Search Results for: label/Ecco Footwear

Spring Style with ECCO (Plus a Giveaway) [Sponsored]

Sometimes brands approach you about a partnership and it’s a perfect fit. I was contacted about doing a sponsored post with ECCO and I was psyched. I’ve featured ECCO shoes before (here and here for example) and think it’s a great brand that marries classic style with comfort. They asked for me to style one of their shoes and one bag here on the blog.

ecco bag 1 ecco bag 2Top | Skirt | Bag: c/o ECCO

Before this partnership, I didn’t know that ECCO made bags. I shouldn’t be surprised that they do, and that they are elegant, classic, and high quality. I received the ECCO Felicity Crossbody in a neutral Saffiano leather. It’s a nice sized bag from nice materials, but it’s hard to properly gauge it because it is not the color or style of bag I would normally choose for myself. It’s a size big enough to carry all your purse essentials yet slim and streamlined. Everything inside stays safe and dry too, thanks to the soft fabric lining water-repellent lining. I decided to style the ECCO Felicity Crossbody with a classic look to highlight its traditional lines. I’m glad for this partnership with ECCO because I found that they make nice bags. My first choice for this campaign was the ECCO Sculptured Clutch, which is made of buttery leather and is the shape and style that will work all seasons of the year and be chic for years to come.

ecco sho9es 1 ecco shoes 2Dress | Necklace (similar) | Hat (similar) | Shoes: c/o ECCO

The ECCO Touch 45 Cross Wedge is a comfortable sandal. I had recently ordered this turquoise dress and saw it next to the shoes and LOVED the color combination. Considering the comfort and versatility of this shoe, I decided to style the ECCO Touch 45 WS for a summery vacation look. I like the look of the ECCO Touch 25 T-Strap which is a wedge sandal of a similar height, but thinner straps that give a more feminine feel that may prove more versatile. Available in four colors and a variety of fabrics, it’s the perfect blend of comfort and style for spring and summer.

The craftsmanship of this bag and these sandals is classic ECCO and a reason why this brand is a favorite of mine. The shoes are comfortable straight out of the box and crafted to offer comfort and style for years. I encourage you to check out the ECCO site and see the other styles they have available. And if you’re a fan of ECCO like me, today’s your lucky day!

What’s your favorite spring shoe trend? Tell me below in the comments for a chance to win an ECCO shoe card worth up to $250!

Giveaway

Entry Instructions: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 4/2/15 – 4/30/15.

Be sure to visit the ECCO brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

We All Have Those Days

Jacket: Rubbish | Tank: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: c/o ECCO | Bracelets: JewelMint, old, c/o lifetherapy | Sunglasses: Gas Station in Kentucky | Watch: c/o WatchCo

This morning I decided to make an outfit around my new watch. WatchCo let me pick a watch of my choice, I haven’t worn one in eons and have been wanting one, so I picked one of their Citizen watches. I Instagrammed my watch-filled arm party the other day but haven’t yet featured it on the blog. So my hair was damp, I put in some beach waving stuff I never tried before, and decided to go up in the attic, grab some warm weather clothes and create an ensemble. Well actually, I decided I wanted to wear my white shirt with my Banana Republic red skirt. I know I said the white shirt was too big, but my body is bigger than it was last year so I thought it may work.

The shirt is a no-iron style but everything needs a bit of heat after being shoved in a Rubbermaid bin for a few months. So I got all steamy in the attic, then whipped out the iron which got me even more steamy. And Emerson’s asking what I am doing, can she watch, can she try, can I teach her. And time is ticking, I need to leave for work. I’m hungry, I’m short on time, I’m sweaty and I just showered and I try on the shirt… and it still is too big. It looks too crisp, too much like I am wearing my husband’s shirt. I try a black boatneck tee with elbow-length sleeves. Too severe of colors. I try a striped tee, felt too cliche. I try the white shirt with cropped pants and feel fat and frumpy. But this time my hair has started drying in crispy curls a la 1989 Alison. And Emerson wants Bunny Fruit Snacks. Please. Please. Please. Please. Pleasssssseeeeeee Mommy I NEEEEEEED BUNNNNNY FRUITTTTT SNACKKKKKKSSSSSSS!

So I told Emerson I needed a moment, if she could go into her room and pick out her outfit for the day. I calmly closed the door, locked it, and slammed a pillow a dozen times into the bed and screamed a bit into said pillow and stripped off all the clothes that made me hot and feel fat and laid down spread eagle on the bed and did some yoga breathing until I literally and figuratively calmed down. And then I just grabbed what was sitting on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed – jeans I wore this weekend, a tank that was just washed and not yet put away, a jacket I have been deciding whether to keep or not. Grabbed a barrette to hold back my mall bangs, put on enough makeup to not have coworkers ask if I was okay and moved on.

We all have those days. And while this outfit is NOT what I should be wearing to work, it’s not awful. It makes me glad that I regularly purge my wardrobe of stained, stretched out, faded, and super duper unflattering clothes. Because we all have these days, these days where we say (pardon my French) FUCK IT and just put on clothes so you’re not arrested for indecent exposure. And life’s a lot better when those fuck it clothes doesn’t make you even more miserable and stressed out.

Take care of yourself, and prepare for those fuck it moments. Get rid of the unflattering, the poor condition, the pieces that give you low self esteem. Slowly build up a wardrobe of loungewear that is flattering as well as comfortable, weekend clothes that you can wear outside your home and backyard. You’ll thank yourself when the next time one of these days hits.

And this jacket? I guess it’s a keeper!

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Saturday

In the morning, I ran to get my hair cut and colored in the nearby town, and then run a few errands. Olive ribbed tank from J. Crew, white ribbed tank from Old Navy, Joe’s Jeans in “Provacateur,” brown stacked flops from J. Crew, silver hoops from The Icing, silver cuff.

Hair was brushed out but on the second day; blew the bangs straight.

Makeup was Body Shop bronzing powder in Light as face color, Max Factor Lash Perfection mascara on curled lashes, Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow.

Kathleen did her magic – all I told her is that I wanted to go darker and that I wanted heavier bangs. I trust her, and was not disappointed. Choppy layers that can work straight, wavy or curly, fun sideswept bangs, and a very rich multi-tonal color of dark brown that looks closer to what I was born with.

Got home and had to dash to get dressed. Friday night I had a friend over so I didn’t have time to play dress-up and figure out my theater outfit. Thank you soooo much to everyone who wrote in suggestions, you guys are awesome and have good ideas! For the one who suggested my Old Navy dress… I completely forgot about it. I had set to wear my black cashmere tank from Banana Republic and my orange-red shantung full skirt also from Banana (seen here), but when I saw how spiffy and sleek my husband looked (flat front gray tropical wool trousers from J. Crew, white tailored shirt from some brand sold at Mens Wearhouse, black blazer from… J. crew? Not sure…, black slip-on sleek shoes from Ecco) I decided my outfit may look a bit like a costume. I tried a few different skirts, but settled on the black matte jersey dress from Old Navy, my red stone necklace, my leopard peep-toe heels from BCBgirls,silver hoops from The Icing, and silver cuff natch. 🙂

Didn’t have to do my hair since it was done by Kathleen my talented stylist. She used the Pureology line on me, and swears by it for protecting color. I bought the shampoo and conditioner and once I can wash my hair (was told to go as long as humanely possible without washing) I will be using it and let you k now how it is.

Same makeup as earlier, just a re-touch of the bronzing powder, a bit of Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint on my cheekbones, a medium line of Maybelline Ultra Liner in black on the top lash line, a quick swipe of Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara in black over existing mascara, Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint with Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow over it.

We took the Metro and it was not even a block to the little restaurant (I don’t know if there are even 20 tables in the place). The menu seemed different from the one online and the only entrees that were vegetarian were spaghetti with tomato sauce (yawn) and a risotto with corn and truffle shavings. My husband and I chose the risotto, we shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio (not sure the label, our friend chose the wine) and had a nice, yet not inspiring or overwhelmingly unique meal. We then walked not even three blacks to the Kennedy Center where my friend and I sidestepped grates in our heels (she too wore a black sheath and heels) while the men tromped over everything and got there in time to marvel at the acre-sized curtains in the lobby and get a cocktail in the Terrace Bar prior to the performance.

The performance was great! As I said, I had never seen The Phantom of the Opera other than the movie. Back story – 1992, for Christmas I got my first boom box with a CD player in it, and with it two CDs – Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. For several months until I got my high school arsenal of REM, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I listened solely to these two soundtracks. Come 2007, I am silently singing along to this performance and even a tear came down my cheek at finally seeing live what I had in my head 15 years ago. I think also seeing Shakespeare in Love the night prior made the theater experience that more intense.

Our friends live in Virginia and parked at the theater; it was a gorgeous night and declined their offer to drive us to the Metro and decided to hoof it. All in all a lovely evening!

Ask Allie: Comfy and Stylish Shoes

I have previously written about comfortable and stylish shoes, but each season new styles come out and readers come to be with new needs.

Dear Allie: I am at a loss w/ regards to finding cute but comfy everyday shoes- I am not a tennis shoe person. Most cute flats really aren’t supportive enough to walk around in while carrying a baby, etc. I am ashamed that I love my Crocs- but now that I am no longer pregnant and my daughter is not a newborn I feel there is no excuse for me to wear them anywhere than around the house, in the rain, etc… What are cute, supportive yet somewhat attractive shoes I can wear all of the time?

Dear Allie: I’m sorry, but I just can’t wear pumps. I am a BBW and I love to look stylish for work, but anything over a 2” heel is murder on my feet, my knees, my hips. Also my workplace is the government and pretty conservative. However I don’t want to wear granny shoes and I agree with you – us BBW look stupid and top-heavy in ballet flats (not like they have support any way). Where can I find comfortable work shoes that will work all day?

Dear Allie: You rarely mention animal-friendly or eco-friendly options for footwear. I believe you are a vegetarian so this surprises me. Would you let your readers know about some shoes that are vegan and kind to the earth? There are many comfortable and fashionable styles available.

Allie – I was hoping I might ask you a question about shoes for wide feet? My feet are wider than most womens across the toes and I really struggle to find quality shoes that are also comfortable and don’t leave my poor toes screaming for mercy by the end of the day. Do you happen to know of any good brands of shoes for girls with wide feet??

Hope these options will assist many of you in finding comfortable, well-made shoes that will care for your feet and your personal needs. I usually try to find low-cost options for my suggestions; many of these are over my standard $100 price point. The reason is your feet are the hardest working part of your body, and it’s near impossible to find comfortable, supportive, well-made shoes at bargain bin prices. I am all for checking out outlets for these brands, but I do stand behind my belief that shoes are something you should spend money on. A couple pairs that are good to you will last you for years and be very worth your money.

Eco-Conscious
It really is possibly to find shoes that are friendly to animals and the environment while being comfortable and cute.

Simple is a brand that marries all of these with some terrific footwear. Their Women’s Jumper Certified Leather Mary Jane is made for walking with a technologically-advanced foot bed, plenty of arch support, and a cushy sole that will deflect hard and bumpy surfaces. The classic style will work with skirts, shorts and pants easily and can be worn through most any season. In brown, black and merlot red.

Earth carries many vegan shoes that are comfortable and cute. The Inhale is a casual flat with breathable microfibers and mesh uppers that will keep your feet cool and comfortable. They have included Negative Heel ™ technology which helps keep your body properly aligned, and it contains an anatomic shock-absorbing foot bed. In black.

Corporate-Conscious
You may have to walk many city blocks or fight public transportation for your commute, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear clunky clogs or corny Crocs to keep your feet happy. There are many shoes out there that are sleek, professional, suit-worthy and still kind to your tootsies.

ECCO is a company that makes well-made, supportive shoes in classic styles. The silhouettes are feminine and elegant while still considering foot health. Podiatrists often say a bit of a heel is actually healthier for the foot arch than a completely flat shoe. The Durango pump by ECCO has a wedge heel which distributes weight, eliminating hot spots on the bottom of the foot. Rounded toe gives plenty of room, and the subtle details make it elegant and a great choice with skirts or trousers. Available in black or whiskey.

Aerosoles is a great company that offers comfortable styles, many widths and sizes, yet has professional and stylish choices. The Ballistic slip-on is a classic office style with a low wedge heel, elegant hardware detail, and a nice range of colors that will add pizzazz to any conservative office attire. In black, tan, gray or dark red.

The Princess suede pump from Perlina is stylish, feminine, in fun colors and so nice to your feet. Shock absorbing outsole, leather sock lining wicks away moisture and allows the shoe to mold to the natural contours of the foot, and cushioned, leather-lined foot bed features latex foam padding for extended wear. In black, blue, brown, graphite, burgundy and pistachio suede.

Style-Conscious
Looking for a way to merge current trends and happy feet? There are many brands out there that slightly modify the trends so that they can be a podiatrist’s fave.

Dansko is known for having comfortable, well-made shoes that last for years. They also have really brought on some hip styles over the past few seasons. The Delilah Boot takes the current riding boot trend and makes it comfortable and supportive. Podiatrist-friendly heel height, flexible sole and removable leather foot bed adds to comfort. Available in black or chocolate.

Get on the Mad Men trend with these lady-like pumps with vintage styling from Sofft. The Kensington pump has a healthy heel height, rounded toe for tootsie freedom, and a cushioned foot bed. Available in black, brown, caramel and a gorgeous blue.

Booties and heeled oxfords continue to be the rage this season; Aerosoles has created their version of this trend with an extra cushioned foot bed and flexible rubber sole. Available in green, black, dark red and light brown.

Multi-tasking-Conscious
You need a shoe that can work with jeans, with pants, for the office or the market. Every day is different, and you just don’t have the time or the budget to have a footwear collection that is equally as varied. No problem, there are some wonderful styles out there that will work with all sorts of attire, lifestyles and seasons.

ECCO has created a perennial favorite with their Bouillon Mary Jane. Feminine styling, yet having a rugged and flexible sole that can take miles of walking. The classic look works with jeans, capris, shorts, skirts and more. Always available in black leather, each season they offer more creative of choices such as silver, black patent or red.

I cannot stress the benefits of having a simple city boot in your wardrobe. They are easy to pull on with any pants or jeans, you don’t have to worry about what hosiery to wear, they keep your foot protected from the elements, are easy to polish up or re-heel to look fresh each year, and a simple cut will be stylish for years to come. The Blind Sight boot from Aerosoles fits the bill with sleek styling, a square toe to give toes room to move, foot-friendly heel height and width, and extra cushioned foot bed. In brown or black.

Width-Conscious
As a woman with wide feet, I can relate to this problem. As styles get more pointy, high, and snubbed, feet often get squashed. Here’s some great styles and companies that pamper the wider foot.

DUO, a company I adore for custom-width boots also has an extensive line of shoes in wider widths. I adore the Nicole – a wide-fitting low profile pump that comes in black suede or a flirty animal print. Cushioned insole and low heel makes this style chic yet utterly wearable all day. Check out their other styles, there are many to choose from that have wider widths than most brands. Unsure about your size? Contact their customer service to ensure you are getting exactly what you and your tootsies need.

Naturalizer comes in Narrow, Regular, Wide and Double Wide widths for their shoes. Looking at a size 8, I found 12 styles available in WW, one being the Creston Flat. This is a shoe I personally own and adore because it is wide, comfortable, flexible and low-profile. I wear these when assisting my husband on long photo shoots and when day tripping through city streets and museums. Available in red, camelot (camel) and tootsie roll (dark brown).

Ruby & Bloom is a company that offers current styles in Narrow, Regular and Wide widths. The Corrina pump has perforated contrast trim that gives a stylish spectator style, a stacked heel helps with weight distribution, and its height is all-day wearable. In black/dark brown, black/merlot, and black/gray.

Fitzwell is a company known for their extensive sizes (goes up to 12) and roomy wide width. Dozens of their styles are available on Zappos, but I really like the Rayna II wedge. A comfortable height of 2.5″, a wedge heel that helps distribute weight better, and a feminine silhouette. Available in black or brown leather, black, wine, or grey suede.

You may also wish to visit:
The Commuter Curse
Comfort and Style CAN Live Together in Harmony

Ask Allie: Denim-based Office Capsule Wardrobe

I really like the capsule wardrobe posts that you have been doing. Would you consider doing one for a jeans work environment? Our company recently switched policies to allow casual dress everyday, as long as the jeans are dressier.

My last three places of employment have allowed jeans as long as they were dressed up. This post I wrote about work-appropriate denim is a great start in figuring out which jeans are considered business casual, and which are best left for weekends and evenings. For a denim-based capsule wardrobe, I recommend at least three different silhouettes and washes. For this capsule, I chose a dark wash of a traditional cut (straight, bootcut, etc.), a denim trouser which is a bit more refined and usually has a wider leg, and then a novelty piece. Depending on your personal style, it could be a subtle brocade print, corduroy, velour, or even a dark color like oxblood, black, or olive green. With all your work jeans, narrow and slim is acceptable with longer tops but skin tight is never appropriate.

Twenty Possible Combinations:


The best way to make jeans versatile is to have a variety of footwear. Narrow jeans look drastically different with flats than they do tucked into tall boots. Since you wrote in your email that you recently had a baby, I chose shoes that are more comfortable – a low-heeled boot, flat with arch support (I actually own these very flats from Ecco and find them extremely comfortable and cute), a wedge which is easier to wear than a standard heel.

Accessories can really transform an outfit – a tunic sweater is slouchy cool alone, streamlined when cinched with a wide belt. Thinking of my own wardrobe, I added a patterned skinny belt and a statement-making wide belt because I find these two types of belts to be the most versatile and best at transforming wardrobe staples. Scarves give denim a chic vibe – a patterned silk scarf with anything from a tank and cardigan to a striped tee makes a look instantly sophisticated, a lightweight pashmina adds interest and is a makeshift shawl in drafty offices.

Also since you said you recently had a baby, I chose fabrics and silhouettes that have stretch, are comfortable, and can look polished without being super fitted and structured. These pieces will also work if you lose any weight in the next couple of months – you can tuck in, belt, and adjust as your body changes. I stuck with solid colors because they are more versatile and less memorable. I used a lot of neutrals with pops of extreme brights, which always look so great next to denim.

When wearing jeans, it’s more important to think about what is on top. While one could carry off a simple knit top with pants or a skirt, with jeans such a top could easily veer into cleaning-out-the-garage territory. Soft-structured jackets, sweater coats, and cardigans help make jeans look polished as well as making more narrow silhouettes office-appropriate. All of these pieces would easily work with pants and skirts as well if there are days where you need to dress up for a visit from corporate or clients.

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Ask Allie: Commuter Shoes for Summer

I have to wear comfortable shoes during my daily commute, as I walk 20+ minutes each way. Okay looking shoes/boots are easy enough to find for the cold winter months but I’m at a loss for summer. Flip flops aren’t an option as I have high arches and can’t stand feeling of something between toes. Gym shoes are too dorky. Any ideas?

I am so glad to find a fellow woman who won’t wear flip flops on her commute. Not only do they not provide arch support and can be deadly on slick sidewalks (and feel weird between the toes), but they are just plain tacky looking with your corporate attire. Keep the flip flops to the backyard barbecues and beaches!

I also am anti-the beaten-down ballet flats; this morning when walking to get coffee, I overheard two women discussing their commuting shoes. A woman said she loved ballet flats from Gap, but admitted she was on her fifth pair in two years because they got, “Super gross, super fast.” I’m glad that she would replace them once they got “gross,” but think it would make more sense to invest in a higher-quality shoe that could survive more than a couple months. There are great quality summer shoes out there with comfort and arch support, here’s a few that have been on my radar:

I like that this pair of Ecco shoes isn’t your typical ballet flat which is free of structure and support. This shoe has a proper sole and a tiny bit of a heel to put your foot in a more comfortable position. Leopard is an unexpected neutral that will go with almost everything in your closet. This shoe also comes in solid colors.

I have a pair of Cole Haan shoes with Nike Air Technology and can attest to the fact that they are really comfortable, wearable for long spans of time, and great for walking. These adorable bow flats from Cole Haan have miles of style and great reviews for comfort when walking. While black is a safe bet, I am partial to the red for a fun pop of color on your commute.

A driving moc or loafer is always a classic choice, and looks fresh with everything from menswear-inspired trousers to flippy sundresses. I love the orange color, which screams summer and would also look smart come the weekend with twill shorts or cropped pants.

When I was pregnant, I had a flat from Naturalizer very similar to these. They were utterly amazing – so supportive, comfortable, and fit right out of the box. These may not be the most chic of flats, but your feet will be happy by time you finish your walk and the color is subtle enough to not destroy the look of your ensemble.

I own these sandals and adore them. They are so comfortable, they have become my sightseeing shoe and even wear them when attending concerts when I know I will be standing the whole time. While they have an ankle strap, once you wear them twice you don’t need to unfasten to get on and off, which makes it easy for commuting. I also like the covered toe, which will keep your feet clean and your pedicure intact when walking down city streets.

Very similar to the Ventura, but with a different heel or sole. I love that this shoe comes in widths so you can ensure a comfortable fit from the get-go.

Great selection of colors, great reviews on comfort and the ability to walk for miles in them. I like the adjustable straps for a custom fit, and love that they are under $100.

Do you have a favorite commuting or walking shoe?  Please share in the comments!

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Silver Shoes for Work, Play and More: My Picks

2016 fashion trend silver mirror shoes - Wardrobe OxygenI am on a serious silver shoe kick. I have my silver oxfords which I’ve been rocking for a couple years and they only get more comfortable with each wear. For two summers I have been loving my silver Birkenstocks with most everything. There’s my silver pumps which seem to go with everything, and now I also have these silver slip-on sneakers and my new silver booties. Silver has always been my favorite color of metal; I’ve had my silver cuff since 1998 and even before that loved the look of it. Well it’s my luck, metallic shoes are HOT right now, and there’s a ton of silver options available.

Silver and other metallic shoes may seem too specific and well, ridiculous to be added to a small wardrobe but I can attest to the fact that they are a fantastic neutral. Just like a bold silver necklace, a big metallic cuff, or a pair of shiny statement earrings, a pair of silver shoes can add that little punch that can take a look to the next level. As I write this, I am wearing a black sweater, black faux leather-front pants, my silver cuff and my silver slip-on sneakers. With black shoes, I would look like a stagehand but with silver I look cool and purposeful. A metallic shoe is a way to look dressier while wearing a flatter or more comfortable style, and silver is stylish all four seasons of the year.

I know many of you have asked for shoes similar to the ones I owned so here’s a round-up of Allie-approved silver shoes. Flats, heels, and everything in between, there should be one to fit most any personal style and budget! For those who aren’t into silver, most of these shoes come in other colors!

Silver Sneakers

Get the comfort, cushioning, and capability of a sneaker but in a shiny silver finish! These shoes will do double-duty for function as well as fashion. Pair with cuffed and girlfriend jeans, style with a shift or T-shirt dress, or tone down the girliness of a full skirt or dress!

Wardrobe Oxygen - Silver Sneaker Trend for 2016 the best stylesNine West Rukkus, $62.99 | PUMA Roma, $65.00 | Nike Air Max Thea, $120.00 | ECCO Aimee, $130.00
Boden Dana, $86.40 | Puma Eskiva, $128.30 | Adidas Superstar, $119.75 | Superga 2750 Classic, $94.09
Josef Seibel Caspian, $129.95 | ECCO Touch, $150.00 | Corso Como Duffy, $44.99 | Vans Classic Slip On, $60.00

Silver Flats

For work or for play, it’s great to have a comfortable go-with-all shoe that has some flair. A metallic silver flat looks great peeking out of wide-leg trousers, is a smart pairing with crisp ankle pants, goes boho chic with maxi skirts and sundresses, and looks sweet with everything from jeans to girly frocks.

Wardrobe Oxygen - Silver Flats Trend for 2016 my picksLoeffler Randall Prue, $195.00 | Banana Republic Allie (great name, huh?), $138.00 | Anne Klein Petrica, $59.99 | Madden Girl Encounter, $19.99
Shoes of Prey Loafer Ballet Flat, $138.95| Blue by Betsy Johnson Ever, $99.00 | Target Ona, $14.44 | Dr. Scholl’s Friendly, $44.50
Sam Edelman Felicia, $78.97 | Report Roth, $34.95 | ASOS Lookout, $43.00 | Diba London Scout, $39.99

Silver Brogues or Oxfords

I love silver brogues, it makes a very serious shoe whimsical and better fits my “classic with a girly rock and roll vibe” style. They’re more substantial than a flat, and work really well with menswear, trousers of all leg widths and hem heights, add polish to jeans, and look so cute when paired with skirts and dresses. This is likely the shoe I get the most requests for; last year it was tough to find “similar” for outfit posts when I wore my silver brogues; now there’s a bunch to choose from in a good variety of styles and pricepoints!

Wardrobe Oxygen - Silver shoe trend for 2016 my picks for silver or mirror oxfords or broguesModcloth Talking Picture, $49.99 | Seychelles With Honor, $109.99 | ASOS Make Waves, $42.77 | ASOS Moss (comes in wide widths!), $59.87
Calvin Klein Camella, $118.95 | Shoescribe L’F, $110.00 | London Rebel Barnaby, $55.00 | Cole Haan Zerogrand, $228.00
Elie Tahari Oakly, $169.99 | Golden Ponies Mirrored Holographic Oxford, $42.00 | Jeffrey Campbell Novak, $129.95 | ALDO Uneawien, $40.00

Silver Loafers and Driving Mocs

Like brogues or oxfords, a loafer is a classic shoe with a bit of a menswear vibe that seems all the more awesome with a metallic finish. In a silver color, a loafer can leave the boardroom and rock the weekend or even happy hour. A silver loafer will look great at the office, but also be a wonderful update to jeans of all silhouettes and lengths.

Wardrobe Oxygen - 2016 shoe trend is silver mirror. My picks for best silver loafers driving mocs and boating shoesCalvin Klein Celia, $76.30 | Steve Madden Meela, $79.95 | Gentle Souls Portobello, $149.95 | ASOS Michigan, $47.90
ASOS ORIGINAL Loafer Tassel Heels, $68.43 | ASOS Libra, $30.79  | Sole Society Huxley, $69.95 | Sole Society Hipp, $41.97
Sperry Dock is Chic, $94.99 | Goldenponies Patsy, $53.00 | Louise et Cie Joey, $138.95 | Kate Spade Carima, $250.00

Silver Boots and Booties

A silver boot is a great way to add some shine to most any look. This is a great way to rock some shine in the colder months as your ankles are covered, but booties also look great with skirts, dresses, and girlfriend jeans!

Wardrobe Oxygen - Silver boot trend for 2016 my picksMissta Kierra, $136.99 | Joe’s Jeans Dahlia, $72.99 | Aquatalia Yulia, $450.00 | Seychelles Sanctuary, $74.99
Seychelles Garnet, $160.00 | Summit Breanne, $149.90 | BCBG Cara (I own these), $224.98 | French Connection Robrey, $72.00
Dr. Martens Spike, $136.95 | Topshop Mary, $140.00 | Goldenponies Edie, $50.00 | Walk Handmade, $269.00

Silver Summer Shoes

Whether you’re packing for a tropical vacation, live in a warm climate, or are preparing for the upcoming seasons, these are some great warm weather silver styles that will jazz up everything from shorts and knits to floaty sundresses.

Wardrobe Oxygen - The Best silver metallic sandals and summer shoes for 2016ASOS Juggler, $34.21 | Birkenstock Arizona (I own), $136.00 | ASOS Jilly, $27.37 | Dirty Laundry Beatbox, $28.91
Clarks Lydie Hala, $54.99 | Easy Spirit Sandcastle, $34.99 | Splendid Mason, $64.95 | MIA Greta, $98.95
Nine West Banter, $39.99 | The FLEXX Sun Tan, $114.95 | Kristin Cavallari Belle, $109.95 | ECCO Damara, $119.95

Silver Pumps and Mary Janes

A silver pump is a wonderful alternative to nude or black and from personal experience I can tell you they go with everything!

Wardrobe Oxygen - The best silver mirror finish pumps for 2016 my picks all heights and stylesCole Haan Juliana 75, $148.00 | Nine West Jackpot, $79.00 | French Connection Kandy, $71.96 | Fergie Helix, $109.95
Nina Originals Damsel, $137.95 | Topshop Jolene, $80.00 | Shoes of Prey Mary Jane Pump, $188.95 | Vince Camuto Kain, $97.95
Calvin Klein Carise, $118.95 | Charles by Charles David Pact, $99.95 | Journee Collection Round Toe Pump, $34.99 | Sam & Libby Daisy, $19.98

Silver Strappy Heels

A silver strappy heel is a wardrobe workhorse. Dressing up a pair of jeans or coordinating nicely with most any dress in your wardrobe, you’ll be shocked how such a shoe will be worn so often all throughout the year.

Wardrobe Oxygen - The best silver mirror strappy heels of all heights for 2016 fashionPelle Moda Berlin, $144.95 | ASOS Fun Fun $42.77 | Nine West Saynomore, $40.99 | Report Neely, $45.99
Badgley Mischka Ascot, $225.00 | Sole Society Talia, $29.98 | Kate Spade Irvine, $131.20 | Rose Petals Leash, $90.00
Betsey Johnson Glisten to Reason, $98.99 | Guilhermina Frazil Heels, $198.00 | J. Crew Kitten Heel, $188.00 | Lifestride Note, $59.99

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!

Ask Allie: Fashion Advice for a Petite SAHM

Dear Allie,
I am currently rocking the awful “mom” look aka yoga pants and huge t-shirts and I am so over it! Could you direct me to a few classic pieces to start my wardrobe? I am a stay at home mom with two under two, so I need a practical look. I live in Ohio where the weather is always changing. I am very petite (5’ and less than 100 lbs). I also have trouble finding comfortable shoes that look stylish and fit my size 5 feet. Any advice?
– Megan

Dear Megan,
I am so glad you realize that one can be an active mom while maintaining style. I recently wrote an article on Savings.com about new mom fashion, but will offer some basics that should get you on track without looking like a mom, or like a college student:

Dark Straight Jeans
A dark straight jean is classic, can be worn any season of the year, looks more polished than lighter washes, and doesn’t need a fancy label to look chic. Having a straight leg means this jean should work with most any length or style of top in your wardrobe – simple tanks and tees, longer tunics, blazers and cardigans, blouses tucked in or left untucked. Add a bit of spandex so that you won’t be showing your undergarments or cutting into your stomach when crawling on the floor after your little one.

The Lee Slender Secret 5-pocket Jean is a classic style that is great for women who may have a bit of that baby pooch still left. Oprah recently rated them as a top jean, and reviews state that these jeans in petite are not needing of hemming for those who are 5’ tall. $29.99

 


Levi’s 512 jean is a straight, classic style that is made for a woman’s shape. Their Perfectly Slimming 512 Jean has the Lycra to keep your body looking smooth, and giving you the flexibility you need to keep up with your children. Again, this jean is rated great for the really petite woman – they run short so you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg on alterations. $40.00

A Versatile Trench
When the weather is chilly one day, hot the next, and rainy the third it’s hard to be prepared. A simple trench or mac in a water-resistant fabric that is lined will keep you looking stylish yet comfortable on those in-between days.

The Sunshower Coat from Lands End is a favorite – it’s a classic style, breathable, and wrinkle-resistant. Lands End is known for their quality and service so you know you will get a great piece that will give you years of wear. Khaki is a safe bet, but a more memorable color like their Wine Grape will look great with neutrals, make your skin glow, and will give you a sunnier outlook on the day, even if the sky is cloudy. $99.50

Macy’s Style&Co brand offers great style for a reasonable price. This double-breasted trench has a shorter length that won’t dwarf your petite frame, and the soft sage color will look great with neutrals, but be a fresh change from beige and black outerwear. $79.00

Solid-colored Seasonally-appropriate Tops
Toss the oversized tees and stiff striped button-downs. It’s easy to be comfortable, get dressed in an instant yet look great if you have an arsenal of flattering, well-fitting knits in your size and colors you adore. Wash on the gentle cycle, line dry and these pieces can give you years of great wear. Look for pieces with 5% spandex or more – they will be more likely to keep their shape, not need to be ironed, and maintain their color longer than 100% cotton tops. For winter, I love merino wool because it acts like a knit in keeping its shape and flattering the figure, and can also be washed on the gentle cycle.

Ann Taylor LOFT is a fave of many petite women thanks to their extensive collection, reasonable prices, and truly petite sizing. Their Petite Twisted Boatneck Tee is a fashionable version of the comfy tee shirt. The neckline adds drama to a casual day look, and would fantastic under a cardigan or casual twill blazer. Great colors like Balsam Green and Ocean Depths will complement dark denim, khaki, white, gray, and black. $19.50

I love Nordstrom’s Caslon line – great wardrobe basics of great quality. The petite Caslon Ballet Neck Tee is a feminine and flattering twist on a simple knit top – the ¾ sleeves make it wearable almost year-round and a scoop neck is lovely on most every woman’s figure. $24.00

A Casual Blazer
A great way to jazz up simple tees and jeans is with a casual blazer. If it’s unlined and has a bit of stretch, it’s as comfortable as a hoodie but with far more polish.

 


Ann Taylor LOFT’s Petite Urban Twill Blazer is a great choice. The grosgrain trim gives it a unique, higher-end look, and in navy it would go with most any color tank or tee in your closet. $69.99

The striped blazer from Banana Republic would look amazing with neutral tanks, tees, and bottoms. It would also look quite chic with a pop of color underneath – try candy pink, blood orange, or apple green. The standup collar elongates the frame, making you look taller. $149.99

A Trendy Knit
Right now, striped tees are a hot look – this is a great way to add some variety and current fashion to your wardrobe without looking passé in a season. Striped tees look great with a simple denim or twill skirt, under a blazer, with shorts, capris, jeans, and even dressed up with a fuller skirt or with trousers. Add a bit of contrast with a turquoise or coral necklace, or a cardigan in a color like leaf green, tangerine, or yellow.

This black and cream striped boatneck from Lauren by Ralph Lauren isn’t your ordinary tee shirt – the silver buttons and boatneck make it a refined piece that would look great with jeans, and also with a white twill skirt for spring outings. $59.50

 


I own the Striped Sailor Tee from Ann Taylor and adore it – the scoopneck is flattering, the knit heavy and durable, the epaulets give a bit more style and panache. It comes in three colors. $38.00

A Not-so Little Black Dress
I have a black wrap dress from Old Navy that I bought years ago on clearance. I wear it with leggings and flats around the house, with heels for a wedding or funeral, with tall boots to work. It’s so versatile, and the matte jersey is a fabric that stretches, gives, washes easily, and looks timeless and seasonless.

The Petite Gemma Wrap dress from Banana Republic is a great choice – ¾ sleeves work year round, and a true wrap style means you can cinch the waist for a more custom fit. $98.00

 


Merona for Target has really come a long way in the past year – the quality has improved immensely, and the style is quite on-trend yet classic. The Merona Petite Faux Wrap Knit Dress is a great choice – the empire waist hides any post-baby pooch, and makes it dress up or down with ease. $20.98

Shoes
It often impossible to find size 5 footwear in stores, however the selection is pretty impressive online. Sites like Nordstrom and Zappos have a great selection of smaller sizes that are still stylish and comfortable. I recommend investing in:

  • A sandal with a low wedge heel (more comfortable than heels, able to wear with shorts or with a dress).  The “Amber” wedge-heel sandals from Munro is a great summer choice – uber comfortable, thin elegant straps, will look great with skirts and dresses of all lengths, as well as shorts, trousers, and cropped pants. Munro is known for comfort and quality – these shoes should be wearable even for a day of sightseeing or a trip to Disney World. $179.95
  • A pair of ankle boots you can slip on with jeans and a sweater (low heel, brown or black depending on your wardrobe – more versatile than flats as that they can dress up and also be waterproofed for rainy days).  The “Wisteria” by Merrell has a wedge heel which is comfortable when standing or walking for a long period of time, but can still be paired with casual trousers. They get great reviews for comfort. $140.00
  • A pair of tall riding boots (wear with dresses, over jeans and you will be amazed how they will transform wardrobe basics into something stylish – waterproof them for more versatility).  These riding boots from La Canadiene are so classic – waterproof Italian leather, moisture-wicking lining, memory foam insole, low heel, elegant styling. These are boots you buy now and will still be wearing a decade from now. $256.00
  • A pair of simple black leather pumps for those times when you do need to dress up (they work with pants, dresses, and even with your dark jeans for a Date Night or drinks with your girl friends).  The Nuncio pump from Nine West is a classic pump that will look elegant year-round and years from now. 2.5” heel, elongated toe, and available in narrow and wide widths. $69.95

For additional petite inspiration, check out:

Ask Allie: Best Boots for Plantar Fasciitis

I’ve been searching your web site for info on boots – how to find a good pair that doesn’t hurt when worn all day, for example. We will be moving to northern Michigan (think: SNOW) to retire in a few years, and by that time I would like to have a good pair of boots. But if I’m going to spend extra money for good quality boots, I just want a pair that I will want to wear a lot. What brands do you recommend for problem feet? I have plantar fasciitis and large feet with large big toes, medium width.

When shopping online it’s hard to know what will work before it arrives on your doorstop. That’s why, for unknown brands and styles I stick to companies that have free shipping and liberal return policies:

  • Zappos – Free shipping, and you have 365 days to decide to return (and returns are also free). To try from Zappos, it’s important to wear socks and try them on a clean carpeted floor; they do not take back worn shoes. I’ve been known to order a pair and have them sent to my office and wear them around the workplace which is clean and carpeted. If they go home, there’s a chance that they will get dirty, dog hair, or never gotten around to being returned.
  • Planet Shoes – A great site for eco-friendly, vegan, and USA-made footwear, Planet Shoes has free shipping and free returns on unworn merchandise if sent back within 90 days of purchase.
  • NordstromNordstrom has a stellar shoe department, free shipping, and free returns. While it’s unethical to return clothes you happily wore, it’s nice that with Nordstrom if you get a pair of shoes you think are comfortable but then say wear sightseeing and end up with pain, you can still return them.
  • Online Shoes – While returns cost $7.95, exchanges are free at Online Shoes and they have categories for footwear such as orthotic-friendly and up to 4X wide shoes and healthy-feet brands like Rockport, Dansko, Cobb Hill, and Sofft. It’s a great site if you’re more familiar with a brand and its fit but wish to try a new style in their collection as they have selection and also customer reviews.
  • The Walking CompanyThe Walking Company’s return policy kind of sucks, but if you have a store nearby (and there’s one in Ann Arbor which you mentioned in your email), you can return in stores for free. The Walking Company breaks down book categories by style and brand like other retailers, but also by comfort level with a specific category just for plantar fasciitis.

If you have plantar fasciitis, you want to find a shoe with good arch support, plenty of cushioning, and a shock-absorbing heel. This can be achieved with a shoe brand and style that provides this, or a shoe that has room for an insert to achieve these goals. Brands like Aravon, Dansko, ECCO, Naot, and Orthaheel are highly rated by those with plantar fasciitis, while brands like David Tate, Munro, Cougar, and Cobb Hill are known for being orthotic-friendly and are more likely to have a roomy toebox for your toes. Searching online, these are tall boots I found that are a classic style, well-rated brand, and would work for plantar fasciitis.

keen tyretread boot

KEEN Tyretreat Boot

With KEEN’s metatomical footbed design, this boot cradles the foot, has excellent arch support, a shock-absorbing polyurethane midsole, and still room for orthotics. Reviews say these are as comfortable as a pair of sneakers and roomy in the toes. Made with waterproofed leather, this classic style comes in black, brown, and tan; there’s also a waterproof version in black and tan that has seam-sealed construction and a moisture wicking lining which would be even better for a snowy climate.

naot viento boot

Naot Viento Boot

This is a classic leather riding boot with simple styling that will be fashionable for seasons to come. What makes this and other Naot boots special is the anatomically shaped cork and latex footbed that molds to your unique foot shape with wear. The footbed also features arch support for pronation control, a heel cup for added stability, hallux support to prevent foot slippage, and an elevated footbed center to release pressure in the joints located in the central area of the foot. Naot claims that wearing this boot, you’ll gain better posture, balance and body alignment. Available in black and brown leather, while this boot isn’t waterproofed, some waterproofing spray and regular maintenance can protect them from occasional splashes and interaction with salt.

Cobb Hill Britney Boot

Cobb Hill Britney Boot

Cobb Hill, a New Balance Company, sent me some of their shoes to try earlier this year and I was highly impressed by the comfort and support of their shoes. The Britney has a stability shank embedded into the midsole which supports the arch and helps create a smoother gait; the TR outsole provides traction control while absorbing shock and maintaining stability. Though the Britney does sport some ankle straps and hardware, the look is still classic enough to withstand footwear trends. As with the Viento, I recommend prepping this boot with a waterproofing spray.

naya abira boot

Naya Abira Boot

The Abira is a classic riding boot in buttery leather with a cushioned footbed that massages the foot with every step and a rubber outsole that delivers long-lasting durability on a variety of surfaces. The foot is roomy enough to fit an orthotic, and the style can dress up or down quite nicely. Naya is a brand known for quality and comfort but can often be found on discount sites like 6pm; when researching this post I found the boot almost 50% off in tan on 6pm.

Now I wish to hear from you readers; any suggestions for this reader? Do you deal with plantar fasciitis? If so what shoes and boots have you found that are supportive, comfortable, yet still stylish?

Bucketfeet | Everyone should have a piece of art in their closet

by Jasmin Briggs

Hi everyone, WO2 intern Jasmin here! On Wednesday, July 20th I had the opportunity to attend the DC grand opening of Bucketfeet, a shoe company based in Chicago. It was founded by Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein in 2011 after they met each other in Argentina. Their collection of footwear features designs from thousands of artists across the globe. This gives artists a chance to expose their art to the public and receive money for their work. Bucketfeet’s mission is to, “create a brighter world by sparking conversations that bring people together, create mutual respect, foster shared understanding and, thus, build a better world.”

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

Originally Alison was supposed to attend the event, but she’s currently on a cross country road trip with her family and said I could go in her place. This was my first time covering an event for a blog and I was a little nervous at first. I think I was also the youngest person there, so that didn’t help my nerves, but for the most part the event was very fun.

Being the rookie event blogger that I am I arrived 20 minutes early and I was the first one there. In hindsight that was probably best because I was able to take pictures of the storefront, store interior and products before it got too crowded with guests. When I saw the storefront I was in awe. The artistry and creativity of the storefront mirrored the theme and aesthetic of the brand so perfectly. It was unique and stood out from every other storefront on the block. The storefront design was created by a local DC artist named, MasPaz.

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

The interior of the store was even more impressive. It was more minimal compared to the storefront, but it looked similar to an art gallery. The walls of the store were white, but they were adorned with samples of the footwear and art work inspired by the footwear. The sample shoes were placed on shelves around the store and were divided into men’s, women’s and kids. Next to each shoe was a description of the person who made it and their inspiration behind the shoe. This reminded me of how museum‘s and art galleries put descriptions of the artists and theme of the piece next to their work. I think this helps people realize that art is dynamic and doesn’t come in one form. Shoes are a form of art and there is a story behind each one. When you see people walking down the street in Bucketfeet shoes their feet look like a moving canvas.

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

There were also display tables around the store that showcased shoes, laces, socks, wall décor and sketch books. I think the display tables did a good job of tying in the theme of the brand and promoting a creative environment.

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

After walking around the store and taking pictures more people showed up and before I knew it the event was packed. People were mingling, enjoying the refreshments and looking at shoes. You could hear thirty different conversations at once, but it made the event feel lively and social. The bar was pretty standard and was equipped with water, soda and white wine, but the main attraction was the hors d’oeuvres. I had a chance to taste the mini chicken and waffles and the caramel macchiato bites. There was another food option, but I didn’t have a chance to taste it. The sales associates were on their feet the whole night showing customers shoes and getting different sizes. They were really friendly and engaged in conversation with you as you tried on shoes. People were responding positively to the brand and several people left with shoes, including me!

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

DC Bucketfeet Grand Opening Review - Jasmin Briggs for Wardrobe Oxygen

Before I left the event I had a chance to interview one of the co-founders, Raaja Nemani.

Me: How did you come up with the name for the company?

Nemani: Aaron (other co-founder), started customizing shoes in college and when he would make custom shoes for his friends he called it Bucketfeet, so when we met we decided to keep the name?

Me: Very cool, so is that how the company came about?

Nemani: Aaron had just moved to Argentina to work as a photographer and he ended up living there for 3 ½ years. I quit my job in 2008 and I backpacked around the world for a year and a half and I traveled to thirty countries and visited every continent.

Me: That sounds amazing, I hope to do that one day.                    

Nemani: Then I met him in Argentina and before I left he customized a pair of shoes for me. Those are the shoes I wore, they sparked all these amazing conversations. The idea was that there’s a different story, place and person behind every product. We could spark more conversations and bring people together, teach people about different parts of the world, different people and art is a great platform to do that.

Me: So it’s a way of bringing the world together?

Nemani: Yea! Exactly

Me: How do you decide which artists will design the sneakers?

Nemani: A few ways, Aaron, my co-founder is our chief artist, so he looks through a lot of the art and the artists and their stories. Our product team thinks about how the art will work on a shoe and from a commercial stand point and then we also ask consumers to vote on the products and the art they like best. So we take all that data and make our selection.

Me: So if someone wants to submit a design, how would they go about doing that?

Nemani: Just go to our website, there’s a link you can click to sign up and give your info then you can start submitting art.

Me: How do you want your customers to feel when they wear your products? What mindset do you want them to have?

Nemani: I want them to feel like they represent something and there’s a story behind the product. You will get asked about the shoes because they stand out and when you do you have something to say. You can talk about the person, the story and what it means. I think that’s really powerful in bringing people together and making the world a little bit better.

The entire experience from the venue, to the atmosphere, food and people was phenomenal and I highly recommend that people visit the store and see for themselves. The products are so unique and everyone should have a piece of art in their closet!

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Comfort and Style CAN Live Together in Harmony!

It really is possible to be chic AND comfortable. Just with everything else in life that is good, you need to work hard and do your homework. Sure, ratty sweats and a fake pair of Uggs will be cozy on a winter day, but is that really the “book cover” you wish to present to the world? Making conscious decisions and shopping carefully, you can achieve great personal style and comfort within one wardrobe.

The Long Walk
So you’re a city girl and trek several blocks from your apartment to your office. Or maybe you live in a town where you can reach the grocery, bank and post office all on foot. Possibly you are a college student where you log a few miles a day trekking around campus. Whatever your reason, your life doesn’t have room for 4” stiletto heels and bondage-like pencil skirts.

This doesn’t mean you have to wear white tennis shoes or dowdy orthopedic loafers around town. These days almost every brand of shoe has a style made for comfort.

Tall boots are still the rage, but lucky for us they are now being shown on the runways and in the magazines with low to no heel at all. This leather boot from Born merges current trends with utter comfort and even classic style for a pair of boots you can put miles and years in easily.

These booties from Gentle Souls are sleek enough to pair with your work attire, but with a low yet grippy heel and sole and a flaxseed pouch under the insole for support and comfort, you’ll be able to walk all over town in utter comfort.

ECCO is a great brand known for making study and comfortable footwear. Take that reputation with a drool-worth red patent Mary Jane style, and you have form AND function that would work with dresses and pants in almost every season. Red is the unexpected neutral that will work with almost your entire wardrobe – from brown to black to gray to denim, red is a great jolt of color that will boost your entire look.

For clothing, look for pieces that have lycra for stretch. A pair of boots over skinny jeans is a classic casual look for weekends or the campus, but can be terribly uncomfortable if the jeans are rigid and the boots are binding. Lycra will also give you a more custom fit.

Moisture-wicking pieces will help with the cold outside to warm outside transition and the energy used to hike up those hills in town. Tops like this Teelicious V-neck from Athleta will work under all your sweaters and help wick moisture from the body, keeping you warm and dry.

Baby It’s Cold Outside
To get from your door to your car you have to pass two-foot piles of rock-hard thawed and refrozen snow drifts, black ice and puddles of salty muck. Each day is an adventure just to get out the driveway, let alone slip and slide on the sidewalks to your destination. You laugh at suede booties and peeptoes, and seriously consider investing in snowshoes or ice-climbing boots to survive the season.

No need to sacrifice style or succumb to neon-hued marshmallows on your tootsies, there are great options that are weatherproof, insulated AND have good traction on the ice.

This weatherproof leather boot from Merrell offers style and a sticky leather sole for traction. Merrell is a company known for their high-quality action sports and outdoor gear as well as their comfort. This boot has a breathable mesh lining and an elastic gusset to these babies will fit over your jeans or your coziest knee socks with ease.

This waterproof short boot from Sudini is sleek enough to be worn once you reach the office, not just for the frigid trek to the building. The flexible sole helps with traction and getting around comfortably, and the removable insole means you can upgrade to an insole with more support or cushioning to make the time on your feet even more pleasant. Available in black or brown and a variety of foot widths, this bootie could work in almost any woman’s wardrobe.

Make warmth the these of your look with these tall boots from North Face. Paired with a chunky fisherman’s sweater and skinny jeans or a wool sweater dress and thick tights or leggings, these waterproof, Primaloft-lined boots can be stylish AND comfortable on the coldest and snowiest winter day. Best of all the TNF Winter Grip ™ outsoles are known to have amazing traction on ice, snow and slush.

As for clothing, layers are a great way to stay warm and still be comfortable. You can throw on a sweater or hoodie under your coat, and always remove it and tuck it in your bag if your destination has the heat blasting. Look for thin yet warm outerwear that will help you move comfortably, while protecting you against the elements.

I recently purchased this reversible down coat from Lands End for my commute. The longer length keeps me toasty warm even if I am wearing a skirt, is water-resistant, and a sleek design made specifically to not add bulk to a woman’s frame. Remember a scarf, gloves and hat to protect the areas where heat escapes. I love a pashmina in place of a scarf – it adds a nice shot of collar at the neckline, can double as a wrap if your destination is drafty, and the soft cashmere feels great against wind-chapped faces.

Jane of All Trades
You want a shoe that will look sophisticated, professional, even possibly dressy without making your toes screech in pain. Asking too much? No, not these days with modern technology and wonderful materials that can offer great classic style and all-day comfort.

Cole Haan has partnered with Nike to create their Air line of shoes. These shoes have the beautiful style, class and quality Cole Haan is known for, but have Nike Air technology carefully hidden in the sole to provide extra cushioning. This suede and patent leather peeptoe pump is an elegant color and style that would work with skirts or trousers and be great three seasons of the year.

These dress boots from Clark offer the style of a traditional heeled city boot, but hidden in the sleek design is a soft foam footbed, a rigid ABS heel for easy walking on a higher heel, an SSR outsole with EVA-filled forepart to reduce load lift and extends the life of the boot, and cement construction where the upper is adhered to the outsole using a bonding agent, which creates a lightweight, flexible shoe.

Shop My Closet – On Poshmark!

WardrobeOxygen on PoshmarkI’ve been saying for a while that I needed to get off my tuchus and sell all the clothes I don’t currently wear. While I may clean out my closet I do have a dirty secret… I have bins and bags full of clothes in my attic (and there were a couple full contractor bags in my home office). I regularly donate career wear to a charity and have Freecycled and donated all my maternity clothes and clothes that are in “well loved” condition, but the nicer stuff I’ve been holding on to.

No more. All this clothing is doing no one favors being boxed and bagged up in my attic. A couple weekends ago, my best friend came over and for eight hours we dug through three bags. All pieces were photographed, packed up, labeled, and ready to ship. While I have used eBay and a Shop My Closet blog in the past, this time I decided to use Poshmark. My friend Alyson has raved about it for a long time and many of you have told me you use it with great success. It seemed simpler than eBay too.

For the past two weeks I have been using Poshmark and I have become as big of a fan as my friend Alyson! It’s an app-based program; while you can visit Poshmark on your computer, to buy and sell you need to do it on your phone. As a seller, I think this makes the process uber easy – my pictures are already on my phone so I can easily upload them, write a quick description, and even answer questions and negotiate counteroffers. I’ve found the customers to be more… reasonable than on eBay. You’re not usually expected to offer 5,000 measurements for a $6 LOFT tee, people are super friendly and quick to share and comment, and while I have had a couple ridiculous counter offers (no, I will not sell that NWT original retail still in the store $250 item for $15), in general it has been a friendly and painless experience.

Tips for Selling on Poshmark by Wardrobe OxygenA couple of you saw on social media that I was on Poshmark and have joined to buy and sell. If you’re interested, if you use this link and code PMZYS you’ll get $5 off your first order and I too will receive a $5 credit (find me, I am wardrobeoxygen).  There’s no auction or bidding, you can counter-offer and some sellers (myself included) offer  “bundling” where you can purchase multiple pieces from a seller at one time and save on shipping ($4.99/order).  If you’re interested in selling on Poshmark, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Be Honest.  Like other selling sites, Poshmark has a rating system.  Buyers can give you up to five stars for orders.  It’s not worth it to ruin your reputation by trying to pass off replicas, lie about the condition of a garment, or its original price.
  • Provide Details.  Is it an XL but fits more like a L?  How did you style it?  If you recall the original style name or number or even color name, include it.  While Poshmark won’t let you write a novel, you can offer quite a lot of information.  The more details you provide, the more likely the item will sell and the more likely the buyer will get what she expected and leave you a favorable rating.
  • Take Good Photos.  I use my iPhone 6s and take the pictures in natural light near a window.  For Christmas I got this dress form; it’s not high quality (in fact I cracked the base the day my friend and I were on a Poshmark selling spree and it’s now held together with packing tape) but it gives a better idea of how an item will fit than lying a sweater on your bed or floor.  If you have a photo of you wearing the item, include that too.  I also search the internet for stock photos of the item.  A mix of all three is a great way to get an item sold.  Poshmark lets you upload four photos per item with the first photo being your cover photo.  I’ve found the most successful cover photos are those with me wearing the piece.  If you don’t have a photographer taking your picture in items for a blog, a mirror selfie in a well-lit room is still good (and you can cut off your head in the photo if you wish to be anonymous).
  • Stock Up on Free Priority Mailers.  Your post office has Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes and boxes for free; these are perfect for shipping out your orders.  Included in the cut Poshmark takes from your sales (20%, or $2.95 if the item sells for $5 or less) is a shipping label.  When you make a sale, Poshmark emails you this Priority Mail label.  You can order shipping bags and boxes from USPS.com for free but know it takes up to two weeks to receive your order.  If you have a post office nearby, grab a few to get your sales going.
  • Take Care with your Sales.  I fold nicely, wrap in tissue, tie with a bit of curling ribbon, and carefully slip into the box or bag.  I got a pack of cheap tissue paper; you only need 1-2 pieces per order.  The curling ribbon I purchased when I attended a baby shower where all presents were to be wrapped in blue.  That yet-to-be-born baby is now 5 and as you see in the photo above, there’s still plenty left even though every shower and birthday present since the shower had turquoise ribbon on it.  I bought some rolls of packing tape, and because I’m a dork like that, ordered some cheapy business cards from VistaPrint (this is a referral link that will give you $10 off your first order) that thank the buyer for her order, have my name and my Poshmark address on them.  The overall cost is minimal, but it makes the experience much nicer for the recipient.
  • Raise Your Rates.  Poshmarkers LOVE to counter-offer.  Consider this when making your prices.  It’s worth it to up the price a few dollars to be ready for a counter-offer (if you accept a counter-offer the item sells immediately to that individual).  Also, if you have stagnant items that don’t want to sell, you can then lower the price without too much heartache.  A plus to lowering the rate is anyone who “liked” the piece will end up receiving reduced shipping.
  • Be Quick with Communication.  If someone asks for additional details or makes a counter-offer, be polite and reply within 24 hours.  Since Poshmark is on your phone, it’s easy to quickly type in a response and move on with your day.
  • Follow the Rules.  Don’t accept sales through PayPal or offline.  Don’t try to sell used makeup or clutter Poshmark with items they don’t allow to be sold on their app (home goods, electronics, health and wellness products, used underwear and makeup).  Don’t label something a blouse when in fact it’s one of those belly wrap things that spam social media.  And don’t call something Chanel-esque or like Louis Vuitton – that’s a trademark violation and such names can only be used if the item is legitimately from that brand.
  • Be Part of the Community.  Share other people’s sales (I only share that which I actually like), follow other accounts, leave comments and reply to comments.  Poshmark is very social, and by being part of the community you’ll get a larger audience to see your closet, resulting in faster and more sales!

Are you on Poshmark?  I’d love to hear your experiences and feel free to share your closet in the comments!

My Head is Too Big to be Hipster: A Warby Parker Review

Once I got new glasses, I wanted more. A pair of red frames to channel my inner Sally Jesse Raphael, a funky blue or green pair to jazz up all-black ensembles, a funky shape to show personality at the office. I had heard a lot of great things about Warby Parker and decided to try a pair of frames from them.

Me in my new glasses – Lafont’s Issy & La collection, the frame is called “Gloss”

Warby Parker Eyewear’s mission is to offer reasonably-priced fashionable frames. On top of that, for every pair of Warby Parkers sold, a new pair is given to someone in need. Warby Parker is also proud to be a carbon-neutral company.

Warby Parker has a try-on program where you can pick five frames and try them on at home. They will ship the glasses to you for free and offer free return postage; I decided to take advantage of this program and see if I could find a new pair of signature prescription frames.

The Warby Parker site is very easy to navigate; click on your gender and then whether you desire optical or sunglass frames. From there you can choose material, color, frame shape, and width. From experience, I know my face is pretty wide, so I stuck to the medium and wide styles of frames. Since I already have a pair of tortoiseshell frames, I stuck to more unusual colors.

The glasses arrived quickly in a sturdy shipping box, and then a lovely navy linen box. Each pair of glasses was in its own compartment, wrapped in plastic and labeled with its name. Each pair of Warby Parker frames has the brand and style name inside on the temple. I found the quality to be stellar, especially for the price. These frames rival the more expensive designer styles I tried at my nearby glasses shop. The return process is simple – peel off the self-adhesive UPS label and drop it in a nearby UPS drop box. I couldn’t be more impressed with Warby Parker and their process… except that my face is too big for them.

Maybe I should have tried men’s frames, but I felt that almost every pair I tried (except for the Bensen, and they just weren’t a style I was looking for) was just a hair too small for my face. I often have this issue not just with glasses, but sunglasses as well. In fact, when I got my new glasses, they were the only ones I liked after trying on about 20 pairs – each other pair seemed just a bit too small for my face shape, even some of the men’s frames I tried.

So if you have a normal to small-sized noggin, I encourage you to try Warby Parker. The Warby Parker at-home program is completely free so you have nothing to risk; if you find a pair you like you can feel good that not only will you look great, but your purchase will also be doing good. As for me, I will have to look elsewhere, my head is just too big to be hipster.

Note: Warby Parker has no idea I am doing this review and I was not compensated in any way for it.  I just decided to try the brand and share my experience with you!

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Marmi Shoes: Behind the Scenes

Last fall, Marmi Shoes reached out to me and offered a pair of shoes from their current selection. I had not heard of the company previously, and was impressed by their wide range of sizes and widths available, as well as shoe brands I knew and loved like VANELi. I chose a pair of black leather ankle booties from VANELi that had a slim heel and pointed toe. Those shoes are AMAZING; I wore them to death this past fall and winter and already got them polished and reheeled to be ready for the end of summer. It’s rare to find shoes that are stylish and comfortable, but these did both (you can see me wear them in this post, this post, and this post).

Marmi Shoes Westfield Montgomery Mall - Wardrobe OxygenThe Marmi Shoe Boutique at Westfield Montgomery Mall

This spring, Marmi Shoes invited me to host the grand opening of their boutique in Westfield Montgomery Mall. I was excited to get to know this brand better and understand why they stand out from other shoe boutiques. I learned that, and so much more that I became a mega Marmi Shoes fangirl.

Marmi is the retail division of Wolff Shoe Company a family-owned and operated business headquartered in St. Louis Missouri. Wolff Shoe has existed for almost 100 years and four generations have been a part of it. Since its inception in 1918, the St. Louis-based company began manufacturing shoes and over the decades, we have grown into one of the nation’s largest and most recognized footwear importers including VANELi and Sesto Meucci from sources all over the world. Yes, you read that correctly. The reason Marmi Shoes is such a special shoe store is because they make the shoes. That brand VANELi that you love from Zappos or Nordstrom? Wolff Shoe Company made them, and Marmi Shoes can provide the most variety and the largest selection of sizes and widths than any other retailer.

wolff shoe coWolff Shoe Company opened their first Marmi store in 1986. Positioned as an upscale woman’s boutique with an extensive selection of quality footwear, Marmi’s primary focus was built around providing exceptional service while fusing fashion with fit by offering an unprecedented size range from 4-13 and widths from slim to wide. Marmi currently operates over 20 specialty stores nationwide and steadily continues to grow its retail base today. Visiting the store, I was floored by the almost cult following Marmi Shoes has. Customers drove from hours away to visit the boutique. Many women had feet that aren’t easy to fit, but many came purely for the selection and the service.

The service was… unheard of in this day and age. I have retail roots, I worked in retail and apparel for a decade and considered myself a pretty great salesperson. I’m pretty picky when it comes to customer service and the staff at Marmi Shoes blew me away with their knowledge, their patience, their true love for the product and their customers. No one was rushed, no one was ignored, and their staff could accurately gauge size, width, and the specific shoes that would fit, flatter, and work with a customer’s lifestyle and personal style. Watching them work with the customers was a thing of beauty.

Marmi-Shoes-Saddle-Creek-Memphis-24Photo of Gary and Sherry Wolf by Kim Thomas of KPFUSION. Click this link to read her experience at the Marmi store opening in Memphis,TN.

Speaking of unheard of… Gary Wolff, Chairman and Owner of Wolff Shoe Company was at the opening. He and his wife Sherry were not just observing the event, but getting down on the floor, sizing customers’ feet, choosing merchandise, and working just as hard as the salespeople. Customers had no idea that the head of the company was sliding their tootsies into a pair of sandals! Gary told me that his son, Todd, was the 4th generation part of the company and wasn’t at the opening because he was in Italy sourcing materials for an upcoming shoe line. I had no idea that Marmi Shoes was such a fabulous company, dedicated to quality footwear, phenomenal customer service, and keeping it in the family.

This is not a sponsored post, this is me being super excited about a company that does it right, does it with heart, with quality, and is thriving. I’m so impressed, I wanted to share with you readers. I had a chance have Todd Wolff, President and 4th generation part of this company answer some questions about Marmi:

When I attended the Grand Opening for the Marmi Shoes in Westfield Montgomery Mall, I learned that Marmi doesn’t just sell shoes in hard to find sizes, but is a part of Wolff Shoe Co. and most of the shoes they sell are brands the company creates! Can you tell me what brands Wolff Shoe Co. creates?

We are the manufactures for VANELi, Sesto Meucci, and Eric Javits Footwear.

Wolff Shoe Co. is a family business, how many generations are involved in the company and in what capacity?

There are three current generations involved. My grandfather William is the chairman emeritus. My father Gary is the chairman of the board, and I (Todd) am the president.

Where do you get inspiration for each season?

We shop trends both here and abroad to keep in step with what is happening globally in fashion.

Where do you source your materials?

90% come from Italy, specifically around Tuscany where our Italian office and design team are located.

What are the top selling shoes this season?

We cover the spectrum for great flat sandals to fashion wedges and heavy heels. Also, we are selling espadrilles and anything that is in a fun or whimsical material.

I saw that Marmi boutiques carry other brands like Botkier and Hammett handbags; how do you decide which companies to feature?

Our buyer shops the market for emerging trends finds brands that are both on trend and appealing to our customer base to our customer. We also try to find brands that are not widely distributed, so that we can offer something special to our customers.

Since some of your brands like VANELi are sold at other retailers, what is the benefit of visiting a local Marmi boutique?

Selection of product (we carry more than any other retailer), customer service, sizes and perks [such as Marmi Perks].

I was so impressed by how passionate and knowledgeable the staff was at my local Marmi Shoes store. They could just look at my feet and know not just my size and width but which styles would likely fit and flatter best. Does your staff undergo specific training?

Many are experienced shoe sellers with years of knowledge under their belts. They, along with new sellers train in other Marmi stores to ensure that our sellers know our shoes, our fit and our level of customer service.

If one doesn’t live near a Marmi store, how can they shop Marmi?

Shop online at marmishoes.com or through our catalog 1.800.966.2764

I have a fab pair of VANELi sandals from Marmi Shoes that I got at the grand opening. They have been waiting patiently for sunnier skies. I’m glad to see the weather has improved, expect to see them in a future outfit post. And don’t be surprised to see me wearing more shoes from Marmi Shoes, they have made a lifelong fan out of me!

Who Wants a Year’s Worth of Free Shoes?

When I feel bad I like to treat myself. Clothes never look any good… food just makes me fatter… shoes always fit.
-Rose Feller, from the movie In Her Shoes

It’s true, no matter what size we are, we can usually find a pair of fabulous footwear to make us feel sassy, feminine, powerful and pretty. No other accessory can transform a look, or the wearer with such intensity.

Footprints International free shoesReader Jacqueline recently told me about a company she is part of – Footprints International. We have all been exposed to the at-home parties for Pampered Chef, Partylite, and even I used to even be a consultant for The Body Shop at Home. Those parties are fun because you get to sip cocktails with your girlfriends while shopping or playing with gadgets or beauty products. Well imagine if you could have a shoe store come to your home? Well Footprints International allows you to do just that.

Jacqueline is having the most fabulous contest going on right now, and I just had to share it all with you:

Footprints International wants to know, in 200 words or less, why you adore your shoes. What is it about wearing a fabulous pair of shoes that excites you, makes you feel beautiful, or puts a smile on your face? All contest entries will begin: “I adore my shoes because. . .”

The Grand Prize winner will receive 12 pairs of fabulous Footprints International Shoes – yes, that’s the equivalent of a pair a month for a year with special surprise bonuses throughout the year. The Grand Prize winner will also receive a special shoe gift arrangement filled with shoe goodies.

The First Prize winner will receive six pairs of Footprints International Shoes, plus a gift arrangement; and Second Prize winner will receive three pairs of shoes, plus a gift arrangement. All pairs of shoes are at a value of up to $50.00 each. The Contest ends at 11:59:59 P.M. PT on March 31, 2008. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

To enter, visit our website at http://www.footprintsinternational.com/. Please indicate her name (Jacqueline) at the end of your entry. As our special gift to you, for entering our contest, you will receive a 20% discount on your next purchase from Footprints International. See complete rules for this contest at http://www.footprintsinternational.com/.

For more information about Footprints International, stop by Jacqueline’s blog, Give a Shoe Party. Good luck to all who enter!

UPDATE:
Footprints International has extended the contest deadline to April 16th. Winners will still be announced on May 1st.

Capsule Wardrobe: Street Style Fashionista

Can you do a capsule wardrobe that is full of prints and personality? Capsule wardrobes always are so minimalistic and boring. I want to shrink my wardrobe but I don’t want to lose the fun it has.

What does it take to be stylish? I look at street style and blogs like The Sartorialist and it’s not the fashion I see on blogs. How do they do it?

Is it possible to be fashionable and not have a giant wardrobe? I want to learn how to purchase less but better things. When is a designer piece an investment or when is it a trend? What parts of a look should you spend money on and when can you buy cheap?

You can have a small wardrobe and still have your closet chock full of personality and style. In fact, a smaller wardrobe helps you really define your personal style and choose wisely to ensure cohesion. Many of those stylish individuals shot by street style photographers have quite small wardrobes but buy statement and quality pieces that pack a punch, get them tailored to fit perfectly, and shop knowing and loving their body and their personality.

Wardrobe Oxygen - Capsule Wardrobe for the Street Style FashionistaThis capsule wardrobe is for inspiration, not imitation. It shows how you can mix budget-friendly classics with vintage, designer, and unique items that show your personality. I call it a street style capsule wardrobe as it creates looks that will stop traffic without being too trendy, too extreme, or requiring too many pieces in your closet. However, this capsule will work beyond the street and into many situations in life.

Shop My Picks for Solid Yet Not Boring Dresses:

The green dress is from the budget-friendly brand Topshop. This brand can often fit weird, but it does a great job of incorporating trends and adding unique details. For the low price you can afford alterations to make it look like a million bucks, and many celebs and street style icons love this brand. I chose it because it’s a classic wrap dress with edge thanks to the unusual color and dolman sleeves. How you style it can take it from ho-hum to hum-dinger. Pair with the tassel earrings and gold sandals for a summer dinner, with the leopard pumps and gold necklace for desk to drinks, with the scarf and black pumps for the office.

Shop My Picks for Vintage-Inspired Dresses:

The navy floral dress is a vintage-inspired piece and the kind of dress I could see fashionistas drool over. With good tailoring it won’t look mumsy, and in fact with alterations you could go with a cheaper vintage-inspired dress from a lower-end brand and get the same effect.  Again it’s all about the styling. Pair with the sneakers and throw the denim jacket over your shoulders like a cape. Style with the sequin boots, deep dark lipcolor and bedhead. Pattern mixing is a way to stand out in a crowd; don’t be afraid to wear it with a patterned shoe and/or bag.

Denim is a way to buy low cost but look high end. Levi’s are eternally chic yet budget-friendly. If you like crisp and dark, you can find them at many mass retailers; if you desire the distressed look head to Etsy where you can find vintage Levi’s jackets, skirts, shorts, and jeans for prices far lower than designer. I find J. Crew does a good job with denim washes that look both expensive and well-loved. Denim can be tailored and it’s worth it, whether it’s a shirt or a pair of jeans, to have it fit impeccably. This is what usually makes a wardrobe go from fine to fabulous. Denim looks great paired with bold prints and luxe fabrics. Style the denim shirt with the jeans and add the leopard pumps and gold necklace. Wear any of the skirts with the denim shirt or jacket (consider wearing the jacket as a shirt!). Play with the jeans, sometimes wearing straight, sometimes making one large cuff, or a couple smaller ones. Try rolling sleeves, wearing the jacket like a cape, knotting the shirt, popping the collar, and giving the pieces new lives and new silhouettes.

Shop My Picks for Statement Skirts:

There’s something so chic about a statement skirt. It’s a piece that can become your signature and worn over and over without looking tired. While the red paisley skirt is designer (Alexander McQueen), it’s a concept that can be recreated with vintage, a unique boutique purchase, a chance finding in H&M or Zara, or even handmade. The midi length can dress up or down with ease and the simple a-line silhouette transcends trends. Style with the band tee and sneakers, with the black turtleneck and a pair of tall black heeled boots, the black silk blouse and leopard pumps, the denim shirt and a pair of beat up cowboy boots. It could go evening with a silk camisole and heels or weekend with a ribbed tank and gladiator sandals.

Shop My Picks for Leather Jackets and Skirts:

I’m a sucker for leather and by perusing street style blogs or Googling style icons you can see fashionistas are as well. A leather pencil skirt can make a simple white shirt look couture and a black fitted turtleneck sweater with one is a look you could see on Jackie O or Karen O. You can’t get more luxe than a silk blouse and leather skirt, and a band tee with leather skirt and statement shoes is a look that has you a fashion badass once the sun goes down. A leather jacket is the perfect completion piece. While it can be outerwear, it’s also so great in tempering twee or something too feminine. Imagine it with the floral dress, over a pleated silk maxi skirt, or used as a blazer over the printed shell and black trousers. I have had much luck with leather from the Halogen brand found at Nordstrom, and also find great gently used leather on eBay.

Shop My Picks for Wardrobe Classics:

A stylish woman mixes classics with trendy touches. Some pieces like a Breton tee, black turtleneck, straight jeans, a Western-inspired denim shirt, cashmere crewneck, or black silk shirt rarely go out of style. The mixture of a classic with a classic is always chic, but consider going outside your comfort zone and mixing them with the unexpected. Add the sequin booties to the black turtleneck and leather skirt, wear the Breton tee with a patterned skirt or trousers. Wear jeans with your gems, silk with distressed denim, florals with snakeskin, a ball skirt with a band tee. Stepping outside the box is what takes your style to the next level.

Shop My Picks for White Blazers:

A white blazer is an instant way to look chic. Whether it’s worn over a black sheath dress, paired with a band tee and vintage jeans, over a Breton tee or a silk camisole with dark denim, made into a suit with the black trousers or paired with matching pants for a variation on the Le Smoking, you’ll find a white blazer can often be more versatile than one in navy or black and it has far more impact.

Buy the best quality you can afford so it can last and will justify alteration costs. Factor in alteration costs when budgeting for a piece so you won’t get tailor sticker shock. It’s better to spend $100 in alterations on a $150 blazer than buy a $255 blazer and wear it right off the rack. It will look more expensive and you will look more stylish. Check Yelp, ask a bridal salon or men’s suiting shop for recommendations on a tailor and test them out with a piece that isn’t your ultimate favorite.

Shop My Picks for Statement Shoes:

I feel where one should spend their money is on footwear. While many lower-cost brands sell current trends, they quality is often lacking and you can risk purchasing a cheap replica and no fashionista wears fakes. You don’t need a closet overflowing with footwear, just a few key pieces that are versatile yet make a statement. In this capsule wardrobe I have a leopard calfhair pump (leopard is a neutral and the textured finish adds interest to a look), a sleek leather pump with a pointed toe (this is the kind of shoe where quality and details matter; if you can care for shoes well it’s a good shoe to invest in), an on-trend flat (right now it’s sneakers; this is an embroidered style from Gucci but you can go classic with a pair of Adidas shell tops or Stan Smiths), and an eye-catcher (for these I did sequined booties from Roger Vivier but you could do most any on-trend unique silhouette in a statement color or material).

When it comes to accessories and being a style maven, go classic and quality, or go vintage or handmade. There’s nothing less chic than a replica of a designer piece, and sometimes you don’t even realize you’re buying a cheap copy of the original. If you see your favorite fashion icon wearing an accessory or pair of shoes that calls to you, Google it. A search of “Gigi Hadid Sunglasses” or “Jenna Lyons shoes” will provide you with zillions of photos of the celebrity in the accessory and from there you can find the one you liked and often click on the image and get a website sharing the name and style number.

Vintage designer is a way to have high-end for less. While vintage Chanel will still cost an arm and a leg, you can often find belts, clutches, and brooches at reasonable prices at local consignment and high-end vintage shops, and online at places like The RealReal, Tradesy, and FarFetch have great selection and guarantee authenticity. The addition of a designer belt can completely transform a pair of Levi’s and a v-neck tee, and you’ll see many fashionistas sporting a vintage designer clutch instead of the most recent It Bag.

The best way to put a personal touch on a wardrobe is shop for it when on your travels. A cuff bracelet picked up on your trip to Vietnam or shoes you bought at a market in Morocco add far more style than buying the most expensive on-trend accessory that season. And how nice when someone compliments you on the piece to be able to have a story to share about it!

Subscribe to fashion magazines and/or visit their websites to get regular inspiration of what is coming down the runways and how editors are styling them. A fashionista doesn’t copy, but she is well educated on designers and trends. The more you research, the more you will see patterns in what you like, get ideas for unexpected pairings within your current wardrobe, decide what will complete your closet that season, and figure out how to get the look you desire on your budget.

Don’t think because you’re a certain age you can only glean inspiration from stylish women from your generation. True style is ageless, and someone 20 years older or younger than you may stimulate your sartorial juices better than your peers. Also step out of your comfort zone and check out the current fashion mavens on the scene. While Audrey, Katharine, Bridgette, Jackie, Jane and Lauren are eternal icons, there’s some really chic women right now who are going to be the next generation’s icons and can provide a lot of inspiration, or at least food for thought.

Shop the Capsule Wardrobe:

This capsule wardrobe is not cheap; tallying it up it would be around $10,000. That is a LOT of money, but these aren’t pieces that are all purchased in one season or one year. Many of these pieces are ones you can buy once and wear for decades. Consider the fashionistas featured on the blog Advanced Style; you know they didn’t buy their whole look at once. Over the years they found that perfect hat, the bracelet that looks so perfect with that dress, the sunglasses that complete an ensemble. Style icons don’t shop just for the here and now but also for the future. Don’t gut your closet and start from scratch, slowly replace items with quality, with style, with fit, with personality. Stay on track, save your pennies, don’t be swayed by major markdowns or the look for less. Treat your wardrobe like an art collection and your personal style a work of art. This mentality is what takes one from looking nice to being a fashion icon.

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Plus Sized Work Attire Options

Dear Allie:
I am getting back into the workforce after five years as a SAHM. I’m really excited, but am having a hard time finding nice work clothes. I am a size 18, 5’5” and an apple and all I seem to find are lowcut dresses and polyester pants. Do you know where I can find suits and work clothes like dresses and blouses for my size?
 
Why are all plus sized suits made out of polyester? Where can I find a suit that is equal in quality and price to J. Crew but goes above a size 16?
 
I was recently promoted and my new position requires me to travel on business several times a month. For such trips, I will need to wear a suit while at the office I can usually get away with casual pants or even nice jeans. While I have a great wardrobe of business casual pieces, it is proving difficult to find more corporate of attire for my size (I vary between a 20 and 22). Do you know of any retailers who specialize in suiting and corporate attire for plus-sized women?
 
Hi Allie, I need to improve my look at work. We’re allowed to wear anything we want but I don’t want to look like a slob any more and think if I look good I may be more likely to get a raise or promotion. I’m 5’7”, a size 20 with a large bust and don’t even know where to start looking for nicer work clothes. HELP!

I am not sure why the world thinks women over a size 12 don’t hold professional jobs. They must think that with the poor selection of career wear for plus-sized women. While quality suits and stylish business casual clothing does exist, it’s hard to find. Below I feature some brands who realize that just because you wear a larger size doesn’t mean you wish to sacrifice style, quality, or professionalism.

If you’re plus sized, I’m sure you already know about Lane Bryant, Avenue, Ashley Stewart, One Stop Plus/Woman Within/Roamans/Jessica London, and other retailers who specialize in plus size fashion. Below are some suggestions on brands I know who aren’t the typical shops, and who provide quality, well-crafted and stylish career wear in plus sizes

Nordstrom
I know, I know, Nordstrom again? Thing is, they offer a great selection of quality brands and style for plus sizes. MICHAEL Michael Kors, Rachel Palley, Calvin Klein, Karen Kane, Eileen Fisher, Tahari Woman, Vince Camuto, Kenneth Cole… all these brands and more are offered in plus sizes at Nordstrom stores and online.

Unlike many other department stores who think a woman in a size 22 dress wants a muumuu or a flowing polyester pantsuit, Nordstrom buyers find brands and pieces that are in the same vein of style as the rest of the store. Great colors, fun silhouettes, lots of options. Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns, will perform alterations onsite, and have personal shoppers that can help you secure a professional wardrobe for your job.

Macy’s
Macy’s is another department store who offers a fantastic selection of brands and styles for plus sizes. Alfani, Calvin Klein, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Jones New York, and then their in-house brand INC International Concepts are great resources for great plus size office wear. Like Nordstrom, Macy’s provides a good amount of real estate in most of their stores for plus-sized fashion.

Macy’s always has promotions for discounts and shipping deals. Macy’s has a great return and exchange policy, where you can return by mail or at any nearby store.

Talbots
Talbots Woman comes in sizes 12-24 regular and 12-22 petite. Each season they offer several styles of suit separates so you can mix and match for the perfect career look. Talbots also specializes in business casual looks, with tailored trousers, well-crafted skirts, polished knits and sweaters and even shoes and accessories.

While many retailers hide their plus size department in a dusty corner or keep it only online, Talbots often has separate stores just for their Woman line, or else it gets plenty of real estate in their mixed-size store. Talbots is phenomenal with customer service, seeking out sizes at other locations, taking returns in-store, and giving you honest feedback and offering suggestions at the fitting room. When I was a size 18, Talbots was my go-to store, where I knew I would find quality, style, and a supportive staff.

Jones New York
While Jones New York is a department store staple, they also have their own online boutique that has a large selection of career wear in extended sizes. Since you have to return by mail (they offer a pre-paid shipping label), it’s good to try out JNY in a store to know how it fits, and then go online to find a larger selection.

Kiyonna
Kiyonna knows how to dress a woman. They make well-made pieces that are stylish and flattering to a plus-sized figure. No muumuus and garish prints here, Kiyonna offers beautiful dresses, and also a beautiful selection of separates. While their bottoms are very basic, they are well-made and classic. Some of their tops can run on the sexy side, but many are great pieces for business casual environments or fabulous shells under suits. Their return policy is pretty standard but I hear their sizing is quite consistent so once you know how you fit in Kiyonna you won’t have to make as many returns and exchanges.

Ann Taylor
If you enter an Ann Taylor store, you may think they don’t care about anyone over a size 12. However online they go up to size 18 and XXL on the majority of their pieces. I also find Ann Taylor runs a bit large and many of my readers have agreed that their size 18 can often fit a size 20 woman.

Ann Taylor regularly has promotions for free shipping and percentages off select items – it’s smart to sign up for their emails or follow them on Facebook or Twitter so you stay updated. Their online selection can sell out pretty quickly when they have such sales, so shop early. While Ann Taylor doesn’t offer free returns, they do accept returns even of larger sizes in any store. And if you have to do a return, check out their sale rack where I have regularly seen larger sizes from other women who have made returns.

Lands’ End
Lands’ End may not be the retailer you would think for career wear, but they do have a pretty great selection of workwear staples. While their summer selection is more geared towards shorts and dresses, they always have a good selection of blazers and coordinating bottoms and come the cooler months have an even greater selection of suiting and work-appropriate pieces.

Lands’ End often has promotions for discounts and free shipping so sign up for their emails to get the latest news. Lands’ End also accepts returns at Sears stores which makes shopping with them even more convenient.

Eddie Bauer
Like Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer mainly focuses on casual weekend fashion. However, like Lands’ End they have a few stand-out pieces each season for career wear. Eddie Bauer often focuses on easy-care pieces, and you’re likely to find wrinkle-free suiting, no-iron button-front shirts, and machine washable trousers and dresses. Eddie Bauer offers free exchanges and accepts returns by mail (they will provide a pre-paid shipping label or you can send by your own method) or in store.

Overstock
I’m quick to head to Overstock to find a toaster oven or an area rug, but I have now learned to go to this site for fashion. Popular brands like Tahari, Kasper, Calvin Klein, and Ann Klein are featured by Overstock, and at nicer prices than at the department store. While some of the styles offered on Overstock are a bit strange, you can also find some gems – often pieces being sold right now at your nearby Belk or Macy’s. Overstock has customer reviews, ridiculously cheap shipping, and a reasonable return policy.

TJ Maxx
While most of my local discount big box retailers will have some plus size fashion, it’s usually a small section, messy, and full of strange pieces I wouldn’t be caught dead in. Not so for TJ Maxx, who usually carries higher-end brands than similar stores, and they usually have a larger and better organized plus size department.


Where do you find stylish and well-made plus size career wear? I’d love to know your suggestions!

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Ask Allie – How to Accessorize a Sheath Dress

I have received so many emails recently asking for fashion advice. I figured I would share the questions and responses with you readers – what helps one may help many!

Dear Allie:
I have found my figure looks great in simple sheath dresses and I recently realized I have a good 8-10 of these in my wardrobe. What do I need to accessorize them so I don’t look like “The Sheath Lady”? I don’t really own a lot of accessories right now.  Thanks!

I think a sheath dress is one of the easiest things for a woman to accessorize. The classic, no-frills silhouette can be completely transformed based upon what accessories you choose to add to it.  I too love sheath dresses and find them flattering on many figures.  Ones in crepe, suiting fabric, silk, cotton and linen blends and in solid colors can be extremely versatile.

Classic – A strand of pearls (18-20”) and glossy leather pumps. This can take a solid colored sheath and make it appropriate for work, for a wedding, for a date night, house of worship (depending on how conservative – pack a cardigan or pashmina), a luncheon… most anything. If all else fails, this is a perfect go-to outfit when you don’t know your event or audience.

Elegant – A long strand of pearls or a gold chain with occasional crystals, delicate strappy heels, a clutch and you are ready for an evening event.

Summery – A wooden bangle bracelet and some sandals with wood or cork heels in a skin tone. Simple, stylish, current.

Preppy – Top the sheath with a cardigan tied at the shoulders, or a square scarf tied at the throat. Add a canvas tote in a candy-colored hue.

Weekend – A necklace of plastic or wood beads in a complimenting color, and a pair of leather thong sandals. Add a floppy straw hat and you are ready for the farmer’s market or winery.

Double – duty – Try a fitted white button-down shirt or a sleek black turtleneck under your heavyweight solid-colored jumper. Just today I saw a woman on the street in a dark gray sheath of suiting fabric; underneath she had a white shirt with puffed sleeves and a stand collar. She paired it with black patent heeled Mary Janes and some fantastic dark framed glasses and looked professional yet stylish.

Cover it Up – A “boyfriend” or longer cardigan and a skinny belt can transform a simple solid-colored sheath dress into something completely different (and much more comfortable in an over-air conditioned office).

Blingy – Choose one to three broaches and place over the heart in a cluster, like a corsage. Have all the pins of a similar family – all crystals, all cameos, all enamel. Let it be the focus and choose simple pumps, flats or slingbacks for the feet.


Change the Silhouette – Add a skinny belt and your sheath can end up looking like a completely different dress. Depending on the shape, you may also be able to do the same with a wide elastic belt either at the waist or right under the bust.

Dancing Queen – Planning on painting the town red tonight? Pair your sheath dress with some animal print or metallic heels and either a chunky bangle bracelet or a pair of dangly earrings. An envelope clutch will finish the look.

Switch up the Shoes – Always wear your sheath dresses with black pumps?  Consider a chunky heeled sandal for summer.  When it cools, try pairing your dress with a pair of tall (or even ankle!) boots.  Always wear heels?  Why not try a pair of flats with a girly feel?  A quick change of footwear can often times make all the difference.

Tuesday’s Tip – Making the Clearance Rack Your Friend

When I go into a store, the first place I look is the clearance or sale rack. I don’t want to be tempted by full priced items when a good equivalent is available at half the price in the back of the store. Even when planning my wedding I first scored sample sales and discount bridal shops before even looking at a single full-priced gown. It is better to buy quality instead of quantity, but just because it’s on a sale rack does not mean it’s poor quality or lacking style or fashion.


Take Your Time
Clearance racks are a mess. Why waste good salespeople hours in cleaning up the back of the store when the real money making is in the front displays of new product? Because of this, do not limit your search to the section designated with your size. Take the time to flip through all the racks. You may find a size 10 amongst the size 2s or a great size Small blouse hidden amongst size 14 blazers. Grab everything that even remotely appeals to you, and a few things you would not usually consider. The best way to spend money on trendy pieces and unusual finds is to pay for them at a discount – less buyer’s remorse.


Sizes Can Be Deceiving
Sometimes items are on sale racks because they are missized. I have tried on size 6 jackets that are too big for me and size 14s that are skin tight. Don’t just look at the label – pull the item from the rack and see if it may possibly fit. Often the missized items are at a super reduced price because they are being looked over.


Consider a Tailor
I decided to write this post because of my clearance rack prize of yesterday. Sueded cotton trench, hip cut, gorgeous color, originally $179 on sale for $29.99. No obvious flaws but the coat was too large for me – I am petite and it is not. It is an XL and a generous cut, I am not. I bought the awesome bargain after trying it on and seeing that the shoulders were fitting decently, though the sleeves were past my fingers, the waist was too big and the length too long. I took it to my local dry cleaner and for $35 she is shortening the arms and hem and nipping in the waist. So for $65 I got a $179 jacket that is perfect for the upcoming fall.


Sleeves that are too long, hems dragging on the ground, gaping waists and baggy jackets can all be easily fixed by a neighborhood tailor or dry cleaner. They can also replace missing buttons, broken zippers and some torn seams. If the price is right, often the tailoring still keeps the garment at a discounted price. I have bought suiting pants 75% off just because the zipper is broken, a suede blazer at 80% off because the lining had pulled away from the jacket body.


Do not invest in garments that are stained (salespeople usually try to remove the stains with a cleaning fluid, if it’s still stained it probably won’t come out in the wash or at the cleaners), torn (resewing a seam may make the item fit differently), irregular (remember quality is key – no one should be wearing a sweater with two different sleeve lengths) overly large (tailor costs will be insane and the true look of the garment will be lost) or too small (don’t buy for the body you hope to have, buy for the current you. Also tailors can’t make things larger – there’s usually not enough fabric at the seams and if they attempt the fit of the garment will be compromised).


If You Don’t Love It…
Don’t buy it. Would you buy it if it were full price? If the answer is a quick “no” leave the item in the fitting room. Just because an item is cheap does not mean you can scrimp on cut, style or fit. A 50% markdown does not justify a gaping armhole, an unflattering color or even a staple that you really have enough of already. The world sees you and your outfit, not the reduced price. They don’t know if what you bought cost $200 or $20, they just know it doesn’t look good, doesn’t flatter your body or your personality. Every dollar in your wallet is precious, don’t waste it on crap. If you can’t imagine the item with at least two other things in your closet, it’s not worth your time or money.