Louboutin Madness (plus a contest!)

It's hard to believe that Christian Louboutin shoes have been around for 20 years.  But, alas, it's true.  It has been 20 years of fabulous designs and the most coveted red sole!  In honor of Louboutin's 20th anniversary, NMdaily ( the Neiman Marcus blog) and the Neiman Marcus Facebook page have created "Sole Seekers".

"Sole Seekers" is a social media challenge that asks participants to grow an online pictorial spread of Louboutin shoes from now until March 10th.  Pictures of your favorite Louboutins can be submitted through Instagram or Twitter.  One winner will be chosen at random to win a free pair of Christian Louboutin shoes!!!

For the official “Sole Seekers” rules, read below: 

-        Participants are encouraged to submit photos of either their own Christian Louboutin shoes, Christian Louboutin shoes they see at Neiman Marcus stores or on NeimanMarcus.com via Instagram or Twitter.
-        Photos submitted via Instagram and Twitter must contain @NeimanMarcus, @LouboutinWorld, and  #NMLoubiLove in the caption to be entered to win.

-        All images will be aggregated in a single online feed.

-        After one month a rich album of Christian Louboutin imagery will have developed on the“Sole Seekers” Facebook tab and NMdaily post. One winner (who submitted an image) will be selected at random.

-        Users may enter as many times as they like from both Instagram and Twitter, but must submit different images each time.

-        Users submitting images of shoes not manufactured by Louboutin will be disqualified. 

Alright ladies, it is time to start snapping away... A free pair of Louboutin's are on the line!

A pic that I took at the Short Hills Neiman Marcus...

*Photos courtesy of neimanmarcus.com.

                                         - Allison


Prepping for My Big Day!

I am off to pull clothes today for my first fashion show!  I will be the stylist and the host... in other words, it will be         a-mah-zing!  The show is focused on gowns for a group of ladies who have a black tie gala in April.  I love the fact that the dress code is "creative black tie".  This means I can have a little fun with the looks while also offering some of your more traditional black tie fare.

I am full of excitement mixed with a touch of anxiety.  My anxiety stems from the fact that you can plan and plan to your heart's content, but there is not much you can do until you get to the store.  I will feel much better after my visit to the Short Hills Neiman Marcus this afternoon!

I did manage to do a quick walk-through over the weekend, which helped to calm my nerves a bit.  I saw some fabulous dresses, got some great ideas and fell in love with two pairs of glittery metallic (one silver, one gold) pointy-toe Manolo's.

I am obsessed with this Chanel cocoon cardigan.  I keeping seeing Coco wearing it with a slinky black dress smoking her cigarette...

These Dolce & Gabbana dresses are fab!  The purple lace would be perfect... hopefully they have the right size!

This silk Ralph Lauren dress is so pretty and simple.  Dressed up, it would be a great alternative to a floor length gown.

More Ralph Lauren... I heart this cashmere cardigan.  Something about cashmere and silk gets my heart fluttering!

I love this print!  This is a big gown...maybe even too dressy, but it is so pretty, bright and happy.  Maybe I can dress it down a titch...

Stay tuned... more to come soon.

                                              - Allison


NYFW: Lesson 4

Reminiscent of the thirties, fifties and a touch of the seventies, many designers sent looks down the runway that emphasize the female form.  Pencil skirts, jackets nipped at the waist, sheaths, slim pants as well as curve hugging evening dresses all played up the hourglass silhouette while keeping the looks very chic and modern.  The key player in the return to this more classic and conservative look was the belt.  

The belt played a very important role in the majority of the fall shows.  Anything and everything was belted.  Designers played with the width of the belt, but the majority placed the belt at the waistline.  In other words, waist-defining looks are a key trend for the fall season.

As a big proponent of the belt, I find this trend very exciting!  I belt pretty much everything that can be belted... even my puffy coats.  I find it the quickest and easiest way to give yourself some shape and create a figure flattering look.  As you have probably guessed, Lesson 4 is about the belt.
There are many different belt options out there, but I find that I tend to wear a more rugged brown belt, a leopard print belt, a skinny black patent belt, a white silver-studded belt and my Carrie Bradshaw studded belt (wide black w/gold studs).  I definitely think you need to start with the basics and then grow your belt collection from there, but first you must figure out which types of belts are perfect for you.  

If you tend to belt a skirt and shirt combo or a dress, skinny belts are a must.  If you want to belt chunkier sweaters over jeans or skirts, you should probably go for a belt that is least one inch wide.  If you want your belts to make a statement, go for the really wide belts.  Belts are very personal and depend on your individual style, so no one's core group will be exactly the same. 

After you have assessed your style, start shopping your closet for beltable pieces.  This is a great time to pull out dresses, sweaters, and jackets that you haven't worn in awhile.  Now try a belt with these underused pieces and change up the look.  I have even belted a denim shirt over a maxi dress and it totally works!  

Keep this trend in mind as you peruse sales and spring styles.  Add pieces that will take you into the fall.  It's all about smart shopping, right?!

Inspiration from NYFW...

Rachel Zoe

Carlos Miele

Carolina Herrera
Michael Kors
Diane Von Furstenberg
Rag & Bone

Michael Kors
Carolina Herrera
My "go to" selection...

My belted denim shirt over a maxi dress... one of my fave combo's.

I am dying to belt my animal print maxi cardigan with my Carrie belt... maybe this weekend???

                                           - Allison
*Photos courtesy of nymag.com


NYFW Inspires...

It all started with a stripe...

then a floral...

Earlier this week I wrote about Lesson 1 from the Fall Shows at Fashion Week.  Lots of layering ensues as well as a newfound obsession with shopping my closet.

The story behind the stripe - it is a t-neck sweater from Club Monaco that is really too tight and thin to be worn by itself. It was put away and forgotten about... until now.  The skirt is from J.Crew.  I love it, but don't wear it enough.  A new combo develops with the addition of a 3/4 length sleeve t-neck from the Gap.  I add my riding boots because I had to run the girls around... not a good day for heels.

Don't you love my award winning pics?!  I have to work on my photography... and my studio...

Now I am becoming overly obsessed with layering.  I pulled out my black dress with a ruffle (from J.Crew) that I love, but it is sleeveless...

Just add the striped t-neck and some boots... 

Two new looks inspired by my post on layering... yay!!!

                                            - Allison


NYFW: Lesson 3

Cobalt Blue.  This is a color that is not going away anytime soon.  It is having a major moment this spring, which will continue into the fall.  The positives of this color far outweigh it's brightness.  Pairing this hue adds an element of fun, it looks good on everyone and adds a modern chicness to any ensemble.

I love cobalt blue with dark jeans or navy.  It looks exceptional with animal print, and is fun with orange or teal.  When pairing it with black, keep it edgy or add some white.  Otherwise the blue/black combo can get a bit tired looking.   If you are unsure of actually wearing this color, definitely invest in some accessories.  You can't go wrong with cobalt blue.

I have not yet added any cobalt to my wardrobe, but I am crushing on these three pieces...

Tory Burch Robinson Satchel... I could literally wear it with everything!

Nine West Love Fury Pumps... they are not Jimmy Choo's, but cute enough!

J.Crew Teddy Dress... I am dying to wear with leopard print heels and skimmers!

Cobalt as seen on the runways at NYFW...

Prabal Gurung
Zero + Maria Cornejo
Rachel Zoe

Zero + Maria Cornejo

For more on my love affair with blue... an oldie but goodie - True Blue.
                                         - Allison
*Photos courtesy of toryburch.com, ninewest.com, jcrew.com and nymag.com.


NYFW: Lesson 2

Skirts and sweaters.  To be even more specific, pencil skirts and slightly oversized or chunky knit sweaters.  We all own them, we just don't have many ways to wear them.  It is hard to disassociate the pencil skirt from the corporate image and therefore they sit in our closet and get pulled out to wear to work... usually with the same blouse or jacket.  And I know those larger, bulkier sweaters tend to be saved for skinny jeans and snow boots.  So (straight from NYFW) a few new ways to put these underused pieces to work.

Remember that we are not going for Mad Men secretary look... i.e. the fitted sweater and skirt.  To keep this ensemble thoroughly modern, pair chunkier slightly larger sweaters with a fitted pencil skirt (*the bigger the sweater, the slimmer the skirt).  A model might be able to pull off baggy on top and bottom, but it doesn't always play out as well on the street. If you are feeling that you need a bit more shape, belt the sweater.  Do keep in mind that a chunkier sweaters may need a slightly heaver/wider belt.

For those of you with maxi skirts and dresses dying to be worn (especially when you get sick and tired of your jeans)... add a sweater and go.  With the longer length of the skirt, slimmer (i.e. not as wide) sweaters (they can still be long) work better.  Cropped sweaters or hip length also work well... it is all about experimenting until it pleases your eye.  The key with the maxi skirt is to make sure that the look skims your body (fitted on top, belted, etc)... you don't want to look like a blob.  Got it?!

Here are some looks straight from the runway to give you some ideas...

Theyskens' Theory
Rachel Comey

Derek Lam
Timo Weiland
Carolina Hererra

I attempted my own skirt and sweater looks from what is already in my closet...

J.Crew black pencil skirt and platform pumps.  Forever 21 sweater.

Anthropologie skirt and Club Monaco sweater.

                                         - Allison
*Photos courtesy of nymag.com.


NYFW Fall 2012: Lesson 1

Instead of focusing on the new trends for fall (that we won't wear for 7 months), I wanted to use NY Fashion Week as inspiration for right now!  As we all know, the winter months can be pretty dismal as far as fashion is concerned.  At least for me, when it is cold I seem to lose my inspiration... I just want to stay warm.  So, let's take looks from Fall 2012 and apply them to our closet today.  We might even be able to make smart spring purchases that will carry us through the upcoming fall season too!

First lesson - Layering.  Layering is key any time of the year, but is not always present on the runway.  I love seeing different designers take on this very important part of dressing.  The varying points of view on the topic give us loads of looks to mimic over the next few months.

NYFW is not over yet, but already we have designers putting dresses over button-down shirts, sleeveless dresses over blouses, cropped over long tops and dresses over pants. After going over these looks, I promise you will find so many new looks in your closet... combinations that you never would have thought to put together until now.

10 Crosby Derek Lam
Rachel Zoe
Timo Weiland

My spur of the moment layering this morning... very vintage J.Crew shirt, sweater dress and jeans.  My H&M fur vest, an A&F belt (yes, I did work there at one point in time) and my favorite Frye booties.

I will post more layering inspired looks as I experiment... I am very excited to go "play".
                                                                                                                                 - Allison


The LWD (little white dress)

My LWD look was inspired by the fact that I was attending a toga party in February.  It's a long story.  

Back to my dress, I wasn't really feeling the toga vibe, so I wore my LWD instead.  First I have been dying to wear this Tibi Mod Shift Dress (I had to purchase it after my post on Shifts - thank you NM gift card!).  When spending more money on a dress, I hem and haw over it for weeks.  I think about all of the different ways that I can wear it... I have to have a bunch. Usually the deciding factor is if I can wear it all year, or at least for 3 seasons.  This shift definitely met and exceeded all of my criteria.  It is a-mah-zing!  The fabric, the fit and the fact that you feel like a million bucks... totally worth it!

Besides the obvious choice of black for shoes and accessories there is animal print, python print, pastels, brights, metallics... it is literally like wearing blank canvas.  The possibilities are endless!  I have already planned my next ensemble... my fur "collar" and my brown riding boots... c'est chic.  I just have to wait for the dress to come back from the cleaners.  Note to self - the LWD is not the best choice to wear to an Italian restaurant.

                                          - Allison


The Robert Rodriguez Top = Love at First Sight

It's not that often that I find a top that I cannot stop looking at.  Literally, I find myself clicking on the link once every hour or so, just to look gaze at it.  I click on the different views as I rest my chin on my hand and think about all the different ways that I would wear it... sigh.

This top that I am so taken with is none other than the Robert Rodriguez V-Neck Cascade Top.  It is a coral and pale pink colorblock silk top with an asymmetrical hem.  In other words fresh, edgy and just plain pretty.  Some of you might be scared off by the uneven hem, but I want to you to embrace it.  It adds so much interest to your look, and gives the appearance of being quite hip without much effort!

I love the idea that I could wear this under a chunky knit sweater with my skinnies and tall boots for daytime, and then switch the jeans and boots for a pair of longer flare jeans, heels and a fur chubby for a night out.  It doesn't stop there.  This top could also be worn in a more sophisticated manner...

First the top... gorgeous.

I am going to include another crush I have this spring... the Blur Distressed Leather Jacket.

You can't forget your animal print pumps... this pair of Rupert Sanderson pumps are beautiful.

Go casual cool with distressed boyfriend jeans... True Religion Cameron Boyfriend Jeans.

Office ready with a chic pencil skirt...  No. 2 Pencil Skirt.

Classically chic with wide leg trousers... No. 21 Trousers.

Other pieces to wear with this top would include various blazers/jackets, colorful pumps, floral pencil skirts (even a tweed) and don't forget python accents (not to be combined with animal print pumps).  Believe me, there are lots of options!  Do you think I have justified my anticipated purchase of this top?  Hmmm...

                                                                                                        - Allison
*Photos courtesy neimanmarcus.com, shopbop.com, freepeople.com, jcrew.com, mytheresa.com.