Basics for a Bargain: Black Pencil Skirts for Every Body Type & Budget!


You know the old saying, “If you can’t stop thinking about it, buy it”? Well, that circulated in my head & heart all weekend… about a black pencil skirt. Mind you, I have a few black pencil skirts, all in different materials & cuts, but one particular caught my eye recently & I couldn’t stop thinking about the styling possibilities, especially for my next stylish photo shoot. It’s a staple for any Style Darling at any size, that’s for sure. This isn’t news in the fashion world. Magazines everywhere have been championing pencil skirts for every shape as a way to get the most out of a wardrobe without breaking the bank. Since I gave in to the “buy it” theory, I was simultaneously inspired to explore every which way a pencil skirt can enliven your style.

Check out the A-listers below to get inspired by all kinds of black pencil skirts & style choices, including blogger / actress Jamie Chung, designer / author Lauren ConradMad Men star Christina Hendricks, Aussie actress Rebel Wilson, the flawless Kerry Washington, & the one & only, Jennifer Lopez.

Jamie Chung, Lauren Conrad, Christina Hendricks, Rebel Wilson, Kerry Washington, & Jennifer Lopez.Pencil skirts aren’t just for the office either. Mix up your pencil skirt look with a graphic tee, peplum top, button down shirt, turtleneck, or body suit, for example. Wear one on a date night, going out with girl friends, or when running daily errands. The possibilities are endless for the basic bottom, especially if you’re looking to dress down something glitzy or elevate a casual top. Play with minimalism or menswear, perhaps even utilitarian or bombshell styles all when wearing a pencil skirt.

Misses, Plus, & Petites pencil skirt looks.SHOP: Misses cold shoulder top @Charlotte Russe, graphic tee @Nordstrom Rack, floral blouse @ModCloth, Plus plaid shirt @Forever 21, embellished top @Dress Barn, printed peplum top @Old Navy, & Petites ruffle tank @JCPenney, denim t-shirt @ASOS, & lace trim tank @Gap. Misses skirt @TJMaxx & skirt @H&M, Plus skirt @Eloquii & skirt @Kohl’s, & Petites skirt @Lord & Taylor & skirt @The Limited.

When it comes to the fitted skirt, look beyond a pump & to special details in your accessories. A black pencil skirt is a great foundation & neutral for any special extras, including playing with patterns, metallics, sparkle, cut-outs, & luxe textures. The suggestions below barely scrape the surface of what you can do with your ensemble, especially when you can wear a pencil skirt any season. 

Pencil skirt accessoriesSHOP: ankle strap pumps @DSW, metallic heels @GOjane, ankle booties @Lane Bryant, embellished flats @Topshop, belt @Lulu’s, rose gold tote @Payless, leopard clutch @6PM, & tortoise sunglasses @Target.

How would you style a pencil skirt? How often do you wear one? Where do you like to shop for staple wardrobe pieces? How much would you invest in season-to-season separates? Which celebrities inspire your everyday style? Happy Styling!

06/24/2016 Darling of the Day: Angelina Jolie’s Easy Breezy Summer LBD & Strappy Flats!


I can talk (or write, in this case) for hours about shoes. That’s always been the case for me. Yeah, I’m that girl, a shoe girl! I have to say (or write, in this case) that my relationship with shoes has evolved over the years in the most strangely sensible way too. Once I transitioned from working a job in an office (where sitting meant I could really wear any & every shoe I could stick my feet in) to a commuting job in the city & most currently as a sales associate in the retail world, my shoe needs have drastically & painstakingly changed. Don’t get me wrong, I still gasp in admiration & find high heels sexy as hell. However, my everyday shoes are usually flats that I can actually walk in (go figure!). I save the heels for special occasions of going out with my boyfriend, days in the classroom during the semesters (not much walking to do there), & specific photo opportunities (when I’m really digging an outfit combination). 

During one recent & busy night at work, I had a conversation with a lovely but frustrated customer for whom I was helping put an outfit together. Once a top & skirt found, our conversation turned to shoes. Of course, any kind of black pump (slingback, stiletto, or wedge) would make for a party-ready look, but then I suggested a nude shoe, which time and time again, has proved successful, especially when it comes to a summer ensemble. By now, you’re probably wondering what this anecdote has to do with the title of this post about. While I rely on a nude shoe as my go-to for many stylish summer outfits, my fashion world was rocked once more scrolling through social media, discovering that during a New York City day with her son, Knox, Angelina Jolie simplified a classic LBD-wayfarer shades look with nude ankle tie flats by Gianvito Rossi (shop here). 

Darling of the Day - Angelina Jolie's Easy Breezy Summer LBD & Strappy FlatsI was instantly inspired by this delightful & obvious (really!) style choice that I had to share its versatility with my readers. Speaking of evolutions, the ballet flat has come a very long way & as a result of that journey, shoppers don’t have to break their budget (even when there’s a time crunch) to achieve this level of style perfection. Really, this sort of shoe would amplify a belted cotton frock with a cardigan, a cargo vest & skimmers, or a sheath mini & blazer.

SHOP: Misses tee dress @Old Navy (available in sizes XS – XXL), black sunglasses @Icing, lace-up pointed flats @Charlotte Russe, Plus dress @Forever 21, Betsey Johnson sunglasses @Nordstrom Rack, Wild Diva ankle strap flats @Aeropostale (also available in black), Petites Worthington dress @JCPenney, ELLE sunglasses @Kohl’s, & ankle strap d’orsay flats @GOjane.

Do you like to wear ankle strap or lace-up flats? Where do you shop for your summer shoe must-haves? Do you like Angelina Jolie’s street style? How do you like to style a day-ready little black dress? How does summer inspire your style? Happy Styling!

06/21/2016 Darling of the Day: Blake Lively’s Yellow + Denim Combo Inpires Summer Style in New York City!


Blake Lively is making the style rounds to promote her latest film, The Shallows, taking advantage of every opportunity she can for a beautiful fashion moment. The actress donned her baby bump (#2 on the way for her & hubby Ryan Reynolds) like a prom queen / prep girl straight out of Gossip Girl (that’s really a compliment, folks!) after completing an appearance on NBC’s Today (in a stunning Elie Saab beaded frock & strappy Stuart Weitzman sandals seen here). While waving to photogs, Blake played up her yellow embellished Jenny Packham gown (see it here on the runway from the designer’s Fall 2016 collection) with a light wash denim jacket from Madewell (shop it here), printed Christian Louboutin ‘Kate’ chevron pumps (shop them here), as well as tons of turquoise, blue, & silver jewelry layered on to stay true to her bohemian aesthetic by Jennifer Meyer, Alison Lou, Mociun, & Lorraine Schwartz.

Blake Lively in a yellow Jenny Packham empire maxi dress with a Madewell denim jacket & printed Christian Louboutin pointy toe heels.What I especially love about this look is that it inspires new life into those gowns we all have from special occasions in the past. Since summer is all about maxi dresses, why not play with the styling possibilities & mix up your look with a staple like a denim jacket & fun footwear? That goes for classic prom dresses, perhaps something not so ball gown-shaped, as well as that bridesmaid dress tucked away in the back of your closet. Chiffon is a breezy, light weight material perfect to try on any look this season, maybe when you’re meeting with girlfriends for lunch, or headed to a museum or vineyard this weekend. Check out the inspiration below in dresses (not as glam as Blake’s but still hitting the sunshine-y notes of yellow) & accessories for budget shoppers who wear misses, plus, & petite sizes.

outfitsSHOP: Misses embellished neck maxi dress @boohoo, denim jacket @H&M, Steve Madden cork heels @DSW, Plus maxi dress @Forever 21, Westport denim jacket @Dress Barn, Christian Siriano Wide Width Kathryn pumps @Payless, Petite maxi dress @Dorothy Perkins, Style & Co denim jacket @Macy’s, & Jackpot pointy toe pumps @Nine West.

jewelrySHOP: stud earrings @Charming Charlie, silver tone ring @Kohl’s, turquoise ring @Bebe, circle round stone bracelet @Charming Charlie, & elephant tassel bracelet @Charming Charlie

If pictures & links don’t quite do it for you, be sure to check out this short video of Blake in action, flaunting her look with confidence & elegance, something I practice even when walking from my front door to the car & from the car to wherever life is taking me.

While we’re on the subject of one Blake Lively, it would be a waste not to share the gallery below of Blake’s flawless maternity style this spring during press appearances, hitting the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, & maintaining her #styleicon status at the 2016 Met Ball.

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What do you think of Blake’s Jenny Packham-Madewell-Christian Louboutin ensemble? Can you envision something like this for yourself? How would you dress down a super fancy dress like hers? What do you wear in the summer to make you feel ultra confident? Which celebrities inspire your street style? Happy Styling!

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: 10 Affordable, Must-Have Spring Picks To Inspire Your Style!


When it comes from transitioning from season to season, I love the idea of reinventing current wardrobe staples, but I’m also crazy about seeing what’s new & fresh in stores to find new favorites. However, I always have a budget in mind, which is why I wanted to share some perfect picks for spring, which are sure to add new life to your look. Spring is all about light layers, flowers, flirty prints, & soft colors, perfect for mixing with bolder pieces that channel menswear, modern, & minimalistic aesthetics.

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal- 10 Affordable, Must-Have Spring Picks To Inspire Your Style!SHOP: dress ($48.00) @Dress Barn, crossbody ($24.00) in ivory @Francesca’s, earrings ($14.99) @ModCloth, LC Lauren Conrad skirt ($45.00, was $60.00) in moonstruck @Kohl’s, blouse ($31.46, was $44.95) in pink @New York & Company, Brash pumps ($29.99, was $34.99) in nude @Payless, kimono jacket ($39.99) @H&M, watch ($16.90) in nude @Wet Seal, Tilda flats ($19.99) in white @Target, & necklace ($5.00, was $19.50) @Icing

What trends are you looking to explore for spring? Where do you like to shop for the latets buys? How would you style the ideal spring outfit? Which colors are you most excited about wearing this spring? For more stylish posts, check out Olivia Palermo’s cover shoot for Fashion magazine, fringed suede sandals for under $40, Lupita Nyong’o’s floral & leather red carpet look, & Victoria Beckham’s spring-winter street style combo. Happy Styling!

02/15/2016 Darling of the Day: Lupita Nyong’o Mixes Hard & Soft Like A Pro!


During a recent photocall for her new Broadway show Eclipsed, Oscar-winning actress & style icon Lupita Nyong’o made fashion headlines with a chic & modern combination of hard & soft in a floral button-down shirt, paired with a leather skirt & blue ballet flats. The sweet look is perfect for transitioning from day to night, going from the office to happy hour, as well as finding new ways to wear your favorite wardrobe staples while on a budget. 

Darling of the Day - Lupita Nyong'o

SHOP: American Living shirt ($38.99, was $49.50) @Macy’s, skirt ($22.90) in black @Forever 21, Tommy Hilfiger flats ($32.99) @6PM, & earrings ($5.00, was $12.50) @Icing. The total for this amazing look (before tax) is a whopping $99.88, an awesome bargain & inspiration for any shopper looking to pinch some pennies while not sacrificing her style. I’m always thinking about my readers of all shapes & sizes, which is why I also wanted to share some inspiration for a similar & fabulous plus-size look, including a Chaps shirt @Kohl’s & a faux leather Guess skirt @Lord & Taylor.

What do you think of Lupita’s winter-spring look? Would you wear floral with faux leather? Which celebs inspire you to experiment with your style? For more fabulous posts, check out Victoria Beckham’s latest street style, Olivia Palermo’s debut collection with Chelsea28 for Nordstrom, & red carpet inspiration from A-listers like Alicia Vikander & Lucy Hale. Happy Styling!

02/11/2016 Darling of the Day: Victoria Beckham’s Winter-Spring Combo!


Even though Long Island is in the thick of winter, it’s not too early to start looking ahead to spring fashion. The one & only Victoria Beckham, pop star turned fashion mogul, is already doing so. She’s a success on & off the red carpet, who not only sets the trends, but resets them in a much more polished & elevated way. For example, during a day out in New York City, the designer stepped out recently in her own Victoria Beckham brand, wearing a marigold ribbed turtleneck with a printed pleated skirt. Her accessories of choice are naturally minimalist, letting her outfit make the statement, with a chain link shoulder bag, oversized sunnies, & leather boots.

Darling of the Day - Victoria Beckham

SHOP: Misses outfit: turtleneck ($39.99, was $89.50) in lemon zest @J.Crew & LC Lauren Conrad skirt ($20.48, was $64.00) @Kohl’s. Plus outfit: Ralph Lauren turtleneck ($19.99, was $64.50) in orange @Ralph Lauren & skirt ($59.99, was $109.99) @Jessica London. Accessories: sunglasses ($14.99) @Target, ring ($8.75, was $12.50) @Icing, bag ($22.90) @Forever 21, & boots ($16.99, was $69.00) @6PM.

What do you think of Victoria’s recent street style look? Are you thinking about spring fashion yet? Which celebrities inspire your wardrobe? For more Darling of the Day posts, check out Sienna Miller, Anne Hathaway, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emily Ratajkowski, Chrissy Teigen, & Reese Witherspoon. Happy Styling!

Basics for a Bargain: The Plaid + Statement Necklace Combo for Fall, Inspired by Katy Perry, Rachel Zoe & More!


My posts are a bit far & few between these days- I’m working on my grad thesis, but that hasn’t stopped me from being inspired to expand my wardrobe & accessories choices this fall. The season is certainly in full swing & I’m thinking about my cozy / glam look for Thanksgiving. I have the plaid + statement necklace combination on the brain, especially since my statement necklace obsession is at its peak. Who wouldn’t be too? There’s so much inspiration every time I check out my favorite celebrity style blogs & Pinterest, when style stars are winning the statement necklace game. This includes the always flawless Olivia Palermo, The Honest Company founder Jessica Alba, pop star Katy PerryThe Real cohost Adrienne Bailon, the fearless Rihanna, former Gossip Girl actress Leighton Meester, model Amber Rose, & stylist / designer Rachel Zoe

Olivia Palermo, Jessica Alba, Katy Perry, Adrienne Bailon, Rihanna, Leighton Meester, Amber Rose, & Rachel Zoe.I couldn’t NOT share some of my favorite street style images from Pinterest, which have inspired this latest post. There are so many different color combos & metal choices to wear when considering plaid & jewelry. The pairing instantly dresses up a work look, makes date night a little more flirty, & mixes up your weekend favorites for a more glamorous options.

Fall's no-fail combo - a plaid shirt plus a statement necklace.It was tough narrowing down which plaid shirts & statement necklaces to select & feature, especially when I have a budget in mind for my readers & savvy shoppers who are looking for affordable fixes to any wardrobe rut. Also, I was eager to select a variety of jewels like rhinestones, beads, or pearls to coordinate with varieties of plaid shirts for any body type. Style knows no size, after all!

SHOP - Old Navy, Forever 21, Love Culture, Charlotte Russe, Wet Seal, Avenue, Target, Dress Barn, & Kohl's.SHOP: 1. classic plaid flannel shirt ($22.00, was $26.94) in red tartan @Old Navy (available in sizes XS – XXL) & bib necklace ($14.90) @Forever 21, 2. vintage wash plaid shirt ($29.95) @Love Culture & statement necklace ($16.99) @Charlotte Russe, 3. Attention plaid shirt ($15.39, was $21.99) @KMartcoin fringe necklace ($6.99, was $12.90) @Wet Seal, 4. plaid shirt ($38.50, was $55.00) in blue @Avenue (available in sizes 18-32) & leaf necklace ($10.40, was $12.99) @Target, & 5. plaid button down shirt ($40.00) in black / white @Dress Barn (available in sizes 1X – 3X) & Apt. 9 pearl necklace ($13.99, was $24.00) @Kohl’s.

If you’re still stuck on how to style this already seemingly busy pairing, what with some major bling over a pattern, think about basics that are not only rich in texture, but luxe in hue. Tuck your plaid shirt into slim bottoms like a pencil skirt or your favorite dark denim skinny jeans. Since fall is all about layers, try out a faux fur vest in a neutral or stylish jacket to reinvent your ensemble. 

What to wear with a plaid shirt & a statement necklace.SHOP MORE: 1. side split midi skirt ($25.50) in burgundy @Missguided, 2. high waist skinny jeans ($69.50) in indigo @LOFT (sign up for emails & get 40% off), 3. faux fur vest ($26.97, was $54.00) in black @Nordstrom Rack, & 4. crepe jacket ($24.99) in red @H&M.

Which plaid & necklace combination speaks to your style? Which celebrity’s statement jewelry game inspires you? For more stylish posts, check out budget-friendly earrings inspired by Jennifer Lawrence & Angelina Jolie, Olivia Palermo’s cover shoot for Holt Renfrew’s new site, how to get Victoria Beckham’s menswear look for less, & Louis Vuitton’s The Spirit of Travel campaign starring Michelle Williams & Alicia Vikander. Happy Styling!

 

Accessories Access: Budget-Friendly Earrings for the Jewelry-Obsessed ($15 & Under)!


My biggest style obsession this fall & really for 2015 is earrings, as seen in detail with my Instagram posts (Follow Style Darling Daily @MissAlissaL). I’ve rediscovered my love of the blingy accessory, especially since I’ve recently cut my hair, showing off my collection of studs, chandeliers, hoops, dangles, drops, front-to-backs, & jackets for the every day runway that is life. In an effort to save some cash, but still treat myself here & there, shopping for budget-friendly earrings has been my simple solution when it comes to transforming a look & when I’m in need of some retail therapy. Before I share some of my favorite & elegant picks for not just the season, but really any occasion, I loved the idea of seeking out some extra special inspiration from celebrities who are lucky enough to rock the real thing during red carpet appearances. Jennifer Lawrence, Cara Delevingne, Kerry Washington, Olgy Kurylenko, Chrissy Teigen, Angelina Jolie, Bella Thorne, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, & Jenna Dewan-Tatum.Celebrity inspiration for killer earrings comes in many metals, colors, & shapes, including some jaw-dropping duds for movie premieres, awards shows, & a slew of other special occasions. Get inspired to upgrade your street style with Jennifer Lawrence, Cara Delevingne, Kerry Washington, Olga Kurylenko, Chrissy Teigen, Angelina Jolie, Bella Thorne, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, & below on Jessica Chastain, Sofia Vergara, Chanel Iman, Kate Winslet, Drew Barrymore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianne Moore, Demi Lovato, Sarah Hyland, & Diane Kruger

Jessica Chastain, Sofia Vergara, Chanel Iman, Kate Winslet, Drew Barrymore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianne Moore, Demi Lovato, Sarah Hyland, & Diane Kruger.Of course, there are tons of retailers to select discounted fashion jewelry from, including multi-metal hoops that’ll take your blouse & skinny jeans from day-to-night, oversize studs from work to happy hour, clustered stones from a date to brunch, & other genius possibilities. What’s even better is that the below deals are all under $15.00!

Accessories Access - Budget-Friendly Earrings for the Jewelry-Obsessed $15 & Under!SHOP: 1.vintage hollow out earrings ($3.99, was $5.22) in gold @Romwe, 2. tassel earrings ($12.99) in purple @H&M, 3. filigree earrings ($10.00) in black @Dress Barn, 4. Milania dangle earrings ($13.00) in white @Charming Charlie, 5. evil eye earrings ($14.99) in silver / gold @Bollywood Chic, 6. round stud earrings ($9.00) in champagne @Francesca’s, 7. pave disc front & back earrings ($12.00) in gold @River Island, 8. clustered faux stone studs ($5.90) in antic gold @Forever 21, 9. carved cluster earrings ($5.00, was $9.50) in pastel @Icing, & 10. faceted kite earrings ($6.57, was $10.95) in black @New York & Company.

To shop more affordable earrings (where you can also watch out for great sales & coupons), shop Express, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Boohoo, LOFT, BaubleBar, The Limited, ChicNova, Lane Bryant, Target, Dynamite, Charlotte Russe, Belk, GOjane, & Zappos.

Where do you like to shop for fashion jewelry? What’s your earrings style? How many pairs of earrings do you wear daily? For more stylish posts, check out Olivia Palermo’s Victorian photo shoot for Holt Renfrew, how to get Victoria Beckham’s orange pants look for any size, Michelle Williams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton’s The Spirit of Travel, & fall flats for the office inspired by Emmy Rossum & Jennifer Lopez. Happy Styling!

10/28/2015 Darling of the Day: Victoria Beckham’s Preppy & Sleek Fall Street Style!


This isn’t the first time designer Victoria Beckham has surprised fashion critics with pops of color, & also her orange pants from 2013 have appeared again on the radar of bloggers everywhere. The former Spice Girls’ jet setting style has always looked flawless, especially when she models her own designs & now repeats favorites, showing that classic staples never go out of style. Get inspired by her sleek, clean look & embrace bold bottoms, topped with this season’s must-have accessory: a statement coat.

10-28-2015 Darling of the Day - Victoria Beckham's menswear style.SHOP: Misses Outfit: Oxford shirt ($24.94) in white @Old Navy (available in sizes XS-XXL), pants ($28.17, was $46.50) in roasted pepper @New York & Company, long coat ($62.90) in plaid @Forever 21, sunglasses ($15.95) in black @American Eagle Outfitters, Mix No.6 Sarti pumps ($39.95, was $80.00) in gray @DSW, & three-tone ring set ($20.93, was $29.90) @Express. Plus Outfit: shirt ($34.96, was $49.95) in white @Lane Bryant, pants ($14.97, was $79.90) in orange @Eloquii, coat ($39.90) in black & white @Forever 21, sunglasses ($15.95) in black @Walmart, Katie & Kelly Isabel pump ($29.94, $50.00) in gray @DSW,  & textured ring set ($10.00) @Charming Charlie.

What do you think of Victoria’s orange pants? How do you wear menswear inspiration for fall? Which celebrity’s style do you follow? For more stylish posts, check out Michelle Williams & Alicia Vikander for Louis Vuitton’s The Spirit of Travel, fall flats for work inspired by Emma Stone & Angelina Jolie, plaid favorites for this season like Reese Witherspoon & Rita Ora, & pretty fall florals for any body type!

Show Me the Shoes: Affordable Fall Flats for the Office, Inspired by Emma Stone, Victoria Beckham, & More (Dedicated to Christine)!


I love getting inspired about fashion when chatting up my friends, & today’s post is no exception. My dear friend Christine, styling it up in New Jersey, recently shared her concerns about finding comfy, yet stylish flats for the office & my brain went spinning with inspiration. Given my crazy day-to-day schedule between two jobs & grad school, I’m constantly on the go, which also means that my collection of flats has grown exponentially with fashionable possibilities for a chic, professional look. To get started, I sought out some images of the best dressed A-listers wearing elements that make up a great work look, especially with a fall wardrobe on the brain.Angelina Jolie, Camilla Belle, Emma Stone, Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Lopez, & Karlie Kloss in flats.These celebrities include: Angelina Jolie, Camilla Belle, Emma Stone, Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Lopez, Karlie Kloss, Mandy Moore, Olivia Palermo, Pippa Middleton, Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift, & Victoria Beckham. Flats are certainly not a cop-out, adding a little extra splash of femininity against a cardigan & shirt pairing, sleek menswear look, blouse & trousers ensemble, & sheath dress.

Mandy Moore, Olivia Palermo, Pippa Middleton, Reese Witherspoon, Taylor Swift, & Victoria Beckham in flats.And for some affordable flats to amp up your office style, consider a few elements for an interesting look: pattern, texture, & shine, which will also help transition any Style Darling from day-to-night, as well as date & weekend. 

Show Me the Shoes - Affordable Fall Flats for the Office!SHOP: 1. loafers ($14.99) in navy @H&M (also available in black, camel, hot pink, & gray), 2. boucle pointed flats ($15.00, was $25.99) in black & white @Charlotte Russe, 3. stud flats ($15.00) in black @Wet Seal (also available in burgundy), 4. pointed patent flats ($19.90) in black @Forever 21 (also available in nude), 5. Gigi flats by Christian Siriano ($24.99, was $29.99) in wine @Payless (also available in black & taupe), & 6. lace pointed flats ($34.90) in black @Express.

What do you wear to work? What details do you look for when it comes to flats? Where do you shop for your favorite office footwear? For more stylish posts, check out affordable plaid accessories for fall, florals to wear this season from New York & Company & Hollister, capes & ponchos inspired by Gwen Stefani & Jamie Chung, & Olivia Palermo’s BaubleBar collaboration. Happy Styling!