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Style

Leggings Are Not Pants

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I think it’s time to have a serious talk.

For the past few years my eyes have been assaulted by what may be the A#1 style offense and what I’ve seen cannot be unseen. Even with all of the YOU TUBE rants and viral images and videos, it seems that people choose not to listen.

If in the small chance you are one of those people, let me make this clear:

Leggings are NOT pants.

Nope. No way. Absolutely not. Not even the “thick” and expensive LULULEMON styles.

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Leggings are one of three things —

1. A workout essential that wicks away moisture from the body while providing mobility and support.
2. A base layer on which outfits are built and layered upon.
3. A clothing alternative for those days when you remain in the privacy of your own home.

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You might be asking why I’m so vehemently against and enraged by the abundance of leggings in public. Well, in all honesty I have no desire to see your bumps, jiggles, pink lace underpants, or worse. Yup, lady who decided not to wear underpants — your ObGyn and I have had the same view. It ain’t pretty.

No matter how thin, toned and in-shape you are those lycra-spandex, stretchy, black leggings look awful. You could have the pristine bootie of a Michelangelo masterpiece, like a ripe peach. Nope, still bad.

So what’s a girl to do? Well, if a body conscious, slim-lined look is what you’re going for, here are some appropriate alternatives that will give you the look you desire and get you off my style sh*t list.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Here are some important style notes for you to keep in mind when shopping for black legging-type pants:

1. Look for thicker twill or ponte fabric blends which will keep everything pulled in and smooth. Both materials have some substance to them and will not become translucent when you bend over.

2. Denim, leather or suede are great substantial alternatives for leggings and will add texture and visual interest to your outfits.

3. When purchasing legging-type pants, look for pockets. They can be real working pockets, or simply a visual detail, but they immediately upgrade the legging to pant status.

4. Aim for a slightly higher rise. Super low rise pants are not only out of style, they are just not as comfortable and make muffin-top and exposed butt-crack inevitable. You don’t want either of those.

5. When styling legging-type pants, always consider proportions. If you are tight and slim on the bottom, you want to look for a fuller, looser top to balance everything out. Tunic length blouses, sweaters, tees or shirts look best. You want whatever top you choose to be at least hip length.

6. When in doubt, cover your butt.

OK, rant over… I feel slightly better now.

What style don’ts have been offending YOU lately?

XOXO-signature

(header image via)

Style

A Budget Friendly Guide To Spring Accessories

budget friendly guide to spring accessories

The end-of-winter apparel rut is hitting hard.

This is when even your favorite, cozy sweaters and those boots you couldn’t wait to wear in November just aren’t cutting it anymore. Stores have started to stock their shelves for the spring, but mentally and physically — hello, it’s still freezing outside! — you’re not quite there yet.

Once again, accessories are the budget friendly heroes that save the day. Punchy accessories in spring tones make a statement and give those winter duds an easy update to gradually ease your way into the next season. Better yet, some strategically selected accessories will help you incorporate some of spring’s major trends without busting your budget, or filling your closet with unnecessary clutter.

So without further adieu, here is my consolidated list of spring’s best budget friendly accessories!

CHOKER

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We touched on one of spring’s breakout jewelry trends a few weeks ago and I’m happy to see that retailers are also gung-ho on the CHOKERS + COLLARS I was raving about! This little 90’s reboot is making big waves in the accessory world and I’m on board.

(scroll through for all of my top picks!)

SMALL SCARF

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It all started with the emergence of the BANDANA, but based on the editorials I’ve been seeing it’s definitely time to put away our oversized blanket scarves. Small, silk scarves are everywhere and they look just as fabulous whether tightly wrapped and knotted, or tied loosely around the neck.

(scroll through for all of my top picks!)

MINIMALIST BAG

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One of the best ways to fake high-end luxury is through minimalist design. The simpler and less embellished the handbag, the more expensive it looks — a la CELINE. Luckily for us, this modern spin on classic handbag design is growing in popularity and now can be accessible at all price points.

(scroll through for all of my top picks!)

SUNGLASSES

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The shape of the season is definitely oversized and/or round!

(scroll through for all of my top picks!)

LEATHER MULES + SLINGBACKS

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It seems as though after all of these years of high stiletto heels, women are finally getting a podiatrist approved footwear reward in the form of mid-heel leather mules and slingbacks. After being seen all over the runways last September, these lady-like shoe styles are finally hitting the stores in time for our spring wardrobe refresh!

Coco Chanel would be so proud.

(scroll through for all of my top picks!)

What accessories will YOU be adding to your collection this season?

XOXO-signature

Style

4 Styles of Pants Every Woman Should Own

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Everyone always has their preferences and strong opinions about what kind of pants are on trend and this season is no exception. We’ve recently seen the introduction of a few new silhouettes like WIDE LEGS, CULOTTES and even MOM JEANS and I’ll be the first to admit that these looks are absolutely not for everyone unless you’re more the adventurous type, a model, or employed by the fashion industry.

Today’s post is all about sorting through the sartorial noise and focusing in on only the classic styles of pants that will be flattering on the majority and here to stay for a long, long time.

Skinny

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These are no doubt the MVP of your pants. Women love them — so do men. They mold to your body and highlight your best… ahem… assets. They’re also versatile workhorses and can be easily dressed up with a blazer or dressed down with your softest tee and sneakers. The COLLECTIVE HORROR THAT SKINNIES WERE OUT rocked the nation, but don’t worry, these spandex wonders are here to stay.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Boyfriend

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Slightly less popular than the skinnies, boyfriend styles have been gaining traction. These days everything from CHINOS to DESTROYED BOYFRIEND DENIM can be found to suit your personal style. I will say that boyfriend jeans require a bit more patience and work on your part to find the perfect fit. Adjusting sizing and brands and trying on as many pairs as possible, ensures you end up with the most flattering style. But when you do… they are oh, so good! The looser, casual style is a nice contrast when paired with more formal, structured tops.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Flare

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Flares get my vote for most figure flattering bottoms. Their long, lean style and gradual flare below the knee balance out hips and visually trick the eye, making the wearer appear pounds thinner and inches taller. Flares are also the most office appropriate out of the bunch and make for a great suiting option for those of you in more formal work environments.

SHOP THE LOOK:

Leather

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Leather, suede, pleather, coated denim… any of these denim alternatives fall into this category. What we’re looking for here is an alternative to the standard texture and materials typically found in your closet. Leather can provide this great edge to an otherwise very vanilla style and makes even your most basic white t-shirt “outfit-worthy.” The thicker, structured materials never hurt anyone either when it comes to sucking everything in and slimming out the silhouette!

SHOP THE LOOK:

The Heart's Delight Stella Compiseno

(header image via)

Style

Copy Cat: Mules

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Honestly, I think one of the saddest days of the year is when I finally swap out my fun summer shoes and sandals for the staple boots and booties that will carry me through the next 6-8 months.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a great boot (especially THIS or THIS one!), but there’s just something about summer footwear that makes me happy… which is why I had a small rush of excitement when I came across this street style photo that was:

1) perfectly fall appropriate
2) easy to replicate
3) involved summer mules

SWEATER // JEANS // SATCHEL // MULES // SUNGLASSES

With just the right amount of coverage, mules are a great shoe to make that transition to fall footwear a little less intense.  Personally, I’m loving the chunkier block heel versions for everyday wear. A girl’s gotta walk (and occasionally chase after rogue children when they escape her grip in a busy parking lot), right?

SHOP THE LOOK:

XOXO-signature

Style

Leather Vest

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The prospect of a full week of sunshine and warm temperatures ahead has me feeling practically giddy! It’s amazing what a little Vitamin D will do to a mood. In addition to the little weather inspired perk in my step, I’ve also been on a creative streak with new ideas that I’ve been trying to keep as organized as possible for future post use down the line.

Lately, it seems as though inspiration is everywhere.

Colors of the new floral buds, the blooming trees, bright blue skies… the soft leather vest I saw this past weekend while styling at THE A LIST POP UP. Unfortunately for me, the leather vest was not for sale, but the woman wearing it (who coincidentally can make anything look good) inspired me to do a bit of vest research myself. I think I need a leather vest. Yeah, yeah… want vs. need. I actually think I need this vest.

Here’s why:

1) It just looks cool.

2) It’s a great topper for those days when it’s too warm to wear a full sleeved jacket, but you need a little something.

3) It adds interest and dimension to any basic outfit. Remember we spoke about THE THIRD PIECE?

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So, who’s with me?! Here’s another little vest sweetener… given the change of seasons, many really classic and great quality leather vests are currently on major sale! It’s seriously time to get after it.

Shop the look below:

XOXO signature

(header image via)

Style

Fanny Pack

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I’m totally laughing right now…

Never once did I expect when starting a style blog that I’d ever be writing about the fanny pack. More importantly, I’d never imagined writing about it in a fashion “do” kind of way. Yes, my friends. I think the ever-mocked fanny pack may have warmed it’s way into my heart… and potentially, my closet.

First things, first. Let’s stop calling it a fanny pack. Re-brand that bad boy with a chic and trendy new name: the waist bag. Better, right? Next, let’s re-imagine the waist bag as a functional, practical and STYLISH accessory… because that’s what it is. Or what it COULD be.

Every time I travel back to NYC, I can’t help but take mental notes of all of the street styles the much-cooler-than-me-girls are wearing around town. I find that clothes and accessories really need to be worn by real people to bring them to life. My last trip involved an afternoon spent in the West Village and SoHo and a count of at least 4 covetable waist bags. The women wearing them looked effortless and put-together, not the frazzled tourist you’re probably imagining.

Here are some more images of fashionable ladies being fashionable with their fashionable fanny packs… err… I mean, waist bags!

Leopard Belt Bag / Paulien Riemis
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Is this fanny pack/waist bag thing old news to you? Have you been rocking the fanny pack for years or do you still need a bit more convincing?

XOXO signature

P.S.- In case you were wondering, my all time favorite waist bag is by French designer, CLARE V. They’re just simple and effortless (and really reasonably priced!). A pretty great combo, in my opinion.

Style

Spring’s Bright Bags

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I was doing a bit of closet inventory last night in preparation for a style presentation I’m giving later this week, when I realized that there was a serious issue with my accessory game: I had a sad lack of color.

Greys, taupes, black, brown… no problem there. However, anything brighter than that and I’m S.O.L. Life is full of lessons and I’m sharing two of them in this post:

1) If you can’t see it, you don’t know you have it… or don’t have it, in my case.

2) Every girl needs one of spring’s bright bags.

First, let’s tackle the more difficult lesson #1…

While my closet is generally a well oiled and organized machine, I don’t have a good display area for my bags. For the past few years, I’ve been storing them in their dust bags in assorted bins lining my top shelf. Not terrible, but not quite an effective way to see what I’ve got and make the most of it.

In order to actually make use of your wardrobe (and the money you’ve invested in building it!) you need to be able to see what you have. Make sure that all of your accessories are just as organized and cared for as your clothes. I’m not quite sure what the best solution for my personal closet is (yet), but if you have the space I highly recommend THIS ORGANIZATIONAL SYSTEM. It makes simple work of getting all of your handbags in order, keeping them in great condition (not scrunched in the bottom of a bin) and visible/accessible for everyday use.

Now onto lesson #2… Let’s get shopping for some bright, fun bags!

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 //10

Out of curiosity, how do you guys store your handbags? Hopefully, you can offer up some creative storage solutions that can keep all your bags looking pristine and in view in a tight closet space!

XOXO signature

P.S. For those of you ready to get shopping, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE‘s Friends & Family sale is going on now! You can receive up to an additional 30% merchandise (including some of spring’s bright bags!) with code FRNFAM!

 

Style

Backpackin’.

backpackin' top backpack leather bag accessory The Heart's Delight Stella CompisenoHave you ever found something you loved in a store or online and for whatever reason, decided not to purchase it at the time, only to endlessly think about the (fill in the blank) you left behind?  Of course, when you go back to finally buy it, it’s gone, gone, gone. Welcome, to my world! A few weeks ago, I came across THE MOST PERFECT REBECCA MINKOFF TAN LEATHER BACKPACK at my local TJ Maxx (I’m a Maxxinista, all the way.) I physically carried the bag around the store for 46 min (exactly) then, at the last minute, felt guilty buying another bag and put it back on the shelf. OK, I may have found the darkest, deepest hook on the most inconspicuous rack and hung it there hoping it would stay in stock long enough to be further discounted. Well, my efforts were futile. Some lucky shopper found my backpack score of the year and I wish her the best… maybe. I’m still a little bitter.

Hopefully, this little anecdote taught you 2 things:

  1. At a store like TJ Maxx, where inventory is constantly changing, it always makes sense to buy, evaluate and return later, if needed.
  2. Backpacks really are the best.

This little backpack trend is in line with the resurgence of athletic wear in casual settings. What better to coordinate with your luxe wool-blend skinny sweats and graphic tee/sweatshirts than a backpack? These backpacks are not the school bags you may be picturing. The backpack I’m referring to is sleek, leather and has a casual luxury about it.  Best of all, it’s practical- for work, for travel, for chasing your kids around the playground. For all you overachievers out there, a backpack is the perfect companion for effective (and stylish) multitasking. Trust me on this one.

Rather than waste more precious time reminiscing about “the one that got away,” here are a few more gorgeous backpacks that have caught my eye:

Will YOU be giving the backpack a try? More importantly, what are your biggest shopping regrets? I would love to know that I’m not alone!

XOXO signature

Style

Motorcycle Mama

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I’m by no means tough. Actually, quite the opposite- I’m one of the most sensitive people you’ll come across. I cry while watching animated movies with my kids. I shed tears when reading about random people, with random stories of heartache and/or illness on Facebook. I even unleashed the waterworks when my 5 year old son told me that “I was fired” one random afternoon. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s a combination of sensitive AND hormonal!?

Unbalanced estrogen levels aside,  I’m constantly surprised by the types of styles I’m most attracted to: edgy, architectural, graphic pieces. Dare I say it, TOUGH. At the top of that list of style attraction lies my most favorite wardrobe staple of all- the motorcycle jacket. I currently have two in my rotation and I can’t wait to add more. The structured shoulders help broaden my frame, while the jacket bottom nips my waistline at just the right spot giving me the coveted hourglass shape. Over a cocktail dress or distressed jeans, a moto jacket instantly ups your style quotient.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 (JUST sold out as I was putting this together, but THIS is a similar style) // 5 (Real leather for under $200!? It exists.) // 6 // 7 // 8 (Love the bow detail!)

How will YOU style your moto jacket?

XOXO,

Stella