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8/31/17

Femme Florals Styled 2 Ways + Giveaway!


Though Summer is winding down officially in a few weeks, temperatures here in L.A. continue to soar, reaching upwards of 110 degrees. This heat wave is insane! It has actually caused an "extreme heat alert" to be issued in my residential area for all of this week. I honestly can't complain, though; it's all quite trivial compared to the utter devastation that Hurricane Harvey has wreaked on southeastern Texas recently. It's utterly heart-breaking, and my love and prayers go out to all of those affected. 

As with all hot, Summer days here, I've been relying heavily on lightweight and airy pieces in various prints and patterns. One of my favorite prints, of course, is florals. Give me feminine, romantic florals any day of the week, and I'm a happy girl. 

In today's post I'm sharing how to style femme florals two ways that will take you from work to play. And the key piece that is central to both looks is a $13 floral top. Yep, $13.



I spotted this top during a recent impromptu trip to TJ Maxx and immediately fell in love with it. I adore the floral print with its mixture of periwinkle and mustard blooms, green leaves and swirling blush blossoms. It reminds me of a pretty botanical garden. And the details and shape are so lovely, too -- the ruffled collar, the keyhole neckline, the faux-wrap front, and the swingy, peplum shape -- all such feminine details! Pieces like this always capture my heart. But I also have a small rule I try to adhere to when shopping:  unless it's for a special/specific event, it has to be able to pull double-duty for both workwear and casualwear. That's the deal. It allows me to both maximize my budget and my wardrobe. And that's what brings me to these two different looks.





This first look is an ideal business-casual outfit. 
The blouse is un-tucked and flowy, yet doesn't look sloppy or disheveled. I've topped it with a blush-taupe knit blazer (another recent, affordable find for only $35 at H&M) that adds some structure to the look, while also providing just enough coverage to the backside to keep the look polished and professional. I love the striped lining of the blazer, so I chose to roll up the sleeves a bit to allow it to show, which adds another layer of subtle pattern. I then paired the blouse and blazer with a flattering pair of white, skinny ankle jeans to keep the look clean and streamlined. 


 For accessories, I played off the colors in the blouse, choosing a dusty-blue satchel and light-grey suede pumps. This look is light, crisp, and very versatile for Summer. When not in the office or when temperatures are just too toasty outside, simply slip off the blazer and you're still left with a pretty, feminine look. Or, swap out the pumps for sandals, which brings me to the second look.

SHOP THE LOOK:






This second look is an ideal dressy look. It's one I'd wear for Sunday best, to brunch or dinner with family/friends or to a party that's not formal but still requires dressier attire. Here, the blouse is showcased on its own sans layers, and is paired with a winter-white flared skirt. This is a little trick I use to get double-duty out of my peplum tops: I tuck them into a high-waisted flared skirt. Since the skirt sits higher at the natural waist, it easily hides the smocked waist or seam of the peplum blouse. Such a fun option, right? This trick works best with peplum tops that aren't too thick or bulky, and with flared skirts that can hide any minor bulk from the tucked-in peplum  folds. This particular blouse is airy and delicate, so it tucks in to skirts nicely and gives the illusion of a simple wrap blouse. Pretty and versatile!



Since I've been loving vintage wicker bags these days, especially for Summer, I chose a white wicker bag with gold chain handles to pair with this look. The chains keep the look dressy, and I also like that they can be doubled up to be worn on the shoulder or on the arm as a clutch. To finish the look, I added these embellished block-heeled sandals (which I shared in this post.) The grey faux-patent leather and the pearl-cluster details are darling and keep the look dressy and feminine.

SHOP THE LOOK:


And there you have it:  Femme Florals Styled 2 Ways that can easily take you from work to play with just a few swaps!  I've prepared a Pinterest-friendly graphic below for easy reference should you wish to save it to your style boards. (Just hover over it with your mouse and click on the "Pin It" button.)




Now onto the GIVEAWAY!

As a way of saying 'thank you' to all of my lovely readers, I am giving away 5 of these exact floral blouses! I scooped up the last remaining blouses from my local store just for you, and the sizes available are as follows:

(2) Small
(1) Medium
(2) Large

HOW TO ENTER: 

Since I'm not really keen on loop giveaways, I'm keeping it really simple and straightforward.
To enter, just do the following:

1.  Comment below letting me know your name (first name with last initial is fine), which 'femme floral" look from this post is your favorite, and your blouse size preference should you win;
2.  Follow me on Instagram + like and comment on today's photo
3. Visit/follow my Facebook page for 2 extra entries
BONUS ENTRIES: Pin the above image on Pinterest for 3 extra entries

To get started, please use the Rafflecopter entry-form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
DETAILS:

Giveaway starts today, August 31st, at 12:30pm PST and ends September 8th at 12am PST.
All entries will be verified and 5 individual winners will be chosen by random selection on September 9th. Winners will be announced September 11th here (blog post will be updated) as well as on my Instagram.  Winners must contact me within 24 hours after they've been notified to receive prize; otherwise, new winners will be chosen.

I HOPE YOU WIN!!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by and for all your support -- it truly means a lot!





8/21/17

Summer Style: Dressing Up a $5 Tee

OUTFIT DETAILS:
Top: H&M Cotton Tee - currently in stores (similar, similar) // 
Skirt: J.Crew Factory Striped Cotton-Linen Midi Skirt - low stock (similar, similar) //
Belt: Ann Taylor Patent Leather Skinny Belt - old (similar, similar) //
Shoes: Ivanka Trump Floral Slingback Pumps - old (similar) //
Bag: BP Scalloped Tote - available in black (similar, similar) //
Scarf:  LOFT Silk Scarf - old (similar, similar) // 
Necklace: Kate Spade Park Floral Collar Necklace - old (similar) //
Earrings: LOFT Pearl Stud Earrings - old (similar)


Sometimes simple is best.
 On days when temperatures are hovering in the 90s and you're desperately trying not to melt into a puddle the moment you step outside, cool and fuss-free outfits are a must. But that doesn't mean you should throw all fashion principles to the wind and look like you've just rolled out of bed. You still want to look and feel put-together because 1) it's true that you feel your best when you look your best, and 2) you're all too aware of the contemptible Murphy's Law that says you're bound to run into someone you know when you least expect it! 

So, for me, whether it's a day at the office, a day of errands, or just a casual weekend lunch date with friends, wearing something simple, lightweight, and pretty in Summer is the way to go. And it doesn't get much simpler than a tee-and-skirt combo. 

For today's look, I'm showing you how to dress up a simple, $5 cotton tee. This is a quick and easy Summer look I love that's both lightweight and pretty, and even better -- super affordable!


Finding the perfect cotton tee that fits well and that's inexpensive is really not as elusive as it sounds. Over the years, I've found some great, affordable tees from retailers like J.Crew/J.Crew Factory, Ann Taylor, LOFT, Old Navy, Target, and even some from more trendy-fashion retailers like Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and H&M.  In fact, the tee I'm wearing for this look is actually from the latter. At a mere $5, you can afford to stock up on several of these tees to keep on rotation in your wardrobe!

 I recently picked up this blush/dusty-rose color, a classic white/navy-striped color, and a few others in solid, neutral colors like white, heather-grey, and navy. The quality is good and the cotton is fairly opaque, though the lighter colors will require you to wear a light or nude-colored bra for more modesty. Fit-wise, they run small, which is typical for H&M's sizing given that it's a European brand, so you may wish to size up 1 - 2 sizes depending on your fit preference. I like mine semi-fitted, so I typically wear a size XS to S in these tees. Keep in mind, too, that the cotton will shrink after machine washing/drying, so sizing up is recommended if you're in-between sizes or want a looser fit.



Style Tip 1: Pair Your Tee with a Patterned Skirt
What's better than breathable cotton in Summer? More cotton! I'm pairing my blush tee with this cotton-linen midi flare skirt from J.Crew Factory. It's one of my favorite recent purchases, which I was happy to score on sale for less than $30, and has already seen plenty of use. I love that it's light and airy for hot days and also fuss-free with its pull-on styling and stretchy, elastic waist. The varied blue and white stripes are also crisp and classic, making it easy to style with a simple tee as I'm doing here, or a basic tank or a dressier blouse. And this skirt has pockets, which usually seals the deal for me! 

Fit-wise, it runs fairly true-to-size. I'm wearing size 00, which runs a little wide on me in the waist, but is still do-able. The length hits right at the knees and is lovely and ladylike. This skirt is still available online, albeit in very limited sizes, and is currently on sale for $49.99 (no coded needed.) If your size is sold out, this skirt is very similar and is on sale for only $8!  This skirt is another noteworthy option and comes in both regular and petite sizing!
 The tee and skirt are already great foundation pieces on their own, but I wanted to dress them up a bit for a soft, feminine look. This is where the accessories come in -- they can make such an impact on even the most basic outfit!

Style Tip 2: Add A Skinny Belt
To dress up the elastic waistband of the skirt, I opted for a skinny, patent leather belt in a neutral, nude color. Adding a skinny belt to your skirt gives it a more polished, finished look, and it's a look I repeat often in both my workwear and everyday-wear. With this particular skirt, the belt also does double-duty in helping to cinch the waist of the skirt more for a closer fit.


Style Tip 3: Add a Pair of Colorful Pumps
To play off the colors of the tee and skirt, I chose watercolor-floral slingback pumps in pretty pastel colors. I love that the print is colorful and adds another layer of print and visual interest to the outfit, yet is still understated. The color palette is also cohesive, drawing from the hushed pastel tones of the tee and skirt.

Style Tip 4: Add a Bag with Fun Details
Bags with fun details add an element of whimsy and interest to any basic outfit. Cue this adorable tote! The perforated scallops along the top of this ivory tote are such a pretty detail and add a little extra flair to the outfit without detracting from the other pieces.

Style Tip 5: Tie A Patterned/Colorful Scarf to Your Bag
I repeated the above concept in Style Tip 3 for the silk scarf tied around my bag. The scarf adds a pretty pop of color against the ivory canvas of the bag, keeping all of the colors in the same wheelhouse, and also plays off the blush interior peeking out through the perforated scallops of the bag. 

Style Tip 6: Add A Statement Necklace
Adding a statement necklace is one of the easiest ways to dress up a basic tee. A larger, ornate necklace can definitely go a long way in achieving a more dramatic look. Whichever piece you choose, remember to keep it balanced with the rest of your look. If you already have several accessories you've incorporated into your outfit, you'll want to take a simpler approach with your jewelry. Try a smaller collar necklace like the one I chose for this look. This floral pearl collar necklace from Kate Spade is not loud or flashy; instead, it finishes the look and keeps it ladylike and demure, which is exactly what I was trying to achieve.

And there you have it: a quick and easy Summer outfit that's pretty, practical, and affordable!

Below is a quick recap of my easy style tips.
I hope you found these tips helpful!

How do you like to dress up your favorite wardrobe basics?

As always, thanks so much for reading!





8/15/17

Summer Workwear Lookbook: 3 Office-Chic Outfit Ideas


This Summer Workwear Lookbook is something I've been wanting to compile for awhile now. I've been receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from several of you on my recent work looks, and thought it was about time I share some of my go-to work outfits and formulas with you! First, I have to preface this with the awareness that work looks can vary widely based on your individual industry, occupation, and work setting. Since my role has been predominately in senior management with frequent client- or employee-facing meetings/interaction, I always make it a point to dress up, even on so-called 'business-casual' days. I tend to dress up in general, though, so it's something that I enjoy and actually look forward to. I also wholeheartedly believe in putting your best foot forward in any work environment; there's something to be said about the old adage of "dressing for success." It may sound cliché, but it's most certainly a form of respect to your colleagues and to the company as a whole; after all, you're representing the company and its products or services and want to give only the very best impression. When you do, people will take notice and take you more seriously in your career. (Can you tell I have a background in HRM?)

 The looks I'm sharing in this lookbook are meant to provide a foundation for you to build on and to adapt or tweak in ways best suited to you and your workplace. I hope they will inspire you to create a few easy-yet-polished looks that will keep you looking sharp at work even on sweltering, summer days! 

I'm sharing 3 different looks here for you today, but may create more for future posts as a quasi mini blog post series. Let me know if that's something you'd like to see!


OUTFIT DETAILS: 
Top: Ann Taylor Knit Halter (xxsp) - on sale! // 
Skirt: Ann Taylor Factory Striped Pencil Skirt - sold out (similar, similar) //
Belt: Ann Taylor Wide Leather Belt - old (similar) // 
Bag: The Limited Blush Satchel - old (similar, similar) //
Shoes: Jessica Simpson 'Claudette' D'Orsay Nude Patent Pumps (5.5) //
Earrings: LOFT Pearl Stud Earrings - sold out (similar)

I'm an avid lover of pencil skirts and always have them on heavy rotation in my wardrobe, not only for work but for everyday wear. Pencil skirts are extremely versatile, pairing nicely with everything from an elegant blouse in a formal office setting to a casual tee or tank for a more casual workplace. If you're just starting out in the workforce, you'll want to consider investing in at least one high-quality pencil skirt, preferably in a neutral color like beige, navy, or black, to use as a basic building block for multiple work outfits.  My favorite pencil skirts are from Ann Taylor, LOFT, Banana Republic, and J.Crew; they always have a vast selection to choose from and offer a wide range of sizes from petites, regular, and tall. 

This striped pencil skirt was an older sale find from an Ann Taylor Factory Store. I love the colored stripes and the stretchy knit material. It's a pull-on style with an elastic waist, making it super soft and comfy. Since it's more of a casual pencil skirt, I paired it with a navy knit halter top to complement the navy stripes in the skirt (the stripes photograph darker, making them appear black, but they're actually navy) and belted it with a wide, nude leather belt. I kept the color palette neutral for my shoes and bag with nude patent pumps and a blush dome satchel. This is about as 'business-casual' as I get, but for meetings I would definitely add a slim-fit navy blazer or cardigan for extra coverage and polish (and to help combat over-air conditioned offices.) For hot, summer days, you can just slip off the blazer or cardi and still be left with a look that's both sleek and stylish for a more casual work setting.

SHOP THE LOOK:





 OUTFIT DETAILS:
Top: Banana Republic Polka-Dot Cami (xxsp) (inverse colors here) //
Skirt: Banana Republic Bi-Stretch Dark Pencil Skirt (00p) //
Blazer: Banana Republic Windowpane Chambray Blazer (00p) //
Bag: Arcadia Patent Leather Dome Satchel - old (similar here) //
Shoes: Jessica Simpson 'Claudette' D'Orsay Nude Patent Pumps (5.5) //
Earrings: LOFT Pearl Stud Earrings - sold out (similar) //
Necklace: Gold Choker Necklace - gifted (similar)

This is a very classic office look for me and one that I gravitate towards more often than not. It's crisp, polished, and professional, yet modern and interesting with the addition of polka dots. Patterns can be a tricky landmine to navigate when styling your work attire and therefore should be used sparingly, particularly in more conservative workplaces. I'm fortunate to have some creative freedom when it comes to my style choices for the office, but generally speaking, any patterns I incorporate into my outfits are fairly subtle. The windowpane pattern on the blazer, for example, is quite subdued. From a distance, it blends seamlessly into what appears to be a solid chambray color, which I love. The chambray color of the blazer also works well with the dark navy of the pencil skirt and cami, creating a tonal look (varied shades of blue tones) and doesn't compete with the polka dots in the cami. The polka dots themselves aren't too large or overbearing either, sprinkled only on the front panel and offset by solid navy side panels for dimension and visual interest. Pieces like this are my favorite because they add just enough flair to an outfit without being obnoxious or falling into dangerous territory of looking costume-y. I'm finishing the look with nude patent accessories, choosing a pointy-toe pump in a classic silhouette to extend the leg-line (a definite perk for this petite gal) and to keep the overall look streamlined and elegant.

This entire outfit, sans accessories, is from Banana Republic and is currently on sale! I've been really impressed with BR's recent selections after a long stretch of lackluster collections, and have picked up several great pieces after what feels like an extended, dormant shopping period. I'm happy to see they're offering more modern and elegant workwear pieces this year and hope they keep up the momentum!

SHOP THE LOOK:




OUTFIT DETAILS:
Dress: J.Crew Trench Dress in Super 120s Wool (0p) - old (similar, similar, similar) //
Bag: Talbots Top Handle Straw Satchel - on sale!
Shoes: Jessica Simpson 'Claudette' D'Orsay Nude Patent Pumps (5.5) //
Earrings: LOFT Pearl Stud Earrings - sold out (similar) //
Necklace: Kate Spade New York Park Floral Pearl Collar Necklace - old (similar)

This final look may be one of my favorite Summer workwear looks to-date, thanks to this little sleeveless trench dress. It's classic, timeless, and über chic! I adore everything about it: the double-breasted style, the traditional trench belt, the high-quality wool fabric and silky lining, and the fresh ivory color. As with all of my favorite J.Crew pieces, this dress is beautifully-made and exudes elegance. A tailored-fit, sleeveless trench dress in a neutral color like this one is a worthy investment for your work wardrobe because it will stand the test of time and get its money worth with its cost-per-wear. With proper care, it will be one of those pieces you can just throw on year after year without much thought or effort and still look incredible. And because it's sleeveless, it's an ideal choice for those hot, summer days. Drape a lightweight cardi over your shoulders for more coverage at the office as needed and you have a ladylike ensemble very reminiscent of Jackie O.

To keep the color scheme light and airy for Summer, I paired this dress with my new favorite two-toned satchel from Talbot's. The light beige body and the camel leather trim play off the ivory of the dress nicely, and the simple, top-handle style of the bag itself is clean and classic, keeping the overall aesthetic cohesive. My tried-and-true patent leather pumps finish the look, along with pearl-accented jewelry.

SHOP THE LOOK:


I hope this Summer Workwear Lookbook inspires you to create a few office-chic outfits for the workplace! I've prepared a Pinterest-friendly graphic below for easy reference should you wish to save it to your style boards. (Just hover over it with your mouse and click on the "Pin It" button.)

Which of these 3 looks is your favorite?



As always, thanks so much for reading!
XO


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