Search Results for: label/Autumn

Pantry Cleaning Recipe… Welcome Autumn! Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps

Ingredients:
Two portobello caps
One peach (though could be replaced with dried apricots, raisins or a small apple)
About two cups leftover cooked brown rice
Leftover half of a roll of goat cheese with fig (could easily switch with regular goat cheese, even use cream cheese… any soft cheese)
Half of an onion, chopped (I used a sweet yellow onion)
Nutmeg
Cayenne pepper
Last dregs of a beer (like 3-4 tablespoons)
Spray olive oil
Brown panko bread crumbs (I always have these on hand)
One veggie kielbasa sausage (can be replaced with any other faux or real meat), chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray fry pan with olive oil, sauté onion until translucent
Add sausage, two grinds of nutmeg and three shakes of pepper, stir occasionally on low-medium
Add the bit of beer for moisture, and also so you can toss the bottle into the recycling bin and clean up the living room.
Add peach, chopped (used peach because it was over-ripe and on hand)
Add rice
Put portobellos in oven on cookie sheet and let heat up for 5-10 minutes
Add goat cheese to mixture in fry pan and take off heat. Use wooden spoon or spatula to mix.
Overfill the mushroom caps with the mixture. Drizzle bread crumbs on top and ten spray with olive oil
Put back in oven for 10 minutes or until melty and heated through.

Serve with some sort of squash. I found a very cool looking one the size of a small eggplant that was green and yellow stripes that was $1.50 at the market. I cut in half, scraped out the seeds, added a bit of butter, maple syrup and brown sugar to the wells and cooked for 45 minutes on 350 degrees in the oven. Occasionally spread around the sugar butter mixture so it would soak through nicely. Wish I took a picture, the meal looked as good as it tasted!

My fashion for Friday – Old Navy yoga pants and tee shirt, husband’s Tool hooded sweatshirt. Me sans makeup, feeling boo boo kitty. Tres chic…

Didn’t get a flight to Florida, but feeling better. My sister is coming over today. Yesterday I forced myself to take a shower, get dressed and fixed up and get out of the house. Though I felt like being a slug on the couch, getting creative with what was on hand in the kitchen was very therapeutic. I love cooking for my husband, it’s like serving him a meal of love. He has been so great through all this and so understanding when I get all hormonal. He loved the meal (is a mushroom fan) and it was nice to cook something so seasonal.

Thursday: Little Bit of Leopard

Sweater: Gap
Pants: LOFT (similar)
Boots: DUO (similar style from same brand)
Necklaces: Ann Taylor
Silver cuff 
Bag: Sabina (similar)

Yesterday I wore a cardigan, jeans and flats to work and froze. Today I’m not taking any chances. This morning I woke up shivering; by time I left the house it had warmed up a bit but it was still sweater/fleece hoodie weather. It is truly Autumn in this area and I don’t feel ridiculous pulling out my boots before October since my office still has the A/C blasting!

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Tuesday

This is my trusty black jersey wrap dress from Talbots, my black leather “Maryland” boots from Ros Hommerson, silver chain from Ralph Lauren, silver cuff bracelet with green stones from Anne Koplik Designs, silver earrings from Treehouse.
Makeup is Laura Mercier Secret Foundation, Estee Lauder Nutritious foundation in Intensity 3.0, Cargo Matte BeachBlush, Maybelline Shine Seduction in Blushed Bass, Body Shop shadows in Slate and Soft Black, Cover Girl LashBlast mascara in Rich Black, Avon Glimmersticks in Midnight.
It is colder today – sure feels like Autumn!  I even took out my green pashmina to ward off chill as I waited for the morning train!

Ask Allie: Styling a Summer Dress for Fall and Winter

Can you possibly help style Loft’s Lou & Grey Ottoman Stripe Dress in Intense Burgundy? Love the dress but am struggling with what to wear in the cooler months of Autumn. Thanks SO much!

What a cute dress (also available in two other color combinations), how did I miss this during my many trips to LOFT? It is a great transitional dress, and quite a versatile color combination. Here’s a few ideas to wear the Lou & Grey Ottoman Stripe Dress as the weather gets colder:

How to Style a Summer Dress for Fall and Winter featuring the Lou & Grey Ottoman Stripe Dress from @LOFT


The easiest way to transition a short-sleeved dress for fall is with a denim jacket and boots. This year, denim jackets are prevalent in stores, so you can find a fit and wash that works for you. With the color of this dress, you can do anything from distressed light denim to a crisp dark resin finish. As for boots, any height will do, go with what looks most flattering for your body type. I chose a shorter boot to balance the volume of the dress, but if the dress is shorter on you or not as full a knee-high style would also work. Here, color is also up to you; brown, gray, camel, or black would work, but if you choose black be sure it’s a more casual boot (not super shiny, lower heel, rounder or chunkier toe) to complement the casual style of the dress. To add some warmth, sweater or cable tights in a color similar to the shoe (gray with gray, brown with brown or camel, gray or black with black) would fit the casual feel nicely.

How to Style a Summer Dress for Fall and Winter featuring the Lou & Grey Ottoman Stripe Dress from @LOFT


Who’s to say your layers have to be over the dress? A thin fitted turtleneck is a great way to extend your summer dresses into the cooler months. For this look I kept the under layers consistent with opaque non-shiny tights to match the turtleneck. A pair of booties adds some heft to the bottom of your figure to balance the casual style and volume of the dress.

How to Style a Summer Dress for Fall and Winter featuring the Lou & Grey Ottoman Stripe Dress from @LOFT


A long cardigan or sweater coat would work really well with a dress of this type. To make it dressier enough for a business casual office, I decided to stick with all black. A sleeker bootie with a heel will dress up the look without looking out of place. A smoky eye would add an artistic edge to the look; a pendant necklace would be a nice way to add interest and a bit of your own personal style.

Thursday

Now that my sister lives a half a mile away from me, we walk together many weekday mornings.  We meet at a halfway point in the neighborhood around 6am and this morning was so cold we thought our ears were going to fall off!  Autumn has officially arrived, and with it come the closed-toe shoes!

White ribbed tank from Gap, my black New York & Company trousers, gray fuzzy cardigan from Kenzie (which I bought last winter to fit over my pregnant belly and still love as a slouchy cozy coverup), black city boots from David Tate, silver necklaces from Ann Taylor and Ralph Lauren, silver cuff and silver earrings from Treehouse.
Hair was washed and conditioned last night and let air dry.  This morning when we went walking I put into a loose ponytail without brushing or combing.  When I got home I let it out and let it dry and then hit a few of the raggedy pieces with a curling iron.  I really want to let my hair grow long and let it get back to being curly – a very casual/beachy sort of look.  Then if I want some polish I can use a curling iron to make it into softer waves or straighten it with a round brush.  I hope to have a couple more inches in time for next summer.  With my next cut I plan to have the bangs angled a bit more so that they blend better into the hair when curly – right now they are sort of blunt (and too long) so that they have to be straightened or else they part in the middle and act weird.
My makeup is the classic look for me, but I did a smokey eye with Slate and Soft black shadows from The Body Shop and Avon Glimmersticks in Midnight along the lower lash line.
I will probably be buying a new mascara this weekend when I hit up Target – any suggestions on something that gives even more bang and intensity than Cover Girl’s LashBlast?

Ask Allie: Styling Navy for Fall and Winter

I purchased a buttload of navy items over the summer that I would love to transition into fall/winter. During the summer, I wore the skirts and blouses with a pair of navy high heeled Mary Janes and bare legs. For the fall/winter, I don’t know what to wear on the bottom. What color tights and shoes/boots should I wear?

I steered clear of navy for so many years because of this very reason. I didn’t want to buy navy shoes, my brown shoes looked too casual, black was deemed inappropriate and cognac was nearly impossible to find in stores. Well it’s 2014, navy is a hot color and there’s so many options to now wear with it!
navy with black

The old rule no longer applies, you CAN wear navy with black! Pair a navy dress or skirt with black tights and shoes and the look is quite fresh and modern. With this look, I treated the navy skirt as if it were any other color, and had black tights and booties anchor it. This is a good example of transitioning summer and early fall pieces into the cooler months.

navy with black shoes

For this second look, I show that black shoes with navy is no longer passé. Again, treating navy as a color instead of a neutral, the shoes become the neutral with navy trousers and a colorful blouse.

navy with brown

Navy and brown have always been a popular pairing, but it doesn’t have to look old fashioned or conservative. In this look, I took a navy dress that would be worn in summer with sandals or a pair of canvas TOMS and made it more appropriate to this time of year. Choosing camel or cognac provides a bit more contrast and feels youthful; a change of belt and Western-inspired accessories gives a completely different feel to the shirt dress.

navy with brown shoes

Brown and navy can look quite professional. To add some warmth on cool autumn days, consider a pair of sleek brown leather boots with your navy skirts and dresses. A bit of a heel and a slim profile best flatters a trim skirt and looks more professional than flat riding boots. No need to have your bag match your shoes, you can match the navy if you wish or incorporate a statement color like mustard, green, or red.

navy with gray

But black and brown are not your only options. Gray is a hot hue this fall and a wonderful pairing with navy. To give a clean modern look, I paired a simple navy sheath with gray tights and booties; a gray scarf pulls the look together and makes a sleeveless dress seasonally appropriate.

navy with burgundy merlot wine red color

Neutrals don’t have to be the only pairing for navy. I love wearing navy with a burgundy or dark red color, the combination is classic and perfect for fall. This is a way to wear the navy Mary Janes you stated you already own; consider adding another small bit of burgundy to your look to make it cohesive; a skinny belt added to the dress pulls the look together without being too matchy-matchy.

Talbots Fall 2014 Preview

Talbots sent me their Fall 2014 look book and it was so yummy I just had to share it with you! Fall collections can often look too collegiate or too dreary for my tastes, so when something comes down the pike that is fresh yet still classic and wearable, colorful yet tasteful it catches my eye. And when it’s available in regular, womens, petite, and tall? Autumnal heaven!

talbots 2014 lookbook animal jacquard

I love an animal print, and Talbots Brushed Animal Jacquard Jacket and Pencil Skirt do not disappoint. The texture of the material makes the leopard luxe instead of flashy. Partnering with red and black is another classic move that makes these pieces chic now and wearable for seasons to come.

talbots 2014 lookbook blue peacock

Hello blue! It’s refreshing to see cerulean and teal on the scene after so many seasons of chambray and navy and I love seeing a cool tone featured in autumn. Talbots’ Boiled Wool Coat in Blue Topaz makes a statement and would be a delight during the gray days of winter. I love a feather print almost as much as a leopard and am going gaga over this Peacock Feather Pencil Skirt and Feathers Talbot Cashmere Sweater. While both are styled here with other shades of blue, I can see them easily work with black, navy, and camel staples already in my closet.

talbots fall 2014 lookbook crimson jacket

Red is a fall standard, but the intensity of this crimson makes it stand out. A collarless jacket is quite flattering, and I love that this Double-Faced version reverses to a mulberry hue. And the Printed Tree Silhouette Dress is one of those prints that I wouldn’t tire of quickly; I could see it worn over a white collared shirt, with black tights and tall boots, or even worn come spring with nude heels.

talbots fall 2014 lookbook blush pink

Pastel hues are hot for fall this year, and Talbots has embraced this trend with classic style. I love how they paired their Canyon Pink Double-Faced Coat with graphic black and white; I think this is the type of jacket that could dress up nicely over a cocktail dress or dress down with a Breton tee and cuffed jeans. Speaking of cuffed jeans, how adorable is this weekend look? I love the Pink Blush Marianne Jacket dressed down like this, but can also envision it for the office with gray, camel, black, or ivory.

talbots fall 2014 lookbook sweaters

But what made me drool the most in this look book were the sweaters. The Cabled Dolman Sweater seen here in Almond has such a flattering silhouette and also comes in seven other shades. The Drawstring Shoulder Bag is a cheaper alternative to the leather buckets that have been seen everywhere this season and the tassel detail keeps it from looking to utilitarian. And let’s have a collective gasp for the Cabled Curved-Hem Sweater in Green Spruce (also comes in four other shades); this is the first item I’ve seen all summer that makes me look forward to fall! While it’s styled here with plaid trousers and pumps, I’d be wearing this baby with skinny jeans and ankle boots all winter long!

What do you think of this collection from Talbots? What looks or trends are you looking forward to wearing this fall?

Tuesday

I never like my haircut on the second day. When you get it colored, you can’t wash it. I am terribly particular on what products I use and how I style it. My stylist is very talented with shears and color, but I don’t particularly like the way she styles it. Curly hair is a bit frizzy, straight hair is a bit too straight and flat. Get color and you can’t wash for 48 hours, leaving the limp hair product in the whole time. I do the best I can with what is in there and count down the hours until I can wash it and style it the way I like best.

I changed the color. I felt as though I was getting too blonde. I have done actual blonde before, and had the crazy skunk stripes of blonde in the late 90’s. Looking back at photographs, neither were flattering. I feared I was becoming one of those women who has highlights overtaking her natural color. Thank goodness my stylist Kathleen saw the same thing I did. We decided to do less honey, more chocolate and auburn and bring it back to a brunette look for fall. Also added thicker bangs. The more I have bands the more I like them on my face. I think this will be a good cut for the autumn.

Anyway, the outfit. Ivory lace top with satin ribbon belt from Banana Republic. Ivory camisole from Express. Denim trousers from Ann Taylor. Silver and pearl dangly earrings from… some brand that sells at Lord and Taylor. I considered them for my wedding and never got around the returning them. And then my black leather thong heels from Mossimo.

Hair is second day dirty, though I must say the shampoo person at the salon gave me the biggest darn head and neck massage with the shampoo and conditioning. Very nice, got a good tip. This morning I hit it all with the curling iron and then brushed it out. Not loving it, but I know it will be good in a few days.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match foundation, Physician’s Formula mosaics bronzer, a bit of Nars Orgasm blush, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in neutral – ivory on the inner corners and bow bone, khaki on the lid, chocolate in the crease and very thinly along lash lines. Two coats of L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in black. On lips is another Body Shop lipstick in shade 12, this one is Damson. I find it to be more warm in tone, but I like it. Imagine blending terracotta and plum together with a very subtle shimmer. As a Winter, I still find it flattering. I put it on at 7:30, it is 11:30 and I still feel it and slightly see it on my lips. not bad for a traditional lipstick and me eating a piece of toast and a cup of coffee and talking and yes, even licking my lips.

Blogging Love – Interview!

I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!

You can check out the interview here.

I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)

Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!

Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog

Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.

Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!

Favorite Web site to visit: FabSugar.com. They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.

Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:

1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.

2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.

3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.

Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?


Fit
If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.


Style
Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.


If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.


Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.


If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.


Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.


Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.


At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.


In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

Ask Allie: What to Pack for England

I will be going to London for two weeks. I was told it was cold and overcast the whole time. We will be in London for much of the time, but will be going to a lot of sites all over the south of England: Bath, Avebury, Glastonbury, Salisbury, etc. I need to pack (ideally in a weekender and 21″ carry-on) a 2 week capsule with lots of separates for lots of layering and comfortable but adorable shoes for spring. Do you have any ideas?

Sounds like a wonderful trip! England’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s smart to pack layers. You also want to pack for whatever comes your way; while your tour may include lots of sight-seeing you may have time to go to a nice restaurant, the theater, or a nightclub with your friends. And while you want to be comfortable, that doesn’t mean you have to pack a bag full of zip-off cargo pants and sneakers.

This capsule is geared towards a Soft Autumn who is tall, which you mentioned you were. Instead of black as a base color, I used brown, which works well for a traveling wardrobe. Depending on your itinerary, you may wish to switch the Chelsea boots for better shoes or boots for hiking and walking; I recommend adding comfort insoles to the tall boots as well as a coating of waterproofing spray. A pair of tall boots will keep you warm, keep you dry, and add polish to a simple jeans and tee shirt outfit. The flats add variety and can dress up a look in a jiffy.

When creating this capsule, I thought of a packable hooded raincoat I own; I had trouble finding a good image of one for this collage that was not black. The coat featured may look like a classic trench, but it too is a packable lightweight hooded raincoat. For a jacket you want something lightweight, focusing on repelling wind and water; warmth can come from wearing layers underneath. However, do bring accessories to add warmth without taking up too much space in your luggage. A cap and gloves can do much to stay warm and can even be tucked into your day bag; a pashmina can be a warm scarf as well as an evening wrap or chic way to dress up a tee shirt; a sturdy travel umbrella is a must.

Speaking of a day bag, a crossbody with adjustable strap can change to shoulder bag for evening affairs. Look for one that has enough room for a travel umbrella and bottle of water, pockets to carefully store your essentials, and a secure main closure.

As for clothing, two pairs of pants are plenty for two weeks: jeans for casual excursions, and a heavier weight pant with stretch to dress up or for warmth. I also added a pair of leggings which could be worn under the pants for warmth, but can also be worn with the dress or skirts for variety. Don’t think skirts have to be reserved for fancier events; with leggings or tights and boots they can make for comfortable and stylish day wear. For tops, two sweaters, preferably from merino wool (keeps you warm, wicks sweat, slightly water repellant, and much more) is sufficient. With layers (a mix of tanks and tees in a variety of sleeve lengths and necklines) offer variety and the ability to peel layers if the day warms up. Pack one “fun” top for a night out on the town. If you have room, you may want to add a fleece which can be a sweater alternative or another jacket.

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Special Dedication Going out to ALL the Fine Honeys…

Last night my husband started a new book and noticed the dedication at the beginning. We were discussing who we would dedicate a book to, and he asked who was deserving of a dedication for my blogs. It got me thinking of who I should thank for my passion for fashion and sense of style…

I’d like to thank Mrs. Green, my 6th grade teacher who wore the most gorgeous jewel tones and funky jewelry. She showed that style didn’t come from the pages of a magazine but from your soul.

Express FashionI’d like to thank Stephanie Ahlbridge (sorry if I spelled that incorrectly, and I know you are now married but don’t know your married name) who was the most fabulous salesperson at Express in Laurel Mall. You sold me everything new that was shipped to that store, knew what would and wouldn’t work for my body before I even took it to the fitting room, and was such a good saleswoman you sold me on working for that company for five years.

I’d like to thank my dear friend Megan, whose passion for fashion has inspired me for a decade. You made the hell on earth which is working retail fun, and always gave me your honest opinion when I was “going way too far in left field,” keeping my style unique without scaring away customers.

Project RunwayI’d like to thank my husband who has always supported (and encouraged!) my style decisions, good or bad. You helped shave my head, dye my hair magenta, distress my jeans and cut up my tee shirts. You gave me 75% of the closet and let your suits and shirts smoosh to the left, and know not to touch my laundry for fear of shrinking another Banana Republic merino crewneck. Oh, and you sit through Project Runway and even cheer on my favorite designer! You are fabu, I love you even more than my pink heels!

I’d like to thank my sister, even though she hid my first Banana Republic sweater because she spilled Jungle Juice on it at a high school party, and even though she used to hide one of my shoes back in elementary school to get back at me. You have such a great sense of style, are always my GO TO for fashion advice (and life advice) and I terribly miss living with you so I could shop out of your closet or get a last minute Debbie Seal of Approval on my outfits.

Color Me BeautifulI’d like to thank Carole Jackson – her book Color Me Beautiful was my Bible back in elementary school. She showed me that what you wear does really matter – it affects how people perceive you and how you carry yourself. Though my freckles, brown hair and eyes (and my love for orange) may make one think I am an Autumn, my ability to wear bright emerald and royal blue like nobody’s business shows I am actually a Winter.

I’d like to thank the women of French Chic, who remind me on a daily basis (or at least when I have time to visit the message board) that style is not just about what one wears, but the woman who wears it.

My MommyFinally I would like to thank my Mommy, who made me the style-obsessed woman I am today. She taught me that looking great doesn’t have to cost a lot, a look can be totally transformed by accessories, and everything is better in color (including Kleenex). You have an amazing personal sense of style, and I am forever thankful for you teaching me how to properly iron a shirt and how to sew.

Who has inspired you?

Little Bits of Luxury: The Series

With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.

And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.

I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!





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What I Wore: Real Red

Dress: Belle c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: “Erin” Satchel c/o Fossil | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson  | Bracelets: had forever, Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Coat: Via Spiga

Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!

I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape.  How can they move their arms?  Why not just put on the coat?  Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures.  This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair.  Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).

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What I Wore: Issa for Banana Republic

I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!

And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Practical Pal

We all have that friend or relative who doesn’t NEED anything and finds most traditional gifts frivolous. While she may be perfectly happy with a gift card to Target, it’s nice to buy actual gifts for people to unwrap and realize you thought of them. While I have been scouring the web for other posts, I’ve been bookmarking things I find to be so practical yet lovely that most anyone would like it as a gift. All of these are under $100 and have free shipping.

gift guide practical presents holiday

1. Large Personalized Canvas Tote – $34.50

A little secret, this is one of my favorite baby and bridal shower gifts. While many sizes of this tote are available, I find the Large Tote to be the most versatile size. It can be a beach bag, overnight bag, reusable grocery tote, tote all your kid’s toys to grandma’s, tote your dirty clothes to the Laundromat… I love carrying potluck items in it – I wrap the casserole in towels on the bottom and on top I can put a 6-pack, bottle of wine, present for the hostess and it won’t topple over in the trunk on the way there. Personalization is free, making it the gift she didn’t think she needed but will be using regularly for years.

2. Stabilicers Lite Hikers – $29.95

I may be biased from my ice slip last year, but this was an AWESOME gift from my sister. They’re rubber so they stretch over shoes pretty easily, and are easy to slip off once you get to your destination. A great choice for anyone in an icy location, and especially good for those who aren’t as steady on their feet (or fear black ice after a previous fall, jus’ sayin’…). Do know they run a bit small, if unsure go up a size because they still won’t be too big for boots and sturdier shoes.

3. Starbucks Stainless Travel Mug – $19.95

Almost ten years ago, I won a $50 Starbucks card and I bought that year’s version of this mug. And I am still using that mug today. Most travel mugs get weird with time – the lids get stretched out, they leak, the double walled system separates. Not this baby. While it doesn’t look brand new any more, it keeps my coffee hotter longer than any other mug I’ve had, fits in all the cupholders in both of our cars, and it holds a full 16 ounces. This is something that is worth spending a bit extra and your loved one will thank you five years from now when she’s still reaching for it for her daily work commute. Do note, this isn’t one with free shipping (it is on Amazon with free Prime shipping but costs $10 more), but I’ve seen it in several Starbucks locations this year so it’s easy to pick up in person. If you plan to buy more at Starbucks, code AFF10 should give you 10% off your first purchase with them online plus free shipping if you spend at least $65.

4. Refurbished Kindle Paperwhite – $99

I got one free last year as part of a blogger promotion and it made me a Paperwhite convert. My mom bought her boyfriend one last Christmas and he loves it. Long battery life, great for the practical person who doesn’t want to add more stuff to her house, and especially nice for those with poor vision or dexterity. While the newest generation Paperwhites are $119, you can find perfectly good refurbished ones under $100 and Amazon provides a 1-year limited warranty and proper packaging so you can feel good giving refurbished as a quality gift.

5. Portable Power Bank – $49.95

The more we rely on our smartphones, the faster we deplete their batteries. This compact charger that isn’t much bigger than a smartphone adds a boost of power to small appliances just when you need it most.

6. Silk Long Johns and Socks – Starting at $17

Of course you better know the person quite well to give such a gift, but it’s likely one that will be loved and well used by the recipient for many years to come. Since he doesn’t read my blog I’ll let you know I got Karl the Silk Interlock Crew and Pants for a gift this year (thank you Lands’ End for carrying it in Tall!) and I know he’ll go gaga for it while he usually finds most gifts silly. Lands’ End has a great return policy, are known for quality, and have a nice variety and pricepoint making it a good destination for such gifts.

7. Legacybox – Starting at $75

What a cool concept; fill a Legacybox with old films, photos, slides, negatives, tapes and more and send it back with the pre-paid shipping label and they will carefully digitize all your memories. You will get back all your original memories as well as DVDs with your digital copies. At the time of writing this, if you visited the site and provided your email you’d automatically get a 25% off coupon and last week I received a coupon for 40% off and a promise to have Legacybox delivered in time for Christmas.

8. Adult Shearling Insoles – $16

Slip them into a pair of your tall leather or snow boots for warmth and comfort or give new life to an old pair of slippers. Made from natural shearling which wicks moisture and EVA foam which adds cushioning, these would be a welcome treat for anyone’s tootsies this winter.

Scrimp or Splurge – What’s Your Number?

scrimp or splurge

Tuesday’s post about white tee shirts got me thinking. I believe we all have a number, that price we won’t cross for certain items for our closet. I often read interviews with style icons and they’ll say how they scrimp for X but splurge for Y, and often I feel the complete opposite about those items. That our numbers are personal based upon our age, our figure, our lifestyle, our budget. They are as unique as our personal styles.

While I wouldn’t have spent over $30 for a tee shirt two years ago (maybe $45 if striped or embellished), I now obviously will drop $80 for a plain white v-neck to stop the hunt and finally be satisfied. I couldn’t imagine spending more than $75 on a pair of jeans (but owned over a dozen pairs), but now don’t even blink at a $100 pricetag; though I now only own a handful of pairs.

On the other hand, some things I won’t pay as much for now that I used to. I can recall putting designer wool and leather coats on layaway because I considered them a worthy investment; now I buy my coats on clearance in the spring and don’t care the label inside as long as I like how it looks on me. Most of my makeup bag contents are from CVS, and I’ve learned some natural budget-friendly products like witch hazel, coconut oil, and jojoba oil do just as well as the high-end skincare lines.

The part missing from the tee shirt conversation was lifestyle and budget. What are the white tee shirts worn for, and how much can you spend on clothing in general? For some people $150 is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s the food budget for a month. For some, a white tee shirt is a piece of fashion as important as an It Bag or designer jeans while others just see it as what they slip on under their sweaters or wear on weekends with shorts.

So I ask you, what are your numbers? What’s the max you’d pay for a pair of jeans? A winter coat? A pair of tall boots? A handbag?  A dress to wear to a wedding or gala event? Where do you scrimp and where do you splurge? I know there’s such a variety of people who read this blog, this conversation would be interesting to highlight your unique lives and personal styles, but also help me know what to share on Wardrobe Oxygen in the future!

My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Tee - LOFT
Skirt – Ann Taylor (bought on eBay 5 years ago for $14.99, no clue how old, label style unfamiliar to me)
TightsNordstrom
BootiesCole Haan
Scarf – c/o Nordstrom Rack
BagSabina
Silver cuff

I forgot to set my alarm last night. My body woke me up at 7:15 (glad it wasn’t 8:15) and I had 45 minutes to get myself together and out the door. I had pulled this skirt out of my stash of potential winter things and a month ago it was just too tight, too short, and I thought I would re-eBay it. I pulled it on this morning since it was sitting on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed… and it fit! Only thing wrong is I guess the hem dry rotted and has fallen out while wearing (easy to fix). Very excited to have another leather skirt in my arsenal!

New bag – I had $40 in Nordstrom rewards, saw this bag for $129 and decided to try it.  I have wanted a bigger bag to carry my netbook and such, and wanted a soft black purse (currently have my Banana Republic one which is that textured hard leather like a football). Love the bag, so soft, holds so much, necessary front pocket (with magnet closure) and hey… gotta love such a quality bag for only $89!

Sorry for the delay in posting, work has gotten really hectic. Glad I stocked the office fridge with Lean Cuisines because that’s the only way I get to eat anything. The only time I have left my desk is to hit the printer or the bathroom (and refill my water bottle!). Whew, what a crazy couple of weeks!

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Contest: Tolani Scarf from chickdowntown.com

jessica alba tolani scarfTo celebrate me coming back to work and to blogging, I have a great contest for you readers!

One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.

The Tolani scarf is courtesy of chickdowntown.com, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.

I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!

vanessa minnillo tolani scarfHow to enter:
Send an email to mywardrobetoday@gmail.com with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.

Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from chickdowntown.com. Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know chickdowntown.com:
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (twitter.com/chickdowntown)
YouTube (chickdowntownTV.com or youtube.com/chickdowntowntv)

Good luck!

Wednesday


Black cashmere tank from Banana Republic, black ponte jacket from Banana Republic Outlet, Chinese red shantung skirt from Banana Republic (definite theme here!), leopard peeptoe heels from BCBGirls, gold necklace from Express, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren.

Hair was washed and conditioned, dried with my Croc wet-to-dry iron. No products.’

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, Benefit’s That Gal, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory over whole lid. Lashes curled, two coats Cover Girl Lash Blast and one of Imju Fiberwig. Maybelline Ultraliner in black on top lash line and on lips is some Revlon Shiny Sheers in a sheer red that I left at home by accident so do not have to read the label.

I am not really sure what is going on with the layout of my posts; I have not done anything different so it must be that Blogger is being stupid again.

This outfit is inspired by Catie’s contest at Cuffington. This outfit makes me fabulous inside… though notsomuch when I walk past my reflection in a window. I adore this skirt, it is so much fun and the color is awesome. The cashmere tank is really thick and I have had it for years and got it for like $10 on the clearance rack. Jacket has given me many miles and I love its versatility and the shoes… oh I love these shoes so much I have two pairs of them! All that is missing is my silver cuff, this great green ring I bought at a Ren Fest and my wedding tiara and I would be wearing almost all my favorite things! :) Too bad this skirt isn’t the most flattering (the one my husband says makes me look like Mimi from Drew Carey) or I would wear it every week! :)