It's time to take the plunge... Animal Prints Abound!

I still remember buying my first pair of leopard print pumps.  It was right after my oldest daughter was born.  I was so tired of wearing the same clothes for months.  Even worse, I still couldn't fit into any of my pre-pregnancy favorites, so having a fun pump was the perfect accessory to freshen up my very tired wardrobe.  Since then, there has been no going back.  Leopard/cheetah print has now found its way into my closet in many various forms... pumps, flats, belts, scarves and even booties.  The only thing that I have yet to purchase in animal print is clothing... until now!

The leopard/cheetah print has become such a staple lately, that it is really considered a new neutral.  The next time you do some window shopping take a look... animal prints mixed with brights, florals, stripes, polka dots, you name it!  And, yes, my latest obsession has been revealed.  I can't seem to help myself, I am drawn to those darn spots... it is becoming quite a problem.  I have recently added a leopard print maxi cardigan, shift dress and a pair of skinny cropped pants.  Since my wardrobe is primarily solid, this has been a great way to mix it up.  I actually am quite surprised by all of the fun things you can do with this "wild" print.

To illustrate my point, you have to see Tibi's latest arrivals.  This Pre-Spring collection is made up of a fab cheetah print, navy & white stripes, and a navy & white polka dot pattern - a mix & match dream come true!  If I could buy all of this, I would.  Until then, I will dream...

Let me introduce you to the perfect cheetah print...

Picture the possibilities with this print.  You could be trendsetter, a streetsyle dream or super chic... you choose based on your mood.  An easy pairing for a trendsetter type look is a black or white top and bold flats or pumps.  This is easily one of my favorite looks!  I am loving the bright blue right now... it just seems really fresh.  Keep in mind any other bright color will look great red, pink, green...
These Jimmy Choo's or the Pour La Victoire flats would be perfect!

To get you noticed for you streetsyle, pair these pieces with a bright sweater - a great kick-around look for a carefree day.  I absolutely love the Tippi Sweater at J.Crew.  It is affordable, comes in a variety of colors and can be worn with anything.  A splurge-worthy sweater is the Cashmere Isabel Sweatshirt.  It would look great with anything, even over a shift.  Keep the shoes neutral, or pair with a color blocked sandal to really shake things up!

Then there is the more refined, ladylike approach to wearing the animal print... blazers, blouses, maybe a touch of sequins.  This look could be worn to the office, out to dinner or to an event.  I rocked this look last week... let's call it a "vintage" jacket, a black sequin tank, my cheetah print pants and pointy toe black patent pumps.  I loved it!  I felt chic and looked pretty darn good too!  Once again from J.Crew (sorry, I can't help myself), we have the Jubilee Jacket, the Hacking Jacket, the Talitha Blouse and the Sequin Cami

The most important thing to remember with the animal prints is to keep it simple.  Add color, add jewelry but just don't go overboard.  Pick and choose.  The color freshens up the look and keeps it fun, while the more neutral colors... classic black, ivory and white add a certain sophistication to the look.  Just relish the endless opportunities the animal print gives you!

Just hangin' with the Housewives... no big deal. :)
                                          - Allison
*Photos courtesy of tibi.com, jimmychoo.com, shopbop.com and jcrew.com.


Get Your Shift On!

The Spring is upon us.  We technically have two more months, and a lot of winter to get through, but that doesn't stop retail.  We are nearing the end of Resort and ushering in the Spring trends, yet I can't really see myself wearing flats until at least March.  So, instead of telling me what to pack on my vacation, I would really appreciate ideas on how to wear all of these colorful pieces now!  Let's face it, we all would like to add something new to our wardrobes, but there is no need to buy something that we can't wear for at least two months.  It will be on sale by then!

As we are bombarded by the latest trends, I have tried to sort them out... color is in, but so are pastels.  Mod is back and so is the Flapper.  The Seventies are still around and we can't forget the Eighties... hello, neon!  Sequins, lace, fringe, and ruffles are popular as well as clean lines.  However, one of the biggest and most undisputed themes is a nod to femininity.  Ladylike dressing is very important this season as it was in the Fall.  A good piece of advice - when in doubt, dress like a lady.

Keeping femininity as our focus, I would like to introduce The Shift.  The shift is known for it's simple styling, higher neckline and straight or A-line shape.  In other words, it is a dress that will always have a place in your closet, and can be worn all year.  There are short shifts and longer ones for the more mature, crazy patterns, demure prints - most importantly there is something for everyone.  This season the shift is back in full force and is the perfect pick to wear now and later.  It does depend on the style, but the shift can be worn with tights and boots (or booties), a sweater, a blazer, a tee or turtleneck underneath.  It is a perfect way to add some color on a dreary day without looking like you stepped out of a spring catalog.

Some shifts that I have my eye on right now...

This Animal Print Shift is one of many available at Topshop.  I liked the animal print because it is a little more exciting.  It is the perfect wear to work with a blazer or out at night with some sexy heels and a great belt.  The definition of an easy shift that is very versatile.

I can't help it, but this Sachin + Babi dress makes me think of Working Girl.  I keep thinking of the Eighties and power suits... Anywho, I love the dress!  I think this is fab for all ages.  It would look great with a pop of color layered underneath or some fun shoes.  Add a belt for a different look.  So many options with this dress.

You can never go wrong with DVF, and this is a great example.  The Diane Hanky Shift Dress makes a statement on it's own, but would look great with color too.  I don't think I would belt it, but is the perfect canvas for fun jewelry and shoes.

I love Tibi!  I can't really afford Tibi, but I like to dream.  With a nod to mod, this Tibi Shift Dress is a great wear now wear later piece.  Enough said.

What would a post be without a little J.Crew?  This J.Crew shift is fun, colorful and would look great on everyone.  I think it would look just as cute with snow boots as it would with wedges.

And now for the dress that I will definitely never own, but love... Derek Lam's Colorblock Shift.  I love how the colorblocking is used to give a flapper feel to the dress. If I owned this, I would have to wear it once a week.  I am totally serious.  And, I believe that I could go at least six weeks without wearing the same way twice.  It is amazing how versatile the shift can be!

Make sure a shift is one of your new purchases this season.  You won't regret it!

                                          - Allison

*Photos courtesy of neimanmarcus.com, shopbop.com, topshop.com.


Not Just for the Gym

I admit it, I am a wannabe yogi and dancer.  There is something to be said for the physical/emotional/mental benefits (a great yoga class rivals the after effects of a good chiropractic adjustment), but I think my real reason is for the clothes (what a surprise!).  I often find myself daydreaming about running to class in chic little hoodie layered over very cool but comfy exercise clothes.  After class, I would layer up again and be able to run all over town looking great.  I wouldn't have to worry about looking like a sweaty mess that just came from the gym.

The reality of the situation is that I have been trying to make it to a yoga class for over a month, and I haven't quite found a dance class that would fit into my schedule (zumba doesn't count).  My exercise clothes consist of a lot of old tee's and yoga pants that are so old that they are looking more gray than black.  With my days getting more hectic, I have realized that it might be worthwhile to invest a little more into clothes for the gym.  My reasoning is that if I spend a little more money and buy pieces with some style, I will end up with cute clothes that can be worn all day.  Therefore, these pieces will become part of my daily uniform.  With the majority of my days consisting of running around my girls, writing when I can and hopefully exercising at some point it seems like an efficient solution.

It must have been fate because yesterday I open my mailbox to find a new catalog... Sweaty Betty.  Maybe you have heard of them, but this was the first time I had heard of the London based company.  They design women's activewear that blends fashion and function perfectly.  Honestly, some of these pieces are so cute that I find it hard to believe that you are supposed to wear them to the gym, but I guess that is the beauty of the sweat wicking fabric.  Don't you love technology?!

I was trying to decide on the pieces to feature in my post, and I honestly can't decide... I have too many favorites!  So, I am just going to show you the what first caught my interest...  

Cute, right?!  I can't wait to see what's in store for Spring!

                                                                                                                          - Allison

*Photos courtesy of sweatybetty.com


Color is Key - Resort 2012

The holidays are over, sales are upon us, there is Valentine's candy at the grocery store and for all of fashionistas out there, we begin to wonder "what's next?".  While the fashion world is gearing up for Fashion Week next month, we are left to focus on Resort.  Resort collections are always fun.  Usually full of bright colors and prints as well as some stripes here and there... it always refreshing as we face the dreaded winter months.

Not too long ago, Kareen Mallet, the ready-to-wear director at Neiman Marcus, visited the Paramus store to update us on the Resort 2012 trends.  It was a great show!  Loads of fab looks and accessories... to find out more, check out my post on NMdaily.

                                                                                                                 - Allison


My Favorite Combination... so far...

While attempting my holiday challenge over the last couple of weeks (which turned out great!), I ended up putting together a look that I love.  We were going out for our annual Christmas adult family dinner (i.e. the perfect excuse to get dressed up) and I had nothing to wear.  Every year I look forward to this dinner, not only because it is fun, but it is a reason to get a fab new outfit!  I would have liked to purchase one of the zillion dresses that was sold out or backordered until February (which I have already complained about), but I guess it just wasn't meant to be.  So, I had to shop my closet.

When forced to make your creative juices flow, it really is amazing what you can come up with.  I have been very proud and excited about some of my new combinations lately.  I guess it is really all about rediscovering an older piece of clothing that fits really well.... and then you start to fall in love all over again.

I started with this amazing Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent dress.  I absolutely love this dress, but rarely get to wear it.  It fits like a dream and is very comfortable, but it is hemmed to wear with heels (not so practical with kids).  I am thinking that I should start fooling around with some sort of double-stick tape, and just maybe I could temporarily hem it to wear with all of my flat booties...

Once I had the dress picked out, I needed a topper.  I honestly would have loved to just wear my fur neckwarmer, but since I was going to dinner, live in the 'burbs and I get cold very easily, something didn't feel quite right.  I found several sweaters and jackets that would be good for different occasions, but by far the best was my black hacking jacket from J.Crew.  I love this blazer.  It fits so well and can be worn with anything!

Next up, shoes.  I had been dying to wear my animal print booties, but it just didn't feel right with the blazer.  Then, I caught sight of my leopard print clutch and thought that would be the most perfect bag to finish off my look.  However, if I used this clutch, I would need a black shoe.  I realized that my black bootie selection needs some improvement.  *Note-to-self - pointy toe, hidden platform black booties are a must have.*  So, I was back to the drawing board.  I could go with pumps, but I felt a little weird wearing pumps with a long maxi.  It just doesn't feel very "new" for a less formal event.  I stewed for a few minutes and finally decided to pull out my platform snakeskin pumps.  I figured that I could get by with a pump if I am mixing prints and it has a noticeable platform... I think it worked.

I didn't wear much jewelry... just some "go to" oversized crystal earrings from J.Crew and my beloved Alexis Bittar cocktail ring (I should probably put that on my Obsessions page).  For a bag I went to me always handy Rachel Zoe QVC black patent clutch.  By the way, this one of my best purchases... ever!  I use it all of the time and it looks great!

The result...

I felt very regal and polished... a bit like Kate Middleton!  Now I just have to work on my poses. 

                                               - Allison


Ken on Project Runway All Stars... tonight!

Tonight begins one of the most anticipated seasons of Project Runway... the All Stars version.  Personally, the anticipation has been killing me!  Thirteen of our most favorite contestants, an unbelievable prize, and my beloved Neiman's sponsoring the accessories wall... this is going to be good.  And for all of you not completely familiar with the show, the fact that Neiman's is sponsoring the wall means the style quotient just went way up... seriously!

One more very important reason that you should all watch tonight... my favorite fashion director Ken Downing is the guest judge!  If you have never seen Ken in action, this is your chance... he is fabulous!

For a refresher on the cast, check out The Cut's cliff notes version... very informative!  For more info on my favorites (they are so cool in person!) Austin Scarlett and Elisa Jiminez, check out my write up for NMdaily.

Let the drama begin...

                                                                                                      - Allison