Tuesday in the Boardroom

Perhaps it is a big presentation today or maybe you’re meeting some big execs, whatever the reason today you need to look like a professional.  Start with this bow-tie sleeveless blouse from Spiegel.
Sleeveless Silk Charmeuse Tie-Neck Blouse
http://s7d2.scene7.com/is/image/SignatureStyles/F0770009_SEF08_001A?$415×519$
Sleeveless Silk Charmeuse Tie-Neck Blouse $50
Throw your blazer over top.

LC Lauren Conrad Bow Cuffed Blazer
LC Lauren Conrad Bow Cuffed Blazer
Tuck your blouse into your skirt to show off its pleating.

Worthington® Pleated Front Skirt
Worthington Skirt
Add some nude pantyhose and your patient leather heels.

Patent Stiletto Platform Pumps
Newport News Patent Pumps
For accessories, fasten this belt around your skirt so show it off.

Calvin Klein chain belt $42 from Zappos.com
http://a2.zassets.com/images/z/1/3/4/1347826-p-DETAILED.jpg

And keep the rest businesslike with these drop earrings (neither too showy nor too large).
Erica Lyons Triangular Stone Drop Earrings on sale at Dillard’s for $12
http://dimg.dillards.com/is/image/DillardsZoom/03566145_zi?$c7thumb$
Now you’ll pass for the boss.  Knock ’em dead!

Monday Madness

Mondays. They are hard enough as it is.  They can be intimidating when you’re getting dressed.  So let’s start here with my 28 days of style.
If you’re like me, you’re already running late.   If I had a “real” job, here’s my go to look for a dreary Monday morning.
Let’s start with something simple, something quick and easy and comfortable as you’re probably headed for a long day.  First piece, khakis.  Not very exciting, but neither is Monday.
Marisa Slouchy Straight Twill Pants
Marisa Slouchy Straight Twill Pants
Second stop, cute blouse.

Forever 21 is typically a store for juniors, but many a fashionista shops here for a steal. (Splatter Print Top)
FYI-With these type of pants, you don’t want anything too long or it’ll cover up the cute pleating and wide waist band.
Finally, accessories.  On a Monday, it’ll be grab and dash.  So I’d go with something simple and easy.
Tiger's Eye Round Drop Earrings
These earrings will help unite your blouse and pants.
(JCPenney Tiger Eyes Round Drop Earrings $8)
Add on your watch-
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Guess Crystal Bracelet Ladies Watch on eBay, buy it now $70+$5 shipping.  (Here is a good place to spend more money as it will be worn with everything, maybe every day!)
Shoes-
They will be worth showing off under your cropped pants and match the dark khaki tone, making your legs appear longer.

(Bookworm by Restricted)
Throw on your $12 sunglasses from Von Maur and you’re ready for the drive to work!
Eyeking Juniors   Cotton Candy Aviator
Eyeking Juniors Cotton Candy Aviator
Have a quick and easy Monday!

Please note, many a time you can get better deals on these items than what is on their web sites.  They can be additionally marked down in the stores.  A lot of the time it pays to shop in person!

Closet Glaze

Staring into my closet has become a bad habit.  Standing there in my bathrobe trying to decide the question, what to wear today?  Whereas most people have outfits that they always put together, every day is a blank slate for me.  I never know what I might put together.  So it involves a lot of closet staring with that glazed-over look.
One of my favorite things when it comes to fashion is when InStyle does its 28 days of amazing outfits section.  It isn’t every issue, maybe every third?  It really helps with the closet glaze.  It helps you picture the items you already own and how to put them together in new and interesting ways.  So I thought I would do my own version for you all, if you can stand it, for 28 days. 
What it is all about is taking a few key pieces in your wardrobe and showing you how to remix them to create different outfits.  There are a few new pieces thrown in that won’t be in the staples.
I’m going to change my version.  InStyle’s wardrobe selection is, of course, very fashion forward and high end.  Mine will be fashionable, but CHEAP!  I’m going to leave out any accessories in the key pieces and just tell you what I would throw with them, with exception to shoes.  So no bags or jewelry shown below!
Here are the key pieces I’ll be using:
1) A white dress shirt

I chose this one from Delia’s because it is so darn cute.  And the length will be versatile.  Victorian blouse $35
2) A printed dress
Charlie Jade Women's Contemporary Silk Chiffon Peasant Dress
Charlie Jade Women’s Contemporary Silk Chiffon Peasant Dress  $150 from Von Maur
This is definitely a little more pricey (I try to stay about $100 or less for you all because I’d have some explaining to do about this little purchase too) but can be worn for years to all sorts of venues and can create lots of looks!
3) A printed long sweater

Fair Aisle Belted Sweater Cardigan
Fair Aisle Belted Sweater Cardigan from Vanity $35.  While keeping you toasty, this sweater has some visual appeal as well.
4) Cropped pants
Marisa Slouchy Straight Twill Pants
Marisa Slouchy Straight Twill Pants ($60) from the Loft
Rolled up or rolled down, these will be a great wardrobe staple!
5) Black pants

For black pants, that’s easy, Banana Republic.  Find some on sale and they’ll fit wonderfully and last forever.
Logan-fit wide leg cotton stretch pant $50 on sale.
6) Basic dark wash jeans

Right now, I’m so in love with the GAP curvy jeans.  I could write a sonnet about how they fit.  But online they are $70.  Go outlet shopping and buy them for $20.  Best pair of jeans you’ll own.
7) A printed blouse

Forever 21 on clearance for $14. (Splatter Print Top)
Sweet and simple in a pattern that hasn’t been overdone.  (I can get picky about patterns.)
8) A leather skirt

Sears $100 Excelled Women’s 26” Leather Skirt
This is a little more expensive than I’d like to spend, but it is a great length and a nice brown.  Plus, you can always wait for it to go on sale!
9) A blazer
LC Lauren Conrad Bow Cuffed Blazer
From Kohl’s, LC Lauren Conrad Bow Cuffed Blazer $53 on sale.  A black blazer goes with everything, period.
10) A black skirt
Worthington® Pleated Front Skirt
Worthington Pleated Front Skirt $14 on clearance
A little twist on a staple.
11) Heels
Patent Stiletto Platform Pumps

Sex in a shoe.  You’ll be surprised at how often you turn to patient leather.  Newport News, Patent Stiletto Platform Pumps $40
12) Booties

Now we’ll have my touch of fur and fun! From Alloy, Valentino bootie $70
13) Flats

$20 from Kmart, Quipd Birdy
Kmart has some lovely shoes online.  What I like about these in particular is that they are a pop of color and have an usual detail.
14) Loafers

Okay, so maybe they aren’t loafers.  But they will work like them!  They are on sale for $60 at Piperlime.com.  (Bookworm by Restricted)
15) Tall boots
Womens BrashWomen's Zippy Riding Boot
You and I both know we’re going to own these.  They are faux leather, but oh so cute.  And so darn hard to find riding boots that have that little something extra and don’t make your feet look like they are eight miles long.  Payless $40 on sale Women’s Zippy Riding Boot
I tried to use things I thought most of us have.  You may be missing a few of these, but not for long!
Let’s fight the closet glaze together, tune in tomorrow for outfit number one!

Think Pink

Last night was our city’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night.  It is a completely awesome girl’s nite out downtown with all of the local shops doing special discounts, etc. all in the name of breast cancer support.  They also line the streets up with home-based businesses and other businesses selling their wares.  You can wine-taste, get a bag full of freebies and shop.  What more can this girl ask for?
My biggest purchases of the evening involve my first stop, the Premiere jewelry booth.  When it is Girl’s Nite Out, the prices are:
$15/necklace
$10/bracelet
$5 earrings
I could probably have cleaned the lady right out of all her jewelry, but I restrained myself and saved something for the other fellow shoppers.
Here’s what I bought-
1) “Olivia” silver finish filigree earrings originally priced at $19
2) “Starlight” faux yellow gold drop earrings with faux crystals originally $37
3) Long “Shimmer” gold chain necklace originally $48
4)  “Crystal connection” earrings (originally $19) and necklace ($41)
5)  “Truffle” earrings ($19) and necklace (was unable to find the original price)
Plus a grab bag bracelet for $2.

All for $67.  For what should have been a total of over $180.

Not bad ladies.  I challenge you to attend one of these parties (and not be the hostess) and come out any less.
Thank goodness I was also shopping for a worthy cause.  What a great night!

First Fashion Question!

I am looking for a reasonably priced pair of tall boots to wear with skinny jeans this winter/fall. I have a pair of black suede ones from Walmart from last year and also a pair of black leather ones with a heel (that I rarely wear, just for dressing up.) I also have a brown pair that have a shearling lining….I love these and wear them a lot in the winter. So I’d really like something a little more “neutral” that I can wear with about any color of shirt or jean. I was thinking a buckskin or taupe type color?? Not tan or brown or grey.  Have any suggestions??
I would like a flat heel….something I can wear more for everyday. Price range would be under $130. Would love to have real leather. I would rather pay a little more just so they don’t look fake!
-Amy
Thanks for your question Amy!
Real leather is almost always going to run you about $100.  And there are times when real leather is the only thing that is going to satisfy you.  Plus, if you get a classic style (riding boots, motorcycle, hiking, whatever), they will last season after season.
My first stop for real leather boots is always Endless.com.   They have such an extensive selection that you start to get an idea of what is out there. But, they also have good sales, great reviews to let you know if the boots run large or small, fast-always free shipping AND returns!  So, it is basically bringing the shoe store to you.
Here’s a few pairs from Endless that I found:
Restricted Archery Boot
Restricted Archery Boot on sale for approximately $60
Seychelles Fable Knee-High Boot
Seychelles Women’s Fable Knee-High Boot for approximately $126
Another great place for the same reasons is Piperlime.com.  I just like having options and they have so many!
Here’s a few from Piperlime:

Jessica Simpson’s Vanitiya on sale for $110 (Be careful though, these are only leather in the strap.)

Just slightly outside your budget at $140 on sale is Franco Sarto Imply  (Careful again, these are not 100% leather.)
They also have a wedge heel, easy enough to walk in but stylish!

That said, faux leather is fun because you have none of the guilt!  And I’ve been really impressed with this year’s styles at Payless (which you’ll see in a future post soon!).  For $40, you can have some seriously fun boots!
Spend a little more money and shop at JCPenney (yes! for boots).  With a great coupon in the mail, you can get this pair even cheaper than the $70 they are already on sale (Worthington Austin boot).  They are synthetic, but so adorable.  I’ve never seen a pair like these!

Worthington® 'Austin' Boot
I hope I’ve given you some great places to boot shop.  Please comment and tell me where your favorite boot shops are!
Holly

Not Your Mother’s Turtleneck

Have I mentioned the return of the turtleneck?  Here’s an excerpt from InStyle from last spring!
“The only thing I need right now is a turtleneck,” singer Kelly Rowland told us after the BCBG Max Azria show, where every single look incorporated a turtleneck. And she won’t be the only one come fall, as designers at New York Fashion Week are showing off ways that turtlenecks can be worn with anything.
Now, don’t run out to the nearest Farm and Fleet and start loading up.  Be selective with your turtlenecks.  You don’t want to look like Martha Stewart 1992 at Eastertime. (Although I’m sure her sweater is of the finest cashmere on the planet.)

Cover Image
This look can be arty and modern if you wear it right.  Wear it wrong and you’ll look like a schoolgirl in a jumper.
Pair your new turtleneck (black is very safe and easy to use) under long, flowy dresses (see below), with pretty patterned short skirts and opaque tights or with a tweed sheath dress.
Those of you with long necks, go turtleneck crazy, add on a cowl neck while you’re at it.  Those of us with short necks, give the long banned from fashionable existence, mock turtlenecks a try.  They will help create more distance between your shirt and your chin, thus creating length.
However you choose to wear them, they are warm, they are easy and they are a must have!
Turtlenecks done right-
Rebecca Minkoff Dress and Paul & Joe Turtleneck from InStyle.com
Clothes We Love - September

Accessories Addiction

Accessories can get your clothes to do things you never thought possible.  Case in point.  Have you seen recently the ad Loft is running?  (Maybe you’re getting sick of hearing about the Loft, NOT possible, sorry.)  They take a model with a pair of jeans and a shirt and show four different looks with those same pieces simply based on her accessories.  Here are all of the different outfits.
Here’s flirty and feminine-
LF21002M
Sporty and fun-
LF21000M
Cozy and cute-
LF21003M
Polished and playful-
LF21001M
Easy and comfy-
LF21004M
Bold and smart-
LF21005M
Now, don’t tell me that accessories don’t make a difference?!  Sometimes it really pays to shop for only pieces that will update your current clothing.  New shoes and boots, throw in a hat, this year’s belts, statement necklaces, scarves, vests, and especially in Iowa… coats!  Having a few of all of these will stretch your wardrobe and help to change up your look.  It’ll keep someone from thinking, “Does she wear that same blouse every week?”
I definitely have an accessories problem.  Sometimes it is the first place I stop when I’m in a store.  Accessories=versatility.  Don’t underestimate them.  You can never have too many!

Did You Run Out of Coffee Too?

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I’m not going to lie.  There are days when my toddler has better style than I do.  Today was not my best day of fashion.  I had to resort to mom apparel, jeans and a t-shirt.  In my defense, I was also doing yard work.  I don’t typically dress up to cut down shrubbery.  But it makes me feel so casual to be shlumping along in my mom getup. 
Now in my grandma’s era, and you lived on the farm, you wore your everyday chore clothes.  But if you had to run an errand into town, you had better go clean yourself up and change into something worth being seen in.
I’m wondering why this isn’t the case anymore?  In a world where parents drop off their kids to school in their pajama pants-literally, why has the pendulum swung so far in the opposite direction?  Now we are so casual, wearing something other than jeans raises questions.  Where are you going today?  Wow, you are really dressed up! 
Maybe it’s just that the same old, same old is BORING?  Maybe I’m more comfortable in this skirt than in a pair of jeans?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of jeans.  But as Americans, I often wonder if someone forced us to wear them EVERY day, would we balk at the idea? 
I can remember my grandmother (both of my grandmothers were/are complete fashionistas, BTW) asking me when huge clunky shoes were in (circa 1996, although there are certainly a good deal of huge clunky shoes still in now), “If someone made you wear those shoes, you would be so sad.” And how true.
I think wearing jeans every day has just simply become uniform.  They are something to simply throw on your body so that you’ll be accepted without having to give it any thought.  This is why we wear them.
Yes, most days of the week you’ll find me in jeans.  But there are times to mix it up!  And boy, do I feel so much better on the days when I feel like I’ve put some effort into me than on days like today, shlumping around like we’ve run out of caffeinated coffee.
“If clothes can help you see yourself on your best day, why shouldn’t every day be that day?” says designer Reed Krakoff.  Why not indeed.

B List, Well Maybe

You know those movies.  The ones that aren’t exactly A list or Oscar worthy (well, a few of these are actually).  But you watch them just for the clothes.  Okay, maybe only I do this, but there are a few that I really love that if you haven’t seen, you need to check out.  And purely for the outfits. 
Here they are, the top ten fashion movies of all time (and none of them are about fashion!):
10 When A Man Loves A Woman. This is totally Meg Ryan 1990s. But oh how cute she is in her baggie pants back when everyone work Doc Martens and ugly men’s clothing. She was totally the Annie Hall of the 90s.
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9) Forrest Gump. Spanning several decades of style, Robyn Wright looks spectacular in all of them. Love especially the hippie clothes of all white.
Forrest Gump
8) The Holiday. Cameron Diaz shows us all how to look sexy in the middle of winter.
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7) The Wedding Date. Have you ever notice that in this movie everything is color coordinated? Everything in the opening shots is a light blue, including her luggage.  Then things progress  into a teal blue. Love all the outfits in this movie as well. Most especially the golf themed bachelorette party outfits.
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6) Hitch. Love Eva Mendes outfits in this movie. She shows us everyday work wear with outfits that play up her skintone.
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5) Pretty Woman. We probably all know each of these outfits by heart. But this movie came out in 1990. So many of her outfits today are still classic. Who wouldn’t wear her opera dress right now if they needed one?
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4) The Thomas Crown Affair. Rene Russo is perfect in every scene, stealing the show with her every changing style!
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3) To Catch A Thief. Grace Kelly and driving gloves. Need I say more?  Plus her gowns in this film! She was so adorable. This is an all-time classic.
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2) Love Story. Ali McGraw made white jeans cool LONG before her time. And also brought us boho chic long before its time. Love her crocheted hat. The dialog in this movie also makes it worthwhile. And the movie is very similar to the book!
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1)  Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  No, it is not a cliche.  Not only was I watching this movie long before there was ever a really bad song about it (“I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she said I think I remember the film”-terrible) but I feel like I discovered Audrey Hepburn.  I loved her before there were t-shirts with her smoking her cigarette on them and every fashion magazine in the world comparing her mod style with every new starlet who tried to copy her.  But I digress.  The outfits in this movie (and pretty much every Audrey Hepburn associated movie) would still be in style today.  Love her party dress.  Love her mask and earplugs.  Love her coat and fur hat.  Love, love, love.  If this doesn’t impress you, try pairing her and Cary Grant (another all time fav in Charade).  You will love her and her style all the more.
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Honorable Mentions:
Barefoot in the Park
Working Girl
When In Rome
Shallow Hal
What Women Want
Just Married
27 Dresses
No Reservations
Unfaithful
Rumor Has It
Moonstruck
If you haven’t seen all of the above movies, take some time to rent them.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some that I love, but this will get you started.  Get some fashion ideas!

Skinny Belts

They are everywhere.  You can’t watch a commercial, flip through a magazine or window shop without seeing these this season.  I, for one, need to buy a few.  I am a belt person.  (Really I’m an accessories person, but that’s for another day.)  Always have been.  My collection of belts is interesting.  I have one I bought at home in South Dakota that is a wonderful wide brown leather with a big silver Western buckle on it.  I love it.  It was from a consignment store.  It is over a decade old and it still is in fashion.  I have all kinds of mid-range belts for those pants that are too loose in the waist, but fit in the hip.  (Some of you are lucky enough not to have this issue.)  But I don’t have a ton of skinny belts. 
These belts top off any “sexy secretary” look.  A fitted cardigan and a pencil skirt?  Perfect.  Skinny jeans and a preppy sweater that hits right at your midsection?  Adorable.  Sheath dress and long cardi?  You nailed it.
You may think to get the basics, brown or black.  But I say, have some fun with it!  Get a metallic or a fuchsia.  Top off your look with a little fuchsia lipstick and you’ll look dynamite!
Here’s the look from the Loft this season.
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Where can I find skinny belts on the cheap?  The Loft has leather belts for approximately $30 each.  But you know that’s more than I typically spend on a shirt.  Payless shoes has two for $13 and it is also BOGO time.  But these are leopard print and black.  I found a skinny silver chain belt at Maurices for $15.  Everyone in the sticks has a Maurices close by, right?
Skinny Snake Chain Belt - maurices.com
Good ole JCPenneys has a set of two metallic belts for $17. 
Mixit® Womens Belt, 2 Metallic
I also found this belt there on clearance.  Look at this cutie!  It looks like multiple skinny belts!
Clearance! MNG by Mango® Belt Trio
It was originally $40 and it is on clearance for $12.
If you find any better skinny belt deals, let me know!  I’m on the hunt!  I’m looking for color!!

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