A Perfect Gift...

Since we are all in the gift-giving spirit right now, I thought that this would be the perfect time to mention Gorjana jewelry.  I know that I have mentioned her jewelry in a previous post, but that was before I owned her studded leather wrap bracelets... 3 to be exact.  And, I love them!  They are so delicate (but so cool), which makes them perfect for layering and for everyday wear.  I feel like hot stuff (seriously... hot, hot, hot) when I wear them, and I don't have to worry about knocking my daughter in the head with some chunky bracelet (yes, this has happened on occasion)... so what could be more perfect???

Well, not much could be more perfect than that... except giving a gift that someone truly loves!  Okay, since we are all on the same page right now, you must check out Gorjana's jewelry for all of the women that you are buying for this holiday season.  She has very delicate necklaces that are screaming to be layered, cool cuff bracelets, beautiful earrings... some more statement, some very delicate, as well as a bunch of really cool rings (I especially love the cuff ring!).  And, do you want to know the best part (besides these are all very classic, chic pieces of jewelry)... it is all very affordable!  I cannot honestly give you a name of a jewelry designer that has such tasteful pieces at such reasonable price points.

Gorjana's backstory is really cool as well... she was born in Yugoslavia, moved to Canada, became a model and then a jewelry designer (and very recently, handbags too)!!!  I really do believe that everyone has a specific path, although it may be filled with many muddy roads and potholes, eventually she will enter the place that she was always supposed to be... that is how it is with Gorjana... beautiful!

- Allison
*P.S.  Become a fan on Facebook and receive great updates and insider tips on upcoming sales!

*photos courtesy of gorjana.com


I am totally Carrie & I am going to Saks!

This may have to do with the fact that I watched Sex & the City 2 yesterday, either way I am going with it... I felt like I was channeling Carrie Bradshaw last night!  Some might say that I was a bit more Charlotte, but I beg to differ.  Since this discussion could be a post by itself, I better get to my point...

Last night, my Fashion & Finance cohort, spoke at the New York Junior League meeting.  They had their own F & F night in conjunction with Saks Fifth Avenue (I guess we were on to something!).    *Alright, here we are at my Carrie moment... all dressed up, a great event, drinks with the ladies, plus a little time for myself to walk the streets for some inspiration... this couldn't be better!*    And now, back to my story... the F & F event started with my friend, who is a fantastic speaker as well as a very knowledgeable financial advisor.  Then the ladies from Saks spoke... yay!  I love anything to do with fashion!!!

First, I was very interested to learn that Saks has taken on a new initiative to really let people know that they aren't just a high end department store... they are also a "go to" for affordable products and gifts.  I think that this is a great idea as well as very smart move in times like these... people like to buy luxury goods, but they also like to spend wisely and want quality products at affordable prices.  Saks is offering everything from hostess gifts in the $20-$30 range (chocolate shoes, greats soaps, candles... even ornaments) to great ideas for kids that are under $50, as well as fantastic suggestions for the special man in your life (all price ranges!).  I have now learned that I can buy all of my presents at Saks, and I just discovered that they are offering free shipping through Thursday.  Even if you aren't ready to make your purchases in the next two days, I am confident that there will be other free shipping incentives before Christmas. 

Mirror & Pouch... love it!
Fur Trapper Hat... fun, warm & luxurious!
If this wasn't enough, then the women's fashion director of Saks, who has recently been to all of the shows... NY, Paris, London, Milan... I die!, gave us some insight into the trends for Spring 2011.  Now I want to go into this further in another post, but let's just say that Tory Burch was right on the money!  In general, the '70's were a big influence... easy dressing, fit & flare pants, new "midi" lengths, the peasant blouse & dress (belted, of course)... overall some refreshing changes to look forward to this Spring!  

One more exciting piece of news... Saks is unveiling it's holiday windows on Monday!  I have heard they are going to be completely fabulous!!!  Definitely a "must see" this holiday season, so remember to check them out when you head in to see the tree!

                            - Allison
*Note to self... some "to do's"...
       - stick to your holiday budget
       - consolidate your shopping... try Saks
       - start your Spring "must have" list
       - go into the city more... it is only 20 miles away!

*Photos of mirror & hat, courtesy of saksfifthavenue.com


Fashion & Finance

Thursday night was the first official Fashion & Finance event (held at Garden State Plaza's J.Crew), and I would say it was a smashing success!!!  The idea started over a glass(es) of wine with my friend, who specializes in wealth management (she's a genius!)...  It is simple really, get an intelligent group of women together for a night out... share some affordable ideas for updating your style as well as some great tips on financial planning.  Then, the best part... you get to shop with a discount!

We decided to use J.Crew as a venue, not only because we are big fans of the store, but more importantly there is something there for everyone.  Decorative tee's for those who would like to just jazz up their basics, sequined everything for the more adventurous or beautiful costume jewelry... who doesn't love buying a new bauble... sure to always brighten your day.  The beauty of J.Crew is the fact that the brand encourages mixing & matching, wearing things in unexpected ways as well as wearing the same piece in all facets of your life... therefore it is very affordable.  Think about it... you buy the sequined tank for a party, then you could wear it to work under a jacket and later, layer it with a sweater on the weekends!  This is why I love, love, love this store!

For me, I would say the hardest part of prepping for this event was trying to streamline what I wanted to talk about.  I have a bit of a crazy brain (ie. millions of thoughts racing around at any given minute) so I have a little difficulty focusing.  Therefore, any time I walk into J.Crew, I get really excited because there is sooo much to play with.  As you can imagine, my brain goes into overdrive and I just don't know where to begin... that is why I spent many hours in the store in the week prior to the event... just trying to focus!

Well, eventually I figured out... it is all about smart shopping... using what you already have and then adding a touch of sass and sparkle to freshen it up!  Okay then, if I am going to tell everyone else this, I guess that I have to practice what I preach, right?  Ugh!!!  I wanted to buy the entire store, especially because I have another presentation next week, but I refrained and used what I had... played around a bit with texture, casual/formal, found an old belt that seemed to fit my needs... voilĂ ... it worked!  I can officially say that I am doing exactly what I am telling you to do in my presentation... but, I am not going to lie... I would still love to buy everything in the store!

However, I do need to let you know that there are two fabulous belts online that I am drooling over... perfect for spicing up something that you already own....  I am in love!

                             - Allison
*photos of belts, courtesy of jcrew.com



As I drove my daughter to preschool this morning, I was trying to decide what to wear... you must understand that I am not a morning person, and the most I can manage before school are my "comfy clothes" (otherwise known as dressed up jammies).  Why is my decision is so hard today... it is definitely the weather.  It is 40 degrees, gray, windy and spitting half frozen rain.  It is that time of the year where there are more leaves on the ground than on the trees, but I am actually a bit excited because you know the holiday season is just around the corner!

Then, suddenly, as I was mesmerized by the colors of what was left of the Fall foliage... a lightbulb went on!  I have got it!  I want to wear a beautiful floral dress, layered with a tissue t-neck or a gray chunky knit sweater belted over it and, of course, my Frye boots.  Now, I don't own this fabulous dress, but a Ralph Lauren gown came to mind as did many other beautiful designer florals.  It just seemed like a perfect day to wear something that is pretty, feminine and cozy while adding that element of ruggedness. I think that this will be my perfect November outfit... we can all dream, right?!

After all of this daydreaming, I have come to the conclusion that we must all have a Fall floral dress in our closets.  It will be our "go to" on days when we feel a bit down or just need to feel pretty.  Plus, you could dress it up with faux fur and heels for an evening out, or winterize it a bit more and wear it out to dinner after a long day of skiing.  The options are endless.  Most importantly, you can probably find a great dress at Forever 21!  Really you have no excuses, go get your dress!  Me, I think I will be adding one to my Christmas list!

                         - Allison

*photos courtesy of bergdorfgoodman.com & neimanmarcus.com 


An exciting makeover...

For awhile now, there has been quite a void in the market for affordable, fashionable clothing for women about 40 and older.  Now, I am not being an ageist or anything like that, it is just a fact (seriously, when you are 45, you are not going to want to wear a taffeta miniskirt when you go out, are you???).  As we get older our preferences for stylish clothing don't change, it is just some of things that you wore when you were younger just aren't as appropriate anymore (such as shorter hemlines).  Women, in general, tend to prefer more tailored and elegant pieces as they age... classic versus trendy... heavier fabrics that skim the body versus tight, clingy clothing.

The exciting news is that Talbots has stepped up and has begun to fill this void in the market!  "Talbots?!", you say... "my mother wears Talbots."  This isn't your mother's Talbots... or, should I say, this is now your Talbots too!  Talbots has just revamped their line.  They have gone back to their roots and revisited the original vision of founder, Nancy Talbot.  She wrote in a store publication that the clothes in her store are "fashionable but not funky - chic and understated, the hallmarks of good taste."  And, the designers have done a great job of living up to this vision!

So what exactly is Talbots doing differently?  Well,  they have taken many of the current trends... sequins, lace, chunky knits, leopard print, etc... and used them in the design of tailored, timeless shapes that are very flattering for women of every age.  And, fear not, those of you who love all of Talbots basics... they are still there, the fit has just been updated.  In general, the clothes are more tailored to a woman's body now... the days of the boxy shirt or jacket and the pants that have no shape are gone.  No matter what you wear, the fit is the most important factor in any piece of clothing that you own.

My advice to you... go take a look at Talbots... a far cry from "your mother's store"!

                                                                 - Allison
*all photos courtesy of talbots.com


Are you label crazy???

Who doesn't love to wear a label... Tory Burch flats, a Burberry quilted coat, a Louis Vuitton or Gucci bag... I could go on and on.  I am not going to lie, I love my Louis handbag and I have definitely had my eye on a pair of leopard print Tory wedges, but when does it get to be too much?

Burberry coat... so cute, but is it too much?

Let's face it, these labels are status symbols.  For most of us, we dream about owning (for example) a Chanel quilted handbag. Then, one day, after many years of pouring blood, sweat & tears into saving money for this above said bag... we can finally buy it!  Oh, the joy!!!  Of course we want to flaunt it, who wouldn't?!  But there does come a time when too many labels can take you from chic to a wannabe... no joke.   Now, I don't want to offend anyone, this is just something that I have observed and mulled over for a bit... this is my conclusion.

Beautiful bag, but are you buying for the logo?

For example, I recently saw a very cute woman wearing Tory flats, a Tory belt (also with a large insignia), a large Louis handbag and a Burberry coat complete with a plaid collar and cuffs.  Then, the other day at the store, I saw another really well-dressed woman in the checkout line holding her Louis wallet, a very large Chanel bag (I was a bit jealous) and Prada boots (how did I know they were Prada, because it was written right on the top of each boot)!  Do you see what I mean?  It just gets silly after awhile.  We get it, you have a lot of money, or you are buying great fakes!  A stylish woman does not need labels to be fabulous.

Gucci aviators... sexy & subtle

So, the next time you are going to buy an investment piece, stop yourself for a minute and think... am I buying this just for the logo, or are you completely in love with this handbag, jacket, shoe, etc.???  Just remember, the most chic and elegant ladies are usually the ones who are not wearing really visible labels, or wear them sparingly.  The most important factors should be the fit, shape, the details, "is it a classic?"... cultivate your own personal style instead of defaulting to the status pieces.

The YSL Muse bag... this is an investment piece!

Now that I have finished my rant, I still want my Tory wedges, but I will be careful what I wear them with (when I get them)... it is all about what is right for you!

                    - Allison

* photos courtesy of berfdorfgoodman.com, toryburch.com & ruggedelegantliving.com