Fashion Fridays: A Fairy Tale Christmas List

Alrighty, I have asked for a new front door for Christmas.  Because, well, I’ve wanted a new front door for almost nine years.

That means NO other presents as a new front door is sort of an extravagant Christmas gift for our family budget.

However, if there were no front door, these items would be on my Christmas list.  From big to small, you might spot something to pick up with your Christmas gift cards.

I’m sort of obsessed with finding boots now that I’ve helped my friend Christine, and while these red Western pair aren’t on the short list for a new chocolate brown knee boot set, I still find them fabulous and I love everything Frye makes these days.

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My girlfriend just started selling Chloe + Isabel – have you all seen their stuff?  It’s probably not for the super understated jewelry lover, but since I love statement pieces I want everything I see!  This gorgeous snake choker is on sale for $77 and would go with everything.

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I may have mentioned that I sort of LOVE blouses.  And this gorgeous Kate Spade ruffled blouse is practically perfect in every way.

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(And not to be overly partial to Kate Spade, which I totally am, don’t you love these polka dot notecards?? Even though they aren’t fashion!)

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I seriously need to upgrade my make up brushes and these Sonia Kashuk brushes from Target are a great way to go – top of my list is the multi purpose brush (for $18) and this travel blush brush (for $10).

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I did a favorite night cream poll on Facebook and on my short list is some Obagi Night Cream.

By way of back story, I had a baby rip out my pierced earrings (clean through my ear lobes) when I was in college, and I have worn clip earrings ever since.  It’s nearly impossible to find cool clip earrings that are simple or that dangle.  I like these linear clip earrings from Chico’s for less than $30.

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Wrapping up, this whole look is super chic and I have the ankle pants and heels, but I’d love to pick up this Snow Leopard Coat from Ann Taylor Loft (currently 40% off)  as a perfect topper for work outfit in any season.

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C’mon, your turn – what’s on your Christmas fashion wish list?

(And it may be pretty quiet around here for a few weeks. I’ll post when I can, but I’m going on “vacation” and may not check in much.  So Merry Christmas friends!)

Fashion Fridays: The Elusive Riding Boots

My darling friend Christine has been on an ELEVEN year quest for the perfect riding boots.  Seriously, that is just wrong.  She has given no budget restrictions because she says she will wear them until she dies, and then she will be buried in them.  And she’s got decades left on her :)

So here are my leading contenders for the perfect knee high leather riding boot in dark brown or black (per her request).  Now if someone will just help me figure out how to wear them without getting elephant knees!

Stuart Weitzman Equine Boots from Zappos.  Why they work?  Gorgeous rich dark brown with no adornments and a beautifully classic cut.  Why they might not work?  There is a small heel and they are incredibly pricey.   Ditto this exact analysis for these Frye Riding Boots also from Zappos.

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Frye Leather Riding Boots from Zappos (also at Nordstrom’s).  Why they work?  They are not only flat but completely unadorned!  Why they might not work?  The double panel makes them appear a little less sleek which I LOVE, but they’re likely not as sleek as her sensibility is seeking.  I actually prefer these to the pricier Frye pair above.  (There are several good options in Frye.)

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Burberry Riding Boots from Nordstrom’s.  Why they work?  They are SUPER flat and sleek.  Why they don’t work?  They’re rubber.  Yes, these adorable boots are rubber!

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Cole Haan Leather Boots from Nordstrom’s.  Why they work?  Y’all, these are nearly perfect.  They’re Cole Haan so quality leather.  No adornment, great cut and detailing, super sleek, and they are 30% off!  Why they might not work?  There is the teensiest bit of a heel, but surely that won’t kill these perfect boots in brown or black.

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Everybody Boot from Nordstrom’s (also on sale!).  Everything I said about the above Cole Haan’s are true for these and they come in a gorgeous dark brown too.

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So what about you?  Where did you find your favorite pair of riding boots?  What brand?

Fashion Fridays: Dressing for Holiday Parties, Part 3

Well, we made it!  We covered ideas for how to festively dress for your casual holiday party.  Then we covered dressing for fancy parties.  And now, the ever looming work party attire – the most dangerous of fashion dilemmas.

First, it’s hard to make one set of recommendations because your work Christmas party may land over lunch during the work week or be held at a four star hotel featuring a band and sit down dinner (or every iteration in between).  However, regardless of the type of party, it can be fun to embrace the season with your fashion on the day of your party.  That’s why you can incorporate tips from both of the prior two types of party when considering what to wear for your event.

Second, it’s far easier to lay down a set of ground rules for pitfalls to avoid when dressing for your office party (um, it’s frank, so hold on):

1.  Do not be too revealing.  This is not date night.  This a way to network within your office and relax with work colleagues.  One of the quickest way to blemish your office reputation is by showing up wearing a low cut blouse, a mini skirt, or a painted on dress.  I love to dress in a feminine way but not one that sexualizes me and takes away from my professional standing.

2.  Do not dress inappropriately.  You can tell from the type of event what the attire will be.  If you are unclear, then ask a co-worker who has been there longer or the event organizers.  Don’t show up for an after work cocktail reception in a cocktail dress if everyone else has come in business attire.

3.  Do not play the ugly Christmas sweater game (unless it’s an ugly sweater party!).  There are so many ways to incorporate fun festive elements into your wardrobe without donning a blinking Christmas light necklace and Santa shirt.  Find subtle ways to festivize (see, there it is!) your office party look without making yourself seem immature with childlike fashion.

(And even though this is FASHION Fridays, don’t drink too much at your office party.  Y’all, it’s so important to preserve and enhance your professional reputation and these parties are often the blight on someone’s otherwise lovely career.  Don’t be the person puking on your bosses shoes.  And yes, I’ve seen that happen.)

Here are a few ways to step up your office party look:

1.  Don’t forget your bottoms.  We so often focus on the top half of our outfit that we forget all the ways to bring holiday luxury into an outfit.  One of my favorite ways is well fitting velvet pants.  You can do the traditional black and pair it with a deep red satin blouse and heels or you could pick up one of these gorgeous velvet colors in evergreen or berry (and they are having a sale today, I just got my pair in evergreen and they are really pretty):

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One other way is to find bottoms with depth and subtle print.  I love damask in this gray and black patterned skirt which I selected for our Christmas photo shoot – or you can find something with lace or other accent.

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2.  Get a mani/pedi.  I never have the budget or time to get a mani/pedi anymore but I got one yesterday for several upcoming parties and events I have.  I did a silver gray on my nails which is so lovely but subtle and a deep crimson with gold glitter on my toes.  I realize you girls up north will be in boots and no one will see your feet (so stick to manicures), but us southern girls will be able to wear our peep toe heels out to the party.

3.  Wear some sparkle and shimmer.  There’s lots of fun ways to do this but the easiest is sparkling earrings or bracelets that you would normally skip as too dressy for a work event.  A holiday party is a perfect time to add some.  You can also add a shimmery green satin blouse under your outfit or don a eye-catching silver wrap to top off an outfit.

Both of these looks from White House Black Market are great options for a dressier party:

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But just as simple are these silver items, also WHBM, that you can grab and go:

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Most of all, Have Fun!!!  (And send pictures!)

Fashion Fridays: Dressing for Holiday Parties, Part 2

I mentioned how much I love Christmas last week when we kicked off our three part series on dressing for holiday parties.  Last week, we covered dressing for “The Casual Party.”  This week we’ll look at ways to festivize (yes, I’m going to use that word in each post) your dressier holiday party.  Next week, we’ll wrap up with dressing for your work parties.  And remember, if you can’t figure out what the attire is, check out tips for deducing invitation’s coded attire.

One gorgeous way to play into the holidays without sticking to red and green hues is to capitalize on metallics.

Take this shimmery mirror sweater in silver from Macy’s which is a RIDICULOUS splurge, even on sale, and not one I would make but it gives you a great idea of what to look for when shopping for festive metallic.  Pair it with tuxedo ankle pants in satin or skinny velvet with high heels and you’re all set with a non-skirt option for a spiffy soiree:

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Or how about this saucy fit and flare metallic and black cocktail dress on sale at Macy’s (would DEFINITELY need to be longer if you selected it for a dressy office party, with a different heel as well, but could work for New Year’s Eve with your love).

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If you option for something more classically Christmas, I love a red cocktail dress.  You can pair it with simple earrings and a neutral (or metallic) shoe because a red cocktail dress is enough of a centerpiece to need much more adornment.

From the absolutely flagrantly decadent St. John’s number in Venetian Red at Nordstrom’s (on sale for a mere $500+ – what!?!?!):

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To the more affordable corded lace splash from Tadashi (on 40% off at Nordstom’s today!!!) that is even mildly, and sophisticatedly, reminiscent of a peppermint cane:

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(Tadashi even makes a more affordable lace sheath that comes in both this gorgeous rose color as well as a pewter that would be party perfect!)

For shoes, if your dress isn’t over the top (like silver mirrors!), then you can really amp up the fashion.  These two options show the full spectrum – from stunning silver embroidered stilettos to edge black sequined open booties (both courtesy of Nordstrom) - step outside your comfort zone when it comes to holiday footwear and keep your accessories simple (a diamond tennis bracelet, encrusted gold loops, but leave the pearls and stick to shine):

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How about you?  Where’s your favorite place to shop for holiday dress clothes?

Fashion Fridays: Dressing For Holiday Parties, Part 1

Alright girls, it’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!

I love Christmas.  I love the reason for Christmas.  I love the smell of Christmas.  I love the hospitality of Christmas.

I even love the fashion of Christmas.  If it is done well.

So today is the first in a three part Christmas-themed Fashion Friday Series: Dressing For Holiday Parties.

1.      Holiday Party Situation 1: The casual party. 

This would work for your neighborhood, your school, your church, or your Saturday morning book club brunch.  Don’t miss the opportunity to festivize your wardrobe!  (Yes, that’s a word.  Festivize: To make festive.)

2.      Holiday Party Situation 2: The fancy party. 

My favorite!  I so should have been fashionizing in the 1950s!  (Yes, that’s a word too.  Stop judging my holiday dictionary!)  I seriously love dresses.  Never is there a better time wear fancy attire than Christmas/New Year’s.

3.      Holiday Party Situation 3: The office party. 

Now this party could fall more within the #1 camp or the #2 camp, or it could be a combination thereof or business attire altogether (bah-humbug!).

I think the casual party is the hardest, maybe it’s my sensibility or avoidance of items that actual depict Christmas items, so we’re tackling it first.  Particularly if you’re a mom, you’re going to have casual holiday parties with the kids or Christmas outings where festive attire is a must!

In the category of overtly holiday, I love this ensemble of a red cowl neck snowflake sweater with a skinny ivory trouser from Talbot’s.  While I won’t go for trees or Santa Claus, I love the nod to the old fashioned Christmas sweater that this outfit makes:

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Here’s a great way to inject color in an alternative way – with all the colored jeans out there, try selecting a cranberry red or a hunter green pair!  Add on some knee boots and a festive black and white sweater.   Macy’s offers them in red and green for less than $35 and, if you’re willing to splurge, the emerald colored jeans that Anthropologie offers are gorgeous.  While I’m partial to this particular sweater (look at those elbow patches!), for $40 there’s a fun black and white chevron sweater at ModCloth.

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The easiest solution for a casual holiday outing though is always a good pair of jeans, comfy solid t-shirt, great boots, and then add flare with the scarf and sweater.  Several of these outfits could be paired with trousers or cords as a solid alternative to jeans that can even dress it up a bit.

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I’m totally in love with the blatant Christmas pairing of red and green chevron in the infinity scarf in the first ensemble.  And I adore the red suede boots paired with Christmas plaid in the second ensemble.  Now I will say that a red flat tall boot is hard to come by, but in a pinch you could always pair the outfit with a bootie and DSW has a number of red suede booties for less than $50 just in time for the season.

Charming Charlie’s offers some really festive scarves all of which are under $20 and JC Penney offers some lovely holiday plaid scarves for similar price points.  And, drumroll please, the scarf pictured in the first ensemble is $4 through Amazon – WHAT!?!?  And if you’re in the market for a gorgeous cashmere cardigan for this particular ensemble, Nordstrom offers a beautiful, but pricey, one.

How do you festivize for holiday parties??