Five Fall Outfits!

“It’s the most wonderful time…of the year!”  … and it’s not the holiday season I’m talking about.  It’s:

FALL FASHION

Nothing makes my heart skip a beat more than those fall fashion magazines arriving in my mailbox, so heavy and full of wool houndstooth. As the weather begins to change here in upstate NY, you’ll often catch me smiling to myself NOT because all four kids are finally in school, but because I’m thinking of fall clothes and they make me happy.  (And perhaps just a wee bit of the former.)

Here are some ideas of fall looks that you, too, can put together. Use or supplement existing pieces from your own personal wardrobe and find details about the items under each photo. As always, the looks reflect data points along the spectrum of my personal style.

LOOK ONE:

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J.Crew Demi Boot Cut Jean

Sam Edelman Black Raelle Bootie, Violets of Saratoga (local) or at samedelman.com

EVERLANE Cashmere Crew

Boden Kemble Faux Shearling Camel Coat

Madewell Transport Camera Bag

 

LOOK TWO:

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GAP Houndstooth Blazer

JCrew Toothpick Jeans

FRYE Paige Tall Riding Boot

JCrew Factory Chambray Shirt

GUCCI Suede Dome Bag at Nordstrom

 

LOOK 3:

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ZARA Denim Midi with Top Stitching

FRYE Reed Inside Zip Boot

Boden Markham Cord Trench

REISS Paisley Printed Shirt

Tory Burch McGraw Patchwork Camera Bag

 

LOOK FOUR:

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Banana Republic Corduroy Blazer

Everlane Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans

UNIQLO Merino Ribbed Turtleneck

Vince Havana Suede Booties at Nordstrom

Mark and Graham Dakota Hide Clutch

 

LOOK 5:

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Sam Edelman Kervana Embossed Knee High boot

Splendid Faux Suede Leggings at Nordstrom

CUYANA Alpaca Cape

GUCCI Thick Black Belt

EVERLANE Pima Micro Rib Turtlneck

ALL SAINTS Captain Leather Tote

Happy fall shopping to all!  I hope the idea of some fun fall outfits helps you, as well, look forward to the chillier months ahead.

XOXO,

Ally

 

Asking a Favor this Back to School

kindnessI’m taking another quick pause from my style posts to write about something that is very important to me. I’m asking you for a favor this back to school season.

As you may or may not know, my oldest son, William, has some developmental delays. We’ve spent the last eight years taking advantage of speech, occupational and physical therapists, specialized schooling for autistic children, behavioral therapists and plans, medication, and tutors.   The amazing thing is … all of this has paid off. William is doing awesome. He can now go into a public restroom and travel with us. He can stay up past his bedtime without major consequences. I no longer get weekly calls from teachers. He is a gentleman when out to dinner. I’ve even caught him shaking hands and making eye contact with new friends. We are at a place that I never could have imagined.

But things aren’t perfect. They’ll never be. He’ll always have some challenges, well into his adult life. The tough part is that William looks perfect. There is no reason to think, when looking at him with his Adidas flip flops, popped collar and hesitant demeanor that he is any different than other tween his age. However, he is. He’s quite different at times. Sometimes subtly quirky, and other times obviously quirky.

We recently had a few incidents where he was treated unkindly. Kids were unaccepting of him. “Breaks my heart” is an understatement. “Nauseous for days” is more like it. Sadly, I think this is only the beginning now that we’re only one year from middle school.

I love to write style pieces, share trends, and get your mind off all of that heavy stuff like politics and natural disasters. However, I feel compelled to get serious for a moment and ask you, my friends, family and readers, for some help on behalf of the “not-so-typical” kids out there.

There are two favors that I ask as we move forward into this next school year:

  1.  ACTIVELY encourage inclusion. What do I mean by this? Ask your children if there are children who are never picked at gym. If there are kids who roam around the playground alone. How about the one that never has a partner. Challenge them to move out of their comfort zone with their best buddy and partner up with that child. Encourage or incentivize them to share a story of how it went, and how they felt after including. Remind them of how that child probably feels. Last year, Will’s aide told me that the young, “sporty” kid that everyone wanted as a partner chose William. This was LIFE CHANGING for my son.
  2. Talk to your children about disabilities. Share the fact that disabilities are not always physical, and sometimes not noticeable at all. Sometimes they play out in unpleasant ways. Behavioral problems like body control issues, annoyingness and rudeness are sometimes the result of a neurologically atypical child not being able to process his/her feeling or anxieties. More often than not during their elementary years, they are unable to express this. When your child comes home complaining of a child’s behavior, remember that this may not be a “bad kid” or a child with “shitty parents”, as I’ve heard kids referred to in the past. These children may be struggling with difficult emotional control issues and are likely working on those challenges. These are often the very children that need to be included.

I’ve seen many bumper stickers and tee shirts encouraging us all to “practice kindness.” Here. I’ve given you two, very specific ways that you can encourage a child you know to practice kindness… ways that go much further than simply wearing the words. I will continue to encourage my children to be kind and inclusive, and hope that they will make as much of a positive impact on someone’s life as the sporty kid made on William’s.

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Summer Survival Kit

I wanted to take a minute to share a few of my favorite summer “things”.  These are not just clothing items or accessories, but things that I rely heavily on in the summer months.  I don’t share too many products in my blog, but sometimes feel that I want to since they make me happy, and may make you as well!

 

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  1. A summer-weight kimono robe that brings glamour to my not-so-glamourous mornings with four boys. Like this KIM+ONO Sakura Kimono Robe.
  2. Chunky woven bangles that are interesting yet versatile. Like the circle bangles you often see me wearing from  from Cult Gaia.
  3. The perfect matte orange lipstick that doesn’t dry your lips out. One of my faves is MAC Powder Kiss in Style Shocked.
  4. The WetBrush Original Detangler works better than ANY brush or comb I have ever used for detangling, especially post-pool or lake. And… it’s a steal!
  5. Low-sugar cocktails like ones made with club soda and a flavored vodka are my go-to summer drink! Check out the new and delicious Ketel One Botanicals,
  6. Lightweight layering tanks that I can smoothly tuck into my comfy midi skirts.   Like these basic tanks from GAP factory.
  7. An easy wrap skirt that I can throw on and look put together! Like this GAP Wrap Patch Pocket Skirt.
  8. Oversized round sunnies are essential for hiding my tired, too-many-late-nights eyes. I love these COSMOs by DIFF Charitable Eyewear.
  9. A summer clutch that matches just about every one of my going out outfits!  Like this  J. McGlaughlin Burnt Bamboo Clutch.
  10. Nude-colored sandals that are flattering, stylish and comfortable. Like these Sam Edelman Beckie Woven Slides, found in link or at Violet’s of Saratoga locally!
  11. This frizz-fighting serum has changed my life (and texture) and prevented me from having to spend the time and money on keratin treatments. I stay frizz-free with TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Heat Activated Treatment .
  12. An interesting day-to-night straw or basket bag, like this one from MANGO. As you may have noticed from my IG feed, I use mine ALL the time in the summer months.
  13. Summertime statement earrings. I love to throw my hair back and liven up a basic outfit with something BIG AND BOLD. Like these Collette Flower Earrings by Jennifer Behr.
  14. A lightweight off-the-shoulder top tends to be my summer blouse of choice, and pairs wonderfully with pencil skirts or jeans! Like this BCBG off-the-shoulder striped top.
  15. A fabulous summer scent that you can’t wait to spray! Like my current fave, Tom Ford Fleur De Portofino at Saks Fifth Avenue.
  16. The perfect summer nail color needs only one coat and “cleans things up” when I haven’t had a mani in a while. I’ve been using  Essie “Skinny Dip” from Amazon since they launched the color.
  17. Bravo Swimsuit Pads help provide a bathing suit boobie boost for those of us who need it. Some women choose surgery. I choose to sit for hours and sew pads into my swimsuits. Many swimsuits have pockets for such pads. (Mine don’t).
  18. A versatile straw hat allows me to leave the house with out confronting the hair issue… a huge time saver! Like this Frye Harness Fedora from Anthropologie,
  19. Illuminating body lotion that highlights but doesn’t “glitter”. I’m currently loving OLAY Quench Shimmer.
  20. A breezy t-shirt midi dress is perfect with slides and a crossbody on a hot summer day! I’ve been wearing them all summer, like this affordable one from H&M .

If you try something and love (or DON’T), please let me know! I always love feedback! As for now, enjoy the sunshine and the recommendations.

XOXO,

Ally

Summer Dresses 2019

I have a thing for summer dresses. We have SO many summer commitments and dresses take most of the work out of getting ready. No need to coordinate. Just throw one on with a nude block-heeled sandal, accessorize, and go! And then do it all over again. All summer long.

As you may have noticed from my IG feed, I am an equal-opportunity-dress-buyer.  From BCBG to that incredibly inexpensive company Shein… if I love it, I try it. I also love finding timeless day-to-night dresses from stores like H&M and Zara that LOOK like they cost more than they did. I consider it a personal challenge. There are dresses that I’ve been wearing for YEARS that have never “gone out,” and that I don’t think I paid more than 30 dollars for.

Linked are some of my favorite dresses this season (and squeezing in one jumpsuit as well!) Similar to the dresses in my wardrobe, they range in price, style and silhouette. As always, the details are below the photos.

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  1. Nikita Dress, The Reformation
  2. Dress, H&M
  3. Printed Wrap-Front Midi, GAP
  4. Ted Baker Sionna Ribbed Sweater Dress, Nordstrom
  5. Snakeskin Print Dress, ZARA
  6. Self-Tie Shirt Dress, Ralph Lauren
  7. Anastasia Shirt Dress, Boden

 

 

 

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  1. Anthropologie Encanta Abstract Maxi Dress
  2. Jadrien Knit Wrap Dress, Club Monaco
  3. Printed Wrap Dress, Tory Burch
  4. Belted Linen Blend Midi Dress, & Other Stories
  5. Rose Bloom Maxi Dress, BCBG
  6. Troubadour Jumpsuit, Anthropologie
  7. Silk Maxi Sarong Paisley Dress, J.Crew

I hope you finally figured out what to wear to that __________ next week.  I know, it’s been on your mind.

XOXO,

Ally

 

 

 

 

Bathing Suits 101: Tips and Picks

Here we are, knee-deep in bathing suit season. Some find this a more difficult time of year than others. Here are a few tips to take some of the pain out of finding that right swimsuit for you.

  1. Top it off right. Small-chested? Aim for a padded bandeau or any underwire design with gathering, ruffles, or padding. Very large-chested? Try thick straps, a dark and supportive fabric, and underwire. Your belly always looks slimmer when the chest is boosted up and out! (Very few women call pull off the totally unsupportive 80’s tank suit.  Kudos to you if you can.)
  2. Get waisted.  Thick in the mid-section or have an athletic shape? Use strategic folds (ruching), wraps, belts, and even printed designs to create the appearance of a waist. Many of the higher-waist designs this summer are great for masking a postpartum-pooch.
  3. Aim high. The higher-cut, the longer the appearance of the leg. On the other hand, low, boy-short designs shorten legs and look best on tall, long legged ladies.
  4. Colorblock. Using colors and prints strategically on a one or two-piece can surely boost the flattery factor. Solid, dark colors help to play down and minimize problem areas, while printed, detailed or bright areas help draw attention.
  5. Try, try, and try again. Take the time to find the right suit for you. Order a size lower and a size higher and expect to return. Take a huge pile into the dressing room. Sometimes a slight difference in design or size can make all the difference in the world.

Here are some of my favorite one-pieces and bikinis available this season! The variety of styles will appeal to many different body shapes. Details, as always, are linked under the collages.

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ONE-PIECE SUITS

  1. The Mykonos Ribbed One piece, Andies Swim
  2. Santorini Swimsuit, Boden
  3. One-Piece Leopard Tank Suit, Profile by Gottex
  4. The Deep Dive Suit, Summersalt
  5. Belted Underwire One-Piece, WhoWoreWhat at Victoria’s Secret
  6. Floral Dots Tie One-Piece, Kate Spade Swim
  7. The Taylor One Piece with White Trim, Solid and Striped
  8. Off the Shoulder Amazonian One Piece. Trina Turk at Everything But Water

 

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BIKINIS

  1. Pearl Loop Strap Underwire Bikini, Tommy Bahama
  2. Mosaic Sunrise Bikini, Trina Turk at Everything But Water
  3. Striped Underwire Bikini, Lascana
  4. Betty Cassidy Gingham Front Tie Bikini, Eberjey at Bloomingdales
  5. U-Front Bandeau Bikini in Jungle Floral, J.Crew
  6. Ginger Bikini, Solid and Striped at Madewell
  7. Lagoon Sarong Hipster, Lilly Pulitzer
  8. Enhancer Push Up Triangle Bikini, Venus

Although these tips and picks are just a starting point, there is no magic to finding that perfect suit. If you love it and feel great in it (or maybe not AS terrible), that is really all that matters.

XOXO,

Ally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Summer, I’m Accessorized by LOLA

I always enjoy sharing my outfits in my Instagram feed. You may have noticed that I often mention the store Lola Saratoga, my favorite local shop dedicated to accessories. You also may have noticed that I love to mix “highs” and “lows”, often pairing a GUCCI something with a Zara something. Well guess what… so does Lola! They carry everything from colorful statement Bauble Bar earrings, to ever-classic quilted Chanel vintage bags. So it’s no surprise that we decided to get together for a fun and fashionable project! I’m excited to share my Five Favorite Summer Looks, styled only with accessories from Lola!

(And… if you’re wondering about the amazing backdrop, it’s the gorgeous and super-cool Adelphi Gardens patio.  You MUST check it out for yourself this summer!)

GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT

Flare jeans continue to trend in and out, but they are one of my go-to items for nights out, especially with my girls. I often pair them with an off-the-shoulder top, like this boho-inspired linen design. The layered coin necklaces that I found at Lola were the PERFECT addition to the top! When exposing my shoulders, I usually choose an extra large earring, like these chunky gold hoops. This Tory Burch bucket bag was the ideal finish to the look!

 

POST-TRACK PORCH PARTY

I do LOVE me a lightweight maxi. They allow me to secretly wear my seven-inch-high-yet-still-comfortable cork wedges for track days and long nights, or when I have to be on my feet for hours.  I’ve paired this floral maxi with this detailed AND roomy Kate Spade bucket bag and fun, turquoise beaded Marinella drop earrings.

 

DATE NIGHT

If you haven’t seen LOLA’s amazing assortment of headbands, you have to stop in! From boho chic to preppy pearls, there is one for every taste. I’ve been in love with this one, and thought it would perfect for a date night! I paired it with this black and blush (and perfectly sized) Tory Burch bag and sweet Kate Spade pave cluster earrings. Those of you who know me know that I RARELY miss a date night, especially when I have a great outfit lined up!

 

SUNDAY BRUNCH

Any time I’m out with the kids for brunch, shopping, or dinner, comfort is KEY. This “look”, including comfortable wedges, a cotton midi skirt and basic tank has become a summer 2019 UNIFORM! I like to keep it interesting by stacking bracelets and a watch, like this Tory Burch wrap bracelet, messaged bangles, and tortoise Apple Watch band. I feel that every summer wardrobe should include big, tortoise hoops like these (they go with just about everything)! This adorable Tory Burch linen bag perfectly completes the outfit and the crossbody keeps my hands free for managing the crayons and cheerios that often accompany the four little monsters.

Sunday Brunch

 

WORKING LUNCH

Heading to a summertime lunch meeting or networking event?  Keeping it simple and classic allows people to focus on YOU.  What better way to do this than with a great fitting basic black sheath dress and FABULOUS accessories.  If you haven’t yet visited Lola’s vintage designer case (showcasing Chanel, GUCCI, LV and more), you MUST. Inventory continuously changes with availability of new vintage pieces, and my favorites have included button earrings, coin bracelets and necklaces, and an awesome variety of vintage Chanel handbags.

 

I hope that I’ve given you a few ideas of what to wear to your next summer gathering, and LOTS of reasons to stop by the amazing Lola Saratoga!  Enjoy the sunshine, but please look fabulous while you do so.

XOXO,

Ally

MAD for the Midi!

Now, onto the single item that I’ve been mad for for a year now. THE MIDI SKIRT.

This spring, you’ll see skirts with pleats, paper bag waists, wraps, belted circle silhouettes, animal prints, a-lines, and lots of buttons. One thing most have in common: the “midi” hemline. I consider a “midi” hemline anything that falls below the knee and above the ankle. But I must admit, this length is sometimes a bit tricky.

I almost always wear my midis with a skin-toned slide. Add a heel or wedge and you boost the flattery factor three-fold. Because I’m 5’3″, I usually order the petite version if it’s available. For my fashionistas with thick legs (I really don’t know what other way to describe this challenge some of us have), aim for a hemline just below the knee. This is especially flattering when pairing your skirt with sneaks.

The hottest look of the season is the flowy midi in a leopard or snakeskin print. It can be worn SO MANY ways! I’ve included one in the nine great skirts that I’d love in my wardrobe, shown here. As always, the links to the nine skirts shown are below the photo. Immediately following the links, I’ve also included three ways to wear this midi, or almost any midi that you may have in YOUR wardrobe!

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  1. Aritzia Leopard Button Down 
  2. GAP Slub Tie Waist Skirt
  3. Boden Melina Paper Bag Skirt
  4. ZARA Pleated Skirt
  5. Corey Lynn Calter (Anthropologie) Giraffe A-line
  6. Ann Taylor Tie Waist Midi Wrap
  7. Banana Republic Snakeskin Pleated Skirt
  8. Topshop (Nordstrom) Button Ribbed Midi
  9. J.Crew Pencil Skirt in Stretch Denim

CasualMidi

VacationMidi

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Now that we have three CUTE outfit options, maybe the sun will stay out long enough for us to bare our ankles without freezing to death here in upstate NY! It’s June 17 and people are still wearing puffy coats. Hey Mother Nature, I can speak for everyone around here when I say we’re officially ready for sandal (and midi) weather.

XOXO,

Ally