Major Metallics

There’s nothing this girls loves like a little pop of metallics. Summer is still here, and we’ve got a few solid months remaining to sport those floral dresses, cut-offs, and bright neon nails. But before we commit to a fall-friendly wardrobe of black tights, great boots, and plenty of hardware-embellished handbags, let’s give an early nod to metallics that work at any time of year.

I like to think of mine as the new neutral. You don’t need to be wearing any particular outfit in order to make a gold-tone or silver-tone detail shine. As you know from previous posts, I’ve been living in these BCBG gold bow-detail sandals for much of the season. They add a bit of polish to a casual look and dress down more formal frocks, making them great for work, play and everything in between.

_6725384I’m also a massive fan of Tory Burch’s cardigans, and all of mine feature pretty gold buttons down the front. These are just slightly dressier than your average buttons and make your cardi more of a statement piece than a throw-on.

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limited edition “Delight” polish by CHANEL. $27, chanel.com

At my glamorous New York City bachelorette party last weekend, we got manicures at an upscale salon. Usually greeted by only OPI and Essie at my salon here in Dallas, I of course opted for Chanel as my polish selection. The gold hue I chose is something I would normally reach for in fall months, but I just absolutely loved the subtle shimmer of the color and knew it would look divine against a tan. Bonus? Gold polish looks great with literally everything in your wardrobe.

Also, don’t shy away from non-jewelry accessories of the metal variety. A shiny clutch brings any black dress to the next level, and Urban sells some fantastic “goddess” headdresses that are sure to turn heads everywhere you go. Embrace metallics and remember that they do not have to “match” in order to work. Avoid heavy metal but drip yourself in silver, gold and copper tones for enviable style that will carry you right from this season into next.

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mandalay flower goddess chain headwrap, $19, urbanoutfitters.com

Another Hot Day in Texas

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Red lips and massive sunnies serve as a great summer accessory pairing for any casual dress.

As my East Coast friends post endlessly on Facebook about the ridiculous temps, I can’t help but think, Now you know my pain! When we landed in Texas, Josh and I had been warned about the summers but we figured we’d get through it by racing from one air conditioned space to the next. And so far, we have. But yesterday… oy!

This jet-setter (I’ve been to two weddings on the East Coast in two weekends, and arrived home super-late this past Sunday evening) did not feel like a dress Monday morning. Instead she reached for the only clean jeans around, a skin-tight pair with polka dots. Being gone the past two weekends also means being out of dry cleaned and/or recently washed summer tops so it was slim pickings. I ended up in a white Theory button-down (long sleeves) with a black American Apparel tee over it. Ferragamo skimmers.

I nearly died.

The more I’ve looked around my dress code-free office in recent weeks, the grander my “Toto, you’re not in Manhattan anymore” realization has become. There is no need to wear endless mounds of black, smart little shoes, and very carefully curated hemlines. While I miss the daily runway show of Wang, Posen, et al. on the New York City subway each morning, it is more than a little bit freeing to know that I am now fully justified in showing up at work in a little, breezy sundress and platforms, or even (gasp) shorts.

No, the shorts have not happened yet. If you’ve ever seen me in shorts, you know that my collection belongs nowhere near a professional environment. I will likely need to purchase a longer pair before I can show up at work in them. And, um, I don’t really want to do that!

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This liquid jersey maxi from J Crew is a lovely choice for the office or the weekend. But, lose the hat! ON SALE for $55, jcrew.com

So, to keep things classy, I’ve been reaching mainly for sweet sundresses and comfortable flats or platforms. I’m also loving the look of a black or gray cocktail dress in an airy chiffon or silk, paired with great heels and a cardigan. And while the walk from the parking garage to the inner sanctum of this frigid building remains grueling, at least it’s hot enough (everywhere) in Texas that you don’t mind baring your legs in the AC. That delicate balance is one thing I definitely don’t miss about home.

Got some cute summer style tips? Email me at sparklesnfun@gmail.com and share!

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Tuck a shirt into a longer pair of shorts and swap out her flats for a pair of heels. You will look fantastic! Caslon shorts, nordstrom.com, ON SALE for $29.90

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Jonesing for a splurge? These amazing graphic stilettos in black and white from Manolo Blahnik are just to thing to amp up your summer duds and keep you utterly on-trend for fall. $655, saksfifthavenue.com

Put Your Makeup to Work

MAKE-UPIs your makeup working for you? Mine is, but it’s taken a while to get here. And I’m sure as the years go by, my routine will continue to evolve and improve. In any case, here are some quick fixes for the frazzled summer beauty. Whether you’re headed to the office, barbecue, or beach, an easy face is a pretty face this season. Here are the tricks:

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Today’s five-minute face was applied in the parking lot at Starbucks.

A strong brow shapes your face and lessens the need for a ton of makeup elsewhere. My brows are pretty sparse, so I start every morning with a quick fill-in using this pencil, or this one. I don’t get my brows waxed because everyone is always tempted to make them too skinny; instead I pluck for maintenance once every ten days or so. To keep them looking full and defined, I apply pencil in a quick, sweeping motion to imitate the direction and length of brow hairs. Filling in too solidly can leave you looking drag queen-ish. Once your brows are done, the summer face is ready to show through. Let your bronzer do double-duty by applying it all over your eyelids in lieu of shadow. Then brush it across each cheek once, in an upward motion. If you use bb cream or foundation, put it on after your bronzer, letting skin appear to glow from within. I like to just blot an extra dab of my foundation on undereye circles and blemishes to cut the extra time of concealer.

Almost done!

A great eye for day that takes you right to happy hour is easy. You have your bronzer-shadow situation down, making your eyes really pop but so naturally. Now take a narrow black pencil and trace along the lash line top and bottom. Two sweeps of Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme mascara and a pop of lip color later, you’re ready to face the day.

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Stepping it up for evening is so easy. Just add a dab of shimmery white eye shadow at the outer edge of your tear ducts, line the inside of your under lids, and put a sweep of gloss on top of your lipstick. Done!

Outfit Ideas: A Black Dress in Summer

There’s nothing I love more than a sweet black dress with black tights and low heels on a crisp fall day. But with the onset of summer, I’ve been all about pastels, florals, neons and whites. However, last week’s Target visit led me to purchase this unnecessary but adorable, little black dress. Its white metallic pattern and Peter Pan collar made it simply irresistible. And while it’s an easy sell for any cocktail party, black doesn’t necessarily work in a day dress this time of year. Wait four months to rock this one before 5pm? No way!

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Please excuse the lack of makeup; I do mine in the car on the way to work.

Tuesday morning, I pulled it on and actually liked the way it looked with bare legs. First envisioning flats, I soon decided that sandals were wrong and my go-to Ferragamo’s made the look too “cool-weather.” Alas! Out came the cork-bottomed peep-toe Cole Haan’s I scored recently, followed by some dangling silver earrings and a pop of red lipstick. (Maybelline Color Sensational in Neon Red, if you’re curious).

redThe look earned multiple compliments and definitely made me feel secure that the little black dress can, in fact, do double-duty for day…even under the Texan sun.

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Cole Haan Mariela pump, on sale now for $169 at zappos.com

 

Outfit Ideas: Meet the Heat

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Photo courtesy of blog.denimtherapy.com

It is scorching in Texas! We’ve been in the high 90’s all week. And while this Long Island-born tanorexic has never shied away from warm weather, there’s a major difference between hanging poolside in a minimal amount of fabric and having to put on an actual outfit, go to an office, and be a professional person. Eek!

Breezy summer dresses are fun but we need to make sure our hemlines aren’t too short. I’ve seen some pretty interesting looks going on lately in the corporate cafeteria. If you’ve got the legs and the confidence and want to rock a micro-mini skirt to work, girl, go for it. But I am just a tad too buttoned-up in the personality department to wear the same thing to the office that I would at a barbecue. Call me provincial if you must.

How to survive the summer heat and still look stylish? I’m learning by experience and am certainly no expert yet. While those New York summers blazed, and the subway was truly unbearable, I’ve never lived in a place that reaches 110 with any frequency. Here’s what I’ve picked up from the chic locals:

1. Open-toed shoes are a must, but keep them classy. Flip flops have no place in your office, so leave them at the door. But sleek sandals with plenty of room to breathe will keep your look professional and comfortable at once. I recently nabbed these BCBG numbers at the Bloomie’s outlet and I’m obsessed:

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Harry never misses an opportunity to jump into the photo…

2. Cotton. Cotton. Cotton is your very best friend. It breathes, it forgives you if you sweat, and it cleans easily in the washing machine for frequent wear. One of my current go-to’s is a Joe Fresh trapeze dress from JCPenney that’s white with navy stripes and does not hug the body at all. Perfect for the scorching temps and totally cute with a low pump and red lipstick. I also like to dress it up with a punchy pair of platforms.

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Now on clearance for only $13.99, jcpenney.com.

3. We’ve spoken about maxis and the fact that I don’t like them. Well, if politicians can change their stances seasonally, I see no reason why this fashion blogger can’t. And so I will now reveal that I am developing a rather massive crush on the maxi. I still believe that one must always turn around and check out her toosh in the mirror before leaving the house in her maxi–many of them are made of such clingy fabric, you can see everything on the rear-end. Yikes. But a nice sturdy material and great fit? Perfect for summer heat at the office and can be professionalized instantly with the right accessories.

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This is a great fit in a maxi for a more casual work environment. If your dress code is stiffer, pair with a black cardi or cropped blazer and heels. Still more comfortable than sweating in a poly blend fitted number! Aqua, $88, bloomingdales.com

Here are some more inspirational photos of summer looks that work at the office. Share yours with me, too!

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Try Something New: Knuckle Rings

Jewelry has taken so many exciting turns down the catwalk in recent seasons, from earrings that are more like ear-cuffs to glorious metal mixing, pearl-encrusted hair ornaments (consider that jewelry for your tresses!) and beyond. This morning, in the 90-degree heat, my poor fingers were a little swollen, but I had a strong desire to wear one of my grandmother’s gold rings. This chunky masterpiece was scooped up on one of the last trips she ever took with my grandfather to Italy, and its sentimental value is even greater than its monetary one.

ringSolution? I wore the ring higher up, right below my knuckle. When the finger is straight, the knuckle is totally covered. Kind of a cool look! There was no puffing or strain, and it was easy to spend all day typing (hey, that’s what we writers do!) without a second thought. I received a ton of compliments, too. Any tricks you love for reinventing your fave jewelry items? I want to hear!

Everything’s Bigger (or Tighter) in Texas!

It’s the first full weekday in my new town of Dallas. I’m thrilled, I’m warm, I’m a little tired, and mostly I’m just excited about the fashion. Joshy and I went out to dinner with some (new) friends on Saturday night. I decided to rock my neon pink jeans because I didn’t know how AC-ed the restaurant would be. Let’s just say this. I am NEVER wearing jeans on a Saturday night in Texas again. I looked cute, but everyone else looked cuter.

No, showing this much butt cheek is not unacceptable down here. Well, as long as your butt looks like hers!

It wasn’t just about the big hair (that I am loving, and trying to emulate in my own small way.) There is also a major need to show your bod down here, and I’m into it. All the girls had on super-tight, short dresses, or dangerously low-cut rompers, or very loud ruffly dresses and sky-high heels. And perfect coifs, fake lashes, the works. It’s so fabulous.

Floral stretch mini’s are a major part of the regional charm. i could get down with that!

A typical day dress is feminine with a good shape. And makeup and hair are important at all hours here.

And while I’m not planning to give up my boho sensibilities, I feel totally cool about playing into the local trends and pushing my limits a little. Of course, my abs need some work before I can bare all in a body-con mini, but hey… when you have a pool at your apartment building, don’t you kind of have to start thinking about your abs anyway?

Ok, so when I start looking like this (thanks to the bridal diet, it might happen!), I will rock the body con dresses at night.

Muggy Weather Fashion

It has been ridiculously humid in New York this summer; just one more reason this sparkle girl is glad to work from home. I’m loving all the braids, bows and creative ponies that keep hair under wraps and de-frizzified. But what about the clothes?

Dressing for this weather can be a total pain. Here are some ideas:

Cotton Babydoll Dress

A ladylike cotton dress with a full skirt will keep you cool and cute at the same time. Plus, it won’t cling if you sweat a little. Peter Pan color, puffed sleeves and a pair of pumps make this simple fashion statement scream, “Style!”

Cutoffs are Everywhere!

If ever there were a time for short shorts, this summer is it. Keep your cutoffs classy by pairing with a billowing top… and flat shoes only need apply for a position with this outfit.

Peep this:

YES, you can wear a lace top with nothing beneath save a bra. But! Try a demure skinny jean like hers in candy pink to balance the look and keep yourself from appearing too naked.

Try Something New: Bad girl lace

I adore lace. We knew this, right? I especially love a white lace sundress on a hot summer’s day. The utter sweetness is what keeps me coming back for more. But this spring I did something totally out of character. Well, sort of.

I was at H&M, one of my favorite “I-need-to-buy-something-but-can’t-afford-to-buy-anything” spots. Sometimes at the end of a rough day I give myself a $30 limit and go into a cheap store to buy something cool as a little pick-me-up. I figure it’s the same that two cocktails would cost me, but without the calories. Bing!

Anyway, I spotted a long-sleeved white sheath dress on the rack and raced toward it. Slimming! Short! Gorgeous! $19! Closer inspection? The lace wasn’t just fluttering with flowers and butterflies. Were those…SKULLS?

Hm…

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Close-up on the material. Do you LOVE this??

I am a sweet girl, a soft-spoken girl who is known for Peter Pan collars, pink denim, and Ferragamo shoes with bows on the front. Lace made of skulls? Could I do this?

Not only did I do it, I became obsessed. Somehow when wearing this sweet-gone-naughty dress, I feel an extra little swagger in my step. Maybe I have edge after all! Well, at least the dress does. When I wore it with my brother recently, he died over the fact that from far away, my dress was girly innocence at its best. From close up, it was bad girl material.

Since purchasing my skull-clad lace, I’ve started to pay attention to the trend. There are examples over all the place! Below are some ideas if you’re up for the challenge. Email me your photos! I want to see you in your cute naughty lace.

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Black skull lace tank, $88, urbanoutfitters.com

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Baby pink hair clip with white skull lace, $5.50 by MmPresents on etsy.com

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Alexander McQueen skull lace overlay t-shirt, ON SALE for $417, saks.com