Overcoming Imposter Syndrome With Style

I was recently given the opportunity to host a personal style workshop in conjunction with Six Degrees Society and Kendra Scott. As I was preparing my presentation, I recalled a young professional client of mine mentioning issues she had with imposter syndrome in the workplace since she held an advanced title that put her into situations where she dealt with older, more experienced colleagues and clients that she felt didn’t always take her seriously. During my presentation, I really wanted to hone in on why caring and investing in your personal style was important and not a frivolous concern, that many people choose to believe, and talked about how imposter syndrome is one of many reasons why people should pay attention to how their wardrobe makes them feel.

What is imposter syndrome? It’s basically feeling like you don’t belong somewhere, that you are a fraud, and puts you in a mental space where you start doubting your talents and accomplishments. With that being said, can you think of a time clothes made you feel positively confident, and a time where they made you feel like the definition above? I sure can.

It is scientifically proven that there is power in what we put on everyday and that we adopt the characteristics of what we wear. Think about how you feel when you wear comfy clothes versus sexy clothes. A bit different, eh? Thankfully, what put on our bodies everyday is something we can control. So, let’s control it!

How? By honestly assessing your lifestyle and how you want to be perceived in it.

Starting with your lifestyle and current wardrobe, what is going on there? Is your office space corporate, business casual, sweats and sneaks, or do you work from home? What are you doing on the weekends? What kind of clothes are you looking for the most when you go to get dressed everyday and what pieces do you feel are missing? If your wardrobe doesn’t match your lifestyle, your outfit of the days will surely be a struggle and you’ll always feel a sense of disconnect.

After you’ve assessed what you need to mix up, the next step is discovering what you feel good in and dressing for the part you’re playing in life. An attendee at the workshop actually brought up a good point about dressing for work and said that she gets stuck dressing like her coworkers (basic t-shirt and jeans) although that doesn’t truly reflect how she wants to look everyday. Don’t get trapped into mimicking what others are wearing just because. That’s lazy and you’re doing yourself a disservice from being able to explore and maximize your potential style- one that actually works for you. Say this same person made the decision that dressing like everyone at the office wasn’t doing anything for her and to upgrade her wardrobe. She would have to hone in on what that would look like. Maybe she discovers that she loves dresses or decides she wants to incorporate more accessories into her look, and by making these changes she feels a little more confident each day. Most people get to this point and think they immediately have to go shopping, however, without a plan and knowing what you’re actually looking for you end up overwhelmed with an empty cart or one that is full of crap. Use the inspiration around you for your own benefit and take the time to interpret how it applies to you.

Dressing for the part you’re playing in life really integrates step one of the process, identifying the lifestyle you’re living, and step two which is creating a wardrobe that works for that lifestyle all while emanating the personal appearance and self representation you desire. This topic brings me to the classic quote “dress for the job you want” and my time at Bloomingdale’s where the Creative Director was always dressed to the nines each day. She owned her role, dressed for it, and always made everyone around her look like slobs. She had a presence you respected and was inspired by. This is what dressing the part is all about.

Usually when someone experiences imposter syndrome, it’s because they’re not truly dressing the way they want to or need to for the life they live. Take a young, successful professional who needs to exude professionalism in the office but is stuck dressing like an intern for instance. Or a stylist who gets caught running errands in gym clothes and is given the opportunity to tell a stranger about her business (I swear I don’t know who this is). Whether it’s simply not knowing how to dress for your lifestyle, getting caught on a bad outfit day, or forgetting to check the dress code at the new restaurant you checked out Saturday night, we all have experienced a negative mental impact simply because of how we looked. Let’s learn how to take the reins of owning our appearance and showing up in life the way we deserve.

Resources for Stylish Work Clothes

After being blessed with the opportunity to work with so many amazing clients in my past two years with blenderstyle, I started noticing that they share a lot of common wardrobe issues. One of the top being the ability to find and put together quality, chic work looks that exude style, professionalism, and are comfortable at the same time. Here are some workwear resources broken out by category that I always share with clients in order to help them feel like the boss babes they are and break away from their Banana Republic ruts.

Stylish and Affordable

Aritzia

Aritzia is a company based out of Vancouver, Canada and is a great place to check out for upgraded basics (ie. lace trim camisoles, wrap dresses, stylized work pants) and feminine pieces that are perfect for creating more contemporary work looks and effortlessly going from the office to happy hour in style. They have a sale every so often, but beware of their return policies. It is more strict than most retailers and their sale items are usually final.

Zara

I feel Zara is often overlooked for workwear give its fast fashion, trendy appeal. However, you can find some great work basics and afford to throw in a few extra fun items as well shopping here. Don’t forget to check out their shoes too which are often hidden on the bottom and under displays in the store. If you’re shopping online, I would recommend buying both your regular size and one size up as their sizes tend to fluctuate.

Mango

I like Mango because, similar to Zara, it offers both classic and more fashion forward pieces at a great price point giving you plenty options for deciding how you’d like to integrate it into your dress code. As a city girl, you also reduce the risk of wearing the same things as half of the other women on the street a la Zara.

Club Monaco

Club Monaco started as a Canadian company and was acquired by Polo Ralph Lauren in 1999. They started with the idea of creating “better basics” and that’s what you’ll find here- classic and sophisticated pieces with a touch of elevated style. They are a bit more expensive than the top three options, however, you’ll get parallel quality.

Ethical & Sustainable

Everlane

Everlane is great for high quality basics at very reasonable prices (ie. silk blouses for $98, Italian leather flats for $118). Whether ethical fashion means anything to you or not, this is a perfect place to start gathering staple items like a good work pant, simple blouses, and easy dresses. Everlane is one of the most transparent companies when it comes to providing information on how they produce their products and are always striving to innovate, which results in a higher set of standards for the rest the sustainable fashion industry.

Amour Vert

Their name means “green love” in french and with every purchase of an Amour Vert tee, they plant a tree in North America with their trusted partner American Forest®. To date, they’ve planted over 220,000 trees. Okay, back to fashion. This is another great resource for classic pieces with a twist and a few more fun pieces sprinkled in between. They also have good options for a more casual work environment.

Boden

Boden heavily focuses on ethical working conditions in their supply chains and operations. You’ll find cute, feminine, colorful, and borderline preppy options here and I’ve had several clients have good luck with their work trousers. You can also find Boden at Nordstrom aside from shopping their site.

Investment

SUISTUDIO

Get ready to meet some of the most beautiful suits you’ve ever seen with options ranging from ultra classic to bright colors and prints. SUISTUDIO makes very elegant essentials and fashion forward pieces that make a statement. They offer in-store tailoring for an additional price per service to ensure your clothes fit perfect and even offer custom suiting options for those really looking to treat themselves. I can’t wait to buy a suit here.

Argent

Argent’s mission is “to make clothing that equips women to take their seat at the table” and they do just that. They don’t have a ton of options, but here you will find a collection of modern workwear, high quality, and some fun details that make your outfit a bit more exciting.

INTERMIX

While INTERMIX may be considered for ‘going out’ clothes and trendy brunch wear, they have a variety of designers that will easily help upgrade your work wardrobe. Aside from the extremely fashion forward selections, you can find some great work essentials from the likes of ALC, Veronica Beard, L’AGENCE, and more. Check out the sale section for some quality finds and keep an eye out for their flash sales that happen every so often where items are an additional 40% off. Unfortunately, these items are usually final sale.

Plus Size

eShakti

eShakti is very cool in that it’s actually a custom site for women sizes 0-36. You can select a style, enter your body measurements, and then customize a few of the style options (ie. make short sleeves long). I tell my tall clients about this site as well since they always have a hard time finding the right length in everything. They have a good variety of items you can easily implement into your work looks.

Universal Standard

Universal Standard provides elevated essentials for plus size women and even offer a collection called Fit Liberty where every piece is eligible for a free size exchange within a year given someone’s weight were to fluctuate. They also have ‘workwear kits’ available that provide you with four key essentials (a pant, blazer, and two tops) and saves you about $100 versus buying each piece separately. You can find a few of their pieces at J.Crew.

ASOS Curvy

ASOS has over 1,500 pieces available in their curvy category and is a great place to source more fashion forward work pieces like plaid suits, printed dresses, bright pants, and more without breaking the bank. Since this is a UK brand, be sure to check sizing charts before ordering.

Men

J.Hilburn

Incorporating menswear into my business by becoming an independent stylist for J.Hilburn has been a great decision and my male clients are so happy. What I love about J.Hilburn is that they address the fact most men aren't wearing suits to the office everyday anymore and provide custom solutions that allow men to effortlessly adapt to the cultural shift of business casual dress codes. It's a great one stop shop for men who need a little bit of everything from casual weekend attire to suits and tuxedos, but want high quality and for it to fit great.

Now, go out there and kick ass like the CEO you are, but look good doing it ;)

Five Easy Spring Outfit Recipes for Work and Play

One of the first steps in learning how to properly dress yourself everyday is mastering outfit recipes, a formula of pieces that mix and match well together to create a look. Being a big fan of layering, I always consider at least three pieces when putting an outfit together- a bottom, a top, and a third piece such as a jacket or cardigan. I always tell my clients that learning how to layer shows you can actually put a cohesive outfit together versus throwing on a top and bottom. Once you’ve come up with your canvas for the day, you can begin to add accessories such as scarves and jewelry. Here are a few of my favorite outfit recipes for springtime that will keep you both chic and comfortable.

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basic A-line dress + jacket + sneakers

This recipe is my go to when I’m not feeling very inspired, want maximum comfort, but still want to feel feminine and stylish. I personally prefer slip dresses, but you can swap this out with a knit dress such as a basic cotton t-shirt or shirtdress. I tend to buy these pieces in a solid color just so I can maximize what I wear them with and don’t tire of them as fast as I do printed options. Layer a denim jacket, leather moto, or even a cardigan, add sneakers and all done! Since this recipe is very basic, I’ll usually add a scarf, some extra jewelry, or love the idea of adding a headband as shown (the season’s hottest hair accessory) to style it up. Easily upgrade this look by swapping the sneaker for a sleek bootie or strappy sandal.

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printed blouse + jeans + flats

Okay, this one might seem obvious, but hear me out. The key to enhancing an outfit that only requires two pieces (ie. blouse and jeans) is to incorporate style details somewhere whether it’s an embellishment, a fabric detail like a lace, or a statement print. Try mixing in several details that compliment each other. This look shown is feminine due to the floral print and wrap style of the blouse, however, is given a little edgy vibe with the distressed straight leg jean. Small details create more of an upgraded look than a basic blouse and jean does and which is also a combo anyone can put together. Spring is a great time to show off your best blouses since the weather is warm enough to wear them alone without having to hide under jackets all the time.

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maxi dress + hat + block heel

Treat your maxi dresses as one piece wardrobe wonders and don’t shy away from wearing longer lengths for casual days, especially during spring when you can benefit from the extra fabrication when the weather is still a tad cool. I had a client who had a long, floral dress she only wore to a wedding and once we layered it under a jean jacket and paired it with some booties, it transitioned into a stylish casual outfit with hardly any effort. Maxi dresses are also super comfortable and effortless. Didn’t shave? No problem. Feeling bloated? No problem. Didn’t wash your hair? Add a hat. It’s the perfect piece to add statement accessories to like hats and scarves since you’re working with one single canvas. Balance the volume with a small block heel sandal or bootie.

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suit + upgraded t-shirt + statement bag

Suits and sets are still having a major moment in fashion. I personally love a matching set and think they are so effortless and as easy to throw on as a dress or jumpsuit. Most of the challenge in creating a cohesive look is done and all you have to do is decorate it, which is why I love the idea of pairing it with a printed or detailed top underneath (ie. like the polka dots shown) and adding a statement handbag to add some flavor to the outfit. Layering a t-shirt or tank underneath will also give the suit a more casual vibe versus corporate feel.

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click image to shop

midi skirt + camisole + blazer + block heel

Skirts are always my client’s problem child so I tell them one thing- layer, layer, layer. I feel like most people get confused with skirts because they aren’t comfortable with how it looks around the total circumference of the body. Pairing your skirts with a camisole and blazer (or any other jacket that balances well with the skirt) is the best way to solve the whole “I don’t know what to wear with this” dilemma. Make sure to always tuck in the top to create a waistline and balance the length of the skirt with a block heel versus a flat (unless you’re tall enough to pull the midi length off without is shortening you).

I encourage you to take inventory of your closet as we transition into spring and identify pieces that you can try these outfit recipes with. You’ll be surprised that once you start playing around with pairing your wardrobe items, you’ll discover other combinations that will allow you to maximize your pieces and save you time each and every day.

Three Things I’m Mixing Up In My Wardrobe

I think the question, “what’s your personal style?” is actually pretty tough to answer. Needless to say, I have to ask it. While I can’t even narrow mine down to an easy sentence due to the fact my outfits vary day to day based on what I feel like, what I do know is that there are things in my life I’ve simply outgrown and are transitioning out of my wardrobe now. Here are three areas of my personal style that are changing this year.

Low Waisted Pants

With the high waisted trend around for a few years now, it makes you wonder how you ever wore low waisted pants for so long! 85% of my denim are still low waisted and I find myself only gravitating toward my few high waisted pairs every time I’m either packing for a trip or having a denim day. You know what that tells me? Time to clean house. Get rid of the things you are no longer excited to wear, or that simply aren’t comfortable to you anymore. I work with women with all body types and will have to say that high waisted silhouettes are the most flattering when it comes to balancing their proportions and pairing with other pieces in their wardrobes to create great outfits.

Uncomfortable Shoes

Speaking of comfortable, I don’t have the patience for uncomfortable shoes anymore. It’s just not worth it. I’ve worn too many shoes that have torn up my achilles to the point I considered walking barefoot in the streets of NYC, and shoes too high where I didn’t even want to get up and use the bathroom at restaurants because I was afraid I’d topple over. Dumb, right? Needless to say, some of my favorite uncomfortable shoes were my most expensive so lesson learned. When you’re constantly thinking about what you’re wearing and it prohibits you from actually enjoying yourself, it’s just not meant to be. Move on. There are plenty of other cute (and comfortable) fish in the sea.

Poor Fabric

I’ll admit the fact I’m at the age where I want things to feel nice. Opting for higher quality fabrics is also a very easy way to elevate your wardrobe and are definitely worth spending a little more on, especially when it comes to staple items that you’ll wear for five years and more. Also, is there anything worse than buying a dress you got for a great price only to find it’s wrinkled mess if you sit down for five minutes? I don’t think so! Think about your athletic clothes as well. I’m so over buying workout pants based on price to discover they stretch out after one workout and just aren’t that flattering to begin with. Don’t be afraid to spend a bit extra on things that are probably worth the extra cost. It’ll save you money down the road when you have one great white blouse you can wear with a million different things versus having to buy five cheap ones to sustain your wardrobe. There are also great sites like Everlane that offer quality clothing and fabrications at very reasonable prices. It’s important to prioritize feeling good in what you wear, both physically and mentally.

Highlight: The Collective, a designer consignment boutique

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If you know me well, you know I’m a huge bargain shopper. I love perusing Nordstrom Rack for two hours to find $500 pieces for $35 (true story). It excites me! I rarely buy anything full price and try to find the best deals for my clients as well.

Aside from off price retailers, I love quality consignment stores where I can find like new designer pieces for a fraction of the price, which brings me to how I met Gabby (formally known as Gabrielle). Gabby owns The Collective, a designer consignment boutique located in Summit, New Jersey. Chase and I like to hang out in surrounding suburban neighborhoods every now and then to get a break from the city and try some new restaurants. Lucky me, I happened to discover this gem and found out the owner is as great as the merchandise she carries.

Some of my favorite pieces I’ve found at The Collective are:

  • Stuart Weitzman authentic python booties

  • Helmut Lang silk white camisole

  • J.Crew authentic leather paneled cardigan

  • Bell Collection resort dress

I always tell people that quality dressing doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money and I’m proof of that misconception. I, along with most of my clients, are at the age where we don’t want to wear cheap fabrications or ill fitting garments anymore which is why I decided to highlight one of my favorite consignments boutiques that I think you’ll enjoy as well. Check out my conversation with Gabby where we briefly discuss what inspires her in both business and personal style.


Tell us a little bit why you started The Collective.

So I worked for a high-end consignment company that suddenly closed its doors in June 2017.  I was super upset, anxious and worried about what I was going to do as I had loved my job and didn’t want to work for anyone that could possibly take that love away again.  So I started my own consignment shop.  I was really hesitant and nervous , not about the work itself or being an entrepreneur, but about the fear of failing.  Once I committed to the idea, I dove right in and hustled.  And I’ve now been in business for over a year and a half!

What excites you the most about owning your own store and being involved in the fashion industry? 

To be completely honest, I love working for myself.  Again, to touch on the previous question, I never wanted to work for anyone again that could take away something I loved.  I love the control, I love knowing all the ins and outs of my business.  It’s my baby.  And the cherry on top is that I get to work with people and clothing all day.  I love meeting people that wander into my shop, I love asking how they know about me or why they chose to come in.  I truly value the relationships I’ve built.  Fashion is a huge industry and the fact that I get to be a small part of that is super cool and something I don’t really think about because I more so focus on people, my relationships with them and the space I’m creating.  I challenge myself to be the very best I can be on a daily basis.

What is the most appealing thing about consignment and why should customers gravitate more toward buying second hand versus buying something brand new?

The most appealing thing about consignment is the fact that it’s literally a treasure hunt.  I encourage people to shop based on what they love and I absolutely love when people tell me they’re just browsing when I ask if they were looking for anything.  That’s the best way to shop consignment, you never know what’s going to pop up, you never know what you’re going to respond to.  A lot of customers recently have been telling me that they find more apparel at my shop as opposed to the mall and other retailers because the market is saturated with the “same old thing.”  My customers are looking for something different, something that’s well made.  They get the opportunity to buy something that was carefully curated at my shop or another consignment shop.  It’s riveting.

What are some of the most memorable pieces you’ve consigned?

So just the other day, I went through every Instagram post I’ve ever done and I was amazed (sorry, but I was) at all of the pieces I’ve collected over the past year and a half.  Some of the best things, surprisingly, were one-of-a-kind vintage pieces such as a plaid mustard yellow cape that sold in minutes.  I’ll name a few more (but the list is endless): Issey Miyake windcoat from the 90s, a vintage beaded cropped blazer from the 80s that was so on-trend it sold in minutes, a Max Mara reversible camel coat  (anyone notice my coat addiction) and countless amazing bags such as a reversible Chanel lambskin/rabbit hair evening bag, Stella McCartney Falabella, Givenchy Pandora, Hermes Evelyne and more.

In my opinion, you have a very spunky personal style which I love. What do you attribute to your healthy relationship with your wardrobe and what inspires you?

Well thank you!  So my number one love is jewelry believe it or not  but clothing is a very close second.  I have a ton of clothes and I try to keep it neat and tidy but it always looks like an explosion at the end of the week.  I also care deeply about my clothes and don’t just buy something because it’s a good deal.  I maintain my clothing and have had several pieces for years.  I like to dress based on mood (a la George Costanza) so I throw on whatever I’d like to wear on any given day.  I like to think that part of my secret is that I look at the whole and not the parts… and what I mean by that is I don’t think about each piece of my outfit and think about how it works together, I just make it work.  And then I add a lot of jewelry.  The comment I hear the most about my outfits is that “I would never think to put that together.”  My number one inspiration for this method is my Aunt Margie.  She’s an artist and always just layers on clothing and jewelry and makes it work (although she mostly wears black and I rarely do).  I’m also super inspired by the Japanese designer Sacai, nature and art.

For those outside the New Jersey area, everything at The Collective can be shopped on their Instagram feed or online. Be sure to follow on Instagram to get first glimpse of all the great designer merchandise available: @the.collective.nj

Lessons From My Past Year As a Personal Stylist

2018 was strange for many people and a lot of people close to me are ready to hit the refresh button. I always take time around the end of the year to think about how I’ve grown as a person and what I want to improve moving forward. Here are a few things I learned as a fresh entrepreneur, working with varieties of people, and simply being in my 30’s.

Get Over Yourself

When you run your own business, you find yourself constantly having internal battles. Am I wasting my time doing this? Will I ever succeed? Should I post this? What if the networking event is awkward? The list goes on and on, at least for me. One thing I’ve taught myself is it’s not about me. It’s about my end goal and what I’m trying to achieve in my life and for others. Don’t let fear and insecurity hold you back from pursuits. Also, you’re thinking about yourself more than others are thinking about you. Think about how many messages people see a day and how many people they are connected to thanks to social media. You’re just one of them. Overanalyzing how other people view you is such a waste of energy. This might sound contradictory coming from someone who helps people present themselves through fashion, but even when it comes to style it should be about what makes you feel like the best version of yourself, not stressing about dressing for others. Don’t sweat the small stuff and focus on the things that matter.

You Deserve It

Most of my clients are women (I also work with men and love doing so) and I often notice how much they justify the fact they are working with me to themselves, husbands, or others. Taking the time to invest in yourself makes you a better person and therefore positively impacts your relationship with yourself and the people in your life. I loved when my friend Soojin pointed out in her post about sustaining her personal style throughout motherhood that self care makes her a better mother. It’s so true and is applicable no matter what your situation. I believe that personal appearance is often overlooked as a factor impacting one’s self esteem and the way someone is feeling is attributed to many other things, however, there is power in looking and feeling your best so don’t be afraid to invest in that part of yourself. You deserve it. And, if you don’t believe me, watch an episode of Queer Eye. ;)

You Control Your Story

As cliche as this statement is in the self help world, it’s true. The past couple of years have been an emotional roller coaster for me and I can say I’ve honestly learned so much about myself. I’ve learned that mental battles are way harder to overcome than physical ailments and it can get very scary when you’re in such a negative state and feel like you have no hope or direction. These are all lies from the devil. You have two options in every situation and the way you perceive them. You can live in fear or faith, be grateful or thankless, take rejection as a challenge or let it defeat you, and compare yourself to others or let them motivate you. This list can go on. Is your glass half full or half empty? One of my favorite lines from Eat, Pray, Love is "you were given life; it is your duty to find something beautiful within life no matter how slight". The word duty is very powerful in that and I remind myself of this every time I’m throwing self pity party. I’ll always remember my father telling me about a time where he was having a really hard time in life and extremely unhappy. He approached a stop light and watched a guy with no legs cross the street in a wheelchair and at that moment he realized his life wasn’t so bad after all. Is yours? If you can learn how to count your blessings, I guarantee you’ll watch them grow. Control what you can and learn to let go of what you cannot.

Nothing is Permanent

Life is unpredictable and you have to understand that when it comes to the ups and downs. One moment that stuck with me is when I was in a really bad place and talking it out with my brother. He looked at me and said, “your situation isn’t permanent, nothing lasts forever.” That was my wheelchair moment and I realized I was wasting so much energy being miserable in a chapter I was in instead of treating it as something that was only going to lead me somewhere better. Now, that chapter feels so long ago and it definitely contributed to where and who I am today. I thank God everyday for the journey I’m on and the trail that lead me here. Of course, there are circumstances you want to be permeant like a healthy relationship or a great career, but I’m talking about those situations in life you really don’t understand at the time. Nothing is the end of your world unless you let it be.

I know this isn’t the typical blenderstyle post, but it means a lot to me to be able so share some of my reflections. Being an adult is hard and I work with a lot of different types of people that share their personal journeys with me and are open to enabling me to help impact one area of their life. While people may perceive my job to be a hobby of playing dress up, it actually helps people feel more confident and is an area of their life they can control and deserve to experience. Cheers to a great 2019!

Items That Create Easy & Affordable Holiday Looks

Holidays are just as hectic as they are great which is why coming up with the perfect outfit for every occasion can seem more like a drag than enjoyable. Whether your calendar is maxed out with parties, or you’re planning on spending way too many hours at the mall, below are a few key items that will mix well into your existing wardrobe to help create easy holiday looks so you don’t have to spend a lot of money every time an invite rolls around.

Statement Shoe

I came across a quote from actor Omari Hardwick that said “Shoes make an outfit; they are like rims for a car.” It’s so true. An embellished bootie can really upgrade a basic sweater and jean look when finding those last minute gifts at the mall, and a glitter covered heel can make any little black dress pop. If you feel a bit underwhelmed with your clothing options for the holiday activities, don’t underestimate the power of a statement shoe.

Patterned Tight

I’ve had a pair of polka dot tights for about six years now and they never fail to bring in the compliments. They are also super fun to wear. A patterned tight is a subtle way of adding a little extra something to your look without blinding people with the typical holiday bling. They can be sexy, sophisticated, and easily add texture and print to a look such as a simple sweater dress or a skirt and sweater combo (one of my favs you learned about from my last post). Opt for tasteful patterns and avoid breaking out the fishnets when you should be dressing more conservatively such as at an office holiday party.

Cute Scarf

Scarves are essential on days you have zero motivation and just want to throw on a long sleeve knit and some comfy pants. Not only are they great for styling your casual running errands look, but they are also very useful in eveningwear as well. Opt for a fur/faux fur stole or scarf when you need to dress up for a special occasion and colorful plaids or a pretty print for your basic casual outfits.

Luxe Textures

While this one doesn’t lend itself to one item, one of the reasons holiday dressing is so fun (if you don’t stress over it!) is because everything is so lush and luxe. You have silks and velvets, cashmere and furs, embellishments and sequins. Opting for items in luxe textures is probably one of the easiest ways to be seasonally appropriate because one piece can accommodate in creating the entire look- a beautiful silk top, a velvet handbag, or a sequined dress.

Everyone has a different style and likes/dislikes. Apply ideas and wear things that make you feel your best whether it’s a decked out sequin jumpsuit or a simple blouse with jeans. I hope you find a way to shine this holiday season whether it’s hopping around the party circuit or baking cookies at home with loved ones. x0x

Instantly Chic Pieces For Fall

Sometimes it’s hard to digest the copious amount of style inspo we are exposed to today and apply it to our own wardrobes. Here are some of my favorite pieces for fall and different ways you can mix them up. Enjoy!

WOMEN

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Statement Shoes

This monochromatic look paired with the snakeskin booties is genius. It’s comfortable and chic all while adding the perfect amount of a big fall trend to enhance a basic look. Statement shoes, whether they are booties or flats, are a great way to upgrade a simple outfit. Animal print too much for you? Opt for a metallic or another color other than nude or black. Check out how different varieties of booties below help improve the aesthetic of the overall outfit.

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Duster Cardigan

This is one of the most versatile and comfortable pieces you can have for fall. It’s a great alternative to a light trench coat or jacket and can be layered over basically anything from a t-shirt and jean look to a dress and otk boots. Make sure to choose one with a length that is best for your proportions and don't be afraid to invest in a quality knit that you’ll be excited to wear. Sweaters are a wardrobe item you should invest in and a classic staple you can wear year after year without it going out of style.

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Feminine Skirt

So many people dismiss the idea of wearing skirts once the weather gets cooler, however, skirts are one of my favorite fall pieces. Create a flirty and cozy look by pairing it with a chunky sweater or layering it under a great topcoat and turtleneck. You can always warm up the outfit by adding tights and tall boots. My fleece lined tights are actually the warmest bottoms I own. Shop similar ones here.

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Structured Vest

I tell all of my professional clients that want to upgrade their workwear to give vests a try. They are a great alternative to blazers and easy to layer over just about everything from work dresses to blouses and pants. Vests are versatile enough to dress up or down and are a chic addition to simple looks.

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Suede/Leather Jacket

I’ve talked about leather jackets being a must-have wardrobe item before and they are still on the list! Look at how many ways you can wear it. Throw it over a maxi dress to make it seasonally appropriate, wear it with a pencil skirt to work, or simply add it to an easy camisole and jean combo. A quality suede or leather jacket (I always lean toward the moto styles) adds an effortless dose of cool to any look and the perfect amount of edge to a feminine fall outfit.

 

MEN

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The Sports Coat

A quality sports coat is essential for a man and I’m not talking about the blazer that’s part of your suit. A sports coat adds instant polish to a casual look, is great for layering, and exudes sophistication. Opt for two that you can wear with darker colors and more earthy tones for fall.

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Boots

Love a man in boots! Give the loafers and sneakers a rest and try a cool pair of boots to create a fresh fall look. The chelsea style (shown) is probably the most popular among men and sleek enough to wear with casual looks, such as jeans and a sweater, or dress up with slacks and, ahem, a sports coat. Need more direction? Check out this article.

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Accessories

Fall is a great time for men to implement accessories. It’s also a good way to incorporate color into your wardrobe. There are more options such as scarves, hats, and gloves that you can play with. Also, if you carry a bag to work, invest in a quality one that enhances your look versus looking like you’re still wearing your college backpack. Don’t shy away from jewelry. It can add a stylish touch and show you put effort into your appearance.

pictured: @laurenconrad, @maryorton, @kattanita, @happilygrey, @lisadnyc, @emilyluciano, @oliviapalermo

Insight From a Stylish Mother of Two

I love fashion. From a young age, I had lofty goals of being a part of the fashion world in New York City. First, I would attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. Second, I would be swept off of my feet by a poorer and less charming version of “Big”. Third, I would be a fashion writer for Women’s Wear Daily, attending all of the sought after runway shows. Well, I achieved my first goal. Achieving one out of three is something that is not too much of a failure, I try and convince myself daily.

I traded in all of my fashion dreams to be a stay at home mom of a two year old daughter, who scares me, and a four year old son who has a better sense of direction than me. But, is motherhood an incredible and fulfilling journey that I would never trade in for anything else? Of course. Do I also sometimes curse my four-eyed son and dictator daughter for killing any chance of my big apple dream? Of course.

Now, the height of my fashion excitement is when my online shipment of dresses arrive and I have to convince my husband that the ball gown and metallic Tina Turner-esque dress are needs, not wants. Then I try everything on in front of my kids. My son once told me that I forgot to put pants on and my daughter yells “cute, cute” to everything I try on. I cannot trust the judgment of someone who lies when asked if she has poohed herself.

But in all seriousness, I am now pushing 40 with two high energy kids. Sometimes a simple shower is what gets me through the day. But no matter how many nursery rhymes I am forced to sing, fashion remains crucial to my sense of well-being. 

Fashion to me is not about excess or being vapid or superficial. To me, fashion is an outlet to being creative and having fun with something that is not related to potty training or action figures. It is my escape that I enjoy. Also, it makes me feel good. And simply put, I enjoy looking nice. When I look nice and I feel good, I am a happier person, which makes me a better mom.

I encourage all mama’s of any age and stage to embrace their style, no matter what it is. Motherhood can be synonymous with losing your identity. In between tantrums and ring-a-round the rosie, it can be so easy to lose focus on your own needs. However, I have found that the happiest mama’s are the ones that allow time for self-care. It is not selfish to take time for yourself. In fact, it is the opposite. Making sure I am happy, ensures that my family is happy. 

Motherhood has exhausting moments of stress and anxiety. We have constant demands for our attention by midget people who do not even know where their nose is. However, that does not mean we need to succumb to stained clothes and perpetual mom bun. If anyone deserves to feel good and look good it is us mama’s! Moreso, than deserve it, we need it. 

All my kids need is unconditional love. All I need are Louboutins and free shipping.

Five Fall 2018 Trends to Mix Into Your Closet

I'm sure you are seeing fall trend reports pop up everywhere lately, but here is my take on what trends are easiest to apply to your current wardrobe. And, hey, if you happen to hate them all, no need to incorporate them. I don't believe in following trends unless they absolutely fit you or are something you want to give a try. 

Animal Prints

I mean how is leopard not a neutral yet? It's like saying florals are new for spring, but get ready to see animal mania this fall that will include other prints like snakeskin and zebra. Two ways to wear it include outerwear and accessories. A great animal print jacket is fierce and makes any outfit extra special, however, if that's a bit out of your comfort zone, try the print in an accessory like a handbag, shoe, or scarf that will be more understated but still give you some extra pizazz.

I have a ton of leopard already, so I'm excited to find the perfect snakeskin pencil skirt, handbag, or bootie for my closet this fall. 

Plaid 

Check, please!  The classic, menswear inspired print is back in full force. While it's expected to make a strong presence in the assumed pieces such as blazers and topcoats, you can expect brands to apply the print to more feminine silhouettes like dresses, skirts, and blouses. Similar to the animal print, you have options when it comes to incorporating a lot or a little into your wardrobe and there are varieties of plaid to consider - tartan, houndstooth, classic - all ranging in different colors and scales. This fall, you can keep it simple with a great plaid topcoat to give your outfit some pattern play, or go all out in a head to toe checked look.  When in doubt, a thick plaid scarf always does the trick.

I personally am drawn to plaid skirts in particular. Maybe it roots from growing up in private school (you would think that would have the opposite effect, I know), but paired with a quality knit turtleneck and good boots, you can't go wrong.

80's, Baby

Get yo shine on!! No, but literally. We saw a lot of metallics last fall season and they are here to stay, but under a larger trend umbrella of 80's glam. That's right, 80's are back. Aside from lots of shine and glitz, you can expect a shift from the softer color palettes we've seen over the past few seasons into more bolder and brighter hues like barney purple, royal blues, red oranges and fuchsia. Large statement jewelry will also be making a comeback versus the thin, delicate designs and, most importantly, get ready for some big shoulders and oversized suiting! Statement sleeves have been holding strong over the past couple of years, but you'll notice more focus on the shoulders whether it's additional padding or puff sleeve designs. To give this trend a try, incorporate a bolder color into your fall color scheme through an accessory or basic top, or go all out in a purple sequined mini dress paired with some great slouch boots. 

I actually have a pair of slouch boots that fit into this trend that I'm excited to wear more. I'm also not opposed to a good sequin piece when the sun is still up ;)

Western

Yeee haw! Prairie florals, western inspired boots, fringe, leather, denim, and thick knits create this fall trend that exudes a vintage, yet contemporary vibe. Unlike the 80's trend, you can expect more muted hues in the typical fall colors. For some reason, the movie "Far and Away" pops into my mind when discussing this one. Nicole Kidman's tops in that movie are the perfect example of the western inspired romantic blouses you'll be seeing in stores (and yes, more puff sleeves). An easy way to implement some western feels into your current wardrobe is to start with a fabrication whether it's a leather skirt, denim button down, or suede booties. Just adding a western belt is an easy way as well. If you're ready to ride a horse all the way off the runway, then find yourself a little prairie dress, layer it under a fringe leather jacket with some cowboy boots and don't forget your hat on your way out.

I really like western inspired boots and the small details in western inspired clothing like embellished buttons, sporadically placed lace, and textures. I'm looking forward to finding pieces more on the subtle side of this trend. 

City Slicker

Have you seen the belt bags and dad shoes taking over Instagram? Well, those can fall into this trend. The whole idea is to be comfortable, cool, and have a functional nature. You'll notice jackets with extra pockets and drawstrings, shoes with thicker soles (dad shoes and combat boots), and hassle free handbags (hi, belt bag). This trend is really a blend of streetwear and athleisure, but in a much more exaggerated way. To incorporate this trend, try swapping out your classic fall trench coat for a light puffer jacket, or go all out with a belt bag around your logo t-shirt and combat boots to the ground.

So, I haven't gotten into this trend although I appreciate all the functional aspects of it. If anything, I might opt for a light puffer this fall to switch up the usual top coat and leather styles I lean toward. 

I think fall is going to be fun. While this doesn't cover all the trends being discussed in the industry right now, I think it gives a pretty good overview of what you can expect from retailers this fall. And, like I mentioned earlier, stick to what works for you and only you x0x