What I Wore: Lace and Polka-dots

I recently discussed my preoccupation with mint as a wonderful addition to my summer wardrobe’s color palette. Continuing the theme of summer style, I decided to combine a few other seasonal trends to create this whimsical look:

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I really love how the lace and polka-dots looked together.

Polka-dots and lace, living together in harmony...

Polka-dots and lace, living together in harmony…

I also thought fuchsia was a nice pop of color. I can dress very casually for my job, but the building is heavily air-conditioned so I always need to plan an optional layering piece for some extra warmth. The cardigan worked with my pointed-toe flats to add vibrancy.

Any-hoo, here are the different elements of my look:

-Seven polka-dotted skinny jeans (Gap, Talbots, J. Crew)

-Valerie Bertinelli lace top (Forever 21, Forever 21, Ann Taylor, Piperlime, Piperlime)

-Talbots charming cardigan in fuschia

-Talbots pointed-toe suede flats (BCBG at DSW, Talbots, Kate Spade at Zappos)

I also added a long jeweled pendant necklace:

Jeweled necklace

Long pendant necklace

My necklace is from Forever21, but you can easily buy a similar pendant of much higher quality from a different vendor, I found several options (Express, Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co. -this one’s good luck!). Specifically, I stumbled upon this amazing Pearl Vial Necklace from House of Harlow! It’s not just for show, the faux-pearl cap actually unscrews to reveal a tiny storage space. Is it awful that this immediately reminded me of the Cruel Intentions rosary necklace?

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If I hadn’t just gone on that irresponsible shopping binge at Talbots, I might consider buying it, it’s on sale! Have you made any wonderful and unexpected shopping finds recently? Are you loving the mixture of dots and lace, or could you do without? Feel free to leave comments, and visit my pinterest page for more unique finds!

My Favorite Jeans: Minty Fresh

It seems to me that the world is obsessed with mint this season- and I’m absolutely part of the frenzy! Mint is a perfect summertime color, it’s so gentle and cool. Unfortunately, it looks best against a glowing tan, something that I will just never have. Wearing mint near my face completely washes me out, but I have found a solution: colored denim.

Talbots Signature Fit Colored Denim Crop Jean $69.50

Talbots Signature Fit Colored Denim Crop Jean $69.50

I purchased these about a month ago, and I have definitely been getting my money’s worth! These denim mint crops are from Talbots (shown above), but here’s a gorgeous full-length pair on Piperlime, and a less expensive pair from Target as well.

Using my mint denim, on three different days I put together 3 different outfits:

1.) Worn with a Mossimo flats (Payless, Victoria’s Secret), Talbots Summer 2012 sleeveless white embroidered blouse (Talbots, Loft) and Talbots Floral-Stripe Cardigan. I love that the denim picks up a color in the cardigan that one otherwise might not have noticed.

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2.) Worn with the same shoes, a single-button navy blazer, and navy striped tee. I actual stole this one from a stylish coworker. I describe where to find these pieces in a previous post, but here’s a another great navy blazer from Banana Republic, and an extremely affordable striped v-neck tee at J. Crew Factory.

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3.) This look is a departure from the first two, no navy or royal blue at all! The long cream boyfriend cardigan is from American Eagle. It’s about five years old now (it might be the oldest item in my closet,), but this one at Nordstrom is similar. The gold-dotted Monteau top is not available, but I found a few other neutral/metallic combination tops that would work (Nordstrom, Tommy Hilfiger, Forever21).

How are you working mint into your summer wardrobe? Check out my mint board on pinterest for some interesting ideas!

What I Wore: Black, Neutral and Gold Bows

In a previous post I longed to buy every adorable item offered up in Talbots’ ongoing Friends and Family sale, and I admitted that I had already splurged a little bit. Today I could not wait to wear a few of my newest pieces, including a Tee Dress in black, and the Rhinestone Bow Necklace– both of which arrived as part of Talbots’ new May line!

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The Tee dress is a great buy because it can be thrown on with a pair of flip-flops and a tote when worn to the beach, or it can be accessorized with some eye-catching jewelry and a pair of take-no-prisoner’s heels for a night out.

100% cotton with gold button details on the shoulder, $69.50

100% cotton with gold button details on the shoulder, $69.50

I’m only 5’3″, so garments without much shape usually overwhelm my frame. Since the potato-sack look is never chic, I paired the Tee Dress with a belt to accentuate my waist and add polish. Here’s the final result:

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Really the entire look only has four pieces: the dress, the necklace, the belt, and the nude flats. It’s so simple, and more importantly… so comfortable! The gold belt is Lilly Pulitzer’s Skinny Obi Belt, and any nude flats will do, but mine were a steal at Target.

Lilly Pulitzer's Skinny Obi Belt $38

Lilly Pulitzer Skinny Obi Belt $38

Women's Mossimo Supply Co. Ona Patent Scrunch Ballet Flat - Blush $14.99 (Only in Target stores)

Women’s Mossimo Supply Co. Ona Patent Scrunch Ballet Flat – Blush $14.99 (Only in Target stores)

How would you style a simple t-shirt dress? Do you have a favorite must-have summer item that seems to work in every situation and environment?

What I Wore: April Errands

I took a few photos of the simple outfit I wore to run errands and drop by some shops on Thursday. It’s very casual and continues the nautical theme that has been winding through many of my posts.

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I was wearing:

A simple navy tank top

A Cable and Gauge cardigan (similar at JC Penny, House of Fraser, Madewell)

Lucky Brand Charlie Skinny Jeans -I should mention I am obsessed with these, they are the most comfortable jeans I have ever owned.

Charlotte Russe Lace-Front Canvas Boat Shoes in navy  -These cost only $12.50 and are an amazing deal, I ran around in them all day, and they didn’t bother me once!

…and various gold bangles…

The bangles shown above consist of 3 types: 1) A starfish bangle (similar at Overstock.com, Etsy) 2) Simple sparkly bangles (similar at Coach, Swarovski) 3) A Pavé Crystal Bangle (mine is from Talbots, but find similar at Nordstrom, Piperlime, Piperlime).

I may officially qualify as a cardigan collector, I just counted and I have… 30! Granted, that’s including thick winter cardis and flyaways, but it’s still a shameful number- oops! Do you have a favorite cardigan that adds pop to any outfit?

Brand Spotlight: The Talbots Friends and Family Sale

I’ve mentioned before that Talbots is one of my favorite brands, they have a great mixture of fun and classic pieces. Their Friends and Family Sale started last week and will continue until May 6th. That means 30% off everything!

The storefront of the original Talbots in Hingham, MA - still in operation today.

The storefront of the original Talbots in Hingham, MA – still in operation today.

I may have gone a little crazy on my last shopping trip- but they honed in on my girliest weaknesses: lace, coral, mint, bows, sparkle… they have it all. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from their most recent collection:

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As shown above:

Pia Lace and Metallic Leather Peep-toe flats $119

Pineapple Basket Wrap $59.50

Cabochon Teardrop Earrings in celery $29.50

Vine-Lace Sheath in ivory $199

Rhinestone Bow necklace $59.50

Polka-Dot Wrap in cherry sorbet $59.50

Paisley Lace Top in cherry sorbet $79.50

There are so many perfect stand-out pieces for summer! I also love these little scottie-dog socks

Will you be visiting the Talbots Friends and Family Sale? Do you agree with my picks? Which of the items is your favorite?

New Brand Crush: Warby Parker

Last weekend I visited one of my all-time favorite people! He and I have been close friends since high school, and although at first glance we both seem to have completely transformed since then, I have only grown to appreciate him more. He is creative, spontaneous, and stylish. Recently one of his friends went to work for Warby Parker, and through that friend he has gotten to know the company and has become a passionate proponent of what they’re trying to do: transform the eye-glass industry.

Doesn’t sound revolutionary enough for you? Most glasses are produced by just a few powerful companies who artificially control and inflate prices. Warby Parker was founded in 2010 by several former students of the Wharton School of Business who saw that heavy-handed market control and price inflation as a problem that they wanted to solve. Not only did they decide to produce incredibly stylish glasses at a much lower price, they pledged that every pair of glasses they sold would be matched with a pair given away to someone in need through the charity VisionSpring, in their own words, “Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses. This means that 15% of the global population cannot effectively learn or work – a problem that Warby Parker is determined to address.”

I was already impressed by my friend’s endorsement and the company’s mission, then charmed by their… let’s be honest… adorable company bios, when I began looking through the actual glasses. I wasn’t disappointed. I found that different pairs were in turn, funky, classic and stylish. I am really lusting after the Liv sunglasses in Burgundy Fade, and they’re only $95!

Warby Parker Liv Sunglasses in Burgundy Fade $95

Warby Parker Liv Sunglasses in Burgundy Fade $95

While Warby Parker does the majority of their business online, they just opened a flagship store at 121 Greene St. in Soho.

Warby Parker Flagship Store in Soho- photo from the Hollywood Reporter

Warby Parker Flagship Store in Soho- photo from the Hollywood Reporter

Warby Parker has gained  popularity in an incredibly short amount of time, and you can spot their sunglasses in editorial spreads in magazines and in one of my favorite blogs, College Prep. It’s always more fun to support a company when you believe in their mission, and it’s hard not to endorse the lofty goals of Warby Parker. As Genevieve Bahrenburg wrote in her article for Vogue, Warby Parker has a simple message, “Look sharp, pay less, do good.”

Feeling your Best: Inside and Out

I think one of the greatest burdens of American women is that we often foster shame within ourselves. Over the past sixty years our society has evolved immensely, and now we are constantly sent conflicting messages about who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to feel. We should look like models but cook like Paula Deen, have ambitious professional aspirations but always put others before ourselves, act like ladies but never be high-maintenance. Sometimes I feel like the more choices we are given, the more ways there are for people to disapprove of the decisions we make.

I very much want to read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Sandberg seems to believe that for the most part, what’s holding women back is no longer external forces or a lack of opportunity, but an unwillingness to seize those opportunities and relinquish our cultural shame.

Lean In:

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

I have a daily battle with that shame and insecurity, and I tend to be very self-critical. I’m working hard to become a more courageous and confident person, and luckily I have incredible friends who build me up. Having command of the message I send out to the world always gives me a big confidence boost and a healthy creative outlet, and that’s one of the many reasons I love makeup and fashion.

Sometimes wearing makeup is really a placebo; when I’m having a bad day and feel like I just look awful, it shields me from the world. Other times, it allows me to explore and play. Taking pride in my appearance gives me a sense of control and self-assurance. Rather than focusing on that ugly hook in my nose or the fact that my eyes are too close together, using cosmetics is all about knowing your strengths and emphasizing your best features (don’t you listen to Carmindy on What Not to Wear?)

In that spirit, let me tell you two things that I happen to like about myself, one within and one without. 1) Although I crave approval, I never compromise my character and violate my morals in order to satisfy peer pressure. 2) I have very long eyelashes.

My eyes and eyelashes are my best feature, and I’m often asked what mascara I use. I’ve tried almost every brand. I absolutely love Covergirl Lashblast. It’s sold everywhere, and it’s only about $7. I don’t need the extra length, so I use Volume (in the orange case), while most of my friends love the Clump crusher (in the green case).

Lashblast Volume Mascara, my all-time favorite!

Lashblast Volume Mascara, my all-time favorite!

Covergirl Clump Crusher by Lashblast Mascara

Covergirl Clump Crusher by Lashblast Mascara

When I stopped by Sephora the other day I was also given a free sample of another mascara, and it’s wonderful! Of course it’s a price jump ($23), but my lashes really do look false when I use it. It’s called “They’re real!”  how can you not enjoy that sassy name?

Benefit Cosmetics: They're Real! Mascara at Sephora

Benefit Cosmetics: They’re Real! Mascara at Sephora

If you look closely all three mascaras have a wand that combs lashes rather than brushing them, this helps prevent clumps and uni-lashes.

I’ve told you mine, now tell me yours! Let me know your favorite mascara, and please, instead of focusing on all the things you wish you could change about yourself, feel pride rather than shame! What are two qualities that you like about yourself?

Cosmetics: Making-it-up as I go

Makeup! I love it, I use it every day, but I would not consider it my area of expertise.

Before college I rarely wore anything other than mascara and gloss, but I was lucky enough to be thrown into the same orbit as a girl who became one of my closest friends. She is what I would comfortably classify as a cosmetics expert. Every Friday when classes were over the girls in my dorm would begin to get ready to go out. They would turn up the speakers, turn on their flat irons, and line up at her door to beg her to do their makeup. Some people have a talent and a passion for cosmetics which elevates what they do to a plane beyond simply striving to look their best, and allows them to create a new work of art every day.

I do not have that passion and talent, but I benefited from being in the vicinity of someone who does. My friend taught me few tricks (she gently instructed me to contour before I knew what contouring was), and whatever holes were left in my basic cosmetics education have generally been filled by the steady tutelage of pinterest.

Through every other experiment I have conducted, two things have remained the same: my basic daily foundation (BareMinerals, which I really can’t ever imagine forsaking), and my blush. My attitude toward blush was basically that if it wasn’t broken, why fix it? Then,  a few weeks ago I was inspired by an article I read about coral, and I examined my makeup ritual more critically. I’ve been using the same Covergirl blush since high school, and though I once attempted to make the switch to a BareMinerals product, the result was essentially the same… and Covergirl was less expensive (in my experience Covergirl is an incredible value for the price).

Still a great buy for around $5 at any drugstore!

Still a great buy for around $5 at any drugstore!

Covergirl’s Iced Plum, a shade I have happily used for years

Well no more! I stopped by Sephora the other day and snagged a fabulous blush from NARS, a brand many of my friends swear by. To be honest, at $29 I consider it a splurge for a blush, but it’s high-quality product that I know I’ll use every day. “Torrid” is much brighter than my previous blushes, and perfect for summer! Sephora calls it “coral with shimmer.” They appear to be out, but it’s still available at Lord & Taylor.

NARS Torrid: My favorite new product!

NARS Torrid: My favorite new product!

I LOVE IT! I would highly recommend this color, but even if you are not on the market for a new blush, break out of your comfort zone and experiment with something new. Even if that something is small, you have to start somewhere!

Personally, I’m ready for suggestions. What’s your favorite blush or cosmetic product?

What I wore: One of those days

Yesterday was just one of those days. I had to wake up very early; I was tired, I was grumpy, and I anticipated doing some mild manual labor. I just wanted to wear something comfortable. So I wore this!

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Outfit: Tea n’ Rose Cardigan (similar: Nordstrom, The Outnet, Loft, Charlotte Russe),  Michael Kors Jeans, Calvin Klein infinity scarf (similar: Target), White v-neck tee, and Jessica Simpson metallic snakeskin flats (easily substituted with gold flats, leopard flats, or these).

It’s about as basic as you can get, but I liked the trendy spring pop of sherbert, and though you might not be able to make it out in the shot, my earrings were mint. It was very soft and easy to move in, which fit my purposes perfectly.

I love the popular spring and summer colors this year; turquoise and coral have been everywhere, along with their more subdued mint and peach cousins. I already have mint jeans (more about that later) but I’m still trying to find other ways to work these splendid hues into my wardrobe. Any suggestions?

I especially love this look, found on pinterest:

Courtesy of Lilly's Style

Courtesy of Lilly’s Style

What an easy way to work this spring trend into a classic wardrobe! The eponymous Lilly is one of my favorite bloggers because of her creative ensembles. If you’re on pinterest, it’s likely you’ve been pinning quite a few of her photos without even realizing where they came from. This outfit is grand because it works with pieces that you probably have hanging in your closet already. My favorite items are always the staples you can recycle in a hundred completely different looks.

Her coral cardigan was purchased some time ago, so here are a few options other than what she lists on her site: The Tippi Cardi in light nectar at J. Crew, The Charming Cardi in pink flamingo at Talbots.

What I Wore: My Week of Nautical Nonsense Continues

As the weather warms and the highlights begin to appear in my hair (thank goodness), my love of nautical nonsense is growing. Energized by my experiment yesterday, I decided to post a few other nautical outfits I have stashed away in my closet!

1. Talbots does nautical: white jeans and a navy striped top; navy blazer optional:

Talbots Sequin Stripe Tee, Talbots Slimming Colored Jeans in White, Talbots peep-toe sling-back espadrilles (summer 2012)

Talbots Sequin Stripe Tee, Talbots Slimming Colored Jeans in White, Talbots peep-toe sling-back espadrilles (summer 2012, similar here)

I didn’t realize until I posted that photo that every piece I’m wearing comes from Talbots, but it is one of the best stores to find classic preppy staples. Once again, I apologize for the poor quality of the photo.

And in this shot: a well-cut blazer and poor camerawork!

And in this shot: a well-cut blazer and poor camerawork!

2. Prime colors play well together

I wore the following outfit on the first warm day of the season, and it was wonderful. I rolled the windows down and drove with one of my closest friends to our nearest yogurt shop. I was happily delirious from the combination of sunshine and sugar!

The dress was a Calvin Klein on Clearance, the purse I snagged at Forever 21, the shoes are the same ones worn above!

The dress is Calvin Klein – no longer available, Forever 21 bag, Express flats

I also added an over-sized white blazer with rolled up sleeves for some extra warmth since it was breezy outside.

 

The white blazer is from Talbots- summer 2012

The white blazer is from Talbots- summer 2012

From another angle

From another angle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The white blazer and dress are no longer available- so here are a few similar pieces:

Links below:

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Essential Striped Dress at Forever21- originally $22.80, Calvin Klein Cap sleeve striped mini-dress with belt at Piperlime – $89, Gap Printed Sateen Sweetheart Dress-originally $69.95, H&M Jacket in natural white– $39.95 in stores

What are your favorite nautically inspired looks and pieces? Let me know in the comments section, and check out our pinterest board for more ideas!