Search Results for: label/The Shoe Hive

Hive on the Hill: The Shoe Hive’s DC Pop-up Shop

Like fashion, I believe in quality instead of quantity for my social life.  My evenings and weekends are primarily dedicated to my family, and only a few choice blog events.  Last night I attended a fabulous and quality event; Hive on the Hill from The Shoe Hive.

While The Shoe Hive has the most adorable and welcoming boutique in Old Town Alexandria, they are taking the next few days (through Sunday the 16th) to have a pop-up shop at The Tabula Rasa on Capitol Hill. While yes, you can find fabulous shoes (Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Hunter boots, and many more popular brands), they also have a wonderful selection of accessories and gifts. From candy-colored crocheted berets to drool-worthy Alexis Bittar jewelry, there have something for everyone, and every budget.

Last night was Opening Night for The Shoe Hive’s pop up, cleverly titled Hive on the Hill. The Shoe Hive asked me and Alison from DC Celine to co-host the event and curate a wish list to be on display. A mix of popular music with holiday tunes, plenty of white and red wine and three adorable men pouring Allagash White beer in Hive on the Hill pint glasses (which were adorable favors for us to take home), sweet treats and some of the most stylish women in DC… it was a wonderful event. While it was fun to see friends and chat over drinks, it was also fun to shop and meet new people. The Tabula Rasa was the perfect venue – crisp, white, modern, and beautiful. The Shoe Hive decorated with white birch branches and ribbons and the whole affair was tasteful yet so much fun. I was thrilled to finally meet social media/blogging friends Amy, KC, and Rosanna in real life and again see loveies like E, Lexa, Christen, and Vyque (and spend QT with my sister!).


A big thanks to Elizabeth from The Shoe Hive and her amazing team for a fun and successful event; rarely have I attended a shopping event that made me laugh to the point of tears, met so many new and wonderful people, while being surrounded by some of the most gorgeous shoes and accessories. If you’re in the area, stop by Tabula Rasa for Hive on the Hill or visit The Shoe Hive’s warm and welcoming shop in Old Town!

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Payless: Your Family Gift Destination [Sponsored]

Oh the holidays, a time where you want to snuggle up with loved ones in front of a fire roasting sipping hot cocoa and watching It’s a Wonderful Life or Elf (my favorite, I can watch it year round). However it’s the time to run around all over town finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. The last time I went to Payless (see this post) I realized it’s an unexpected place for holiday gifts! From Elsa and Anna “Frozen” and Spider-Man merchandise to slippers for everyone in the family, Payless Shoe Source has great gifts at really great prices.

payless flurry mocs 3

Speaking of snuggling up, Payless provided me and Emerson with pairs of Payless’ Flurry Mocs to stay cozy all winter long. While I went with classic black, Emerson chose hot pink sequins that would make many a kid excited if it was found under the tree. These slippers are cushy but have a sturdy rubber bottom to prevent slips on wood stairs and the ability to dash out to the mailbox. All that and when I visited they were on sale for $14.99 or two pairs for $25! Emerson loves that we’re “twins” and I love that we can show our sense of style while staying warm and not blowing the budget. They also had slipper styles for men and boys, and plenty more styles for girls and women.

I’ll be returning to Payless to grab a few couple stocking stuffers – Emerson fell for a pair of “Frozen” earmuffs we saw in the store, and they also had great patterned socks, cute hair accessories, and Hello Kitty-themed products. I’m glad I partnered with Payless and found them to be a gift destination for the whole family!

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

Shoe Staples

Reader Liz emailed me about shoes. I concentrate so much on clothing, but what are the shoe staples that one needs in her wardrobe? And no Liz, I will not cop out and say all shoes are staples! :-)

Like many, I am drawn to shoes. They are mini works of art, and no matter how many pounds you may have gained recently, shoes usually still fit and look fabulous. Shoes can take a simple outfit and make it fun, classic, elegant or chic. In a wardrobe full of staples, shoes are an accessory that can make your clothing current and full of personality.

Though shoes can be fun and creative and colorful, there are a few staples every woman needs in her wardrobe so she can get through the day to day events. Shoes she can go to when she doesn’t have the time, the money or the energy to be creative, fun and colorful. Shoes that no matter the mood, she looks pulled together, stylish and appropriate.

A Pair of City Boots
These are boots that come up to the ankle bone. Cross your legs, you do not see sock or leg. They can pull on or have a zipper. I have had a pair of black city boots in my wardrobe since the early 90’s. The heel and toe style may have changed with the times, but the concept is the same – these boots are perfect for almost every pant and jean in your closet.

Last year at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale I found a pair of black faux leather (but look quite real!) city boots from Enzo Angolini at a wonderful price. They have a chic heel, elongated toe (great for us petite gals) and I wear them with jeans, with trousers, even with suits for business meetings. When I go on business trips, the only shoes I take are my city boots. I wear them on the plane with jeans, wear them out for drinks with clients with black pants and a blouse, and wear them to the client meeting with a conservative suit. You can’t get more basic than that!

Now, how do you know a pair will be that versatile, that classic? To keep the style versatile, forego on textures (glazes, croco-embossing, distressed look, suede, lots of buckles and studs) and keep them pretty minimal. You want leather, or a leather look – this fabric is the most versatile. This is a shoe where I recommend finding a very realistic faux leather – they stretch around your ankle with comfort and they are rain and snow-resistant (and easy to clean).

As for style, as I mentioned above, though round toes may be in one season, a pointed toe the next, an elongated toe is usually elegant looking and it makes a petite woman look taller and looks great peeking out of longer pants and jeans. An elongated toe is forgiving to your tootsies, giving them plenty of room to move about. They look more stylish than a standard snub toe, and can jazz up a basic pair of black pants and a sweater.

Now for heels. I believe get the highest heel you can stand. A heel makes your legs look longer, your body look taller. Heels force you to have better posture, and to walk gracefully. Heels are not comfortable for everyone, so make sure what you buy is comfortable. A delicate kitten heel is low but elegant. With your heel, you do not want chunky. Chunky is not versatile, it is reserved for jeans and weekends. A slimmer heel is elegant and a bit dressier. Can still look great with jeans, but also can be appropriate with dressier trousers. Wedges are popular this season and far more comfortable than regular heels, but I do not see them as staples. They do not look classic enough to transcend seasons. Feel free to buy wedge heels for other shoes, but for this city boot staple, stick with a classic slim heel.

Shoes shown are available from Zappos.

Black Pumps
I know, all this black. The reason I suggest black is because there are a multitude of browns and navys out there, and only one black. If you followed my clothing advice, you already own black pants and possibly a black suit or a black skirt. It makes sense to have the majority of your shoes black. A black pump can go with any color in your wardrobe, and always looks classic, simple, understated and elegant.

A black pump can be worn with cocktail dresses, work dresses, skirts of silk or of denim. They can be worn with black pants and a camisole for a night on the town, or with your power suit for an interview. Be it a wedding, funeral, business meeting or cocktail party, your black pumps can be appropriate footwear for the event.

Here is where I recommend real leather. Real leather can be polished and maintained. They mold to your feet for a perfect fit. Unlike boots that are mostly covered by pants, a pump is on display most of the time. You want to have quality fabric. People say you can tell a man’s worth by his watch and shoes – the same applies for women. Nothing will ruin your look faster than a cheap pair of shoes. Like the city boots, keep these shoes free of adornment. It’s fine to have croco, snakeskin, patent, suede and studded black pumps in your wardrobe, but you need a simple pair of black leather ones for all occasions.

Like the city boots, I recommend the highest heel you can comfortably wear, and a slim lady-like heel. This will give you the most mileage in your wardrobe. A chunky heel may be fine for work, but won’t go with your crepe sheath to a wedding or your silk dress to your company holiday party. A graceful pair of black pumps can be worn to most any event.

As for the vamp, you do not want to see toe cleavage, but you don’t want it to look dowdy. Have a curved vamp that covers the toes completely, but shows a lot of the top of the foot. This will elongate the leg and look dressier. It is okay to have a peek of skin show between your pant leg and your pumps, but pumps look best with longer trousers.

As for the toe, there isn’t a standard style that is best. I have a pair with an elongated pointy toe that look great with most everything, but I also have a round toe pair with a slim high heel that I find adorable with dresses. A pointed toe is more classic and will dress up your clothes, but if you find your style is more fitting with a simple curved toe or a retro curved toe, I say go for it. As long as you have an elegant heel and a good leather, it will look nice.

Shoes shown are available from Nordstrom.

A Fun Shoe
If your wardrobe was made completely of staples, it would be a boring wardrobe indeed. What type of person are you? Artsy? Romantic? Modern? Let it show in your shoes.

These shoes should follow the rules of the pumps – have them work with dresses, skirts and pants. This will give the most versatility and the most bang for your buck. They can be pumps, or wedges, peep-toes, Mary Janes, something that can go from season to season and something that has panache. This year I invested in leopard print peep-toe heels. I can wear them with a black sweater and black pants and suddenly look sassy. They are an unexpected neutral with a color – I have worn them with a teal blue dress, with a dark denim pencil skirt and burgundy top. I have worn them even with dark creased jeans and a black blouse with a gold necklace. Two years ago I bought a pair of hot pink leather pointy-toed pumps with studs on them. Totally crazy purchase, but those shoes still get a regular rotation in the wardrobe. I will spice up a classic black sheath dress and pearls with the pink heels. I have cuffed my jeans to a cropped length, worn a white tank, black blazer and these pink heels. Black suit with the pink heels and a sheer bright pink lipgloss to pull it together. A black sweater piped in the same pink with jeans and the pumps. It’s amazing how your basic wardrobe can really handle a wild pair of shoes. My sister has a pair of caramel-colored patent leather pointy pumps. She got them at Payless for a song and wears them often. Dark blue dolman sweater, jeans and the shiny shoes. Brown twinset, camel wool skirt and the same shoes. A simple black dress, yellow pearls and the caramel heels. You will see that a spunky pair of shoes will be more versatile than your black pumps!

Shoes shown are available from Macy’s.

A Comfy Shoe
No, I do not mean a pair of sneakers, or slipper, or Birks or Crocs. This is a shoe that looks presentable, but doesn’t kill your soles. These shoes are for tours of Italy, weekends in the Napa valley, a marathon day at the mall, even a daytime garden wedding. Shoes that can tackle pounding the pavement, tromping through fields, but looking appropriate with a sundress, a pair of sateen capris or hiking pants.

What kind of miracle shoe can this be? There are great shoes out these days that blend the comfort of a sneaker with the style of a dress shoe. BORN carries amazingly comfortable and fashionably appropriate shoes. I found a great pair of black shoes that look like Mary Jane flats but feel like clouds at Title Nine. My mom has a pair of black leather wedge sandals that look tres cute but are super comfy and from Easy Spirit.

Most of my clothing is black or looks good with black, so I invested in black comfy shoes. I find black works for all seasons. Brown can work too, but do know that brown and warm tones do not look as dressy and may not be quite as versatile. Try to find solid shoes – veer from piping, contrast stitching or colorful soles. These will only highlight the fact that these are comfort shoes, not fashion shoes.

Nothing screams tourist more than a pair of sneakers, and nothing can ruin your vacation more than blisters and screaming toes. You may not think your lifestyle warrants these shoes, but once you buy them, you will see you will love them for every jaunt to the outlet mall, every one of your kid’s field trips, every time you decide to go to an outdoor festival. Capris look classic with black flats, and dowdy with sneakers. A sundress looks trashy with flops, but festive with sandals. This is an investment for your health and your sense of style.

Shoes shown are available at Title Nine.

Where are the Rest???
Where are the strappy black heels you may be wondering? How about the black flats? Sneakers? Tall boots? A summer shoe like a slide? I am not mentioning those or any other shoes because they are not staples. They do not transcend seasons and trends.

Three years ago I couldn’t live without my black silk strappy heels. I wore them to every wedding, cocktail party and company bash. I wore them out with the girls with jeans and a silky top. Two years ago, I switched to gold strappy heels. And this year? I don’t even wear strappy, I find peep toes to be more flattering and chic. Dress shoes get trendy. The heel changes, the straps change, the fabrics change. If you think you have a classic pair of strappy dress heels I’ll bet $5 that they are not.

As for summer shoes. For years I lived in black slides from Steve Madden. Everyone I knew had either the same exact shoe or a slight variation. Black leather band over the shoe, slightly stacked platform sole. Worn with capris, skirts, dresses, jeans and pants. They were perfect, and quite comfortable. And for the past few years, they have been horribly out of style. This past summer it was chunky platform wood wedge heels with leather straps encrusted with stones. Next summer, who knows? Point is nothing seems to stay in style outside of a leather variation of a traditional flip flop, and that is not always apropos for all outfits and occasions (and hey, may be passé in 2008!).

Black flats. People have emailed me and commented here about how I never mention flats. Flats are comfortable. Flats are chic. Who can dare think that Audrey Hepburn wasn’t chic, and she always sported little black flats. Well Audrey Hepburn had the figure for flats, and skinny black pants with turtlenecks, and all kinds of other fashion choices that the majority of society cannot pull off. Like me. I am 5’3” and not a waif. I look ridiculous in flats. It’s as though someone cut off the last few inches of my leg. A flat shoe looks worse on a curvy or many petite person than being barefoot. It cuts the line of the leg, it makes you look short, dumpy, unfinished. Just as I don’t think a black pencil skirt is a staple, or a turtleneck, I don’t think flats are. These are items that can look amazing on some, and dreadful on others.

As for tall boots… well I love them. I adore them. I drool over them, but I do not own a pair. I am short, with large calves and tall boots make me look wider and shorter than I already am. I do not believe in being a slave to fashion. If a look is not flattering, no matter how often you see it in shop windows and magazine pages, do not buy into it. Tall boots look weird on very slim legs, on very long legs, short legs, and very thick legs. Not only that, they are hard to figure out what how to wear. I see women try to stuff their bootcut jeans into tall boots to emulate Kate Moss. By noon, they have puffs of denim at their knees and look as though they dressed in the dark. I see women wear heavy leather boots with delicate chiffon skirts, with too short skirts (hello Red Light district), bunched under jeans, and the greatest horror of all? Trying to get a few more months of wear out of your summer capris by pairing them with tall boots (honey, they’re not gauchos).

My Personal Staples:
I do have a lot of shoes, but that is because I treat them well, store them properly and stock up a collection. I only buy one or two pairs a season, and I try to choose wisely. Before I buy a pair of footwear, I stop to think if they can go with at least three different outfits. If I cannot envision that, they go back on the rack. The shoes I currently wear a lot:

Winter/All Year:

  • Black leather pointy toed pumps (work and play, skirts and pants)
  • Black leather round toed high heel pumps (work and play, skirts and pants)
  • Black silk peeptoe heels (dressy skirts, dresses and pants)
  • Black faux leather city boots (everything, absolutely everything that is a full-length pant or jean)
  • Brown leather peeptoe pumps with a stacked wood heel (pants, suits in warmer months, dresses and casual skirts)
  • Black athletic-inspired Mary Janes (travel, work, long days on my feet)
  • Leopard print peeptoe heels (work and play pants, dresses, jeans)
  • Teal suede wedge-heel pumps with a knotted design in front (jeans, casual pants, dresses)

Summer:

  • Summer Sandals – wood low wedge heel, thong style completely beaded with tiny bugle beads in bronze, brown, dark red and a bit of turquoise (with jeans, dresses, capris, skirts, most everything)
  • Summer Sandals – tan leather thong style with a low kitten heel (with EVERYTHING, they are my primary work shoes and party shoes)

What I Wore: Glamour Gal

payless christian siriano shoe review alison gary karen kane jumpsuit vintage stole

Jumpsuit: c/o Karen Kane (same but in black and white) | Stole: Vintage (similar) | Necklaces: Nordstrom, Nordstrom | Clutch: c/o Dagne Dover | Lipstick: Revlon ‘In The Red’ | Shoes: Christian Siriano for Payless ‘Mayhem’ Ghillie Pump c/o Payless ShoeSource

I’ve been meaning to recreate this look for a while.  I wore this outfit to an October wedding but was never satisfied with the shoes I chose.  I wore simple black pumps but felt the look needed something with a bit more interest.  Payless invited me to check out the Christian Siriano for Payless collection and when I found these shoes I knew they’d be the perfect choice.

payless christian siriano

I’ve been a Project Runway fan since the beginning, and was so thrilled when Christian Siriano won and went on to great things.  He’s had such success on the red carpet, the runway, and in other avenues.  Christian Siriano’s line for Payless has his trademark style for less.  Siriano maintains his voice in this collection and offers affordable fashion for the everyday shopper.  I loved finding his stylish shoes in wide widths; I’ve always liked ghillie and other lace-up styles of shoes but my wide feet have make them look weird on me.  However, these in an 8W gives my feet plenty of space so the shoes look the way they’re supposed to while being quite comfortable.  I look forward to styling these for the warmer months; they’d look great with a Grecian inspired midi sundress or paired with cuffed jeans.

I liked so many other pieces from the Christian Siriano for Payless collection; I also snagged myself the Paige pouch; it has a fun gold lining with plenty of pockets making it an adorable casual clutch purse or a brilliant travel bag to organize toiletries, cosmetics, or accessories.  I’ve seen many discount designer collections that have been disappointing; I wonder if the designers even looked a the pieces before slapping their name on them.  The Christian Siriano for Payless collection stands out as a line that is budget-friendly but maintains the style and voice of the designer while incorporating comfort and wearable fashion.

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

It’s Nordstrom Clearance Time: Best Shoe Sale Picks

Nordstrom has some of the GREATEST sales, and they’re pretty picky with the brands they offer so you know you can get some great pieces at great prices. They’re having a clearance on selected items through February 22nd, there’s so many amazing deals I couldn’t fit them all in one post. Today I’m sharing my picks for footwear deals at Nordstrom:

  • Blondo ‘Elenor’ Waterproof Riding Boot: Classic style, beautiful leather, and a waterproofed finish means you can splash and hit slush without fear. It’s rare to find boots of this quality and type under $200 and the reviews are positive if you have an average to slim calf. $199.90
  • Lucky Brand ‘Hibiscus’ Boot: A gorgeous classic riding boot in three colors that will transition beautifully into spring. This is an extended calf version that stretches to fit a 16” circumference leg. http://bit.ly/17hYvFB This also comes in regular sizes in three other classic colors. $139.98
  • Via Spiga ‘Nino’ Sandal: This is a classic yet chic shoe that can work now with tights (yes, you can wear open toes with opaque tights) and come spring and summer with everything from flirty frocks to your favorite pair of jeans. Fantastic reviews on a shoe that will look sharp now and for many seasons to come, and this is an awesome price for this brand. $112.49
  • Jessica Simpson ‘Claudette’ Pump: I’m a sucker for a leopard calfhair pump, and when it has a pointy toe and a relatively wearable heel height (4”) I’m in love. Even better when the price is this nice. $59.37
  • Via Spiga ‘Darby’ Wedge Pump: A wedge is far more comfortable than a pump, and this elegant wedge would look right at home with your work outfits as well as styled with a skirt. Classic black polished leather, almond toe, and a covered heel makes this an elegant wardrobe staple. Again, a stellar price for this quality brand. $116.98
  • Vince Camuto ‘Effel’ Sandal: I have this shoe and adore it; I wore it more than any other shoe this past spring and summer and know it will be the same this year. It’s very comfortable and looks great with dresses as well as pants. Three colors and wide widths available and a nicer price than what I paid! $79.90
  •  Isaac Mizrahi ‘Lamis’ Pump: An elegant pump in an array of great colors and textures. A natural patent begging to freshen up your frocks and peek out of light-colored trousers this spring and some fun colors to add spirit to your basic black and neutrals. $94.90
  • Cole Haan ‘Carlyle’ Boot: This sleek heeled boot is the type of item you never feel you can justify, but once you have it in your wardrobe you’ll be wearing all the darn time. Elegant, stylish, a wearable heel height; pair these with work skirts and dresses or slip over leggings for a great night out look. These will be chic for many years to come and this is a fantastic price for Cole Haan boots. $198.98
  • Ivanka Trump ‘Sophia’ Pump: This is the type of pump that never goes out of style; these five colors work now, can work come spring with a lighter dress (imagine the green with cream or ivory!), and will still be stylish come next year. At this price, it’s worth it to invest now. $65.96
  • http://bit.ly/1CWcaz8 Louise et Cie ‘Kingcale’ Boot: What an elegant and timeless boot! The elastic back keeps it comfortable and from looking too ordinary. This is the kind of boot you can wear all fall and winter, over leggings and skinny jeans and with skirts. Two classic colors available to make these a wardrobe staple now and next fall. $176.96
  • Frye ‘Erin’ Chelsea Boot: I mentioned this boot multiple times in advice posts this winter, but it was always a bit outside my price comfort zone even though I knew they were a classic style and a brand that has proven time and time again to be great quality. Well now they’re on sale! Get your Chelsea boot fix at a very nice price. $172.77
  • MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Cameron’ Sandal: There’s just something about this heeled sandal that calls out to me. It has a funky modern edge that is unique, but not too trendy. The strapping and platform heel make it stable and secure. It’s hefty enough to be styled with denim or pants but also look great with an LBD. I can’t decide which of the colors I like most. $86.96

While I shared just these, it doesn’t mean they are the only great deals going on at Nordstrom. Many I loved I didn’t list because they didn’t have enough of a size range left, or because they were too specific a style. Do check the whole selection and narrow down by your shoe size for there’s some great deals on comfort brands, athletic shoes, and tons of boots of every size and style. Happy shopping!

What I Wore: Style Meets Comfort [Sponsored]

wardrobe oxygen what i wore payless stylemeetscomfort Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #Payless #StyleMeetsComfort Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #StyleMeetsComfort Payless
Jacket: LOFT (similar) | Tee: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Bag: c/o Handbag Heaven | Shoes: Comfort Plus by Predictions ‘Karmen’ available at Payless

Many of you ask me to recommend footwear brands that offer comfort and style at a reasonable pricepoint. So when Payless ShoeSource contacted me regarding their comfort line, I knew I had to review it for you!

Comfort Plus by Predictions and Dexflex Comfort are Payless lines of shoes that come in regular and wide sizes 5 to 13. With memory foam insoles and flexible outsoles, these shoes are uber comfortable for walking and standing all day. When I visited my nearby Payless location I was really impressed by how these lines incorporate popular fall fashion trends. From pointed toes to leopard print, classic oxfords to booties and “shooties,” one can find on-trend shoes for work and play. I chose the ‘Karmen’ round-toe pump in wine, a hot color this season. The suede-like finish looks great peeking out of suiting trousers, paired with work dresses, but for this post I chose to dress them down with boyfriend jeans.

The shoes really are as comfortable as they claim. I wore them one day to work and found them comfortable enough to take a brisk walk of a few blocks on my lunch hour and didn’t get any blisters, rubbing, or hot spots. Standing was also comfortable; I got stuck standing the majority of my Metro commute home and wasn’t shifting my weight the whole trip like I usually do. All this comfort, seasonally-appropriate style, and less than $30! I’m glad to find Payless as a source for budget-friendly comfort shoes!

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

Ask Allie: Fall Shoe Must-Haves

What shoes and boots do you consider wardrobe basics. I’d like to update shoes and boots for this fall.

Basics will vary for each person dependent on her lifestyle and personal style. While I do share a few footwear choices in my list of wardrobe staples, I know that many find such shoes impractical for their lives and the list isn’t recent. So below are the shoes I find get the most wear from me each fall and winter:

Black Leather Pumps

A pair of simple black pumps free of decoration, buckles, or unique finishes is a workhorse in my wardrobe. I like a pointed toe because it elongates the frame and is classic, but an almond toe is also a good choice and many find more comfortable. Steer clear of square, round, peep toe, or platforms which can quickly look dated and aren’t as versatile. As for the heel, choose a height and width that is comfortable for you; luckily this fall thicker heels are back in style as are low or kitten heels.

Wear With: Trousers, skirts, and dresses. From work to a wedding, a pair of well-maintained black pumps can dress up and down with ease and work with almost everything in your wardrobe.

Tall Leather Boots

A pair of knee-high boots may be a wardrobe investment, but my experience has shown that they are worth the money. My fall and winter weekend look is usually slim jeans, tall boots, a knit top and sweater or vest (example), and I love how tall boots add warmth and weather protection come winter. As for color, choose what calls out to you and coordinates best with your current fall wardrobe. This past winter I wore black boots, but I recently added a pair of brown to my wardrobe that I believe will be just as versatile. Be sure to use a waterproofing spray on them to help them survive snow and slush, and use rolled up magazines in them to keep the shafts upright and well ventilated.

Wear With: A tunic and leggings, over slim trousers or jeans, with skirts and dresses of every length and silhouette.  If you require wide calf boots, check out my reviews of companies who provide them!

Black Ankle Boots

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s nice to have your foot fully covered and protected. Instead of sacrificing your style by pairing your pumps with socks, consider an ankle boot or “shootie” with a similar toe and heel to your pumps.

Wear With: Jeans and trousers. As for skirts and dresses, dependent on the style you may be able to wear with black tights for a polished look (like I do with my Nine West booties), or pair with sweater or neutral colored tights for a more casual effect (boots that have a more open ankle like these from Frye).

The Weekend Shoe

The weekend shoe really depends on your lifestyle and personal style. For some, it’s a pair of “Chucks” that they pair with jeans and band tee shirts. For others, it’s loafers that look great with chinos and oxfords. A pair of ankle boots with a low heel is a great choice to slip on with jeans, leggings, and even tights and casual dresses. This is where you can get creative, have fun with colors and embellishments to show your personality and add interest to casual wardrobe basics.

Wear With: Jeans and casual tops, leggings and tunics, casual dresses and tights, slim pants and sweaters. Look for a style that works well with all the different opening of trousers in your wardrobe and can look stylish with a warm pair of socks come winter.

The Special Occasion Shoe

This is a shoe many may not feel necessary, but it’s a great way to jazz up the LBDs and jeans in your wardrobe. For me, this shoe is a leopard print silk heeled sandal that looks great with a black sheath, red silk dress, or peeking out from the hem of a pair of dark denim. For others it may be a hot pink beaded flat, gold metallic strappy heels, or green satin D’Orsay pump. This is a shoe that can take your wardrobe staples to the next level, be it for a cocktail party, holiday fete, or a friend’s bachelorette party.

Wear With: Your little black dress, a simple black camisole and dark denim, a cocktail pantsuit, a dress that can easily dress up with the right accessories, a bunch of mascara and a bold red lip.

What are fall footwear wardrobe staples for you?

Going Nude for Spring – Shoe Selections Under $100

I believe a pair of classic black leather pumps is a necessity in any woman’s wardrobe, however woman cannot live on black pumps alone. Once the warmer weather arrives, black pumps seems downright dowdy.

As I have been admiring spring and summer fashions, I keep saying, “that would look fantastic with a nude peeptoe” or “that dress would be perfect with a skin-colored pump” or “man, I need to get myself a pair of nude sandals.” It’s hard to call a color “nude” as that we women come in a kazillion different colors, but owning a pair of shoes that matches your skin tone is a wardrobe workhorse. Don’t know what color shoe to wear? A nude shoe will keep the outfit the focus, elongate your leg, and bring a warm-weather look to your ensemble.

I have been on the hunt for some great nude heels that can work for the office and after hours, here’s a few I have seen that are high on style but a reasonable price (all under $100):

This shoe is pretty fantastic. Patent just screams spring, the ½” platform not only is on-trend but also makes the shoe look tall but be more wearable and walkable, and the color is a nice tone – not too yellow, not too gray. Online, this shoe gets great reviews for comfort and I have always had success with Franco Sarto shoes being relatively comfortable. $89.00

The reason I like this shoe is because it’s not quite suede, not quite leather. This fabric means it will really disappear against your skin making your legs look a mile long. Cute little peeptoe to show off your pedicure and to have the shoes more comfortable in the warmer months. Enzo Angiolini is another brand that I have worn and liked – not a ton of cushioning, but wearable to work. $89.00


Another great patent shoe, but a more classic and sleek pointed toe. I love this silhouette with crisp pencil shirts and tailored shirts, but it also looks great peeking out of work trousers or bootcut jeans. This is an elegant shoe that will still be in style years from now. $79.00


I love that these look like a classic slingback heel, but have the elastic strap to make them look modern. I love a strap to keep the shoe in place, and I also love to see reviews online stating this is a surprisingly comfortable shoe. The taupe color looks as though it will flatter sun-kissed skin. $66.71


A lower heel, but still a classic and flattering pointed toe. This shoe by Bandolino comes in several fabrics and colors that would give a great nude look to different women – check out the Light Bronze Fabric, Natural Synthetic (a patent), Taupe Fabric, and Taupe Small Reptile Fabric. A 2” heel is low enough to be wearable all day, but high enough to elongate the leg and look dressy. $59.00

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Marshalls Shoe MegaShop Does it Again!

Marshalls Shoe MegaShopCompanies spend so much on advertising and marketing… I love it when they do it well. This time last year I posted about a fabulous truck I saw on the DC streets – Marshalls filled a glass box with tons of covetable shoes. I know it stopped me in my tracks and had me look up the address of my nearest Marshalls location…

Thursday as I was heading home from my job in DC I experienced another brilliant campaign for Marshalls Shoe MegaShop! A giant red stiletto car, and a bunch of cute guys with fab shoes on silver platters! They were all over Connecticut Avenue at every intersection passing out cards where one could win a shoe wardrobe from Marshalls. Brilliant contest cards where you have to visit your closest location to see if you have won.

Click on photos to see them larger…

Marshalls Shoe MegaShopMarshalls Shoe MegaShopMarshalls Shoe MegaShop

And so, Allie headed to Marshalls on her way home!

I didn’t win a shoe wardrobe, but I was impressed with the shoe collection in their MegaShop. The perfect shoe for fall – a pointy-toed black patent high-heel pump was available from popular brands like BCBGirls and Impo for far less than department stores. Amazing riding boots from Coach and Cole Hahn, oxford booties from Nine West, round-toe flats from Aerosoles and more were there at reasonable prices (and with plenty of sizes available!). If I was currently plagued with swollen pregnant feet, I would have been grabbing boxes left and right!

It’s awesome to see a company not only get their marketing right, but also their product. I commend Marshalls for a job well done – and an awesome place to find current footwear styles and hot brands for less!

Dress Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size

I hate too many rules with fashion – it takes the fun out of it. I don’t think a certain age requires one to have a certain length of hair or skirt, and heck I think diamonds are too pretty to only wear in evening and when older. However, I think some fashion guidelines are created to help us from looking like fools.

Last week I was crossing the street in Washington D.C. and in front of me was a woman in a full-length mink coat and a shoulder-length sandy-colored bob. She was wearing black pants, black heels, had a very large black handbag and was walking with purpose. From the back, I assumed she was a successful and powerful woman in her late 40s to early 50s. At the intersection she went left when I went right and I was able to see the front of her and was utterly shocked to see this woman was in fact younger than I – probably early to mid 20s with a fresh face and a baby pink cashmere turtleneck.

This weekend I visited Miami, the land of flamboyant dress. I saw so many women of all ages strutting their stuff – be it money, creativity, fashion sense, love of a Bedazzler. What made many of these women great was that they wore their confidence as loudly as they did their gem-encrusted lounge suits. It isn’t my personal desire to wear lamé tunics and appliquéd jeans, but I respect these women’s desires – their style is appropriate for their environment and lifestyle and most had colors that flattered, cuts that fit and accessories to tell a little about the woman inside.

However I did also see quite a travesty while on my vacation – women dressing as children. My sister and I saw a woman at the Bal Harbour Shops in a pink spandex tube top riddled with beading and sequins, a white cotton ruffled micro-mini skirt, pink metallic wedges to match her pink metallic lips, and extensions that put Paris and Brit to shame. It was the look of a Bratz doll and was being worn by a woman in her 40s. Nothing wrong with a passion for pink and all things girly, but on this woman it looked like a costume… and it looked ridiculous. Later we saw a woman with her children who had a teased ponytail on top of her head, sequin-embellished cropped jeans, metallic heels with satin bows on them and pink glitter all over her eyes and lips. Her daughters were dressed similarly – too cute on a four-year old, but a bit desperate on the 30-something mom.

No one is saying you have to toss your Levis for wool gabardine once you hit 40, or that only “ladies of a certain age” can wear jewels, it is just being true to yourself. A four-year old dresses with what is shiny and fun, not needing to find clothing as a uniform, a social norm or communication device. The older we are, the more our clothing multi-tasks and is an extension of our personality and lifestyle. Our wardrobe needs to be as multi-faceted as our personality. Just as I recently made mention of animal-shaped hats and cartoon tees, wearing clothing obviously too old or young for you confuses those who meet you, not understanding your true nature and often pre-judging you. Dressing too adult can make you seem boring, old-fashioned, unstylish, uptight. Dressing too young can make you look unintelligent, superficial, promiscuous, annoying. It is possible to seem youthful and creative without raiding your daughter’s closet, and to look classic and conservative without dressing like your mother.

How to Add Youth to a Conservative Wardrobe:
Play With Color. Instead of donning neutrals and black, add some cheer to the mix. Pastels are feminine and subtle and great compliments to gray, camel and brown. Muted jewel tones like berry, teal and plum add class to a simple look and flatter most any skintone.

Walk the Mall. We often get comfortable with the brands we shop at; maybe we choose Boutique B because they have conservative hemlines and classic lines. The thing is you can often find items that fit your sense of style in unexpected shops. A classic pencil skirt could be found at Old Navy, a great suit in J. Crew, a lovely trench in Bebe. Be honest with the salesperson about your style and needs so you don’t waste either of your time.

Simple and Fresh. Keeping your hair and makeup simple, clean and fresh will help show your youthful side. Over-polished hair styles and matte makeup ages anyone.

How to Make a Whimsical Wardrobe Age-Appropriate:
Respect Hemlines. A skirt that is too short is flattering on no-one. Keep your hemlines just above your knee and you will flatter your legs and still look youthful. Keep this in mind also for shorts.

Leave Some to the Imagination. Short skirt, tight belly-baring top AND a low neckline? This is too much on anyone, no matter her age or figure. Choose one body part you wish to highlight, be is your fabulous décolleté, great gams, or a strong back. As for belly-baring tops, outside of a gym or beach they usually look contrived and desperate. We can tell you have a six-pack by your silhouette, it doesn’t have to be on display.

Chanel Fashion Wardrobe StyleChannel Chanel. Coco Chanel once said, “Before leaving the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” No one would ever find Chanel to be boring or fitting a mold. If you have on bracelets, large earrings, several necklaces, sunglasses, six chunky rings, a hip belt, a scarf and a headband… you look like a fashion victim, not an artist. You can still show your sense of whimsy or creativity with less embellishment. A strong necklace can be far more telling than a ring on every finger, a great bangle made by an artist or picked up on vacation holds far more interest than a mess of necklaces from any old mall store. You will receive more compliments and inquiries into your look or accessory if it gracefully holds the spotlight and doesn’t fight for it.

Aliza Darik Shoe Clip Contest Results

Congratulations to reader Lizette who won the Aliza Darik shoe clip contest! Almost 100 of you entered – I’d like to thank all of you for being readers and hope to have some more fun contests and giveaways in the next several weeks!

Stay tuned, next time you may be the winner! Until then, visit Aliza Darik and save 15% off with the code 273zpfest - now until the end of the year!

Ask Allie – Trench Coats, Shoe Repair, and Leopard Skirts

Allie,
I love trenches and have two, but I only wear them when it’s raining. My question is, is it okay to wear them as a coat when it’s overcast? And is it okay to wear them as a coat, period?
Thanks,
Katty

Hi Katty,
By all means, YES! Trenches are the perfect coat for when it’s raining – you look chic yet stay dry. However trenches are quite stylish even on days when the sun comes to visit. I wear my trench on any day where it’s not cold enough for a wool coat, but not warm enough to go sans outerwear. A trench is a wonderful spring and fall piece of outerwear, looks elegant with pants or skirts, and can be worn even if there isn’t a single cloud in the sky. Wear your trench with pride, no matter the weather!

***

Dear Allie,
I have a brown, cream and black leopard print skirt, what would be a good color choice for a top to pair it with other than basic black?
Sincerely,
Simone

Dear Simone,
Ooh, sounds like a pretty versatile skirt! Dark red, mustard, pumpkin, forest green, teal, or you could even get wild with hot pink or magenta. Leopard ends up being a pretty neutral piece, though I find it to be most elegant with darker jewel tones. If you do want to go standard with a color in the skirt, you can jazz it up with red heels, a hot pink belt over the sweater, a kelly green bag. It’s a great base piece to really play with color.

***

Dear Allie,
I think I live or work near you – where can I find a really good cobbler in the DC area? Who do you use?
Thanks,
Carole

Hi Simone,
I go to a ridiculous hole in the wall of a place in Greenbelt (near College Park, Maryland) called Arto’s Shoe Repair. I have been going here for eons. I find they do quality work, are honest with their abilities, and have reasonable prices.

Arto’s is in a dying shopping mall, all the shoe orders are on display in bags over the employees’ heads, and the place looks as though it could use a thorough cleaning. However for $11 I can get my shoes reheeled, they will glue down any snagged leather on the heels and smooth it until it almost disappears, will polish them to a shine and do any other minor repairs I didn’t ask for but are needed (glue down lining or glue together fraying strap, etc.). I took them a pair of boots I wanted cut down an inch and that required one replacement zipper. They admitted that the boots wouldn’t look that great cut down, and told me it wasn’t worth the time or money to do such a change to the shoe. However with the new zipper, they not only said they could do it, they had a cheaper price and said they could use the old zipper pull on the new zipper for a cohesive look.

Cobblers and shoe repair places are a company where you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – ask your neighbors, visit Yelp, Consumers’ CHECKBOOK and get true reviews, don’t base your decision on a fancy storefront or modern Web site.

Once you find a place that sounds good, test them out with a simple reheeling.  Do they do careful work?  Did they go the extra mile by polishing your shoes and catching any other minor repairs that needed to be fixed?  If they pass the test, then consider a more complicated repair.

I Know it Made ME Want to Go Shoe Shopping!

Walking around Washington DC this weekend I saw this truck. It was at a red light and I was only one of over two dozen women who had stopped dead in her tracks to gawk/drool over the display. Click on the photo for a larger version.

This truck was an entire ad for Marshall’s – both sides were like this. Glass sides holding hundreds of real shoes, and below glass compartments holding real shoe boxes from well-known brands. Pumps, boots, trainers, sandals in all styles imaginable.

Women were stopping and pointing at the styles they liked. They crossed the street with not regard for traffic to get a closer look. Women in jogging suits and power suits alike were admiring the view. I was not the only one to pull out a camera. I would have gotten a few more shots but the light turned green and the truck zoomed off.

The most brilliant marketing campaign I have seen in a long time, I know I am trying to figure out the next time I have available to hit a Marshall’s and check out their shoe department!

The Girl on the Train, Blogging, and the Whole Story

the girl on the train paula hawkins

I heard about The Girl on the Train on NPR; I caught the last bit of an interview with the author Paula Hawkins and was interested. I had finished the second book in the Outlander series and was looking for a change of pace before I delved into the third. I listened to The Girl on the Train via Audible on my commute to and from work and ended up not just with a change of pace from Dragonfly in Amber, but a new perspective on blogging, social media, and its audience.

The Girl on the Train is a thriller, very reminiscent of Gone Girl, but it’s also a great example of how looks can be deceiving and what happens when people become invested in the lives of strangers. Rachel Watson is a lonely, lost woman; she’s recently divorced and her life is a mess. She takes the train every day, and every day she passes the same row of houses next to the tracks. One is her old house, still inhabited by her ex and now accompanied by his new wife and baby; but the one that interests Rachel is a few doors down. A couple lives there, a couple that she sees as perfect. She doesn’t know them, but she imagines their lives between glimpses of them sipping wine or coffee on their patio or rooftop terrace. In her head she imagines their relationship, their professions, their hobbies; she even creates names for them – Jason and Jess. When tragedy strikes, Rachel ends up being involved in the life of this couple and realizes they aren’t the people in her morning commute fantasies.

Unlike bloggers and social media celebs, Jason and Jess don’t realize they have an audience. But like bloggers, what Rachel the audience sees is only a snippet of their life and she is making the decision to fill in the blanks.

While listening to this book, I couldn’t help but think about how bloggers and Internet personalities are analyzed, criticized, and sometimes idolized. I see on Twitter, on message boards, and on fan/hate blogs how people like Rachel Watson in The Girl on the Train make the decision to fill in the blanks. That somehow, if one looked hard enough at the photos chosen by a blogger for their blog or how a paragraph is phrased they can determine if someone is having an affair, miserable at their job, upset that she can’t conceive, a terrible friend, a neglectful parent. Or the opposite, that by examining one’s Instagram account enough one can determine if someone’s husband really loves her, she’s such a nice and giving person, or she’s a really good mother.

The thing is you don’t know why someone chooses to share what they do. Maybe all the pictures turned out terrible except the one where she’s looking down at the ground. Maybe she always wears sunglasses because even after all these years she’s still awkward in front of the camera and the oversized shades hide her deer in the headlights gaze. Maybe she doesn’t share her husband on Instagram because he’s uncomfortable being photographed.  Maybe the post was written in a rush before the baby woke from his nap and she hit publish before proofing.  And maybe she knows how to play the game and sees from her analytics that she makes more sales when she has that smug smile than when she shows her teeth, or that when she writes something controversial she gets more pageviews, more hate followers, more fame, and more money.

The Girl on the Train is a good reminder that with those we follow on the Internet, and even those we know in real life, we make assumptions and fill in the blanks. And often, our assumptions are dead wrong.

I’m not saying getting invested in a blogger, vlogger, or even reality show star is a bad idea. I love blogs, and I have many favorite bloggers and personalities on social media, some who have become friends in real life and some who feel like a friend though I have never met them and likely never will. This isn’t bad, the Internet is a way to not feel so alone or unusual, to connect and relate to others across the globe. To find kindred spirits and gain inspiration. But it’s important to remember you don’t really know them, you only know what they choose for you to know and through the filter they have picked. It’s entertainment, it’s art, but it’s never the whole story.

The Girl on the Train was a well-written psychological thriller. I don’t want to share much more because it’s definitely the type of novel that is more enjoyable when you have no idea what happens before you start reading. And it’s clear I enjoyed how stereotypical characters were proven to be far more complex than originally thought; something that holds true for everyone you meet in real life, and on the Internet.

Thursday: Dressed to Party

Tee: Old Navy | Skirt: eBay | Tutu: eBay | Bracelets: Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Nordstrom, etc. | Necklaces: eBay | Shoes: Pour La Victorie c/o The Shoe Hive | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Jacket: Ann Taylor (similar) | Scarf: Collection XIIX (similar)

The other day I was chatting with Kat from Ginger, Adorned on Twitter. She got this tutu and I mentioned this skirt and she suggested wearing them together… and so I did! Adds some fun volume and I love how it peeks out from under the skirt.  I often get all hot and uncomfortable at social events and decided to prepare accordingly with a short-sleeved top.  Speaking of social events…

Tonight is the opening night party for The Shoe Hive‘s pop-up shop Hive on the Hill at Tabula Rasa on Barracks Row. The event starts at 7pm and there will be drinks, noshes, and tons of gorgeous shoes and accessories. Alison of DC Celine and I are co-hosting and we each made a gift list of some of our favorite pieces from The Shoe Hive. It would be great to see you there!

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Stacy London’s The Truth About Style Book and Tour

Thursday night I had the pleasure of seeing Stacy London speak at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in DC. Her book, The Truth About Style came out this past Tuesday and after seeing the book trailer I knew I had to be at the speaking engagement.


I met Stacy London a few months ago when she was at a local mall promoting the partnership between her company Style for Hire and Westfield Malls. The experience made me a London fan for life – she’s so real, and she truly cares about helping women feel beautiful and comfortable in clothing. Thursday night, I realized that she cares even more so about women feeling beautiful and comfortable in their own skin.

I don’t want to give much away about what she discussed or what the book is about because I truly think this is a style book that you should read. Borrow it from the library, loan it from a friend, sneak into a nook of Barnes and Noble or splurge on a copy – you won’t regret it. I can just say that Thursday night gave me such motivation regarding this blog.

When I started this blog, I wasn’t terribly happy about my body. I had a lot of opinions about fashion and style, a lot of rules, and a lot of snark. Through blogging, I got to know so many readers – you weren’t pageviews but people. I saw that I wasn’t alone in not liking the body I was in, and I saw that my snark wasn’t benefiting anyone. What’s the point of a fashion blog (or book for that matter) that dismisses those who don’t “get” fashion, that pigeonholes all women into one lump who needs a white shirt, tan trench, and a strand of real pearls?

Through blogging and through changes in my life (hello new awesome job and new awesome child) I began loving this body.  It’s not perfect… but then no one has a “perfect” body. I came to terms with it, and decided to work with it. And I also changed my voice on this blog – women don’t need another person telling them what they’re doing wrong, we need voices to give us food for thought and tips on how to feel comfortable, feel ourselves, and recognize our beauty.

 

I still have strong opinions on fashion and style, but now when I write I don’t just think about me and my little patch of Earth, but I try to make it more universal, more accepting. And Thursday night I learned that through her ten years on What Not to Wear, Stacy London has had the same experience. Dealing with real women has made her more sympathetic, sensitive, and understanding to others and also to herself. And her book The Truth About Style is about just that. This book won’t give you a list of ten must-have items in your closet, or tell you how to hide your hips or tummy. It won’t tell you what color to wear if you’re a brunette or redhead, and it won’t inform you of what items should be purged from your closet. But it will help you realize how fellow women have learned to find personal style… and may help you find yours along the way.

 

At the event with friends and fellow bloggers Nancye, Heidi, Alison, Chelsea, and Dana

And if Stacy London’s book tour is coming to a city near you, I encourage you to get a ticket to attend. She is funny, she is raw, she is honest, and she is inspiring. And she may just renew your faith in fashion, style, and yourself.

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This is 40: My Winter Skincare and Beauty Routine

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This is what 40 looks like… and my skincare routine mentioned below after a couple hours of wear and no touch-ups. Mascara, liner, a bit of matte taupe shadow and Revlon BalmStain in Romantic.

After I shared a selfie last week on social media, I received a bunch of questions asking how I take care of my skin. I’ll admit I get tempted by new and shiny products and reviews on blogs, but I’m trying to stick to my current routine because it works, and for the first time in years my winter skin is happy and hydrated.

Night Skincare Routine:

  • Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil – I use this almost every evening. Two pumps in dry hands, rub on dry skin, and then rinse off. Okay, you don’t “just rinse;” rinsing isn’t that easy and you will be left with what feels like a film of oil on your skin. Trust me, this isn’t a bad thing. Unlike other drugstore-brand oil cleansers, Garnier doesn’t clog my pores and it does remove all my makeup, even mascara and liquid liner. I emulsify and rinse with tepid and blot (don’t rub) my skin dry.
  • CeraVe Cleanser (Normal to Dry) – I use this from time to time, just to switch things up. I’ve used it for years and like how it’s budget friendly, gentle, and cleans thoroughly without stripping. Once or twice a month and after a day where I wore hardcore makeup, I’ll use it with my Clarisonic, and then follow up with the Garnier oil cleanser.
  • Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream – I keep trying other brands, get disappointment, and return to this product. No irritation, absorbs nicely, makes the skin feel soft and I think helps with wrinkles and dry skin.
  • Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum – Again, I try other products and come back to this one. It works, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it doesn’t make my skin angry. I apply this after the eye cream to my entire face, neck, chest, and the top of both hands.
  • Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads – I don’t use these as often as I did in the fall and early winter because the rest of my body has gotten so pale it looks fake. But I do it sometimes if I have an event to go to, I’ll use in place of the Neutrogena serum. I wear a dark bra, and wipe it on my face, neck, and chest inside the lines of the bra for an even finish. Then I take the almost-dry pad and wipe down my arms and tops of my hands to give a touch of color and then wash my hands.
  • L’Oreal Youth Code Youth Regenerating Skincare Serum – I’ve written about this many times before. I’ve tried other serums and they don’t compare. I can’t clearly explain what this does but it makes my skin happy. Two pumps, on face, neck, a bit on chest and leftover on tops of hands.
  • L’Oreal Collagen Moisture Filler Cream – This is a day/night cream but it hydrates nicely without being greasy or clogging pores. I find the heavier night creams cause breakouts and this doesn’t but it still keeps me from cracking or getting red and miserable in cold weather. And how can you resist a decent cream under $10? I run on face, neck, chest, and tops of hands.
  • Random Hippie Clove and Vitamin E Cream – I got this at a local shop made by a local artisan not online. But it’s a cream made with Vitamin E, cocoa butter, clove oil, and has a consistency that’s a mix between Chapstick and Vaseline. I rub it on my lips and sometimes I rub it under my nose if it’s red and raw, and I rub more on my hands and around my cuticles.
  • Water – I have a Kleen Kanteen next to my bed. I fill up, drink half, refill, and then sip on it while I read before bed and at times when I wake up. Water is a necessity to happy skin.

Morning Skincare Routine:

  • Water – I finish the Kleen Kanteen before I do anything else. Water, water, water and then more water!
  • Fish Oil – I take one Fish Oil pill first thing in the morning, and another when I get home from work. I often deal with dandruff and psoriasis in winter; taking these help greatly and make my skin and hair look better too. These don’t make me burp salmon; they’re big but I don’t have any trouble swallowing them.
  • Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel – I’ve used this for years. I apply it with a reusable cotton round. It’s way more gentle than traditional witch hazel, and smells great too! This is all I use to cleanse my skin in the morning.
  • Neutrogena Eye Cream – Same eye cream from the evening
  • L’Oreal Youth Code Serum – Same serum from the evening
  • L’Oreal Revitalift Day Moisturizer SPF 30 – This is the first time using it but my winter skin really likes it. It’s far too heavy and greasy for the summer, but right now my skin sucks it up and it leaves a dewy finish that works well with foundation for a nice healthy day look. I rub on face, neck, chest, and tops of hands.

My Basic Makeup Routine:

  • L’Oreal True Match Concealer – I don’t love this, but it gets the job done. I like how lightweight and creamy it is because it doesn’t crease or look weird over my fine lines and creases. I dot under eyes, under the nose, around the mouth and on any zits. Then I tap, not rub until it’s blended but still visible. I use Fair Light Warm, the warmer color balances my dark circles better.
  • Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Normal/Dry Skin and Jojoba Oil – I put the tiniest dot of jojoba oil into my palm, then add foundation and mix. I then apply with my fingers. The jojoba oil was an idea I got from my beauty guru friend Sarah and it gives a dewy finish without causing the makeup to slip away throughout the day. For the foundation, right now I’m using Fresh Beige.
  • Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder – I sprinkle a bit of this in its cap, and use the MAC 190 foundation brush (much softer than others I have used yet still has a precision edge) and apply it under my eyes, between the brows, and under the nose. If I want a very finished look I’ll apply some elsewhere – the forehead, the chin, over the lips (helps lipstick stay). I don’t have to work hard to blend, and it doesn’t leave a powdery or overly matte finish. The yellow tone really helps to cancel out my dark circles and redness under the nose.
  • NARS ‘Orgasm’ Blush – I am not committed to this blush. When I turned 30 I bought this blush for the first time. A couple years ago I decided it was too warm and too sparkly and switched to creams, to pinks, to all sorts of things. But this winter I am embracing my paleness, and liking a dewy face, and the subtle shimmer and peachy glow of ‘Orgasm’ feels right again. I apply with a fluffy blush brush (not sure the brand, it wore off the black handle), smiling and applying just below apples of my cheeks and up towards my temples. A very tiny pat on the top of the nose and one on the chin.
  • TheBalm Mary-Lou Manzier – A reader told me about this product and I have been a fan ever since. Thanks to a six-year-old who finds my dressing table utterly fascinating, this compact fell on the floor and the product crumbled. So now I shake the compact, carefully open, and tap my finger on the mirror to get the right amount of product. A swipe on each cheek bone, a dot at the inner corners of my eye, a tiny bit below the brows (VERY tiny bit) and a bit at the bow of my lip. This gives a very natural highlight that just looks like healthy skin.
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse – It comes with a brush but I prefer to apply it with my Trish McEvoy brow brush because it’s shorter and stiffer and I have more control and it doesn’t look like I put liquid liner in my eyebrows. Dash dash dash from center to arch, then draw the end. I then go back and dash dash to fill in, and then use a brush to brush the hairs up, then in an arch. I wear Rich Brown.

The rest really varies on my mood. Sometimes I wear shadow (and don’t have any I really love and swear by right now), sometimes I don’t. I have mascaras for thick drag queen lashes, waterproof mascaras, lengthening mascaras. I do always curl first (I use Kevyn Aucoin’s lash curler), it makes a difference. And if I wear liner, it’s Maybelline Line Stiletto in Brownish Black; it’s not too shiny or black for day, it can do a very thin precise line right at the lashline, or get bigger for a cat eye. Mucho love for it. And as you know from my outfit posts, I switch up my lips all the time.

I’d love to hear from you as to what your favorite skincare and beauty products are. Some of my favorite products are recommendations from readers and your Holy Grail may be a HG product for me or another reader!

Contest: Tolani Scarf from chickdowntown.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck!

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Blazer - Ann Taylor (similar)
Tee - LOFT
Skirt – Caslon (similar)
Belt - Lauren Ralph Lauren
Shoes - Jessica Simpson (similar)

Today I was rushing to get Emerson out of the house and I didn’t even realize I forgot my coat. It’s so warm in DC, I just wore this with an avocado-green pashmina looped around my throat. Crazy!

These shoes, as Chelsea so perfectly put it this AM on Twitter, are “taxi to tabletop” shoes. In theory, they are comfortable – hidden platform, soft suede. In reality, they are constructed in a strange manner where my feet seem to slide not only forward but in a pigeon-toed manner where my pinky toes want to slip out of the vamp. I always forget, put them back in the closet, and pull them out with shoe amnesia. They have Foot Petals to keep from slipping, I slide them on and they look cute and feel comfortable… until I walk more than 20 feet. I wish I still had my Chucks in the bottom drawer of my desk. Good thing I don’t have to do much walking at the office today!  Note to self – don’t try wearing these shoes AND walk more than one block!

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Lazy Tux

Blazer: The Limited (similar) | Tee: Old Navy | Ascot: Belonged to my Dad | Silk Bracelet: c/o lifetherapy | Boots: DUO (similar) | Jeans: NYDJ | Lipstick: Revlon Matte in “Really Red”

I prefer rain to blustery cold days, especially in April. April showers bring May flowers, right? It rained all night and was still gloomy and wet when I left for work so I wore boots to be on the safe side.

Still playing with this hair, today is Day 2, I curled large sections with a standard curling iron, angling away from the face. Finger combed, then added Jonathan Silky Dirt for a piecey/Mandana from Rachel Zoe Project sort of look. The bangs are still wrong, I need to make an appointment with my stylist to fix this cut, but I just have not had the time. Even this weekend is booked solid but I need to figure it out before I go on a 2am hacking spree with my cuticle scissors!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend, thank you so much for all your support, emails, comments, and tweets this past week. I blog because I love it, and because I love all of you. I love connecting with you, knowing my writing benefits you, and making new friends through technology. I seriously adore all of you and am so incredibly grateful to have you in my life!

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