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.)
- Joules Modena Round Straw Bag
- Vineyard Vines Kentucky Derby Caning Clutch
- Francesca’s Julianna Woven Metallic Crossbody
- J.McLaughlin Victoria Circluar Wicker Bag
- J.Crew Envelope Clutch in Rainbow Stripes
- Madewell Folk Fortune Bali Rattan Round Bag
- Anthropologie Fanciful Florals Embroidered Clutch
- JADEtribe (Revolve) Square Basket
- Filippo Catarzi (Bloomingdales) Striped Bow Tote
- KAYU (Revolve) Jane Shell Bag
- Boho Bags Aria Rattan Bag
I hope you, too, find your summer crush, and that she’s a keeper!
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.
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.
- J.Crew Stretch Chino Shorts in Four Lengths
- MANGO Floral Print Shorts
- J.Crew Point Sur Seaside Short
- ZARA Palm Printed Shorts
- Madewell High-Rise Denim Shorts
- H&M Soft Drawstring Patterned Shorts
- H&M Long Floral Patterned Shorts
- Alice & Olivia (Bergdorf Goodman) High Waist Sailor Short
- ZARA Retro Print Bermuda Shorts
- 1901 (Nordstrom) Pleated Twill Bow Shorts
- 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.
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.
- Vans Authentic Palm Print
- Nike Blazer Low Sneaker
- Frye Ivy Sneaker (at Zappos)
- Keds Rifle Paper Anchor Lively Floral
- Vince Blair 5 Slip-On Sneaker
- Tretorn NYLITEXAB4
- Chuck Taylor Shorline
- 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.
“TO THE OFFICE” :
Madewell Cali Raw Edge Jeans (at Nordstrom)
JCREW Parke Blazer in Stretch Linen
JCREW Mercantile Striped Studio T-Shirt
“DRINKS ON THE DECK” :
Madewell Frisco Denim Skirt
H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top
Revolve Circle Bag
“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.
Ahhh, the warm weather is finally here and OH did it come suddenly! I have a variety of plastic bins open, not knowing if it’s smart to do the FULL wardrobe transition quite yet. However… the dress bin is now officially open for business!
I LOVE DRESSES. For three main reasons:
1. Simplicity. In case it’s not self-explanatory, you’ve got one choice to make. No top/bottom nonsense. (The same reason I love jumpsuits, covered in detail in a later post.)
2. Versatility. I love how I can take the same midi tank dress, wear it to the playground with my white Vans and oversized denim jacket, change out my jacket for a long linen blazer and caged heels, stack some bracelets and VOILA! I have transitioned from day to night. Of course, not ALL dresses are equally versatile.
3. Breeziness. We’re not there YET but I’m sure that you, too, dread anything clingy during the hottest of months and just want to wear a lightweight, cotton mumu. Those months will be here before we know it.
Here are 12 great dress finds, ranging in silhouette, fabric, formality and price point. Click on small photo below to scroll through the slide show, with details below thumbnails.
So… go ahead and DRESS UP! Or DRESS DOWN! I surely will be for the next many months.
“I love the wide leg pant look, but can I pull it off?”
In a nutshell, the answer is YES, you CAN. However, what you choose and how you wear it will make or break the look. Here are some tips on how to pull off this sometimes tricky spring look.
Drape is key. You really want to find a cut and fabric combination that falls nicely and just skims the hip and thigh. Anything too wide, especially in a stiff fabric or with lots of pleating, can easily make YOU wide. Drape is especially important when wearing cropped pants like culottes, which have flooded the stores this season. Wear with a nude sandal, mule or wedge to elongate your leg (since crops tend to shorten you).
I do love the “paper bag waist” belted trend but by design, there are usually lots of pleats and extra fabric at the waist. If you’re not careful, you could look, well… like a brown paper bag. Choose lightweight, flowing fabrics with minimal pleating for the most slimming look.
And then there’s MY favorite way to wear wide legs, and what I feel is the most slimming. Think Rachel Zoe and Victoria Beckham (and it even works for us ladies who actually have some meat on our bones). Choose a long, flowing leg and pleat-free, high waist. Throw on a super high wedge and hem the pant so that it just skims the floor to create additional height. And don’t forget to pair a wide leg pant with a more fitted tee or tank to offset the volume on the bottom.
Here are some of my favorites this season. Click on an image for slideshow and details, with labeled links below.
And the best part? They are the closest thing to staying in your pj’s all day.
Can you believe, it’s snowing AGAIN here in Upstate NY? I haven’t put away my winter boots, so I SURELY can’t even approach the subject of sandals, or anything that will expose my toes anytime soon. Fortunately, this season is full of fun, functional flats that will help us transition smoothly to the sandal weather.
First, there are the OH-SO-CUTE mules that have made a killer comeback. I am especially drawn to the sleek, clean lines of the pointy loafer-like designs. The pale pink ones below are my personal favorites of this collage. Next… espadrilles. YES, those same ones that you wore in high school are back! High ones, low ones, with and without backs… they’re cool, comfortable, and feature a variety of charming summertime motifs that will look ADORBS with everything denim. Last and definitely not least… the pointy-toe flat. I’ve always been a fan (mostly for the SOLE reason that they elongate your leg more than a rounded-toe ballet flat). As you can see, I love me a bold, preppy stripe (on anything, really) and this loafer’s versatility can bring you from day to night seamlessly (with some bejeweled or sparkly versions actually making their way to more formal affairs).
Here are some of my favorite flats this spring! Links below the collage.
- Boden “Lottie” Flats
- SARTO by Franco Sarto “Palmer” Mule
- Fischer by Marc Fischer “Apala” Pointy Flat
- Soludos Lemon Platform Smoking Slippers Espadrille – SHOP LOCAL! at Caroline and Main
- Boden “Abbie” Loafer
- Sam Edelman “Jill” Loafer
- Kate Spade “Maddie-Bee” Canvas Flats
- Tory Burch “Rosalind” Ballet Flat
- Patricia Green (Nordstrom) Lobster and Crab Espadrille
- Steve Madden “Feather” Flat
Whether they’re super-cool mules, whimsical espadrilles or sweetly-detailed loafers, you’ll surely find something for your lifestyle. So even if it’s not yet practical, throw on a pair of these cuties but be sure to hop over those still-slushy puddles. That is, if you want them to last until the REAL spring arrives.
I find myself making more purchases during the spring months than any other time of year. My wallet hibernates for winter since I’m rarely removing my go-to sweaters and heavy wool coat. But as soon as those spring looks hit the magazines, blogs and stores, I have the MAJOR itch to shop. I’m aching to replace all those heavy layers (even if it’s not practical yet in upstate NY) with some pretty, feminine details and signature spring prints and colors . Think ruffles, pintucking, flowers, lace, nautical stripes, and other delicate “extras” that foreshadow the May flowers.
I often purchase my tops in the trendy, less expensive stores, but I always look for details that give the top a higher-quality look. Something as simple as a covered button can transform your piece from shabby to chic. Here are nine pretty tops, under $50, that can help you bring a little spring into your closet without breaking the bank. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the top and scroll through the slideshow, with link and details below.
Socialite (Nordstrom) Ruffle Seersucker Crop Top
Forever 21 Off-the-Shoulder Striped Top
H&M Off White High Neck Ruffled Blouse
GAP Sleeveless Victorian Blouse in Rosehip Swiss Dot
Zara Die-Cut Embroidered Blouse
Vero Modo (Bloomingdales) Floral Kimono Top
JCrew Striped Boatneck Long-Sleeved Tee
Express Notch Neck Button Blouse in Sage Mist
Target Blue Flutter Sleeve Top
Okay, now that we’ve done our part beginning the transition to spring, maybe Mother Nature can do her part?
The trench coat. Versions of this wardrobe staple have likely been around since the late 1800’s, but the coat got its name when WWI British officers in the trenches replaced their existing bulky raincoats with these lighter weight, more breathable designs. Burberry designed its first soon-to-be “trench coat” in the early 1900’s, but didn’t begin to line them with the iconic Burberry check until the 1920’s.
As with Burberry’s designs, the classic trench hasn’t changed all that much in the last century. It continues to be a closet essential of women, men, actors, street style stars… why? Because of its combination of light weight, classic look and versatility. The first collage below shows my favorite picks this season, with the classic Burberry Sandringham front and center. I’ve included both traditional and contemporary designs at a variety of price points and functionalities. I’ve also included three very different ways to wear a trench, giving you a visual of just how versatile this wardrobe staple really is.
- Badgley Mischka (at Nordstrom) Faux Leather Trim Long Trench
- Mackage Estela Asymmetric Belted Trench Coat
- London Fog (Macy’s) Hooded Double Breasted Belted Trench
- Burberry London “Sandringham” Long Trench
- MANGO Linen Trench
- Missguided (ASOS) Camo Belted Coat
- Banana Republic Water Resistant Modern Trench
You can throw a classic trench over just about anything and look instantly cool (and you don’t have to wait for the rain). Below, I’ve created three very different looks, built from basic pieces you may already have in your closet.
- Burberry London “Sandringham” Long Trench Coat in Stone
- JCrew High-Rise Cameron Pant in Four-Season Stretch
- AJMorgan (ASOS) Round Oversized Sunglasses
- GAP Long Sleeve Striped Boatneck Tee
- Mark & Graham Monogrammed Daily East/West Tote
- French Sole “Certain” Ballet Flat
LAZY SUNDAY BRUNCH
- Same Burberry Trench as above : Sandringham in Stone
- Coach Saddle 23 Crossbody Bag
- GAP Super High Rise True Skinny Jeans in Dark Indigo
- Women’s Core Classic Yankee Cap by LadyFanatics
- H&M Denim Shirt
- Keds (shoes.com) Triple Kick Sneakers
- Same Burberry Trench as above : Sandringham in Stone
- Banana Republic Skinny Stay Black Ankle Jean
- Rebecca Minkoff Chevron Quilted Small Love Crossbody Bag
- Square Frame Sunglasses by Quay X Design (Topshop)
- BP (Nordstrom) Slub Knit Black Tee
- Jimmy Choo Romy 100 Black Classic Pump
The result? A super easy, instant transition to street style star.
Yes, I’m doing the unthinkable. As I write, I’m looking through a window that shows at least four inches of snow on the ground, along with a continuous flurry that’s lasted two weeks. I’ve been delaying this post because it JUST DIDN’T FEEL RIGHT. It still doesn’t. But it’s at this time each year, when SAD has officially kicked in, that dreams of new spring outfits create that happy bridge to the other side.
One of the main goals of this blog is to help you keep your wardrobe updated, but also wearable. Sometimes great looks come down that runway, and they’re just not all that practical for our personal lifestyles. This season? PVC Plastic looks from head-to-toe (I’m sweating just thinking about it). Or… Daytime Sequins (maybe for lunch at Cantina with my four boys?) How about the “Transparent” trend? (It’s possible I could get some very strange looks around here if I ventured out while exposing nipple. Not sure about where you live.) Fortunately, there are plenty of spring trends that can be worn by ALL women, and I’m happy to share my five favorites, along with some great seasonal finds. Links are under each trend.
- Felicity and Coco (Nordstrom) Ruffle Sheath Dress
- Banana Republic Bell-Sleeve Navy Jacket
- H&M Flounce Sleeved Top
- Ted Baker Ruffle Peplum Top
- J.Crew Factory Ruffle Front Top
- Anthropologie Rehobeth Striped Jumpsuit
- Alice and Olivia Blooming Garden Fitted Mock Dress
- J.Crew Classic Popover Button Down in Ratti Floral
- Zara High-Rise Buttoned Shorts
- Anthropologie Myrna Floral Skirt
- H&M One-Shoulder Floral Blouse
- Kate Spade Blooming Mikado Dress
- MANGO Gingham Suiting
- Express Gingham Off-the-Shoulder Belted Top
- MARK & GRAHAM Calistoga Mongrammed Insulated Tote
- Superga (at 6PM) Navy Gingham Sneakers
- J.Crew Outlet Skimmer Pant in Gingham
- Lauren Ralph Lauren Gingham Knit Pencil Skirt
- Leith (Nordstrom) Strapless Gingham Dress
EASTER BASKET PASTELS
- Topshop Linen Bardot Midi Dress
- J.Crew Perfect Pink Rainjacket
- Club Monaco Blue Striped Bindell Tie Waist Top
- Forever 21 Yellow Linen Long Blazer
- Salvatore Ferragamo Mini Vara Crossbody Bag
- Lauren Ralph Lauren Ruffle Sleeve Shift Dress
- Ryan Storer Lily Rose Gold Plated Earrings
- MANGO Face Earrings
- Kate Spade Vibrant Life Leather Studs
- Meridian Ave. Konrad Acrylic Earrings
- Miguel Ases (Bloomingdales) Circle Drop Earrings
- BAUBLEBAR Ronaleah Drop Earrings
I personally can’t wait to add many of these items to my closet. I hope you, as well, find something that helps you spring ahead, and QUICKLY.