The Essential Wardrobe: Dresses & Jackets

You’ve made it so far! We’re finally on dresses and jackets, the essential ones every girl should have in her closet.

Dresses are one of those things that, although perhaps not worn often, are essential in our wardrobes. In my ebook, The Essential Wardrobe, I tell a story of when my husband told me, very last minute, that we actually had a christmas party to attend the next evening. He had bought tickets for his companys’ annual affair and was naturally looking forward to the festivities. I would’ve been in a major flap about it because I don’t like surprises that include me having to be dressed a certain way, but luckily I had gone shopping that summer and decided to invest in a classic, fancy LBD that would be business appropriate but also very soiree appropriate. I had something to wear! No stress. This is why having those classic pieces come in handy, you never know what will come your way! A surprise date night, a spontaneous night out with your girls, who knows!

Dresses:

  • Something fun! I love this little metallic shirt dress because you can throw heels on and it’s dressy and fun, or white converse and it’s casual and cute.
  • A good every day dress. This wrap dress has stolen my heart! It’s easy enough to toss on in the morning if you’re running out of the house, paired with suede sandals. Or throw on some heels and you have a fun casual dinner look.

 

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  • The bombshell! Every girl needs a bombshell dress! This is for those special occasions, date night, “you want to make your man swoon”, dressy parties etc. If you wear this with stockings and a cardigan in the winter with super fun accessories, you have a more demure and classy look. Throw a boyfriend blazer over your shoulders in the summer! You can also wear super cute black kitten heels and loose chignon to tone down the sex appeal if you need to.
  • The formal dress. This dress is perfect for functions, business meetings, formal occasions where you need to be a bit more serious. Do tousled beachy hair and big earrings (I’m talking Dolce & Gabbana status) to make this dress a bit more light-hearted if you need a black dress, but not quite at the bombshell level.

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Jackets

I’m all for fun trendy jackets, but I’m also a sensible girl. And being sensible means you have things that prepare you for the elements. Here is a list of must-haves!

  • The trench. This is a no brainer. If you want something that’s a bit edgier, opt for a black trench. This is for work, going out, visiting friends.
  • The “muck about” coat. This is a waxed coat that can handle any weather, is sturdy and can get some mud on it and it’ll be ok. This is the coat you wear when running errands, going on walks, going to the gym, all round doing life in not so fair weather. This is not for work, visiting friends, dinner parties.
  • The boyfriend blazer. This jacket goes with EVERYTHING. It’s a perfect spring/summer/fall coat when it’s too hot to wear an actual jacket, but you want to look a little more put together, or have your shoulders covered.
  • Denim jacket. My choice here is a black one because I love wearing black. But get a classic denim jacket that suits your personal style. Also goes with absolutely everything.
  • Leather jacket. Also can be customized to suit your style, but a good leather jacket never does anyone wrong! If leather really isn’t your thing then try a suede option in a more neutral color.

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Hope this was helpful! Let me know what you think!!

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The Essential Wardrobe: Sleeveless Tops & Skirts

If it were winter, this title would read “The Essential Wardrobe: Knits” . But lucky for us it’s summer and so our wardrobes must reflect this.

In the ongoing “Essential Wardrobe” series, we’ve covered denim, pants, blouses, tees and even under garments. Today we’re going to focus on sleeveless tops and skirts.

Tanks or Sleeveless Tops

  • White cotton, linen or brushed silk. Don’t just find a plain white tank top, get something truly special.
  • Black silk.
  • Something fun! Stick to good materials and choose a style or color that you feel is timeless and suits you extremely well. Nothing can every surpass an item of clothing that fits truly well.

 

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Skirts

I love skirts! They are a vital part to any wardrobe. Here are some essentials to have.

  • Black pencil skirt. Always. Whether for work, funeral, meeting, dressy date, etc etc. You can never go wrong with a black pencil skirt.
  • White pencil skirt. The same goes for this. In regards to white clothing; if you have small children or a terrible knack for spilling things and you know that white is not your friend, then opt for another neutral color. Whether it’s a flowy cream, hunter green or something along those lines. Make sure then that the rest of your neutrals are all in the same color family so that your outfits go together regardless. (Creams and reds, or creams and greens, never reds and greens as essential pieces).
  • A splashy dressy skirt – something with sequins or gold. This is your party skirt. Every girl needs at least one.
  • A fun every day skirt. Cotton or linen are good choice and I also love denim because it’s hardy and ages well. Choose a style that suits you that you can live in.

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Next time we’ll do some outfits! Check out my new ebook “The Essential Wardrobe: How To Have the Perfect Closet“!!

The Essential Wardrobe: Creating Amazing Looks With The Essential Pieces

We’ve written a few articles so far detailing those essential wardrobe pieces, and talked about how they’re the bones of your closet. With these pieces, or pieces like the ones I’m about to show you, you can create innumerable looks with a few of your choice accessories.

So far we’ve talked about tees, blouses, denim and pants. So with those four categories, here a few looks that incorporate pieces from this, and this article.

You’ll notice that I recycled the shoes and accessories in these looks. As much as I love shoes, it’s not always necessary to have 30 pairs. Check it out:

First Look: You’ll notice I grabbed the striped blouse and my “fun” denim with classic espadrilles, a shoulder bag and sunnies. Your “fun” denim is the piece that you choose outside of your black, blue and white classic denim. Choose one that had distressing, or is a fun wash or shade of color. Something that speaks to who you are, your style.

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Look Two: Here we have those cigarette trousers. Paired with your essential striped tee, espadrilles, sunnies and shoulder bag. Your look is dressy casual. This is perfect for grabbing lunch with an acquaintance or an informal business brunch or coffee date. You decide.

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Look Three: I love this look because it’s summery and breezy. I would tuck the front of this blouse into the pants. This top is one of the essentials and takes the place of a denim shirt. I don’t particularly love denim shirts so I’ve chosen a light blue linen one in it’s stead. It still serves the same purpose. The pants are gorgeous for any occasion, and in this look you have another casual, but dressier outfit. Notice I recycled all the same accessories from the previous looks.

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Look Four: Your classic silk shirt and black-ish denim from your essential pieces are spruced up with fun earrings, an adorable clutch and belt that really pop and then some minimal black heeled sandals. This style of heeled sandal is easily my favorite and I would own it in at least three different colors if I could. They’re chic, simple and classic.

 

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In your wardrobe, your accessories are everything. Because my wardrobe tends to have a lot of neutral colors, I opt for accessories that are really unique and special. They create the frosting for an amazing look.

 

Much Love!

Much Ado About Cindy: Body Image and the Big Screen

The Cinderella movie just came out, and though I haven’t seen it yet, twitters’ all abuzz about the size of poor Cindy’s waist. Comments from it being airbrushed, to how the actress, Lily James, needed to go on a liquid diet to fit into the dress, and how it’s a terrible role model for children. The part that really gets me is where she is a “bad role model for children”, mainly because people come in all shapes and sizes, and because you’re not that size, you’re unaccepting of her as a person.

I feel passionate about body image because I didn’t always love myself; I knew I was pretty because my mom always said so, but I felt like an outsider at school because I was bullied, which made me terrified of people. Today it’s a different story. I love my body, I love myself, and I have a healthy (maybe too healthy..) level of confidence to where I can be in the buff in front of my hubby and not feel ashamed or ugly. Though to be honest, when I see a truly fit girl, I do feel a pang of dolefulness at my lack of discipline when it comes to working out. But nevertheless, I’ll tell you how I got to a place of loving my body.

I have a gorgeous mother. She has the body of a woman who had two kids but she’s beautiful and very fit. When I was growing up, I’d watch her faithfully put on makeup every day and refresh her lipstick before my dad got home. She believes that you must always look your best for your husband. She took care of her body in that she ate heartily and healthily, she was very active and is still quite fit for her age. She washed her face with amazing skin care products and later on would switch to all natural oils, lotions and potions. This paid off in that her skin looks like a 45 year old’s and she’s well into her 60’s. I watched her religiously put body butter on her whole body when she got out of the shower in the morning, and before she would go to bed at night. She would put lotion on her hands the second she got into the car, every single time. She was the woman that always had fabulous hairdressers, and I remember thinking that she was at the cutting edge of fashion and style. A real modern woman.

She had clothing for every situation, and her wardrobe was impressive. She could find amazing clothes anywhere she shopped and I would prance around the house in her clothing that she brought back from Greece and Israel. I stomped around in her high heels and played the “I’m so beautiful game” as a humble 5 year old, and my sister and I would pretend that we were princesses with the scarves she had gotten from some far away land. My mother didn’t only dress well though, she lived well, and she was the embodiment of a confident, loving, beautiful woman that I wanted to be one day.

She and my dad complimented my sister and I endlessly, and she would give us manicures and pedicures and put lotion on our hands and we would watch her spend time on herself like that. She championed our independence when it came to picking out our own clothes. She wasn’t my favorite person when she disciplined us, but I always knew without a doubt that I was my mom’s (and dad’s) princess, and that my sister was their rose. Those were her nicknames for us and they still are. Sure there were times when it wasn’t all rosy and things were hard and unfair. My dad and her would be gone a lot on business or really busy with work, but I remember the good times.

When we moved to the United States, it all got worse, compared to what it had been at school back home. I didn’t know who I was, where I belonged and I felt like I really stood out. I went into a bit of a grunge phase and, though I was confident and strong, I felt like I wasn’t being myself. After 4 years of painful high school memories and so many bad moments, I graduated and I knew that I could choose who I wanted to be. After a year of detoxing from school and being thrust into a new life in a city surrounded by amazing people, I finally stepped into “myself”. I knew who I was and started acting accordingly. I started being like that princess my mom always called me. I started doing my hair and makeup every day, had a nice wardrobe and really started loving myself. I changed my outlook on life, and decided that it was fun and I was meant to live it to the fullest.

When I’m about town I notice things, and I see moms who don’t love themselves, they don’t take care of themselves, and their outward image speaks of “I don’t care, I don’t know how to care, why does it matter” etc. I see wives who don’t try to look their absolute best for their husbands. I also hear moms who never compliment their daughters for fear that they might grow up with a false sense of self. They don’t want to pressure them into being someone specific, rather let them have the freedom to choose whatever. What they’re doing, in fact, is not giving them a framework to thrive in; those girls, therefore, will be the ones who succumb to society’s “ideal woman” and they will be the ones struggling with their body image because it was perpetuated through their mothers’ insecurity.

It’s those same mothers who are offended at the Cinderellas’ of the industry. You see, although in principle it might sound nice to give a child the choice of who they want to be, you can’t expect them to make decisions like adults do. They haven’t been given the options, seen the consequences, made the mistakes, intellectually derived solutions to problems, and lived through years of regret, understanding, knowledge of wisdom, like adults have. All they see are unicorns, flowers, fun, not fun, sad, happy. They don’t understand, or can’t comprehend, the “choose whatever” lifestyle. Why? Because they’re kids. Their brains haven’t fully formed to a place where they can decide for themselves. All they’re doing is absorbing, like sponges, information around them. They aren’t deciding anything, just absorbing.

What role model are you being for your daughter or son, so that the information they’re absorbing is information you can be proud of. The information I absorbed about body image around my mother, was that I could be beautiful, that I was a princess, that I had a good heart, that it mattered that I loved myself for my future husband’s sake.

So it all starts at home. Mothers, love yourselves. Show your daughters that you love yourselves. If you don’t love yourself then do something to change it. Change your diet and start working out. Those endorphins will immediately change your mood! Find the things about you that you love and if you’re having a hard time, grab a girlfriend and chat about it. Be open, honest, and real. The best thing you can do for your daughter is give her a proper framework for what true beauty is. Actually, be an amazing role model for her. Teach her what you think she should know about beauty and body image. Rather say something than nothing at all. Teach her to love her body, in whatever shape or size it is, whether it’s tall and willowy or a little tubby.

Before I got married, I weighed a very slight 125lbs. For a 5’9″ girl, that’s quite skinny. After marriage I quickly gained the “marriage weight” and clocked in at a solid 140lbs. That felt like a lot to me. You guys. It was real. I was so ashamed. My husband didn’t really care because we were both in the marriage muffin boat. I went from prancing around the house in my undies as a single girl to wearing t-shirts to bed. This was so not me! I loved being free and loving myself! I knew something had to change, and drastically. First I cut out the pizzas and Krispy Kremes, the chocolates, and the drinks, and I joined a gym. (Although, you haven’t lived if you haven’t had a freshly glazed hot Krispy Kreme donut right off the belt.) That was fine but I realized that my mindset concerning myself wasn’t changing. I decided that I would stare at myself in the mirror until I could accept myself and love my body. I continued to faithfully put lotion on every night, and I would stare at myself until the day came that I realized I looked like a cherub. I kid you not. Those little angels in Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Those ones. I laughed so hard the moment I realized it, because I loved it. I started feeling playful again, and then soon after that I felt sexy. I felt like the models in those old paintings, the ones lounging lazily on a couch with grapes in their hands. When I saw myself like that, I started loving my body. My sexiness hadn’t diminished with the extra love. It was there all along; I just had to realize it.

I’m closer now to the size I was when I got married and I remind myself every now and then that I might not look like a Victoria’s Secret model, yet, but I sure do feel like one. And that’s what counts.

Borrowed From The Boys: How To Rock Menswear

The “girls just wanna boys” look has been around since women first started wearing pants.. circa 1920’s. We saw androgynous looks on the runway this year (and every year past) which means that the trend of women wearing mens clothing, and vise versa, really isn’t going anywhere, any time soon. If you love being feminine (like me) it might seem hard to trade your heels for brogues or loafers, and your a-line skirts for trousers, but there is a way to rock this trend while still staying true to our girly selves.

Check out these looks below for some menswear inspired trends!

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These are some basic “borrowed from the boys” pieces, mix and match and have some fun outfits! The way to rock this look is all in the details. Soft and feminine hair and makeup, accessories and the right shoes.

Styling Complicated Pieces: Moccasins

My husband hates two things in this world; maxi dresses, and moccasins. I used to avoid moccasins because I felt that they were so style specific. If you wore them, I judged you to be a beach girl from California or the towns local bohemian (which, by the way, if your town has a local bohemian then it has more culture than most places). Not bad things, just different. That was until I actually got my first pair of Minnetonkas’. I had left all my comfortable shoes at home and while we were away on a trip, I got myself a pair to ease my hurting feet. I have never looked back.

For a short period of time I started wearing them with almost everything, and managed to style them in such as way so as not to lean too heavily to the bohemian side, but sort of stay in the middle of classic chic, and boho glam. I’ve since learned that pretty much anything can be styled in a way thats adorable and presentable, if you just think a little outside of the box. I like to balance mine with minimalistic clothing as well as more structured accessories.

Check out these outfit ideas!

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Apart from the statement necklace, everything is really simple and low-key. This way you can wear your hair wild or put up nicely and still looks contemporary.

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This look is very demure but sexy at the same time. Leave the coat behind if it’s warmer out and you still have a wonderfully cohesive look. Do a peach lip for some color and tie your hair back in a loose bun.

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I love this version of a look that could be business-y were it not for the denim skirt and booties. It’s playful but the lady wearing it is to be taken seriously. I love a nude lip for this one, keeping the hair and makeup really simple will add more to your look than trying to add loads of makeup. Let the accessories do the talking.

Here are some celebrities rocking their moccasins!

London, Milan and Paris; A Recap

I haven’t kept up with the London, Milan and Paris shows as much as I did last year, but I couldn’t resist doing a quick look-through of the shows and the collections. I loved a lot of the collections though some seemed to be a little over the top. Isabel Marants’ was the most runway to street wearable but Valentino and Chanel, who traditionally aren’t my favorite, really took the cake this year. Their looks were true to their house DNA and actually quite beautiful.

Check out some of my favorites down below!

Photos courtesy of style.com

So You Wanna Be A Hot Mama

Whenever I see a pregnant mama or a maternity section at the store I feel inspired to write a style article. I’ve never been pregnant but this is my assumption of what I’d like to wear, and hopefully it reflects the actual pregnancy. I’ve heard the stories of always being hot, hungry, uncomfortable and tired, and the ideal being that you’re the opposite of all those things. You don’t want to be frumpy and you do want to be sexy. Blake Lively is my go to modern mama style inspiration and one day when it’s my turn I will hopefully follow in her footsteps. In the meantime, here are my style outfit ideas and inspirations.

A pair of flats, cute jeans and a comfy zip up sweater is always a go to look. Instead of throwing on a hoodie and leggings, opt for this instead! Since a maternity outfit might not be very splashy, jazz it up with fun accessories like these stacked bangles and feathery earrings.

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This is one of my favorite looks because I love pencil skirts. *I think that when you can’t find something cute in the maternity section, that it’d work to grab a cotton stretchy pencil skirt from the ladies side, and pair it with a longer sweater like this one. Since it’s a spring sweater it’ll be nice and cool. Throw some slip-on flats and simple accessories and your look is a winner.

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When all else fails, wear black and accessorize like crazy. This necklace is definitely a great statement piece. Pair shorts with a sleevless flowy top like this silk one for a hot summer day and throw some low wedges on to dress it up a bit. So fun!

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Last but not least, it’s Date Night! If you’re married and pregnant then date night is still a big deal, and you know that having that LBD is as well. Every women, whether pregnant or not, should own at least one black midi body-con dress. It’s a great way to throw something easy on, accessorize and make it look amazing. I’ve paired this one with strappy kitten heels, as you want to stay away from the high ones, and this cozy cape to drape around your shoulders if it’s a chilly night. Add a red lip for a little splash of color.

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That 70’s Vibe: The Beginning

We’ve seen it on the streets, and we’ve seen it on the runways, but that 70’s trend is coming back, albeit with a modern twist, and it’s coming back full force. From culottes, to flared denim, to flowery, flowing dresses and billowing coats, these pieces will be around for a while bringing texture, color and prints to center stage. I’ve collected the top 20 outfit inspirations from that decade and given us a mood board we can glean from. Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and Debbie Harry are some of our leading ladies in this collection.

Check it out! Which looks are your favorite?

Inuit Tribes and Tattooed Ladies: Dsquared2’s Breathtaking Collection

I’ve been harping on and on about texture, color, style, layering, etc. and happened upon Dsquared2s’ collection for fall/winter 2015. Needles to say I was drooling. Their collection is absolutely amazing, and not just one or two looks either. Every article of clothing is unique and perfect.

From first glance it seemed that they drew their inspiration everywhere from native american culture to matadors to inked ladies from the 1800’s. When I finally read where they had in fact drew their inspiration from, I wasn’t surprised. I had hit the nail on the head. They designed their collection around their Canadian roots, and imagined something like a plane that fell from the sky with suitcases with clothes from old Europe, and imagined an Inuit tribe incorporating what they found into their own dress-ware.

I’m completely obsessed. They utilized layering in a major way, using different textures and styles to compliment each other and created this visually stimulating collection that takes your breath away. You can easily incorporate a piece, or several pieces into your day to day wardrobe with some fun styling, to make a look thats fun and appropriate for todays street style.

Check out the looks below and tell me what you think!

Images from style.com