Fall Favorite #2 : Wide Leg Trousers and Suiting Blazers

I was so excited to see a flurry of wide leg pants hit the stores this Fall.  I’ve always loved their flattering nature and was aching for them during these past years of “nothing but skinny jeans” (as mentioned in my How to Wear Wide Leg Pants post last spring.)

I got these TOPSHOP pants from Nordstrom in winter white, navy and black, and envision wearing them for years.  I consider them good quality for the price.  Each season, Theory has a great variety of long, lean designs, like these.  I also love the sharp look of these checked wide legs from MANGO.

DSC_1482When I go out I often drape blazers and coats OVER my outfits and wear them like a cape.  I also do this in the heart of winter, when my coat won’t fit over my layered blazer look.  I got this long check double-breasted blazer (that feels like a sweatshirt!) from GAP at the start of fall.     Although it’s just about sold out, it’s still available in long (I usually buy my blazers in LONG for more butt coverage). The same blazer is available in a slightly different plaid here.  I also like this double-breasted one from ZARA.  The black windowpane design of this Joie blazer is a classic alternative to the plaid.

I consider a basic black turtleneck a wardrobe ESSENTIAL, like this black ribbed one I’m wearing from J. Crew, or this wool-blend turtleneck sweater from Banana Republic.  A lightweight cotton one is also a good alternative when layering, like this basic from Everlane.

Lastly, this bag!  For decades, Gucci has featured bamboo in their handles and hardware… such a classic look!  I love the bamboo-handled bag from Mark & Graham that can be monogrammed!  This Lilly Pulitzer gold and bamboo tote could easily go from holiday party to beach!  I also love this smaller woven one from Halsbrook.  Locally, Silverwood has a great bamboo handled bag design currently available in two sizes.

I hope your holiday shopping has been a success… and that maybe you throw a little something for yourself in your cart this holiday season.

XOXO, Ally

Fall Favorite #1: The Midi Shirt Dress

When my super artistic and talented friend Sarah offered to take some photos of my favorite fall outfits, I decided to give my 5,7 and 9 year-olds a break and take her up on that offer.  The midi shirt dress immediately came to mind since it’s been in weekly rotation since the end of summer.

Back in August, my favorite blogger at Atlantic-Pacific featured this Nordstrom 1901 shirt dress.  I ordered it, instantly fell in love with the forgiving fabric, and then ordered every other solid and print that was available until they sold out.  Since then, I’ve worn them to horse races, formal and informal dinners, temple, fundraisers, meetings… talk about versatility!  Soon after, J.Crew released a similar version in a variety of stripes and fabrics and it’s still available.  Brooks Brothers currently has a great, slightly shorter alternative in this holiday-inspired plaid and is both reasonably-priced AND perfectly preppy!

The basic, classic design of this dress makes it the perfect backdrop for some fun, girly accessories!  Any friends who have seen me frequently this fall have noticed the current infatuation with hair bows!  The navy one featured here was an inexpensive no-brainer and purchased from H&M, and I love that it is a bit larger than most.  J.Crew Factory has a sweet tartan plaid  bow that is perfect for all your parties this season!  I also LOVE these “trailing bow ponytail holders” , available in a variety of gorgeous crushed velvet colors, from Anthropologie.

The navy polka-dot scarf featured is one of the many sweet designs I found at Violet’s of Saratoga, one of my favorite local stores for dresses, shoes and accessories.  ECHO also always has a fun variety of shapes, sizes and prints at reasonable prices, like this diamond Tiger Lily design.  Scarves too complicated?  Have you heard of a “twilly”?  (Think scarf for dummies.)  An Hermes “twilly” is a narrow, long strip of silk fabric, very easily worn as a choker, wrist tie, or attached to your handbag to add an interesting or colorful element.  Check out this great tutorial on how to tie an Hermes Twilly.

Lastly, I feel that everyone should have a great, “go-to” navy bag in their fashion arsenal.  I got this unique leather floral Kate Spade clutch / crossbody last spring from Lola of Saratoga.  Lola has a variety of fabulous bags, from new Tory Burch and Kate Spades, to “mint condition” vintage designer treasures (Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc).  This all-purpose  Tory Burch Fleming Convertible bag, available locally at Lola of Saratoga, would get plenty of use in your closet and can be worn with everything from dresses to jeans.  I also love the navy suede and leather combination of this small Botiker crossbody.  This simple navy Madewell crossbody  is versatile AND affordable.

I look forward to sharing some more details of my favorite fall outfits in the weeks to come!  Fortunately, these looks can still be worn even with winter arriving two months early!  Ugh.

PS… Thanks Sar!

XOXO, Ally

 

 

Get Stuffed IN STYLE this Thanksgiving

Face it.  There’s nothing worse than eating too much and feeling SO uncomfortable in clothes that were already too clingy.  Check out my video blog featuring Five Tips for Getting Stuffed in Style this Thanksgiving!  Links to items shown, and similar ones, are listed below.

A pair of PJ-style drawstring pants make you feel like you get to stay in your PJs all day long!  I love the leopard ones featured in the video, ora dressier version in velvet, both from ZARA.  Want something more sporty?  I’m in LOVE with these velvet joggers from GAP.

There’s no room at the Thanksgiving table for heels!  Get yourself a sweet pair of flats, like these Anthropologie camo calf hair ones, featured.  Tory Burch’s super cute cap-toe ballet flats are gorgeous and timeless!  Or, step into the holiday season with these J.Crew sparkle leopard smoking slippers.

The perfect RED lipstick dresses up even the most casual of outfits!  I really love the wearability of the new MAC powder kiss liptick, featured here in Shocking Revelation.   Another all-time favorite of mine is NYX lip cream in Morocco.  Don’t forget the drug store favorite, Revlon Super Lustrous, in Red Rules the World.

Blanket scarves and toppers are amazing for covering up the button you had to undo and are a fall favorite with jeans or jeggings!  I love this oversize cashmere topper from a local favorite, Caroline & Main!   This navy windowpane  cape scarf from Madewell is another favorite!  Take a walk down Broadway in Saratoga and you’ll find an amazing selection of cashmere toppers and blanket scarves in stores including Lifestyles, and LOLA Saratoga.

Are you hosting and don’t know what to wear?  It’s not really the first thing on your mind, right?  Anyone who has EVER come to a dinner or party of mine knows that I am ALWAYS in an apron!  Why?  Because I didn’t feel like thinking about the “under-layer”.  Grab yourself a cute apron and “fake it ’til you bake it”!  Check out this adorable one, as featured, from Crate and Barrel!  Or, this classic tartan one  from Williams Sonoma will take you straight through the Holiday season!  Not into the seasonal ones?  Pick up an equestrian-inspired one from Silverwood locally!

Last and surely not least (and not featured in the video)…  Thanksgiving is for family and fun, NOT FOR STRESS.  So relax, pour yourself a mediocre glass of Beaujolais Nouveau and CARPE DIEM.  Oh, and happy shopping.

XOXO, Ally

The Five BEST Vests this Fall!

I LOVE vest season for two reasons:

  1.  It’s yet another layering piece that I can play around with.  Whether it’s under a jacket, over a blazer, with a turtleneck, oxford, belted… there are SO many options to choose from!
  2. It’s a way for me to comfortably wear skinny jeans and / or leggings (usually with tall boots) by choosing longer hemlines that cover the derriere / thigh region.

There are SO many different styles of vests available, all that appeal to a variety of lifestyles, body shapes and budgets.  Check out my first ever video for my five favorite styles, with examples of each (direct links below).  I hope YOU find your BEST VEST this fall!

  1. Vero Modo Faux Fur Vest (Lord & Taylor)
  2. LL Bean Military Style “Luna” Vest
  3. Lands End Ultralight Down Vest
  4. Barbour Quilted Vest (Orvis)
  5. Bagatelle Trench Vest (Bloomingdale’s)

Happy shopping!

XOXO, Ally

 

Five FAB Fall Looks

With fall comes layers.  Lots of layers.  Oxfords under sweaters under vests under blazers under blanket scarves… and everything in between.  I love all the options that layering gives me.

Another favorite part of fall (second to my love affair with blazers) is the reintroduction of boots to my wardrobe.  Speaking on behalf of women whose legs don’t lend themselves to easily rocking a skinny jean, higher shaft boots give us so many ways to comfortably wear a skinny jean, jegging or legging.  Add a few inches of length to your top, vest or blazer for even more confidence-boosting coverage (tip: order long length).  Summer clothes feeling a bit too clingy in the mid-section?  Ahh, fall is here to help with the addition blazers, light jackets and vests to help conceal, yet still flatter, the waist.

No matter what body you might be dressing, fall always lends itself to playing around with layers and creating your best look.  Here are five of my favorite fall looks… many which have already been put on repeat this season.  Details, as always, are listed below each photo.

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WEEKEND WARRIOR

Spanx Moto Leggings

Adidas Superstar Sneaks

Oversized H&M Hooded Sweatshirt

Rebecca Minkoff Edie Flap Shoulder Bag (Locally at LOLA Saratoga)

QUAY OTL II Sunnies

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PREPPY IN PINK

Mark & Graham Caroline Personalized Leather Work Tote

Tory Burch Antonia Loafer

Polo RL Striped Knit Oxford

ORVIS Women’s Hunting Vest

GAP Mid-Rise Curvy True Skinny Jean

 

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GUCCI Leather Double G Belt

AG (Nordstrom) Farrah Skinny Jeans

Vagabond (Nordstrom) Marja Chelsea Bootie

J.Crew Everyday Cashmere Turtleneck 

H&M Double Breasted Jacket

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COZY COWGIRL

BR Light Wash Jeans

Vince Camuto Creestal Western Boot

MANGO Knitted Braided Sweater

Madewell Chambray Ex-Boyfriend Shirt

Chloe Marcie Handbag

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EASY RIDER

Frye Melissa Button Tall Boots

J.Crew High Rise Toothpick Corduroys

Lauren RL Plaid Wood Blend Trench

UNIQLO Extra Fine Merino Turtleneck 

BR Tortoise Hoops

Which look speaks to you?  Maybe a combination of a few?  Either way, I’m sure you’ll find an excuse to add a little something fabulous to your own fall wardrobe.  I give you permission.

 

 

Five Ways to Build a Royal Wardrobe (On a Not-So-Royal Budget)

I have always respected Kate Middleton’s “put-togetherness.”  She always looks great.  Never interesting enough for me to follow her on any social media feeds, but great.  Then Meghan Markle came onto the royal scene.  That was the impetus for me to click that Kensington Palace “Follow” button.  Now, I truly look forward to the weekly photos, from baptismal portraits to international tours.

Princess Kate surely has her traditional “go-to” looks, and Meghan (although less predictable) is beginning to as well.  Although they have very different styles, they both ALWAYS look polished, put together, timeless, “classy”… whatever you want to call it.  They always look like a million dollars.

We may never have the clothing budget of a royal, but hell… fake it ’til you make it, right?  Here are five tips to polish up your wardrobe on a not-so-royal budget.  Details are in the links under the photos.  Remember, many of these items are offered in a variety of colors and prints so be sure to click through for all the options!

Make a neutral suede heel your “go-to” shoe.  Have you ever heard that expression “You can tell a lot about a person from their shoes”?  Well a perfect neutral suede heel will not only go with just about any print, color and style, but it ALWAYS looks great.  Whether low, high, block or stiletto heel, you can count on this closet staple to be there for you no matter what the non-royal occasion.

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  1. Sam Edelman Margie Pointed Toe Suede Pump in Oatmeal Suede
  2. Marc Fischer (Zappos)  Zala Pointy Toe Pump
  3. Lord and Taylor Steve Madden Heart Tied Suede Pump
  4. J.Crew Lucie Suede Pumps
  5. Nine West (Macy’s) McFally D’Orsay

Choose unique items with interesting details.    Nobody wants to be boring.  Choose pieces that have unique piping, pintucking, lining, ruffles, trim, buttons, bows… or anything that makes it even a tiny bit more special.  You don’t have to pay royal prices to find details like these.

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  1. ZARA Basic Sweater with Metallic Buttons
  2. Boden Anya Waterproof Jacket
  3. Brooks Brothers Ruffled Crepe Blouse
  4. Boden Mia Ottoman Dress
  5. H&M Tie-Front Blouse

Structured blazers = instant polish.  Blazers are what excite me most about fall.  When paired with everything including trousers, jeans, skirts and dresses, they always make you feel put together… even on your schleppiest of days.

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  1. ZARA Double Lapel Frock Coat
  2. WHBM Tweed Moto Jacket
  3. J.Crew Regent Blazer
  4. Chelsea28 (Nordstrom) Plaid Blazer
  5. H&M Short Woven Jacket

Wrap it up!  Kate Middleton very often steps out in a wrap dress, whether it be “faux” or the real deal.  They are comfortable, easy, flattering on most shapes and such a timeless wardrobe staple.  I personally love a true wrap dress for its ability to fine-tune the belt to perfect the fit.

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  1. Patty Boutik (Amazon) Long Sleeve Knit Faux Wrap (Steal!)
  2. PURE Collection Jersey Faux Wrap Dress
  3. Boden Elodie Jersey Wrap Dress
  4. J. Crew Wrap Dress is 365 Crepe (Many Colors Available!)
  5. EVERLANE Japanese GoWeave Wrap Dress

Grab a structured bag and go!  No matter what type of event, a gorgeous structured bag always completes the outfit.  Meghan usually chooses smaller satchels and mini bags with handles, which have been known to sell out within hours of her appearances.  You don’t have pay for a Strathberry or Chloe to achieve the look.  If you choose the right combination of color, shape and hardware, your less expensive handbag can look just as good as its designer counterpart (with, of course, the right outfit AND attitude).

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  1. Rebecca Minkoff Small Darren Messenger
  2. Michael Michael Kors Ava Satchel
  3. J.Crew Harper Mini Satchel
  4. Kate Spade Hayes Street Suede Sam Satchel
  5. MANGO Round Small Bag

Now go treat yourself to a little something.  Everyone deserves to be a princess for a day.

 

Wearable Fall Trends for 2018

It’s almost 90 degrees today and how on earth can I be thinking about fall fashion?  For me, it’s really, really easy.  Each year at this time, I’ve had it with the flowy florals and am so eager to bust into my wools, tweeds, blazers and boots.  This is the season that excites me the most, and the clothing associated with it plays a critical role in these heart palpitations.

Each week, I scroll through my Pinterest feed, anxious to see where next season’s fashions are going.  And each season, I can rule out about 80 percent of these runway looks because…

1. Most women don’t look like that.   AND…

2. Where on earth would any normal person wear that?

Fortunately, there are still plenty of “trends” remaining that would translate well into OUR closets.  Attached are “Five Wearable Fall Trends”, with several examples of each.  Direct links for items shown are listed below each photo.

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MANGO Faux Fur Hooded Coat

Nanette Lepore (Saks) Crusader Plaid Trousers

GAP Plaid Block Heel

J.Crew Oversized Blazer in English Herringbone

Boden British Tweed Pencil Skirt

 

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H&M 3-Pack Snakeskin Bracelets

ZARA Snakeskin Print Blazer

Nordstrom 1901 Utility Leopard Shirtdress

AQUA (Bloomingdale’s) Victorian Leopard Print Top

Vince Camuto (Bloomingdale’s) Snakeskin Embossed Leather Booties

 

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Alice and Olivia Arie Sleeveless Tie Neck Top

Calvin Klein (Nordstrom) Ankle Strap Pump

Likely (Neiman Marcus) Strapless Midi Cocktail Dress

Anthropologie Fall Forward Beret

Banana Republic Logan Trouser Fit Wool Pant

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BCBG Alexandria Faux Leather Dress

Michael Michael Kors Blaze Open Toe Bootie

Neiman Marcus Leather Collection Ponte Skirt

Andrew Marc Felix Asymmetrical Leather Jacket

SPANX Faux Leather Pebbled Leggings

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Free People Funnel of Love Pullover

Banana Republic Scalloped Essential Cami

EVERLANE Foldover Pouch

J.Crew Slim Broken-In Boyfriend Jean

UNIQLO Crepe Pleated Skirt

Considering all these style options and price points, I’d say it’s time for an update, wouldn’t you?