Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fabulous (and Mostly DIY) Halloween Costumes

Some people live for Halloween -- gory movies, crazy costumes, mutilated gourds. I'm usually just in it for the candy, but every so often I get the itch to dress up. My costumes always lean towards the glamorous side. It's always fun to have an excuse to look fabulous, right? I made a last minute decision to hit a few parties tomorrow night, and I'm excited but I don't want to spend a ton on my costume.

If you're in need of a last-minute costume, here are a few ideas for fabulous and mostly DIY costumes -- you can pull most pieces from your closet and borrow or buy a few extras.


Is a Holly Golightly costume original? No. Is it amazing? Yes. I will not turn down an opportunity to swan around in a fancy dress, tiara, and big sunglasses. 

You already have... a black cocktail dress (preferably one that is sleeveless and a bit form-fitting without a lot of distracting detail), black pumps, and pearls.

You can probably borrow... a tiara (I'm sure your niece has a spare) and black gloves.

You just need to buy... cat's eye sunglasses (super popular right now, so you can find a cheap pair) and a frosty pink lipstick.

And for a finishing touch... check out Lisa Eldridge's great Breakfast at Tiffany's-inspired makeup tutorial (


Last night I watched one of my all-time favorite movies Rosemary's Baby. It is perfectly scary and perfectly gorgeous. I find myself getting distracted by Mia: her stunning cheekbones, her perfect wardrobe. Putting together a great costume is pretty easy...pregnant belly and deathly pallor optional!

You already have... a mod shift dress (or perhaps a baby doll dress with a Peter Pan collar, a big fall trend), pointy-toe flats, and flirty fake lashes (maybe even two pair).

You can probably borrow... a gold pendant or locket (tannis root optional) and a square handbag.

You just need to buy... a good highlighter to give you those killer cheekbones. 

And for a finishing touch... try to find a short blond wig (if that's not possible, slick your hair and create a strong part for a similar look).


Last but not least, my choice for this year. With the happy news that Netflix is bringing back Gilmore Girls, I think my Rory costume will be particularly well-received. Bonus: I get to live out my private school uniform fantasies!

You already have... a preppy blazer (ahem, J. Crew), a pleated plaid skirt, and a peachy blush (to achieve Rory's perfect rosy complexion). Chilton Rory almost always wore her hair straight and parted down the center, which is super easy.

You can probably borrow... saddle shoes (or in a pinch, find some penny loafers).

You just need to buy... a yellow backpack (this is the key between going as Rory rather than just a Gossip Girl extra) and knee socks. 

And for a finishing touch... carry a big coffee cup or a classic novel. Even better, convince a friend to go as Lorelei!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October Budget

As I started to put together this post, something dawned on me: I think I forgot to shop this month.

It wasn't intentional, although I suppose it wasn't completely accidental either. And it wasn't because I blew my shopping budget on bags and bags of Halloween candy (although, that totally could have happened). October was kind of a struggle -- so many things caught my eye, I think I ended up with a bit of buying paralysis because I didn't have a strong idea of what I really wanted or needed. I also know November could be spendy month (more on that in a bit...), so I wanted to hold back a little.

Here is the super quick October summary:

Starting Budget: $200


oct budget

Mossimo Linen V-Neck Tee ($8, on sale) -- this is one of my favorite basics, and I grabbed a chance to pick up a white one when I spotted it on the clearance rack. Last year, I scored a slew of them when I found them marked down to $3.60, but I'm not holding my breath for that kind of price again. I have to note that even after constant wear, the tees I picked up last year are still perfect. Best 4 bucks I've ever spent!

J. Crew Factory Dachshund iPhone Case ($6, on sale) -- I didn't count this towards my shopping budget, but I just wanted to show it off. Isn't it the cutest? You can still grab these online for about the same price.

BCBGeneration Studded Bow Wedge ($60, on sale) -- a cute shoe for the rare occasions when I have to put real work clothes on. Most of those occasions involve travel and running to and from client meetings, so if you can give me a practical, comfortable shoe and put a decently cute bow on it, I'm pretty happy.

Total: $68 ($132 under budget)

My purchases this month are totally boring, and I know you didn't click over to hear about a tee shirt and a pair of shoes. So I thought I'd talk about strategy for spending next month:

- You'll recognize some items from recent posts -- these are on the top of my current wishlist, and I'm planning to pull the trigger on a few in November. I love this cozy wrap sweater, and I can almost begin to imagine temps being cool enough to wear it. These tortoise flats seem amazing, I actually meant to order them a few months ago and I have no idea what I've been waiting for. This bag is finally on sale -- I love the look of it, though I can't ignore the fact that the reviews are very mixed. I'd love to see this frilly blouse in person, but I've rarely been disappointed by black and white and feminine. And these rings are so pretty and versatile, they'd work with just about every outfit in my closet.

- This month will bring Sephora's annual Beauty Insider sale -- if you're a member of their Beauty Insider program (and YOU TOTALLY SHOULD BE -- it is, without a doubt, the best loyalty program I have ever been a part of), you'll get 20% off of purchases for a few days in early November. It's truly the most wonderful time of the year! I don't count cosmetic purchases against my monthly budget, but I'll be happy to have a few extra dollars to throw at Sephora for this very special occasion. I've been sampling new products like crazy, and I'm planning a post in a few days with some shopping suggestions.

- I can't ignore the impending Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales -- they are harried, frantic, exhausting...but also pretty enticing (admission: almost all of my BF/CM purchases are for myself. I'll shop for everyone else in December!). I'm planning to roll over at least $100 of October's budget to have available for November purchases.

Linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers -- go check out what the other ladies bought (or didn't buy) this month!

PS -- new here? Check out some of my most popular posts from this month:

Fall Uniform

Wednesday Wishlist: Muppet Chic

What's In My Bag

Friday, October 23, 2015

The three coats you need this winter (and one that you should think about...)

I've never liked winter, but I LOVE coats. Moving to Florida has never made a winter coat less important, but it doesn't stop me from drooling over them and building an incredible fantasy coat wardrobe in my head (note: can fantasy wardrobes be a thing? They'd be at least a million times more fun than fantasy football). If you live in a state with a real winter, now is the time to make sure your coat situation is handled. This season there are three silhouettes that you'll want in your closet: a classic duffle coat, a moto cocoon coat, and a great puffer coat.

Here are my favorites in store right now -- wear them fabulously and let me live vicariously through you.

three coats

Classic Duffle

This is the coat of my high school years, and whether it's nostalgia or a desperate attempt to cling to my youth, this style seems super fresh to me right now. Uniqlo makes amazing coats, and their classic take on a duffel is pretty perfect -- the cherry red has a bit of a Red Riding Hood vibe and would look amazing with rosy winter cheeks. You can't go wrong with a camel colored wool coat, and this one from ASOS is lovely. I probably wouldn't wear it with shorts, but that's your call. And leave it to J. Crew to make a dreamy pink version -- it's sold out online, but keep your eye out for it in stores or online popbacks. There are other colors too, but, that pink...

Moto Cocoon

This is really my favorite coat silhouette right now -- take a traditional moto jacket and blow up the scale to create a shape that is modern and interesting. This version from Banana Republic has a great neutral color and could be dressed up or down. H&M has a nice affordable take on this style in a few colors, including this pretty cranberry tweed. Madewell offers this shape in a few solid colors, but I like this lumberjack red plaid pattern (similar to a Band of Outsiders coat that would definitely make the cut in my fantasy closet). Note: all reviews indicate the fit can be a little tricky, so you may want to try on several sizes to get just the right slouchy chic fit.

Chic Puffer

I hate puffer coats, but when those single digit winds are blowing in your face, sometimes you just have to suck it up. But you don't have to throw on any old sleeping bag with sleeves -- a sleek, streamlined version will make proper winter dressing much more bearable. The small-scale quilting of this Via Spiga hooded coat really cuts down on dreaded the Stay-Puft Marshmallow effect. Once again, Uniqlo has a fantastic option. Their featherlight down is incredibly thin -- like, "how do they do that??" thin -- but will keep you toasty warm, and they offer a number of shapes and colors. Navy is kind of sporty (and a bit slimming), but there are some great jewel tones available as well. And leave it to Kate Spade to find a way to make a big puffy coat a bit more twee -- they put a bow on it! If you're looking for a better price, check their outlet stores -- I saw a similar version this weekend for about half the price.

So now that you have the essential shapes covered, you might want something a bit more fun. Like a cape. No, really.

This probably isn't going to be your everyday outwear...but at the right time, a cape is pretty amazing. It acts like a fabulous frame for your look and adds the right amount of drama. Capes are definitely having a moment, and here are my favorites in store right now...

This military-inspired classic black cape is really just one step away from a traditional peacoat, so it's an easy way to give this shape a try. The mod styling of this Boden cape will definitely turn heads. And this rich tobacco colored option with a faux fur collar is the perfect topper for holiday party looks or your favorite jeans and striped tee.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Leather Weather

Fall always makes me dream of leather, though I've never actually had much in my wardrobe. I love a classic moto jacket, but I've never tried anything more adventurous. I definitely admire ladies who can rock a leather top or skinny leather pants, but I can't see working either into my wardrobe right now.

I do like the idea of a little leather -- just enough to hint at a bit of toughness without the commitment of fully encasing my limbs in thick, suffocating animal hide (because that doesn't seem like a particularly good idea in swampy Florida). Pieces that feature a subtle leather (or faux leather) accent seem like a great compromise, and they are everywhere right now. Let's take a look...

ww: leather weather

clockwise from l to r:

Calvin Klein Trench with Faux Leather Sleeves ($300) -- a classic trench with a bit of edge.

Rebecca Taylor Faux Leather Trimmed Cotton Jacket ($178) -- a cozy little black and white striped sweater with cool detailing. 

Blue Vanilla Cream Leather-Look Trim Knitted Cardigan ($53) -- just so dreamy, I'd wear this cocoon-y belted wrap sweater with full-leg black trousers or skinny jeans.

Banana Republic Factory Mixed Media Ponte Dress ($66) -- I love an easy-but-pulled-together work dress, and this shift dress is perfect.

Rag and Bone Lira Leather-Trimmed Sweatshirt ($148) -- you don't have to sacrifice style for comfort -- the delivery guy will notice if you make an effort and throw this on when he shows up with your hangover omelet.

Bagatelle Tweed and Leather Jacket ($160) -- a great little topper for those cool days when you don't quite need a heavy coat.

Forever 21 Striped Makeup Pouch ($6) -- the black on black stripe makes this inexpensive bag look quite luxe.

Forever 21 Metallic Tweed Platform Slipons ($30) -- just enough leather to toughen up a sweet shoe.

Zara Top with Faux Leather Pockets ($50) -- I'd size up and wear this with leggings for an easy Saturday look.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What's In My Bag

A "what's in my bag" post is among my favorite in the blogosphere...what can I say, nosiness is my guilty pleasure! A few weeks ago I switched from my usual summer bags (mostly smaller crossbody type bags) to a good fall bag. I've gotten myself sorted with what I need to carry on a daily basis, so I thought I'd share a peek inside...

whats in my bag
BAG: My go-to bag right now is this roomy Zara shoulder bag that I picked up over the summer (currently sold out, similar here). It's lightweight and spacious, and it goes with just about everything.

ESSENTIALS: There are a few things that I always have with me. First, my wallet (I'm using this pretty rose gold one) -- I prefer a large zipper style wallet, which I stuff to the max with the usual (credit cards, cash, gift cards), as well as every receipt I've ever received (except the ones I need to turn in for work, never seem to have those), discount and reward cards, movie ticket stubs, coins from foreign countries I have no plans to visit, month-old to-do lists, and public transit cards from at least 3 different cities.

I also carry sunglasses, my keys (I like my tassel keyring -- here's a similar one -- though I'm on the lookout for something new), some all-purpose wipes, headphones (the ones I use are similar to these, with a built-in mic for phone calls), and my iPhone with this pretty Rifle Paper Co. case. I'm a bit more reliant on my phone than I'd like, but these days it is essential -- I use it for entertainment, navigation, note-taking, keeping track of my schedule. Finally, I always have this magical little reloadable gift card for my many trips to EPCOT's Food and Wine Festival. You wear it around your wrist and just tap, tap, tap when you want something tasty to eat or drink. Food and Wine is the social event of the year and I find myself there a few times a week, so I never leave home without it.

POUCH #1: I'm a big fan of keeping small items in pouches. It makes everything so easy to find, and it also lets me keep my sanity when I need to quickly swap bags. For makeup, I love a little mesh pouch (ideally one that is compact, flat, and lightweight so that I can have my essentials close at hand -- these are great). I'm not someone who is going to redo a full face of makeup on the go, so I just carry some touch-up basics -- my favorite eyeliner and mascara, a good lip balm, and lately I've added a mini sized Benefit Posie Tint (perfect for just a hint of lip and cheek color). I love this little travel perfume atomizer (so easy to fill) for a bit of freshening -- Sephora's rollerballs are insanely expensive, this is a much better option. Aquaphor is great to dab onto cuts, dry spots, blisters, etc. Finally, some hand sanitizer for emergencies -- I don't know how safe any of these products are, but I hope that this one from the Honest Company isn't the worst of the bunch.

POUCH #2: This is where I carry the things that aren't essentials but just so nice to have (if I switch to a smaller bag, this pouch stays home). This luxe hand cream is very handy, especially this time of year (this was a Sephora Black Friday deal from last year and I still have a bit left -- fingers crossed we see it again this year!). Healthy snacks are nice -- these almonds keep me from running to the king-size Snickers. I love this sunblock stick, perfect for reapplying throughout the day (I always miss a spot!). As a runner, I have hair elastics and safety pins in every pocket and drawer, so I throw a few in my pouch as well. I'm not a big gum chewer, but it's nice to be have just in case I need to make sure my breath is minty fresh. I try to keep a pen or two with me, and for some reason I'm carrying around this metallic Sharpie right now. I like to have a flash drive on me -- mine has some work files, but sometimes I have photos, music and fun stuff to carry around. And I love this little tape measure (I got mine from Pier 1 years ago, but this one is adorable). So handy!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Uniform

I've always loved the idea of a uniform. If I'd had my way, I would have been a NYC private school kid -- Brooklyn, not Upper East Side -- wearing a preppy jacket and a plaid skirt (hiked up just a little too high) every day. It didn't happen, but I today I definitely rely on a few favorite wardrobe formulas to make dressing easier.

My summer uniform was pretty easy and unfussy, as summer dressing should be. Fall is a little more complicated. I like an outfit that has dimension and looks a bit more intentional. Since I work from home, my weekday look is not at all blog worthy. But occasionally I do get dressed! This is my go-to look for evening and weekend plans: a mix of masculine and feminine details, easy layers and a flattering silhouette.

Jackets are a major wardrobe staple for me, particularly perfect in the fall, so I usually start with a structured jacket. Something with nice clean lines that creates a great shape -- a tough moto jacket, a relaxed boyfriend jacket, or a nipped in blazer are perfect.

Next, a soft, flowy top -- something with a little ruffle, a little lace, a pretty detail. I love this ruffled collar blouse (especially with the tough leather jacket). This blousy tunic with lace trim can be tucked in or left loose. And I can't decide what I love best about this jade green top, the delicate ruffled sleeves or the deep rich color. So pretty (and on sale!).

Skinny jeans are definitely not my favorite denim shape but here, they're perfect. You just want to create a nice sleek silhouette and draw attention to the more interesting parts of your look. Pick a pair that's flattering and comfortable -- maybe distressed grays, a relaxed boyfriend cut, or a sleek straight leg option.

I love an opportunity to show off my shoes and a great heel is definitely called for -- these round-toe black patent leather pumps are super versatile, these classic Jimmy Choo pointy-toe heels are on a wish list that I've buried deep, deep in my heart, and these tortoise shell beauties are fun.

Since this is a pretty relaxed look, I like to have an easy hands-free bag with me. Maybe the bar will be crowded, maybe we'll change locations a couple of times, maybe I'll need both hands for snacks (let's be real, that's the most likely scenario)...regardless, it's nice to not be the girl always fussing with her purse. I've been dying for this adorable little metallic crossbody bag to go on sale -- perfectly tiny and fancy. My python obsession lives to see another season, and this flat clutch is so easy to tuck under your arm. And this little envelope bag is versatile, great for day or night.

Finally, a few accessories to pull everything together. These little studs and pretty stack of rings are perfect for a black and white look. I will never get sick of this watch (super bargain version here) -- so perfect here, right? This cuff bracelet is simple but interesting.

There you have it, an easy formula for weekend dressing...just add shenanigans!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Carry All

This time of year, I seem to be perpetually in need of a giant bag to hold all of the stuff I'm lugging around. In the summer I can get away with a little crossbody bag, but once September hits it seems like I need to tote half of my life around with me, so a roomy shoulder bag becomes a very valuable thing. Happily, there are many good options to choose from. Let's take a look...

clockwise from l to r:

Vanessa Bruno Cabo Embellished Shopper ($253) -- These were everywhere ten years ago and were kind of overplayed in my opinion, but somehow a decade later this tote seems kind of fresh and interesting to me. I like the moody gray fabric offset by a bit of sparkle, like a cloud with a silver lining.

Monsoon Ticking Stripe Shopper ($38) -- crisp, clean, practical.

Target Leather Metallic Tote with Color Block Base ($60) -- Target seems to be introducing some slightly higher end bags to their inventory, including a number of interesting metallic options. I generally find their bags look and feel a bit cheap, but this two-tone tote is quite sharp.

Urban Outfitters BDG Convertible Tote -- I could never bring myself to pull the trigger on a Foley + Corrina City Tote, but I did quite enjoy the look and the cool slouchy shape. I'm digging this black on black inspired-by version from Urban Outfitters (though I may not be able to get over the fact that their parent company continues to be the worst).

Street Level Canvas Tote ($48) -- this bag has a lot to love -- practical shape, smart color combo, great price. A nice option if you're looking for an alternative to Madewell's popular Transport Tote.

Warehouse Leather and Suede Shopper ($69) -- this is about at sexy as a tote bag gets. The most fabulous way to schlep around way too much stuff.

Dogeared Big Canvas Tote ($32) -- a sturdy tote that comes with your choice of cheeky sayings. Since you know I'm going to end up at Chipotle, this one seems particularly practical.

Clare V. Matilde Backpack ($525) -- this a splurge (slightly less so if you can catch it during the Friends and Family sale), but it would be a nice investment piece if you have to tote around a lot during the workday. I have a lot of meetings and client visits and I always have to carry presentation materials, folders, tablets, and my own personal nonsense with me. This bag is chic and elegant and might even give people the impression that I have my shit together.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Champagne Tastes, Beer Budget

If you're anything like me, you may find that your tastes occasionally exceed your budget. And by occasionally, I mean every single day of my entire life. The good news is that it is often pretty easy to find a similar, more budget-friendly version of the item you're lusting after. I'm not talking knock-offs, because that's just tacky. For me, going cheaper this doesn't work all the time. There's something to be said for the quality and durability (and sometimes, the luxury) of higher priced items (not to mention the very real issues created by the fast fashion industry). But designers across many brands are inspired by the same trends, so sometimes you can scratch that itch for less. Here are some of my favorite high/low options right now:

This style of sturdy black heel is a great addition to any closet. It's simple and timeless without being boring, and looks great with dresses or pants. DvF's version has a mini platform and a slightly almond-shaped toe, making them flattering and walkable. H&M's version is nearly identical (even more evident in person). If you'd wear these heels all the time, the higher quality version is a good investment and probably infinitely more comfortable.

A roomy duffel in a classic plaid print seems like a smart buy -- think of it sitting in your closet, just waiting for fall weekend adventures. This Abercrombie & Fitch tote seems like it would be great for long weekends or even just a busy Saturday. Old Navy's version is larger and might fit a week's worth of clothes (if you're a brilliant packer!).

A denim shirtdress ticks a lot of fall boxes: 70's vibe, cool denim, etc. The Alexa Chung x AG Jeans dress has an edgy downtown vibe. H&M's version is softer and more relaxed, perfect for work or play.

If you're looking for a smart plaid coat, this is your lucky year. This Tory Burch coat is so elegant and ladylike, and a great investment if you live in a part of the world where you'll be wearing a coat often. I was really tempted by this very similar H&M topper -- I particularly love it because it isn't lined, so it's light weight makes it perfect for my neck of the woods (Central Florida rarely sees temps lower than the mid-60s). 

Right now I don't have anyplace to wear a dramatic lace gown, and that's a damn shame. This Suno lace midi dress is modern and elegant but a bit pricey (and available in ridiculously limited sizes). I actually love this full-length version from H&M more, and for just $70 it might make sense to pick it up and wait for the right event to appear (this seems like a good time to link to one of my favorite posts about learning to shop your closet).

Statement earrings don't get quite as much love as statement necklaces, but sometimes they're just the way to finish a look. I love these Oscar de la Renta beauties -- they have so much energy and plenty of sparkle. For the same effect (but a little less dough), these Bollywood-esque drops are fun.

A long gold maxi skirt probably isn't on the top of your fall shopping list, but maybe it should be. This sparkly alice + olivia skirt would be so pretty for parties or maybe even a fall wedding (I've always wanted to attempt a Sharon Stone moment and wear a crisp button down with a full skirt). I also really love Anthropologie's version, which is much more toned down and appropriate for day or night.

Unbelievably, I found a near dupe for my beloved deco heel shoes. The Kate Spade heels still give me major heart-eyes -- I love that sparkly stacked heel. Zara's version has a very similar effect, though the mirrored heel is replaced by a clear heel with gold detail. I haven't seen it in person, but I trust the heel veers more high fashion and less stripper.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fall Skincare: Dry Skin Quick Fix

Popping in to share a favorite tip to help combat one of fall's peskiest foes: dry skin. It happens to many of us this time of year -- the temperature swings, blustery days, and stale indoor heat take a toll. I've always been prone to drier skin and try to stay well hydrated and moisturized, but inevitably a couple of times a month I look in the mirror and realize my dull, flakey skin needs extra help.

This is the recipe I use for soft, pretty skin -- for best results, do it at night and wake up looking bright and glowy:

dry skin


The first step is clearing the surface with some gentle exfoliation. St. Ives Apricot Scrub is a classic, a great little drugstore gem that I've been using for years. I know that grainy exfoliators have become a bit unpopular (some say they're a little too rough on delicate facial skin), so use a small amount and use it sparingly (not more than once a week -- I aim for just twice a month).

As an extra safeguard, I start by coating my face with a thin layer of a very gentle cleanser like Cetaphil. This acts as a little barrier between the apricot scrub and my skin and reduces the friction of the scrub against my face. I rub the cleanser/scrub mixture in small, gentle circles for a minute or two -- it's a little mini facial massage that feels great! Rinse with cold water and pat dry with a soft towel.


Now that my skin is clean and flake-free, this is the perfect opportunity to apply a little treatment. I use Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, a lightweight serum that helps make skin brighter, plumper, and softer. Apply a few drops to your fingertips and massage it on to your face and neck until it's fully absorbed -- your thirsty skin will drink it up.


Last step is to seal everything in with a great moisturizer. I'm in love with Dr. Hauschka Day Rose Cream. It's rich and luxurious without being too heavy or greasy -- it sinks right in and you can feel the effects IMMEDIATELY. Oh my god, it just makes your skin feel like velvet. This is the moisturizer I use most nights, but I especially love it after this little dry skin cocktail.

And that's it! Your skin will feel great almost instantly, but I like to let it all sink in while I get a good night's sleep. Sweet dreams....

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: Muppet Chic

Here's a list of things that Floridians don't need:

1. Snow shovels
2. Volumizing hair products
3. Fur coats

Guess which one I'm obsessed with right now? To be clear, it's a faux fur I'm digging -- I don't need any critter to be harmed for the sake of my looking fabulous. I spotted a couple of good ones at Forever 21 this weekend, and now I'm dreaming up all sorts of reasons I need one.

Since they're relatively inexpensive, I think a cute faux fur is a pretty smart buy. There are times when fashion should just be fun, and draping yourself in a bit of ridiculousness seems like it could be a whole lot of fun. Let's take a look at the furriest options in stores right now...

clockwise from l to r:

Kristen Blake Spotted Faux Fur Jacket ($138) -- or, how to be very chic while being very lazy. So great.

Modcloth Gallery Glamour Coat ($90) -- sometimes it's fun to make people wonder, "is she wearing her bathrobe in public?" But also kind of fun to throw on over your a simple dress or an easy weekend look.

Zara Long Furry Waistcoast ($70) -- a cool way to get a little fur action without committing to a full jacket.

Forever 21 Collarless Fur Jacket ($53) -- one of the coats that sparked my obsession, a perfect topper for your holiday party looks and an easy way to add a little drama to your Saturday night.

MANGO Leopard Faux Fur Coat ($150) -- for some ladies, a big fur coat just doesn't make enough of a statement. You know who you are. This leopard print should do the trick in turning every single head in the room.

River Island Light Pink Premium Fur Coat ($170) -- this one actually does look a bit like a skinned Muppet, in the most rock and roll way possible.

Anthropologie Blushed Faux-Fur Coat ($178) -- probably the most wearable option. This little cropped jacket could almost work as a blazer, giving you a great way to add color and texture to lots of different looks.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Collab Roundup: Thakoon for Designation and Adam Lippes x Target Reviews

I've had my eye on a couple of this season's designer collaborations -- specifically Thakoon for Designation at Kohl's and Adam Lippes x Target. Both designers make interesting and beautiful clothing that is typically pretty far out of my price range, and even better, neither is the caliber of designer that is likely to create a shopping frenzy and cause people to behave like barbarians. I find that these high-low collaborations really need to be seen in person, so this weekend I had a chance to pop in for a bit of a reconnaissance mission.

Thakoon for Designation at Kohl's

thakoon yes

Kohl's has had a lot of success attracting some really impressive contemporary designers for it's Designation line, including Catherine Malandrino, Peter Som, and Milly. The collections have been a bit hit or miss, but always worth a look. What's always confusing for me is Kohl's pricing strategy. I deal with a bit of sticker shock when I reach for those first few tags, and then remember that there's always a sale, and regular Kohl's shoppers are usually armed with coupons. So if you're interested, remember to do your homework to get the best price.

The good news...

There were a few nice pieces here. Nothing that convinced me to pull the trigger, but nice nonetheless. I didn't see this wool jacket in my store (not going to be a big seller in Florida), but I loved this plaid fabric (used elsewhere in the collection) and this short coat is practical and chic. This floral top is quite pretty. It has sporty style, almost like a crewneck sweatshirt, but the fabric is silky and elegant. It's not something I could see myself wearing a lot, but if money and closet space were no object, I'd snap it up (note: if you can, try this on before buying -- you don't want a baggy fit, but the material doesn't have a ton of stretch so you might want to check a few sizes). I like this black and white dress quite a lot -- the modern plaid print is fun, and this flowy shift style is kind of effortless and cool. Just not something I particularly need in my closet right now. And the same could be said for this pretty blouse. A nice piece for work and play, but somehow not quite special enough to get me to take it home.

The bad...

I was pretty disappointed in this knit sweater. It looked great online but kind of thick and shapeless in person. I think you'd have to have modelesque proportions to pull it off. I love a great print sweater, but I thought this one was a bit juvenile, almost like a bad piece you'd pick up on vacation. This shapeless blouse didn't work for me -- that ruffle hit me exactly where you do not want a ruffle hanging around. My hoo-ha doesn't need a curtain. And this little twist on a classic oxford was a nice try, but ultimately creates a blouse that seems unflattering and impractical.

Adam Lippes x Target

I'm pretty sure after the Lilly fiasco of earlier this year, I swore "never again" when it came to their designer collaborations, but here we are. I knew this collection would have a much smaller audience and wouldn't require lining up at dawn to throw elbows and I thought the commercials were cute, so I was willing to give it another go.

The good...

Unfortunately, this line wasn't a winner for me. This may actually be Target's karmic revenge for so badly handling the Lilly launch. I thought most of the pieces were pretty bad, but there were a few gems. This pretty blouse looks as good in person as it did online, but unfortunately they didn't have my size. Same goes for these windowpane flats (I preferred the flats over the pumps in the same pattern, but both were nice). And this flannel fabric bucket bag ticks a lot of boxes for fall trends (quality seemed slightly better than your average Target bag). I expect a lot of this will end up going to clearance, so I'll keep my eyes out for those happy little red tags.

The bad...

Honestly, everything else. I wasn't impressed with anything of the other pieces my local store had. You can see where all of the corners were cut -- bad fabrics, unflattering cuts, weird colors. Let's start with this plaid coat. Would you like to look at least twice as big as you actually are? Oh, you wouldn't? This weekend bag is all form, no function. It looks great, but it won't hold much -- I mean, I think you could barely stuff that ugly plaid coat in there. This poncho is...awful. And the fabric in this blouse was odd -- so thin but somehow stiff and crunchy. Do not want.

So, all in all: meh. I have such mixed feelings about these collabs. I still remember the excitement of Isaac Mizrahi's Target line and Stella McCartney's amazing collection for H&M all those years ago. It just made a lot of sense. Why not take those brilliant, high-end designers and match them with retailers who could produce clothes in quantities and at prices that are accessible to the masses? You're not going to get runway caliber looks, but that's cool. I don't have plans to be on a runway (or a red carpet, or the Oscars) anytime soon. These lines should be a win-win-win, but it is kind of amazing how many times they miss the mark. I want to see smart, wearable clothes, not sad ponchos and hoo-ha curtains. 

Still, I'm hopeful that the next one, or maybe the one after that, will bring back the fun. See you at UNIQLO later this month?