Search Results for: label/Spring

Talbots Spring 2015 Collection: A Second Glance

The other day I was talking to a coworker about how some brands have really dropped in quality and where we go for wardrobe staples. She’s younger than I, stylish with a classic nod but a great use of color and accessories (and a leopard fan like me). She admitted than not only does she shop a lot at Talbots, but the pants she was wearing, a trim well-fitting ankle length pant in navy, were from the store. She reminded me that right now Talbots is having 25% off everything (sale ends March 8th) so I went and took a second look at their spring selection. Talbots sent me their spring lookbook back in January but nothing really wowed me enough to share here on the blog (unlike their fall collection which knocked my socks off). A second look made me realize it wasn’t that I didn’t love the collection, I just didn’t love how the pieces were styled together. Seeing the line in the stores and online separated makes me realize how great their spring line is. My favorites:

talbots spring 2015 stripes

Seeing Stripes

I always love a good striped top or dress; it’s a classic pattern that looks so crisp and fresh. The Talbots Striped Envelope-Shoulders Shift is a perfect dress to transition from now to spring. The interlock knit can pair now with tights, boots, and an infinity scarf for cozy style; come spring pair with chunky-heel sandals for Casual Friday or wear on the weekend with tennis shoes. The gold zipper detail make it look luxe. The ivory/indigo combo is a classic, but I actually think the green/indigo combo would get more wear. Imagine it paired with yellow, turquoise, orange, or hot pink!

The Colorblock & Stripes Dress is a more casual style that would look great with a denim jacket and brown boots or canvas sneakers. I’d wear it with a chambray shirt tied around the waist for interest and to highlight the smallest part of my torso.

I noticed the Pima Cotton Boatneck Tee when researching for my recent capsule wardrobe post and it has still caught my eye. I like that it’s a bright blue instead of the classic navy or black stripe; it would look great paired with white jeans or shorts, but also with khaki, green, and navy. The neckline is begging to showcase a fabulous necklace!

The Blocked Stripes Tee is a fun alternative to the classic Breton tee. With three buttons down the back and the switch in stripe color, this knit top makes a statement all by itself and is a great upgrade to stretched out and faded tees and jersey tops from last year and would look great with a navy blazer and white or denim jeans.

talbots spring 2015 peach ivory blush

Pastel Power

It’s funny, I’m not a big pastels gal… until I see them paired with black and/and white. We’re so used to black and white with jewel tones and primaries so the unexpected combination really looks fresh and modern. Peach is not a color I usually wear, but Talbots’ use of that color, blush, and coral with crisp white and bold black is something I would confidently wear.

The Shadow Box Pleated Skirt alone is… fine. On their site it’s styled with a black short-sleeved sweater that is nice, but nothing to write home about. I saw it and imagined it with their denim shirt or a black and white striped top and a shoe in an unexpected color like the  ‘Camilla’ in Murano Glass. Then I saw the combination above in the PDF supplement to their lookbook and was thinking with a switch of shoes I’d rock it in a heartbeat. Oh the power of a crisp white shirt!

I love pale ivory and white suiting, it’s so elegant and timeless. I’m also a fan of a longer jacket, as evidenced by this post and this post. I completely bypassed this look at first glance because of the styling; while I like it with the pale peach, I think the choice of scarf, bag, and shoes makes it look matronly. Switch out the shoes for a pointed flat in nude patent, the bag for one with more structure, and get rid of the scarf to let the graphic shape of the jacket shine. For those who aren’t feeling the pastels, imagine switching out the top for dove gray, navy, black, or even tan. The jacket would look great over a dress or paired with pants of a different color; the trousers are a length and cut that would look amazing with everything from a simple knit or twinset to a tunic or untucked blouse.

talbots spring 2015 black and white

Black and White and Fab All Over

Talbots’ Long Colorblocked Sweater Jacket is calling my name! So simple, so chic, so versatile. But again, the styling had me miss its beauty first go-round. The round-neck top underneath and the choice of short statement necklace kills the pretty neckline; paired with a lower V- or round-neck or even a collared cotton shirt would better showcase this detail. I’d like to see this paired with a black skirt or an ivory dress which I think would give a modern feel. However, I think this sweater would look equally as nice with a pair of jeans and a black and ivory or red/papaya and ivory striped tee.

These striped pants are not yet available on the Talbots site. Styled with a white tank, v-neck tunic, and oblong scarf the outfit looks like a costume someone would have worn a couple decades ago on a cruise ship. But take those pants and pair them with a black shell and blazer, a sleeveless black silk tank and bold silver statement necklace, a jade green cashmere tee and gold bracelets, a blush pink wrap sweater and a pearl necklace, a crisp white shirt and statement shoes in a bold color or print… the pants are suddenly awesome. I’d rock the heck out of them now with a black cashmere turtleneck and ankle boots.

talbots spring 2015 florals

Groundbreaking Florals for Spring

Can’t help it, every time I think of florals I remember that quote from The Devil Wears Prada! And while floral dresses for spring aren’t anything new, they are always lovely and quite versatile. From baby showers to Easter parades, to brunch with your in-laws, a floral frock is a great piece to have in your wardrobe. I’m not much into flowers but I have to admit Talbots’ florals this season have a bit of edge and style to them to keep them from looking Minnie Pearl.

The Gladiola-Print Sateen Dress was styled in the lookbook with gold heels, a pale blush clutch, a sparkly gold and crystal statement necklace and an updo that was just too much of everything. I found this photo on Talbots’ Pinterest board and it made me realize how lovely this dress truly is. Personally, I’d forego a necklace and have a simpler bracelet to let the dress truly shine. While the coral-colored shoes do match, again I’d let the dress steal the show and pair it with nude or black patent heels; maybe highlight the coral with your lipstick or flushed cheeks. Sometimes, less is more.

I normally wouldn’t like the Sunflower Lace Sheath. I didn’t love it on the site, but when I was able to find a high-res photo and examine it more closely, I saw the details which make this a very pretty and flattering dress. The hem and sleeves are scalloped, not hemmed. The neckline isn’t a high jewel, but has a lower scoop that elongates the neck. The lace is truly lacey and not eyelet, giving a delicate and more timeless feel. I think the Misty Sage may be a hard color for many to wear (though could be a great option for a Mother of the Bride who is looking for such a color), the blue and pink are quite pretty and could work with nude or soft metallic shoes and a bit of jewelry to add a personal touch.

This blue floral dress is utterly amazing. At time of posting it is not yet available on the Talbots website, but as soon as it is I will be trying it. The flowers are at the perfect place to create an hourglass shape, the neckline is a flattering depth, and this is a dress that could be worn to work with a cardigan and pumps or a weekend affair with a change to dressier shoes and a little sparkle on the wrist. I bet it would also look great with a skinny black patent belt.

talbots spring 2015 dresses

The Not-so Little Not-black Dress

After a long winter, it’s refreshing to be able to bare the legs (or almost bare them with very sheer hose) and don a cheery spring color. Talbots has some spectacular dresses that flatter and are in colors that scream spring.

The Wrap Bodice Dress is ah-may-zing. I noticed it first when researching for that capsule wardrobe post, but I think I need it in my life. I love how it whittles the waist without being tight, and how it is so versatile. I’m usually a navy or black dress gal, but this Delphinium Blue is making me smile; I’d likely wear it with my nude pointy-heel pumps and some gold at the wrist but this dress could easily carry a statement necklace, printed scarf, or shoe in a bold hue.

The Crepe Fit and Flare Dress is that perfect versatile dress. Wear with a skinny belt and flats to the office, then switch out for a sparkly necklace and heels for an after-work event. The picture above is in the Geranium color which is pretty, but may not be as versatile; the dress also comes in cobalt and black.

Hello pockets! I love the classic feminine shape of the Cotton Sateen Fit-and-Flare Dress. This could be worn to work with a cardigan, to brunch with flats, or could be dressed up with soft metallic heels and a clutch. Don’t be afraid to switch out the self-belt for one in a contrast color, print, or even use an oblong scarf. While black is a safe bet, the other tropical colors in this material could be quite versatile and a breath of fresh spring air. This dress is classic enough that it would become a staple in your wardrobe for many years to come.

I saw the Ponte Fit and Flare Dress online and thought it was a bit frumptastic. Then I saw the picture above and it seemed to better show the shape of the dress. Also, on this model the dress doesn’t seem to end at a bad point on the leg. A classic shape with pockets (!!!) and a fabric that can be worn year-round, this is a great wardrobe staple. Wear now with a cardigan, tights, and boots; come spring pair with chunky-heel sandals, pointed-toe slingbacks, or pumps and the accessory of your choice.

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Talbots’ fashions are available in regular, petite, women, and women petite sizes. As a reminder, Talbots has 25% off their entire collection through March 8th. No code needed, it will be automatically deducted in your shopping cart. If you shop in-store, Talbots has partnered with Dress for Success and are accepting donations of gently-worn office-appropriate clothing. Your clothing donation will be used to benefit women who aspire to transition into the workforce and pursue economic independence.  What a wonderful way to help fellow women while updating your closet!

Spring Trend Forecast by Nordstrom [Sponsored]

Nordstrom asked me to take a look at their spring collections and share some of my favorite trends with you. I’m not one for following trends blindly; while I do believe it’s good to be aware of current trends and think one should incorporate a few seasonal looks into a wardrobe of style I don’t think you should add them willy-nilly. I think many of us can think back to purchases we made when caught up in the excitement of a new season or look that we later came to regret. For this post I chose pieces that look fresh and modern now, but will still be chic a year from now.

trouve spring 2015 nordstrom

1. The High-waist Pencil Skirt. This season, waistlines have inched up, which can seem awkward after so many seasons of low rises, but you will soon realize is an awesome trend. Better highlighting the smallest part of your torso and preventing muffin top, a high-waisted pencil can make any woman feel like Marilyn. A graphic floral like this one camouflages bumps and can be paired with everything from a chambray shirt or graphic tee to a crisp white shirt or tailored blazer. Being a stripes fan, I’d totally try it with a Breton tee!

2. The Wide Leg Trouser. Come now, when has Katharine Hepburn NOT been chic? Gain inspiration from her signature look this spring with a pair of wide-leg trousers. For slim or tall figures, pair with driving mocs and a slouchy silk blouse; for those who are petite or have more curves consider a pair of pointed-toe wedges or pumps to elongate the leg and a more tailored top to better show your shape. These pants would look great with a striped boat or scoop neck knit top and a skinny belt in a pop of brilliant color.

3. The Moto Jacket. Another trend that isn’t new and isn’t going anywhere, the moto jacket has gone from outwear to a chic alternative to the blazer. In a bold hue like this one from 1.State, it’s a great way to update a wardrobe of neutrals. Keep it classic with a Breton tee and jeans, go modern by pairing with slouchy black pants and a white silk tank, or wear it over a gray dress or pencil skirt for a gorgeous yet unexpected look for the office.

4. The Boyfriend Blazer.  This is a trend that has been around for a few seasons and continues to have staying power. In crisp white the look is fresh and modern. Style this jacket with jeans and a band tee, pair with ankle pants and a floaty silk shell, or slip over a sheath dress to give the frock a new hip feel.

5. The Ankle Bootie. I already wrote about this spring trend, but it bears repeating. The cutouts on this one by Trouvé make it a hybrid between boot and sandal which extends their wear into the warmer months. Also available in leg-lengthening nude, this shoe can be worn with everything from slouchy pants to boyfriend jeans to skirts and dresses of any length.

6. The Midi Skirt. Last year’s midi skirts were pleated and full, and proved difficult to wear by some figures. This year’s midi has reduced its volume, not just make it more figure flattering but also more acceptable to be worn at the office. White is hot this spring, and a skirt in this color will be extremely versatile. Style with a crisp shirt and wide belt and pumps for the day, a silk tee with a sparkly necklace and heels for evening, or a simple cotton tank and flat sandals for the weekend.

7. The Slouchy Printed Pant.  Slouchy trousers and track pants can be unflattering if you have softness and curves; what I’ve found is choosing them in a print confuses the eye and creates a smooth look. I’d pair these pants with a simple black tank, peeptoe ankle booties and statement –making longer necklace for a casual cool look, or style with a white blazer (like the boyfriend one featured above) and pointed-toe shoes for a look that can work in a more creative office environment.

8. The Statement Shell.  This is one of my favorite trends for spring as it’s so wearable and versatile. Graphic prints, contrast trims, mixed materials, and crossover backs keep these sleeveless tops interesting while still appropriate under a power suit. I love the black trim on this one; pair with a black skirt or pants for an instant chic ensemble, though the black trim would make it look equally as great with white.

Shop the Looks in this Post:

While this post was sponsored by Nordstrom, I chose all the pieces to be featured and all thoughts are my own.

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!

True Spring

Jacket: ASOS | Tee: Banana Republic | Jeans: Gap | Scarf: Express circa 2000 (similar) | | Halogen (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bracelets: c/o lifetherapy

Today feels like spring, finally! After a weird last week with snow and wind and rain, it’s nice to have a day where I can let my ankles breathe and see sunshine. While I love these boyfriend jeans, they stretch out a lot and not just at the waist. This is a second wearing for them and I far prefer how they look on Day 1. Luckily I have my Beltaway to keep them from falling down. Beltaway started following me on Twitter a couple months ago, I was curious, clicked on their link and dug what they were selling. I think many of us deal with jeans that gape at the back or stretch out during the day, but regular belts can show lumps under knits. Well I told them I liked their idea, they were nice enough to send me one. Beltaway is slim, I have a navy one that disappears with denim, has a low-profile plastic belt that not only isn’t bulky, but means you can keep your belt on through metal detectors. Beltaway sent me the belt to be nice, with no expectations. I’m just sharing my love because it really does rock and it pretty much lives in these boyfriend jeans so I don’t have whale tail by noon.

I had the CUTEST outfit Thursday, but somehow lost my memory card en route to the office. I pretty much built the outfit around my new favorite bracelets from lifetherapy. Lynette sent me these bracelets and they have become as much of my uniform as a pair of leopard shoes. The combo I am wearing is the Indigo Spiritual & Focus Bracelet with Turquoise , Indigo Spiritual & Focus Czech Glass Bead Bracelet , and Indigo Spiritual & Focus Silk Wrap Bracelet . I chose an indigo theme because it supposedly helps one focus on personal issues, develop intuition, solitude and inner communication. Indigo symbolizes wisdom and spiritual realization. Good fit for me right about now, no? Each of these lifetherapy bracelets has a turquoise stone which represents friendship, wisdom, vibrant growth, courage, and good fortune. The Silk Wrap Bracelet has a charm that is a replica of a Chinese Ching Dynasty coin which represents the heavens and the hole in the earth. While I did get these bracelets as a gift, I have been wearing them pretty much non-stop (check out my Instagram for proof) because they are beautiful and I do think at least by looking at them, help calm me and give me focus. It’s nice to find jewelry that both looks beautiful and possibly provides a benefit.

Oh, and the hair? I’m starting to figure it out when it’s not straight.  It’s coming along nicely!  This was letting it air dry with just argan oil, then adding Neil George Detangling Spray, twisting pieces, and hitting the bangs with the flat iron, and Elnett to set. 

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Spring 2006

It’s Spring! It’s Spring! Okay, so the groundhog saw his shadow and there is snow on the ground in many States, but in the malls and on the pages of fashion mags, it is Spring. As with any season, designers decided a year ago as to what we will be wearing, and certain themes and strong pieces have been deemed important for the next few months. I’ve tried to weed through the haute couture and choose a few pieces that an everyday woman can add to her wardrobe to make it more modern, more updated and more Spring!

A New Pair of Shoes – So generic of a suggestion, but shoes are a major fashion focus this Spring. Big looks are patent leather, stacked wood heels and color. The peep toe, the rounded toe and the wedge looks are still fresh, but the shoe is a cleaner look from the artsy embellished trend of the winter.

Wood stacked heels are HUGE and will be on all the “It Girls” this spring. The shoe is not clunky as in the late 90’s, but not as thin and delicate as recent. The shoe is sturdy yet feminine, strappy and summery – a great contrast to the floaty spring dresses on the runway.

Patent leather is for daytime, nighttime, anytime. Upgrade your basic black pumps with a round-toe patent version. Consider a candy color to compliment your favorite all-black suits. No color is off limits – pink, yellow, white, red and turquoise are all acceptable.

Having an accent shoe is a big look with the neutrals on the runway – pair your khaki shift dress with a cherry red ankle-strap heels, your white suit with apple green peep toe pumps, your black evening dress with robin’s egg blue t-straps.

White Pants – I don’t care what your mother or grandmother told you – white pants do not have to make you look bigger on the bottom. White and light color bottoms can actually be quite slimming and flattering. It all depends on what cut and fabric you choose.

This season is showing a lot of nautical, military and safari influences. The best compliment to these trends (and to your body) is a flat front trouser that stars right below your belly button. Slightly wide, straight legs and little ornamentation.

White trousers need to be lined. It does not matter what weight of the fabric, if they are not lined, something will show. It may not be your underwear, but it will be the seams, the stitching, the pocket liners. Lack of lining cheapens the trouser.

As for fabric, the look is crisp. Heavier cottons, sateens and canvases give the best look and fall. These fabrics will hold up to sitting, standing and wearing all day without getting wrinkled and droopy.

A Neutral Dress – I cannot believe I am writing this. I stress the wearing of color – it adds personality to an outfit, it brings your emotions out and adds elegance to a basic piece. However this spring it is all about neutral colors, and it is all about the dress. A neutral colored dress can tackle both, and you can still keep your personality in your look.

This season shows all types of cuts – tent styles, lady-like shifts, shirtdresses, many strapless styles with anywhere from a-line to balloon skirts. Anything goes with the style, as long as it has a bit of femininity. As for fabric, silks, jerseys, linen and lace are all huge. Again, think feminine. Find what works for you.

As for what is considered neutral – anything from ivory to khaki to dove gray to mushroom works. Find a neutral that contrasts enough with your skin to make you not look naked, and make you not look ill.

Accessories are what will bring this dress to life. Match with some red heels, a green purse, an embroidered short jacket. Color comes from the details, and color will really pop against this basic. A neutral dress can go from wedding to shower to work with just a switch of accessories. It will also stick around in your wardrobe for several years.

Optic Print Skirt – Tons of designers were showing mod and optic prints on the runway for this season. Brown leaf silhouette on an ivory background, gray and steel blue dots on a white lawn, dizzying and detailed black and white prints swirling. This is the replacement for the funky printed skirt from fall. The cut and fabric is more feminine and flowing. Think silks, soft cottons, linens, chiffon layers. This season is all about feminine touches.

Full skirts are still popular, but they are not as voluminous as the gypsy skirts from last Summer. Think feminine. Pencil skirts, a-line to full silhouettes, anything from just above the knee to calf-length seems acceptable. This skirt can be worn with camisoles, sweaters and little jackets.

A Belt – The easiest way to update your tops? Cinch them at the waist. The runways showed belts from being pinky-thin to wide croco bands to even full satin ribbons tied in a bow. Black and white printed skirts were shown with black v-neck sweaters and a black croco belt. White lace jackets were over chiffon skirts with a seafoam green ribbon around the waist. Khaki linen shift dresses were jazzed up with red patent belts. Jersey dresses looked fresh with an obi-like band of fabric cinching the waist.

A belt is not for every figure, but if you have a straight or hourglass shape, you can really carry this look off. It’s an easy way to update your wardrobe and make it look fresh, trim and ladylike.

Subtle Shimmer – Unlike the glitz and bling of the past few seasons, this season is far more subtle. Brass instead of gold, pewter instead of silver. Also consider shimmery shades of olive, champagne, slate and apricot. Lurex twinsets, taffeta cigarette pants, silk jersey dresses, shantung Jackie O-esque skirt suits, leather sandals with wood heels.

Subtle shimmer looks fresh with neutrals and with white. Pair a lurex tank with a white pantsuit, a shantung skirt with a khaki silk shirt, a charmeuse blouse with a linen pantsuit, a silk jersey dress with a khaki leather and knit belt. My plan is to invest in a silk jersey dress for all the Spring showers, wedding and parties.

Trench Coat – This is something that is good to always have in your wardrobe. Luckily this season you can find a multitude of varieties. It does not need to be khaki; it does not even need to be double breasted. Look for a color and cut that is the most flattering, but still versatile. Stick to a neutral – khaki, gray, cadet blue, gray-green, cream or olive. These colors will be able to transition from spring to fall, can be dressy or casual, and will be a favorite classic in your wardrobe for years to come. This coat will be worn over dresses in all weather, over jeans or a suit in the rain or brisk spring breezes. The best length is something between knee and calf – you will find it to be the most versatile. To ensure the trench is functional as well as fashionable, make sure you purchase a water-resistant version.

Vintage Romantic Jacket – Say what? It is the best way to describe the look that is so hot this season – pale sunwashed colors, puffed sleeves, pleats, ruffles, unfinished hems, worn and soft fabrics. It is seen in lingerie inspired dresses, drop waist ruffled skirts, pegged bloomer-like shorts and distressed jacket. The easiest way to get this look and not spend a fortune is invest in a jacket. Beige, khaki, sand, dove gray, steel blue, sage green or a peach color will look great with chino trousers, jeans and fluid suiting pants. Pair it with a lace-trimmed camisole or sheer ruffly blouse for the full effect, with a silk knit shell for a work look or a ribbed tank for a cute outfit for drinks with the girls.

Spring Wardrobe Additions

Now that the cast is off and the swelling has gone down, I can finally get into the spring fashion spirit! Here’s a few things I have recently purchased and like very much:

1. Well all know my adoration for stripes; when I saw this shirt at J. Crew Factory was only $21 I had to try it. I love the fit, the shape, the fabric, everything. It’s tempting to get it in gray as well!

2. I don’t ever shop Walmart, but I was on vacation in a small town where it was the only place to go to get a pair of shorts for Emerson. While there, I found these shorts by Faded Glory for $12.94 and I must say they’re pretty great. Good length that is comfortable yet not dowdy, a bit of stretch so they’re flexible but also keep their shape, and a nice non-dorky wash. Totally got rid of the cheesy neon skinny belt and will likely do an at-home distressing on them, but not too shabby. As with any shorts, I went a size up for a better fit.

3. I don’t own this EXACT shirt from Boden, but unfortunately the one I got is no longer on the site. This shirt featured is the Eliza Top, and I own the Eliza, but in a cerulean and navy stripe (yep MORE stripes!). I absolutely positively LOVE this shirt; I love silk but hate washing it (this shirt is machine washable); I like ¾ and bracelet-length sleeves now to protect my scar but stay breezy (this shirt has it), and I love a top that is casual like a tee but can dress up for work (wearing it right now with a pair of trousers and pumps, looks great tucked into a pencil skirt, and this weekend wore with boyfriend jeans). The Eliza Top from Boden is a regular in their collection and a great addition to many wardrobes!

4. I now own five pairs of Nine West’s Flax pump (black, natural, silver, peacock print, red and black spotted haircalf). I know that seems a bit insane, but it’s a pretty perfect shoe. Single sole, pointed toe, walkable heel height, and a nice price. I’ve been wanting a “nude” leather pointed toe pump for over a year, but find each pair is too pale, too dark, too pink, too something for me. The Flax’s Natural Leather is a pretty perfect shade for me, and I love having a shoe that looks great with both pants and skirts.

5. Another silky shirt with an in-between sleeve length! This is the Sophie Blouse from Dobbin Clothing, and while it has the same basics I like from the Boden Eliza Top, it gives a completely different effect thanks to the details. Slightly crinkled silk, gold buttons down the front, and blousy sleeves. The color makes it work with black, brown, ivory, and denim quite nicely. I often wear this blouse untucked with dark wash narrow jeans, but also wear to work tucked into ivory tropical wool trousers.

6. I mentioned my desire for delicate gold this spring, and I am still loving my Rebecca Minkoff cuff; I also picked up this dangly but not too jingly bracelet from Nordstrom for $24; it doesn’t look cheapy, it’s stretchy and doesn’t get in the way when I type.

7. This Panama hat is only $17 from J. Crew Factory. Runs a bit wide, but I like that because I can twist up my hair and tuck it in the brim to keep my neck cool (or hide bad hair).

8. Me and my Lifetherapy bracelets – it’s an addiction! I love turquoise, I have a few bracelets from the company in blue (see here) so it brightens up my current collection, and this one has an Aquarius symbol! I like that these bracelets are just one long cord; I’ve been known to also wear them as a long necklace with tanks in the summer!

9. Seriously, the Converse Shorelines are my jam! I’ve missed having casual tennis shoes for spring and summer, and these are so easy to slip on, no heel blisters, and no looking as though I’m wearing shoeboxes on my already chubby feet.

10. Linen always looks like such a mess on me.  Well this spring I’ve given up being crisp, and have embraced the casual wrinkled-ness of linen.  My J.Jill white linen big shirt is great knotted over distressed jeans, and these pants (the Julie fit from LOFT) I love with a simple cotton knit sweater, silk blouse, or with a denim shirt.

***

Outfit posts have been few and far between because it was slow and difficult getting dressed with the arm, and honestly pretty depressing. I gained weight and lost muscle being so sedentary during my time on disability, and just putting on a tee shirt could leave me in tears. And then, much of my wardrobe didn’t work with the cast, only having one arm to put myself together after using the bathroom, the stiff swollen arm and all that jazz. But I feel SO much better, have much more flexibility and less swelling and am feeling like myself again. So stay tuned, for actual posts of me wearing these new pieces!

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Comfy and Chic Shoes for Spring?

Sometimes it seems as though it’s impossible to find trendy and stylish shoes that are comfortable; luckily this spring’s shoe trends are far kinder to your feet than seasons past. Here’s some shoes I have encountered (and some I own) that are both comfy and chic for spring!

    1. Espadrilles are a classic spring and summer shoe; espadrille fans are in luck this spring because many brands are offering their variation providing a ton of color and style options. I’m loving this one from J. Crew because it’s a classic look in a great variety of prints, and a no-skid rubber sole. $60.00.
    2. I love Chucks, but I find they rub my heels and ankles, and often look boxy on my feet. The Shoreline variation from Converse looks classic, but is a slip-on style with an elasticized back. I find them to be softer and more comfortable (I own this very pair), and a bit more feminine of a cut, looking cute styled with jeans, cropped pants and shorts, as well as casual dresses and skirts. $44.95

 

  • I love buying from a brand with a conscience, but I don’t love being a walking billboard. That’s why I love these printed flat sandals from TOMS. Designed by Jonathan Adler and sporting the comfortable yet trendy detail of an ankle strap, these babies would look adorable peeking out of trousers, paired with last year’s boyfriend jeans, or styled with midi skirts.  $58.95

 

 

  • Caged sandals and boots have been a trend for a couple seasons now, but I have always found them uncomfortable. Be they suffocating my ankles, tearing up my toes, or being so high they make my feet ache as soon as I put them on, I had given up on the trend… until now. These booties from Vince Camuto are soft leather, come in wide width, and have a sturdy heel at a wearable height. I own them in brown and black. $118.95

 

 

  • D’Orsay shoes are another trend that is classic but seeing an increase in popularity this spring. Many may find the open style more comfortable than classic pumps (and cooler come warmer temps). The black leather pumps from Sam Edelman are a wearable height and a classic look that will prove elegant and stylish this season and for many to come.  $99.95

 

 

  • Ankle straps provide security and stability while looking adorable with cropped pants and fuller skirts. The closed-toe flat from Madewell will go with most everything in your wardrobe; the silver adds a bit of fun without being too sparkly to wear to the office. $128.00 (but Madewell regularly has sales, at the time of writing they had a code for 30% off)

 

 

  • When Rosana featured these metallic Vans slip-ons in her guest post, I ran to try them on myself. While they are comfortable and adorable, I chose instead to get the Converse shoes above. However, they looked utterly adorable on my friend wearing boyfriend jeans, and the salesperson told me she wears them with skirts, jeans, and even ivory menswear-inspired trousers. The slip-on sneaker trend is hot this season; save your pennies and show your style smarts by going with the original, these will be chic long after the funky prints and finish versions and the color is more versatile. $60.00

 

 

 

 

  • I love a statement shoe, but many steal the show instead of completing an ensemble. This slingback from Isaac Mizrahi is fun but classic and would look fantastic at the office with pants and skirts of all styles, for weekend weddings and showers paired with candy-colored frocks, and even with dark slim ankle jeans for a night out with the gals. The heel is a wearable height making them great for long workdays or nights on the dance floor.  $134.95

 

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Updating The Closet for Spring with Boden

I’m all for a wardrobe of workhorses; pieces that fit, flatter, are versatile and relatively timeless. However, I also find it important to update your closet each season with a couple new trends, fun colors or prints to add your personal style and keep your closet from being boring. Boden is one of my favorite places to go for pieces that infuse fun into a wardrobe without causing one to look like a fashion victim. Great colors, cheery prints, some of the best striped tops (and y’all know I love me some striped tops), but made with such quality and attention to detail that their fun pieces end up being wardrobe workhorses too.

One piece I have loved from Boden for a long time is their Ravello Top, a blouse that’s a classic yet makes a statement. A machine washable silk blend makes it a piece that can dress up and down with ease; traditional enough to be a blouse under your interview suit but can also dress down with jeans or get festive with a full midi skirt and heels. While the solids are great, I was immediately drawn to the Blue/Red Paintbox Floral print and knew it would be a great closet addition for spring. Thanks to Boden’s phenomenal phone customer service, I went with a size 12 and think it fits quite nicely.

This print is bold enough to hold its own with dark denim; I added leopard haircalf flats and a simple black leather clutch for a great outfit to grab cocktails with my girls or to go to game night at a friend’s house.

The top is perfect for the warming temps; while it looks great under a blazer or cardigan it looks professional on its own. For this look I paired it with white linen pants and used a hot pink skinny belt to switch up the blouse’s silhouette.

Expect to see a few more pieces from Boden on the blog this season; I think the line fits my curves nicely as well as my personal style and I found a lot of pieces that will nicely update my wardrobe this season but likely be favorites for many seasons to come!

This post was sponsored by Boden through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Boden, all opinions are my own.

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Kickin’ It in CAbi Spring 2012

Recently CAbi had a contest where you could enter to be a “Real Model” for them. For those not familiar with CAbi Clothing, at the back of their catalog they have non-models featured wearing their fashions. Often it has been Consultants for the brand, but this spring they decided to feature customers with their consultant. My consultant Lisa and I thought it would be fun to enter as we are body opposites and have been friends since the ’90s, way before she started selling CAbi.

We didn’t win the contest, but we had a blast getting together one beautiful Sunday morning to photograph ourselves in the Spring 2012 CAbi clothing line – here’s pictures from our shoot!

Lisa is wearing the Printed Bootlet Jean, Prepster Cardigan, and V-Tee

I am LOVING the bright neon cropped jeans, and all the nautical touches in the spring collection.  It was really hard deciding what to wear, for so many pieces from the Spring 2012 collection are so cute and so very wearable!

If you haven’t heard of CAbi before, check out my post on my first experience with the line, and my first time hosting a CAbi show.  And if you are in the DC/Maryland area and are interested in learning more about the line or hosting a party, feel free to contact my friend Lisa!

Note: CAbi didn’t ask me to write this piece, and I wasn’t compensated in any way for this post.

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Recent Purchases: Spring Clothing Shopping

Been doing a bit of shopping lately, a bit more misses than hits:

recent spring purchases clothing

1. Halogen Roll Sleeve Maxi Dress

This dress looked like perfection for spring through fall. I imagined it with my vintage brown leather belt and heeled sandals for the office, with my silver Birkenstocks for the weekend. I have pieces from Halogen in this fabric and knew it would be great for travel. Since it’s a maxi, I chose a petite. I went with XL since it’s not stretchy and I need room for “the girls.”

The arms were so tight I could hardly get it on, and the front placket bulged. However, the torso felt a bit too long, the waist was too big and the skirt was loose. The length was perfect, just like the model so I knew switching to Regular wouldn’t work. Sadly this was returned, but if you’re smaller busted or taller scoop this baby up; it’s very similar to dresses sold by brands like Vince for four times the price and the fabric is nice – feels and looks like silk yet is machine washable.

2. Madewell Raw Edge Denim Skirt

I swore I wouldn’t buy a denim skirt this season. I did denim skirts a decade ago, and did them five years before that and a decade before that. There’s a point when you just don’t want to do a trend again. But then I saw a woman around my age wearing one with a Breton tee and Chucks and Wayfarers and gosh she looked so casually cool and classic. I didn’t want it crisp, I wanted a casual version, and I wanted it to come down to my knees. This one from Madewell via Nordstrom looked perfect.

And it is almost perfect. So almost perfect I’m wondering if it’s worth alterations. For the problem with this skirt is that it’s completely straight and if you’re curvy like me, a straight skirt turns into a bell. From the front, it’s cute enough but the side and back view is dreadful. However, if the skirt was tapered about an inch on either side, it would be awesome. I love the soft denim, I love the raw edge and subtle distressing that looks authentic, not torn apart in a warehouse. And I tried it on with the striped tee in this post and my Converse Shorelines and I loved the concept on me.  I should have also checked it out on the Madewell site where it’s not pinned in back and looks more a-line.

So the skirt is sitting in a box in the corner of my room while I decide whether it’s worth additional alterations or if I find a better choice. If you’ve seen a similar skirt that’s more a true pencil, please let me know!

3. Gap White Linen Shirtdress

I’ve always wanted a dress like this – buttons all the way down, sleeves rolled, pockets, knee length, a self-belt that can be switched out for a different look. I’ve never bought one because white dresses are usually too sheer and they rarely end up looking good after a day of wear. But this dress got great reviews for opacity and wearability so I took a chance.

Again, I worked a hell of a long time trying to style this dress. Skinny belt, wide belt, raffia belt, braided belt, no belt, collar popped, cami underneath. It just isn’t flattering. The pockets are very bulky (why make the actual pocket of the same heavy linen? Use a lightweight cotton for gosh sakes!), there’s no loops for the belt so the belt slides around, and yes, it is too sheer to wear without a slip (though I have a cotton slip and that didn’t bother me).

4. Ann Taylor Stripe Shoulder Zip Cotton Top

I know, do I REALLY need another striped top? My gray striped J. Crew Factory tee now has a hole in it, and I wanted another gray stripe. I know, I know, but all my striped tops DO get regular wear!

This top is a heavy weight, the zipper detail adds a nice touch. It’s a structured top, too heavy to tuck in and far more substantial and less stretchy than a tee. I actually like that feature, it looks more polished when paired with jeans and can be worn in a Business Casual work environment. It was machine washed regular but line dried and turned out well. It’s not the best striped shirt I have ever had, but it’s a nice one that has already been worn a handful of times!

5. Gap Cinched Scoop Dress

I’ve worn the heck out of this dress from Lands’ End Canvas (RIP) and it got too worn out to look nice. This dress in navy looked like a great replacement. And it’s sooooo close. I ordered a petite because I feared the armholes would be too low and the skirt too long. And while neither of those were an issue with the petite, the problem was that the waist was at this weird point that isn’t empire and isn’t traditional. The elastic waist is begging to be covered with a belt, but is wider than all of my wide belts, and with the high waist, it just looked super wonky. I kept trying to make it work and realized that if a dress takes this much effort to style, it doesn’t belong in my wardrobe. But if I were taller and could carry off the regular, I think all the issues wouldn’t be issues. If you’re 5’6” or taller, don’t rule this one out as it’s that great fabric that can look good wrinkled or crinkled and will get softer with washings, it has pockets, is a classic style and quite comfortable. It could be dressed up or down and will dry quickly.

6. Banana Republic Brenna Slip-on Sneaker

I mentioned in this post that I purchased these shoes. I must say I really dig them. I have short toes,a high arch and a fat foot thanks to lots of padding on the ball from childhood toewalking, so slip-on shoes don’t usually work for me. However, I have had luck with Banana Republic in the past so I took a chance. Glad I did, these shoes are freaking awesome. The silver is shiny, but it’s clearly metal and not cheap. The fit is comfortable, and the leather has a bit of give. The perforations keep you cooler than a solid shoe, but you can slip a pair of peds underneath without them showing.

Wednesday, I created an outfit around these shoes and asked Karl how it looked. He agreed the shoes are badass, but do I NEED shoes like this? I have my silver Birkenstocks, I have my Converse Shorelines. I hate to admit it, he’s right, so the shoes are going back. But if you need such shoes in your wardrobe, these are even better in person! Do as I did, wait until Banana has one of their 40% off deals; while these are awesome I think the price is a bit cray for a trend piece.

Have you made any recent purchases? Anything we should check out? Anything we should avoid at all costs?

Nordstrom and NIC+ZOE for Spring [sponsored]

I think you all know by now my love for Nordstrom. The selection of brands, the variety of sizes (and pricepoints!), the free shipping and returns, and the world-famous customer service can’t be beat. Nordstrom asked me to check out their NIC+ZOE collection and share with you my favorites. This wasn’t hard, as I have NIC+ZOE already residing in my closet and have featured pieces from the brand in previous capsule wardrobe and advice posts. Spring is right around the corner, and NIC+ZOE has some fantastic pieces in regular, petite, and plus sizes to update your wardrobe for the next season.

NIC and ZOE dresses

In last week’s capsule post I discussed the benefits of a dress that highlights the waist. While I recommended such a dress for a pear shape, it actually works on most figures by creating an hourglass and highlighting the smallest part of the torso. NIC+ZOE have a bunch of great dresses this spring that do just that:

  • The ‘Pebble Pieced’ Knit Swirl Dress not only has a figure-flattering fit and flare shape, but black lines that elongate the frame and highlight the waistline. I like that the print is fun, but not something that will look dated in a year, and the fabric can transition between seasons. Customer reviews say the fabric doesn’t cling and the dress is comfortable. With pockets and a knee-grazing hem, this is a dress that could be worn to the office, but also paired with heels and a bold lip for a wedding or Date Night. Available in Regular and Plus sizes.
  • I love dresses that gather or knot at the waistline; this is such a flattering detail and not one that detracts from the dress’ print or any accessories paired with it. In fact, my wedding dress had this figure-flattering feature! NIC+ZOE has a few dresses with this detail. The ‘Spring Rain’ Faux Wrap Sheath Dress is one you need to see in person (or magnified on the site) to appreciate its beauty. With the gathered side, stretch lining, and subtle blue, black, and white print, this is a dress that will flatter your figure and your lifestyle. Pair with a black blazer for the office, wear with nude pumps and a sparkly necklace to a day wedding, or wear with tan sandals and a straw bag for a summer brunch. Available in regular and petite sizes. The ‘Utopia Twist’ Jersey Dress has the same waist feature, but bracelet-length sleeves and an awesome cobalt, black, white, and gray graphic print. Just as versatile, this dress could also work now with black tights and booties. Available in plus sizes.
  • I referenced the Belted Surplice Bodice Pleat Dress in my latest capsule wardrobe post and love it so much I have it sitting in my Nordstrom virtual shopping cart, considering buying it for myself. The blue color is phenomenal, the wrap neckline elongates the frame and since the fabric has stretch will work with a larger bust without showing too much, the belt highlights the smallest part of the torso (and can easily be switched out for a different color or metallic), and the pieced pleating creates an hourglass shape. This is the kind of dress that will be worn like crazy all spring and summer. With the fabric, it’s brilliant for taking on travel as it won’t wrinkle and can dress up and down easily with a switch of accessories. Regular and petite sizes.

NIC and ZOE pants

Why is it so hard to find a decent pair of black pants? Based on the reviews at Nordstrom, it seems NIC+ZOE is a good choice for this closet staple and other wardrobe basics.

  • ‘The Wonderstretch’ Straight Leg Pants are another NIC+ZOE piece that is in my Nordstrom shopping cart. I am all about a work-appropriate pant that pulls on. Nice and stretchy, resistant to wrinkles, available in regular and petite sizes, and glowing online reviews makes this a great buy. They’re also available in navy, and a slim leg version.
  • You have to be pretty confident to describe a piece in your collection as perfect; NIC+ZOE’s ‘The Perfect’ collection does seem to be pretty fantastic wardrobe staples. An online reviewer says ‘The Perfect’ Ankle Pant (regular and petite sizes in seven different colors) has a nice heft keeping it opaque even in lighter colors and put together well with nice detailing. In the same fabrication but with a side zip and clean waistband, ‘The Perfect’ Pant also gets stellar reviews. Available in four colors and petite sizes 0-16. Finally, NIC+ZOE has ‘The Perfect’ Ponte Pant, which is a very slim pull-on style with front seams to elongate the leg. More like a heavyweight legging, this would be a great option to wear with longer sweaters and tunics. Pair now with tall or ankle booties, and come spring style with pointed-toe slingbacks or pumps. Like the other ‘Perfect’ pants, the online reviews are glowing. Regular and petite sizes available.

NIC and ZOE spring 2015

NIC+ZOE is great for other wardrobe staples too – they have a great selection of skirts, jackets, cardigans, and blouses in regular, petite, and plus sizes. The pants are just an example of what the brand offers. But what I like is their “something extra” sort of pieces; a sweater with an unexpected detail, the unique draping of a blouse, the print of a tunic or cropped pant that doesn’t reduce its versatility but adds fun and personality to these wardrobe staples. The ruffles and flattering seaming of this top that gets rave reviews and is perfect on its own or slipped under a blazer or cardigan. The amazing print on this top that makes a jaw-dropping ensemble even when paired with a simple black skirt or pair of trousers. The “business in the front/party in the back” feature of this blouse that is made for a desk-to-drinks sort of day (or perfect to pack for versatility on vacation). How combining this top with this skirt (tucked in or left out as seen above) would create the look of a dress (such a great option for people who are different sizes on top and bottom), but also work so nicely separated in different outfits. And the way that this cardigan can be styled four ways to look amazing with everything from a tank and boyfriend jeans to being slipped over a maxi dress this spring. Peruse the widget above for some more great pieces.

This post is sponsored by Nordstrom, but I hope you can tell by my excitement that I enjoyed sharing this line with you and all opinions are my own!

What I’m Craving for Spring

There is still snow on the ground, but I am already looking forward to spring – tossing the parka and gloves for lighter weight, happier clothes.


And this spring, designers are thinking happy thoughts.  There are so many inspiring, cheerful, motivating trends this coming season it’s hard to not smile when thinking of warmer months.  Here are some items that are on my must-have list for spring:

Lands End Boatneck Sailor Tee
I already have one of these shirts – have had it for a couple years and it still looks like new.  This top totally goes with the nautical theme this spring, but in a very classic, flattering way.  The knit is heavy, it has stretch but has an almost twill-like texture.  Mine has been in the washer and dryer dozens upon dozens of time and the only problem I have had is that the neckline sometimes folds over if it gets stuck in the dryer with heavy garments like denim (nothing an iron can’t fix).

I think the reason I love this top from Lands End so much is that is fits the current theme of nautical-inspired fashion, but it’s a timeless classic color combination and silhouette that can still be worn years from now without looking passe.

I have it in large regular and it fits my 12/14 shape in a relaxed/comfortable manner.  It hits high hip on my 5’3″ self, bracelet-length sleeves that just scream spring.  The ivory/true navy is a great classic color combination – the navy is dark and deep, the ivory has a very neutral undertone that works with most skintones.  I love this top so much I am toying with getting another color combination in a smaller size so it’s a more trim fit that would look great with skirts and under jackets.

Starting at $29.50, petite and regular sizes XS – 3X at Lands End.

Boden Sateen Pencil Skirt in Yellow Capri
I never wear yellow, it doesn’t look good with my skintone.  However that doesn’t stop me from loving it.  I always gravitate towards a garment that lets me wear it without it wearing me.

This skirt from Boden does just that, plus it really incorporates the spring trend of citrus colors accented against neutrals.  I can see it with a crisp white shirt and a belt in hot pink or mango, with a navy turtleneck sweater and tan heels, with a blood orange tee shirt and a casual sandals, with a black blazer and pumps for a work meeting.  Extremely versatile, and a piece that is on-trend for Spring 2011, but not passe a year from now.

$78.00, available in sizes 2 – 18, at Boden.

Enzo Angiolini ‘Sully’ Platform Pump in Taupe Suede
There is nothing better in spring than a fabulous pair of skin-tone heels.  It elongates the leg and coordinates with everything in your wardrobe.  This pump, available exclusively from Nordstrom is on-trend with the nude color and platform heel, but classic with its suede exterior and peeptoe.  

I prefer a skin-colored shoe in a textured fabric like suede – it blends into the leg better, and I find that nude-colored leathers can often look cheap or gaudy if the leather is too soft or too shiny.  The reviews are pretty good, and there’s a heck of a lot of style for a lovely under-$100 pricepoint.  Pair with skirts, dresses, or even trousers for an elegant spring look.

$88.95, available in sizes 4.5 – 10, exclusively at Nordstrom.

ISAAC MIZRAHI LIVE! 100% Cotton Ruffle Front Chambray Blouse
I lived through the chambray period – I had chambray and denim shirts in every shape and size, chambray jumpers and shirt dresses and pleated paperbag-wait trousers.  I usually believe that if you live through a trend once, you shouldn’t wear it second time around.  When I started seeing chambray in the stores, I was a bit horrorified – I immediately thought of an acid-washed chambray shirtdress I wore in high school with Sam & Libby granny boots.

However this season, chambray is done in a way that is fresh and modern.  This shirt from Isaac Mizrahi’s line for QVC has so many adorable details – the ruffled placket, the 3/4 sleeves, and I like that it is thin and breezy.  I can see it with a tailored suit for a board meeting, with a crisp pencil skirt in a cheery color, or even tucked into some wide-leg denim trousers.  Once Memorial Day arrives, this shirt would look amazing with some straight-leg white jeans and sandals.

Currently on sale for $33.28, available in sizes XS – 3X, at QVC.

Ann Taylor LOFT Woven Shift Dress
Shift dresses are my go-to each spring and summer.  They are a classic, stylish way to stay cool and look professional at work, yet can easily dress up or down for weekend and evening activities.  I love this dress from LOFT because it is so versatile of a color and a silhouette.

Pair the dress with nude pumps for day, or up the glam a notch for evening with some metallic sandals.  With strappy heels and sparkly jewelry, this dress could look great for an evening wedding, with flat sandals and minimal accessories, the dress would also be great for weekend brunch with the girls.

To get the bright color combos that are so hot for spring, put a hot orange patent belt at the waist. After this trend has ended, this dress will still look fantastic on its own, or with a belt in a different color or fabric.

The slight cowl at the neck and subtle pleating at the waist makes this shift far more flattering and forgiving to curvy figures, and I adore that is comes in tall sizes so my leggy friends won’t be showing too much skin at the workplace!

$79.50, available in regular and tall sizes 0 – 18, at Ann Taylor LOFT.

Amiee Lynn Skinny Patent Belt in Fuschia
You must be living under a rock if you haven’t yet heard that Honeysuckle is the Pantone color of the year.   This is a bright, vibrant pink, and I think a color that makes a great base hue for garments, but also for a pop of color to wardrobe basics.

This belt from Amiee Lynn for QVC comes in a bright fuchsia that fits the Pantone concept for 2011, but is a great price that won’t make you have buyer’s regret for jumping on a trend bandwagon.  Wear this belt over simple sheaths, have it nip in sweaters when paired with wide-leg trousers or pencil skirts, replace the self-belt in your shirt dresses with this cheery number.  Once it’s in your wardrobe you will be amazed at how versatile it is, and how it can make your classic look fresh and new.

$17.50, available in sizes XS/S through 2X/3X at QVC.

Gap Wide Leg Trouser Jeans
After a winter of stovepipes and jeggings, it is so refreshing to see that the wide-leg jean has made a comeback.  This version from Gap has simple lines so you won’t end up looking like a fashion victim if you wear them past spring.  In a dark wash, it elongates the leg and works with more colors and silhouettes already residing in your closet.

With a nautical-striped tee, it would be a great weekend look.  Pair with a navy ribbed turtleneck and a hot pink or orange patent skinny belt for a great Casual Friday look.  They would also be a fresh companion to a lacy blouse (another hot look for spring).  A chunky platform shoe will balance out the wide leg.

Slash pockets can be a bit dicey on curvy women; I have found Gap to make the most flattering pants with this sort of pocket.  However if they gap for you, there are plenty of other brands with similar trousers – in a pinch I have been known to seal up such pockets with a bit of Stitch Witchery.

$69.50, available in petite, tall and regular sizes from 00 to 20 at Gap.

What is on your must-have list for this spring?  What trends do you plan on adding to your current wardrobe?

Badass Black Booties for Spring (and Now!)

I love a black bootie. In these cold winter months, pair with thick black tights and stay warm while making your dresses and skirts look on trend and chic. Slip under trousers for more warmth than pumps but with the same level of dressiness. Come spring and summer, wear with bare legs for a modern, fresh look. Booties provide a level of stability not found in sandals and pumps; I can recall many times when I had to run to catch a light (or catch up with my uber-fast walking boss) and was glad I was wearing my ankle booties. And the way they can take a simple shift or a floaty frock and make them look hip and cool is awesome.

I’ve had a pair of tough black booties in my wardrobe for years and they are the hardest working shoes in my wardrobe. This spring, the black ankle bootie is a hot trend and there’s a ton of great styles to fit every person and their personal style. Ones that have caught my eye…

black ankle bootie spring trend

1. Via Spiga ‘Fabrizie’ – Clean, sleek, modern… this peeptoe bootie is an elegant choice that will be so stylish this spring but become a wardrobe staple for seasons to come. Have it peek out of work trousers, pair with an LBD, or wear with boyfriend jeans and a blazer. You’ll be amazed how many different outfits these booties will complete.

2. Brooks Brothers Dress Booties – Don’t judge Brooks Brothers by their dated reputation. While they are a destination for preppy and conservative attire, they also are a great resource for well-crafted fashion that marries classic style with a bit of edge. These booties are a perfect example; the subtle cutouts keep it from looking boring and the pointed toe elongates the frame and looks elegant.

3. Seychelles ‘Overjoyed’ – Gathered suede, cutouts, and a wedge heel create a unique bootie that will become a closet favorite. The closed toe makes it easy to pair with trousers for the office, but the cutouts make it sexy enough for Date Night or to be paired with a festive frock.

4. Trouvé ‘Hallie’ – Don’t be surprised if you see me sporting these booties in a future outfit post, they’re totally calling my name! The twisted cut-out leather, the subtle hardware and straps, I think they’re so unique and would look amazing paired with more classic looks.

5. Vince Camuto ‘Effel’ – I own these booties and adore them. They’re surprisingly comfortable and versatile; I’ve paired with jeans, casual trousers, and dresses of every length in my closet. I love the gladiator feel and the wearable heel height. Also they come in wide width and are on sale for a pretty nice price.

6. Ted Baker ‘Narill’ – Gotta love a tough looking bootie with a wearable heel height! The gold details at the toe and heel add such elegance; this bootie can dress up for work easily but look great with dresses or even distressed denim. Karl recently got a pair of Ted Baker boots and we’re both impressed by the quality and attention to detail.

7. Bella Vita ‘Lake’ – These have lower than a 2” heel if you factor in the platform; available in multiple widths this is a shoe that looks chic while being utterly comfortable. The lower vamp is more flattering to short legs and thicker ankles; the wood heel keeps the shoe looking modern.

8. Corso Como ‘Winnona’ – The cross strap provides a more flattering cut for those with thicker ankles and the rounded toe will better flatter feminine and vintage personal styles. This bootie would look great with jeans as well as flared and flippy skirts.

9. Via Spiga ‘Nessa’ – This is an elegant classic that has been in style for many years and will continue to be stylish. This bootie would look great now with opaque tights; when the weather warms let them peek out from skinny jeans. Come spring pair with everything from office attire to your favorite LBD. With the hidden platform the heel isn’t as hard to wear as it looks!

10. Pour la Victorie ‘Zuri’ – Gosh I love the chunky black buckle on these booties; so chic and so easy to style! The closed toe make them more versatile and easier to wear in cold weather, but will still look amazing with skirts and bare legs or boyfriend jeans.

11. Vince Camuto ‘Vamelia’ – The slimmer back strap of this peeptoe bootie may prove more comfortable to some and adds a bit of elegance to an otherwise tough shoe. A chunky heel is more comfortable for standing and walking, yet it’s not so chunky that it will look dated in a year.

12. Dr. Scholl’s ‘London’ Bootie – A beautiful grain to the leather and wood heel gives a casual but classic feel that will look as chic with jeans as with casual sundresses. With a memory foam footbed, this is a comfortable boot that will get years of wear.

13. Alice + Olivia ‘Giovanna’ – Um hello star cutouts, how utterly adorable? This is another bootie you shouldn’t be surprised seeing me wear this year, I love the classic fit but the unexpected cutouts. This is a statement shoe that will improve any outfit!

14. Naughty Monkey ‘Angle Tangle’ – I love a wedge bootie, it’s more comfortable than a standard heel and gives a tough badass vibe. Hardware can quickly make shoes look cheap or dated, but the hardware on these booties is simple and necessary to create a rock and roll feel; these would look amazing with a simple sheath or shift or paired with skinny jeans.

15. Madewell ‘Sylvian’ – It’s one part bootie, one part sandal, one part clog and I love all of it. Reviews say this shoe is surprisingly comfortable and it’s brown and black combo is fresh and casual, perfect for spring.

16. Jeffrey Campbell ‘Jovita’ – The perforated leather not only looks cool but keeps you cool in the summer months. A wedge heel adds comfort a tough gal feel. This bootie would look great with dresses but also peeking out of trousers.

What I Wore: Think Spring

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Blue Jumpsuit from Serena Williams for HSN, BCBGeneration suede fringe clutch, Nine West Flax pumps HSN Serena Jumpsuit Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Blue Jumpsuit from Serena Williams for HSN, BCBGeneration suede fringe clutch, Nine West Flax pumps

Jumpsuit: Serena Williams Printed Drape Front Jumpsuit with Solid Cami c/o HSN | Bag: BCBGeneration “Owen” The Lana Fringe Wristlet c/o HSN | Shoes: Nine West | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Belt: HOBO (similar) | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Lipstick: ‘Day Lily’ c/o BWC

If you haven’t checked out HSN lately you’re missing out; this is NOT your mama’s HSN! Fabulous fashion, and fabulous brands. I love this jumpsuit from Serena Williams; it comes in three different colors and is designed with such thought. Pockets that don’t add bulk, a stretchy fabric that makes the piece easy to slip on and off, a cami that snaps in and out to offer modesty, and a neckline with flattering ruching that lets you control how much of a v-neck you desire. The clutch from BCBGeneration incorporates one of my favorite current trends (love me some fringe!) with a neutral color that will work now and through summer. These two products are part of HSN’s Spring Fashion Collection, The Fashion Edit, which includes brands like Vince Camuto, Sam Edelman, IMAN, June Ambrose, and Kelly Osbourne.

I think this jumpsuit’s color story is pretty versatile.  While I originally thought I’d style it with black booties and a wide black belt, I decided to celebrate the sunshine of the day and think spring with nude pumps, the lighter colored leather clutch (which also looked super cute when styled with a black outfit), coral lips and a pair of oversized aviators!

This post is sponsored by HSN.  While I was compensated for it, everything I wrote is my own opinion!

In Honor of Spring

I know many have probbaly seen this before or had it emailed to you by a girlfriend… well I got my first pedicure of the season this weekend and so felt inspired to share this. Very cute… and very good advice! (Thanks Amanda for sending this my way!)

The Open Toed Shoe Pledge
As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow the Rules when wearing sandals and other open-toe shoes:

I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. The sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps.
I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.
I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.I will shave the hairs off my big toe.
I won’t wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, coworker, mother, sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.
If a strap breaks, I won’t duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.

I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl’s if my feet need him.

I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids’ sizes.. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.

I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.
I will promise if I wear flip flops that I will ensure that they actually flip and flop, making the correct noise while walking and I will swear NOT to slide or drag my feet while wearing them.
I will promise to go to my local nail salon at least once per season and have a real pedicure (they are about$25 or $30and worth EVERY penny).

I will promise to throw away any white/off-white sandals that show signs of wear… nothing is tackier than dirty white sandals.

What I Wore: Snow Leopard in Spring

loft dress spring 2015 alison gary wardrobe oxygen loft dress black white leopard

Dress: LOFT | Necklace: c/o Sweet & Spark | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: Had forever (similar)

I recently found this dress on clearance for about $35 and if you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been wearing the heck out of it.  I’ve worn it to work a couple times and these pictures were taken after I wore it to my dear friend Megan’s baby shower.  It’s a lightweight crepe that is comfortable now, but come fall and winter would look great with opaque tights and booties.

Every spring I get on a prints kick.  This dress, a graphic print top and skirt combo, and a floral maxi dress are on their way to be featured on the blog and are getting regular wear from me. Maybe it’s the flowers blooming or the birds chirping happily at dawn, but I feel this need to have some celebration in my wardrobe and prints do it best!  What have you been wearing lately that screams spring?

What I Wore: Spring Green

I am such a fan of green and this blouse from Dobbin Clothing is the perfect Kelly green for spring.  This is a tunic length blouse, so it also looks adorable untucked with some slim pants.  With wearable heels (seriously these shoes are uber comfortable all day) and a hat to sheild myself from the sun, I’m ready for outside brunch with my girl friends!

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Fab Bags For Spring Under $100

The best way to update your wardrobe each season is with accessories. It’s an easy and lower-cost way to incorporate current fashion trends, and it’s more likely for that accessory to be wearable past the trend (or when the trend returns) than a garment. Right now is a great time to buy accessories for many are on sale to make room for new merchandise. But that doesn’t mean the sale merchandise is outdated. Knowing current trends or your personal style (which transcends fashion trends) can help you score some great deals for less. Below I share some fantastic bags I’ve seen online, and all are under $100!

Blush is the hot color this spring and looks great on more skintones and with more personal styles than you would think. I love it with denim and chambray, paired with white or cream, but it’s also gorgeous as an accent with black or even a jewel tone like ruby or teal. A blush clutch is a great choice for spring weddings, giving a fresh look to your LBD; a blush wristlet will hold all your essentials and look adorable with boyfriend jeans or a floral dress; blush is on trend yet looks professional enough to pair with a business suit.

You all know I love a touch of hippie chic in a wardrobe, and it’s the perfect way to infuse spring into your wardrobe. Be they paired with a band tee and cutoffs, a sundress and slip-on sneakers, or even boyfriend jeans and a lightweight blazer, boho-inspired bags are more versatile than you think for the everyday as well as for a concert, wine festival, or picnic in the park.

Black and white are classics that work year-round; paired it is a fashion trend that won’t quickly look dated. It’s also a trend that is office appropriate. A structured tote or large bag can carry your purse essentials as well as lunch, a laptop, or commuter shoes. Classic ladylike shoulder bags are back in vogue and look smart with business suits and work dresses; a cross body that’s structured with metal details looks crisp enough for the workplace. When it comes to basic black and white, any colors pair nicely.

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Spring has Sprung in my Closet

Spring has sprung here in DC! Hooray for bare legs, packing up the hats and mittens, and being able to expose elbows and toes! With each change of season, there’s usually a change of wardrobe. I’ve found that closet organization has been good physical therapy for me; the pinching of clips to hang skirts, holding the weight of a full hanger, folding scarves and jeans. With my arm, this process has been extremely slow, but that time is great for really thinking about what is in my closet, what I really need, and what I really need to remove from my collection.

The trends this spring and summer are so refreshing; after seasons of bright and bold, fitted and funky there’s a move to subtleness, quality, detail, and drape. I saw it on the runways, I see it in the stores, and I feel it in my heart. I started gravitating toward simpler pieces and colors in 2013, but desire it even more in 2014, especially after my broken arm. After six weeks predominately in loungewear, I crave dressing, but simple, easy, yet elegant dressing. Here’s a peek into my Spring/Summer mindset:

For clothing, it’s not terribly different from the past, but now it feels more cohesive. I’m liking (1) midi-length skirts, but somehow they look more right on me when part of a dress. I have pretty much this same dress; last summer’s LOFT collection, and know it will get a ton more wear this year. (2) White feels really right this year, even before Memorial Day. I’ve been wearing white jeans, boyfriend jeans, and pants quite a lot already (if you’re new to white outside of summer, start simple by pairing it with black). Each season I end up having a signature color without even thinking about it and based upon my closet, this season it’s (3) orange-red.  I type this while wearing a linen sweatshirt of this color, and desire a shift dress like the one pictured.  I’m really digging classic trousers this spring, paired with everything, from blouses to sweaters to tee shirts; I’m on the hunt for the perfect pair in (4) navy.  I’m loving how there’s a trend towards draping and purposeful slouchiness this season and have been gobbling up things that are (5) off the shoulder; I’d pair a top like this with slim white jeans.  I also like the trend of purposeful draping, a top like this (6) can be worn with jeans for a night out, or slipped under a suit for the workweek.  I’m always happy when weathered, worn, and distressed denim (7) are on trend; they please my inner Lita Ford and love the contrast with more classic pieces.  And it wouldn’t be my wardrobe if it doesn’t have a few striped shirts (8) in it!

For accessories, I’m craving fewer pieces, fewer necklaces, and again am drawn to orange-red accents.  Thinking about my faves, I saw they are sort of lumped into three categories:

  • Vacation Inspired: I love white Panama hats and fedoras, I know they’ve been in style for a while and may be less trendy but I think they’re quite classic and these days I’m doing all I can to protect myself from the sun.  I love them with jeans and striped tees, I love them with sundresses, and I love that they hide bad hair days!  I’m also loving my new Converse Shorelines, which make Chucks finally comfortable for me.  With the elasticized back and lower profile, they’re comfy and easy to slip on and off.  Aviators are always my favorite, as are scarves.  Now that bandanas are back in style, I’ve been pulling out my collection of them and square scarves and using them to jazz up simple knits.
  • Bold Silver:  This is nothing new, silver is my signature metal and I’ve been wearing my big sterling cuff for 17 years.  Now I’ve added a pair of silver Birkenstocks to my wardrobe, increasing my silver.  I love mixing shiny silver with a more relaxed material; the bracelets from Lifetherapy are a fave of mine.  I have several of them and love looping one of their wrap bracelets (especially in this season’s signature color of orange!) over the cuff to switch it up.
  • Classic Gold: When my arm was in a cast, I relied on a watch since pulling out my phone was more difficult.  I’ve come to really like the convenience and style, and adore my Citizen Ciena Eco-Drive.  I recently got this cuff from Rebecca Minkoff which is smaller than what I’ve been known to wear and I like it.  Again, been wearing a lot of square scarves, be they around my throat, tied in my hair, or hanging off my purse.  I got a pair of Nine West “Flax” pumps in Natural and they’re a great nude pump, a comfortable height and go with almost my entire wardrobe.

My makeup has also been influenced by my time with a cast; it’s hard to have precision with your non-dominant hand. While I spent much of the winter with bold lips and liquid liner, lately I’m more into a subtle smoky eye, bronzer over blush, and glossy lips in a more natural hue. Miracle Skin Transformer has become my go-to while dealing with a broken arm since it’s so easy and so many beauty products in one.  I’m a mascara junkie and I love Too Faced’s Better Than False Lashes enough to buy a second time. It’s not a product to use when you’re short on time, but they do make my lashes look lusher than any other brand.  I got the Urban Decay lipliner in Naked as a freebie with a Beauty.com order and I use it almost daily with a natural colored gloss (adoring NARS Viva).  And then the original Naked palette from Urban Decay is still a fave for a no-makeup makeup look, a soft smoky eye, or to even replace liner.


Has spring sprung in your closet?  What are you loving this season in regard to trends or new to you classics?

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Updating Your Wardrobe for Spring 2008

I love the 80s; some of the most fun in music and even in fashion. I am one who does not flush with embarrassment when I see a picture of me decked out in mall bangs, puffy socks and shoulder pads. I thought at the time, the look was fun and colorful; fashion took risks. You could wear Versace, or you could wear vintage (though back then it was usually just a Joe Shmoe thrift store find) and still look totally tubular.

That doesn’t mean I like the resurgence of metallics, shoulder pads, boyfriend blazers, leggings and skinny jeans in weird washes. It was fun… 20 years ago. Not it makes the most chic of women look like a fashion victim.

So how can you get the new look for spring without looking like a leftover valley girl or a fashion victim? Here are some of the trends for spring that can work with most any wardrobe and survive more than one season of style:

Watercolor Brights
These aren’t quite the Crayola hues of the winter; they are a cherry spring version. Instead of orange, try tangerine. In place of emerald, a leaf or Kelly green offers pop without overkill. Instead of red, try hibiscus (has a pink undertone) or Chinese red (has an orange undertone). Yellow will also be a big color for spring – keep it bright and clear. These hues aren’t muddy, they aren’t neon, they aren’t muted. They have the pop of 2007’s primaries, but a feminine and sunny twist to them.

How to Wear Them: With almost anything! They are being shown paired with pale gray, black, denim, white and optic prints. Jazz up your boring suit with a silk knit tank in tangerine, consider a green handbag for the season (quite an unexpected neutral), or a pair of yellow flats to brighten up jeans or a black and white print skirt. I love the look of a basic khaki or tan with a bright crocus purple or a strong pink for the warmer months and am glad this is a combo easily achieved with this trend.

The Dress
Hooray, dresses are still quite en vogue for this spring! Almost every figure can find a dress that flatters, and nothing says spring more than a feminine frock and a pair of sweet flats or kitten heels. As for style, most anything goes. The day dress is still popular, with styles varying from the figure-flattering wrap in soft silks and jerseys to more structured s-line, sheath or polo-inspired styles ending right above the knee. After five, look for a return to femininity with frills, lace, sheer floaty fabrics, goddess-inspired cuts and a second year of the maxi dress going strong.

How to Wear Them: The day dresses can easily be worn now with tall boots and come warmer months with shoes that fit the style. If it is a structured style, a flat or pump will be a great choice. For the evening dresses, a feminine shoes with delicate styling and some skin (your peeptoes are still stylish) are the way to go. The skinny belt is still a strong look; try one in a metallic or black patent leather over your simple shifts to add a feminine flair. For solid-colored dresses consider a statement necklace or a scarf as your sole accessory – both are available in almost every price range at your favorite boutique right now.

Prints
The winter was a lot of solid colors, fashion has rebelled with a spring full of all sorts of prints. Love animal prints? You’ll be happy to know that there seems to be zebra prints in many stores already. Scarf prints and Pucci-inspired patterns are all over the place, and colorblocking is a very strong trend.

It is also the return of the floral print, and stronger than it has been in many years. Designers are mixing different patterns of florals, adding them to shoes, dresses, skirts and even the linings of coats and purses. These are not Little House on the Prairie calico buds; the look varies from luscious and full cabbage roses and flowers picked from a Victorian garden to modern-art inspired graphic patterns.

How to Wear Them: Like all honesty, this look isn’t for everyone. Printed cardigans and boxy short jackets add style to a simple tank and jeans; a skirt can add fun or femininity to wardrobe staples, and I love the a-line shifts where everything else is simple – minimal accessories, simple shoes, fresh face. Colorblocked styles can be quite flattering to the figure, but keep in mind that the light colors in a pattern will jump out so make sure they are not located where your least favorite body part is. If you wear a pattern, everything else should be solid and simple. The stronger the pattern, the less jewelry and cosmetics you should wear.

Yellow and orange dresses by Banana Republic; red and white print dress by Diane von Furestenberg via Nordstrom; skirt and jacket/shorts outfit by J. Crew; blouse by Kenneth Cole Reaction via Nordstrom