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

NightOutMidi-2

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

 

WEARABLE Spring Trends 2019: Modern Utility

Take that minimalist vibe you felt in my “WEARABLE Spring Trends: Naturals” post.  Add some military details, feminine designs and flowy fabrics, and there you have it.  Modern Utility.

No matter what season or year, I always have use for a great utility jacket.  I also consider army green a basic neutral, taking up plenty of real-estate in my personal wardrobe.  From minis to midis, accessories to basics, there are so many great military-inspired classics available this spring. The comfortable fabrics and roomy designs are the icing on the cake. Here are just a few of my faves, with links to items below the photo:

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 LOFT Drapey Utility Jumpsuit

Ted Baker London Shorts

AQUA (Bloomingdales) Camo Joggers 

Theory Modern Utility Stretch Chino Dress

Kempton & Co. Bag Collection, Made of Up-cycled Vintage Textiles, Encounter Boutique

TOPSHOP (Nordstrom) Midi Shirt Dress

&OtherStories Oversized Worker Jacket

Target Utility Mini Skirt

Lou&Grey Tie Waist Linen Pants

I don’t know a woman who isn’t amazing at multi-tasking.  Why shouldn’t our clothes be?

XOXO,

Ally

WEARABLE Spring Trends: Island Goddess

So here we are.  It’s officially mid-May, and much of upstate New York is still in Bean boots and puffer jackets every other day. I’m sure you cannot even think about anything resembling resort wear, but I promise you that our warm weather is just around the corner. Today’s trend highlights all of the amazing pieces that scream sunshine and tropical vacations and that are ready and available to help us transition into summer.

From tropical flowers to palms and banana leaves, there are too many fun prints to count this season that will transform you instantly into an Island Goddess. Below are just some of my favorite finds that get me SUPER excited for those warm weather months! As always, below the photo are the links for order information for each item.

Island Goddess

ZARA Tropical Print Off-the-Shoulder Dress

MANGO Bamboo Round Bag

BCBG (Everything But the Water) Halter Bikini

Pura Vida (Lulu’s) High-Low Button Up Dress

ZARA Printed Headband

H&M Draped Wrap-Front Skirt

Elizabeth Volk Emerald Palm Earrings

Hobbs London (Bloomingdales) Halle Palm Linen Top

Tommy Bahama Breezy Palm Bandeau

REVOLVE Black Palm Pant

Because you know how it works.  We’ll have a frost tonight, and then wake up to 80 degree days through mid-September.  Be prepared.

XOXO,

Ally

WEARABLE Spring Trends: Naturals

Last week I showcased some bold rainbow brights that have hit the stores.  This week, we’re taking a walk to the other side, and focusing on “Naturals”, the next trend of my Spring Trend Series.

I gladly welcome the nature that spring brings, including all of the woven fabrics, wood, rattan, and linen that make their debut.  I also love all the brown and tan tones that come with these materials.  Here are a just a few of my favorite “nature-inspired” finds, including some STEALS!.  As always, links to pricing and color options are below the photo.

naturalstrend2019.jpgREISS Eleni Caramel Knitted Body Con Dress

TOMS Bellini Champagne Crystal Sunglasses

Gucci Ophedia Straw Shoulder Bag

Michael Kors Jill Leather Wedge Sandal

Forever 21 Etched Wooden Bracelet

JCrew Sweater Tank

MANGO Braided Wood Belt

Caroline & Main Rattan Hoop Earrings, $20 (Local Find!)

Superga (Anthropologie) Crocodile Embossed Sneakers

Zara Wood Crossbody Bag

Sam Edelman (Bloomingdales) Falcon 2 Woven Flats

Caslon (Nordstrom) Linen Pants

It’s never been so easy to go “au naturale.”  Give it a try!

XOXO,

Ally

WEARABLE Spring Trends: Rainbow Brights!

I rarely feel the urge to buy clothing during the winter months. I actually don’t mind being held hostage by my Sorels and stadium coat for a while.  Then it happens, like clockwork. The weather warms up, the spring clothes hit the stores, and I get the fever.

Because there are SO MANY great, wearable trends this spring, I’ve decided to break them up and focus on one per post to avoid overwhelming you (my readers with very little time and short attention spans).  I will be sure to leave out the runway looks that borderline on ridiculous for upstate NY.   “Lingerie on the outside” and “plastic outerwear” come to mind.

Let’s kick off our Spring Trend Series with Rainbow Brights!  I don’t mind bright colors at all, but I do think choosing the wrong shade of the wrong garment or in the wrong fabric could bring you from chic to cheese in a heartbeat.  Here are some great Crayola-worthy pieces that are Style File-approved!  As always, links to items can be found under the picture.

RED Boden Aria Midi Ponte Dress

RED Freya Linen Shirt Dress

ORANGE JCrew Strappy knit Midi dress

YELLOW Everlane Women’s Japanese GoWEave Tank Dress

YELLOW ZARA Frock Coat

GREEN Ann Taylor Wrap Dress

GREEN Kate Spade NY (Bloomingdales) Bikini

BLUE Lacoste Slim Fit Polo

BLUE Gibson X International (Nordstrom)  Split Neck Blouse

BLUE+PURPLE Nike Odyssey  Customizable Sneakers

Baublebar Kiera Raffia Statement Earrings

Soludos Rainbow Wave Sneakers

Punky Brewster was on to something.  Perhaps just a little before her time.

XOXO,

Ally

Jumping Into Jumpsuits!

Several years ago, these things called jumpsuits hit the style scene, and I’ve been a fan since. Really? A grown adult in a onesie? But only those tiny teenage girls can pull them off, right? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Fortunately, brands have been expanding their now stand- alone jumpsuit section to include something for all shapes, styles and occasions.

However… some are easier to wear than others. Here are a few things to remember when choosing a jumpsuit.  Fabrics with a bit of stretch give you a greater chance of finding a perfect fit off-the-rack. A straight or wide leg, hemmed to the floor, gives you your longest, leanest look. When choosing a cropped design, avoid super-wide legs or stiff fabrics. More casual jumpsuits and boiler suits can be worn a bit roomier and still look great.

There are truly jumpsuits for every occasion. Whether you’re looking for a more formal option for a wedding or simply one to bounce around town in… the options are endless. Below are my absolute favorite jumpsuits available right now, with many super-flattering designs. Hopefully my picks can help take some of the work out of finding the right one for you. As always, click links below pics for details about the jumpsuit.

DAYTIME

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  1. Boden Tillie Jumpsuit
  2. Madewell Denim Slim Coverall Jumpsuit
  3. ZARA Gathered Jumpsuit with Straps
  4. GAP Cap Sleeve V-Neck Linen Jumpsuit
  5. MANGO Long Linen Blend Red Jumpsuit
  6. Lucky Striped Boilersuit
  7. Banana Republic Linen-Blend Button Up Jumpsuit
  8. LandsEnd Denim Jumpsuit
  9. Express Button-Front Utility Jumpsuit

NIGHT OUT

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  1. The Reformation Camille Jumpsuit
  2. Lilly Pulitzer Janelle Embellished Jumpsuit or available locally at The Pink Paddock
  3. DVF Terria Silk Jersey Wrap Jumpsuit
  4. RACHEL Rachel Roy (Macy’s) Tie Front Wrap Jumpsuit
  5. Trina Turk Antilla Jumpsuit, available locally at The Pink Paddock
  6. BCBG (Bloomingdales) One-Shoulder Ruffle Jumpsuit
  7. MANGO Leaf Jumpsuit
  8. ZARA Red Pleated Jumpsuit

I may have made it easier to choose a jumpsuit, but as for learning how to go to the bathroom in it… well, you’re on your own. Practice makes perfect. Let’s leave it at that.

XOXO,

Ally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 “Must Have” Jackets for Spring

 

TIP #11_ Structured layers like blazers and more casual jackets (like cargo_safari designs) instantly “polish up” a simple pair of jeans.-4This was taken straight from my blog post 15 Style Tips That Every Girl Should Know. Now that that the ground is almost thawed, I thought it was time to talk about jackets… my favorite “in-between seasons” piece! Sure, jackets provide a layer of warmth, but what I personally love is the extra coverage they give us. Choose longer designs for some thigh and butt coverage, or more structured or cinched designs to conceal a belly and create the illusion of a waist.

Below I’ve featured my five favorite styles for spring : utility, trench, denim, moto, and blazer, and five great finds within each. As always, be sure to click on the links for pricing and to check out the color options and washes available!

 

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  1. J.Crew Perfect Rain Jacket
  2. GAP Garment-dyed Utility Jacket
  3. AERO Camo Twill Jacket
  4. BB Dakota Belted Hooded Jacket
  5. EVERLANE Modern Utility Jacket

 

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  1. J.Crew Leopard Trench
  2. BR Maxi Trench
  3. Ted Baker London Plaid Trench
  4. Badgley Mischka (Nordstrom) Faux Leather Trim Trench
  5. H&M Checked Trench

 

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  1. Levi’s (Anthropologie) Ex-Boyfriend Denim Trucker Jacket
  2.  Madewell “The Jean Jacket”
  3. Levi’s (Urban Outfitters) Slouchy Trucker Jacket
  4. ZARA Denim Jacket
  5. TARGET Universal Thread Oversized Denim Jacket

 

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  1. BLANKNYC (Bloomingdales) Suede Moto Jacket
  2. H&M Biker Jacket
  3. ALLSAINTS Suede Dalby Biker Jacket
  4. Liverpool Jeans Cotton Stretch MOTO Jacket 
  5. BB Dakota (ASOS) Faux Leather Jacket

 

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  1. 1901 (Nordstrom) Double Breasted Blazer
  2. ZARA Tweed Jacket
  3. J.Crew Parke Blazer in Gingham
  4. MANGO Tortoiseshell Buttons Jacket
  5. EVERLANE Cotton Linen Blazer

Whether you’d describe yourself as classic or bohemian, the styles above truly cover the spectrum.  Hopefully you found a little something that will help you look your best for the unpredictability of spring in the Northeast.

XOXO,

Ally

 

 

 

The Depressing World of Instagram

This one may not be directly style-related, but is a message that I feel is incredibly important to share in 2019.

Over the last year, I’ve been a “style blogger”.  Not a REAL one.  Just one that enjoys sharing tips and outfit ideas in my spare time.  I’m not even that good with technology.  I’m literally learning as I go. I, too, look for inspiration for photo, article and outfit ideas.  Naturally, I’ve started following more bloggers and influencers to help with this.  This has really opened my eyes to what I feel will be (and already is) one of the biggest challenges of our future: an unrealistic view of people’s appearances and lives… and sadly, the depression, anxiety, loneliness, and lowered self-esteem that accompanies these.

Social media and the blogosphere are likely here to stay.  If we are going to play on this playground, we MUST adopt a lens when looking at ALL of these images that flood our minds daily.  We MUST remind ourselves that the photos we’re seeing are NOT representative of typical daily living.  The Instagram page of whomever we’re following is their BEST portfolio. The best of the best.  We MUST NOT compare ourselves to others.

WHAT EXACTLY DO I “EDIT”?

I’ll absolutely come clean that I am VERY selective with what I share. I don’t try to make my life look “perfect” by any means… but I’m a very private person (you’d be surprised). I rarely share publicly our biggest struggles or family challenges. To me, that’s private. But PLEASE don’t think they are not there.

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You won’t see many photos taken in my house.  Why?  BECAUSE IT’S A FREAKING DISASTER. I have four boys.  There are matchbox cars everywhere you step.  There is a craft bin that is constantly vomiting construction paper and activity books.  When I do finally find a clean corner or angle, there is chipped paint or better yet… a self-portrait sketched onto the wall by my two-year old when I wasn’t looking.  I can assure you that my house and kitchen look NOTHING like those of most bloggers that I follow.

In addition, I’d rather not share the photos that highlight my stretched out post-partum belly or showcase my giant varicose vein. Although I avoid stamping them into cyberspace, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

img_3718-e1553725497564.pngSomeone who follows me came up to David and I last year and said, “you’re so photogenic!”  We died laughing.  We laughed because WE know just how many photos we take before we get a good one. Sometimes there is an outfit that I can’t wait to share and that looks great!  He’ll take 20 photos, and not even one is good.  Guess what?  It never makes the cut.  I probably post about .01% of what we take. Now these are MY edits… what happens in MY “fake” style blogger life.

WHAT ABOUT “REAL” INFLUENCERS?

How about what is happening “behind the scenes” of some of these major influencers’ sites?  I feel obligated to remind you (especially my younger readers) that it is often not the life that you or I know.  Many of these girls may have left their children with a nanny and started their day with a personal trainer. Many stopped for a quick spray tan, which always helps them to look slimmer and more photogenic.  When they arrive home, they may be met by a glam squad.  They may spend two hours getting blowouts, hair, nails and makeup done.  Their amazing makeup selection was likely provided to them free of charge.  Many grab a quick and healthy meal that was delivered to their home to help them stay “picture perfect” and to be featured on their sites. Many have one or a team of photographers that step in when they’re ready.  All this time, their children may have been screaming and overtired.  When calm, the nanny may place the child in the set, exit stage left, and allow for the perfect, happy, family shot, where they are squeezing fresh OJ in the most gorgeous kitchen I have ever seen.

THE POST-PARTUM PITFALL

pexels-photo-415824.jpegOne group of women who feel tremendous pressure as a result of these unrealistic expectations are women in their post-partum months.  Here’s how it happens:  you have this amazing baby.  You’re elated, but exhausted.  The sleepless nights bring heightened emotions and often, a bit of post-partum depression.  The home-based days and nights often result in more “scrolling” than usual.  You’re likely following some “influencers” who are in the same phase of life as you are.  However, you SURELY don’t look like them.  Why are YOU having such a hard time?  Take all that potential “behind the scenes” help I mentioned earlier and add another element: add the fact that these women may have had a little surgical help immediately following the birth of their child.  Add the fact that they may have night nurses who are allowing them to get GREAT sleep.  Then add cosmetic procedures and skin treatments that may be causing them to look MUCH more awake than you.  I can speak from a LOT of experience… looking and feeling “back to normal” after a baby is a long road, and the “normal” is a new normal.  ANYONE suggesting otherwise is not being truthful.

PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION

I’m not suggesting that every woman you follow has all of this help at her fingertips.  I’m simply asking you to consider these “could be’s” if you’re active on any social media.  According to mental health professionals, the increase in social media use is expected to continue to cause increases in depression rates.  If you EVER start feeling down and find yourself comparing yourself to a “friend” or influencer’s “best of the best” portfolio, remember my words.  Remember that EVERYONE is struggling with something, no matter what it may look like. Or better yet… maybe it’s time to take a break from scrolling. It’s time to have that long, overdue conversation with a friend or family member.  Because there is no group chat, instant message or text exchange that will EVER even come close to the genuine happiness that comes with a REAL chat.  Like the good old-fashion face-to-face kind.  I’ll bet you a million photo “likes” that you’ll agree.

XOXO,

Ally