26 July 2011

Taming the Wild

Animal prints never seem to go out of style and you find them on runways year after year, especially leopard print. If you acquire the right piece it can last you throughout several seasons, and as the weather changes a few simple tweaks can help you transition it easily. A great way to start would be with a skirt. Depending on the style it can be dressed up for work or a night out and dressed down for more casual outings.

Sienna Miller

Khloe Kardashian

Miranda Kerr
Leopard print works as both a great neutral base and obviously a print. To tame the sexiness of the print, you can tone it down with other neutrals like white, ivory, black or brown. But leopard also plays well with brights like orange, turquoise and red in particular. Depending on the length of the skirt, shoe height can be left up to you, though it will always look great with pumps and heeled boots in cooler months.

Most office friendly styles would be a pencil or a fuller A-line skirt and if you need to keep the attention to a minimum, go with the uber chic and classic styling of a white button up shirt, a red belt and modest black or nude pumps. 

Here are a few other styling inspirations that I hope will inspire you:

The Cat's Meow

Miss Selfridge black jacket, £30
Minuet petite, £19
Zara heel pumps, $50
Miss Selfridge body bag, £25
Stackable jewelry, $28
Bee Charming disc jewelry, $44
Loren Hope vintage look jewelry, $88
Blu Bijoux black jewelry, $18
GUESS black and white sunglasses, $50
Switchblade Stiletto Leopard Waist Belt Pencil Skirt on eBay!

Here Kitty, Kitty

Cotton cardigan, £18
Tusnelda Bloch wrap shirt, €30
River Island brown skirt, £30
Deva peep toe shoes, $79
Nica tan handbag, £28
Disney couture jewelry, $31
Dorothy Perkins metal earrings, £5


Missoni lightweight sweater, $96
Wet seal, $19
Dorothy Perkins t strap sandals, £16
Steven by Steve Madden tote handbag, $98
French Connection multi strand necklace, $41
BCBGeneration hardware jewelry, $18
Braided bracelet, £6
Oasis chocolate sunglasses, £13

Happy Shopping!

25 July 2011

A Trip Down Memory Lane

On Saturday's episode of E Entertainment's Fashion Police, Giuliana Rancic wore an eye catching two tiered accordion pleat maxi dress in a beautiful tangerine color, a vintage piece from Metro Trading Post.

The dress was reminiscent of two of my favorite Halston Heritage dresses that Carrie wore in last year's Sex and The City 2 movie. They were all the rage then and I think Giuliana made them definitely worth revisiting!

The dress with it's airy fabric and easy movement is perfect for a summer day of shopping or an evening dinner with friends. The flowy shape of the dress is very forgiving to parts of the body you may want to conceal while highlighting your great collarbone, back and arms (and legs if you go for a shorter version). 

Here are a few budget friendly options that could work for you:

Animal Accordion Pleat Dress
$22.80 at Forever 21

Ali & Kris Draped Ruffle
Empire Mini Dress
$23.99 at Macy's

Gabriella Rocha Flapper Dress
$51.00 at Zappos
Warehouse Cape Maxi Dress
$41.37 at ASOS

Darling Ruffle Chiffon
Dot Dress
$28.50 at A'GACI

Coral Accordion Dress
$27.99 at Ami Clubwear

21 July 2011

The Brush Breakdown

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the world of makeup brushes? With specific brushes for bronzer and a separate one for blush, fan brushes and kabuki brushes, it's hard to keep them all straight and remember what's used for what. Especially if you're just becoming interested in makeup.

I'm here to tell you that it's really not all hype. Using the proper brush when applying makeup can make a world of difference in the end result. If you don't use brushes, beyond the chintzy ones that come in the packaging, I encourage you to add a few good brushes to your makeup arsenal.

And if you're confused about what they're all for, Lauren Conrad and the beauties over at The Beauty Department are here to help. They've created a two part post that breaks down what each brush would best be used for and the best type of brush for a particular job. You can read Brush Class here, Brush Class, Part Deux here and the third installment which covers eye brush here.

But don't forget that the quality of the brush is important too! You don't have to spend big dollars on top of the line brushes, you can find good brushes through Sonia Kashuk's line at Target and even local drugstores, like the Essence of Beauty brand at CVS.

20 July 2011

DD's Style File - Vintage Feel

I have another Style File installation for you today, I know it's not like me to do them back to back, but I I decided to just go with it. *smile*  Ironically, in both of this week's posts I am wearing pieces purchased  at my favorite retailers, Zara and H&M. Which makes me even more eager to shop at Suddenlee, the retailer I posted about here.

Until then, here I'll sit with bated breath...

Ok, back to the clothes.. So there's nothing actually vintage about this outfit, but despite the more contemporary design of the sandal, the cut of the tank gave me a classic impression along with the color combination of a cream base sprinkled with navy dots.

Cream and navy dot top - Zara
Navy circle skirt - Chadwick's
Cognac belt - Unknown
Tan sandals - Marshall's
Blush shades - Charlotte Russe
I'm drawn to sweet details, so the left shoulder of the top adorned with a modified two layer bow is what drove me to buy it.

This outfit definitely worked well in the outside temps as the top didn't cling in the heat and the skirt was a very lightweight cotton. Unfortunately, I'll be scouring sites for a new navy skirt, as I had to do a bit of a squeeze to get into this one this year. Darn those cursed doughnuts! 

19 July 2011

DD's Style File - A Lil' Bit of Glamorous

For today's edition of DD's Style File, I'm posting an outfit I wore to the office yesterday. And honestly, I can't say that I loved it, but people seemed to like it and I received several compliments during the day (which are always greatly appreciated), so I decided to do a post on it.

When I picked the outfit that morning, I thought the soft pink of the top with the black trimmed ruffle shoulders created a nice contrast and a bit of glam when paired with my patent bow pumps. I threw on a pair of "Audrey-esque" shades and my favorite chunky necklace and I was ready for the day (and the heat!)

Blush ruffle top - H&M
Black skirt - The Limited
Black bow pumps - Jessica Simpson
Black belt - Unknown
Black & white pearl necklace - NY&Co
Earrings - TJ Maxx
Although we got off to a soggy, delayed start to summer, I certainly can't complain now! It's been humid and 85 degrees and above every day. It just presents a bit of a challenge when dressing for the heat. Cardigans and lightweight blazers are a necessity in the blustery air conditioning of my office, but breathable, easy fabrics are a must for the blazing sun outdoors....but I fear that I'm halfway through summer and I'm running out of weather friendly options!

18 July 2011

DD's Spotlight on A'GACI

A'GACI is a contemporary retailer who touts themselves as a "one stop shop" for the modern, trendy and glamorous.

With offerings of mini skirts and body conscious dresses it's evident that they have a centralized focus on attracting juniors, but with their wallet friendly prices I'm sure many of you ladies can still find items to incorporate into your wardrobe.

A'GACI has 40 stores nationwide and has had their fashions featured in Lucky and People Style Watch. Though this retailer is new to me, after perusing their site I find that some of their pieces are eclectic and offer an almost unique appeal. You can even find classic pieces like wide leg linen pants, which are always a wardrobe essential. And though the quality would likely not be on the level as a pair purchased from Macy's, they can certainly be casual foundation pieces that you rely on for brunch, shopping and family outings.

Smocked Linen Pant
(available in black, olive & taupe)

Long Cuffed Denim Short
Now $10.75

Medallion Kimono Boat Neck

Ethnic Filigree
Large Pendant Necklace

I got more of a vintage vibe from some of the offerings in their "Boutique" section, which I think had a bit more of a grownup girly appeal, though take note that the regular priced items are a tad higher:

Polka Dot Smocked
Tube Hi-Low Dress
Ruffled Zipper Back Cami

Vintage Crochet & Linen

Cowl Neck & Chiffon
Sleeveless Top

 A few of their items caught my eye, so I am curious... How about you? With the likes of H&M and Forever 21, would you be interested in shopping another juniors retailer? You can check them out here.

Have you shopped A'GACI before? If so, please post a comment I'd love to hear your thoughts on clothing quality and sizing.

14 July 2011

Shop Zara and H&M Online at Suddenlee.com

Are you dying to buy brands like H&M and Zara online? I know I am, especially since I only get to shop those stores when I'm traveling. Well, stop by and check out Suddenlee.com.

This new online retailer, which just launched a couple weeks ago, intends to revolutionize the customer shopping experience by allowing you to shop these brands and over 300 others in one place. Retailers at Suddenlee.com offer everything from clothing to beauty and accessories, which includes items from retailers who already have their own shoppable retail sites, like Target, Payless, Kate Spade and Intermix.

And get this - there's only ONE shipping fee, regardless of how many different retailers you purchase from. And there's no need to keep an eye out for Mr. Mailman to drop off five different purchases, because your purchases for up to two different stores ($2.50 for each additional store) are shipped to you next day in one single package, at what they guarantee will be a very reasonable delivery fee.

Click here to check out their YouTube shopping tutorial.

The one catch is that right now, access to shop at Suddenlee.com isn't available to all areas (like mine *sad face*), but as interest grows, hopefully it will be soon. So go to Suddenlee.com, plug in your zip and email address and check it out. And perhaps it will catch on as quick as Groupon did!

I'm certainly interested, if only for the opportunity to buy from H&M and Zara online, so I've already signed up. But I'm really wondering if it's as great as it sounds?...

Have any of you shopped Suddenlee.com yet? If so, please post a comment, I'd love to hear about your experience!

13 July 2011

My Perfect Flip Flop

Ok, I've previously allluded to the fact that I'm not a fan of flip flops, however while on vacation in Las Vegas two weeks ago I saw the cutest pair of black patent flip flops on the feet of a passerby.

I've been semi-obsessed ever since.

I whipped out my phone while still at brunch to hunt them down on the net. And boy, did I find them...

These shiny, bow adorned beauties are the Valentino Garavani flip flop and unfortunately, even though they came out last year, with a ticket price of $275 - that makes them waaaay outta my league. *extreme sad face* So my mini mission has become to find a pair as similar as possible, but more budget sensible, before the summer ends.

I've found a few possibles, but needless to say, it's hard to compare to the stunning Valentino sandal. So, most don't elicit the same gush of excitement...

But I will admit that this sandal from ASOS did give me a slight shiver at their cuteness, so perhaps this is my best bet.

Now, if I can only hunt down my size and maybe a coupon, I'll be in business.

And the search continues!

12 July 2011

Your True Nude

 In the August edition of InStyle magazine, they highlight the newest nude shades created by RGB Cosmetics. Nail stylist, Jenna Hipp, partnered with the polish retailer and has created a mini collection of flesh-toned nude lacquers from buff to cocoa, which means you can now paint your tips in a polish that's more your "true nude," instead of just the basic and "universal" milky, beige.

Inspired by the foundation colors of her celebrity clients, Rachel McAdams, Lauren Conrad, Kerry Washington and Jennifer Hudson, Hipp created four shades for the Hipp x RGB collab which come in F1 (cool yellow beige), F2 (barely buff), F3 (golden medium brown) and F4 (chocolate with reddish undertone).

Shades: F4, F3, F2, F1
USA produced RGB nail colors are free of chemicals, like formaldehyde, and are cruelty free. I'm all over the F3 shade, and will post a review once I get my hands on it. Each bottle is priced at $16 and you can purchase your shade here.

11 July 2011

AKIRA Chicago Shopping Review

I'm a little delayed in getting around to it, but I'm giving my unbiased review for AKIRA, a trendy Chicago retailer I posted about here last month.

I ordered two items, a white linen blazer and a pair of high waisted, linen trousers in a jade blue (which I was super excited about!). Both items were from the retailer's personal brand, AKIRA Black Label.


The total order came to $90. Shipping was about $7, which isn't terrible plus I also used a coupon code which gave me about $15 dollars off. From the time I placed my order, it took 6 - 7 days to receive it. I had a few issues with sizing, the retailer noted that this brand runs small, more like junior sizing, so even though I took my measurements, I sized up. Bad idea.

When the pieces arrived, both items were made from reasonably good fabrics, the linen wasn't stiff and didn't feel cheap, but the blazer was a bit too large and didn't look flattering. However, the trousers were really cute and actually did fit in the waist, but they were super long. Even with a four inch platform pump, the pants covered my shoes.

I loved the color of the pants and debated keeping them and taking them to a tailor, but it was more effort than I was willing to put in. I returned both items and had to pay return shipping. As it turns out, the pants were on clearance, so I was issued a store credit for those and a refund for the blazer. I ultimately did place another order so that I could use my credit, but this time I went for a pair of Jessica Simpson pumps that I had been eyeballing on other sites for a few months. I am very happy with those!

Overall, I can't say my experience with AKIRA was a bad one, but I can't really say it was all that great either. I'm not certain that I'd order clothing from them again, but I'd definitely do shoes and on my next trip to Chicago I'd go to the store to shop, that way I can try the items on first.

08 July 2011

Prep with a Primer

There are those lucky girls with the fabulous skin who wear little to no makeup and spend next to no time prepping in the morning. Well....that's not me. So, I rely on a primer. And if any of you out there have issues with your makeup going on smoothly, have oily or combination skin or large pores, there is bound to be a primer out there that's right for you.

You apply primer after your moisturizer and treatments and before makeup. Primers usually contain wax, silicone or another kind of polymer. A good primer shouldn't settle into the skin, but should instead "fill in" the problem areas of your face, creating a smooth and even surface by smoothing out fine lines and pores and keeping your eyeshadow from creasing, thereby helping your makeup up last longer.

There are different primers for eyes, lips and face. I've only purchased ones for face specifically, but I still use them on my lids occasionally. I've used a couple different brands, which varied in price range, but ultimately found a drugstore brand that worked best for me. For many years I used Prime Time by BareEscentuals all over my face, which I really liked and it made my skin feel silky smooth after application. And though I had positive results with my makeup and no adverse reactions, I'm a very oily girl, so I felt I needed something more.

Most recently I started using L'Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Perfecting Base on my inner cheek area to help smooth out my large, oily pores. It feels powdery smooth after dotting it on and I feel it really helps my mineral makeup last throughout the day.

I encourage you to check out a primer, but before you do remember that just because the primer is more expensive does not mean it will automatically work better for you, so you may have to try a couple before you get it right. But hey, that's why coupons and promo codes come in handy!

05 July 2011

DD's Style File - My Coveted White Blazer

A few posts back I did a post on how to wear white blazer (read it here) and mentioned wanting to get my hands on a budget friendly one of my very own. And I finally got one! It is a lightweight linen with ruched sleeves and it was super affordable at $35!

Ironically, I also became slightly enamored with one of the Polyvore style inspiration boards that I did for that post, I loved how all the bright colors came together cohesively and the white blazer kept it from looking too loud all while keeping the look fresh. So I used that as a guide for my own outfit ...

I wore this look to work and although I was wearing a vivid color combination with a denim skirt, I felt very professional, chic and pulled together. This will be marked as one of my favorite wear-to-work looks.

White linen blazer - Charlotte Russe
Fuchsia ruffle blouse - Express
Denim skirt - Express
Turquoise peep toes pumps - Nordstrom
White handbag - NY & Co.
White belt - eBay
Silver earrings - The Limited
If you're still shopping for a white blazer and you like mine, find it here at Charlotte Russe!