Search Results for: label/IN PINK Jewelry

Pink and Gold

Top: eloquii c/o Gwynnie Bee | Jeans: NYDJ | Shoes: Born “Myndy” | Bracelet: c/o IN PINK | Necklace: Belonged to my mom | Earrings: Argento Vivo

The problem with taking quick pictures before work is there’s no time to check proofs, no full length mirror for adjustments, just shoot, take the memory card, and go. The belt was supposed to be hidden. While this blouse is gorgeous, it’s a bit too long for me. I decided to use a belt to blouse it, and I knew the belt was hidden from view. However after hugging a child and a dog, putting things in my car, dashing back to the house to get my forgotten iPhone, the shirt shifted and the belt was in view and Karl didn’t know it was to be styled in any other manner. Oh well, you can get the idea!

I ordered this top from Gwynnie Bee thinking I could wear it to Forecastle with distressed denim shorts per this post.  It really is a perfect summer blouse – it looks dressy but it’s that crepey fabric that doesn’t cling, and it has an exposed zipper in back that really dresses it up.  While I paired it with white jeans, this would also look lovely with ivory or brown trousers or traditional indigo denim.  I know I wear a lot of dresses from Gwynnie Bee, but as you see they have all sorts of clothing to rent.  Click this link and get a free 30-day trial to check out the program for yourself!

I’ll be heading to NYC this week with Sally from Already Pretty to work on a really cool project for Foxcroft (I’ll be sure to share it here on the blog when it’s ready!) but I’d love to meet some of you if you’re in town. We’ll be at the Pig N’ Whistle on 36th at 8:00pm on Wednesday, July 24th and we’d love to hang with you!

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Pink Pops

Dress: Coldwater Creek c/o Gwynnie Bee | Belt: Hobo (similar) | Shoes: Mootsies Tootsies | Lipstick: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Lovesick

Stretchy yet matte fabric that can easily dress up or down, looks good with wide or skinny belts, a good length even on my 5’3″ self, fun print, and POCKETS? This dress is pretty darn fantastic! On this day, it was hot, it was rainy, I was running late because I was making Emerson’s lunch for summer camp and I was thrilled to have one-piece dressing in my closet thanks to Gwynnie Bee. Summer is dress weather in my opinion – fewer layers, less fuss, and it’s awesome to have a constantly rotating selection because I have a Gwynnie Bee membership. I could keep this dress as long as I wish, or send it back for a different one. This dress is nice because I could easily wear it out on a date night with Karl, or if my off-white blazer was back from the cleaners I could pair it with that and have a pretty nice work ensemble. This day it was hot and muggy so I wore it as-is, though ended up throwing on the work cardigan since the A/C was kicked up an extra notch.

If you haven’t yet tried Gwynnie Bee and are a size 10 or larger, I encourage you to do so. It’s not easy finding fab fashion in our size, and Gwynnie Bee scours the earth for the cutest styles that flatter larger figures. It’s like Netflix for fashion – keep as long as you like or send back for a new option. Right now, mention Wardrobe Oxygen or use this link and get a 30 day trial of Gwynnie Bee for free. Do note I receive a commission on each person who signs up longer than the trial and mentions me, but I constantly promote Gwynnie Bee because I believe in it and am glad to support companies who support women who are cusp or plus size.

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That Pink Sweater!

My lipgloss was downstairs, so you see me with nude lip. Very 60’s, eh?

Date Day with Sister. We went to a museum exhibit, and then a semi-chi-chi restaurant for dinner in the city. Needed to look nice, yet comfortable for mucho city walking.

My pink merino v-neck from J. Crew. Black trousers from Ann Taylor with a nice crease down the front. My Liberty scarf that Sister bought me when in London. And my shoes?

Well, Dilly owns hiking shoes, trail running shoes, trendy sneaks. She owns stiletto boots, pumps, strappy heeled sandals. Yet for a bitter cold day in the city, she owns NOTHING to don her feet. There was a pair of black loafers with an uber comfy sole, but they went the way of the garbage when they got too scuffed and too stinky to mend.

So I wore my teal suede wedges. They didn’t go with the outfit, but boy are those shoes comfy! Call me eclectic, consider me starting a new trend… I just know that me feet felt fabu all day!

Thursday – Hot Pink and Black

DressOld Navy
Belt – Another Line (similar)
Bag - HOBO The Original (similar)
Booties – Miss Sixty (similar)
Bracelets - Nordstrom (these and these), Ann Taylor, Lauren by Ralph Lauren
SunglassesMARC Marc Jacobs

I saw this dress on Petite Early Morning Style and decided I had to have it.  Great color, great fabric, it looked versatile, and it has pockets!  The dress arrived… and I was underwhelmed.  While the fabric is very pretty and yes, there are pockets, the rest seemed off.  The placket is too bulky for the fabric, buttons weirdly spaced, and the elasticized waist even on the regular sized dress just seems way too high/short-waisted.  I decided to return it.

And then I forgot to return it.  Yesterday I grabbed it out of the back of my car to take to Old Navy and realized it had been over two months and Old Navy only gives you 45 days.  So I decided to try it.  I chose this belt because it hides the fact that this dress has almost an empire waist.  I don’t know if you will see me in this dress again… we shall see…

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Tuesday – Pink and Red

Dress – Calvin Klein via Marshalls (similar)
Belt - HOBO the Original (similar)
ShoesMossimo for Target
Coat - LOFT via eBay (similar)
Bag - HOBO the Original (similar)

Okay, so when I went to Marshalls this weekend for pillows I picked up a pair of shoes… and also this dress. It was on the clearance rack, it was missing its belt (no loss, usually the standard-issue belts suck anyway) and had a few stray threads and was $30 (original department store tag said this dress sold for $118). Calvin Klein dresses always fit me great, so I bought it without even trying it on, figuring that if it didn’t fit I could return it. I think it’s a fun dress that can dress up or down (imagine it with a sparkly belt for an evening affair), and the crepe fabric makes it work year round.

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Monday – Pop of Pink

Shirt -Foxcroft
Jeans – JAG (similar)
Heels – Nine West (similar)
Coat - LOFT (similar)
Sunglasses - Marc by Marc Jacobs
Bag – Banana Republic (similar)
Necklace – Ann Taylor (similar)

I am always on the search for a white button-front shirt that isn’t transparent, fits at the bust and the shoulders, and doesn’t cost 50 kazillion dollars. When I saw this shirt from Foxcroft on sale for less than $30 at Nordstrom I grabbed it, and glad I did. The front is a tad unexpected – little tucks along the placket which keeps it from looking like a uniform shirt. Wrinkle-resistant too!  Was a perfect choice this morning when I was short on time and wanted a very simple low-fuss look.  Looking forward to pairing it with pencil skirts in the coming weeks!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty fantastic. Friday night was pretty low-key – my husband had plans with friends so I hung out at home watching AbFab; Saturday got some errands and home chores done, indulged in a pedi (Essie Ole Caliente will be my signature color this spring – gorgeous!), and had friends over for dinner.

Sunday went on a long walk around town with the family, checking out all that has sprung with this mega-early spring; last night met with two fellow bloggers for some bubbly and girl time.

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That Darn Pink Sweater Again

So I washed my delicates last night. Two loads in Woolite, and hangers in every doorway of the upstairs. Bras in mesh bags, pants inside out, full load water, half load clothing. I have this routine down pat. I despise the dry cleaners – the price, the smell, the wait. I wash things I probably shouldn’t. Pretty much the only things I get dry cleaned are suits, dresses and thingies with crazy embellishments. Oh, and coats and leather. Gosh, I wash my nice trousers that say “Dry Clean” on the tag. They usually turn out quite nicely! Have only ruined one item from Woolite.

Anyway, I go to get dressed this morning. Really want to wear my new chocolate wool/cashmere cuffed trousers from Ann Taylor because the fit is divine, they make my butt look fabu, and they still have the tags on. I know I am not the only one who gets an adreneline rush from yanking the tags off a new piece of clothing!

So I have on the lovely trousers, my hair is freshly cut and styled nicely. Makeup is done, and I am topless. Damn, what am I going to wear? My stupid tissue weight cotton sweater from J. Crew that I recently bought got stretched out and misshapen from air drying, so I washed and dryed it halfway and now it fits the pre-teen next door. everything seems so summery and I can see my breath outside. Can’t really wear a summer top with cashmere/wool trousers. Ooh, my plum sweater would be nice BUT IT’S WET!!!!! MY WHOLE WARDROBE IS HANGING IN THE DOORWAY SOPPING WET!!!!

Why do I care? I work with techies where they wear computer logoed golf shirts and faded too-short chinos. It doesn’t matter to them.

But it matters to me. And I cannot disrespect my lovely new pants with an inappropriate top.

Pink and brown look nice together…. and I could wear my brown bead necklace and my brown croco pumps… ooh and that new pink lipstick I picked up would be so pretty….

But I wore the sweater Saturday. I wore it to work last week. I even threw it on yesterday for the quick jaunt to the hairdressers.

Slap it in the dryer with Dryel to freshen it. It will be just fine…..

But isn’t that… ghetto? Wearing a sweater four times in seven days? I will look like a freak, a bag lady, a fashion misfit! I can’t I can’t I CAN’T!!!!!

But I do.

And I look pretty cute, I must say. A lady in HR walks by and compliments me on my outfit. Hey you never know, I just may own two candy pink merino v-necks, right?

Yeah, keep telling yourself that.

Allison Dayton Jewelry Design – Review and Giveaway!

Allison Dayton Jewelry Design is a handmade colorful nature-inspired line that was created for jewelry lovers from newborn to adult. Each piece is carefully designed and hand made to bring together the beauty of natural elements in new exciting ways.  Allison Dayton makes pieces specific for weddings, babies, kids, and for women of all ages, and most of it is under $100.  

I had a hard time choosing which piece from the line I wanted to review. I made a list of contenders, considering the upcoming warmer months and my spring wardrobe. I was sent the 64” of Turquoise necklace to review and boy was I impressed! This isn’t a cheapy necklace – it weighs a lot because it is made from real turquoise – gorgeous pieces in natural shapes – a real variety. Well fashioned from a durable string and silver clasp. This necklace can be looped three times at the throat and look great peeking out of the collar of a crisp white shirt, doubled and worn to dress up a simple fitted tee, or worn long with a shift dress. I always have loved turquoise and think it’s a great way to add a bit of summer to basic neutral pieces in ones wardrobe.

Well, now one of you fantastic readers will get the chance to win yourself this very same turquoise necklace from Allison Dayton, which retails for $198!

How to Enter the Giveaway:
- Leave a comment on this post. Let me know how you would wear this necklace if you won it. Would you sport it looped or long? What would you wear it with, and where would you go wearing it?

Additional Entries for this Giveaway:
- Become a public follower of My Wardrobe Today via Google Friend Connect and leave a comment letting me know this
- Visit the Allison Dayton Jewelry Web site and come back and leave an additional comment letting me know another piece from the line that you love
- Add me to your blogroll and come back and comment with the link to your blog

Please be sure that either your Blogger profile or your comment has your email address. If there is no email address available, another winner will be drawn. If you do not feel comfortable posting your email address, please state this and immediately send me an email with your email address.  Winner will be chosen via random.org and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to claim prize (by responding to my email with their name and address) or another winner will be chosen. Entries will be accepted until April 29th at 11:59pm ET. Winner to be chosen April 30th, 2010. Sorry international readers, this contest is only open to those living in the United States. I will hope to have another contest soon that will include all readers.

Do know, I wasn’t paid to do this review, and I really do think this necklace is fab – no one is telling me to say that, and all opinions are strictly my own! :-)

Good luck!!

Friday – Pink Denim and Leopard Heels

Blazer - Limited (similar)
Tank - Caslon (similar)
Jeans - NYDJ
ShoesTarget
Silver pendant (similar)
Silver cuff (similar)
Bag – HOBO (similar)

Some popular trends I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Either they aren’t my personal style or I know they will be a flash in the pan. I started off not liking the colored denim trend – I did it back in the ’80s and don’t think I should repeat it. However as the trend has developed, I think it has become more wearable, not as much an alternative to regular denim but an alternative to chinos and casual trousers. I first went with brick red, but then seeing these pink beauts I had to add them to my wardrobe!

So what are your weekend plans?  Right now I don’t have any which makes me so happy.  I just want to be able to relax, get some things done around the house and chill with my family.  Maybe see friends on Sunday but love the fact that there are no major responsibilities!

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What I Wore and a Giveaway – Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design

Shirt: c/o Foxcroft | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Halogen (similar) | Necklace: c/o Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Bag: Brahmin (similar)

Accessories can transform the most basic wardrobe staples and make pieces a cohesive outfit. I just received this necklace from Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design and while it is BEGGING to be styled with an LBD for the holidays or worn with a beautiful silk blouse, I thought it could really make a statement with a simple white shirt and dark jeans. I haven’t carried my Brahmin bag in a while, and I thought the bright blue really made the emerald necklace pop!

Giveaway:

If you like this necklace and the other beautiful pieces I have featured from Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design, well today’s your lucky day! One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $100 store credit to Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design!

Ruth Barzel makes all her unique pieces in the United States and is a local-yokel to me.  Not only that, she’s an awesome human being!  While I love the Emerald Quartz Nugget Statement Necklace I’m wearing here, I also love wearing her Blue Quartz Pendant Necklace and wear her Mixed Metal Chain Bracelet on a weekly basis. Ruth has offered all Wardrobe Oxygen readers 20% off her entire store, just use code OXYGEN20.  This discount will be in effect until the end of November, 2013.

How to Enter:
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. This contest is open to both US and international readers. Contest ends November 30, 2013 at midnight ET.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
As a reminder, if you can’t wait for the giveaway to end and want to get yourself some jewelry from Ruth Barzel, use the code OXYGEN20 at checkout for 20% off your order!

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My Jewelry Armoire – More Than You Ever Wanted to Know…

I mentioned recently I would go into detail about my accessory collection…

As you guys can tell, I LOVE jewelry. I am not one to covet diamonds and semi-precious gems; I am the kind of girl that likes things modern, big and bold. I inherited this from my mom who has an amazing collection of mainly silver jewelry; she inherited much from my Great Aunt who was a jewelry designer specializing in big bold silver pieces.

I learned from my mom that if you properly care for and protect your accessories, they will last a lifetime. She still wears pieces from her school days, gifts from old beaus, pieces she even made with my Great Aunt before she passed. In her collection are pieces that originally belonged to my grandmother, Great Aunt and other relatives. I love how jewelry can tell a story – a trip overseas, a celebration of a lifetime achievement, a memory of a past relationship, a hot trend in fashion that is now seen as quirky vintage.

When I was younger, I was not good with my accessories. I would forget I had a necklace over my turtleneck, pull off my sweater and break the chain in the process. Jewelry would be thrown all over the house and I would eventually lose or break and earring or ring in the process. I would forget which sorority sister I loaned a piece to and never see it again. Let’s not even bring up the hundreds of dollars with of chunky silver rings I have lost when I worked retail – my hands would swell from too much caffeine and the dryness of cardboard shipment boxes and clothing fibers; I would take the ring off for JUST A SECOND and never see it again.

In the past several years I have made a concerted effort to purchase only that which I could see with multiple outfits, over multiple seasons and fit my true personality, not a trend I was trying to achieve.

I had several solutions for my accessories – various jewelry boxes that I would outgrow in a couple of months, fabric-covered storage boxes on closet shelves, a coat rack with hooks for necklaces, even velvet bags in one half of my sock drawer.

Not until last year did I have the perfect solution for my ever-growing collection – an armoire dedicated just to accessories.

My husband got me this piece for my birthday one year; he purchased it at Target though I know they sell similar pieces at Bombay Company, QVC and various furniture retailers. This one had plenty of storage space and fit the look of our bedroom. It is black stained wood, and I believe it was a little over $100.

The top part of the armoire opens to have a mirror (that I never use) and a few velvet-lined compartments for small pieces. Up here I keep all my delicate things – nice necklaces, post earrings, brooches, delicate pendants and bracelets, and even my wedding tiara. :)

The next two drawers also have little compartments. The first one has smaller compartments so it became my earring drawer. Hoops are in the center because they are worn the most; rest are sectioned off usually by color or style. I do have one compartment for single earrings in hopes I find the match or am invited to a Cyndi Lauper lookalike party…

The second drawer holds all my bracelets and my lone watch (that I never wear). Again, that which is worn the most takes front real estate, and I organize by color and style. This may seem anal, but it makes it super easy to put away stuff in the dark and dress in a rush.

The next three drawers are of the same size and without compartments. As you see, I also sort of organize them by category – the first drawer are pearls, second one are colored stones, third one holds bead and more organic of pieces. Necklaces in these drawers are sturdy and not likely to tangle. Again, having them categorized makes it super easy to find an appropriate piece when dressing in a dash (no point in opening the pearl drawer if I am wearing my olive linen shift…).

This drawer is next – it holds all my hair accessories. Elastics, bobby pins, headbands, and yes that is a neon orange polka-dotted scrunchie in the corner (hey I did wear it to see an 80s cover band…). I adore having this drawer because it’s so easy to find random clips and elastics and just have a place to toss them. My husband also knows where it is and will toss them in there when he finds them on the floor or on the back of the toilet. Since having this drawer I have not had to go out and purchase a single hair accessory – in fact I seem to have more than ever since there is a home for them when they are randomly found around the house and car.

The last two drawers are far larger and hold those bigger accessories that never seem to have a good home – belts and glasses.

I don’t wear belts very often, and having them in my tiny closet was a pain and they were either super hidden deep in the back or in the way up front. I have taken the belts I occasionally wear and gently curled them into this drawer; those belts that are out of style or I don’t wear a also gently curled and stored in a canvas box on a very high shelf in my closet. I don’t really believe in getting rid of an accessory unless it is broken or in bad shape; you never know what will come back in fashion or even work for a Halloween costume. Accessories take up so little space, it doesn’t hurt to hold on to them for a while.

The bottom drawer holds glasses and sunglasses and extra cases. And no, I don’t wear my Bootsy Collins shades on a regular basis! :)

The armoire has two side doors that stay closed with magnets.

The door on the right of the armoire (first picture) is easily accessible and holds all of my necklaces that easily tangle. Again, they are hanging in categories – gold, silver, pendants, beads. The bottom rung of hooks holds shorter necklaces that aren’t worn as regularly.

The door on the left (second picture) is not easy to get to since that side of the armoire is flush with my bureau. Because of that, it holds my out of season/out of style/least favorite necklaces. I do open it up every couple of months to see if there is anything I may want to put into rotation, and place in there that which I have tired of.

The armoire is between my bureau and my closet so it is easy to reach, and easy to toss items back in it at the end of the night. Having it organized means my husband helps too – if I leave my earrings downstairs from falling asleep on the couch, he can bring them up with him next trip and know where they are to go. I don’t lose pieces and I don’t break pieces and it has been years since the vaccuum or my dog has consumed an earring back.

It’s funny, growing up I was a SLOB; my room is still never perfectly tiday and I am the queen of piles, yet I have become a bit obsessive with my clothes and accessories. When you are on a budget, it doesn’t make sense to be cavalier with what you purchase. If you properly care for quality clothing and accessories, they will return the favor with many many years of great wear!

Fashion Undressed: NYFW Trends Redux and Reinvented

alison santighian for wardrobe oxygen

It’s Fashion Week season; New York kicks it off. A week in the Big Apple, and show after show, row after row, model after model. There’s hair, there’s makeup. There are lines wrapped around the corner, eager – but pretending to be bored with it all – faces jostling for a position close enough to the runway to see…and be seen.

There’s a lot of hullabaloo in the media about the hullabaloo. There’s question about what’s more important to the fashion industry, the flashbulbs or the designs. There’s question about the models. There’s question about whether ready-to-wear really is.

As a 41-year-old woman with a full time job and a family, even one who loves Fashion for the art that it is, I sometimes question the runway’s place in reality. The runway’s connection to me may be tentative, but it’s tentative like a beautiful gossamer thread. It’s tentative like a stunning flash of lightning I didn’t quite catch.

Then, those flashes and threads translate to market. Some disappear completely, ending up “runway only.” Other elements become those repeated colors, patterns, shapes, and structures we’ll see copied in store after store the next season.

There were plenty of very wearable designs on the New York runways last week: pretty trousers, elegant dresses, and loads and loads of athletic-inspired looks. Next fall, if retail buyers hold true to runways’ pushes, there are a few trends that have held for a few seasons, and one trend I’m curious to see how it will translate to real life.

The 70s: Keep your bow blouses, boho patterns, and working woman knits. To update them for next fall, though, think about opposites: go monochromatic or use simple contrast – and don’t even think about feathering your hair: sleek, sleek, sleek. Which for me, a mama who never, ever, ever gets to wash and dry her hair properly? Yeah. I’m happy the simple sleek ‘do will be back.

AW15 RTW Trends 70sJason Wu, Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, images via Style.com

Gym Clothes: Though New York is notoriously casual compared to other fashion weeks, athletic wear (which we welcomed gleefully in the dressy, comfy sweatpant for this past fall) still dominated. Next winter, dig out those turtlenecks and tennis togs. So you don’t look like you’re heading to gym class, though, pick one athletic element in a bold color and temper it with a simple, sleek, and grownup choice like the pencil skirt in the first look here.

AW15 RTW Trends AthleticBand of Outsiders, Lacoste, Katie Gallagher, images via Style.com

Borrowed from the Boys: For the last few seasons, menswear has been all over, and it’s not going away – for good reason. Most of us won’t pull a tie out of the closet each morning, but we will absolutely put on a blazer. Boys wear jackets daily because putting on a tailored jacket ups the ante immediately. It remains to be seen, though, whether retailers will copy the runways with the barely cropped ankle pants or whether they’ll go slouchy. Both are much more doable than it seems at first glance, so maybe we’ll get a choice in the stores.

AW15 RTW Trends MenswearThom Browne, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, images via Style.com

The 2015 Bustle: The most intriguing trend out of New York, though, was the bustle’s reappearance. Last popular in, oh, let’s go for the turn of the 20th century, the bustle’s whole purpose is to add distinct shape to a woman’s hips and rear end. Don’t run screaming yet. Remember the peplum? Not one “regular woman” I know, myself included, thought I could pull it off, and so many of us ended up wearing some version of the “hip flip” I never want to see them again. The bustle, though, has an elegance and curve that could be – depending on how it makes it into stores – at once ghostly and contemporary. It can curl, it can flip. It can ride at the waist or sit just below the hip, flirting openly with structure or hiding shyly in a dress’ drape.

AW15 RTW Trends The BustleMarc Jacobs, Creatures of the Wind, Carolina Herrera, images via Style.com

Time will certainly tell if and how these trends make it into our hands next August (because we all love shopping for colder weather in sweltering heat). There are a slew of steps between the runways and stores. There’s media influence, and there are massive market conventions at which retail buyers will pick the pieces manufacturers will then produce for you and me to take home. In the end, most of us will continue to wear what we have already, and some color or pattern might catch our eye. It might be in a magazine or in a store window, but we’ll find it pretty. And then we’ll remember: we saw it on the runway.

Alison SantighianBy day, Alison Santighian is a contractor for the federal government, using her super powers to serve our country, but by night (after bedtime for her “Beans” now 7 and almost 5), she pines after the “it” factor. Alison and “H” (better known as #besthusbandever) don’t believe badass has an expiration date, so they hit concerts, shows, restaurants, and openings across the globe. Alison also writes for Glass Magazine, adding a business woman’s eye to fashion week reviews and style features. Follow her on Twitter.

A Bra Fitting with Soma Intimates and a Giveaway

Soma contacted me and asked if I’d like to come to their boutique at the Westfield Montgomery Mall and get a bra fitting and try their Enhancing Shape Bra. I heard about this bra through InStyle, who considers it to be the solution for “ski slope” (the gap at the top of bra cups). I’ve always been a busty woman, but after years of breastfeeding, age, gravity, weight loss and gain, I’ve lost some of my breast volume and was interested in a bra that would address this issue and improve the allover shape of my bust.

Soma Intimates Bra Fitting

In 27 sizes from cups A-DDD there’s a Soma Enhancing Shape Bra for many women; the padded comfort straps and cushioned hook and eye closure ensures the bra is comfortable all day, while the smooth style makes it invisible under fitted knits. In eight solids and four prints this bra is anything but boring.

Wardrobe Oxygen Soma IntimatesSoma Intimates Enhancing Shape Bra

Visiting Soma Intimates was a pleasure; though it was a busy Sunday afternoon, the boutique was well staffed so each of us customers received quality assistance and an unrushed experience in the fitting room. I was partnered with Karien, who took me to a spacious fitting room to determine my bra size. She had me remove my shirt but I kept on my bra as she used a tape measure to size me. Karien then went out to the sales floor and brought back bras in the size she determined and one a cup smaller since the Enhancing Shape Bra does occasionally run big for some. We found that a 38D fit me best, and as you can see from my fitting room selfie above, the bra was pretty much invisible under Soma’s Smoothing Seamless Cami. The bra did give a look of fullness to my bustline without making it look bigger (and without the dreaded “quad boob”), and the bra is super comfortable. No digging in the back, I can’t feel any of the hardware, and I wore the bra all day and there wasn’t any discomfort under the arms or in the shoulders. I was tempted to get the Light Nude which was very close to my skintone and would make for a perfect tee shirt bra, but sweater weather is here and I decided to indulge in the black and white Indulgent Lace pattern which is so beautiful and can be worn under thicker fall and winter clothing without showing. It’s fun to have pretty bras that are also useful!

Soma Intimates Westfield Montgomery Mall Maryland

Karien (pictured above, I had to get a photo with her after such a pleasant bra shopping experience!) was so knowledgeable about bras in general, proper fitting, and of course knew the Soma collection inside and out. I loved how all the employees I interacted with were so friendly and professional, knowledgeable but not pushy. They told me about their Get Gorgeous Parties where you and at least three of your friends can schedule an event at your local Soma boutique to get fitted, all of you receive 15% off your purchases (or you can choose to donate that 15% to your favorite charity), and you receive a free bra for hosting. I also signed up for Love Soma Rewards, a free program where you earn points towards cash rewards, birthday gifts, exclusive offers, and free shipping when you shop online. After my experience at Soma, I know I’ll end up a regular customer!

Giveaway

If Soma sounds great to you, then today’s your lucky day! One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will receive a $60 gift certificate to Soma to use on their own Enhancing Shape Bra or any other merchandise from the brand. To enter, leave a comment letting me know what color of the Enhancing Shape Bra you’d choose if you won. Giveaway ends November 2, 2014 at 11:59pm ET. Winner will be chosen by random and must have a valid email address (in comment, signed in as guest in Disqus, or in Disqus profile). Winner will be contacted by email; if winner does not reply to notification email within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen. Winner may use gift certificate online or in Soma Intimates boutiques.

To learn more about Soma, click here to find your local boutique, click here to get their catalog, or visit them on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you live in the Maryland/DC area, I highly recommend you visit the Soma Intimates location at Westfield Montgomery Mall!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Soma via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Soma. The opinions and text are all mine.

Guest Post: Four Ways to Look Better in Photos Instantly

Guest post by Insana Collins

As a portrait photographer, it’s my job to make sure that the people I photograph look their very best. This means that every photo session becomes a mini lesson in taking better photos, and I encourage my customers to remember them for every photo they take in the future. Here are four ways that you can be better prepared for your next photo session.

1. Relax

Some people start off with the, “Do I look alright?” face, with body language to match. Sure, I’m over exaggerating by shrugging my shoulders in the photo below, but the point is: the camera can see how nervous you are about getting your picture taken. But if you relax as if you’re just talking to an old friend, your photos will look that much better. So how do you relax? Draw in a deep breath, and as you slowly let it out, your shoulders will drop. And bonus: your face will appear less tense.

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2. Smile

Sounds obvious, right? Well, for starters, this is a tip mostly for men. Let us see those pearly whites! Check me out below: I’m in exactly the same good mood in both photos, but in the first image, you’d never be able to tell. I look like someone ate my sandwich. In the second image, I look like I got it back.

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3. Turtle

Every person I’ve ever photographed is now familiar with this term and they remember exactly what to do in subsequent shoots when I holler, “Turtle!!” All it means is to push your face forward, like a turtle might. It increases the space between your jaw and your neck, which reduces chin fat and makes everyone on the planet appear thinner. Some people have naturally awesome jawlines (ie. models) but for the rest of us, we must remember to turtle. Push your face forward, then move your chin down, just a tad.

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4. Angle your Body

This tip is for anyone who wants to look thinner in photos. When your photo is taken, your first instinct is to stand square towards the camera. But if you angle your body at 45 degrees, and turn your face back towards the camera, your waistline will appear thinner. Check out the images below. It may be subtle, but depending on the outfit, the lighting, patterns in your clothes, etc., it can make all the difference.

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Guess what? Posting these tips has already got me thinking about Four More Ways to Look Better in Photos, so stayed tuned! If these tips have truly helped you look better in your photos, comment below, or send an email to insana@insanacollins.com.

Insana Collins is an award-winning photographer and has been working as a photographer and writer in the DC area since 1999. She studied journalism at the University of Maryland at College Park and her specialties include portraits, weddings and events, and commercial photography. Clients include radio and TV personalities, realtors, business owners, musicians, newlywed couples, moms, dads, and children. She also mentors amateur photographers and teaches photography skills to local Boy Scouts.

Learn more about Insana Collins and see more of her work at www.insanacollins.com or on the blog at www.insanacollins.com/blog.

#Blog4Good: Suppporting Goodwill Come Rain or Come Shine

A while ago, to maintain balance (and my sanity), I decided to stop attending blogger events unless they were really worth it.

An event for Goodwill is always worth it.

Why Goodwill? Because this January, the unemployment rate in the District of Columbia was at 8.1% compared to 5.5% just six years ago; the unemployment rate in DC’s Ward 8 is 18.9% and is one of the highest in the country. The people Goodwill serves want to work, but lack the skills, education, resources or opportunity. A purchase from Goodwill can offer the resources to get these people back to work.

Last week I sloshed my way through a torrential rainstorm to the Pepco Edison Place Gallery for the VIP Launch Party of #Edited4Goodwill, a spring Trunk Show featuring some of the very best fashion from local Goodwill locations. Racks and racks of curated fashion for men and women, bags, and shoes galore.

Shocker, I’m checking out the shoe selection!

I eyed an amazing embroidered silk caftan but knew I was too short to even consider it; my friend Alison tried it on and even Catherine Meloy, President and CEO of Goodwill Greater Washington and Debbie Jarvis, Vice President Corporate Citizenship and Social Responsibility of Pepco told her she HAD to get it, it was so perfect (see on my Instagram). My friend Deb went home with adorable pink studded Sam Edelman flats and I was thisclose to buying a buttery soft black leather jacket but held off knowing it’s not the right time of year for such a piece. I saw brands like Victor Costa, Cynthia Rowley, and Ralph Lauren, and amazing vintage one of a kind pieces like the caftan Alison got, as well as an adorable navy summer dress.

Check out her fab pink heels – Goodwill score!

A clear example of how a purchase from Goodwill was shared at this event. A representative from Goodwill Young Professionals Council stated that the adorable pumps she wore were purchased from Goodwill for just $20; that one shoe purchase can provide an hour of one-on-one resume building (and by the way, those shoes mentioned were a still in stock style from J. Crew!).

A view of the crowd socializing and scoring great fashion.
Perusing the racks with Alison and Deb holding the leather jacket I almost purchased

It was fun to connect with other fashionistas and fashionistos who know that you can have great style and make a difference at the same time. I will always make time for Goodwill, come rain or shine because Goodwill is a way to look good and do good at the same time.

May 4th through May 10th marks Goodwill Industries Week, an annual celebration of Goodwill’s mission to provide free job training and employment services to people with disabilities and disadvantages. In support of Goodwill Industries Week, I am participating in #Blog4Good – a social media campaign designed to help put the most vulnerable members of our community back to work by devoting a blog post this week to explain how Goodwill impacts lives and communities in the Washington, DC area.

We support #blog4good to help end unemployment

Images via the Goodwill of Greater Washington Facebook page .

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Ask Allie: Wearing White Jeans in Winter

I don’t know why there’s snow on the ground and I want to wear my white jeans but I do. How can I make them work in winter? I’m 45, self-employed and prefer a more classic yet relaxed style.

Get those white jeans out of storage because they are hotter than ever in the winter months! As long as they are denim and not linen, twill, or another summery fabric they can easily be winterized. I’ve written about white jeans before, but you are not the only one who has asked me to revisit this topic in the dead of winter. Below a few outfits to get your sartorial juices flowing and to see how white denim can really rock in winter.

Ideas on how to style white jeans in winter by Wardrobe Oxygen


White jeans look so fresh with soft neutrals. Cream, tan, taupe and grey look so elegant against white. Choose rich textures like suede, cashmere, alpaca, and angora for a rich and seasonally appropriate effect. With this ensemble, I chose shades of pebble and taupe, and highlighted a popular look this winter – tall or over the knee suede boots and slouchy poncho-inspired sweaters. Gold jewelry and a glossy pinky nude lip add just the right bit of shine. To prevent being too matchy matchy, not only is the bag a different shade from the boots it’s a different fabric. It’s more stylish to mix up colors and textures so don’t be afraid to pair leather with suede, or brown with a color.

Ideas on how to style white jeans in winter by Wardrobe Oxygen


When white denim is paired with something obviously wintry, it helps the jeans look purposeful. I love the contrast of a plaid flannel and white jeans. If the shirt has a feminine fit, consider leaving it untucked, maybe with an extra button unbuttoned to show a peek of a camisole or low-necked Henley. A pair of rugged boots in a soft shade keep your feet warm, and the low contrast color keeps the look cohesive. Again, don’t be afraid to mix leathers as I did with a tan leather watch band and gray glazed bag. The choice of three leather/suede pieces is purposeful so it doesn’t look as though you grabbed boots and bag willy-nilly, you made a conscious decision to mix fabrics and did it with style. If you’re a low-fuss woman, no need to apply makeup for your relaxed style; regular application of a balm (this is my current favorite) will keep your lips soft and supple.

Ideas on how to style white jeans in winter by Wardrobe Oxygen


And finally, this look is polished and classic with a modern twist. Considering your personal style you likely already have a gray turtleneck and black blazer in your wardrobe. Balance the dark colors on top with a black Chelsea boot for a classic yet comfortable ensemble, but consider adding a bit of personality with a statement bag and a wash of a sheer red lipcolor (I have this balm stain and swear by it; I’ve had friends of different ages and skintones agree it’s a wearable soft red for most everyone and budget friendly too!).

Hopefully these ideas will show you that it’s okay to wear white jeans in the snow, and you can do it without losing your personal style aesthetic or looking like a fashion victim!

What I Wore: Simple Isn’t Easy

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instyle essentials shirt NYDJ hayden jeans

Shirt: c/o InStyle Essentials | Jeans: NYDJ ‘Hayden’ | Shoes: Vince Camuto ‘Effel’ | Necklace: Tasha | Watch: Citizen | Bangle: Rebecca Minkoff | Stretch Bracelet: Nordstrom | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bag: ‘Molly‘ c/o Handbag Heaven

Isn’t every woman supposed to have that crisp white shirt and dark pair of jeans in her wardrobe? Aren’t they supposed to be simple, versatile pieces you can throw on in a pinch? Yeah right, how many of us have actually found those things to fit and flatter not only our body but our lifestyles? Yet in the past year I have found both, and it’s pretty darn exciting. InStyle Essentials sent me one of their shirts last year and while it fit… it justfit. I learned that if you’re not just busty but soft and curvy, it’s good to go up a size to make it truly work. This year they sent me another one in the size up and I have been wearing the heck out of it. And as for the jeans, I adore the Hayden style from NYDJ. The petite is too short, the regular too long, so when I saw the Resin color on clearance and Neiman Marcus for $40 each (see don’t judge a department store by its reputation, deals can be found everywhere!), I bought two pairs of regulars and took them to the tailor to be shortened. Having these “simple” wardrobe pieces hasn’t been simple, but very much worth it!

As an aside, this necklace is more awesome than it looks. You may recall I mentioned it was a good buy at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and how I wanted to buy it but was “good” and saved my money. Well a reader I have been emailing with for a while contacted me asking my opinion on some pieces she was considering for the sale including this necklace and she went and bought it for me as a thank you/get well soon gift! Not only is the necklace such an incredibly sweet gesture, but her card with it brought me to tears.

I wrote you a number of years ago because you revolutionized getting dressed for me. You made it expressive and showed me that a curvy woman could be fashionable and classy. I love getting it together to go out, no matter what size I am. Especially having lived in Europe for 9 years, everyone is always dressed up upon stepping out the door. Thanks for helping me give up the sweats and inspiring me on the daily.

Well S, thank YOU for inspiring me to keep blogging and loving it! This necklace, and your whole letter will be items I will treasure. I feel blessed to have connected with you, and with all of you who read Wardrobe Oxygen on a regular basis. THANK YOU!

P.S. I almost called this post I’m My Sister’s Sister because I couldn’t believe I had a picture with one eyebrow up. I didn’t think I could do it, but I did and I look JUST like my sister in that photo!

What I Wore: Pleats Please

Shirt: c/o InStyle Essentials | Belt: Vintage – Belonged to my Mom | Skirt: J. Crew Factory | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff | Shoes: Vince Camuto

I gotta say, style rules be damned, I love me a pleated chiffon maxi skirt.  I’m short, I’m overweight, and I don’t care.  I saw this one at J. Crew Factory and felt it was a perfect replacement for my beloved Ann Taylor maxi skirt, which now has a broken zipper, stretched to twice its original size and hasn’t held up well with time.  This new skirt is a 14, and I didn’t have to have the length altered.  I wore this skirt with the brilliant InStyle Essentials shirt (hello shirts sized by bra size!) for a more work-friendly look, but found it also looked fab with a simple gray Old Navy Vintage v-neck tee (see here on Instagram).  I love how skirts like this can dress up and down with ease and are nice and breezy for the upcoming warmer weather.

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This is 40: Girls Getaway to Berkeley Springs, WV

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This weekend I went to Berkeley Springs, WV for a girls’ getaway weekend with my two best friends. I feel so blessed to have two best friends who adore one another and the three of us can get along so well without anyone feeling like a third wheel. One friend I met a little over a decade ago at a mutual friend’s work event; we had a mutual love of Malibu and Sprite and late ‘90s hip-hop and went from complete strangers to BFF pretty quickly (in less than a year she was a bridesmaid in our wedding). The other is my sister, and I thank my lucky stars on a daily basis that we ended up in the same family. Though we’ve had our highs and lows as all siblings do, through it all our friendship and love hasn’t wavered.

My sister is the event planner of the group. A lover of lists, spreadsheets, and Google, she’s brilliant at finding the best restaurants, lodging, and does plenty of research on what to bring, to wear, to do when we go places. Having been to Berkeley Springs twice before, she had an even better idea on what would make a great one-night mini-vaca. After Karl got home from teaching yoga Saturday morning the three of us got on the road. From the DC area, a trip to Berkeley Springs is less than two hours, no crazy sideroads, a trip you could navigate from scribbles on a Post-it Note.

The Country Inn is pretty much the only hotel in Berkeley Springs and it’s charming in its retro way. Since there were three of us, we stayed in a room in their West Inn, which isn’t as charming but quite clean and comfortable. Our room had two queen (not double) beds, and while it didn’t have a minifridge, it had free wifi, cable, bedding that was clearly well laundered, and plenty of room. The main building is right across a small parking lot, connected by a covered walkway. In there was a large and cozy lobby with fireplace, a restaurant and bar, 24-hour coffee and tea, a piano room, gift shop, and a garden with tables that is probably lovely when everything is green and blooming.

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We arrived in time for our appointments at the Berkeley Springs State Park Bath House. The hot spring is the draw for Berkeley Springs and has been for a long time as we walked past George Washington’s bathtub (a rectangular stone hole in the ground) as we made way to the bath house. There’s two bath houses – one that is more of a group setting and has massages and other treatments, and one that is just individual (you can be in there with up to three friends, but no strangers). We each booked our own bath session; I was led to room #2 which is right off the entryway. A click of the lock on the door and I am in my 30-minute private Roman Bath moment. A blue tiled tub 4’ x 7’ with stairs leading into it; a frosted glass window that let in plenty of light while maintaining privacy. A few hooks on the door and a deck chair to hold my clothing and bag. I brought a water bottle with me but they provided a full metal pitcher and stack of Dixie cups to stay hydrated.

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It’s your room, no one can or will enter. You can wear a swimsuit if you wish but I decided to go commando. I pulled up my hair into a scrunchie, but once in the bath I realized the only way I’d get comfortable and relax is if I didn’t worry about my hair, my makeup, getting wet. Also, being right off the entryway I could hear every conversation going on as people checked in for their appointments and as they put back on their shoes to head out. The bath was a perfect size for me to be able to gently hold onto each side, lean my head back, let my ears fill with water and float. With my ears underwater all I could hear were the same sort of noises that others likely heard 50 years ago when visiting this same bath house – water being poured into tubs, water being drained. I let my legs do what they wished; as I breathed in and filled my stomach with air they would float up to the surface, when I exhaled they would sink and my toes would graze the tile bottom. I saw this as a meditative practice, an experience forcing myself to ignore the chatter around me and go inward. When I got hot, I’d sit up and it would take a minute before my ears would again notice the chatter outside my room. I’d drink water and stretch in the pool, kneeling in a horse stance, reaching out my arms and reveling in the power my right arm now has to push and pull. Once I was hydrated and my ears began to register other people’s voices, back under the water I’d go. I felt so free – 30 minutes of just me, myself, and I. I gently pushed my body forward until my feet hit the stairs, then floated back until my head touched the back wall. I focused on my breathing and when my mind would wander I’d bring it back. However, when the attendant knocked on my door to say time was up I was ready. 30 minutes in 102 degree water and a steamy closed room is pretty intense and my body was ready to get out.

Tip: Don’t wear skinny jeans or fitted knits to the bath house. No matter how much you dry yourself with the two fluffy white towels they provide, you’re still getting dressed in a sauna. I struggled to get my leggings back on and wished I was in wide-legged chinos or a dress.

I had left my shoes and socks outside my door, and sat on one of the wicker couches in the entryway to wriggle them on. I then stepped outside to meet my friends. It was only 25 degrees that day, snow on the ground, yet we were steaming in our tee shirts for a good 15 minutes before we could even consider putting on additional layers. We then took our water bottle to the spigot to fill them with fresh Berkeley Springs water and checked in at the hotel.

Once settled, we headed to our next activity – treatments at Atasia Spa. Just a block from the bath houses and our hotel, Atasia Spa is built into an old home and has plenty of charm. Justin manned the front desk and was charming and friendly. While my sister went to have a pedicure, my friend and I were led to the locker room to change into robes so we could go upstairs for our facials.

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Other than my bi-weekly manicures, all my pampering is DIY so a facial is such a luxurious indulgence. My appointment was for the rejuvenating facial, and Lisa was my esthetician. Lisa was fantastic – she asked if I had an issues, we briefly commiserated on our age, she wrapped a headband around me, I closed my eyes and she got to work. I’ve only had two other facials in my life and this one blew those two out of the water. It wasn’t just a facial but a relaxation session, where she massaged my arms and hands (and put my hands in plastic bags with warm mitts over them) and my feet (they also got the plastic bag/warm mitt treatment) and massaged and treated my neck, shoulders, and décolleté. She didn’t speak (except when I got a coughing fit and she got me water and offered me a mint), I was able to close my eyes and drift off as I was steamed, cleaned, scrubbed, masked, and lotioned with delicately scented products. At the end, Lisa suggested a whitening product from Robanda that can be found at TJ Maxx to try on my age spot; she too had similar discoloration from overuse of tanning beds and after two weeks her dark spots were gone. I plan on going to TJ Maxx this weekend to see if I can find a jar!

After our time at Atasia and the bath house, we were all relaxed and smelling like lavender, our hair all crazy and our faces bare. We decided to spend the entire weekend makeup-free. Nothing like bringing in my 40th with a completely bare face! This is why we decided to do all photos for the weekend in black and white. I even brought a camera thinking I’d capture lovely pictures of the weekend for a blog post but never took it out; gotta admit it’s hard to be in the moment when experiencing life from behind a lens.  I took a few iPhone photos and shared them on Instagram, but in return I ended up with many more concrete memories.

We went back to the hotel to freshen up and settle in, then went to check out the tiny town. We went into a few shops (I got two green cocktail glasses at the indoor flea market), stopped by a bar for a drink and a snack, and since it was January and a lot of places were closed ended up at a Mexican restaurant where we had dinner, many margaritas, and many laughs. We headed back to the hotel and had a cocktail at its bar, and then headed back to our room where we chatted for a long while but were still in bed by midnight. It’s funny how at 30 an “early” bedtime would seem tragic but at 40 it seemed so decadent – staying up later than usual PLUS being able to sleep as long as I wished!

But in typical fashion no matter my bedtime my body woke up before the sun, so I slipped on workout clothes and went to find the hotel’s exercise room. I couldn’t figure out where it was nor any other people awake so I roamed around the main building of the hotel, learning more about it and the town’s history. Grabbed the latest issue of People and a cup of coffee and snuggled into one of the armchairs in the lobby until I got drowsy. I went back to the room and slept another hour until my friends also got up.

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We stopped by Fairfax Coffee House for java and a quick breakfast and then back to Atasia Spa where we three booked 90-minute massages. My masseuse was Shaun, who was very nice and asked if I had any issues. I said I had none, then remembered I had a bone stimulator machine in my right forearm that hurts if you press on it. It was thrilling to be able to say there was nothing wrong with me; not only the arm but I’ve had a couple years of back issues, shoulder issues, neck pain but right now… nothing outside of not pressing on the weird battery pack in my arm that thank goodness will be gone this summer. She left the room, I took off my robe and got settled on the table.

A 90-minute massage is total decadence. I’ve had a few massages before but never one for so long or one that got me so relaxed. But as with my time at the Roman baths, I was letting external distractions get to me. It was again a practice in quieting my mind and staying focused. I’d notice a weird part of a song playing, the volunteer fire department alarm went off, I heard another client laugh in the hallway. But I kept working on bringing myself back, letting myself relax and be in the moment. I don’t get moments like this often to be disconnected, to be pampered, and to be relaxed and was glad I forced myself to enjoy it and experience it fully. Shaun did a great job; she asked how firm or light I wanted it and applied the perfect amount of pressure, didn’t talk during the session, and left my body a puddle of relaxation.

After our massages we floated a bit around Berkeley Springs looking in a few more shops, but decided to get on the road. We stopped in nearby Hancock, Maryland for brunch at Buddy Lou’s, a charming place of antiques, food, and drink. But soon we were back on the road and got home in plenty of time to watch the Superbowl.

I can’t think of a better quick getaway and can’t think of better people to get away with. Berkeley Springs is a cute town; I’d like to go back this spring with Karl and Emerson as I think they would love it!

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!