Wardobe Management: Restocking the Closet With Luxury Basics...

{images via Pinterest + Pinterest}

In several previous posts I shared my unique method for stripping away the excess in my closet. I literally removed everything from the space, redesigned the closet (hello, happy white shelves & smooth-gliding drawers!) and then gave every item a hard evaluation before deciding what deserved to go back in. That's right. It wasn't an exercise in elimination. It was placing a positive spin on the daunting process. It's not what goes away. It's more a matter of "what fabulous pieces do I already own that deserve to be housed in this sparkling new space?" Which of you lovely pieces are closet worthy?

As you might imagine, many items were kicked to the curb via donations & selling online. This is an exercise in patience as I am still listing items on Tradesy in my down time. Yet the effort was (and continues to be) so worth it. In fact, the pieces in my "before" closet served a previous version of me. She loved shopping, had time to peruse the racks at Neimans & Saks and those precious big sales, she had the leisure to grab coffee on Saturdays before window shopping with friends. She was more willing to bypass the perfect black tee (so boring) for a boldly printed chiffon DVF blouse she "discovered" on a rack at Saks while popping out of the office for a bite to eat. The previous me enjoyed the thrill of the unexpected hunt and had ample time to peruse department stores and specialty boutiques in a never ending quest for "special" pieces. Former me was an unpredictable shopping gunslinger rapidly aiming her weapon in the direction of occasionally fabulous but often "almost ideal" items. She was eager to add to her closet and willing to experiment.

This retail wild west chracater no longer exists. Today, I'm a focused sniper. A trained retail sharpshooter peering through the cross-hairs of my scope carefully observing my retail prey. Rather than a quick pull on the trigger & hope for the best, I'm an expert closet curator who carefully plans each purchase and stalks each item with relentless research. I study how an item looks on other bloggers, read reviews, pay special attention to measurements and determine how handbags will function, blouses will billow, denim will wear and dresses will hang on my petite frame.

Small children and a busy digital business keep my feet mostly out of physical stores and firmly entrenched in the online shopping experience. And let's not forget that redone closet. It's given me a clear lens through which to focus my attention. With my recently streamlined wardrobe I now experience on a daily basis where the voids are in my wardrobe. I can now respect the need (yes need) of the perfect black tee and the functional benefits a small crossbody bag would add to my lifestyle. I can see the vacancies now in glaring detail that were once obscured by the abundance of "almost perfect" pieces. The chaos cleared, there's now a crystal clear picture of what exists, what is needed and what would be thrilling to add to my tightly edited collection. 

Pressed for time (and craving as much information as possible) I prefer to shop almost exclusively online. There are no more unexpected purchases, things are carefully considered and planned. Rather than casting a wide net I visit favorite brands and trusted sites loyally and favor them for their excellent products and perfect customer service (and of course, sales!). This isn't to say the quest for the new and unexpected is gone, that's the thrill of life, right? The excited shopper is still thriving and alive, but her reckless former form has been replaced with a careful curator who obsesses over button placement, fabric weight and the integration of said fashion into my busy lifestyle.

The new shopper in me is a perfectionist. She can't believe she every selected an "almost perfect" anything. Rather than spending on a frilly frock that will one day be perfect if I'm invited to Diddy's White Party (is that still a thing?) I'm investing in pieces I will enjoy for many years. Fact is, they may require a bigger financial commitment, but the quality will be commensurate with price and the luxurious fit and durability will more than make up for the price. Also - I LOVE my newly thinned out wardrobe and reject the idea of "good enough" pieces when I can hold out and wait for the ideal piece to appear.

My style is pretty much Olivia Palermo meets Olivia Pope. Clean lines, stylish classics, beautiful pieces. Feminine style with a confident lean. With that, here a few timeless pieces I'm stalking for fall that will fill some of the aforementioned gaps in my wardrobe and my life. Remember, I circle the drain for some time before making the purchase. I look at each piece for versatility, longevity and how wearing it will make me feel.

THE URGENT FALL SHOPPING LIST

Franki Durbin // Fall Fashion

Miss Dior Absolutely Blooming // Splendid Fitted Soft Touch Tees (also see Hanro here & here) // DVF Leopard Scarf (also here) // Saint Laurent Crossbody Tassel bag (also here & here) // Frame Le Crop Mini Bootcut Jeans (also at Nordstrom) // Gucci Horsebit Leather Mules (also here)

  • Crop flared denim for an everyday for that are just as perfect with flat loafers as they are with sneaks or heels.

  • A high quality small-ish crossbody bag with gold hardware. Large enough for a wallet, iPhone, fey fob and lip gloss but needn't carry anything else. Versatility is key here. Ideally it will work as a clutch, shoulder bag or crossbody to play a multitude of roles.

  • Perfect black & white tees. So basic. So easy to delay. Yet so crucial to daily life. When I discover "the one" I'll invest in a handful of them in black and white as I could easily wear them daily.

  • Chunky heels. Fall's version of a wedge, the chunky mules gives any outfit a little "lift" and elongates my petite frame. Black (duh) is ideal and you can bet I'll be sliding my feet into these on the regular.

  • A new signature fragrance for fall, this new Dior perfume is my current love

ROUND TWO WILL INCLUDE

  • A statement jacket (or two). In all fairness, I'm a bit jacket obsessed. This is an area of "freedom" in my wardrobe where I color outside the lines and can easily justify a lilac quilted leather jacket (and I do) or a faux fur sequinned creation (because it's fabulous). When the "great edit" went down, I was left with a lovely collection of denim, handbags and jackets - quickly realizing that I needed to add more shirts to my game lest I be nekkid under those pretty blazers & cropped jackets. What I don't own, however, is a pink jacket (the horror!) or a classic black moto jacket.

  • Fall/winter boots. Leather with a stacked heel. Not a sky-high heel, but not squatty either I have denim that only work when worn with heels, so at least 3" will be required.

  • A black bow blouse. Who doesn't love a good bow blouse? This was on my list last year as well but I never quite found "the one" at the price point I was seeking. Perhaps this season I'll find my perfect match.

For the moment, that's the list. It's longer than I'd like it to be, but the reality is I can skip the jackets and be perfectly fine. Those are long-term acquisition goals whereas the others are things I long for every day. What are you hunting for this season? Are you a color lover or do you go flock to neutrals? What do you consider basic?

(Note: If you'd like to shop my Tradesy closet, here's a link to save $20 on your purchase.)

RELATED POSTS YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Current Obsessions: Classic Femininity with Edge...

I don't think fall shopping for weekend wear could possibly get any easier. Skinny jeans, a billowy white chiffon blouse, a quilted leather cropped moto jacket and girly accessories. Think: nude heels & a pretty tote to soften what could otherwise be seen as edgy.

Right now I'm loving the simplicity of chain link bracelets and gold hoop earrings. Tie this all up in one neat bow an call it the new weekend wardrobe. No reason to complicate things any further. For me, the beauty of this look is the balance of softness, toughness and ready to conquer the world confidence.

Scouring the web turned up the best of the bunch in each category. White House Black Market seems to have cornered the market on what they are deeming the "iconic" white blouse. I agree with them, and of their pretty options I'm dying over the Artist's version the most, but all of their new white blouses have the necessary swagger you crave. Add fab accessories, sunnies to die for and roll out the door with a skip in your step. Rest assured: You. Look. Fabulous.  

FINDING FEMININITY WITH EDGE

via // via // via // via // via

Foundations: Building a Fall Wardrobe From Scratch...

 {L'Academie via  Revolve Clothing }

{L'Academie via Revolve Clothing}

As you might have seen in this post, I'm on a clear path to start fresh when it comes to my wardrobe. Only this time I'm armed by what to add to an emptied closet versus what to keep in an overstuffed one. I'm very nailed down in my personal style and preferences, it's just a matter of aligning my creative vision with the reality of what is actually in said closet. The edge I have here is the idea of a truly blank slate. Imagining (or making it a reality) that I'm beginning from scratch.

What, exactly would I bring into a new, fabulous and EMPTY closet? What anchor pieces would be deserving of the privilege of becoming mainstays in my newly pared down, completely curated closet? Since I'm in a fall state of mind it makes sense to offer you my perspective on my autumn must-have list. But remember, this is a strictly pared down version of a closet. There shall be no "fluff" here. My only two area of "wiggle room" are blouses and jackets. I love classics in my denim, my tops (think: black and white fitted tees & long sleeved tops) and dresses. But when it comes to blouses and jackets I love to add variety to my life. So those two areas aside we're looking at adding as few pieces as possible and trying to stick to the below list as much as possible. 

The criteria? Here are a few:

  • Classic, timeless pieces: No trendy goods allowed.

  • Versatile: every item should be able to mix and match with many other pieces in closet

  • Well made: no poor quality pieces here. Invest in the best possible pieces

  • Color restriction: Focus on black, white, pink and a few fun animal print pieces

  • Fit is everything: Never compromise on fit. Ever.

  • Know thyself: have your ideal look in mind and stick with it. No compromises.

You may wonder why this is such an obsession of mine. It's simple - I only want excellence in my life. As the years pass and my collection of goods have changed, I've evolved. It's time to shake off some of these "old personas" and old memories. I love the feeling of letting go of things. I'm not a hoarder and I find donating and selling things very freeing - so long as I am ready to release them. Applying the Kon Mari question "Does it spark joy?" to each item, I am left with a firm "No" on many pieces in my closet. Thus, the idea of repeating this process in the future in not an option. We rebuild from scratch now and don't look back.  We fill the closet with joy inducing pieces designed (intended) to last me for ages. A "collection of friends" in my closet waiting to say hello each morning and come out at play. Sounds fun, right? Joyous, right? So this, friends, is worth the work and the slow investment process of acquiring those new "friends" (a term borrowed from Diane von Furstenberg) for my closet. 

These guidelines in mind, here's what I'm loving right now:

BUILDING A FALL WARDROBE FROM SCRATCH








These won't all be "allowed in" but these are a few key pieces I'm evaluating as I map out short and long term additions. The handbags are clearly investment pieces. Solid black tops are key foundation pieces for me, and I'm a real stickler for fabric and fit. Denim is always a good investment and I'm delighted to have two brands I adore (AG Jeans fit me like a glove and WHBM offers several styles I adore). 

The key here. Know thyself! Know what you love and focus on those things with unwavering attention. Don't haphazardly build out your wardrobe. Craft a very specific vision of the woman (or man) you wish to be and add in only those pieces that support that vision. Trust me when I tell you that clothes do indeed make the (wo)man and you'll feel better about life and your place in the world when dressed in accordance with your idealized view of yourself. 

Sometimes, those internal changes are kickstarted by an outward shift. Don't be afraid to raise your standards. And certainly don't be afraid to donate all those clothes and begin anew. A new you awaits!!

Foundations: Building a Killer Collection of Chic Jackets & Blazers...

kerr.jpg

You'll often find me flipping much of my wardrobe on ebay, poshmark & others. But several categories of my closet are strictly off limits: shoes, handbags & jackets. Those items are cherished, carefully selected and fit me like a perfect white tee (which is an entirely different post you should look for in the coming weeks).  

So... how do YOU build a small collection of jackets & blazers you adore? A few rules of thumb apply. 

  1. INVEST IN THE BEST
    Dolce & Gabbana may very well not be in the budget. But I bet you can snag a great deal on a solidly made jacket on sale at J. Crew or at Nordstrom Rack. The point here is to find a great deal of a very well constructed classic piece. Spare your cash & skip the poorly made pieces. Take time to inspect seams, interior construction and lining. All of these elements matter.

  2. KNOW THY SELF
    Know your style AND get to know what different brands offer. Theory is a brand well known for killer basics, but perhaps you're on the petite side (like myself). In this case, familiarize yourself with brands that cater to your body type. I've found incredible pieces that fit me fabulously at J. Crew, WHBM and Ann Taylor. All of whom offer great buys for those of us with smaller frames.

  3. FIT IS EVERYTHING
    Here's the harsh truth: fit is everything when it comes to jackets & blazers. Sleeves can be tailored, waists can be nipped in, but shoulders must fit from the moment you discover a piece. Be sure your natural shoulder width works with the cut of the acket. And don't forget to inspect the view from the back. Beware of puckering or drooping when viewed in the three-way mirror. It never lies.

  4. CONSIDER A LITTLE NIP & TUCK
    While shoulders should fit from the get go (refer to Rule #3), you may want to have the sides or sleeves of a jacket taken in to get the perfect fit. But beware: carefully consider the jacket needing significant tailoring. I've often found that the cost to do so could have been avoided if I'd simply coughed up the cash to invest in a better brand (see Rule #1 above)

  5. SHAKE IT OFF
    Cherish those moments alone in the fitting room or changing area. Take a few moments to raise your arms or shimmy to the beat to see how a jacket moves with your body. It might seem "tailored" for a second and feel like a straightjacket when you raise your arms. Conversely, "roomy" one moment may feel boxy and shapeless when you go to wear it to lunch the next day. Evaluate how you look and feel in motion in clothing before buying.

The above are shopping tips, now let's get to the business of building that killer collection of jackets. Here's what I love owning: 

NOT-SO-BASIC BLACK

Don't underestimate the power of a fabulous black jacket. Paired with jeans & heels or a dress and pearls, these pieces are key to any woman's closet.  It doesn't matter if you're a self-employed artists or a corner office queen bee, you'll need at least one of this wardrobe essential. I love having one summer weight and one light wool blazer for cooler months. 

TERRIFIC IN TWEED

My favorite jackets are my chunky tweed pieces. Some are cropped with embellished crew necks, some are East Coast prep, others are in-between. Their real charm comes from their versatility. Again the "jeans & heels" vs "dress & pearls" question comes to mind. This category of jacket pairs well with both and makes for a smart fashion acquisition. Think of this as your Coco Chanel moment. I like to let freedom rule here. Over time add a wide variety of styles to the mix. I find these useful in every season, and once you begin adding them you'll feel the same way.  

Since a range of options abound here, I'll tell you some of the hallmarks I look for: raw or frayed edges for modern edge. I strictly choose cropped or belted & flared styles. These are the most flattering. That said, I have only one belted, as the cropped variety is so much cooler and flatters my frame the best. Bracelet sleeves (those falling between elbow & wrist length) are a girl's dream come true as it keeps you from looking like you're going or coming from a board meeting. And color. I love color here. Think pink, minty green, icy white or (since it is tweed) a melange of colors all woven together. Bonus points if a jacket has metallic threads woven throughout. Those are the best.

My go-to brands for these is Milly , Rebecca Taylor or Nanette Lepore. All three of these offer incredible construction and a surprisingly tailored fit. While stepping more into the investment category, these are impeccably made and require zero alterations to fit your body flawlessly. At least that's been my experience. But J. Crew, Ann Taylor & WHBM cannot be underestimated. I have at least one amazing tweed jacket or blazer from each of these brands that I wouldn't trade for anything. Fit & quality are supreme! 


 

DECKED OUT IN DENIM

Like Yolanda Foster, white denim reigns supreme in my world. But then again I live in the warm south. The key for me with a denim jacket is details. I love mine cropped and not too distressed. Also (despite what might be trendy) I'm not a fan of denim on denim UNLESS it's white paired with blue. But: fashion is fun so set your own rules. Regardless, these pretty pieces pair as well with sundresses as they do with more dressy options. Consider adding one white and one darker rinse version to your wardrobe and watch the myriad options present themselves. Caution: shy away from faded denim & any vests. Not chic. Not timeless. Not investment pieces. 

THE NOVELTY PIECE

Another favorite category: anything goes. I love having a heavily embellished jacket to toss on over a simple tank & jeans for a "where is she going?" effect. Or how about a Barbie pink blazer? Why not, right? The novelty blazer will quickly become an "outfit making" addition to your wardrobe. Word to the wise: add these in slowly and only when you really fall in love with a jacket. That said, there are no rules. Boleros, ostrich feather cropped pieces and other wildcards all are welcome. 


Keep in mind, these are not outerwear pieces. These are lighter blazers & jackets intended to be part of your ensemble. By building a stable of killer jackets in your closet you'll find it gets easier and easier to pull together a great look with minimal fuss. My collection of blazers & jackets have proven invaluable for years and still stand the test of time. Experiment with brands and fit to determine what really works for your body type and your personal style. Decide what you love and make plans to acquire your staples first and your wildcards later on. Build this collection slowly and with a discriminating eye, investing only in pieces that truly make you happy. 

One of the best tips I ever received about buying jackets was from a salesgirl who wasn't afraid to push the boundaries. She demonstrated the cool "it girl" appeal of what looked like "little old lady" jackets on the rack. It's that effortless mix of a nonchalant fringed tweed jacket with sky high heels & skinny denim that looks so great together. It's youthful and fresh and fun. My perspective on tweeds and less typical jackets was forever changed and my eyes opened to the stylish possibilities. Since then I've been a self-proclaimed connoisseur of jackets and my closet thanks me daily. 

Now... happy hunting to you all! Don't be afraid to experiment! 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Loving: Fanciful Fall Espadrilles

Espadrilles

While Instagram would have you believe it's fall, it's still hitting 100 here in Dallas. Perhaps this is why I am relieved to see that my favorite arbiter of cool (no pun intended), Net-a-Porter, is showcasing espadrilles even though the peak of summer has long since passed. Trust this petite babe when she tells you that few choices can beat a cushy platform.

My faves at the moment are decidedly transitional with saddle brown leather or black with nary a seashell or pompom in sight. While this may not work for my babes up north (looking at you, Connecticut friends!), I assure you my southern friends can agree it's still open-toe season for quite some time.

WHAT I'M LOVING NOW

What to Wear: Channeling Effortless Island Style...

I've just finished reading the latest India Hicks book, Island Style, and it not only transported me to a breezier, more relaxed way of living, it has inspired me to loosen up my approach to spring and summer dressing. 

A kaftan is surely necessary. In fact, after this brutal winter (yes, even here in the south it was punishing by our standards) I'm eschewing the idea of any restrictive clothing. My mission: dresses & skirts all day every day. With one exception: culottes. My summer fashion edict is t approach the season with easy, breezy style that perhaps - just maybe - can help me channel some of India's unfussy approach to glamour. Think: Calypso St. Barths and you've nailed it. 

With this you'll see I've found the PERFECT summer tote. And I do mean perfect. Leave it to Tory to absolutely nail the straw tote. Pair it with these amazing metallic espadrilles and you are ready for the resort, the corner cafe or a fun afternoon out and about. 

GET THE LOOK: RESORT CHIC


And of course, no belle du jour look is complete without a sun-kissed glow on your beaming visage. I love a good bronzer-blush duo to give my face a milk dusting of bronzy-peachy goodness. Gloss up legs with a good gel to get that coveted gleaming gams look. Finish with a swipe of balm in the most delicious shade of tropical punch. You. Are. Done. 

SUN-KISSED BEAUTY

DRESSED FOR THE LAID-BACK OCCASION


Above are few more dresses to help you channel that vacation state of mind - even if it's Monday. I like them simple and swingy, but figure flattering too. And while I chiefly choose solids, a few prints are fun to mix it up. 

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

What to Wear: Weekend Escape to Laguna's Montage...

One great thing about having close girlfriends with similar taste? They ask me what to pack for their upcoming trips. One such bestie is headed out to a personal favorite spot: Laguna Beach. Ahhhh, California living epitomized at the stylish Montage Hotel. Yes, darling, I can definitely pack your getaway bag for you! 

First, let's scope out the scene. The Montage is known for its unobstructed views of the Pacific, five-star culinary experiences and incredible spa. Did I mention the gorgeous suites? This is an ideal spot to escape with your partner and let the sound of the crashing waves below & palm tree fronds above take all your cares away. California dreaming? Definitely. So let's get on with the business of mapping out this weekend wardrobe, shall we? 

The vibe? Relaxed yet chic. Elegantly undone. It's the west coast, after all. The mood? Sunny & romantic in a quietly upscale way. The look? A versatile mix of flowy pieces that will take her from poolside chaise to reservations at 8:00 looking flawless and feeling free. So... let's get down to the business of packing, shall we? 

  • First rule: versatility is key. Select pieces that pack easily and play nicely with others.
  • Rule two: no iron is the best iron. Think: jersey knits or linen items that embrace the crinkled look.
  • Rule three: When in doubt, go for the gold. Metallic accessories elevate even a simple black slip-on dress. Embrace them.
  • Finally: less is more. Fewer colors + fewer pieces = fewer decisions + a more enjoyable trip

WHAT TO WEAR: WEEKEND ESCAPE TO LAGUNA // DAY ONE

Net-a-Porter Travel Set // Eres Black Essentials Suit // Saint Laurent Metallic Clutch or Shoulder Bag

The result? Simple outfits that take you from day to night with the simple change of a shoe (graduating to higher heels for night) and swapping the necklace for the sunnies as the sun sets. Boss move? Slip a chic clutch into your tote for maximum versatility and pull it out for after dark glamour. And do NOT forget the sunscreen ladies! (Here's my choice via Omorovicza). Happy travels! xoxo

What to Wear: New Year & Beyond...

New Year's Eve

Oh, holiday glamour! One of the perks of being a girly girl is the opportunity to dress up. The key is to not overthink your look. Keep your regular vibe and just add a bit more verve, a bit more shimmer and a bit more shine. Love a faux fur jacket? Rock it with a sparkly dress on NYE and jeans next weekend. A gold clutch is just as killer with denim as lace. Diamond (or faux diamond!) stud earrings pair just as well with your yoga mat as they do high heels. And that gold clutch? You know you want it for those nights out and for special occasions. Invest in classic keepers and you'll never, ever regret it.

The key here, ladies? Wear what makes you FEEL good. It might be your favorite black skinnies or even a fuzzy blush sweater that drapes just right off the shoulders. It might just be a fragrance that makes you feel like a bombshell. If it makes you feel gorgeous, wear it! Here's what I'm loving for New Year's Eve which will easily slide into the wardrobe to mix & match with other staples throughout the year.

WHAT TO WEAR

Foundations: Preparing for a Fashionable Winter...

As many of you have observed, I've been refining and refining my closet for a few years. This past summer I stumbled upon the most effective method of all for finally cropping it down to a tightly edited closet. It was the pivotal moment in the lengthy personal wardrobe purge. The result? Peace of mind and a walk-in that brings a smile to my face daily. 

So now I'm "there" on my goal of a slimmed down wardrobe. Excess has been eliminated and I love what is left. One advantage is the ability to clearly see what needs to be replaced, updated or added to (more fitted black tees, please!). The other clear advantage of the streamlined result is this: as each new season approaches I can see exactly what is lacking and where the "holes" are in my bulletproof closet. Hence, my current situation. 

Why am I lacking winter foundational pieces? It's that spicy Dallas weather. It is so unbelievably hot in Texas each summer that I can hardly imagine cold weather. It makes it almost impossible to imagine what is necessary for cold winter days. The idea of nailing down tall boots when it is 98 degrees is unreasonable at best, torturous at worst. 

That said, when the mercury does drop it drops with urgency. Chilly weather descents upon our pretty city with a major attitude. Days are suddenly overcast and dreary (where art thou, great sun?), and the brisk air is unforgiving. Very unforgiving. Suddenly it is crystal clear what timeless pieces I'll need to add to the mix to pull off this season and many winters in the future. 

Those just joining in should know I'm an investment shopper. Fewer, better, more fabulous additions to the wardrobe are all that are allowed. No fast fashion fixes. No placeholders. No ill fits. No substitutes. Examine each potential new acquisition and take care to source the best of the bunch, considering personal preferences and budget. 

So... what is on the present list for the season? Here it is...

Simple, straightforward and relatively easy to find.... right? It would be if I were merely plugging holes. Remember: this is finding the perfect item at the perfect price in the perfect size. Simple. But simple is not always easy.

I'll tackle a few of my fashion targets in a moment, but explore them more deeply in separate posts. After all, the selection process is a thorough one. You might wonder how (or if) I can shop online for such key pieces. My answer? A few factors come into play here: 

  1. SIZING 
    I'm petite, but it only matters in terms of pants and certain jackets. Eve so,  shopping online is pretty much a necessity as finding petite jeans is rarely an option even in the best of stores.
     
  2. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
    I live for and adore reading customer reviews. Criticisms and praise over items (as well as details such as age and body type) offer tremendous wisdom.
     
  3. SELECTION
    No store will ever offer as to choose from much as the great wide web. If it's out at Neimans, Shopbop may well have it. One I hone in on an item I search far and wide to pin it down in my size. 
     
  4. KNOW THY SELF
    I know my key brands and am always adding a few more trusted labels to the mix (as others are shuffled out).
     
  5. TRY & TRY AGAIN
    Be willing to experiment by ordering several pairs of jeans or a few jackets to see which suits you best. Know the return policies, abide by the basic tenets of being a good customer and simply ship back (typically for free) the items (new with tags, of course) that did not fit. I try to ship back the very next day to avoid any hiccups, but you often have as much as 30 days or more to make decisions. 
     
  6. CONVENIENCE (OR NECESSITY)
    I have two very small girls at home. While I have to take them out to try on shoes and help me find new moisturizers etc, I order online quite a bit. Why? Delivery straight to my door (and return pickup from home as well) are a dream come true. Why run about unnecessarily? I adore shopping and do plenty of it, but there's also a certain thrill in opening those glamorous ribboned Net-a-Porter boxes after the doorbell rings. 

With that... here are a few current contenders for the vacancies above in my wardrobe...

FASHIONABLE WINTER INVESTMENTS


 

ESSENTIAL RELATED READING: WARDROBE MANAGEMENT

RELATED READING: FOUNDATIONS

What to Wear: Spectacular Holiday Party Shoes...

It's all about the accessories, girls. You can wear the most basic black dress and style it properly and be the enviable belle of the ball - so long as those accessories are on point. Asked by a very close girlfriend to suggest holiday party shoes, I thought it best to offer that same wisdom here. Ready ladies? Let's get to steppin...

HIGH HEELS

Some of you love your stilts (raising hand) and want to lengthen those legs as much as possible. My five foot tall frame (and six-foot personality) is with you. Let's review my current favorite sky high heel options with price points for all to enjoy: 


NOT-SO-HIGH HEELS

This particular friend requested some not so tipsy teetering heels, and I can't blame her. It's tough to mix and mingle for hours on end when you're struggling to maintain your balance. No one wants to look as though she's has a touch to many flutes of bubbly at the holiday fête. For those of you who share her love of solid (yet fabulous) footwear, may I suggest the following...


See girls, style and investment levels for everyone. Although I will say my suggestion is to go for it and snag yourself a pair of these and call it a most happy day. After all, you only have one chance to make a first impression. 

These Jimmy Choo Anouk dégradé glitter-finished leather pumps have my name written all over them & I hope Santa baby thinks of me when he's tossing these in his red bag this year. Happy holiday shoe shopping, everyone! 

What to Wear: Your Flawless Holiday Party Look...

Whether you're a private jet to Ibiza kind of girl or a night in with friends, getting dolled up for the holidays is just part of our genetic makeup. We love it. We live for it. We embrace it. If you're looking for the PERFECT outfit to take you from dusk 'til dawn, this is surely it. A feminine frock, dazzling heels, a timeless clutch and gold & crystal J. Crew earrings. 

The dress will be an investment, yes. But I am sure you'll seek out more opps to wear this amazing LBD. The accessories will all be just as chic at your lazy next day brunch with jeans and a simple white tee. Classic investments and unbelievable pieces to usher out the old and ring in the new. 

SHOP THE LOOK

Lanvin Metallic fil coupe mini dress // Saint Laurent Monogram Clutch // Jimmy Choo glitter pumps // J. Crew Earrings

Beauty: Give Your Skin that Coveted Supermodel Glow...

 {image via  Pinterest }

{image via Pinterest}

When it comes to how I feel about makeup, it begins with great skin, focus on eyes & eyebrows and a somewhat glossy nude-pink lip. While great genetics will take you far, few of us are rocking supermodel genes (or jeans, for that matter). But with a little know how, some experimentation and honed skills, you too can have a face that radiates that ethereal glow we've all come to associate with modern beauty. 

First: water. Sorry girls. There's no getting around this foundational aspect of great skin. DRINK UP. If you don't have a water filter, get one to eliminate some of the toxins and microbial particles in your tap water. Better yet, add some lemon. Trust: it does a body (and a face) good. 

But let's talk products. There are definitely some tips and tricks I can share from my ample experimentation and my quest to find the very best. Let's begin with a fresh face, shall we? Bliss  Youth as We Know It Anti-Aging Cleanser was my go-to for years and CeraVe is an excellent (and super inexpensive) option. These days, however, it's hard to resist the siren call of Kate Somerville's Cleansing Milk. "WOW" is my response to this amazing cleanser. It is packed with active ingredients and leaves my skin soft & prepped for a day of looking gorgeous. That pump dispenser keeps things bacteria free, too. I was told by my Kate Somerville guru that it was developed for more mature ladies, but I don't care. My skin loves this stuff and it smells dreamy. It's worth every sulfate-free penny. 

Next, grab a serum. Ole Henricksen Truth Serum wins those magazine beauty awards every year for good reason. It isn't sticky, doesn't leave you "wet" and somehow magically makes you better looking. Loaded with Vitamin C, used daily it will indeed generate a glowing complexion and a more firm face. I especially love the "super sized" option as it's a great value. 

Finally, hydrate. I'm a huge Prevage by Elizabeth Arden fan. I actually use the body moisturizer on my face and décolletage (it just works for me) and love, love, love the way it sinks right into my skin and leaves that beautifully hydrated finish. I actually mix it with my Clarins UV Plus before applying to face, neck and shoulder area. Prevention truly is the best cure, after all. 

Wait half a beat for the moisturizer to sink in most of the way (but not quite completely dried) then apply Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. My go-to color is Nude, which is pretty spot on for my skin tone. They offer a wide range of shades for girls of every color of the rainbow. (Tip: Stick to the original, as I do not care for the illuminating or oil-free versions.) Apply a thin layer beginning in the center of your face and work outwards. Dot extra on any troublesome areas (like around the nose or apples of cheeks) and stand back to appreciate your dewy glow. Done right, this will result in that perfect "no makeup" look you crave but don't have the nerve to actually try. I prefer a light-to-medium coverage and appreciate that this product is NEVER caked or thick. My skin can breathe and it looks and feels healthy.

My super secret weapon? Step a little closer to the screen... wait for it... wait for it...  Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Loose Powder. This is one beauty product that changed my look from so-so to boom-boom-pow. Used sparingly with one of these brushes in areas of the face you would normally apply bronzer to it will produce an "I just jetted back from Ibiza" glow that doesn't look overdone. In summer I use more to achieve that golden glow, but this is one product I'm happy to incorporate all year long. Brush just below cheekbones, up to temples and lightly dust on forehead, nose and chin. It comes in two shades: starlight and candlelight. I prefer the latter, as it is warmer and less yellow. My makeup artist friend and Nordstrom also emphasizes that it is the more universally flattering of the two. Next, use NARS Orgasm (aka the only blush you'll ever need) on apples of your cheeks and call it a day. Voilà! You, are Gisele Bundchen. 

If I can offer one final tip it would be to use a gentle exfoliator. I love to use Clarins Gentle Exfoliating One Step Cleanser at night for keeping skin fresh and smooth. This amazing product offers the perfect doze of skin buffing goodness to keep your skin ready to be radiant again tomorrow. Can't imagine living without this great find! 

1. Kate Somerville Cleansing Milk // 2. Ole Henricksen Truth Serum // 3. Prevage by Elizabeth Arden // 4. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer // 5. Laura Mercier Mineral Illuminating Loose Powder

This step by step guide is only for skin. I'll touch upon eyes in a subsequent post but this will get you started. The result of the products and application methods above will not only give your skin a temporary glow, it will actually protect and repair your beautiful face. The cleansing milk is packed with active skin-perfecting active ingredients, the moisturizer is loaded with antioxidants, the SPF is one of the best on the market, the serum will stimulate collagen production and the tinted moisturizer contains a bit of sun protection as well. These are top notch products at reasonable prices. My goal is to go beyond a temporary healthy glow resulting from clever makeup tricks. I'm striving to actually look radiant with my makeup off and treat my skin with the care it deserves. I suspect you are too.

Word to the wise: It's the only face you'll ever have, so treat yours lovingly and with respect.  And by all means keep drinking that filtered water, girls! It might just be the fountain of youth you've been looking for all these years. 

Ciao! 

Shopping: Fall Footwear at Its Finest...

Wowza! Is anyone else really loving the escapism of fall footwear? Between the natural disasters & the man-made calamities, I desperately needed a trip to the Neiman Marcus shoe department. This always on point resource of luxe goodness did not disappoint in the flights of fancy department. Fur trimmed heels? Check. Jacquard & ribbon adorned sandals? Double check. Dusty rose velvet slides with a gorgeously huge knot on the front? Sign me up. Gucci Marmont suede mules with a stacked block heel... in rosy pink? I am so feeling you, queen. A 4-inch stiletto with a massive embroidered butterfly on the back? Yes, please. Fanciful shoes... you are giving me life right now. Thank you.

If you also need a break from the news and a bit of fashion brilliance to remind you that life is indeed great, miraculous and amazing, I've got six pretty pairs for you to ogle at below. xoxo!

SHOP THE SEASON'S FANCIFUL FOOTWEAR

Current Obsessions: A Roundup of My Latest Fashion Cravings...

Current Obsessions: My Latest Fashion Cravings

Ahhhhhh... can you feel it? Change is in the air. The sun may be scorching by I assure you there's a new season, a new mood and a new vibe sweeping in soon. And, I am READY for it. But first, I need to retool my wardrobe and lock in a few key pieces to transition me through the last days of summer & sweep me gracefully into the next month or so.

Here's what I'm eager to add to the fashion mix: a killer cross-body bag I'm long overdue in adding to my wardrobe, a multi-functional black dress that's just as ideal for a laid back day out shopping as it is for dinner (with the right shoes, of course!), a super feminine stackable ring set I am OBSESSED with a hint of new balm for the lips because they need post-summer repair and a fresh pair of Jackie O-worthy sunglasses because the Texas sun is unforgiving regardless of the season.

SHOP THE POST

Shopping: Brilliant Hacks for Practically Effortless Last-Minute Needs...

Whether you're pulling together an outfit for a fete with no time to spare or wrapping up gifts for a special someone, we all have moments when heading out to shop simply isn't in the cards. My solution? Year-round I use Nordstrom & Neiman Marcus for solving my "need it now" woes. Here's how it works.


NORDSTROM INDULGES US WITH CURB-SIDE PICKUP

Did you know at Nordstrom you can shop online and pick up in the store closest to you? While browsing the site you can even search for items only in "your" store (with the ability to toggle between locations if you're near several Nordstrom locations. The kicker? Pay online and they'll even WALK IT OUTSIDE to your car. No need to even walk in the doors of this esteemed shop. And lest you think you'll pay more, Nordstrom does an amazing job of offering price matching (done for you automatically) on categories across the board from shampoo to luxury handbags. Honestly, it doesn't get much better than this. Shop from your jammies in bed and swing by for free same-day curbside pickup. All of your problems solved. Another option for gifting? E-Gift Cards, letting the recipient have the fun of shopping when and where they want for exactly the items they covet. And did I mention curbside pickup? Shop in your slippers, drive in your slippers, live life in your slippers. It doesn't get much easier.


QUICK & EASY SHOPPING AT NEIMAN MARCUS

Oh, Neimans. You make my shopping life so easy. Whether you're shopping for yourself or searching for special gifts, this legendary retailer offers a few cool "no-fail" options. First, buy online & pick up in store. Much like Nordstrom, your item will be ready shortly with an email sent to you alerting you it's ready for pickup. While you do have to pop into the store, they will typically offer you bottled water & their signature lemon cookies for your inconvenience. Stepping up from that, you can send someone an item via GiftNow, meaning you can select a Stuart Weitzman boot or AG Jean but let the recipient select the exact size and style or color giving them the gift of choice (always appreciated). You look like a total boss giving them exactly what they want, and they enjoy the freedom of choosing the version of the gift that best suits them. Virtual Gift Cards are also a great idea because everyone loves them. The best part? Those gift cards are good at Horchow and Bergdorf Goodman too. Now that's luxe.

SHOP ONLINE & PICKUP THESE AT NEIMAN MARCUS


ENJOY PAMPERING VIA NET-A-PORTER

My love for net-a-porter is no secret. Free shipping and no tax equal one happy girl. From my favorite nail polish to my beloved Super Elixir, this online luxury destination offers more than meets the eye. My favorite candles can be tossed in the cart alongside a book and my dream wallet and I know that three days from now an elegant black box with grosgrain ribbon will appear at my door, giving me to the posh department store experience without ever leaving my door. Best gift idea ever? Their virtual gift card, giving yourself or a loved one access to whatever their pretty little heart desires. No wrapping necessary whatsoever.

GOODIES NET-A-PORTER SERVES UP WITH PANACHE

Saint Laurent Oversized Acetate Sunglasses // Gucci GG Marmont Top Handle Bag // Tom Ford Fling It Lip Duo // Light Wonder Skin Perfecting Foundation // Tom Ford Love Lust Cheek Color // The Super Elixir Green Superfood

 

TARGET & AMAZON MUSTN'T BE IGNORED

While you won't find Prada at these spots, you' can make sure you get a gift to your bestie (or tights for your daughter's ballet class) the very day you purchase them. As crazy as it seems, Amazon Prime delivers almost everything same-day or (if you're shopping to late in the day) next-day service. Don't overlook the convenience of having paper towels and household essentials delivered to your doorstep so you never need set foot in a big-box store again. Speaking of which, Target makes it super easy to shop online and enjoy free shipping - or pick up that day for a major time saving opportunity. If you're prone to walking out with unexpected "finds" at your local Target, shopping online then picking up at customer service will curb your bad habits and get you in and out in less than five minutes. Win-win.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Gift Guide: Put a Little Tory Under the Tree (+ Free Shipping)...

Somehow Tory Burch is offering free shipping (on time if you order by 3pm ET today) for a few more cool hours. Here are a few great selections from her marvelous sale. I'm also linking that new fab fragrance I happened upon a few weeks ago. If you're shopping for you or someone else. get going, the free shipping deals are closing in. Happy hunting!


Boutiquing: Kendra Scott Steps Outside the Jewelry Box...

You may have missed that Kendra Scott quietly launched a collection of elegant products for the home this season. From elegant stone trays to sleek acrylic & brass jewelry stands, the home accents allow the Texas jewelry designer's modern feminine style to find spaces in your home far outside the jewelry box. 

At first glance the collection reminded me of Aerin Lauder's collection, due to the strong use of brass and clean lines. Upon closer examination though I fully appreciate Kendra's collection as featuring artisan pieces in keeping with her established brand styling. Semiprecious stone, stunning filagree metalwork and the "choose your stone" options are hallmarks of the Kendra Scott brand aesthetic. These lovely new pieces have all the hallmarks of Kendra's detailed jewelry designs while still firmly placing her (high heeled) feet into the interior design space. Kudos to her for this stunning premier group of accessories. I can hardly wait to see what she dreams up next. 

We stopped by the Plano location on Sunday afternoon to have a spin around the boutique and see the glistening goodies in person. Here are a few standout pieces I love for dressing up your ears, wrists, vanity, tables or bookshelves. Thanks to Kendra, the choice is now yours. 

KENDRA FAVES INSIDE + OUTSIDE THE JEWELRY BOX

  1. ACRYLIC + BRASS JEWELRY T-STANDS
    Seriously up-level your close organization with these two remarkable pieces. Can you imagine a dreamier way to display your own jewelry? Note that I'm getting both sizes for myself and encouraging all of my clients to add them to their vanities as well. Available in small & large.
     
  2. GEMSTONE INSPIRED NAIL LACQUER
    Brilliant idea on Kendra's part. The gemstone inspired nail colors (think: shimmery druzy & iridescent shimmer) take at-home mani's to glamorous new heights. Choose from dozens of colors.
     
  3. ISADORA ROSE GOLD EARRINGS
    Dazzling in person, these statement earrings are just as fierce with denim and leather as they are with a lace top & tulle skirt. You'll reach for them all the time. Your ears deserve these. .  
     
  4. STONE + BRASS TRAY
    Such an elegant way to organize your perfumes and whatnots. I love a glamorous tray and this amethyst one is anything but ordinary. Choose from a variety of stones.
     
  5. FILAGREE LIDDED BOX
    Perfect for storing anything you choose, I LOVE a good lidded box. This one has ornate geometric filagree sides giving it exotic texture. The quartz point handle at the top is absolute perfection. Choose the stone type of your choice on top and select from a few various metals. I love gold, of course! Available in square & rectangular.
     
  6. MODERN GOLD CUFF
    Hello, lover! I love the slightly edgy vibe of this sculptural cuff. Notice the pave crystal embellishment here & there giving it a rawness that keeps your look fresh and modern. Shop it here.

SHOP THE POST

Shopping: This the Season of Savings...

I love a good discount, don't you? See what sales I'm continuing to monitor this season for the best best brands at gr very best price. Starting at the top, here are the sites boasting great savings...

NEIMAN MARCUS: Up to 70% off + free shipping 

SAKS: Up to 40% off designer sale

BERGDORF GOODMAN: 40% off men's & women's fashion + save up to $200 during their BEAUTY EVENT 

HORCHOW: 25% off

WILLIAMS-SONOMA: Buy more, save more - up to 25% off ALL WSHOME orders

BARNEYS: 40% off select designer items

ANN TAYLOR: 50% off EVERYTHING

JCREW: 30% off many festive items + 30% off sale

KENDRA SCOTT: 20% off every single thing

JIMMY CHOO: DESIGNER SALE HAPPENING HERE

TRINA TURK: 30% OFF SITEWIDE

LULU & GEORGIA: 15%-25% off ORDER (buy more, save more)

SERENA & LILY: 25% off absolutely everything

Overwhelmed? Read my tips on shopping like a boss. Not sure what to look for? I've developed a gift guide for everyone on your list.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY

Shopping: Deep Designer Discounts at Neiman Marcus...

As you likely know, I sale stalk. When Neiman Marcus marks down their designer duds, bags & shoes, it makes sense to pay attention. Right now the luxe finds you want are included, so jump on that while you can.

A GREAT FEW GREAT GIFT IDEAS FOR YOU, HIM & THEM




Di you know, you can also shop my Instagram feed? Tap the pix below for details and be sure to follow me on Instagram and be sure to say hello. I'd love to follow you as well! 

What to Wear: Modern Luxe Cocktail Party Dressing...

Fashion rules may change, but good taste transcends all trends. For those of you with important holiday events to attend, the type where your sartorial know-how and table-etiquette will be judged, consider the no-fail combination of black and gold. Start with a statement dress and let it be the true star of the show. Black lace with burnished gold sequins in a flattering sleeveless silhouette make this a frock that dazzles. Pair with classic gold heels and a matching clutch. Just to make things a bit less predictable, I love the idea of adding a bold leather cuff and cut black glass earrings. Walk in wearing this (and a mani-pedi in the most pure shade of ballerina pink polish) and all questions about your impeccable taste will be answered instantly.

SHOP THE POST