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

 

My Favorite Jeans of Spring!

I’ll be honest with you… I’ve never been a jeans type of girl.  For years I have found them so difficult to fit on my unique shape (thick thighs + flat arse).  Years of experience jeans shopping has made it slightly easier, but it’s still a struggle for me, and always will be.

Fortunately, between the internet and some great shops in town (so much easier to bring a “pile” into the dressing room and get to work), we all have access to just about any style, fit, size, wash and price point. I continue to find “pencil” jeans tough, so I gladly welcome this season’s “roomier” fits, including boyfriend jeans and overalls.  Below are some of my favorite jeans this spring, in a variety of styles and price points. Be sure to click on links below if something strikes your fancy… many have a variety of colors and/or washes available!

Let’s start with a personal favorite : the “boyfriend” jean.  These are generally a more relaxed fit, often worn cuffed and with a white tee or button down and sneaks.

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  1. Eddie Bauer Slim Leg Boyfriend Jeans
  2. AG Ex-Boyfriend Slim Jean
  3. Citizens of Humanity Emerson Slim Fit Boyfriend
  4. GAP High-rise Best Girlfriend Jean
  5. Kut from the Kloth (Macy’s) Catherine Boyfriend Jean

 

I’m thrilled that long and lean flares and wide legs are back.  Pair these often high-waisted styles with a super high (yet super comfy) wedge sandal for legs a mile high!

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  1. Boden Helston Sailor Jean
  2. AE Wide Leg Jean
  3. JCrew Wide Leg Trouser Jean
  4. 7For All Mankind Slim Illusion Dojo
  5. HUDSON Jeans Holly High Rise Flare

 

“Demi boots” and crops are ALL over this season, and are look SUPER cool!  Personally, I find these very difficult to wear (any cropped pant tends to shorten you). But, as I always say, if you try them and love them… then get them!  Pair them with sneaks, slides or heels for a variety of chic looks!

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  1. Anthropologie Paige Nellie High Rise Culotte Jeans
  2. JCrew Demi Boot Cut Jean With Seam
  3. Levi’s (Free People) Mile High Cropped Flare
  4. The Reformation (Nordstrom) Fawcett High Waist Crop
  5. Madewell Cali Demi Boot Jean

 

Last, and surely not least, overalls!  NEVER in my life did I think I’d ever buy a pair of overalls again.  Last spring, I walked into a Lucky store, tried them and decided that they were the easiest, comfiest “denim” I ever remember wearing.  I’ve bought two more pairs since then (even though my husband sings Come on Eileen EVERY time I wear them).  Go ahead… give them a try. You never know!  Style with a turtleneck and loafers, or try a crop top / fitted white tee and flip-flops for a more casual look!

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  1. Universal Thread (Target) Wide Leg Overall
  2. Topshop Black Slim Leg Dungarees
  3. Abercrombie & Fitch Twill Camo Overall
  4. Lucky Jeans White Boyfriend Overall
  5. Free People Boyfriend Overall

With all these option this spring, you’re bound to find something that fits both you and your  lifestyle. Happy spring jeans shopping! Even though it will still be another two months until winter boots are OFFICIALLY stored, here in upstate NY.

XOXO, Ally

 

 

 

15 Style Tips That Every Girl Should Know!

Two weeks ago, I challenged myself to come up with a tagline for The Style File.  It didn’t take long:

Let's frolic though the garden!-2

This has been my philosophy for decades.  Yes, I’m guilty of spending on the occasional luxury item, but it’s always something I LOVE and never just for the logo.  At the same time, the majority of my wardrobe is made up of lower cost brands, from Target to H&M and everything in between.

I thought I’d share my “Top 15 Tips” for creating your most wearable wardrobe, with a few links to some items mentioned.  These are mantras that I have personally lived by for many years now.

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  1. Buy jeans slightly smaller than your size. They will stretch to a perfect fit.
  2. Keep your classic pieces updated by incorporating inexpensive trends that compliment your body shape and lifestyle.
  3. Great fits need great tailors. Whether it’s nipping the waist of that sheath dress or hemming your pants to a certain shoe, a small tweak makes a HUGE difference.
  4. Dress for your shape. Choose the right pieces to downplay your most “challenging” areas. Show off what you’re proud of, but keep it classy!
  5. The best way to hide belly bulge is with the right bra. Don’t be afraid to wear a padded bra. This helps prevent your pieces from “clinging” to your midsection.
  6. Everyone needs a collared white button-down. Whether it’s tucked, untucked, tied in front, collared up, sleeves rolled…. you ALWAYS look put together in a crisp, white shirt.
  7. If you know a silhouette works with your body shape, stick with it! You can always find a way to keep the outfit current by changing out the pieces or accessories around it.
  8. The single most (bare) leg-flattering shoe is a nude pump. Not a heel kind of gal?  Opt for a basic nude flat with a little bit of point for your longest leg.
  9. Classic and edgy balance each other beautifully. Wearing a skin-tight leather skirt?  Choose a feminine, modest top.  Outfit feeling a bit stuffy and boring?  Throw some leopard or snakeskin into the mix.
  10. Choose one amazingly bold accessory and keep everything else minimal. Let that item steal the show!
  11. Structured layers like blazers and more casual jackets (like cargo/safari designs) instantly “polish up” a simple pair of jeans.
  12. “Curvy” in the thigh area? Pencil jeans can be tough to wear.  Choose straight, flared or wider leg jeans for your most flattering fit.
  13. Who is on your “best dressed” list? Be sure to follow them on Instagram or Pinterest, save your favorite looks, and steal shamelessly!  I do it ALL the time (and FYI, my current obsession is Victoria Beckham)!
  14. Solid, light-colored tees and performance fabrics always show more bulges than their dark-colored counterparts. Stick with navy, black or small dark prints to help conceal those problem areas.
  15. It’s better to have a few outfits that ALWAYS look fabulous on you, versus an expansive wardrobe with lots of “so-so” looks.

Hopefully these golden nuggets help you to create YOUR best wardrobe!  And remember… whether it’s Forever 21 or Ferragamo, it’s all about HOW your wear it.

XOXO, Ally