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This is 40: Girls Getaway to Berkeley Springs, WV


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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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.

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.

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!

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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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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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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Fighting Closet Fatigue – Winter to Spring Wardrobe Transition

The holidays are over and it’s normal to be sick to death of your current closet. You’re dreaming of warmer temperatures though you’re still bundling up in sweaters. When shopping for your wardrobe at this time of year, it’s smart to make purchases that you can wear now, but also wear months from now. Small updates that can refresh your current wardrobe and transition nicely into spring. These items have caught my eye and are great ways to get a touch of spring and new trends into your current winter collection.

spring 2015 fashion trends

  1. Printed Fabric Pumps. A statement shoe is a quick way to update the wardrobe. The gorgeous print on these pumps from J. Crew will go with everything in your wardrobe, from an LBD to your favorite pair of jeans. Right now, style with dark denim and a slouchy sweater in navy or black for brunch or a party at your friend’s house. Consider letting these shoes steal the show and pair with a black shift and opaque black tights. Come spring, style with white jeans, a dark blazer and striped tee for a fresh and classic look or pair with most any colored dress in your closet for a weekend wedding. The thicker heels makes these shoes more wearable and reviews state they’re comfortable and well made.
  2. Cotton Cable Sweater. A wool sweater may be warm a cozy, but it can get itchy and stifling once the temps rise. This sweater from J. Crew will be comfortable now with a layer (I have a cotton cable from Lands’ End and wear a knit or plaid flannel under it), and will be a great transition piece come spring. This sweater comes in classic navy but I like the crispness of the ivory. Pair now with a pleated or a-line skirt and tights for a modern take on collegiate chic; come spring pair with a twill pencil skirt and pumps, or go monochromatic with white or ivory jeans and nude shoes and touches of gold jewelry. If unsure, go up a size for the slouchy relaxed fit that will look great over skirts and with pants, jeans, and even shorts.
  3. Silk Paisley Square Scarf. Some of my favorite scarves are from Lands’ End; great quality, beautiful prints, and awesome prices (this one is currently on sale). A scarf can completely transform your wardrobe with a simple knot. I love folding square scarves into a triangle and tying “cowboy style” around the neck; adjust the knot to the length of drape you find most flattering. Just this past week I folded a square scarf this size into a long oblong a couple inches wide, wrapped around the neck and tied just the edges together in the front, then pulled at the fabric so it covered the knot and looked a bit messy; perfect tucked into the collar of a shirt or with a wider neck top and jacket. Tie onto the handle of your bag for a pop of color, if it doesn’t fit as a belt just knot on one belt loop for an accent, and wear in the classic “flight attendant” style with a striped boatneck, jeans, and a pair of canvas sneakers come spring.
  4. Silk Cotton Shirt in a Statement Color. There’s no better color to liven up a wardrobe than yellow and this shirt from Gap is full of spirit. You may argue that yellow is a very hard color to wear, but this is a statement piece that goes beyond coloring. Right now, slip under a gray or olive green sweater and pair with black trousers to add a pop of spring to your winter basics. When it warms, wear untucked with slim or straight dark denim, flats and gold jewelry. Come summer, wear this shirt tucked into a white pencil skirt or wear as a beach coverup. Size up for a slouchier fit; when wearing untucked don’t be afraid to unbutton another button and add modesty with a camisole and casually roll the sleeves. A color like this works best when it’s worn in a casual “oh this thing?” sort of way.
  5. Mixed Print Silk Top. The ‘Eliza’ top from Boden is a perennial fave by many including me. I have one and I love the flattering shape, the seasonless cut and fabric, and how it is so versatile. This print really called out to me because it would transition so nicely from now into the warmer months. Right now, pair with a navy cardigan and jeans or trousers; come spring lighten it with white jeans or a twill pencil skirt and bare legs. Also available in three other prints, this is a great wardrobe addition that looks fresh now but will become a closet classic.
  6. Dark Wash Straight Jeans. We’ve done skinny, boyfriend, distressed, coated, zippers, patches, high waist, low rise, and everything in between. It makes a classic fit and wash feel all the more modern and fresh. I’m a huge fan of Gap’s Real Straight jeans; they’re flattering to many different figures (I raved about them, Adrien at Looks Good from the back raved about them), they’re reasonably priced, and come in a bunch of different sizes and lengths. A straight leg is far more flattering with flat shoes than skinny or bootcut, and is still slim enough to fit into tall boots. No need to tell you how to wear a pair of jeans, just that denim doesn’t have to be so complicated. When you’re overwhelmed and frustrated by denim options, there’s nothing wrong with going back to a classic. Dark, crisp, and simple is always in style.
  7. Bucket Bag. This spring, the Bucket Bag and the Backpack have returned and are hotter than ever. Both styles are great for actually carting around your stuff, but a bucket is more versatile of a trend and likely to be in style longer. I was drawn to this bag by Deux Lux because it’s classic with a twist. I think the fringe is too much fun, and it keeps the bag from looking too basic without having it too crazy for most workplaces. Imagine it now with a black turtleneck sweater, dark jeans and tall boots. Come spring pair with white jeans and a chambray shirt or a simple black shift dress and flats. With two different strap lengths, this can be a shoulder bag or switch to being a crossbody. The price is nice making it a trend you can try without breaking the bank.
  8. Oversized Wayfarers. Ray-Bans are a classic, their Clubmasters, aviators, and Wayfarers have been in style for decades and likely many more to come. I’ve been drooling over these oversized versions of the classic Wayfarers. The traditional size looks a bit goofy on my head; the bigger size has a modern feel but isn’t so trendy you’ll regret the purchase in a year (and the more face your sunglasses cover, the more sun protection and the more you can get away without makeup on an early Sunday bagel run). These sunglasses are the type that are cool on 21 year olds and 71 year olds; care for them and they can last a lifetime. Envision them now with a beanie, parka with a fur-trimmed collar and warm boots; come spring wear with a striped tee and dark jeans or a simple frock and some Chucks for the weekend.
  9. Voile Dress. This simple dress from Splendid is so versatile. Right now, wear with black tights and booties, a denim jacket and a scarf looped around your neck. Come spring push up the sleeves and wear with bare legs and mid-calf or ankle boots, with a long pendant necklace and heels, or a beaded necklace and Birkenstocks. Available in four colors, I love the orange-red color, which looks so great with denim, white, black, olive, turquoise, and navy.
  10. Gold Fish Hook Choker. I believe in the power of a statement accessory that whispers instead of screaming. Last spring I purchased a simple gold cuff from Rebecca Minkoff and it has garnered more compliments than bolder more unique pieces in my jewelry collection and I haven’t tired of it. I feel this necklace from BaubleBar achieves the same effect for a really great low price. It is a style that could become a signature piece you wear almost every day; pair now over turtlenecks and come spring have it peek out of unbuttoned collars and add interest to simple crewnecks. To preserve the finish of gold costume jewelry, wipe down after wearing, don’t let it get wet, and store in a Ziploc bag.
  11. French Sailor’s Shirt. This is the time of year where you start realizing how worse for wear your knits may be. Stretched out, faded, stained, yellowed, and just not looking crisp any longer. When it comes to a wardrobe classic like a striped knit, it’s smart to buy quality so it stays looking great longer and lives through multiple wears and washings. LL Bean is known for quality and this heavier-weight knit does not disappoint. Available in five different colors and a broad range of sizes, my favorite is the navy stripe, a classic that will look so fresh now under a wool blazer and come spring with ankle pants and colorful flats.

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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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 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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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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What to Wear to a Spring or Summer Wedding

The colder months are easy for most any affair – whip out your little black dress and heels and you’re good to go. However once the weather gets warmer, an LBD can sometimes seem too harsh or somber, especially for happy events like weddings.

That being said, with the extensive array of dress styles and cuts available, it can be hard to know what is appropriate for a wedding, and what is not. While different cultures and religions have specific beliefs on colors and how much skin to show (I always recommend contacting a member of the wedding party of extended family if you are unsure about the couple’s traditions and sartorial expectations), below are some ideas that can be worn to most weddings and be seen as stylish yet appropriate.

The Daytime Wedding
I used to advise women that for a daytime wedding, wear what you would wear to your house of worship for services. That doesn’t seem to be appropriate anymore as many houses of worship are making their dress codes more casual to make the experience more welcoming to all folks. Even I grew up attending church services in jeans and sneakers. So I recommend wearing a dress, suit, or pantsuit that is festive yet has a conservative touch. Skirts that end around the knee, no plunging necklines, steer clear of backless or cutouts. Fitted is fine, skin-tight is not. Consider fabric – sequins and satin are better for evening and more formal of affairs. This is a happy occasion so go ahead and wear cheery colors and prints.

This green dress is from Muse Apparel; I own it and think it’s even more lovely in person. The jade color is cheery without being overwhelming, the ponte fabric has a slight sheen making it more dressy, and the fun flower appliqué of plastic and gems catches the light without having you resemble a disco ball. Pair with nude heels for an elegant yet fun look. The tan floral dress is from Eliza J, a brand that I find flattering and budget-friendly. While the main color is subdued, the coral bow at the waist and the flirty high-low hem makes the dress festive and fun. Pair with some strappy heels and a great bracelet to finish the look.
Daytime weddings is when you can carry off a bold print – this poppy print dress from Bespoke is cheeky without being too extreme; make it more subtle with nude pumps or amp up the fun with some retro-inspired heels. A daytime wedding is a great time to try a trend, be it a Pantone-approved color of the year, lace, or peplum. This dress from Donna Morgan incorporates all three trends into one chic yet festive frock. With a demure hem length and full back, the dress doesn’t veer into Fashion Victimville; keep it subtle with neutral shoes or add an extra punch with pumps in a contrast color.

The Evening Wedding
Evening weddings can be tricky – are you dressed up enough? Too much? A safe bet is to dress in cocktail attire – a daytime wedding sort dress but made of a dressier fabric like lace, silk, or beading. While a little black dress is a perfect choice, feel free to wear a dressy suit or a frock in a cheerful color. Current trends make hemlines anywhere from just above the knee to the ground appropriate, but unless the invitation specifies Black Tie, don’t make your maxi a formal gown, sequined, beaded or otherwise overly dressy.

The blue dress from Kiyonna is a great way to show a little skin while still being tasteful. Pair with nude or metallic dressy heels to amp up the evening look; a sparkly accessory will be perfect for an after-hours affair. The pink gown from Donna Morgan is surprisingly versatile – with flat metallic sandals it could be worn to a destination wedding; with silk heels and a sparkly bracelet it’s perfect for an evening affair and the bright color keeps it from looking too Black Tie. The peach flapper-inspired dress from Simply Be is the type that could be worn for a wedding with nude or metallic shoes, pair with more casual shoes for a night out, or even be worn with a black blazer and tights come winter. With the beading on the dress, keep the rest of your accessories to a minimum and consider a more dramatic eye to add a formal flair. The magenta dress from Kate Spade is a feminine and classic silhouette yet the fabric makes it evening-appropriate. The accessories is what can take this dress from day to evening to even a more formal wedding.

The Destination/Beachside Wedding
Such weddings are usually far more casual because of the sand and wind factor. It’s hard to walk down to the shore in a satin pencil skirt and 3” heels. However, the casual environment doesn’t give one permission to show up in a Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts. A dress of matte jersey, silk, or a refined cotton or knit is a great choice because it will be flexible and comfortable in the heat. I specifically featured longer dresses for such a wedding because of the tropical breezes during such an event; no one wants to be worrying about doing a Marilyn in the middle of the vows, and a longer dress also provides modesty if you end up sitting on the sand or on blankets in a field. Longer dresses can seem more formal, so look for styles that do not graze the ground, are of more relaxed fabrics, and have a celebratory color or print.

I love this dress from French Connection; while I am not a big fan of strapless for weddings I think this one works because the color and fabric is more demure and the bodice quite structured. This is also a dress you could wear again – pair with tan sandals and tie a Western-inspired denim shirt over it for a party or barbecue back home. The colorblocked chiffon maxi from Calvin Klein is cheery, modern, and easy to personalize. Pair with gold sandals and accessories, or switch out the belt for a brown leather one and have an armful of wood and beaded bangles. Come cooler months, pair with a denim jacket for a cool outfit for a night out on the town. The turquoise dress from Eileen Fisher is simple elegance; Eileen Fisher is expert at draping and bias cuts and this dress is no exception. I’d style in a similar manner with a beaded necklace and flat-bottomed sandals, or it can be glammed up with a bold silver necklace and gladiators. The watercolor-inspired dress from Ivy & Blu for Maggy Boutique is romantic, tropical, and very on trend with the unique hemline. With such a pattern, you can keep accessories to a minimum. If you want to switch up the look, consider replacing the self belt with a metallic one or a skinny patent belt in a color that’s part of the print.

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Fantasy Fashion Closet for Spring 2013

Last fall, I made a similar list and you all were quite helpful with finding some of the pieces. I also found creating such a post useful in that it helped me define my personal style for the upcoming season. To see all my wants together is very telling and helps me know what direction to go in with purchases, what to bring into my closet that season, and what to keep packed away for next year.

Full Skirt with Pockets. Lightweight cotton, proper waistband, hits just below the knee, full but not too full (like my Talbots skirt). In fact, I thought I found the perfect skirt, from Talbots, via eBay. It was supposedly yellow and the image made it look like a light springy mustard shade that I thought would look fantastic with navy and white striped tees, or a simple white tank and raffia belt. Nope, the color was more like pea soup or baby diaper. Not sure what to do with it, because it is a bit yellow (in that baby diaper sort of way), but not in a way I would want on my body (or anywhere else in my life). I don’t think dying it will give a good result, but I’m holding on until I find some creative way to make it fabulous. And until then, I am looking for a full skirt with pockets.

Crisp White Shirt. Wow, this seems to be on my list every season. Last year Foxcroft was kind enough to send me one, but it’s a bit too big and looks a bit sloppy when not knotted at the waist. I don’t want skin-tight, I just want a feminine fit that still closes properly at the bustline and is not transparent. Oh, and no chest pockets – I have enough going on up there.

Dark Ankle Jeans. I don’t want skinny, I don’t want bootcut, I want dark, saturated real denim with weight, a classic style, that hits at my ankles so I can wear them with flats. Easier said than done with my wide calves and solid thighs. Think I may need to get a pair tailored to work.

White Ankle Jeans. Same fit and weight as the dark denim, but in pure white with white seams and few details.

Maxi Wrap Dress. I have loved the DVF ones for a long time and recently saw this one on Style Pantry and now I crave one. Either black or green, or some fun print that can dress up and down. Do I need this? No, but this is a FANTASY closet!

Western Shirt. I have a chambray shirt that is well-loved, but would like a shirt that is a bit more fitted, and has snaps and Western seaming and details.

Short-sleeved Ponte Dress. I’d like something sort of like this dress I own, but not as deep of a neckline, a skirt that hits just below the knee, and has pockets. ASOS has a similar concept but no pockets and from ordering this ponte skirt from them I can bet right now that this dress will be too long in length and torso. If ASOS has Petite 10, I’d be all over it. As for color… black of course is great but would also love navy, a shade of green, maybe coral. Something I can dress up for work with a scarf and heeled sandals or wear on a weekend with leather thongs.

Beaded Flat Sandals. Many moons ago, I had the most perfect leather and beaded thong sandals. I got them from Victoria’s Secret, but they were from another brand. They fit my wide feet, were comfortable, and looked great peeking out of jeans or with sundresses. I wore them to death… and die they did in a stinky broken threads and missing beads death. A couple weeks ago I went into Ross and found some beaded sandals in an 8W for $12.99; I was wearing boots and socks so I didn’t try them on but bought them. They are… fine. They are faux leather and look like it and wrinkle strangely on top and I would just like a new pair like my old pair from ten years ago to pair with beat up jeans and that Western shirt.

Gauzy White Tunic. Feel the vibe going on here for spring? I want a white gauzy shirt with white embroidery on it, three-quarter sleeves that aren’t too fitted but aren’t batwing. A tad sheer, but not too sheer to wear with a nude tee shirt bra. Something that hits mid-hip, slits on the slides so it doesn’t hug the bum. Something to throw on with denim cutoffs or jeans, or even belt and wear with a maxi skirt.  In fact, I owned this very shirt in college and lost it, it was from Contempo Casuals and far cooler than the store name.

Wedge Sandals. I just ordered these from Sofft and they are too metallic. I’d like either a beige/tan color or a muted metallic that can work with dresses as well as jeans. Flats aren’t comfortable for me for long periods of time, and a slight wedge makes sandals more appropriate for the office. Nothing too high, straps not too skinny to dig into my toes, no slingback (I don’t have enough curve in my ankle to hold up the sling), no ankle strap, no fake laminate on the wedge to pretend it’s wood or cork (though real cork would be warmly welcomed), just a simple wedge sandal for spring.

Whether I buy these things is another story. Often when I actually start dressing for the season, I find some of these items not necessary or inappropriate for my life. However this is the direction I am going in for spring – a bit boho, a bit classic, a lot of solids in clear colors mixed with denim and neutrals and the accessories taking center stage.

What are you feeling for spring?

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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?

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.

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

Review and Giveaway: J.Jill Uncomplicate Me This Spring

I learn so much from you readers: sites to visit, beauty products to try, and clothing brands to check out. Many of you have raved about J.Jill and how the brand carries quality pieces in regular, petite, tall, and women’s sizes. With spring upon us, I’ve been looking for warm weather clothes to add to my wardrobe. When BlogHer and J.Jill approached me to try out J.Jill’s linen collection, I was excited.Many of you have raved about J.Jill’s linen collection in how it washes and wears so well. Linen is one of the oldest fabrics still in use today; it was first used in Egypt where it was prized for its purity and cleanliness. Today, linen is loved for its breathability, easy care (machine washable and dryable or dry cleaned), and durability – a great linen piece can last for years of wear because it’s 2-3 times the strength of cotton and just gets softer and better with time.

This spring, J.Jill is offering Linen in a Whole New Light. Their popular linen collection is updated with fresh details, blended knits, and watercolor effect prints that offer new ways to experience the fab fabric. J.Jill’s linen blend fabrics include rayon to increase the fabrics’ softness and provide luster and drape; and cotton for softness, a cool touch, and to minimize shrinkage (J.Jill’s linen can take a tumble in the dryer!).

J.Jill Pure Jill Indigo Knit Easy Dress

It has been hard finding clothes that work with my cast; something that fits over it, is easy to put on, something uncomplicated. Knit dresses have been great with the cast so I decided to try the Pure Jill Indigo Knit Easy Dress. When it was cold I wore the dress with leggings, tall boots, and a scarf for an easy casual look. With the temps rising, the dress is great for running errands with a pair of tennis shoes or Capri leggings and ballet flats. This is a Large Petite.

J.Jill Linen Big Shirt and Perfect Tank

I’ve wanted a white linen shirt; as soon as I heard about this opportunity I checked out J.Jill’s Linen Big Shirt. I ordered a Petite Large, which fit perfectly… except it didn’t fit over the cast. I went to the store and exchanged it for a Regular XL, which gives it a true big shirt look and fits over my right arm. For this weekend look I paired it with the J.Jill Perfect Tank (size Petite Large) and an old favorite pair of jeans. This shirt would look great knotted over a pencil skirt, belted over skinny jeans, or under a cropped top for a trendy silhouette. I must say the Perfect Tank is exactly that; having a petite tank is a game changer; it still has enough length but the neckline doesn’t gape and my bra straps stay well covered. The tank is an opaque, smooth refined knit that could dress up to be a shell under a casual blazer or paired with a full midi skirt and sandals. I liked this tank so much I got a second one in black!

Interested in checking out J.Jill’s Linen collection to uncomplicate your spring wardrobe? I’ve got two ways for you to do it for less!

Use promotion code BLOGHER at checkout and get 30% off one full-priced item! This code is valid through May 21, 2014.


One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $100 J.Jill gift card! To enter leave me a comment letting me know what is your favorite spring look!

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

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.  The Official Rules are available here.  This sweepstakes runs from 4/3/2014-5/27/2014.

Be sure to visit the J.Jill brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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My Personal Style Journey – Spring 2013

There’s this place between creativity and quality where I always get stuck.

I used to have a very simple, minimal wardrobe based upon my list of wardrobe staples. It worked, I always was ready for any event, was dressed well… but it felt stifling after a while. As I have gotten older I feel the need to better express my personality through my wardrobe. When I was 29, a blazer, tank, and trousers looked crisp; now it looks matronly and dumpy. While I won’t be rocking a lot of the current trends, I find by playing with fabrics, colors, and silhouettes I look modern without a fashion victim or trying to look young.

The thing is, the more you play, the more you spend. You can either do it with cheap pieces that are lucky to last a season and end up in a landfill, or pay more and choose pieces that are on trend, but won’t be passé in a year. I have chosen the latter as it better fits with my motto of quality not quantity. But it ends up costing more, and variety needs more variety.

This past week I cleaned up my closet. No more dresses that fell off hangers, all shoes back in their boxes, the heavy sweaters and coats piled up to head to the attic. I looked at what remained and it was a strange assortment. I didn’t feel inspired, and I didn’t feel calm. I just saw so many holes and opportunities.

These days I would rather be inspired by my wardrobe than calmed by it, but inspiration costs either time (thrifting, sewing, tailoring, DIYing), or money. Serenity has a nicer pricetag, but I just don’t feel authentic lately. I sort of think it’s the body – it’s harder to dress a body that is larger, is softer, is curvier, and is older. Classic silhouettes and simple choices can look extremely boring and dated on such a frame. I often see women with similar figures to mine as I walk to work. They’re in gray trousers, low heels, twinsets. I recognize the pieces being from retailers like J. Crew and Banana Republic yet on them they might as well be from that weird store in the mall that sells Christmas sweaters and elastic-waist polyester pants. I go in the attic and pull out flat-front lined tropical wool trousers from Ann Taylor that I adored on me a few years ago but now they make me look twice my age. In fact, all pants (except my Tahari Hazel trousers) make me feel shorter, wider, and older than I actually am.

I would tell myself it’s good to be aware of this change, this desire, this transformation of my personal style. To write about it, think about it with each purchase. To take a Sunday afternoon and try on my wardrobe and see how each piece makes me feel, and what I need to make it work. To look at that list of needs and then see if I do need them, or if I need to let go of some pieces I own that are holding me back or taking me to the poor house. And so I will take my advice, and I welcome you on this journey.

I always state one should choose quality over quantity and be authentic to her personal style. Body changes and the blogosphere have caused me to lose my way, but I am getting back on the road to personal style self discovery.

What I have figured out so far:

  • Cropped pants don’t flatter my figure or my personal style
  • I had too many colors in my wardrobe; I prefer black, gray, shades of blue and the occasional pop of red and orange but I feel self-conscious and cheesy when dressed like a rainbow
  • I hate ironing and shouldn’t buy much that requires it
  • I’m more of a separates gal than one who likes dresses (except in summer when it’s just too easy and comfortable)
  • I should never buy anything brown or tan ever ever again
  • In the winter I feel more like a modern rockstar, in the summer I prefer the boho rockstar vibe. But with both, I like denim, silver, leather, band tee shirts and blazers. I am not twee, I am not girly, I am not preppy. Those trends may flatter my figure but they don’t fit my personality and always make me feel inauthentic.

I will continue to track my lessons learned and how my wardrobe adjusts with it. I’d love to hear how your personal style journeys go as well!

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Gap Skimmers: Versatile Style for Now and Spring

I recently visited Gap and felt like a kid in a candy store. Adorable jackets, tons of stripes (we all know how I adore stripes), and fun jeans including their new Women’s Skimmer. Named because they skim the ankles as well as the body from waist to hem. I’m pleasantly surprised by how flattering the Skimmers are on my curvy frame. I tried on several variations and fell for the 1969 Dot Always Skinny Skimmer. I immediately thought of the outfit possibilities!

Jacket: Gap | Scarf: Ann Taylor (similar) | Shoes: Nine West (similar)

Sweatshirt: Alo | Shoes: Lands’ End (similar)

Jacket: Vince Camuto | Tee: Canvas Lands’ End (similar) | Necklaces: eBay | Shoes: Target (similar)

Sweater: Lands’ End via Gwynnie Bee | Shoes: Jessica Simpson (similar) | Cuff: Gap (similar)

The Skimmers are adorable with a sweatshirt and flats for weekends, or a slouchy sweater and platform heels for a night with the girls. For work I paired with Gap’s Striped Twill Zip Jacket, and for play the Skimmers are fab with an ivory blazer and bold gold necklaces. I can’t wait to style them for spring!

While I did receive compensation for this post, all opinions and text are my own.

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