Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: Spring Into Action @Old Navy (Dedicated to Rosie)!

Normally, I post about items that I pick out or suggest to friends, but I’m so super impressed with my best friend’s recent purchase that I just had to feature it here on Style Darling! Of course, I will take some credit b/c she asked me what colors I think would look good with an orange dress.  Based on a recent spread from one of my favorite fashion magazines, I suggested to her yellow, neutral, brown, olive, or royal blue.  I knew Rosie had been on the search for some spring-friendly espadrille wedges, ones not too high so that they’re comfortable enough to walk around in & here’s the end result of our style collaboration.  Although I should clarify that Rosie, my super duper bestie, picked out this outfit & I’ve suggested the two belts to help complete the look if she was going to wear it for an occasion.

Where did we go for this impulse ensemble? Old Navy, of course! She picked out the draped jersey tank dress ($20.00) in orange with the mixed pleated wedges ($28.50) in blue.  Also, the dress is available in black, in sizes ranging from XS – XXL.  The shoes are also sold in multiple colors like neutral, green, and while, in sizes 6-11.

The combination is very fashion forward, unexpected, and fresh for the spring / summer season!  This would also look great with an abstract print cardigan or denim jacket for day time.  For those warmer summer days when a lightweight dress is just the thing, perhaps adding a belt will help accentuate the waist & I suggested the faux patent leather narrow belt ($12.94) in blue, but it’s available in black too! Or if you’re wearing a dress like this with neutral accessories, the braided faux leather belt ($16.94) in brown will let the orange in the dress pop even more.

For more posts dedicated to my very good & stylish circle of friends, check out celebritiy-inspired scarf looks, best jackets for day & night, & a comfortable chic outfit for under $100!

What do you think of this dress? What colors would you style it with? Which new items are you looking to add to your spring / summer wardrobe? Happy Styling!


Luxury Look-Alikes For Less: Black & White Inspiration from Stella McCartney & Carolina Herrera Found @New York & Company!

We know that colorblocking is a big trend right now & Alicia Keys proves it as she struts her stuff in a black & white Stella McCartney design.  We’ve seen this cute before by McCartney, but it looks brand new, fresh, & super stylish every time! Kate Winslet, Liv Tyler, & Penelope Cruz have all been seen in it.

I wasn’t able to find the particular dress that Alicia is wearing in stores, but Neiman Marcus has a similarly designed frock by McCartney, costing nearly $1500.00, which can be viewed here.

Also, while I was flipping through the pages of the new April 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar & saw the Carolina Herrera colorblock dress ($2290.00), which is available @Saks.

However, I gasped when I saw these black & white versions b/c they reminded me so much of the black & white ponte colorblock sheath dress ($11.99) that I featured in Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet from New York & Company last month! The dress is now marked down significantly from its original $59.95 price, which is an incredible bargain! So it’s no secret that this design is figure-flattering & just about every hand in fashion & retail is trying to reach the stylish consumer with it.

For more Luxury Look-Alikes For Less, check out the last post about recreating Golden Globe looks worn by Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, & Jessica Alba!

What do you think about the colorblock dresses by Stella McCartney & Carolina Herrera? Which version is your favorite? Do you like the New York & Company version? Happy Styling!

3/23/12 Darling Of The Day: Elizabeth Banks Colorblocks In A.L.C.!

During a recent appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Hunger Games actress Elizabeth Banks showed off one of this season’s biggest trends, which is colorblocking! She wore this beautiful royal blue & black A.L.C. Zenya dress ($893.00), which is available @Barneys. Of course this price tag is way out of budget, but we can appreciate the soft pleats & feminine deep-v. Elizabeth paired the dress with basic, but classic black round toe pumps, similar to those seen here, but you don’t have to have a stylist or a movie star to have access to this kind of style.

I searched high & low to find similar dresses at affordable prices, including the colorblock mod dress ($19.80) from Forever 21, Arctic Circle Black & Blue Dress ($51.00) from Lulu’s, & Honor Gold colorblock dress ($34.02) from ASOS. Lots of celebrities have been wearing colorblocking, but when you take these two colors & put them together, it creates a whole new regal, refined, & fashion forward look.

I haven’t posted in Darling of the Day in quite a while, but I’m always happy to share some of my favorite celebrity looks, which is also what I do for my other blog @Ladies Outfitters. Do you like the colorblocking trend? Which of these three less expensive suggestions is more your style? Happy Styling!

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: See What’s On Clearance @White House Black Market!

I’ve been writing so much about what’s new for spring, so I had to check out what’s going on @White House Black Market & how I can get my hands on some of the best end-of-the-season sale deals that can still be worn for the new season in fashion!

I’m mad for the mid length pleated skirt ($24.98) b/c it reminds pleating is always on-trend.  It’s sexy in that librarian chic kind of way & if worn right, it won’t look matronly.  Add a fitted tee & cardigan, silk cami & boyfriend blazer, or corset top & t-strap shoes with this dazzling & affordable must-have.

Next, I picked the double bow slingback, which unfortunately is out of stock, but it caught my eye.  I love the bordeaux and black combination on the croc patent leather.  It’s the perfect amount of texture and contrast to make a skirt suit, leggings & blouse, or little black dress more classic & sophisticated.

Lastly, I’m a sucker for polka dots & couldn’t get over the adorable factor here with the polka dot ruffle bag ($29.99), which is perfect for any time of year.  Pair this with a striped dress to play up the mixture of prints, or wear it with a neon sheath dress & nude pumps to show off your feminine side.

Check out more from Quickie Darling Deal & Steal, featuring wedges by Christian Siriano @Payless, a clearance dress from ASOS, & polka dot tights from Kohl’s! Happy Styling!

Magazine Must-Haves / Watch This Style: Miranda Kerr Hits Brooklyn For Harper’s Bazaar!

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In the April 2012 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, with actress Mila Kunis on the cover, Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr is featured in a 50s-inspired fashion spread shot in the fine city of Brooklyn by photographer Terry Richardson.  Now I might’ve just flipped through this spread in the past, surmising it up just for the fashion, but now as a full-time writer in Brooklyn (although I’m still commuting home to Long Island), I can appreciate the beauty behind the city that has taught me more about all the reasons why I love the suburbs! Yes, I said it!

However, I think this is an amazing shoot, especially with the regal & vintage designs of Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, Derek Lam, Donna Karan, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Elizabeth & James, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, & Prada (just to name a few). There’s so much high fashion going on here, Miranda puts the women of Mad Men to shame! She looks like an even more glamorous mix between Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly! Not to mention that below the gallery here is an exclusive video behind the shoot, which was inspired by 1960s Italian actress, Monica Vitti.

I used to obsessively tear out the pages of my favorite fashion magazines to keep in what I like to call an “inspiration book” to help me put outfits together, get motivated to blog, or for that one day way way waaaay in the future when I’d dabble in my own desiging, but instead of collecting the stacks of paper in a super heavy binder, I’ve decided to post them for my readers. What do you think of Miranda’s shoot? Do you recognize these spots in Brooklyn?

For more from Magazine Must-Haves, check out my previous posts featuring Carrie Underwood in Self and Selena Gomez in People Style Watch & Cosmopolitan. Also, for more of Miranda Kerr, check her out in a Darling of the Day post here! Happy Styling!

.com Darling: Gwyneth Paltrow Talks About The Tom Ford Oscar Dress With Stylist Elizabeth Saltzman & More!

The following post is not written by me! It comes straight from one of my favorite .com Darlings, Gwyneth Paltrow, from her own site: goop! I read this on the train on the way home & happily rejoiced in my decision to sign up for goop’s super informative & fabulous newsletters.  If you’re into style, healthy living, celebrity access, & lifestyle trends, then goop is definitely a site worth checking out.  Do you really need me to endorse this? It’s Gwyneth-effing-Paltrow! Enjoy the read & Happy Styling!

The Oscar Dress

I don’t normally address false reporting in the media but this week I would like to clarify something. Last week, The New York Times inferred that I used a ghostwriter on my cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, which to me means someone else wrote the recipes and the text. That is not the case. My Father’s Daughter  was a three year labor of love, a collection of the food I make and serve loved ones, an ode to my dad. I had lots of tremendous assistance with things like note taking, recipe testing, logistical planning, but the recipes and words are all mine and come from my heart. Now, on to the fun stuff…

It’s always nerve-wracking to pick a dress for The Oscars, as it’s one of the (if not the) most scrutinized red carpets in the world. Getting the dress, the jewelry, the hair and the makeup requires a lot of work from stylists and designers who prepare months in advance for the event. Today we interview stylist Elizabeth Saltzman on her process and take a look behind the scenes at the prep for the big day.

Love, gp

The Process of Finding a Dress

I’m lucky enough to work with stylist Elizabeth Saltzman who did an extra stellar job finding such a wonderful Oscar dress this year.  Ordinarily, in preparation for an event, she’ll work with no more than four  specific designers to gather several viable options for the event.  This requires months of work, of phone calls, meetings, and many long conversations just for this particular evening. This year, she called me up and said there was only one dress and it’s true; this white gown, with its long white cape by Tom Ford was just right.

Today, she’s kind enough to let goop pick her brain on how and why she chose this dress, and more generally how anyone can find the right look for any occasion.


How did you come across this Tom Ford gown?

A:              After looking at what Gwyneth wore last year, I called each designer that I wanted to work with and looked at their sketches first.  These are usually designs that they create specifically for The Oscars.  This particular time, I went to meet with Tom Ford at his studio about a week before the event.


Why did you pick this dress for Gwyneth to wear to this year’s Oscars?

A:This dress screamed OSCARS to me. It simply was ‘the one’. The dress was composed of all the elements that I look out for for Gwyneth: supreme elegance, grace, royalty, extreme modern luxury, simplicity without lacking intense skill and risk. It had a positive edginess to it as well. Also, being such a fan of Jackie Kennedy through the years, I thought the dress channeled some of her iconic style, but this is my opinion.


Can you tell us a little bit about the process of finding gowns for events like this one?

A:It’s a long process that begins the moment when the nominees are announced and doesn’t end until the moment she steps onto the red carpet.  The process consists of a lot of extremely late nights, when there are no phones ringing, no horns beeping, no children or husband needing attention. It’s the calm glow of a computer and lots of long-distance phone calls, discussions, FedEx’s to go through.

First I call certain designers that I know I’d like to work with for the event and find out if they have something special that might work. I ask all the necessary questions… If they are dressing anyone else. If so, what color and style are the other people’s dresses?, etc. After that initial conversation, they send sketches, and I gently try to make tweaks that I know will work for my particular client. I generally work with two or three designers from the beginning until there’s a finished dress to try.

We might Skype, email, and photos are often used so we can get a better idea of how the dress is taking shape. The best is if I can go see the dress in person, but I’m not always that lucky in terms of time or location. I always ask to see swatches (big ones) of the material – you never know… it might not show up well on a photo, it might be completely see-through, it might be rough to the touch or wrinkle prone. All of these need to be considered as it is my job to make sure there are no whooper mistakes on the evening. Once all is agreed, the dress is made.

The next step is the first fitting. This is a moment of excitement, as you want your client to feel great and body language says it all. I look at the fit, we find the shoe that gives the right height and that is wearable for such a long evening. Fittings happen quickly, so I take tons of pictures from all angles so that I can take them home and digest. If I’m lucky, I get a second fitting in, to try the dress we’ve chosen with full accessories and get an idea about hair and makeup. On the day of, I’m there with the makeup artists, hair stylists, everyone, discussing every decision in minute detail, every step of the way. When she gets in the car, I make sure that the dress won’t get wrinkled on that long drive to the event.


Are there politics involved in getting the right dress?

A:Oh yes, the politics, especially when it comes to this event, can be rough if you don’t know the players.  It’s hard because getting the right celebrity in the right dress can mean huge, and I mean monumental, publicity for a designer as well as the client. The advantage I have is that I’m not new in the industry and I’ve built relationships that are not about screwing anyone else over.  It’s about being honest with the designers and the other people involved, listening to what they’re hoping for, and striking a compromise between their vision and the client’s needs.


How much of your pick depends on what is simply a gorgeous gown versus the personality of and what will work specifically for your client?

A:The client always comes before the gown. You have to think about the person, their body, their confidence, their coloring, their wishes, their needs and what will be successful for them.


What advice would you give to anyone looking for the right dress?

A:Think about what looks best on you, not which dress you like on the hanger. Think about your posture. Look at yourself in the mirror with how you would naturally stand, not in pose, as you’re usually not posing. Think about where you are going and how much you can relax knowing you are safely, securely, happily dressed.

Oscar Prep

Once we had the dress decided on that week, everything else fell into place. Here’s a quick look into my day preparing for The Oscars and how we picked hair, makeup and jewelry to compliment my gown.

10AM: Pre-show workout

I did an intensive cardio workout with Stacey McDermott from the Tracy Anderson Method and tried out my partner, Tracy Anderson’s new mini Trampoline workout for the Metamorphosis series.

1PM: Arrive at the Montage Hotel, Beverly Hills

I get to the hotel for a shower and then get my roots done with Tracy Cunningham, who I always call when I’m in LA. She’s got my particular color down to a precise science.

My kids come for a visit and we all go hang out at the pool for a little bit.  I have my traditional pre-show turkey burger and fries before hair & makeup.

2PM: Hair & Makeup

Adir Abergel, who did my hair, initially goes for a tousled bun.

Meanwhile, in keeping in line with the simplicity of my gown, makeup artist Leslie Lopez emphasizes my eyes with some black liner while keeping everything else pretty natural. Stop me if I’m boring you…

We all decide that the dress requires even simpler hair. The straight, long ponytail mimics the straight, clean lines of the dress and cape.

Final product.

It’s more fun when you get ready with one of your best friends.

2:45PM: Dressed and trying on jewelry

First, I try these Anna Hu cuffs, as I was asked to represent her brand on the Red Carpet. They’re incredible. The one on the left is inspired by Van Gogh’s painting, Irises, and is made up of garnets, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds in the same colors as those of the painting. The orchid cuff on the right was inspired by Monet’s color palette and designed while listening to Chopin.

I also try some of Anna Hu’s amazing, statement Fire Phoenix earrings, which are made with pear-shaped cabochon rubellites, if you know what I mean…

            They’re gorgeous, but this double hoop diamond and purple sapphire ring and the amazing rose-cut diamond cuff that Anna made fits best with the dress. Maybe I’ll borrow the other ones for another time…
Here’s Anna Hu herself, helping me with the cuff.

Final touches as I leave.

3:45PM: In the car and on my way!

4:30PM: Red Carpet

Stephen Huvane, my publicist of 20 years, fixes my button right before I walk down the Red Carpet for pictures and interviews.

I stop to chat with a member of our Armed Forces.

5PM: One of my favorite red carpet moments

I snapped this on my Blackberry so it’s a bit blurry, but there’s someone holding up Sandra Bullock’s train, and Sandra Bullock holding up soon-to-be Oscar winner, Octavia Spencer’s train.

6:30PM: Robert Downey Jr. and I get on stage to present the award for “Best Documentary Feature”.

Robert helped write the funny mock documentary sketch for presenting the award to Undefeated.

The green room, where all the presenters go right before getting on stage for a snack and refreshments, was designed by Architectural Digest this year. Juniper Books made stunning custom-made book covers based on classic cinema especially for this year’s event.

6:45PM: After presenting, I duck out to meet friends at the famous annual Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

The event was at the Sunset Tower Hotel and I may have had the best french fries ever there.

9:30PM: As ever, Jane Fonda is totally punk rock.

Super Style Wishlist: Celebrate Style Darling’s 2nd Birthday With A Dress By Monique Lhuillier!

Even though the month of March is almost over, I’m proud to announce that this month marked Style Darling‘s 2nd birthday! We’ve been through a lot via the blog in the last two years, but my goal still remains the same: to embrace celebrity-inspired style-on-a-budget.

However, for the sake of celebration, let’s throw the budget out the window for just a moment & take a look at this masterfully-crafted abstract black & white Monique Lhuillier strapless graphic cocktail dress ($2690.00) sold @Neiman Marcus.  I love the print, shape, & overall feel of the party dress.  You know I’m a sucker for anything in black & white too!

Now, if money wasn’t an issue & I had a fantastically demanding social life & red carpet appearances to fulfill, I’d wanna wear a frock like this! Of course, I’d pick out some boldly-hued round toe pumps, find a fierce cuff bracelet, & straighten my locks to a pulp as I pose for the paparazzi in this dress. This is a mere dream… that’s what Super Style Wishlist is here for after all!

I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks to all my readers, followers, friends, & family who’ve been supporting the Style Darling story all along.  It means the world to me to have an outlet where I can share all of my favorite fashionable finds & create a world where fashion rules the land & we just live in it! Being able to do this has given me a great number of opportunities, including my current position as a professional full-time fashion writer for Ladies Outfitters.

Hopefully, I’ll find more time to keep up with the self-imposed goals that I have for Style Darling b/c there’s always something going on in the world of fashion.  Also, as the seasons change and trends make their way into stores, there’s always some style advice that I’m seeking to provide.

Thanks again for sticking by me even when posts have been far & few between! Let’s have another stylish & fabulous year of blogging! Happy Styling!

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: We’re Swooning Over Christian Siriano’s Spring Collection @Payless!

Now that spring is officially here, I’m stoked about all the new styles of spring shoes coming out! As always, I’m featuring designs from my favorite affordable shoe store, Payless! I make no apologies for that, especially when Project Runway winner Christian Siriano continues to create beyond beautiful confections of footwear for the masses.

This hyperbolic statement of course refers to the t-strap wedges ($19.99) in turquoise. Details like the patent leather straps, basketweave wedge, and t-strap across the ankle make this a diverse pair of go-to shoes for the spring & summer.

I love how they’re multi-toned, but still easy to wear with so many different looks, including a floral spring dress & cardigan, graphic tee & boyfriend jeans, polka-dotted blouse & walking shorts, or silky cami & mini skirt.

The wedges are currently on sale, marked down from their original $29.99 price!  This also includes the black, coral, and wide-width turquoise styles!

For more of the fabulousness that is footwear, check out posts like animal print flats from Nine West, Lea Michele modeling for Candie’s, & gorgeous creations from Prada, Valentino, & Christian Louboutin!

If you’d like to read more about the popular designer, Style Darling has plenty of Christian Siriano love for you to indulge, including his new ad campaign starring actress Mena Suvari and some classic round toe pumps in nude & black!

What do you think about these wedges? Are they too high for you? Are you a loyal Payless shopper? Do you like Christian Siriano’s designs? Happy Styling!

Red Carpet Review: The World Is Talking About Jennifer Lawrence!

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Watch out Aniston, Lopez, & Garner- there’s a new Jennifer on the block! It’s true, the world is talking about last year’s Academy Award nominee for Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence.  Her upcoming action thriller, The Hunger Games, is expected to break big box office records and make the young actress a household name.  She’s been on the style radar for quie some time & I’m happy to share with readers a gallery of some of her best looks since her debut in the spotlight last year.

She’s a big fan of designers Prabal Gurung and Calvin Klein, but with long gams like hers & beautiful long, blonde locks, it’s no wonder she’s currently topping “best dressed” lists all over the world! Take a look at the gallery & let us know which looks are your favorites! Surely, this won’t be the last that we see of the Kentucky-native, so check out more from Red Carpet Review! Happy Styling!

Watch This Style / Magazine Must-Haves: ‘Self’ Cover Girl Carrie Underwood’s Latest Video For “Good Girl!”

I’m a big Carrie Underwood fan… fan of her music & her enviable red carpet style! I have to say that her music videos are among some of my favorites to watch b/c the American Idol winner is just so magnetic in front of the camera.  She was meant to wear stylish duds & belt out the big notes, which is why I’m featuring her latest music video for “Good Girl” here on Style Darling.

Also, she’s been on my mind after reading the very intelligent and insightful article on her for the April issue of Self magazine- one of my favorite go-to sources for healthy living tips.  The singer talks about how she made the change from being a vegetarian to becoming mostly vegan.  Also, she’s a positive role model for women everywhere b/c of her confidence and down-to-earth attitude, all of which is very evident in the article.

Getting back to the music… Of course, I’ll be including this video for “Good Girl” in a future post of Carrie’s Top 10 Most Stylish Videos at some point, but this video has just recently been released & you have to see it! If you love female-empowering music, country music, or well-style videos, then this is one meant for you! For more of my favorite music videos, check out what I’ve posted about Gwen Stefani, Madonna, & Lady Gaga! Happy Styling!