Chic & Ornery

It's Friday - grey, cool, with the "Perfect Storm" heading our way.  Due to this, I'm feeling a bit feisty today... beware.

If I could pick out the perfect look to fit my mood, this would be it.  First, a pair of coated denim skinny jeans.  A must have this season, and totally worth the investment.  I have been eyeing the J Brand Coated Stretch Jeans - however, I am hoping to buy them a wee bit bigger to avoid the legging look.  I'll let you know how that goes...

I would add the Free People "City is a Jungle" Cardigan (I love this one!).  

For layering I would add a bohemian touch...

FP One Poison Pintuck Slip
And finish it with fabulous pair of very wearable booties.

Belle by Sigerson Morrison 'Charis' Boot

For a quick change later this evening, I would add a sequin tank and peep toe booties.  Done and done.

Now I need to hit the mall...

                                                                                                                              - Allison

*Photos courtesy of nordstrom.com and freepeople.com.


Bringing Sexy Back

Wax coated denim aside, the big push this Fall seems to be on day dresses.  Coming from someone who would take a dress over jeans any day, I am pretty darn happy about this news.  (I still feel like I am speaking with a twang after last night's episode of Nashville, y'all!)  To dig down even further into this trend, colorblock dresses are hugely popular right now.  And, not just any colorblocked dress, this colorblock gives the illusion of a svelte hourglass figure.  Interested?

Thanks to Stella McCartney and her optical illusion dress, we now have all sorts of variations of this truly inventive style.  For those of you not quite sure what I am referring to, let's quickly recap the evolution...

It all began with Stella McCartney's Fall 2011 collection...

Then, Kate Winslet famously donned this amah-zing dress for the Venice Film Festival last year.

After this red carpet moment, this dress (in many versions) started to appear everywhere.  To cut this story short, this Fall the rest of the fashion world is jumping on the optical illusion band wagon, and with good reason too.  This style of dress does wonders for the figure.  It's amazing how perfectly placed darker side panel nips you in just the right way to create that va-va-voom figure that we all desire.  

The best part - you can find a variation on this theme just about anywhere.  Here is a sample...

Victoria's Secret Colorblock Racerback Dress

INC's Colorblock Sheath

BCBG Max Azaria Colorblock Sheath Dress

And, I saved the best for last.  A twist on the optical illusion...

Milly's Bex Colorblock Dress

Finish your look with a pair of booties or pointy toe heels and an oversized clutch.  Done and done.

                                                                                                                          - Allison

*Photos courtesy of nymag.com, glamourmagazine.com, victoriassecret.com, macys.com and shopbop.com.


The Rules for Fall

For most of us, Fall has arrived.  We have put away our flip flops and dusted off our flats and wondered... what to wear now?  Well, to be quite honest, pretty much the same thing your wore last Fall.  The trends just don't change the way they used to, but I won't complain about that... it's much easier on our wallets.

However, it's always fun to infuse a few new pieces each season, and it helps to keep your look current.  I have lots of fun Fall ideas for you, but I wanted to kick off the new season with some tips from Harper's Bazaar Fashion & Beauty Editor, Avril Graham.

Avril recently visited the Paramus Neiman Marcus for a light lunch and fashion show.  Referring to herself as a transplanted Brit, Avril not only wowed us with some killer looks, but also captivated the ladies with a few tales about recent trips to Great Britain to commentate on the royal wedding, the olympics and meeting the queen.  She definitely needs to write a book one day... her stories could entertain you for hours!

But, more importantly, we we are here to discuss the fashion.  Avril styled many looks that afternoon.  The majority designed for the lady heading to the office, charity meetings, various luncheons, etc.  As fabulous as they were, the real gems of the day were the tips that she threw in here and there while describing the various ensembles.

Let's get on with it, shall we?

1. The Cardinal Rule - Always make sure to update your hairstyle, lipstick and shoes.  You can wear the same black dress for years, but if your lip color is passé, you will look dated.  The same holds true with your shoes.  The changes do not have to be drastic.  For example, if you like to wear red lipstick (that's me!), the trend this season is not as much of an orange/red, but more of an oxblood, deeper blue/red color.  An easy, inexpensive way to keep your look on trend this Fall.

Red lips are classic, but the shade varies from season to season.
2.  Pointy Toes - Alright ladies, if you didn't believe me when I wrote about Perfectly Pointed Toe, now you must listen to Avril.  She reported that the return of the point was a key trend this season.  It was the most prevalent style in the front row at Fashion Week last month.  I don't know what could be more convincing...

Couldn't resist a little J.Crew...

3.  Do Not Match Shoes & Handbags - Avril stressed this point look after look.  Your outfit is much more modern looking when the handbag and shoes do not match.  And, never ever wear red shoes with a red handbag.

4.  Leather - If you haven't noticed yet, take a peek around... leather is everywhere this Fall.  Dresses, pants, vests, jackets... the best part, is it isn't all real.  There are fantastic vegan versions as well as waxed "leather" looking denim.  It just takes a bit of shopping around.
P.S.  Zara has some great less expensive leather pieces.

Keeping leather leggings refined with a tweed jacket.

4.  Blush Tones - Add a little pop to your closet with a blush tone piece of clothing.  It is a fresh looking neutral that will go with most of your closet (and most skin tones!)... black, brown or a midnight/navy blue.

A blush tone dress allows you to have fun with your shoes...

5.  Accessory Update - Brooches are back.  However, wearing them in unexpected places is much more current.  Instead of on your jacket lapel, what about on your dress beneath... just peeking out from under your jacket?  Handbags with a little bling are also big for daytime.  Dress up your look with a little daytime sparkle.

*Nordstrom offers a Brooch Style Guide this Fall.

6.  Mixing It Up - Not a new trend, but a continuing one, mixing various styles continues to rule the runway.  Toughen a lady chic look with a heavier shoe and bag, or soften a tailored outfit with some lace or ruffles.  This is the perfect way to infuse some personality into your everyday ensemble.

A sweet sweater dress with lace detailing is made edgier with a biker jacket and booties.

Fabulous advice.  Easy on the wallet.  Done and done.  

                                                                                                                         - Allison

*Photos courtesy of jcrew.com and nordstrom.com.


Targét on the Town

My love for the new Kirna Zabête for Target line is no secret.  After purchasing this shift from my local Targèt, I could hardly wait to wear it.  I christened the shift on a fun night out - dinner & drinks.  I got rave reviews, and dropped jaws when I shared the source of my fab dress.

The best part of the dress (aside from a great deal) is that it has enough going on that you don't have to worry about accessorizing.  I paired my dress with open-toe booties, a leather jacket, black clutch, a sleek pair of silver earrings and and an edgy cocktail ring.  Done and done.

I have been trying not to wear my new shift too much, but I can't help myself.  This dress has so many moods, it really just depends on the shoes...

And then you can change up the jackets...

Join me now for a fun game of dress up...

Here I am going to run errands... tall boots or flats.  I would add my denim trench, or the black faux fur vest that I have my eye on.

Now I am headed out for drinks... my punkish booties and a leather jacket.

Today I am a lady who lunches... pointy toe heels and a trench - perfect.

Who knew you could do so much with a $35 dress?  What a steal!

                                                                                                                                 - Allison


Cozy Chic

The darker and chillier the mornings get, the harder it is to get out of bed.  I tend to reach for anything remotely warm and comfy to make this "starting the day transition" a little easier, but those clothing choices are never very glamourous.  It becomes a problem when you have to get ready quickly to get to work, the kids to school or both!  Let's just say if I could wear my Uggs all winter, I would be a very happy and warm mommy, who's with me?

While we may not be able to wear Ugg's everywhere (well, I guess you could...), comfy dressing just got much more chic due to the popularity of sweater dresses this season.  Sweater dresses are everywhere.  There are short dresses, long dresses, nubby dresses and colorblocked dresses.  In other words, something for everyone.

You can wear the dresses now with flats, later with boots and tights.  In the very cold weather, they can be layered over leggings and snow boots if you desire.  To simply put it, sweater dresses are the chic lady's answer to sweats.

Due to the endless amount of dresses available, I quickly chose some that first jumped out at me.  All affordable options...

Ann Taylor has a great colorblocked shift - slimming and sophisticated.

Ann Taylor Colorblocked Sweater Dress

C&C California has a more funky and fun approach to colorblocking...
Lilly Pulitzer offers a more sweet and romantic version...

Lilly Pulitzer Helena Sweater Dress

Topshop has a fab boucle knit dress...

Topshop Boucle Sweater Dress

And if you like stripes, French Connection has a dress for you...

French Connection Bambi Striped Sweater Dress

Don't forget a maxi to get you through those windy, cold days...

BB Dakota Lisbet Dye Maxi Sweater Dress

Literally, a sweater dress for every mood.  Make sure to add one to your wardrobe this Fall.

                                                                                                              - Allison

*Photos courtesy of anntaylor.com, candccalifornia.com, saxsfifithavenue.com, topshop.com, bloomingdales.com and shopbop.com.


Variations on the LBJ

Since I wrote my post on Friday (The New Must Have... the LBJ) I have been obsessing over Julianna Margulies' awesome ensemble.  I promised to come up with some affordable options so that we too could look as fab as she did on Kelly & Michael last week.  I searched all weekend.  And, as I find with all clothes in the reasonable price range - there is never anything that is classically chic.  Everything has to have some detail that makes it more trendy... ugh!  I do not want cut-outs, sequins or extremely flared legs.  I would just like a piece of clothing that I can wear season after season.  Why does it have to be so difficult?

Even more frustrating, I cannot find a full-length picture of Julianna's look for the life of me.  I have searched high and low, and the best I can do are these "headshots" from Tess Giberson's tumblr page.

I am sure that In Style, People or US will have shots soon, but that is not really helping the cause right now.  However, you get a sense of how great she looked.

A bit disappointed with the above, I began pondering other options.  I finally decided to recreate her look with some separates that you may or may not own already.  These pieces really are staples that can be worn in a zillion different ways, and will stand the test of time.  I tweaked the look a bit, but I am loving it...

First, we have the indestructible silk cami...
J. Crew's Silk Cami

Add, possibly, the most perfect pair of black pants...

Theory's Max C Original Tailor Pant

Definitely would wear my most favorite pair of heels this season... who says aubergine can't be versatile?
Jean-Michel Cazabat Emma Two Tone Pumps

Once again, Alexis Bittar has just the right jewelry...

Alexis Bittar Crystal Encrusted Long Spear Necklace

Since we are using aubergine shoes, why not add an emerald green ring...

Alexis Bittar Siyabona Midnight Cushion Ring

 I am crushing on this patent leather bag.  A perfect finishing touch.

3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Minute Bag

Done and done.  This would look great with faux fur or a leather jacket.  If you are going for a more conservative look, a tweed jacket would be fab as well.

                                                                                                                      - Allison

*Photos courtesy of tessgiberson.tumblr.com, jcrew.com, theory.com and shopbop.com.