Spring Cleaning at the House of Toi

For those of you living in the city or near the city, it is time to get yourself to the Zang Toi sample sale that is happening now!  I have it on good authority that prices are being slashed, so this is the chance that we have been waiting for... go get yourself some beautiful clothes.

I am also happy to let you know that my favorite tees, The Bamboo Shirt by P-THREE, will be available as well!  So exciting!  No excuses, check it out!

When... now!  11-8pm today & tomorrow (May 24th & 25th)
Where... 30 West 57th Street 7th Fl, New York, NY 10019
What... Zang Toi Sample Sale

Just to refresh your memory, these are several looks from Zang's Spring 2011 show...

                                    - Allison

*Photos courtesy of monstersandcritics.com.


Birthday Party Bonanza

Saturday afternoon I was hanging out at the bowling alley for niece's birthday party. It was a great party and everyone had fun, but isn't it funny how many of your weekends are filled with children's birthday parties? Even if you don't have kids, you probably know a handful of people with kids or you have nieces and nephews... so you understand the birthday party shuffle. Once the weather gets warm, the invitations start rolling in. Before you know it, the weekends are booked... birthday parties, bbq's, sporting events... you name it. Lots of activities and nothing to wear, right?!

It seems to be trickier dressing at this time of the year because you are just out more. You still have your "weekday uniform" but that won't fly on the weekends and you can't wear skinny jeans and boots all summer, so what are you to do? The best thing to do is find several key pieces that can be mixed and matched with things that you already own.

1. skinny white jeans (ankle length is best)
     - picture Jackie O in her cropped white jeans and a black tee. These jeans can be paired with tanks,  
       tunics, sequin tee's, you name it. They are the basis of your summer wardrobe and they can be worn
       during the day or at night.

2. sundress (can be maxi or something longer and a little loose - think flowing & comfortable)
     - a dress is so easy in the summer. Throw it on and you are ready to go... wherever. It is also looks
       great layered under a jacket or sweater or is even better on a hot day. Definitely a go-to piece on the

3. striped tee
     - just as classic as the white jeans. You must have some sort of representation of the sailor stripe in
       your wardrobe. This shirt is perfect when a little loose and can be worn with pretty much anything,
       including patterns...

4. fitted jacket or blazer
     - this is taking the place your leather jacket. You need something that you can throw on over a dress,
       or with a tee and jeans that will add a bit of edge to your outfit.

5. chunky knit cardigan
     - this is the kind of sweater that you could throw on over a dress, with your shorts or your striped
       shirt, even a swimsuit at the end of a fabulous beach day. It is heavy enough to keep you warm on a
       cool summer evening, but not too bulky.

6. colorful shorts
     - a cute pair of dressier, colorful shorts are a must have!  Dress them up or down, and they are much
       more functional and modern than a little skirt.... especially when playing with the little ones.

7. wedge sandals
     - these are perfect for the days you want to dress up a bit, but it is still a daytime function. Chances
       are you will be chasing after kids, so you don't want to break an ankle, but you don't want to
       wear flip flops again...

8. wide belt
     - something neutral, ligheter weight (jute)...on the more casual side. Use it on a skirt, dress, tunic...
       give your outfit some shape and more summery feel.

9. boat shoe or skimmer
     - not everyday will be sunny and warm. Days (like today) can be cooler and rainy. A cute pair of
       kicks that are not open toe are perfect for those less desirable afternoons.

10. aviators
     - a classic. Always in style and they look good on everyone - also has a cool & casual vibe.

Enjoy those weekends you are prepared to face those events with a lot of style!

Do you have a summer essential that you can't live without?  Let me know... we should add to the list!

                                      - Allison
*Photos courtesy of shopbop.com, jcrew.com, madewell.com, gap.com, piperlime.com, endless.com


Rosie's Style Tips

Not only is Rosie Pope inspiring, she also had some great tips on what to wear when expecting and in your "fourth trimester". Her advice and design philosophy are fairly classic. She follows the runway trends and ignores the maternity industry. If you see her in the store, she will tell you that "if you won't wear it when you are not pregnant, don't wear it while you are pregnant". This goes along with the belief that many women compromise their clothing and style while pregnant, and this should not be the case.  Therefore the design and quality of the fabrics are very important to Pope.

So what do you get when you visit Rosie Pope Maternity? You get an attention to design and detail as well as clothes that you would buy on an everyday basis, but are made to fit a pregnant woman. Okay, enough with the preaching... what are her tips???

The essentials for every pregnant woman...

* leggings - invest in a nice quality
* tanks - wear alone or layered - the basis of your wardrobe
* dresses - they are easy, comfy, will easily take you from day to night and will last longer (the most versatile are wraps and shirtdresses)
* pants - invest in at least one pair of great pants
* jeans - same as the pants

A tip when trying on pants and jeans... try on many different brands and fits. Just because a specific brand fit you well before, once you are pregnant your body changes. This same brand may not fit as well as it did prior to your pregnancy. Be open to trying on everything. This also goes for different types of waistbands. There are several different ways that pants are made... the waist covers the belly, fits underneath the belly, etc. You need to try on everything to make sure that you figure out what is most comfortable for you.

For the "fourth trimester", Pope gave me the best advice that I have ever heard... buy some maternity clothes that you LOVE at the very end of your pregnancy.  Don't wear them until after you have had the baby.  This way you won't associate them with being pregnant and they will fit you much better than trying to squeeze into pre-pregnancy pieces.  Also, check out nursing options.  There are some cute styles out there that will help make nursing while you are out and about much easier.

The essentials for this transition time...

* leggings - good quality
* tunics  - spend some more on some pieces so you will enjoy wearing them

This is great and timeless advice. Take it and run. Visit Pope's website and if you are close enough, head to her store in Manhattan. For the rest of the country, she is planning on expanding her clothing stores and studios next year!

                                  - Allison

*Photos courtesy of rosiepopematernity.com.


A lesson I learned from Rosie

Recently I was able to speak with designer, educator, maternity concierge, and star of Bravo's Pregnant in Heels, Rosie Pope. I was so excited for this opportunity because I (like everyone else) love Rosie! She is genuine, creative and brilliant! She could be your best friend and at the same time she is taking over the maternity world!

For those of you not familiar with Rosie's story, I will catch you up briefly... Pope came onto the maternity scene in 2008 when her clothing store in Manhattan first opened. She first discovered a large void for stylish and wearable maternity clothes as she and her friends began to think about starting their families. Instead of complaining about the lack of options, Pope got to work and started creating chic looks for the women in her life. As things took off, Pope found herself getting ready to open her first store as she was about to give birth to her first child.

Once her store opened, she realized a void in education for pregnant women as well as those who have just given birth. Once again, Pope took it upon herself to start offering classes in her store. As things grew, she opened her studio, MomPrep, two blocks away from her clothing store. She now offers everything from prenatal yoga, infant CPR classes to debates between experts in the field (such as a doula vs. an anesthesiologist).

If that weren't enough, her maternity concierge services began as women began coming in the store and asking questions. As she began to be asked consistently about things like baby proofing and finding a nanny. Pope had no idea that there was even a need for a service like this, but just like everything else, she took it upon herself to fill this void. Now, you can go to Pope for a variety of needs before or after your baby is born.

Before I get to the style tips, the lesson that I learned from Rosie is to be a doer! Her success has been based on her ability to identify voids in the market and to fill them well. She is obviously a caring and talented person, but her resourcefulness in acting on these ideas is what I admire most. Plus, she is building her empire while starting a family... very impressive!

If you haven't watched Rosie's show yet, you must watch the season finale of Pregnant in Heels - Tuesday on Bravo. I guarantee that you will fall in love with Rosie too!

*P.S.  Check back tomorrow for style tips while expecting and after you have the baby... straight from Rosie!

                                  - Allison

*Photos courtesy of thedailybeast.com, thestyelist.com, bagsnob.com & momstrendnyc.com