The Look for Less: 1st Edition

It’s overdone, it’s obvious, but I’m about to run with it anyway…. “the look for less!”

The fabulous designer styles I will be recreating this week belong to Beyoncé and the blog “Classy Girls Wear Pearls” (which I highly recommend).

Although Beyoncé was not included in my recent post about style icons, her look is a wonderful blend of fierce glamor and casual confidence. This particular ensemble is a great one to try at home because you probably already have half these items in your closet, and if you don’t, you should. I substituted riding boots for the lace wedged booties that the songstress is wearing in the image. It’s great to put looks together for less, but if you can afford a pair of well-made riding boots you love, I would recommend that you snatch them off that lonely shelf, run to the nearest store register, and never look back.

Blogger Sarah Vickers has a preppy all-American vibe (as if you couldn’t tell from the outfit), and a closet that would make any fashionista swoon with its mix of vintage designer finds and reliable well-cut pieces.

Feel free to send me pictures of other outfits you’d love to recreate for less, and check out our pinterest page for other great shopping finds for the shopper who likes to splurge, the responsible shopper, and the shopper who loves a bargain!

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6 Trends to Try this Autumn

Fall is finally here, why not include some of this season’s hottest must-haves on your back to school list? As the leaves turn the color of flames and you start packing away those summer shorts, go shopping for items that include saturated tones, over-the-top glitz and wild textures and patterns. Here are a few fall trends to watch out for, and experiment with!

I put together a selection of each style for the shopper who likes to splurge, the responsible shopper, and the shopper who loves a bargain on pinterest under the board “Fall Trends.”

1. Feel Regal in Baroque Detailing

All about embellishments and ornamentation, this style is a refreshing change from recent minimalism. Just be aware, although it is fun to play with the gold leaf patterns and regal shimmer now, these pieces may not be ones that work in a few years.

Lipsy Baroque Mesh Top £40.00, ASOS Dolly Dress $127.73, Manolo Blahnik Swan at Barneys $1,295

2. Deep Reds; Oxblood, Wine, Scarlet, Pomegranate, Candy Apple

If you are a more hesitant shopper, or prefer investment pieces that will last you years, this may be the trend for you. Although many of these items are very of-the-moment, they can also work for years to come. It’s a way to work sexy tones of red into your wardrobe without being too loud, or work-inappropriate.

Background, left to right: Lace Panel Button Up in Burgundy and Black at Forever21.com $19.80, Dress at H US $34.95, Lace Pencil Skirt in Rich Pomegranate at Ann Taylor $88, Akris Punto Belted Jacket at Saks.com $1,460. Foreground, left to right: Equestrian Suede Clutch at Talbots $99, Manolo Blahnik CC at Barneys New York $595.

3. Hats off to Cap-toed Shoes

I have no idea how long this will be fashionable, but this footwear can be playful or classic, and it is easy to do on the cheap- there are even tutorials describing how to make your own on pinterest!

Left to right: “Ann” pump at Shoedazzle.com $29.96, Penelope Pointy Toe Pumps at Ann Taylor Loft $79.50, Vince Camuto VC Signature Prunell Pump at shoptheshoebox.com $250.

4. Sink your teeth into Houndstooth

Care to look sophisticated? Houndstooth is wonderful because although it may be “in” right now, this pattern is a classic standby that has never really gone “out,” so chances are you can use these pieces for a long as they last. Traditionally associated with the urbane and cultured, the pattern in black and white will always be chic, but younger readers may want to play around with houndstooth in bright pinks and blues, or unusual representations of the pattern.

Left to right: Club L Houndstooth Fit And Flare Dress on sale at Asos $37.47, Vince Camuto Houndstooth Printed Dress $128, look from Christian Dior Fall 2012 Runway

5. Be on the Hunt for Hunter Green

Another saturated color that has been all over the runways, hunter green done well can lead you elegantly into the holiday season. Green can be a tricky color with some complexions, but luckily jewel tones and darker shades are easier to pull off for almost everyone across the spectrum. If you really think the shade makes your skin look sallow (no one wants that), try it as a secondary color in a pattern or on your bottom half, so a different color is reflected near you face.

Left to right: Dress at H&M US $29.95, Talbots Grace Fit Cord Jacket $119, Saffield Silk Twill Blouse at toryburch.com $295

6. You knew “50 Shades” would reach the Runway eventually; Lace and Leather

Lace, and Lace panels, have actually been popular all summer- I know you saw those adorable lace shorts in cream, hot pink, and black. This winter turns the drama up with jewel-tones and stream-lined silhouettes. Leather accents were also all over the runway, and the two are sometimes married in pieces that juxtapose the innocent and the slightly naughty.

Left to right: Jersey Skirt with imitation patent leather front at H&M US $24.95, Tinley Road Vegan Leather Peplum Top at Piperlime $98, Christopher Kane Leather Trimmed Crepe Wool Halterneck Dress £1,105.00

There are certainly other trends worth experimenting with this fall, and you may find several rolled up into one piece. Have fun and try to avoid looking either like Liberace or a dominatrix. When in doubt, pair wild pieces with those classic items every woman should have in her closet. A few other styles you can watch for include tweed, snakeskin, fur collars, menswear inspired looks, animal prints, and faux military garb.

Which trends are you most excited to try, and which do you think should be on the list but aren’t? Dispense your fashion wisdom in the comments section below, and for bargains, investments and splurges check out our pinterest board!

4 Young Celebrity Style Icons Worthy of Imitation

There are some women who always appear effortlessly chic, who rarely misstep in the world of fashion, and who often make us sigh and wish we thought of their look first. Here is a short list of sincerely stylish young celebs who combine the classic, the daring, and the tasteful to create some of the best ensembles we see splashed across the pages of the world’s magazines.

1. Olivia PalerOlivia Palermo mixing Pattersmo

She has risen far above the heights of reality television villain on The City, and has ascended into the world of fashion Goddesses. So sleek and chic she has been called a real-world Blair Waldorf, she manages to blend colors, patterns, and textures in new and exciting ways while maintaining clean lines and a stunning (dare we say) ‘old-money’ look that is both luxurious and untouchable. The penultimate socialite, she has cultivated legions of fans across the fashion world simply by expressing her own personal style.

2. Rachel Bilson

A great example of how to do Hollywood Bohemian right, Rachel Bilson has made a name for herself in the fashion world- even acting as a stylist for Piperlime.  She is not afraid to channel a hippy-chick one day with a tiered maxi-skirt, and a punk princess the next in a delicate sundress and black combat boots. Her risks often pay off, but even when they don’t her look is uniquely her own.

3. Lauren Conrad

If there is one woman in Hollywood who knows how to mix and match basic pieces you probably already have in your closet and make them look fresh and sophisticated, it is Lauren Conrad. After all, she designs her own clothing lines and wrote the book on style (literally)! An all-American girl with a worldly sense of style, Lauren’s look is simple and classic.

4. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

No list of fashion icons could be complete without the inclusion of this royal formerly known as Kate Middleton. She has an ethereal beauty and a sense of grace that shines through with or without a royal title; she is our generation’s Grace Kelly. The blue Issa gown she wore during the announcement of her betrothel to Prince William was the dress seen round the world, and the first of many memorable looks. With a wardrobe fit for a princess, her clothes are an impeccable blend of tradition and modern design. Old or young, I do not know one woman who does not admire her serene demeanor and her always perfectly-coiffed hair.

In Jenny Packham

Check out our pinterest page to see other phenomenal looks from these starlets and princesses. Who deserved to make the list that didn’t, and who didn’t deserve to make it that did? Feel free to start a cat-fight in the comments section below.

The Great Shame of the Northeast: The College Co-Ed Uniform

I call on all Female College Students to Unite and Confess their Fashion Sins

Ladies, it’s okay. I understand. You have papers to write, tests to study for, and people to see. But is that really an excuse for the frightening level of conformity that has led many to call the following outfit a uniform? As autumn rolls around, you will return to your respective college campuses, and you will don the following ensembles. I want you to give yourself a hard look in the mirror, and ask yourself whether everyone else in your dorm is wearing the exact same thing. Time for some tough love.

North Face Womens Denali Fleece Jacket Black

And no, you’re not excused if you bought it in a different color

Ingredient One: The Denali Northface, commonly of the black variety

You will argue that it is versatile, that it lasts all winter- but let’s not pretend you don’t have to wear 14 layers underneath this paper-thin jacket of fluff because the wind cuts right through it. Note: If you have a separate “fake” one to wear to keg parties you should be extra-ashamed.

Ingredient Two: Uggs are Ugg-ly

These were cool 12 years ago, but their time has passed. I know they’re comfortable, but have some pride. You’re an ‘adult’ now, upgrade to riding boots. They only look like they match everything because they really don’t match anything.Classic Tall Ugg Boots

Exception to the rule: I give you a free pass during finals.

Ingredient 3: Black Leggings or Yoga Pants

Go back in that shoe-box sized dorm room and put some actual pants on RIGHT NOW.

Ingredient 4: A Pandora bracelet

You want everyone to know that you’re upper-middle class; mission accomplished. Just because your combination of ‘charms’ is different from those of your six girlfriends does not make you unique.

Ingredient 5: Express/AE Jeans

I felt this had to be included for honesty’s sake, but they’re real pants, so wear them with pride.

Longchamp

It’s so boring and predictable.

Ingredient 6: A Longchamp Bookbag

Occasionally substituted for a more exclusive designer label, these are nonetheless owned by 90% of female college students. To be fair, it is fairly durable. But no matter what you tell yourself, it is not stylish.

                                                                           Ingredient 7: A Coach Wristlet

I can’t help it. I love this.

I admit it, it’s practical (It fits so snugly in the pocket of your Northface) and can be any variation of designer wristlet. It’s still better than the lanyard it takes most college freshman a few weeks to replace. Please try to graduate to one without the dated signature C’s that scream for attention, though.

Am I wrong? Have I forgotten any ingredients? Let me know in the comments section!

10 Staples Every Woman Should Have In Her Closet

Some items are perennially in-style and flatter every figure. These pieces really are non-negotiable, but I meet women every day who still have not managed to furnish their closets with the most basic necessities of a modern working-girl’s wardrobe. It may sound sexist, but let’s be real; every man should know how to change a tire, and every woman should have these items in her home.

Readers can find a selection of each of these items for the Shopper who likes to Splurge, the Responsible Shopper, and the Shopper who loves a Bargain, at our Pinterest Board “Closet Staples.”

1. A pair of beautiful versatile black pumps.

These are for work, for play, for a special event… the uses are endless. Even if you are not a fashionista, every woman needs a pair of black heels that are appropriate for both an interview and a night out, and that make her legs look AH-mazing. I must admit I have (eek!) 10 pairs- each valuable in their own way- but if you are aiming to find a pair that will suit almost any occasion, look for a pump with a closed toe, a classic silhouette, and a heel that is between 2 and 3 1/2 inches. Anything higher might not be appropriate for a conservative work place, and anything lower really doesn’t count as a heel. I don’t care that you don’t know how to walk in them, it’s a skill worth cultivating.

For the Shopper who Loves a Bargain: Women’s Mossimo Black® Pamela Pointed Heel at Target, 3/12″ heel, $29.99

2. A flattering pair of dark jeans.

Skinny jeans are best, but not everyone feels comfortable in that cut. Straight and boot-cut styles can also be useful; find a pair that skims the top of your foot when you’re wearing a mid-height heel (so they can arguably be worn with every heel-height, low or high) and that make your badonk-a-donk look fantabulous. Dark wash jeans that make you feel amazing are an asset in any closet.

3. A fun patterned cardigan

This piece adds interest to any outfit, is safe for the office, and can dress different separates in your closet up or down. Try wearing it over a white button-town blouse and turning the cuffs of the shirt up, or experiment with belting it over a pencil skirt. Don’t you get cold in that frigid, air-conditioned office?

4. A fitted sweater in your favorite color

Wear it with jeans or wear it with a collared shirt underneath. It is a safe reliable piece that will take you through every season. You know your favorite color brings out your eyes and puts you in a great mood.

5. A pair of sophisticated nude pumps.

They go with everything and they make your legs look impossibly long. Why would you resist the urge to buy them? Believe it or not, black heels do not work perfectly under all circumstances; with lighter or brighter colored outfits they can look harsh. Nude heels solve that problem.

Christian Louboutin Nude Pumps

For the Shopper who likes to Splurge: Christian Louboutin Decollete 554 100mm nude patent leather pumps $625

5. A white-button down blouse

I’m praying you already have one, since they can be worn all year round anywhere and everywhere. I’ve already described how well they work with a sweater- it’s all about the accessorizing.

6. An LFD

I call this a “Little Fabulous Dress,” most women think black, but as long as it hits slightly above the knee, would be appropriate at a funeral or a cocktail party (to be blunt), and makes you feel lovely and confident, it will get the job done.

For the Shopper who Loves a Bargain: The Gemma Wrap Dress in Purple Orchid at Banana Republic, on sale for $68. The cinched waist, body-skimming cut, and v-neck shape flatter almost everyone.

7. A handbag that takes your breath away

Because you need a bag that is professional enough to double as a brief-case, feminine enough to be used as a regular purse, and that you absolutely love. Stick with solid leather in understated tones, but accept you may have to pay the most for this item. Suck it up, it’s an investment that will last you years!

A bag for the shopper who likes to Splurge: Tory Burch ‘Amanda’ Tote at Nordstrom $495

8. A small and elegant evening bag

This is for special events or an evening out when a full-sized shoulder back is just too much. Try a black or neutral-toned leather clutch if you want something extremely versatile that can be used on casual occasions as well.

9 and 10. A perfectly fitted black, navy or charcoal grey suit.

I cannot stress this enough, if you are, or plan on being, a female professional, you need to take yourself seriously. If you have a big presentation or an interview in conservative office setting, do not mix and match pieces: buy a suit. Chances are, even if you cannot tell the difference between blacks and navys, someone on the hiring team can. It’s not that they’re hiring you for your fashion sense, but they do care about the way you present yourself and your attention to detail. Once you own a suit that fits you impeccably, you can mix and match separates.

The pencil skirt

Wear it with a sequined tank and strappy heels on a Saturday night, and with a button-up blouse to work on Monday morning.

The blazer

The blazer really deserves its own heading, because it goes with everything. No, really it does! Lauren Conrad is the queen of mixing and matching closet staples, which may be why she is known for her classic and effortlessly chic style. She wears her blazer with skirts, dresses, jeans, heels; you name it. And it all looks fabulous.

Lauren Conrad

Here Lauren Conrad mixes and matches classic pieces.

So what essential item did I leave off the list? Let me know what I missed in the comments below, and follow us on Pinterest!