Maximize Your Options

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Definitely not for the office, but is this gorgeous or what? Love the cut-out back of the top and incredible draping on the hem of the skirt. Photo from lookbook.nu

In an effort to make the brutal Texas heat work for me this summer, especially while I’m working, I decided I needed to figure out the whole maxi thing. I’ve said it multiple times but I’ll mention once more: in general I find the maxi dress does not get the respect it deserves. Yours might be very cute from the front, but if you aren’t carefully selecting your undergarments and checking the ahem-rear view in the mirror before you leave the house, you might just be looking, well, less than fabulous from behind.

Paranoia aside, I decided it was time. My short dresses make me really happy but about a third of them are inappropriate to wear to the office, and once in the AC, I’m often cold. The maxi seems a great compromise, though not one to be over-utilized. I hereby vow to “max” it out at two per week.

I hit up the clearance section at Urban and scooped up three for 10 to 20 bucks apiece. I figured if I hated them, I could part with them at this price better than the $150 of the one I’d been lusting after at Bloomie’s. (Side note: Yes, this blogger has a serious addiction to Bloomingdales and she blames it on her mother. In Texas, a lack of the traditional department store matters not, because there is a Bloomie’s outlet about five miles from her home. This causes about 89.7% of the arguments she has with her fiance).

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Hunzy loved this one because unlike a lot of maxis, it shows the bod.

I rocked Josh’s favorite of the three, a form-fitting gray number with white splatter-paint print, to brunch on Sunday. Sitting outside in the 97 degree heat and eating eggs in a maxi made me want to run into the middle of the street and strip it off while guzzling a gallon of ice-cold Diet Coke. That will not be happening again.

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This tie dye number is extra loose and comfy; I wore it to our ballroom dance class on Sunday so Josh and I can get used to not stepping all over my dress on the big day!

And then Monday morning, I donned a soft chiffon style with a racerback and sweeping skirt to the office. I paired it with those gold bow sandals that seem to work their way into nearly every outfit these days. Not only was I comfy and cool on the walk from my car to the building, and vice versa, but in the frigid AC of the office, I did not need a cardigan. Bonus points go to the maxi for the fact that I did not have to shave my legs. But in case you were wondering, I not only laundered all of my nude thongs and strapless bras on Sunday night, I also inspected my rear-view in every mirror in our apartment before venturing out. A girl’s got to consider herself from every angle, after all.

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Monday’s dress, Pins and Needles Breezy chiffon maxi from Urban, on sale from $69 for 19$… hurry, they are running out of sizes! urbanoutfitters.com

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Giddy for Gold

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whole lotta gold! necklace & earrings from peter messina in huntington, new york. green and gold ring is a family heirloom. long gold chain belt from chanel worn as second necklace. this was a fun night of accessorizing!

Since I was a teen, I’ve preferred silver over gold. It’s not necessarily because one looks better on my skintone than the other; I believe it was mostly out of habit and trend. I adored putting on my grandmothers’ gold pieces that had been handed down, but if given the choice between the two colorways in my metal accessorizing, I’d go with silver over gold nine times out of ten.

Then something changed. I’m not sure if it was when the price of gold started to skyrocket a couple of years ago, or if it’s just a matter of growing up and reaching for classics. Either way, these days, I’m on board with the gold trend and my appetite can’t be sated. However, my engagement ring, and the band we’ll get to match, are platinum. For some reason, white metal remains a classic in bridal jewelry that I would not want to change.

So, if you’re going for gold and don’t have the fundage to invest in the real thing, here are some items I suggest you nab stat. From footwear to headgear and everywhere in between, gold is major right now, and it looks grand on everyone.

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Sara Designs gold-tone chain wrap watch is a great choice for dressing up your office look or adding an extra touch to any cocktail dress. $330, bloomingdales.com

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oh, yes you can! at on sale for only $6.99, this goddess headwrap is an absolute steal. urbanoutfitters.com

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two pieces and countless stares… this adorable lurex bikini by Tooshie is a great shape to flatter many body types. $195, calypsostbarth.com

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the streets are lined in gold when you strut your stuff in these fab golden oxfords from sam edelman. normally $150, i found them at a super-low $99 from karmaloop.com

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a lovely gold cocktail dress solves that age-old question of what to wear in lieu of your lbd. this shoshanna number with painted rose motif and POCKETS is amazing. on sale from $340 for $102 at shopbop.com

Fair Weather Fashion

Who’s got spring on the brain? This newly-southern belle does. From lace dresses to chunky platforms and even the oft-dreaded bikini, I’ve been cruising the racks and the online shops for some key pieces that will brighten up the coming season.

Today it’s in the 70s in Dallas and I rocked my favorite Theory cropped jeans (a chic slate blue denim) with black velvet Tory smoking loafers and a red crochet top I nabbed at Urban on what my mother would call “Deep Sale” at the end of last summer. It’s a fun spring outfit for a very temperate day, but just last week it was freezing here as it is in the rest of the country, so I’m sure we aren’t planted in full-on spring style … yet.

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Today’s cute top, though I am wearing it in red (no longer available). If you wear a medium, score it STAT in white, the only color and size combo left. urbanoutfitters.com, $24

I’ve been eying a particularly cute raised floral, high-waist bikini from American Apparel for over a year now and it’s finally inched its way down the sale ladder to a price I was able to swing. I sized up as I always do with them and was delighted when it came in the mail this weekend. Now, as for trying it on, I think I’ll take a few more weeks to make sure I’m feeling swimwear-ready. But from initial glance, it’s everything I expected and it has a cute a detachable string that can be used to turn the bandeau top into a halter on a whim.

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On sale for $15 each piece, americanapparel.net

For the most part, I’m biding my time with the acquisition of new duds for two reasons. First, I have a wedding at the end of this year and I need to save the cash. Second, some of what I’m seeing is still quite reminiscent of last year’s hot-ticket items and I think if I play my cards right, I might be able to nab some key pieces at low prices by digging through the sale racks.

If you’re itching for some instant satisfaction, check out Nanette Lepore’s new collaboration with jcpenney, an ultra-chic juniors collection that’s ready for the picking and bursting with neons, floral prints, high-low details and great skinnies. If you’ve got the dough, nothing says spring like my newest obsession– Miu Miu crystal-heeled ankle-strap pumps. Now, that’s fashion.

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Dream girl, dream. $1,150. Miu Miu stores.

Some Chill Sweaters

Dallas weather has been in the 80’s but this morning as I stepped onto my balcony to enjoy a coffee break, there was a marked chill in the air. And I loved it! I’ve been pouring over all the fashion mags lately and am enticed by inventive sweaters in bold hues, fun patterns, and surprising shapes. Here are some that every girl has to try this fall:

Green Goddess

Emerald is important this fall. Try it in a chunky knit sweater paired with black mini skirt and knee-high boots or socks with brogues for NYC style on any budget.

You can make this work look by pairing items you already have in your closet with a sweater like this plush crew-neck option from Vince, $320, bloomingdales.com.

Animal Tracks

An oversized moose-print sweater paired with leggings, red shoes and a fedora is a go-anywhere look that’s easy to throw together in minutes.

You can work in red and a pattern with this oversized cheetah-inspired sweater from MINKPINK, $80, urbanoutfitters.com.

Star Quality

A black-and-white celestial sweater is grown up yet playful, and pairs well with colored denim or cords. How cute does she look?

I found a crazy-affordable star-print sweater that you must purchase today. Wear with jeans, leggings, even a pleated mini. Love this find from Bisou Bisou, $25, jcpenney.com.

DIY: Floral accents

Remember that season of Sex and the City when Carrie wore huge flowers affixed to her outfits in almost every scene? Okay, well I do. And it’s not only because I don’t have cable right now and most of what I’ve been watching is S&TC on DVD… more importantly, it’s because this look is a fun, feminine, out-there and cheap way to brighten up any spring outfit.

Simply stunning with floral accents...

Over the weekend I wrote a post for All Things Chic on the new florals, from jeans to skirts and shoes. This got me thinking about the other floral, the more-than-floral. The flower. Now, this is not a trend for simple girls. Or wallflower girls. Or girls who don’t like attention. But if you’re ready to hit the streets of your hometown and receive raves on your accessorizing skills, it’s time to hit up your local craft store and get to work.

If you’re not up for DIY time, there are plenty of options ready for purchase at our favorite mass retailers. H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Aldo (to name a few) have had some pretty cute, under-$20 flower accessory options prime for the picking recently. But if you want to spend under twenty minutes and WELL under 20 bills, you could make your own flower brooch or headband at home, ensuring that no one else will sport your same look.

Creating your own floral accents is a cinch. Head over to createforless.com and check out their selection of silk flowers. A personal favorite of mine is the PETALOO brand of products. Starting at around $4, you can nab faux blooms to suit your personal style and working-girl budget. All you need is a flower, a pin or headband and some craft adhesive. Get your glue on, girls! And send me photos of yourself sporting your fab new flowers.

Thank you for the photo, lushlee.com

Feeling Restless

Winter has been mild, but no winter is warm enough for me to dress the way I want. The first few weeks of sweaters and jeans, sexy little boots, and velvet dresses are always great. And then the cold, hard reality sets in and I remember that I am months away from my favorites. So, today’s blog is about my spring wish list. And, no, I won’t apologize for complaining about a winter that honestly hasn’t been that bad. It’s still winter. Wah.

Neon jeans:

Sexy, happy, pretty. Just like a NYC girl! Cotton candy-pink peg-legged ankle jeans from BDG for Urban Outfitters, $68. Yes, please!

Lace top:

One can never have too many lace tops. This spring, I want to switch up my mostly floral patterned lace for some cool circular styles like this girl's.

Ridiculous unitard:

One question: Who says I can't? I'm in love with this crazy thing for $54, asos.com.

Sequined pencil skirt:

Why ever not? Sequins make everything better, especially pencil skirts. $695, jcrew.com.

Pretty little dress:

Someday I will be able to buy whatever I want. PREEN Sunshine beaded dress, $2,175, net-a-porter.com.

Killer shoe:

These all-cork platform sandals from Stuart Weitzman make me really happy. And if I don't pay my cell phone bill for two months I might just be able to buy them! $365, bloomingdales.com.

Keeping Cute in the Cold

Guys, I am so cold I really can’t stand it. This morning I actually took a cab from the subway–that’s how insurmountable the five-block walk to work seemed. Truth be told, this was not the first time I’ve done it. I am not dressed today for cold weather. I had a business lunch and was trying to do the cute professional thing, but I consider it a fail if the outfit doesn’t work for the forecast. This is today’s look (And no, I am not the cute blonde model– I grabbed the pic on urbanoutfitters.com). I absolutely adore this little sheath. It fits beautifully and accentuates all my best features, concealing the rest. But warm, it is not. At all. For good measure, I threw on a pair of Wolford Cotton Velvet tights, but even they aren’t saving me from this silken disaster.

Yellow Is Gold silk dress, around $60, urbanoutfitters.com
And the shoes… Good gracious, the shoes. I won’t even post a picture of the shoes because you will all shun me. They are suede Cole Haan penny loafter stilettos with patent detailing. Black. So infinitely chic but the farthest thing from comfortable. Not to mention that they are a full size too small and a width setting too narrow. But they were on “Deep Sale” as Mom would say, a couple of seasons ago at Saks. And I love them. So there you have it. For outerwear I threw on an old, fur-detailed, hooded puffer of my mom’s. Doesn’t exactly go with the outfit but it is warm enough. Outerwear is never really my problem, though. The issue lies with what lies beneath.
Tomorrow there is a massive storm predicted, and even in the absense of snow, it is seriously time to bundle up. When I got to my lunch today, the girl I was meeting was dressed in a cropped puffer, a warm tee, comfy yet cute pants, and flat boots. She didn’t look sloppy or bored or tired. She looked WARM and fantastic. Now, if you subscribe to my “if you’re not overdressed, then you’re underdressed” law, you would probably be more comfortable in something else. Let’s explore.

For the Skinny Minis:

This beige Jenny Han sweater dress is kind of a steal, all things considered. $140 on revolveclothing.com. The puff detail at the shoulder is girly yet the length and figure-forming silhouette amp up the sex appeal. Probably not a look for the office, but if you’re super tiny and have some great opaque leggings to throw on with it, why not? We’re only young once…

Bananarepublic.com; $90

For the Average Jane:

Banana Republic is such a great option for work clothes, and I think these gray winter wool trousers are a perfect fit for colder days like this. For the gal without too much “junk in the trunk,” the waist and the back pocket detail are perfect. Throw on a great top and a blazer with these and you will be good to go.

For the Curvy Cutie:

I think the curvier girls will develop a true passion for pants by slipping into these “Boy Fit” trousers from the Gap–paired with whatever makes you feel warm and comfy, like a cardigan and a ton of necklaces. All of the Gap premium pants come in sizes 00 to 20, but in these you can go down a size or even two. They offer a great, slouchy fit that tapers at the bottom to accentuate the leg, making it look longer and leaner. They also won’t let wind whip you from the ankle up, and they’re even on sale right now at gap.com for $49.99!
For the Plus Size Princess:

This faux fur vest from Forever 21 is a great option for the office or for meeting up with friends. It allows you to complete the outfit without DYING of heat indoors, but provides a layer of warmth too so you aren’t just hanging out in a cotton tee. I love how this one comes with a built-in belt, but you can also do it un-belted, loose, and pair with a long necklace. I actually love her whole outfit; all pieces available on forever21.com.

FOR EVERYONE:
Our bodies might need unique treatment and styles, but every gal loves a perfect shoe–and this Aquatalia by Marvin K. one is it! They are an absolute, undeniable splurge at $495, but endless.com offers free shipping. 🙂
Wonderful for the snow, waterproof and warm, and somehow sexy without even trying? Yes, please! Now, if only our entire budgets could be forked over for footwear. Sigh…

A Little Bit of Chrismy Sparkle

I already told you about the fabulous tree that Josh and I put up and decorated at his place. With our incredibly busy work schedules, we haven’t been spending as much time nesting at the apartment as we did last year at this time, and I’ve found myself for a week now toiling away at my laptop (which sits atop a Victorian washstand), glancing around the room to find it completely void of Chrismy cheer. So depressing! What’s a girl to do? Why, hightail it around the corner to Urban Outfitters of course, and grab herself some goods!

When they erected the Urban location right near my house, Mom called and very sternly told me she expected me to avoid it like the plague. I have an Urban Abuse Problem, I swear. I just love that the clothes and accessories are so accessible, there is something to fit every style, and the price point works for my (sad) budget. I promised Mom during that phone call that I would never enter the store unless accompanied by an adult. I promptly put down the phone, picked up my purse, and headed to Urban. Sorry Mom.

For now we will avoid discussing my Urban Abuse Problem as it pertains to clothing and accessories, because it just might happen that some of you cuties reading my blog are being gifted by Jensy from there this season! But I can tell you about all the cool Chrismy loot I discovered there the other night. So fab!

This is my sweet little tree, that sits in the corner of my living room on an end table. Isn’t sort of wonderfully Charlie Brown-ish? But it shines! Love the color as it fits in with my decor. Also available in fuscia. The tree retails for a mere $14 and I nabbed a box of these tiny glass ball ornaments at Urban too, for $10. The best part? At the end of the season, just pack it up and store for next year. No need to spend twice. A dream for a tiny New York City apartment!

I know you must think I am a Diet Coke Addict–you’d probably be right. But can you stand these string lights from Urban too? They were on sale for 9.99. I had to.

To polish the whole thing off, I purchased a few of these great, glittery feathers in turquoise and silver at $3 a pop. My original thought was to bring them to Josh’s to put on our tree, but they might be just a *tad* feminine. Anyway, I kind of want to keep them here. Am thinking of hanging them wherever they feel right. One in the bathroom, a couple by the window, and so on. What do you think?

Praying there will be canned food in his stocking…

The shining glory of my decorating spree this year though were the fabulous stockings I found us at the John Robshaw sample sale. Granted, even at the sale they were not exactly cheap (even though I told Josh that they were!), but aren’t they great? I love that they are not too “holiday” and can go with any decor. You can’t really tell in the photo, but those miniature circles are mirrors. So sparkly and fun! Sadly, the budget only allowed one for me and one for Josh, so Dolce is stuck with this paw print plush stocking from last year’s TJ Maxx run.
Sorry, D!