cardigan creates a more demure look. I'd throw on a cool necklace and d'orsay flats for a cool mod work look.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fall Wishlist: Part VII

5. Lace Top

A delicate lacy top is a great buy this fall. Perfect for layering, and a great compliment to heavy fabrics like tweed, wool, and velvet. There are plenty to choose from this season, but here are my favorites:

The Kooples Lace Top -- this blouse is confident and sexy, and I'm a sucker for a cute bow.

Zara Lace Top -- this version with a boxier shape is a bit more relaxed and seems easy to dress up or down. 

H&M Lace Blouse -- navy blue is a bit unexpected, but still super pretty. 

Maje Troy Lace Blouse -- the pattern of the lace is a bit swirlier than most ("swirlier" is the official fashion term, btw). This top is so sweet and innocent if worn with a camisole, and a bit naughtier with just a bra (I'm thinking black, or maybe neon pink).

Putting together outfits around these pretty blouses is so easy. Let's take a look...

Right now, I'd pair this bow blouse with a cute tweed skirt and chunky loafers (these are from Target - so great, right?). Simple, delicate gold jewelry adds a finishing touch. This is an easy top to dress up for evenings with a velvet blazer, skinny jeans, and heels. And why not add a little sparkle -- maybe with a few rings and a bag.

6. Cool Necklace

Splurging on a great necklace this season is a great way to stretch your wardrobe. An eye-grabbing necklace can be a lifesaver on lazy days (magically transforming your dress or jeans/tee into an outfit), and it can help you add new life into some of the older pieces in your wardrobe. Some good ones to consider:

Bauble Bar Jurassic Collar -- I love the size of this piece, and I can never get enough of a tortoise shell pattern.

Fairchild Baldwin Bella Necklace -- a bold pop of color (and super flattering right around your face).

Stella and Dot Utopia Necklace -- we've discussed this necklace before, and I'm still pretty smitten. Think about your wardrobe -- if you favor shades of blue and green or neutrals like black and white, this could be a smart buy.

H&M Short Necklace -- you don't have to drop a ton of money to get a pretty piece. This simple H&M bib is just the right amount of statement for just the right amount of cash.

Sometimes when I'm in need of wardrobe inspiration, I build my look around a favorite piece of jewelry:

This outfit is basically fifty shades of beige, but when you add that necklace, boom. You can pull together some of your favorite summer pieces and turn them into a fall look with a trench coat and necklace. A bold piece of jewelry also works with a strong graphic look -- it would really pop against a striped dress and blazer. Easy, pulled together dressing (no matter how many times you hit snooze).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fall Wishlist: Part VI

3. Sturdy chic shoes

After months of strappy heels and delicate sandals, there's something nice about a big chunky shoe to help ground your fall looks. I like something that's a little tough, a little nerdy, and a little airy. A kind of boot/shoe/sandal hybrid, like this:
fwl sturdy

DKNY Rayna Monk Strap Ankle Boot -- a tough little biker chic boot, perfect with pants and dresses. The heel height (and little toe platform) make them really walkable.

3.1 Phillip Lim 'Claridge' Bootie -- these are an investment piece for sure. I love the pretty feminine twists on a menswear inspired boot -- the stacked wooden heel and lattice work detail are great touches.

Thakoon Bassy Clog Sandal -- I may have mentioned these one or twenty times. They are perfect and would be in my closet except for the height. At almost 5'9", I really don't need to be tottering around on a 5" platform. Could I bring them to Home Depot and have someone saw a couple of inches off?

M. Gemi Urbano -- I haven't seen any M. Gemi shoes in person but I've heard good things, and this chic bootie seems worth a shot.

All of my guy friends are obsessed with fantasy football right now, but I like thinking of my blog as my fantasy fashion league. Let's pretend those gorgeous Thakoon sandals were sitting in my closet...

I could put together a million office-ready outfits around these shoes. They're perfect with your favorite polished separates -- I like to mix in some of my favorite warm weather pieces, like this pale pink blazer, to lighten up fall looks . They're also great party shoes. You could also bundle these up a for a great nighttime look later in the year -- add tights, a full skirt, and a fitted velvet blazer and you're party-ready. And very, very tall.

4. Cozy Weekend Top

I live for fall weekends -- they're always a great mix of running around outside enjoying the cool temps and fresh air and hunkering down inside for good eats, good books, and football. You'll need a few cozy tops that will let you partake in all of those activities -- here are some good ones:

Banana Republic Colorblock Jacquard Sweatshirt -- this sweatshirt has a very cool texture, I'm dying to see it in person.

J. Crew Factory Intarsia Wraparound Dachshund Sweater -- totally adorable, particularly if you have a doxie in your life. This sold out quickly online but sizes pop up every so often -- check for it in your local store, too.

Alexa Chung for AG Scarlet Cotton Sweater -- simple and perfect.

Loft Lou and Grey Mixup Cardigan -- I bought something similar at Forever 21 last year and I adore it. Very cozy and relaxed, you can throw it on over just about everything.

There are plenty of ways to wear a comfy, cozy top without looking sloppy. My test is always asking myself "what if I ran into Tim Gunn in this outfit?" before leaving the house (that made a bit more sense when I lived in New York, but you get the drift):

For the laziest of days, you can wear a cozy sweatshirt with some leggings and cute sneakers -- just make sure the sweatshirt fits really well and your leggings are nice and thick. This is perfect for spending the afternoon at home, and maybe making a quick run to the store for more snacks. When you need to bundle up for a football game or some pumpkin picking, swap the leggings for toothpick jeans and add a peacoat and boots. Tim would approve.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fall Wishlist: Part V

1. Go-To Dress

Dresses have always been a staple of my work wardrobe, and I'm always ready to add another to my closet. For fall, I looking for a dress with a great print, bold color, amazing shape: a go-to dress. The kind that makes you look amazing with little to no effort (a life saver on a busy morning). If this sounds good to you, here are my favorite from this season:

Paul and Joe Sister Iphigenie Collar Dress -- I love this dress. A very grown-up way to live out my private school uniform fantasies.

Zara Faux Leather Dress -- all of the comfort and convenience of wearing your favorite striped t-shirt.

Boden Printed Shirt Dress -- the dress shape is classic and tailored, the print is bananas. Perfect combination.

Anthropologie Gallica Silk Shirtdress -- the ultra feminine floral print and traditional shape are very Betty Draper, but with the right accessories I think it would be sweet, not costume-y.

I really want all of these dresses, but I'm really loving the Boden shirt dress. It looks like grandma's couch, in the coolest possible way.

The nice thing about a go-to dress is that you really don't need to fuss with it. This isn't the dress that you're going to radically transform each time you wear it -- everyone will remember it, so keep it simple. For early fall I'd wear just a few cool rings, a little messenger bag, and simple, neutral shoes. When it gets cold, throw on a cozy coat and some tights and let that dress do it's thang.

2. Something Lavender

There are some colors that evoke happy memories of rustling leaves blah, blah, blah... And then there's a crazy bright shade of purple that doesn't scream fall at all, but somehow seems perfect. This bright, incredibly flattering shade seems to be everywhere this season, and why not. It's great on its own, but think about how perfectly it pairs with navy, gray, green, burgundy, and all of those classic fall colors. When you're building your fall wardrobe, consider picking up something in this unexpected but happy shade:

Boden Betty Ottoman Dress -- this super ladylike dress comes in a rainbow of colors (the green is amazing), but I'd be willing to bet you don't own anything in this lovely dusty lavender shade. Really unique, really pretty.

Boden Sophia Knitted Top -- the shape and texture of this sweater is really interesting, and this brighter purple shade makes me happy.

Botkier Trigger Small Satchel -- a cool bold bag, and you can pretty much guarantee that you'll be the only one in the room carrying it.

J. Crew Collection Cashmere T-Shirt -- a great, fresh layering piece.

Here are some ideas for working this shade into your look over the next few months:

I'm not really great at putting together casual weekend looks. I tend to live in my beloved athleisure wear, running around town in spandex and other sweat-wicking material. But if I did get my act together to put on real clothes, this sweater would be perfect with some relaxed olive cargo pants and sparkly flats for my usual Saturday Target run/Chipotle feast (a glamorous life, for sure). I also love it with cooler shades like navy and gray for a cold weather outfit -- wide leg pants, a great coat, and some fun shoes to pull it all together.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fall Wishlist: Not-So Basics

fall wishlist part 2

Hey, we made it through the first half of my Fall Wishlist -- whew! I originally thought I'd post every day, but you know what? That's a lot of damn work. I need more hours in the day. (If you missed anything, you can head back to the start of the series, or catch up with any of the other posts here, here, here, and here.)

Last week I looked at some of those traditional pieces that you typically associate with fall and probably have been buying every year since you started shopping for yourself: cashmere, denim, deep rich color. And classic pieces are awesome (sometimes you feel like a nut). But I also have a list of things that are a little less expected (sometimes you don't). They're not the pieces that immediately scream fall, but they're still great buys this season. These are fun to mix and match with those classic pieces and the rest of your wardrobe to help you create some amazing fall looks that are just

I'm kicking things off with two of my FAVORITE categories on this list, so check back tomorrow (spoiler alert: you'll probably want everything).

Monday, September 7, 2015

Fall Wishlist: Part IV

7. Deep Dark Oxblood

More than any other season, fall is defined by a color palette. There are some colors, like oxblood, that evoke happy, cozy feelings of rustling leaves, warm fires, spiced cider. It is hot and muggy in Florida today, so I'm going to try to jumpstart fall with a few pieces in this deep, rich shade.

J. Crew Factory Wool Dress Coat -- the perfect coat when you need to have a bit of a princess moment -- so very Kate Middleton.

Forever 21 Faux Suede Strappy Sandals -- a bold Miu Miu-inspired chunky sandal. I can imagine these with fun, textured tights in a rainbow of colors.

Modcloth Paris Cafe Cardigan -- I love a cardigan that looks just as good (maybe better) when buttoned as it does when left open. This piece from Modcloth's new in-house line is a little bit sweet, a little bit sexy.

Topshop Leather Duffel Crossbody -- your new everyday bag in a very sophisticated shade.

This rich color looks good on so many different skin tones, so any of these pieces would be great closet workhorses. I really love that coat, so let's take it for a spin...

I'm rarely home for my high school's homecoming weekend, but I might be this year and this is exactly what I'd wear. This coat perfectly ties together a fun sweater and pale, relaxed jeans. The accessories are practical and a nod to my school's colors (blue and gold) -- go Eagles! And this coat brings the perfect amount of fancy for holiday activities later in the year. It compliments, but doesn't compete with, a great party dress.

8. A Great Bag (or Two)

Investing in a good bag each season is an easy way to freshen up your look. It's a smart buy, especially if you're looking to stretch your budget. If you find the right one, your cost per wear will be tiny. Here are some of my favorites right now:

Zara Holdall -- I talked about the qualities of my ideal bag here: (looks like) leather, roomy but not bulky, easy to carry. This is a winner, and I love the deep bottle green color.

Yoins Snakeprint Backpack -- an interesting shape and pattern, but still neutral enough to play nicely with the rest of your look.

Boden Berkeley Zip Bag -- this is one of my favorite bag shapes, and I love the punchy tomato red. 

Old Navy Faux-Leather Bucket Bag -- classic, great looking bag for a teeny price. 

Would it be wrong to buy all of these? I think the Zara bag is my favorite, so let's play with that one:

A perfect bag to take to work, especially on those surprisingly sticky September days. I love this striped shirt dress -- I'd add a couple of bracelets, some not-boring shoes, and not much else. This bag is also perfect for a chilly night out -- people may not see the sleek sweater and pants under your big cocoon coat, but everyone will notice the great bag on your arm.