Personal Style: Soul Mates, A Footwear Match Made in Heaven...

High heels are marvelous and essential for a glamour girl's wardrobe. But I won't hesitate to tell you I adore a high wedge platform sandal any time the look is seasonally appropriate. These Jimmy Choo beauties above are already shaping up to be my must-own spring footwear of choice. Strappy, metallic platform with a cork wedge? Sign me up today, they are hitting all the right notes for me and promise to match everything I own. Between these and the Gucci introductions, Spring 2016 is shaping up to be a very fashionable season indeed.  


Personal Style: Caped, Cozy Chic...

A black cape. Skinnies. Shades. A happy lip color. A favorite fragrance, a classic white blouse, a hint of gold jewelry and some Chanel for good measure. This simple ensemble is a look I'm gravitating towards this season. My proud moment? Flats. Granted they are leopard and fabulous (and reasonably priced). But flats nonetheless. Hooray for comfort! I'm loving them for busy fall days on the go. 

The cape, the shoes, the entire look is ideal for those seasons of life that have you rushing about from lovely places to more casual shops. It's a transitional look with enough high style to keep you confident without ever looking overdone. Need a touchup? Keep that lip shine handy for midday touchups. 

Here's how to pull the look off (as well as my favorite accessories to pull it all together)...


Personal Style: Reimagining the Feminine Home Office...

Into every life a little redesigning must fall. The challenge when it's your own space is that it either falls into low priority (back of the line, baby!) or we become victim to analysis paralysis. In this case my cause for delay is that I'm too busy doing other work to dive full force into my own office refresh. The good news? I have most of what I need ready to go. 

First, let's talk about those plain jane walls. The plan is to take this elegant wallpaper from Milton & King and cover just the back wall behind my desk (shown here). I have an amazing pair of Italian Empire crystal & gilt sconces that I'll flank the inspiration board with. The overall look is very glam, very elegant and very impactful. I'm besotted with the fun twist on typical brocade design this paper offers, Claire Leina gives us a beautiful hand drawn version of the classic design. The result is stunning and classic with a wink. It also softens the look with a deep charcoal rather than smoke black and a bronze-brown design. Thus honoring the current black wall trend with a bit more romance. Love that! Available at Milton & King as well as Burke Decor

My desk is out of shot because I'm revising what's presently there. In lieu of my current situation (which is lovely, but not my "dream" desk) I'm finally going to buck up and outfit my office with the chair / desk combo I've coveted for years. Hickory Chair's Alexandra chair by Suzanne Kasler in gold leaf and rose linen. Hello, gorgeous! This paired with the their Alexa Hampton designed Stephanie Desk. When you've looked around for seven years and can't find anything else you love it's time to bite the bullet and place the order. Agreed? Agreed. 

The paper hanging faced a not uncommon hurtle: textured walls. The workaround will be a fun one. I'm going to create four vertical panels to cover the wall and create a bit of dimension. I'll frame the panels out in super thin frames to create depth and a more seamless finished appearance. But I've got to tackle other client work before my own cravings are indulged. 

Hope you enjoyed seeing my work in progress. Here are some of the fun pieces I've used to pull the look together. 


Similar sconces or for more drama here //  Tory Burch Rae Tray similar trays here // stools // shagreen cabinet

{For more sourcing details on fabrics etc please let me know. More of tour to come as installation continues. Stay tuned! xoxo}

Personal Style: Knit Wit: Style Secrets for Wearing Fall's Most Fabulous Fabric.

If I were to choose a fabric to wear forever, it would certainly be knits. I love their forgiving yet body-con nature. They "hug" you without ever feeling binding or restrictive. While summer may dazzle us with airy light cotton dresses, fall embraces us with knits in a wide range of weights and styles - offering something spectacular for every body type. 

Why do I love kit so much? Well made knit dresses are extremely comfortable and unbelievably forgiving. Whether it's a "fit & fabulous" day or you're feeling a little soft, these garments offer the ideal blend of structure and flexibility to feel like a welcome second skin.

Not going for that super tight Kardashian look? Select a flared option with a little movement around the hips. Headed to the office? Midi length will take you from desk to date night without a hitch. Sleeveless shifts can be dressed up with a jacket for added structure & formality. Sandals can be swapped out for boots as the leaves begin to fall. Versatility is definitely the name of the game with knitted pieces, which is why designers and fashionistas adore them. 

For me, these dresses (and frankly, all knit pieces) are true wardrobe winners. The newest iterations are sleek and sophisticated - making them worthy of investment. Here are a few personal tips for choosing the right knit:

  • Fabric is everything: a mix of synthetics like viscose, nylon, spandex & rayon offer stretch and also are fade resistant, meaning they'll look just as marvelous for years to come
  • Know your body: consider whether you want to showcase your bodacious bod or are looking for a more cozy feel, there's a knit for you. Study the description and the images online to determine the fit of a piece
  • Be wiling to experiment: Herve Leger may be best known for bandage dresses, but with that signature tight woven fabric comes considerable structure. The brand offers fit & flare garments guaranteed to fit any frame and enviable slinky fabric. 
  • Know your goals & stick t your price point: before shopping, determine how many dresses you need and how much you're willing to invest. If you fall in love with something out of your range, just bookmark it and watch for sales. They ALWAYS come around, and if you're willing to stalk that yummy item it will eventually go on sale. just be ready to pounce! 



Personal Style: Shifting into Pre-Summer Style...

You'll either kiss me or want to kill me for the fashion secret I'm about to share. I love (L-O-V-E) the Nordstrom juniors section for finding fab summer dresses for next to nothing. Let's face it: spring & summer dressing is all about easy "toss 'em on and go" frocks. May weather means those questionably cool days are a thing of the past and it's time to take summer style seriously. Meaning shop now or see your sizes go buh-bye before you've nailed down your essentials. 

So... why the juniors section love, you ask? Aside from the lighthearted nature of the looks I also love the price. All of these dresses - ALL of them - are less than $60. Most of them are less than $50. Those are numbers that make me giddy, since it's far more enjoyable to invest in fab handbags and spectacular shoes than to drop several hundred on a dress. Don't get me wrong - I love luxe fashion. But being able to add chic dresses to my closet for next to nothing makes me jump up and down in my Jimmy Choos.

So... what's the key to high-low summer dressing? Keep it simple: think solid colors & simple silhouettes. Next: shoes. Always shoes. And a great tote never hurt either. With that... here are my high-low picks for the heat wave that surely will come and the sunny days that are already upon us. 


Personal Style: Shoe Season Has Begun...


It happened! yesterday marked what most of us in town would mark as the official first day of spring. Temperatures fluttered just below 70 degrees and today we're sure to actually bit that mark on the mercury. This means spring shoe season is ON, ladies. For me this means getting my high heel wedge sandal game in check. 

I've learned that I also prefer cork wedges versus espadrilles in terms of durability (although espadrilles are gorgeous to look at) and that there's a certain heel-to-platform ratio that works for me. Jimmy Choo nails it every time, which lands them squarely in my brand of choice category. But Stuart Weitzman and a handful of others (Jessica Simpson included) make terrific wedges as well.  

If you missed the memo, the 70s are back and what could possibly be more funky and fabulous than platform wedges and a jumpsuit. Wait... doesn't that sound like last summer? Yes, it does. But this time we're ushering in culottes and other wide bottom pants which require the silhouette balancing powers of platforms. 

I, for one, consider a shoe wardrobe of these elevated sandals a fashion must. I like a specific mix to get me through the upcoming season. What is this delicious mix? A floral option, a metallic beauty, a safari-inspired leather strappy wedge and - of course - a blush nude beauty. I've also learned to love having a black option on hand an a brightly colored version. And finally, a nude patent platform elongates the legs and adds serious length to my petite frame. Here, then, is my spring/summer shoe playlist: 


And you? What fashion element does spring usher in for you? Ruffled dresses? Eyelet blouses? Capris? I love all of those as well. I'd love to hear what's on your shortlist for the season! 


Personal Style: My Pitch Perfect Spring Look...


Ladies & gentlemen... it is on. This is so going to be my jam this spring. Pretty culottes, a quilted bag and these seriously amazing platform wedges. I need look no further for fashion inspiration for those months ahead that promise sunny days, flower-filled moments and butterflies fluttering about. 

Perhaps I'm just bored of my skinny jeans & boots this winter, but the idea of cushy cork-bottom shoes & flowy pants seems freeing and fabulous to me. Fashion freedom, baby! 

Tory Burch Fleming Quilted Flap // Jimmy Choo Patara Cork Wedge // Tibi Simone Pleated Culottes // Tibi Simone Silk Top // Layered Pendant Necklace // Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick Pink // 

My only hiccup? I'm not one to throw down upwards of $425 on a pair of pink pleated pants. So I'm on the hunt for a suitable replacement. Accessories, jackets & dresses are my investment pieces, but fun pants & blouses are not items I sink heavy cash into. But those platforms & the bag are on my radar and most certainly happening. 

I did find a few pair in a range of price points, but still no pleated pink. Trust me when I tell you that black and white ones will surely be my staples. 


What about you? What will your spring 2015 look be? Will you be joining me in my quest for culottes or sticking to your skinnies? 


Franki's Favorites: The Faux Leopard Fur Infinity Scarf...

Occasionally you add an item to your wardrobe that is so dreamy, so perfectly designed and so chic that EVERYONE you encounter inquires about your source. I'm the giving sort, so here's the scoop: this impossibly impossibly perfect faux fur infinity scarf is from Nordstrom and cost a mere $48. So not kidding. It is fabulous, amazingly soft and garners compliments every single time I wear it. All for less that $50 plush free shipping. Mmmm hmm. Great deal, right?

Merry Christmas :) 

Personal Style: White Jackets & Coats for all Occasions...

I recently had a girlfriend over helping me in my closet. She at one point declared there was a new Franki rule: no more white bags or coats. Thankfully I don't build my wardrobe to please anyone other than myself, and you can bet your pretty AmEx that white, cream and ivory coats are a staple of my look. 

I have an arsenal of luminous cool weather coverups to count upon when the mood strikes. A long wool button up, a more flared version of the same with oversized asymmetrical buttons, a slim puffer coat and countless others to call upon when the mood (or the weatherman) strikes. I LOVE white coats of all varieties. 

Let's begin with the basics... wool. For this, I have on hand a few options. A cape is key for tossing on over jeans & a tee & rushing out the door. Few outfits look as chic and feel as effortless as a cream cape, skinny jeans & boots. Hello, magical fashion powers! For anything longer I love a defined waist. Look for outwear that is tailored & trim. The closeness to the body will actually serve to keep you warm by keeping gusts from traveling up your coat. A few favorites:


Helmut Lange Belted Wool Coat // Guess Double Breasted Coat // Elle Sasson Wool Cape // Ralph Lauren Fit & Flare Wool Coat // SMYTHE Reefer Boucle Wool Coat

Puffers have come a LONG way. These used to make even the most trim of us look like the abominable snowman. Modern options use high-tech fabrics and top quality down (not feather) fill to maximize warmth and minimize bulk. The creme de la creme of these will always be the Moncler variety (my absolute favorites typically have with fur trim).  Here are a few others to warm your body & tickle your sartorial fancy. 


J. Crew Long Puffer Jacket /Vince Camuto Ribbed Knit Trimmed Puffer Coat // Alice + Olivia "Blakeley" Down Hi-Tech Fabric Coat // Laundry by Shelli SegalBelted Puffer Coat with Faux Fur Trim // North Face 'Aconcagua' Down Vest

Now... on to my favorite pieces: the faux furs & otherwise fabulous extras. These are fun pieces that work well is basics and seriously turn up your style quotient with no effort whatsoever. I must admit to having a serious weakness for these spectacular jackets because when you come across one you love you just HAVE to have it. These are exceptional options to add to your closet for playing up your feminine side. Here are a few I spy that I adore: 


This might be a bit TOO fun for some of you, but I love a statement piece. Faux fur Line & Dot jacket

You know I LOVE Milly. This brand can do no wrong in my opinion. The designer brand brings it home in this shimmery faux fur coat with more glamour than I can verbalize. LOVE this piece for over dresses or a denim & heels. Flawless. 

Tess Giberson Abstracted Plaid Fur Jacket // BB Dakota Faux Fur Lam Coat // June Knit Fur Coat // Koral Olympia Biker Jacket // Alice + Olivia Samira Draped Poncho

Not all are strictly white and not all are strictly serious. The idea is to find a look that works for you and commit. For me, these light toppers are the perfect foil to skinny black pants or an otherwise dark winter wardrobe, They'll keep you warm and inject an air of glamour into what might otherwise be a drab winter day. Happy hunting, girls! 

Personal Style: The Sometimes-a-Socialite Foolproof Outfit...

There is no slow social season in Dallas, but this end of summer meets early fall time is especially popular. Why? Because we can finally venture outside again without fear of vaporizing in the sweltering heat. 

Making the shift from summer soirees to fall events is easy in theory, so long as a few unwritten rules are followed. But the truth is, after a long hot summer you often discover the age old "nothing to wear" dilemma that women universally face. What's a girl to do? Quickly grab a few miracle workers to make dressing up easy and effortless.

Start with: the solid colored dress rules, ladies! Every event in town is loaded with photogs and friends clicking away and that amazing patterned dress you adore can now never, ever be seen again. Trust me on this: solids rule the day (and night). 

Next, a glamorous clutch will hold all of your essentials and add much needed "wow" to the look. Those that come with an optional strap score big points for versatility. And of course, I favor those with luxe metallic finishes and gorgeous hardware. 

Jewelry is next and it's all about layers of rings right now. While I'm known to be a bracelet lover, I'm loving this switch to fabulous fingers. Try keeping it fun with a mixture of styles and plenty of sparkle and don't forget to schedule your mani/pedi in time as all eyes will be on your delicate digits. 

Shoes, shoes, shoes. This is truly the moment of the "it" shoe, so I encourage you to bring out your favorites for those fabulous after dark events. While Valentino is the name of the game, there are stunning options everywhere and many brands I'm loving. Stuart Weitzman makes these delicate strappy rose beauties that have stolen my heart. 

Aside from your blowout and flawless makeup, all that's left is a spritz of your signature scent. I'm finding my way back into the loving arms of Miss Dior for fall. The original formula has been modified, but it still works for me in cooler months. Use judiciously as it has staying power. One fine mist is all that's needed to keep it subtle and longlasting. 

Now... fire up that Uber app and get rolling out on the town. There are events to be attended and friends to see. Ciao! 


Personal Style: Boldness in Softness...


I don't know about you, but I'm craving unapologetically girly things these days. Floral fragrances, delicate rose bouquets on my tables, rings on my fingers and soft, flowing curls in my hair. Perhaps it's a result of this gender-neutral fashion we've been sold lately, but right now i'm all about ruffles and dresses and heels. Girly things. It just feels "right" at the moment.

What about you? Are you feeling feminine and frilly? Is it just the end of summer mood that ushers us into fall? Perhaps. But I suspect it's something more than that.

I think a return to "pretty" is just what we need right now - in our closets and our lives. Ladylike behavior and girly glamour is actually quote bold. There's a power and a confidence that comes from dressing like a woman and embracing (fully embracing) your female side. I ask this: Are you bold enough to be soft?


Personal Style: Scarves & Stoles for Day or Night...


I've professed my love of the black jumpsuit to you before. The wardrobe secret I've not disclosed is my passionate love of scarves and stoles. Almost weightless, these colorful silk creations are fashionable workhorses that can transform even the most humble of outfits into a stunning look. Plain tee, skinny jeans? Twist it, tie it, knot it, fold it... a simple scarf can make you a street style superstar. 

While options abound, I do prefer lightweight silk versions adorned in colorful abstract prints. To me they are more feminine and lend themselves to a variety of outfit combinations. This post will demonstrate that these closet Whodinis are true fashion original mix masters, ready to change your look in an instant.

Today's post showcases an outfit based upon a simple black strapless jumpsuit. With a few quick items I transform this basic black one-piece wonder into a stellar outfit using only accessories. I've created one look for day that's fresh and fun with a burst of cheerful color. The look for night is definitely VIP section ready, with sexier accents and plenty of after-dark attitude. To anchor each look, I've selected two long rectangular stoles from Floramirris. This exercise will give you a sense of how these featherweight creations can completely set the tone for your look - day or night. Ready to learn how? Let's begin: 

Our daytime look features oodles of gold and very classic accessories. A versatile tote, platform wedges and oversized sunglasses turn the black jumpsuit into a festive daytime affair. The stole? tie it to the bag for a burst of color or... I love the idea of wearing it around your hair like a modern day Brigitte Bardot. Of course, there are myriad ways to wear this chiffon creation around your neck (as I'll show you below), so don't hesitate to inject a beautiful burst of color to frame your face (hint: it will also protect your neck from harsh mid-day sun).



Thakoon Addition Black Strapless Jumpsuit (and super on sale here) + (or try this Super Budget Friendly Jumpsuit) // Tom Ford Miranda Open-Frame Sunglasses //  Floramirris Lilly Butterflies Silk Stole // Endless Oversized Hoop Earrings // Jimmy Choo Pela Cork Wedge // Emmy Crossbody Tote

For nighttime I like to switch it up a bit. I'm loving this option with rose, pink and raspberry blended together into a fanciful romantic stole. Wrap it once around the neck and let the ends hang free for movement and added focus to your beautiful face. To me, the free ends work in much the way a long necklace would, emphasizing a vertical line on your body and lengthening your silhouette. Pair the same jumpsuit with a chic statement clutch, strappy high heels and gorgeous earrings. Boom! You're a sartorial sensation.


Thakoon Addition Black Strapless Jumpsuit (and super on sale here) + (or try this Super Budget Friendly Jumpsuit) //  Harlot & Bones Earrings // Floramirris Peony Wings Silk Stole // Jimmy Choo Lottie Sandal // YSL Cassandre Clutch

If you feel you need a primer in how to style these silky beauties, look no further than this incredibly helpful video (or the original one here without how-to tips). I assure you, within minutes you'll consider yourself a total wrap star.

Personal Style: My Girly On-the-Go Essentials...


What exactly do I love to toss into my handbag? It varies. My trusty Macbook Air, perfume, an extra pair of shoes (sometimes) and a few standout accessories are my feminine weapons of choice. A worry-free zippered tote conceals my "quick change artist" accessories and places those essentials at my fingertips.

Impromptu lunch? Not to worry, I'm all set with a spritz of fragrance and a few more bracelets added to my wrist. Makeup need a touchup? Lip gloss is really all you need to freshen the face. I don't carry much, but I like to have a few options. 

Water bottles are a no-no when it comes to handbags as there will inevitably be a spill (not to mention the drag on your shoulders). The same is true of push-top pens. If it doesn't have a tightly closed cap it is not going anywhere near possessions. Frankly, I'm not keen on ink or even certain lip gloss containers in my bag. The more secure those liquids can be stored, the better. Especially in the heat of Texas summer, I try to avoid fashion accidents by preventing them in the first place. 

Since we're talking essentials (as well as contraband), I take at least one emergency protein bar everywhere. My favorites at the moment are these. If you're into paleo or crossfit (and chocolate) you'll love them too. Since I'm likely to have my little ones with me, any opportunity to prevent my own mid-outing food crisis is key. 

I should note that I treat most of my bags as though they are on the endangered species list. My high-end designer bags are fiercely protected and typically not considered "run around" handbags. When I find a glam zippered tote that I'm comfortable using each day, I snap it up. They do not replace my designer bags, but they give me comfort by preventing me from worrying about my investment bags as I run about with my daughters. 

Lunch with girlfriends or a client meeting? All bets are off. That's when the big guns come out to play. But for outings with my precious mini-me's I almost always reach for a smart zip top tote that is pretty and drama-free. After all, my precious cargo in the back seat deserves my attention more so than my delicate quilted or studded bags.

I do admit to often keeping a luxurious clutch inside the tote. This gives me maximum fashion versatility and makes transitioning to lunch at Highland Park Village or a visit to Neimans a snap. 

What about you? What's in your bag on a daily basis? Do you fiercely protect your high-end handbags in the same fashion I do? Or do you have a more relaxed approach to glamour? Are you an on-the-go Whodini with a bevy of accessories at your disposal, or are you committed to your look (and your bag) once you're out the door?



Shoes: similar here & here // Chanel Glossimer & Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Bonbon // Coco Mademoiselle Perfume // Olivia + Joy Lileth Satchel // Bracelets: similar here & here & here // earrings: my favorite hoops // MacBook Air  // my favorite pink leather bound notebook // Paleolife Bars

{image credits: photography by Franki Durbin}

Personal Style: Sunkissed...

My grandmother instilled in me a desire to be very sun-safe and to always, ALWAYS protect my skin from the sun. Her porcelain skin always serves as an inspiration to me, but I wasn't always so swayed. Melanoma scares on both sides of my family (in addition to a certain level of vanity), however, have convinced me to shield my largest organ from the gorgeous sun.  

Obviously I'm a zealot when it comes to skin care all year round, but never is this more important than during the summer months. How, exactly, do you avoid the sun in Texas? You don't. You can't. You must simply embrace the fact that you'll be tan by May without even trying. But you can be smart about it by protecting your skin. And lucky you... the way I do it could not possibly be more stylish!

First, the sunnies. The sun may do the damage, but squinting tells the wrinkles where to live. Avoid this at all costs with wrap-around sunglasses that protect the sides of your face from the sun's rays. I happen to adore these from Tom Ford. Feather light and flattering, the Miranda frame in gold is the epitome of summer cool. Next, you'll want to rock a pretty tunic or glamorous kaftan on your way to the water. The look says "I've come to play, but I might pitstop for lunch on the terrace afterwards."  These chic coverups shield your shoulders and keep chest and back protected from the sun. Not to mention - it looks FABULOUS poolside or on the deck of a yacht in port at Monaco.

Next... a hat. This fabulous Eric Javits packable hat (FAB!!!). Why packable? Because someone will most certainly sit on it, step on it or otherwise seem to strive to damage any hat you wear... ever.  For this reason I'm a huge fan of the more durable variety that can withstand the beating that life offers. (and since I do have a weakness for standout accessories, this fabulous Lilly Pulitzer tote cannot be beat for travel and running around town. What to put in the tote? Here's my list below: 

Let's talk BEAUTY, ladies. As you know, Clarins UV Plus is my go-to sunblock for day. However... summer brings its own special challenges, such as hanging out by the pool and that all too familiar mid-day face shine. For this, I suggest Clarins's other product, this SPF 50 Broad Spectrum for face.

Lest you forget your gorgeous locks, I urge you to coat them in a hydrating SPF that prevents summer damage and protects those hard-earned tresses from the ravages of ocean water and chlorine. This Clarins hair & skin spray is amazing! Somehow it works as an all-over spray to give you protection and moisture so you can play without fear.

While the above may offer some protection for the body, I mostly consider it a hair product. I'm a big fan of this motto: prevention is the best cure. So to ensure my skin doesn't turn to a leathery mess or run the risk of melanoma scares, I opt for something much more heavy duty like this Shiseido SPF or the Clarins 50 body spray. It is sand-proof, perspiration proof and even combats wrinkles and scaly skin while you're out enjoying the sun. 

Since any gloss you toss in your bag is likely to melt, why not invest in a little tube of balm from Sun Bum? At only $4 a tube, the faint pink hue and SPF 30 make this an investment worth sharing! 

But back to the skin care tips. Numero uno is do what is necessary to prevent damage. Repairing it is a losing battle. So it's a heavenly miracle that hats are so stylish. I say grab a few that you love and toss one on anytime you'll be out for an extended period of time. Next: sunblock. Discover products you love (I swear by Clarins, personally) and commit to wearing them every day for the rest of your life. Yes. Ever day. Finally... sunglasses. The bigger the better.

Ready to shop? Neiman is having Camp Gorgeous right now, giving you a chic striped summer tote filled with goodies with every $100 purchase. More skin care options an be found here. Don't miss Candice Swanepoel's sage beauty wisdom. It's not always just about looks. Summer can truly be about being healthy on the inside. For this reason, you'll want to see Vogue's guide to a healthier summer. Now... off you go. And don't forget the three S's of summer skincare: sunnies, sunblock & a sensational hat ;)

Personal Style: Jump(suits) for Joy...

Some of us are very tactile. We only wear clothing and accessories that are supremely comfortable. Soft, flowing fabrics & malleable jewelry. I am such a creature.

Pairing this with my very selective taste is actually not an issue. There are many options available - all of them suited to my unique textural needs. Behond, for example, the jersey knit jumper. This is obviously the intersection where fashion & fit meet.

Here's how I love to rock this look (also known as my summer uniform!)...