12 “Must Have” Spring Dresses!

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.

 

 

 

 

How To Wear a Wide Leg Pant

“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.

10 Fresh Flats for Spring

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.

b6a48c00-4707-41fc-9113-8203d1738a2b.jpeg

 

  1.  Boden “Lottie” Flats
  2. SARTO by Franco Sarto “Palmer” Mule
  3. Fischer by Marc Fischer “Apala” Pointy Flat 
  4. Soludos Lemon Platform Smoking Slippers Espadrille –  SHOP LOCAL! at Caroline and Main
  5. Boden “Abbie” Loafer 
  6. Sam Edelman “Jill” Loafer
  7. Kate Spade “Maddie-Bee” Canvas Flats
  8. Tory Burch “Rosalind” Ballet Flat
  9. Patricia Green (Nordstrom) Lobster and Crab Espadrille
  10. 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.

Nine Pretty Spring Tops Under $50

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: 7 Picks, 3 Ways to Wear

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.

5C5C20F7-1BF0-4BE6-9C21-004BD4D4B75F

  1. Badgley Mischka (at Nordstrom) Faux Leather Trim Long Trench
  2. Mackage Estela Asymmetric Belted Trench Coat
  3. London Fog (Macy’s) Hooded Double Breasted Belted Trench
  4. Burberry London “Sandringham” Long Trench
  5. MANGO Linen Trench
  6. Missguided (ASOS) Camo Belted Coat
  7. 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.

 

C173F1BB-A0E4-46B6-9D78-A623ACD34C4AFRENCH CHIC

  1.  Burberry London “Sandringham” Long Trench Coat in Stone
  2. JCrew High-Rise Cameron Pant in Four-Season Stretch
  3. AJMorgan (ASOS) Round Oversized Sunglasses
  4. GAP Long Sleeve Striped Boatneck Tee
  5. Mark & Graham Monogrammed Daily East/West Tote
  6. French Sole “Certain” Ballet Flat

 

E0FA0D72-C3BA-4B83-99EB-A41D5ADF03CCLAZY SUNDAY BRUNCH

  1.  Same Burberry Trench as above : Sandringham in Stone
  2. Coach Saddle 23 Crossbody Bag
  3. GAP Super High Rise True Skinny Jeans in Dark Indigo
  4. Women’s Core Classic Yankee Cap by LadyFanatics
  5. H&M Denim Shirt
  6. Keds (shoes.com) Triple Kick Sneakers 

 

1874AF41-1C56-4DFE-A3F7-E05B4CCBB206CLASSIC EDGE

  1.  Same Burberry Trench as above : Sandringham in Stone
  2. Banana Republic Skinny Stay Black Ankle Jean
  3. Rebecca Minkoff Chevron Quilted Small Love Crossbody Bag
  4. Square Frame Sunglasses by Quay X Design (Topshop)
  5. BP (Nordstrom) Slub Knit Black Tee
  6. Jimmy Choo Romy 100 Black Classic Pump

 

The result?  A super easy, instant transition to street style star.

Five WEARABLE Spring Trends

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.
.

205DE495-085B-40BB-9992-652218588E7BFEMININE RUFFLES:

  1. Felicity and Coco (Nordstrom) Ruffle Sheath Dress
  2. Banana Republic Bell-Sleeve Navy Jacket
  3. H&M Flounce Sleeved Top
  4. Ted Baker Ruffle Peplum Top
  5. J.Crew Factory Ruffle Front Top
  6. Anthropologie Rehobeth Striped Jumpsuit

 

18A14548-5C87-4987-8294-9382752704A4BOLD FLORALS

  1.  Alice and Olivia Blooming Garden Fitted Mock Dress
  2. J.Crew Classic Popover Button Down in Ratti Floral
  3. Zara High-Rise Buttoned Shorts
  4. Anthropologie Myrna Floral Skirt
  5. H&M One-Shoulder Floral Blouse
  6. Kate Spade Blooming Mikado Dress

BE0D4A83-12AB-46A6-8DFF-7F49AC8C9677GIRLY GINGHAM

  1.  MANGO Gingham Suiting 
  2. Express Gingham Off-the-Shoulder Belted Top
  3. MARK & GRAHAM Calistoga Mongrammed Insulated Tote
  4. Superga (at 6PM) Navy Gingham Sneakers
  5. J.Crew Outlet Skimmer Pant in Gingham
  6. Lauren Ralph Lauren Gingham Knit Pencil Skirt
  7. Leith (Nordstrom) Strapless Gingham Dress

42CA55EE-14D7-43FF-A197-7E40CA68F869EASTER BASKET PASTELS

  1.  Topshop Linen Bardot Midi Dress
  2. J.Crew Perfect Pink Rainjacket
  3. Club Monaco Blue Striped Bindell Tie Waist Top
  4. Forever 21 Yellow Linen Long Blazer
  5. Salvatore Ferragamo Mini Vara Crossbody Bag
  6. Lauren Ralph Lauren Ruffle Sleeve Shift Dress

2E27C85A-E3E1-404D-AEEF-C9DB612EBAEBSTATEMENT EARRINGS

  1.  Ryan Storer Lily Rose Gold Plated Earrings
  2. MANGO Face Earrings
  3. Kate Spade Vibrant Life Leather Studs
  4. Meridian Ave. Konrad Acrylic Earrings
  5. Miguel Ases (Bloomingdales) Circle Drop Earrings
  6. 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.

Little Black Dress Part 2 : My Favorites

Last week I wrote about the many ways you can style a basic “Little Black Dress.”  After several requests for more LBD recommendations, I’ve put together a quick post with some of my current favorites. These dresses, in addition to the Everlane one featured last week, span a range of shapes, fabrics, formalities, price ranges and fit a variety of body types.

Obviously, the simpler the dress, the more versatile it is, the more ways you can wear it. I’ve included a few basics designs but limiting my choices to only these seemed a bit boring.  There are too many amazing LBDs out there to not include the ones that REALLY excite me.  (Click the thumbnail for larger views with details linked below.)

 

  1. Adrianna Papell Mikado Midi Dress
  2. Nookie Dolly Off-the-Shoulder Midi Dress
  3. Vince Open Shoulder Dress
  4. Old Navy Sleeveless Sheath Dress
  5. Nicole Miller Ruby Lace Dress 
  6. Boden Kaia Ottoman Dress
  7. BCBG Catier Faux Leather Trim Dress
  8. BCBG Layla Asymmetric Leather Dress

When choosing fitted styles, never underestimate the power of undergarments (and I don’t just mean Spanx here ladies). The right shapewear (if that’s your thing) in addition to the right bra and panties can truly transform your body (and I can assure you that a future post will be entirely dedicated to this topic).

786EE3C0-7FDE-4870-9367-72671679E7EE