Outfit Idea: The Striped "Sweatshirt"

On a quick sprint through J. Crew last week, I grabbed one of my best purchases to date... the black & ivory striped "Back-Zip Long Sleeve Pullover".

The stripe caught my eye immediately.  Outfit ideas went zipping through my head, and I realized that I must have this top.  There is something about this color combo that adds an instant chicness to any ensemble, plus it goes with everything.  The sweatshirt material and styling is pretty cool too.  Something a bit different and fun, while the slim fit and zipper in the back dress it up.

I immediately wore it out to dinner with jeans and my blue suede shoes... from last week's post.

I turned around (the next day... shhh!) and wore it with my boyfriend jeans and a pair of tortoiseshell peep toe pumps.  Then I threw it on to run errands with skinny jeans and leopard print flats.  It is just so easy to work with... and very comfortable.  I have also discovered that you really don't have to accessorize much with this top.  Simple jewelry (maybe one bold piece) is the best way to go.

As far as new ideas, I am hoping to add a pair of green ankle length jeans to my wardrobe soon... they will be perfect with my striped sweatshirt and flats or heels.  The Toothpick Jean from J. Crew (where else?!) would be perfect!

This sweatshirt would also be great with black pants, shorts or over a swimsuit.  I am also contemplating wearing it with my "fancy pants"...  I'll accessorize with black patent pointy toe pumps and an oversized clutch.

Perfect for a night out, don't you think?

                                                                                                           - Allison

*Photos courtesy of jcrew.com.


Trend Alert: Feeling Fancy?!

For all of you ladies out there who would like to add a touch of whimsy to your spring ensembles, I have the perfect trend for you.  Fondly referred to as "Fancy Pants" by Ken Downing and Kareen Mallet, this trend is all about (you guessed it!) patterned pants.  P.S. I am including pants in bold colors in this category as well.

Not too long ago (maybe longer than I would like to admit), I remember my warm weather pant options being limited to cropped (ankle length was not available) light khaki, dark khaki, black and white.  If I wanted to go with the cargo look, I could find an olive, fatigue print and possibly navy.  That was it.  Boldly colored or patterned pants did not exist, and if they did, I can guarantee that you would probably get some crazy looks for wearing them.  I feel like I may have owned a pale pink pair at one point or another... I was such a risk taker!

Anywho, wearing "Fancy Pants" is a great way to change up your look without making to large of an investment.  You can play it safe with a solid bold color such as green, blue or pink, or jump in feet first and purchase a floral, animal print or other fun patterned pair.

Sticking to solids?  This is the perfect opportunity to colorblock, play with fun shoes or a patterned top.  A blazer or denim jacket/vest/shirt is a great way to tone down the look if you are tad nervous about the bold color.  Another option is to go for a monochromatic look.  The key for this to be successful is mixing shades of the same color or varying the textures of the pieces in the look (cableknit sweater, silk pants, etc).  If not, the look might fall flat.

Dress up a sporty pair of pants for a fun and playful look.


Pair a neutral top with a silky pair... keeping it cool and casual.

Tibi SS 12

Subtle patterns give the sense of a solid or more neutral piece.  More importantly, this look is a great example of mixing textures in a monochromatic look.

Tory Burch SS 12

Jumping right into a patterned pair?  Next, comes the question - what do I wear with them?  
Well, since mixing patterns has become such a giant trend, the answer is... anything goes!  However, if you want to come off looking polished vs looking like you got dressed in the dark, stick to these guidelines..

1.  Keep your top solid and simple.  Stick to neutral (white, khaki, grey, navy, black) no-fuss tees or blouses.
2.  Adding a blazer or denim jacket is a great way to tone the pattern down.
3.  A textured top (cableknits, tweeds, lace, etc) is a great way to keep things exciting.
3.  When mixing patterns, remember...
                - there must be one common color between patterns
                - one pattern should be on a smaller scale than the other
                - a great way to mix is by mixing a more structured pattern with a more fluid print
5.  If you decide to wear one print head-to-toe, it is best if it is broken up by a belt, peplum or some other accent.

Bold floral and simple top... fun, but polished.

Peter Som SS 12

Keeping a butterfly print chic with a blazer.
Erin by Erin Fetherston SS12

Mixing geometric with a fluid print... it will get you noticed, but still pleasing to the eye.

Milly SS 12

Breaking up a head-to-toe print with fringe... it works.

Jil Sander SS12

A pic of my fancy pants.  I love to break wear them with solids and color, but I am thinking about mixing some patterns soon... 

                                                                                                                    - Allison
*Photos courtesy of nymag.com.


Outfit Idea: My Blue Suede Shoes Part 2

Well, my love affair with my blue suede shoes continues...  I was a thrown for a bit by the change in weather (it turned seasonably chilly!), but I managed to adapt.  I just kept to my blue/leopard/denim theme for the weekend.  This has been a great way to break into wearing bold color, but I look forward to having even more fun with my shoes as the temp continues to rise.

This look was for my sister-in-law's rockin' party Friday night.  Ken Downing was right when he told me I could wear this Rachel Zoe tuxedo jacket with anything!  I love this ensemble so much, I might have to wear it again to a birthday party this weekend.  Shhhh... don't tell!

Saturday night were headed for an elegant, but fun evening out.  My cheetah dress and bold shoe combo fit the mood perfectly!

This weekend I learned that I loved these shoes so much that I need to add another member to the family... a bright blue pair of skimmers!  I have found two cute pairs so far, but both seem to be sold out or on backorder... typical, right?!

These super cute flats with gold studs on the heel are 'Eternal' by Steven by Steve Madden.  

Next up, Madewell's Patent Sidewalk Skimmer... so hard to resist blue patent leather!

I hope to make this addition sooner than later.  I can just imagine the regret if I don't...

                                                                                                                       - Allison

*Photos courtesy of piperlime.com and madewell.com.


Outfit Idea: My Blue Suede Shoes

As an early birthday present to myself, I finally purchased my first pair of blue suede shoes!  Many of you know, I have a slight obsession with cobalt blue.  I have been dying for a pair of blue heels for some time now, but didn't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on something that (let's be honest) might just end up gathering dust in my closet.  The hunt has been on for an inexpensive, but cute pair of heels that I could test the waters with... 

What happened next must have been fate.  I happened on the most fabulous pair of pointy toe pumps on Nordstrom's website the other day.  Just in time for my birthday weekend!  And the best part, they were only $90!  I have decided to see how many ways I can wear my blue suede shoes this weekend.  Really, this is to prove to myself (and to you) how great a bright and colorful heels can be.  

Yes, I am in love.  The ALDO 'Fravel" Pump comes in a pink and orange too!

Here are my first two looks.  More to come after the weekend!

Dinner with the girls... stripes, jeans, and animal print make a fun combo.

Dinner with my hubby... demure polka dots, jean jacket, my beloved clutch and heels.

To be continued...

                                                                                                                                   - Allison


Trend Alert: Think Pink

It's time to tackle the second trend on "The List", and this week it is all about pink.  Pink is such a happy, feminine color and there is a shade that looks great on everyone.  I have found a fantastic way to describe wearing pink... through the eyes of little girls.  Just imagine there is no other color that you would rather wear...

I was watching my youngest (almost 4) pick out her clothes this morning, and I started to laugh.  She picked out a dress in a pink & white pattern.  She reached for a darker pink sweater to wear over it, an even darker poofy pink headband and her shoe of choice were her sparkly pink "twinkle toe" sneakers.  Surprisingly enough, she looked really cute.  That is when I had a thought...

Pink looks great in many different ways.  You may or may not be a "pink person", but either way a touch of pink is a must this season.  You might just want to wear a pink lip this spring, or a pink nail polish might be all you can handle.  Or, you can accent your outfit with a pink clutch, belt or a really cute pair of pink pumps.  Remember your colorblocking?  These would be great ideas if you already own a lot of orange, red, purple or yellow.  If you do love pink, layer it on.  Vary the shades or mix patterns, either way, this is the season to "think pink"!

Scroll through some fab spring runway looks for more inspiration...

Pink is always ladylike.

Alexander McQueen
 Toughen pink up with black accessories.

Jason Wu
Pink can be playful.

Badgley Mischka

 Pink looks great in sequins and accented with other bright colors.

J. Crew
Pink is perfect as an accent.

Badgley Mischka
Pink can be sleek and sexy.

What is your ideal way to wear pink?

                                                                                                                   - Allison                     

*Photos courtesy of style.com.


Between Seasons: Old Favorites with a Twist

Nothing squashes your creativity like your husband going out of town for 5 days... I am pooped!  I have been trying to sit down to put together a post, and cannot quite gather enough energy to accomplish this not particularly difficult task.  Not only cannot write a post, I have had an equally difficult time putting together some fun looks.

I guess we all get stuck in a rut at one time or another, but I think the extremely warm weather and the fact that I have not done any spring shopping might be part of the problem.  With the beginning of a new season, I need some fresh blood to get my creative juices flowing.

In the midst of all this, I had a bridal shower to attend on St. Patty's Day.  It was going to be a gorgeous day with a group of fab ladies and I had nothing to wear!  Normally I would have gone shopping for some sort of new piece... top, skirt, dress, etc.  However this time around there was no time.  As you can imagine, with feeling so drained, I was having a serious case of stylist's block!

After spending a good hour trying on various combinations, I finally pulled out an old friend.  A beautiful strapless dress (fitted bodice, straight skirt) with a print that I love!  My only issue was that I have a serious void in the jacket department.  I have yet to find a navy blazer that fits really well, and I don't have a brown leather jacket (which I have decided would solve all of my problems).

Back to my point, I layered a slub cotton ivory long sleeve tee and stuck that under my dress. I added my trusty brown leather belt and my new Madewell booties.  I kept the jewelry simple - gold hoops and an oversized cocktail ring.  All in all I felt pretty good.  I would have liked to wear something new, but when that is not possible it is always a good idea to fall back on a pieces that you love.  No matter what, at least you feel good when you wear one of your favorites.

Lesson learned:  When in doubt, reach for something you love and start to think outside the box.  A new twist on an old classic equals something completely original!

                                                                                                                             - Allison


Longchamp Love

Just about twenty years ago a nylon tote with a leather handle and snap flap was born.  It was just a slip of a thing that could fold (origami style) in order to make it easy to pack.  The colors were inspired by Mexico, the leather from Russia.  Le Pliage took the world by storm and nothing has ever been the same.

Growing up in Ohio, back in the time of dial-up internet connections and "you've got mail", Longchamp was not a brand in my repertoire.  Not until my first internship in NYC did I catch a glimpse of the famous nylon tote that I immediately coveted.  By the end of college I owned my first Le Pliage... the black tote that I used as my everyday black bag (it was great to take out!).  My first big tote (in pink) came when before I got married.  I carried that bag all over Spain, France and Italy... it even made it to Morocco!  While pregnant I decided early on that I was not going to carry a "baby bag".  So, I purchased a large brown and black tote... I still use them for my girls to this day (they are just about 4 & 6).  I am still waiting for my really large tote... it would be so great for travel...

When it comes to defining something as a classic, this bag should be used as an example.  Very simple in shape(s), it stands the test of time.  A woman carrying this bag always looks chic, never out of style.  The simplicity is the key.  There aren't any labels or trendy gimmicks... nothing to make it look like last year's model.

The only thing better than the Le Pliage might just be the Le Pliage Cuir... the Le Pliage in leather!  That's right, Longchamp just introduced this famous tote in leather.  I just about died when I found out!  Let's just say that my birthday is right around the corner, and you know what I would like... hint, hint (maybe my husband just might read this today!).

For anyone looking for a bag to invest in, I recommend the Le Pliage Cuir.  The decision on size is personal.  For me, the bigger the better... in handbags, that is...

                                                                                                                                - Allison

*Photos courtesy of longchamp.com.


We All Need A Little Billy Reid

I have been dying to write about designer Billy Reid since last summer.  I was working on a menswear article at the time, and fell in love with his style.  However, a women's line was still in the works.  Since then, Billy Reid's line has gotten better and more focused.  Now, it's time to introduce you to Billy Reid.

Billy Reid was born in Louisiana, and now calls Florence, Alabama home.  He is an extremely talented designer who won both the GQ & CFDA Best New Designer of the Year award and the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund award in the same year (the first designer to do this).  Accolades aside, his design aesthetic is the perfect mix of his southern roots and chicness perfect for city life.  His signatures include a nod to the seventies, natural fabrics - linen, cotton, leather & suede and soft, dusty color schemes.  This all equates to a refreshing take on womenswear.

As I was trying to decide the best way to write about Reid, Ralph Lauren kept coming to mind.  Just as the Ralph Lauren brand brings this "Hamptons meets the West" lifestyle to mind, Reid's brand is all about a lifestyle.  When I think of Billy Reid, I envision myself in a movie... somewhere in the South in a big old beautiful house.  I am having friends over for a large gathering, and my backyard looks like something straight out of a rustic Pottery Barn outdoor setting.  All of my guests (including myself) are dressed and styled in a perfectly cool, a little retro and a touch rock 'n roll, but don't look we tried way with a Southern twist.  We sit around late into the night as someone plays guitar and we all sing and have a blast.  Doesn't it sound nice?!  I think it might be time to invest in a few Billy Reid pieces...

Here are several looks from his Spring 2012 presentation...

I can't forget his wedges, they are to die for!

Reid's womenswear is available on his website.  Go, check it out now!

                                                                                                                              - Allison

*Photos courtesy of style.com and billyreid.com.


Trend Alert: Sunny Days Ahead

It is time to tackle the spring trends.  Last week I presented you with "The List" courtesy of Kareen Mallet and Neiman Marcus.  Today I want to address the first item on this list... Yellow: the new neutral.

First, this doesn't mean that you should head straight to the store and purchase a new yellow wardrobe.  Rather, think about adding a key piece this season in yellow.  Depending on how fond you are of this hue, it could be a clutch, heels, a jacket, skinny pants or even a dress.  If you are a bit more hesitant, a pair of earrings, a clutch or even a belt is a perfect way to start adding this color du jour to your ensemble.

Next step, wear it with everything.  Yellow is one of those colors that really does look great with just about every shade out there.  To give your look a modern feel use yellow as accent with khaki, pair with it olive, grey or teal or soften your favorite black biker look with a touch of yellow.

And, for a visual aid, scroll through for more ideas on using yellow this spring.

A golden topper, bag and shoes at Mulberry.

Toughening up a yellow dress at Burberry Prorsum.

Head-to-toe sunshine from Isabel Marant.

 A yellow bag from Phillip Lim.

 Accented with yellow from Vera Wang.

A few street style looks... this one I like, but I would have made it a more rugged look with the camel coat and brown belt.  Maybe add the Madewell Old Town Boots...

I like the idea of creating an edgy look when combining yellow & black.

A perfect way to add a touch of yellow.

Now it's time for you to add a touch of sunshine to your life... 

                                                                                                                                - Allison

*Photos courtesy of nymag.com and internationalstreetstyle.com.