Must Have Wedge

While working on a Resort piece for NMdaily, I found myself wondering over to Shopbop just to browse for a minute at the new resort looks.  Somehow I started looking at wedges (my latest obsession).  But, instead of looking at booties, I started looking at sandals.  Makes sense, right?  Winter just started yesterday after all.

Well, wouldn't you know that I found the most amazing pair of wedges!  The best part is that they are gorgeous and affordable... love!  Anyway, I had to share...

Boutique 9 Linya T Strap Wedge Sandals

                                                                                                  - Allison


The Holiday Challenge

Has this ever happened to you?  While efficiently Christmas shopping online, my eye may have wandered  a time or two to look for something fun to wear during the holiday festivities.  Then I find it, the perfect dress/skirt/blouse!  I come back to purchase a few hours later to find out that the item has sold out (or is on backorder until 2.6.12)!  Seriously?!  When I start to browse around for a replacement item, I realize that the entire web is backordered until February and I have nothing to wear!

At this point I start to wonder (just like I do in all fashion emergencies)... what would Carrie do?  The answer comes almost immediately... head back to where it all begins... my closet.  Carrie Bradshaw was a mix master.  Always pairing the most unexpected pieces, and it always (just about every time) worked!  Why can't I do the same thing?  My wardrobe is not as diverse as Carrie's but there has to be something good in there, right?

I can guarantee that we all have great pieces tucked away that we don't wear on a day to day basis.  Or, wear something in a way that you haven't worn it before... pair a sparkly sweater with a cute dress and voilà... a new skirt!  Or take a cute dress and tuck it into a great full skirt... a new top!  Layer a lace tee under a sleeveless top, or stick a sequin dress or tank under something sheer.  The options are endless!

Browsing online at streetstyle blogs or images of your favorite celebrities can also be a great source of inspiration.  These images of Carrie have been burned in my brain... they define my style to a T.

My holiday challenge is this... get your creative juices flowing and mix and match what you already own.  I am betting that you will be amazed at the fabulous ensembles that you create without buying a thing! This is the perfect time of year to really have fun with your outfit and make a statement.

Let me know how it goes...  

                                                                                                - Allison

Behind the Seams: Project Runway All Stars Austin Scarlet & Elisa Jiminez

What could be better than Project Runway?  That's right, Project Runway All Stars... 13 of our favorite Project Runway alums competing for the biggest prize in the show's history!  And, the style will be stepped up a bit with Neiman Marcus as the official sponsor of the Accessories wall.  The winner's collection will also be featured in select Neiman Marcus stores and online at neimanmarcus.com.  Plus, my favorite fashion director, Ken Downing, will be appearing as a guest judge!  This is going to be a great season!

As the publicity train begins to roll, All Star contestants Austin Scarlet and Elisa Jiminez stopped by the Paramus Neiman Marcus.  They had two of their original designs on display, signed autographs and posed for pictures with some very lucky fans.  I had the opportunity to chat with these amazing designers... there is so much more to them than their "characters" on the show.  Check out my post on NMdaily to read all about it!

                                                                                                   - Allison


Footwear Fun on a Snowy Day

Alright, I had to post this after seeing a Zoe Report about the new Sorel boots.  It was three years ago when I purchased my first pair.  You know the ones... a duck boot bottom with fur at the top.  I was sold on their ads... the girl dressed up in sequins, etc with a pair of the Joan of Artic boots.  It is the perfect mix unexpectedness that I love!  I am not going to lie, any ad campaign that features a woman in some sort of long and flowing dress with boots (i.e. Frye, Sorel, and those Qoddy boots are next on my list), I am completely sold on... I am such a sucker.

Back to my point... it really is amazing how stylish snow boots have become.  I would have to say that the majority of these styles are not really going to do very well in the dirty, slushy conditions, but is nice to have some fun with your footwear on cold and snowy days. Sorel has really stepped up with a lot of fab styles.  There is something for everyone on their website... you have to check it out.        

My personal favorite is the Crazy Cable Wedge.  I feel like I should jump right into one of the eighties dance movies... I would be so cool!  Or, maybe I will have some fun (and feel tall) après skiing.

I also like the Fernie tall boot.  It is almost like an updated Ugg... perfect for a cold day when you need something basic... but still cute.

For the traditionalist or the no frills kind of gal, the Caribou is perfect.

For those Lisa Vanderpump's out there, we have the Wild Wooly Wedge...

Before deciding on a pair of snowboots this season, make sure to check out Sorel.  There really is something for everyone.

                                                                                                               - Allison

*Photos courtesy of sorel.com.


The Swan - a new classic?!

You may or may not be aware that I am a huge Twilight fan.  I admit it, I fell hard for the Bella/Edward/Jacob love story and have read Breaking Dawn twice (yes, I am a dork!).  To say that I am excited to see the book played out on the big screen might just be the understatement of the year!

As far as fashion goes, the Twilight movies have never been much to talk about... Bella is not interested in fashion at all, and Alice "the fashionable one" never really appears to be all that chic (and is always wearing some sort of strange choker necklace).  It was to my delight (and every other fashion loving twihard) that Breaking Dawn is putting a bit more importance on fashion. It was just announced this summer that Carolina Herrera designed what is destined to be a very famous wedding dress (Kate who???).  And, none other than Manolo Blahnik created the wedding shoe.

Amazingly enough, the dress has not been photographed or leaked (as far as I know).  The only images available are those from the trailer, and they are such a tease!  The anticipation is killing me.  The only information that I have gathered is that it took 6 months to design, and Herrera took into consideration the description in the book as well as the personality of the bride... hmmm.

However, every cloud has a silver lining... the shoe, otherwise known as the "Swan", can be yours today!  The Swan is part of Blahnik's Resort 2012 collection.  It is a satin stiletto with a gorgeous crystal-beaded vine appliqué available in a white, cranberry or black.  The NMdaily posed the question- "Could this be the next Something Blue (aka the Carrie Bradshaw shoe)?"  My thought is... if a blue Swan shoe is made, I am sold!

                                            - Allison
*Photos courtesy of twilightsaga.com and neimanmarcus.com.


Party Perfect Obsessions

On this very dreary day (i.e. cold & rainy), I have not wanted to do anything except stay warm and cozy while avoiding any and all household related matters.  Procrastination led me to start daydreaming about a super cool ensemble that I would wear to a very chic holiday party that I have not been invited to quite yet...  and the rest is history.

My look would start with this gorgeous Halston Heritage faux fur jacket... can you say yummy?!  

I have decided that I must own this Rory Beca romper... so cool yet basic... a great piece to play with.

Oh, and these Stella McCartney teal velvet pumps are to die for!

I must not forget these Nicole Romano oversized stud earrings... the perfect blend classic and edgy.

This Cornelia Webb folded cuff is perfect.  Adds some interest, but won't steal the show.

Alexis Bittar's white quartz ring is the perfect finishing touch!

Now that I have my outfit, I just need a party... or some fab event would work too.  Any suggestions?!

                                  - Allison

*Photos courtesy of shopbop.com, neimanmarcus.com, maxandchloe.com, intermixonline.com.


Looking like a Lady

Trying to decipher all of the fall trends can be exhausting.  And, after we spend months pouring over the trends, the real kicker is that these fashion trends don't dictate how to dress any longer.  At least not in the sense of several decades ago when skirt lengths, pant styles, etc were mandated by the designers.   Now it is more about inspiration, personal style and what works best for your body.  

As far as inspiration goes, if there is one trend this season to pay attention to, it is Ensemble Dressing.  It can also be referred to as Lady Chic or any other ladylike adjectives... I think you get the idea.  And, if you are wondering, this does not mean that you are to dress as if you are right out of the 1950's.  Although, Ken did mention that if you could walk in your pencil skirt, it wasn't tight enough!  

This trend is really about looking put together.  It is about paying attention to all of the details of your outfit... making sure your outfit looks thought out versus thrown on in a mad dash because you are late for work.  You might say that this means you should pay attention to what coat you are wearing with a particular dress, or make sure that your shoes and handbags complement each other in style (they do not have to match, but it is okay if they do).

Below are some pictures from the Ken Downing fashion show at Neiman's that I attended back in October.  These demonstrate the art of Ensemble Dressing.  Just note, there are many different styles below with one thing in common... they all look like finished outfits, and that is the key!

Bright colors, scuba inspired with a pop of yellow (going to be a big color this spring)

Patterns are a great way to add some excitement to neutrals.

Zebra prints are a great way to add interest.  Also note the pattern and texture play... a chic combo.

1920's inspired Chanel... note the drop waist... another big trend this spring.

Once again playing with texture... perfect for mixing neutrals.

 A previous show at Neiman's illustrating the same Lady Chic art of dressing.  I love the hat as a perfect finishing touch.

Once again, Chanel, always gorgeous.  However, easily replicated at lower price points.

Handbags, fur stoles, hats... my favorite part!

                                   - Allison


Killer Deal... One Skirt, Many Looks

Amidst all of the craziness around here... freak snowstorms, falling trees, power outages, 70 degree weather, etc, I just discovered that one of my most favorite skirts for fall has been marked down... again!  This skirt is amazing!  It is so amazing that I just might have to order the ivory for the fabulous price of $89.99!

The skirt I am speaking of is from Madewell.  It is the Alexa Chung Grandma Skirt.  A change in the name might have helped it sell better originally, but I am not going to complain.  It is a silk maxi skirt (ankle length or shorter depending on your height).  It is high-waisted, cut on the bias, slim through the hips and thigh area with a flare towards the knee... completely gorgeous and flattering.  The reason that I am so enamored with this skirt (besides that it makes me feel pretty) is the versatility.

I originally bought the black.  I have worn it to a large tailgate/steeplechase otherwise known as The Hunt, to run errands, out to dinner and around the house.  I love wearing it with my fur vest and cowboy booties just as much as I do with "dressy" booties and sequins.  I am also looking forward to wearing it with fairisle and some sort of snow boot in the coming months.  When I find a good wedge bootie, this will be the perfect skirt to pair with it as well.

I know that I have become quite the "maxi pusher", but I can't help myself.  I love the drama of the longer lengths.  I recently read an interview in which my fave, Rachel Zoe, was talking about the maxi.  She said to think of it as you would jeans or pants... just switch your old stand-bys and slip in the dress or skirt.  It looks great with chunky knits or tee's.  Really you can't go wrong.

Happy Shopping!

                                  - Allison


Breaking Down Bold Color with Ken Downing

Wow!  Things have been so crazy lately, I don't even know where to begin... so many trend presentations, great news and items to share.  Who knew half-day kindergarten was going to be such a time commitment!  I am going to do my best to bestow all of my fantastic news in a timely manner, so keep checking back.

*On a side note, Blogger has added new template options... very exciting!  So, you may see my site changing around a bit as I play with everything.  Feel free to let me know if you like/dislike any of the changes. :)

Ok, so back to business.  I had the opportunity to sit in on a fabulous Ken Downing runway show at the Neiman Marcus in Paramus this week.  First, I love Ken Downing.  He is amazing!  And, two, he broke down one of the biggest trends with some simple, short and very easy to follow advice.

Bold color and color blocking go hand in hand this season.  Bold color is important as an accent for the neutral lovers out there and it is just as fabulous when put together with other bold colors for the more adventurous fashionista.  Or, you can happily settle somewhere in the middle and add touches when and where you feel comfortable.

The only challenge is how to mix up the bold colors, and how do you know which is the right bold color to add?  First you have to take your coloring into account.  Only you know the colors the make your eyes pop.  And two, stick to color families - cool tones or warm tones.  It makes things so much easier and and the colors blend better.  This helps to achieve a more polished look.

Ken's advice builds on these initial concepts.  For warm tones... reds, pinks, purples... imagine roses.  All of the colors that blend together.  Even a painting would work.  The way the artist blends different shades of the same color.  For cool tones, think of a peacock feather.  The deep blues, greens, teal... sometimes a bright blue - so gorgeous, right?!  Use these image to help pick the colors that you would wear together.  You shouldn't stress too much about things being perfect.  As long as the color combo is pleasing to the eye, and the colors look like they belong together you are going to look super chic!

Ken's main focus was on the red and pink family.  He is obsessed with burgundy this fall.  He even created a lip and nail color exclusive to Neiman's!  However, the cool tones are still big as well as other color families.  It really all depends what colors you prefer and what your comfort level is with color.

Another trend that you may pick up on in these photos is "Lady Chic".  The polished, put-together look is very important this season as well.  I will touch on that later, but when putting together your colorful ensembles; keep in mind that the look is very tailored right now... very Grace Kelly meets the 70's!


Fashion Show, Neiman's Merchandise Director, Fall Trends... I'll be there!

I have a sneaking suspicion that this might not be the last time that I say this... Every time I think Neiman Marcus has offered an amazing event to attend, they turn around and have an even better event the following week!  I am not joking! There were guest stylists and gift with purchase two weeks ago, a scavenger hunt for Nancy Gonzalez clutches last week and this week... a presentation by the NM merchandise director, Kareen Mallet!  

Kareen Mallet will be at the Paramus NM at 12pm on Thursday, October 6th for a fall trend presentation.  It is a chance to see a fashion show and meet Kareen.  And, if I know a NM event, you will get a chance to pick her brain for answers on your most burning fall fashion questions.  

So, take a long lunch or call a sitter and make your way to Neiman's on Thursday at noon.  But, you must make sure to rsvp! Send your rsvp via email to kimberly_kaufman@neimanmarcus.com.

See you there!

                                        - Allison

My Evening with Rachel Zoe

Finally, after much deliberation on how to put into words my night with RZ and Ken Downing, it is finally finished... woo hoo!  It is posted on Bergen Health & Life's website.  Click here to check it out!

Discussing the sequin cardi... 

Taking a break!

How to wear the dress... decisions, decisions...

                                           - Allison


The First of the Fall Trends

I completely loved being a guest stylist at Neiman Marcus this past weekend.  Not only was it very exciting and a lot fun, but it also forced me to really narrow down my top picks for fall.  At the beginning of every season, I love everything.  I like to imagine how and where I would wear the various trends, until I come back to reality and realize that most of the gorgeous clothing available would not fit into my lifestyle.  This usually happens midway through the season... after I have either bought and returned half of my wardrobe, or ended up with pieces that just don't get worn.  I never thought that this event would be so helpful for me, personally!

The Wednesday before the event, I scoured Neiman's contemporary department with my rolling rack for about two hours.  After lots of contemplating, I came to the conclusion that there are about ten trends that are worth considering this fall.  Some can be combined, other's you may have covered or not be interested in this year.  I will discuss them all and let you decide.  For the sake of time, I will touch on all in the next couple of weeks.  Today, I would like you to consider one of my favorite looks... the maxi dress.

Many of you will remember that I have been taken with the maxi dress since earlier the spring.  When I saw this trend carried on through the fall (and even next spring), I jumped for joy.  I feel that the maxi (dress or skirt) is so easy to wear.  I liken it to putting on my yoga pants everyday... I slip one on in the morning, grab my flip flops or ankle booties and I am ready to go.  Granted, if you are heading to the playground or a conservative office, this may not be the ideal piece of clothing, but believe me it will take you far.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that the long line of the maxi will help lengthen you while disguising any problem areas (just play up your assets).

The beauty of some of my favorite maxi's this season (so far) is the drama and versatility that they possess. For example, I could put the dress on in the morning with my worn out leather belt, a pair of Frye booties... maybe add my fur vest if it is chilly.  At night, I would wear the same dress with a pair of gorgeous earrings, a fab ring and maybe a pair of platform booties or heels... maybe python, maybe something in color, or just basic black (depends on my mood).  Either way, it is a killer look!

I would literally die to own all of the dresses below... cut beautifully and understated enough to allow you to "play"!

Theyskens' Theory Long Silk Gown... I think the picture says it all... fabulous!

Sachin + Babi Vanessa Silk Gown... this is the one that I used at Neiman's!  I die!

Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent Bound Corset Maxi Dress... I love the simplicity of this dress.  It comes in 4 different colors, and I would like them all!

Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent Decollete Bias Maxi Dress... I have this dress in a green floral.  It fits beautifully.  I am dying to wear it with some sort of cozy black sweater... I just haven't found the right one yet.  I will keep you posted!

Your mission this week is to find your perfect maxi dress.  Happy shopping!

                                           - Allison
*Photos courtesy of neimanmarcus.com and cynthiavincent.net.