Summer Style Essentials

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There are a few items in my summer wardrobe that I just can’t live without.  You’ve likely seen many similar things on my Instagram feed.  I thought I’d share some of my personal essentials, along with some links to items available today.

  1. “Wear-anywhere” shirtdress.  I got this J.Crew one last spring and was thrilled to see several new colors and prints just released!  I love the long, wide tie that helps to cinch the waist.   J.Crew Striped Shirtdress
  2. A great, basic cover-up.  I love the adjustable shoulder ties and feminine details of this one by J.Crew.  J.Crew Tie Shoulder Dress with Embroidery
  3. A versatile pair of sunnies.  I’m currently loving big, round, retro designs and LeSpecs always offers cool options at reasonable prices.  LeSpecs “Last Dance” Sunglasses
  4. A large, woven bag.  I love the size and shape of this bag by Anthropologie.  Fill it for a day at the beach or accessorize a sweet sundress for a night event!  Anthropolgie “What a Catch” Tote Bag
  5. A white, cotton, off-the-shoulder top.  As you may have noticed from my IG feed, I am riding this off-the-shoulder trend as long as I possibly can.  And, I always love the look of crisp, white cotton in summertime.  Show me your MUMU (Bloomingdales) Off-the-Shoulder Top
  6. A classic navy pencil skirt.  I just love Boden’s pencil skirts.  They are well-made,  most have stretch and always include some interesting details, like this exposed zipper and grosgrain pull.  Boden Hampshire Navy Ponte Skirt
  7. A “feels like nothing” pair of pjs.  Check out these beautiful ones by LAKE Pajamas.  You’ll fall in love with the sweet stripes and feminine, classic designs.  LAKE Pajamas “Island Summer Dress”
  8. A neutral block heel that goes from sundress to cocktail dress.  I love these super-versatile suede Oatmeal “Yaro” heels by Sam Edelman.  Similar “Yaros” available locally at Violet’s of Saratoga.     Sam Edelman Perfect Neutral Block Heel
  9. A “go-to” summer scent.  I love Tom Ford’s perfumes, and Costa Azzurra is absolutely heavenly.  It will immediately transport you to white sands and blue waters.     Tom Ford (Sephora) Costa Azzurra
  10. A fabulous sun hat.  I can go days without doing my hair in the summer, thanks to this essential accessory.  I’m obsessed with this hat shown by Eric Javits.  A more practical, affordable option is linked here.    Eric Javits (Neiman Marcus) Giant Floppy Sun Hat in Peanut
  11. A lightweight, button-down casual dress.  I love the tie (helps to cinch your waist) and sleeve (able to wear a normal bra) on this dress by MANGO.  There are lots of button-down dresses out this summer, all which easily go from day to night.  MANGO Bow Cotton Dress
  12. The easiest AND comfiest of summer dresses: a soft, midi tee-shirt dress.  Pair with some slides, sunnies, and a small cross-body bag… and you’re ready to go!  Madewell Horizon Midi Tee Shirt Dress 

Stay cool in this August heat and remember… there’s ALWAYS air conditioning in retail shops. (wink wink).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Crush: The Slide (Not the Playground Kind)

Get those long overdue pedi appointments made ladies, because sandal season is here.  Slides, in particular, are my sandal of choice.  Not only are they the absolute easiest summer shoe to “throw on”, but did I mention THE MOST flattering of all summer sandals?  Any type of shoe without a back helps to add a few extra inches of leg for those of us vertically challenged.  Choose a skin-toned shade and you’ll maximize that effect.

There are SO many fun slides out this summer in a variety of prints, colors and materials.  You’ll find ones appropriate for your most casual of barbecues AND for your most formal of cocktail parties.  Below is a “slide show” (I had to) of my favorites this season.  As always, the choices reflect my wide range of personal “looks”, from ultra-preppy to bohemian.  Note that most of these designs come in a variety of colors, so be sure to click through the links below the photos for all the color options available!

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Tory Burch (Nordstrom) Brannan Studded Sandal

Frye Nadia Slide

Madewell Boardwalk Post Slide

Everlane Bridge Sandal

Ted Baker (Bloomingdales) Beauita Satin Bow Sandal

Seychelles (Zappos)  Total Relaxation Slide

JCrew Multistripe Cora Crisscross Sandal

GUCCI (Nordstrom) Querelle Sandal

Jack Rogers Diamond Monogrammed Sandal

SARTO Ginelle Slide Sandal

 

Happy summer and sliding… whatever kind you choose to do.

XOXO,

Ally

 

Strolling for Style in Saratoga Springs

Last week I took a quick stroll down the main street of our beautiful city, Saratoga Springs.  This is something I only wish I had more time to do.  With the four littlemonsters, it’s so hard to find time to shop (the old-fashioned way, like in a store), nevertheless “stroll”.  Whether it’s track season or the middle of a frigid winter, I ALWAYS find some gems in my downtown travels, even if I only have a few minutes to Continue reading “Strolling for Style in Saratoga Springs”

Summer Crush: The Woven Bag

Welcome to my SUMMER CRUSH series!  Throughout the summer, I will do the occasional super short piece on something I’m totally crushing on!  This could be a specific item, look or brand.  I’m kicking it off with the WOVEN BAG!

Wicker, rattan, straw, and other woven naturals are the tell-tale sign that summer is here!  From clutches to totes and embroidery to tassels… you’re sure to find something for either a day at the pool or for cocktails at night!

Below are my current CRUSHES, with direct links to follow.  (PS- Be sure to check the dimensions of the bags before ordering since it’s difficult to tell scale from the photos.)

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  1. Joules Modena Round Straw Bag
  2. Vineyard Vines Kentucky Derby Caning Clutch
  3. Francesca’s Julianna Woven Metallic Crossbody
  4. J.McLaughlin Victoria Circluar Wicker Bag
  5. J.Crew Envelope Clutch in Rainbow Stripes
  6. Madewell Folk Fortune Bali Rattan Round Bag
  7. Anthropologie Fanciful Florals Embroidered Clutch
  8. JADEtribe (Revolve) Square Basket
  9. Filippo Catarzi (Bloomingdales) Striped Bow Tote
  10. KAYU (Revolve) Jane Shell Bag
  11. Boho Bags Aria Rattan Bag

I hope you, too, find your summer crush, and that she’s a keeper!

The (Not So) Basic Black One-Piece Swimsuit

Years ago, as my mother and I sat on a beach during our annual family vacation and looked out into the sea of colorful, sometimes-too-small string bikinis, a woman walked by in a basic black tank suit.  My mother turned to me and said “Nothing looks better than a classic black one-piece”.  I whole-heartedly agree with my mamma.

I decided to kick-off swimsuit season with an homage to my wise mother and the black one-piece… something I feel that all women should have in their summer wardrobes. In taking a look at this season’s designs, I noticed that there are SO MANY beautiful black suits, designed for ALL shapes and sizes.   I haven’t even scratched the surface here.

First you’ll need to ask yourself… are you more conservative and want something more classic and fully-covering?  Or a risk-taker who’s comfortable in a two piece and cut-outs?  Or maybe someone in between, who likes to liven things up with a little mesh?  Next, you’ll have to consider what type of neckline and top work for you.  Ugh, the whole “boob debacle” is MY biggest struggle by far (those damn kids who sucked the life out of me)!  If you’re anything like me (a.k.a. flat-chested) you’ll want to choose something with gathering, underwire and padding on the top (the twist-bandeau is my “go-to”).  A larger busted woman may want to minimize by choosing a V or scoop neckline.  (Chances are, you already have a “gut feeling” of what neckline looks best on you.)  Lastly and absolutely not the least… the BELLY!  For those of you blessed with that post-partum pooch, you’re not alone!  Diagonal seaming or ruching helps to break things up and hide a belly, and heavier-weight swimsuits (Miraclesuit or Magicsuit) take the support up a notch. I’m happy to see that they now include a wide variety of designs, and have surely upped their style factor.  Note: These suits are often quite heavy and can feel restricting, so try going up one or two sizes.

Below I’ve shown ten of my favorite black one-piece swimsuits, for a variety of body types and at a wide range of price points.  I always recommend paying a little more for a great classic swimsuit since you’ll wear it often and likely for many years.  Click on a thumbnail to open the slideshow and details, with links below.

Black is your friend ladies, and swimwear is no exception.

PS … you are responsible for your tan lines.  I am not.

 

A “Short” Story: Top Spring Picks

Okay ladies, shorts season has arrived.  While some women are celebrating its arrival, others downright dread it.  Speaking from first-hand experience, shorts can be very difficult to fit for us vertically-challenged, not-so-long-and-lean-legged ladies.  But don’t get discouraged!  This season is full of shorts in various lengths, cuts and rise options… making it much easier than in years past to find the right fit for you.

Looking for a basic chino short?  I usually point women immediately to J.Crew since their chino shorts not only come in four different length and lots of great colors, but also have a bit of stretch.  Order a few different lengths and keep the one that works best.

One trend I am loving this season is the “easy fit”, pull-on short.  Offered in a variety of fun prints and flowing fabrics, these shorts are usually a bit roomier in the leg, flattering both skinnys and curvys alike.  I’m also loving the belted-waist short trend.  You’ll find these in varying lengths and fabrics.  If they’re pleated, be sure the pleats lie fairly flat at the belly and pair them with a fitted tee or top to avoid too much overall volume.

Here are some of my favorites this spring!  Details with links are below the photo.

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  1. J.Crew Stretch Chino Shorts in Four Lengths
  2. MANGO Floral Print Shorts
  3. J.Crew Point Sur Seaside Short
  4. ZARA Palm Printed Shorts
  5. Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts
  6. H&M Soft Drawstring Patterned Shorts
  7. H&M Long Floral Patterned Shorts
  8. Alice & Olivia (Bergdorf Goodman) High Waist Sailor Short 
  9. ZARA Retro Print Bermuda Shorts
  10. 1901 (Nordstrom) Pleated Twill Bow Shorts
  11. ZARA Contrasting Velvet Bermuda Shorts

 

Want a few more inches of leg in those shorts?  Pair them with a beige slip-in sandal like this.  Tried all these styles, lengths and tricks and still not thrilled with how you look in shorts?  You’re not alone.  I’ll share a secret, but keep it between you and me. It’s been well over two decades since I’ve worn a pair of shorts.  Perhaps this summer will be different?  Probably not.

Sneakers: The “Go Anywhere” Shoe

Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE a great pair of white sneakers.  Historically, I’ve had to spend HOURS trying to find a well-made yet simple pair for both myself and my four little monsters. (My husband was smart enough to save his Stan Smiths from decades ago.)  Last year, however, this all changed.  White sneakers were everywhere I looked.  My happiness could be measured directly in dollars spent on white shoe polish.

Google any street style star and chances are you’ll find several looks that include a great pair of sneakers.  Models everywhere are pairing cool kicks with everything from jeans to dresses.  Sneakers are showing up on red carpets.  Why?  Because the desire for comfort is a REAL thing.

Although white continues to dominate, there are so many awesome “fashion” (non-athletic) sneakers available this spring, and below are just a few of my favorites. Under the sneaker collage are details with links.  I’ve also shown three very different ways to wear sneakers.

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  1. Vans Authentic Palm Print
  2. Nike Blazer Low Sneaker
  3. Frye Ivy Sneaker (at Zappos)
  4. Keds Rifle Paper Anchor Lively Floral
  5. Vince Blair 5 Slip-On Sneaker
  6. Tretorn NYLITEXAB4
  7. Chuck Taylor Shorline
  8. Tory Burch Sport Ruffle Sneaker

 

Below are three different looks that feature the ultra-versatile and reasonably priced Keds ACE Leather, with details below each look.

 

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“TO THE OFFICE” :

Madewell Cali Raw Edge Jeans (at Nordstrom)

 JCREW Parke Blazer in Stretch Linen

JCREW Mercantile Striped Studio T-Shirt

 

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“DRINKS ON THE DECK” :

Madewell Frisco Denim Skirt

H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top

Revolve Circle Bag

 

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“WEEKEND COFFEE” :

GAP Tencel Sleeveless Shift Dress

Warby Parker Ormsby Aqua Sunglasses

Anthropologie Santa Monica Woven Tote

 

No matter what your “look” may be, I will guarantee you that a basic pair of sneaks will have purpose in your wardrobe.  Besides… comfort has never been so stylish.