Living in Style: Summer Vacation Must-Haves from Francesca’s!


Summer is all about fun in the sun & adventure, which means it’s time to explore each & every beautiful day. If you haven’t already gone on or planned your summer getaway, or sought out stay-cation options for a local weekend of sightseeing, now is the time to do so! I know I’ve got a beach day on the brain, listing out all the necessities for a comfortable & memorable day of relaxation & style. Here’s an opportunity for Style Darlings to make more playful & whimsical choices when it comes to wardrobe & accessories for a most fashionable day off. This also includes a few must-haves that you’ll need while travelling from one hot spot to the next, such as beach gear, food / drink items, & some extras for quiet time too! I love shopping Francesca’s for cute finds for around the house, which is why I also sought out their latest online collection of vacation-ready trends.

SHOP: watermelon beach blanket, tribal kimono, woven tassel tote, pineapple hair pins, aviator sunglasses, Roxette thong sandal, Bonjour journal, & Secretly A Mermaid emergency kit @ Francesca’s.

Where are you headed this summer? What are some of your travel-ready favorites? Where do you shop for vacation necessities? What’s your vacation style? Happy Styling!

Splurge or Save… On Summer Gingham Tops!


When it comes to summer, there are so many prints that make for a fashionable look, but among them, gingham gets top billing! The typical gingham button down is classic for a variety of outfits, but this summer is all about the trendy, off-the-shoulder, ruffle, or halter gingham top available for shoppers of all sizes! Celebrities even love gingham, as seen on Baby Driver star Lily James, style blogger Olivia Palermo, singer / actress Vanessa Hudgens, A-lister & fashion mogul Reese Witherspoon, & Shameless actress Emmy Rossum.

For a trendy, one-season item like a gingham top, you don’t have to break the bank. There’s so much fashion out in the world & online for shoppers of all budgets, but I do love checking out high-end designer duds for a little inspiration when it comes to finding something to write about, as well as putting together my next outfit. Here are a few examples that range in price from $88 – $265, but still worth keeping an eye on for an end of the season sale item.

SHOP: Carmen blouse @White House Black Market, McGuire Florentine top @Saks Fifth Avenue, Rag & Bone off-the-shoulder Drew top @Neiman Marcus, Draper James Cloister top @Nordstrom, & Mindy Cindy one-shoulder top @Nordstrom.

The six gingham tops below are much more affordable & perfect for styling with white skinny jeans, red chino shorts, a denim skirt, or with bottoms in a bold pop of color like yellow, green, or orange.

SHOP: checked top @H&M, gingham tie top @Saks Off 5th, Design Lab blouse @Lord & Taylor, flounced gingham top @Talbots, plus off-the-shoulder lace-up top @Charlotte Russe, & plus one shoulder ruffle top @Lane Bryant.

Which summer trends are on your wardrobe wish list? Do you prefer the black, navy, or red gingham color scheme? Where are you shopping for summer favorites? Happy Styling!

Fab in 4 Ways: The Prettiest Summer-To-Fall Transition Sweater!


Right now is a very interesting time for fashion & retail. Summer is here & thriving, the best seasonal styles are on sale, but also, the newest fall pieces are starting to hit stores. More than anything, I want to stay in a summer state of mind, especially since the weather has been beautiful, just sunny enough & not oppressively hot (at least here on Long Island). My eye keeps catching what’s next for fall, which brings me to this Roz & Ali lace bell sleeve sweater @dressbarn, available in both misses & plus sizes.

The lightweight top is both flattering & versatile when it comes to styling. The airy, feminine sleeves are my favorite part, inspiring me to think about other patterns & color schemes to experiment with. Since these summer evenings have been on the cooler side lately, this is the perfect top for now & next season too. Making the investment in future pieces that you can wear now is the best way to get the most use out of your wardrobe. However, I especially love the always classic look of black and white separates, which is perfect for Style Darlings of any age or size.

Styling the sweater with a pair of shorts offers a polished look for a weekend brunch with some sandals & drop earrings. A pencil skirt is party-ready with a statement necklace & strappy heels. For a relaxed feel, a maxi skirt is easy-breezy when paired with wedges & layering necklaces. Lastly, cozy palazzo pants are effortless & cool for a day of errands or casual Friday at the office with ballet flats & stud earrings.

SHOP: stripe linen drapey shorts @Gap (available in sizes XS-XXL), front slit pencil skirt @New York & Company (available in sizes 0-20), floral print maxi skirt @dressbarn (available in plus size here), & striped palazzo pants @Target (available in sizes S-XXL).

When I’m styling other women, I always encourage them to try pieces that can not only be worn multiple ways, but also for multiple seasons. This ensures that the garment’s value is really worth it. While I don’t want to wish summer away, I can’t get over all the possibilities for this sweater. Here are a few more suggestions of how you can play up your best fall style when coordinated with any black lacy sweater for work, day, date, or weekend.

SHOP: pencil skirt @H&M (similar in plus size here), utility pixie chinos @Old Navy (available in sizes 0-20), pinstripe ankle pants @Express (similar in plus size here), & 415 classic boot cut jeans @Levi’s (similar in plus size here).

What pieces do you have your eye on this season? What fall trends are you most looking for to next? What staple items do you get the most wear from? Happy Styling!

 

Show Me the Shoes: Summer-Ready Sneakers for $10-$15!


Summer is all about no-fuss style. While I sometimes fuss & muss over what I’m going to wear in order to be comfortable when running from work to do some errands to going out with my beau, the temperature continues to rise. Effortless comfort is most important in the end, even when I want to wear a scuba dress & some wow-worthy high heels. However, what’s more fuss-free than a canvas sneaker? I know, some jaws might be hitting the floor at my mention of a sneaker here on Style Darling Daily.

I’ve never been much of a sneaker fan, only because I don’t find most sneakers attractive. I’ve owned the same one pair for years that I’ll break out for the occasional woodsy walk or hiking venture. Sneakers have an athletic function & not much of a presence in my life when I’ve found so many comfortable ballet flats that I can wear for work & while going about my daily routine. Aside from that, sneakers have just never equaled fashion to me… until now. Sneakers have taken on this whole new street style vibe, as seen on celebrities in Converse & tennis shoes, such as style icon Olivia Palermo, singer Rihanna, performer Dita Von Teese, as well as models Gigi Hadid & Karlie Kloss.

As a kid, I grew up wearing Keds-adjacent sneakers since the look-alikes at Caldor (remember Caldor?) & other bargain-centric stores were just more reasonable for my budget-conscious family. The white canvas material would only stay white for about a day until the remnants of nature, as well as the wear & tear of childhood stained the exterior. Honestly, I never quite looked back on that shoe style until today when I received an email from Payless about their latest canvas collection, featuring shoes in up to 17 different colors & pattern varieties, ranging in a limited time sale price from $10-$15, available in women’s sizes 5-13, with their summer-ready American Eagle Bal Sneaker.

When I ooo-ed & ahh-ed at these cute options, I began to imagine how to style these sneakers, especially with sweet & casual summer dresses. Of course, any of these dresses can be worn with wedges, sandals, or heels to add a little more dressy flair when headed out for a night on the town, but why not consider a sneaker if you’re going to the local carnival, on a sunset walk, or just enjoying a casual lunch with some friends?

This Westport belted denim shirt dress @dressbarn (available in plus) is just one of the many versatile denim options for the tan linen sneaker, especially when neutrals are just so easy & classic to style. Try this look with textured hoop earrings & classic bangles & you’ll be ready for anything!

The yellow-red combination might not be for everyone, but the primary color mix of the linen blend swing dress @Old Navy (available in sizes XS-XXL) with the bold red sneakers is a daring & summery way to play with color blocking, especially when paired with a denim jacket & layering necklaces!

White is the color of the summer & you really can’t go wrong with this ruffle off the shoulder dress @Express when looking at all the footwear possibilities. You could wear the purple eyelet or the dark blue stripe one day & then embrace the chambray polka dot sneaker the next! This look can be styled with some colorful tassel earrings & a basket weave belt too!

Some days, even in the summer, we just wanna wear black. Maybe it’s a New York thing, but here we can turn the dark hue into something playful & casual-chic with the plus cargo dress @H&M & the black eyelet sneakers. Try a gold chain choker & chunky ring to dress up the monochromatic look!

Lastly, use online coupon code 15CANVAS for an additional 15% off, expiring 07/09/17, because we could all use a little help when it comes to summer shopping! What’s your take on the summer sneaker-dress combination? What color combinations are you looking to try this season? Where are you shopping for your favorite footwear finds? Happy Styling! 

SHOP NOW! Clearance Tops, Dresses, Shoes, & More from TJ Maxx!


One of my favorite things to do when I wake up in the morning (without the ring of a rowdy alarm clock) is to check my email. While I’ve been trying to discipline myself to disconnect from technology a little more each day, especially in the summer where there’s just so much to do & plenty of fresh air & sunshine to take in, I can’t help but still be a little obsessed with clicking through emails from my favorite retailers, blogs, & fashion news sources. It’s like having my own personal fashion show & bargain shopping experience while I’m still in the comfort of my own bed. With that, I’ve created SHOP NOW!, a new category of blog posts here on Style Darling Daily where I’ll be sharing the most exciting fashion buys & sales from the day. These are the styles that make me do a double take, inspire me to explore the latest in fashion, & even get me excited to get ready for another stylish day. So let’s get to it!

Getting into the spirit of summer isn’t hard to do, but when you can’t find anything to wear (oh, I’ve been there!) & you’re on a budget, there are plenty of options to resolve your style rut! Classic tops, flirty dresses, chic shoes, & effortless accessories are the key ingredients to a summer of superb style. Right now, TJ Maxx is having a major clearance event with plenty of brand names items, seasonal essentials, & trendy must-haves for unbelievable prices. Keep in mind that when it comes to clearance sales, sizes & quantities are sometimes limited, but finding a last chance deal makes for a great story!

These tops are perfect for a cool night with a pair of skinny jeans, headed to the local festival in cut-off shorts & sandals, or mixing it up with capris & wedges for a sophisticated summer take.

SHOP: Kaktus cold shoulder ruffle top, Cable & Gauge lace cut-out top, Cupio off-the-shoulder flutter sleeve top, & Acemi plus flounce cami.

Like this season’s hottest summer tops, dresses with ruffles & cold shoulders are the way to go. These affordable & versatile dress options can be accessorized in so many ways with statement necklaces or layering chains, espadrilles or peep toe flats, & belted or not!

SHOP: Cece by Cynthia Steffe Jackie ruffle cold shoulder dress, Ellen Tracy floral scuba dress, Nine West cold shoulder printed dress, & London Times plus denim dress.

It wouldn’t be summer without a fun & flirty shoe. While I’m always touting comfort as my first shoe priority, I love how a neutral wedge offer balance & elegance to a floral frock, whereas something with interesting details like polka dots, a laser cut trim, or animal prints can really express your personality & create some lovely style memories.

SHOP: Style by Charles David ankle strap wedges, Charles by Charles David Becki cork wedges, Jessica Simpson Raffia d’orsay pumps, Nicole Miller leather scalloped peep toe flats, & Bahia leather thong sandals.

Playing with accessories can completely revamp an old favorite like a shirt dress or t-shirt & jeans. Seek out details like pattern or texture in your extras. When it comes to jewelry, a mix of sparkle & simplicity is always the best way to go,

SHOP: Jules Smith stars scarf, Under One Sky paradise charger clutch, Isabella M rose gold opal stud earrings, Mythologie choker, Trina Turk gold opal ring, & Lisa Freede rhodium chain bracelet.

Where are you shopping for your best summer deals? Which store emails do you wait for in the morning? What seasonal trends are you seeking on sale? What’s your summer shopping budget? Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Summer Must-Haves ($35 & Under)!


Summer is in full swing & fall fashions are already hitting stores (ugh!), but that doesn’t mean it’s too late (it really isn’t!) to enjoy some fun & affordable summer styles. It’s still only the first week of July, which means that there’s the rest of this month, all of August, & the first half of September awaiting for you to explore the many outfit & accessory possibilities for a variety of outdoor, everyday, & special occasions. If you need a style boost, here’s a little inspiration of the five summer must-haves that’ll make your summer wardrobe not only chic, but memorable & playful.

1. The denim dress is a hallmark of summer. It’s lightweight with the ultimate classic feel, both features that make this dress perfect for pairing with wedges or sandals, textures like basket weave or cork, as well as acting as a neutral foundation to pops of color in your accessories.

SHOP: cold shoulder dress @Target & shift dress @Old Navy (both styles available in sizes XS – XXL).

2. I tend to rely on big earrings over the summer since heavier metals on my skin in the form of statement necklaces get uncomfortable when I’m out & about during a hot day when I’m trying to stay cool. Try a bold tassel earring instead to play up your personality & bring out the colors of a printed dress. Not to mention, a tassel style helps frame your face with a little flair too!

SHOP: purple shimmy earrings & multi color shimmy earrings @Charming Charlie.

3. There are so many shoe varieties when it comes to summer footwear, but the fringe trend is here to stay. A fringe sandal will not only relieve your feet the discomfort & stress caused by high heels in the heat, but also, it adds an extra splash of style to coordinate with neutrals like a button-down shirt & denim skirt.

SHOP: multi color fringe sandal @Francesca’s & Fergalicious black fringe Tanya sandal @DSW.

4. A floppy hat is always a summer necessity to not only protect your face from the harsh rays of the sun, but also adding a little bit of humor to your beach-ready look. Whether you’re laying out for a nap or walking the boardwalk, floppy hats with a message will easily refresh a tropical cover-up or maxi dress on those beautiful weekends by the water.

SHOP: Do Not Disturb hat @dressbarn & Sonoma Beach Please hat @Kohl’s.

5. Speaking of messages, a phrase / message clutch makes a statement that you’re all about style, taking it just seriously enough. If you’re headed for a weekend away or full-on vacation, clutches that celebrate the luxuries of style while abroad or having fun in the sun are sure to be the extra details that elevate your jersey dress or shorts romper, while also functioning to hold your most precious necessities.

SHOP: I Need A Vacay clutch @Forever 21 & Au Revoir clutch @Lulu’s.

Lemonade & Style: A Story about Finding Fashion in the Unlikeliest of Circumstances


The word “lemonade” will never be the same. Thanks in part to Beyoncé’s epic album, the “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” cliché is reaching a whole new generation, and it’s inspiring me to continue to stay positive no matter what lemons roll at my feet. Lately, life overall has been pretty lemon-free, in that I am happy. Life is good. It’s summer. I’m in a wonderfully fulfilling relationship. The most important people around me are well.

However, as a writer, there’s this complicated thing that always happens when I’m actually happy: I can’t write. That’s because I have this unconscious routine of writing best when I’m in desperate need of answers, struck with worries of the heart and soul. While I’m always in search of what’s next for Style Darling Daily, my writing, and my professional life, I’m not necessarily haunted by any lack of progress to the degree where I have to write it all out to come up with a plan to advance my career. When I’m happy personally, I’m much more carefree with other parts of my life. My hard-working nature isn’t any less apparent, but I let inspiration find me like a cinematic meet cute. Inspiration is like an old friend I run into at Starbucks. I know the words are there, but I can’t always find them.

Well, since I’m writing now, there must be something on my mind. Let’s take a little trip down memory lane. With all that’s been going on lately, I’m reminded of my mission as a blogger. I wish to portray what I really wear on the daily (hence my “one stylish day at a time” tag line) and where I invest in my style because after all, I’m a budget shopper who believes in always looking my best out of respect for myself and those around me. I don’t dress just for a picture or to represent myself lolling about in some luxurious life of high fashion and glamour. That’s certainly not the life I live. I mean, I live on Long Island! I support myself financially. These aren’t complaints either, just my reality. Also, I don’t have a fancy camera or nearby scenic locations for spur of the moment photo shoots, nor do I often have backup to set up where and when I can share my daily outfit images. There’s plenty of evidence (with pictures taken in my bathroom or at my parents’ house) of how I’ve styled my summer thus far on Instagram (@styledarlingdaily). In addition, there also aren’t many words that go along with those posts. I know, I know. Writers should be writing.

On the upside, when I don’t have the words to express what’s going on with my style, I let the images (and hashtags) do the talking for me. I share my style inspiration for my two jobs where I can thankfully wear clothing that actually suits my personal style, so there isn’t much distinction in my closet between work and non-work apparel. At most, I pack an extra pair of shoes to switch from power heels to ballet flats for the change in shifts when I have to work both in the same day. Because of these day-to-day experiences (which don’t allow for proper photo shoot scheduling), I’m always seeking great deals on unique pieces that lend a stylish hand in how I express myself amid the chaos that is being a working woman in 2017 (not to mention, a happy one at that)! I digress… we were talking lemonade earlier.

Without getting into the lemon details (because I would never use my blog, writing, or social media to bully or hurt anyone whom I love), I recently found myself in a situation where I was no longer in need of a formal gown. The money I’d spent on the garment could not be refunded, nor was I permitted a store credit to use in the future. The dress itself was lovely, but certainly not a color that flattered my skintone or shape, so keeping it was simply not an option. In order to lemonade the whole thing, I realized I needed to reinvest the dollar amount in something that I would get much more use from, therefore resolving my predicament in the best way possible.

To relieve some of the mystery, I’ll share that I was at a local David’s Bridal, where their staff was very helpful and supportive as I pursued stylish options. However, I was not very impressed by their in-store dress selection to make an exchange. Certainly, there were plenty of beautiful colors, flattering styles, and youthful designs to shop through, but nothing special was speaking to my style blogger soul. One of my jobs is working as a stylist at a dress store, which also contributed to the fact that I wasn’t necessarily in need of a fancy party dress anyway. In a last stitch (pun!) effort, when looking at the rows and rows of pastel, sparkly, and ruffled chiffon, I sorted through my mental wardrobe catalogue to assess my existing dress options, what with three weddings and a Sweet Sixteen all scheduled in the span of a very busy and exciting month this coming fall. Basically, I didn’t want a new dress because I was already well-equipped in that department.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that shoes and accessories were often easier to pique my interest when in a shopping rut just like this. When it’s summer, I will only wear shoes that are comfortable. There are so many factors concerning weather (sweating in a heavy garment or taming my curls in the humidity) that invade my style routine for this hotter season, so I’m more than likely to be seen in flats, sandals, or flip flops on a regular occasion, rather than opting for the super fashionable high heel. Low and behold, David’s Bridal has a pretty amazing selection of footwear that had me in giggles. Generally, my everyday outfit will have some sort of sparkle to it, and if it’s not a statement necklace or big earring, my shoes will shine with studs or sequins. Of course, the selection of shoes at David’s Bridal is so blingy and meant for a bride, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make these “bridal” shoes a reality for what I like to wear. I was so pleased with the discovery of finding fashion that fit my style in this unlikely place, especially when I’m not in the bridal market.

For the price of one gown, I was able to take home six pairs of shoes with only spending an additional ten dollars to offset the difference I owed, on top of a Buy One, Get One 50% off sale and coupon discount for the most expensive item. I felt accomplished and that I was making lemonade to benefit my style, shopping savvy, as well as quelling my soul of the recent circumstances that brought me to David’s Bridal in the first place. Furthermore, I rediscovered my love for the sandal. Gladiator flats and those pom pom sandals are all the rage every summer, but neither trend felt quite like me. Typically, I embrace trends that best work for my body type and personal style. I never encourage anyone to do the reverse. What happens is that we start asking ourselves what’s wrong with our bodies just because we don’t fit into some industry mold of what’s current and fashionable. I’d rather be of the mindset that something doesn’t work for me, as opposed to me being unsuccessful with that external force.

I love to wear pieces that best represent the feminine and detailed way I approach fashion. These metallic sandals (here, here, and here) are neutral for any summer ensemble, including a maxi dress or blouse and skirt outfit. Also, the ballet flats (here and here) will be the perfect way to dress up a casual look, while the lacy white pair (here) will definitely serve regular rotation with my floral summer dresses that I can wear either to work or for date night with my boyfriend.  

Upon this shopping win, what came next was a swarm of reminders that bargain buys and surprise fashion finds are happening at so many unlikely stores that we as shoppers and busy women might forget about. A few months ago, my boyfriend and I were at BJ’s in pursuit of a discounted movie ticket package deal when I saw rows and rows of clothing. I’m not a regular BJ’s shopper, so I was shocked to learn that the warehouse store sold more than just fleece jackets or packaged underwear. I scanned the racks to see cute fit-and-flare scuba dresses, classic jersey frocks, and striped maxis, all perfectly priced if one was in need of a proper summer wardrobe update without breaking the bank. I’m always saying that shopping should be easy. While it comes more naturally to some than others (because some know their style and body type so well, while others are more hesitant or uninformed), to conveniently access fashion in an unexpected way is a delight and inspiration to write about.

Since my summer shoe game is all about comfort and function (of course, style never goes by the wayside either), I’m often acquiring my favorite selections at Juniors’ stores where shoes and jewelry are basically the only items available where size isn’t an issue. Juniors’ stores such as Mandee, Charlotte Russe, and Forever 21 all size to fit a younger and mostly slimmer-figured consumer. Although, it is worth mentioning that these retailers have expanded their brands to include stylish options for shoppers of all sizes. However, I’m a most frequent patron of accessories in these stores. Albeit, they don’t always cater to uncommonly smaller or larger shoe sizes, nor are wide sizes always available, but I’m more often than not able to find jewelry, shoes, and other accessories at reasonable prices to build a unique and special collection that works with my everyday style.

During the holidays last year, when I was in pursuit of gifts for coworkers, I sought festive bulk items like ornaments or tea and hot chocolate varieties. I have that “last one picked in gym class” complex (which I basically accept now since I usually never wanted to play in a sport anyway), so I wanted to make sure I extended the joyful spirit of the season to everybody at both of my jobs, an effort that annually proves to be quite the challenge to my budget. However, as I loaded up my cart at a local Big Lots, I found a display for sterling silver jewelry, decked out with chic drop earrings and charm bracelets (all in the vain of modern costume / fashion jewelry) that made my heart sing a song of style. It was such a lovely surprise and while these pieces were all under five dollars, I treated myself and some close friends to a little extra sparkle.

Speaking of a little extra sparkle… that’s all that any Style Darling really needs. It doesn’t have to be the holiday season or literal sparkle in the form of jewelry either. Sparkle and lemonade are basically the same metaphors to me: doing one’s best and making the best out of a negative. That’s all that really matters. If the solution results in six pairs of shoes, or a stylish bargain buy that represents who you are as a strong, kind, mindful, creative, beautiful individual, then any lemons along the way are worth their trouble.

Here’s a video of a live performance of “Silver Lining” by one of my favorite country singers, Kacey Musgraves. The silver lining, lemonade, or sparkle aren’t always obvious during an unfortunate circumstance, but I always have faith that I’ll find that positivity. Happy Styling!

Accessories Access: Pom Pom Bags for Spring!


The world is our runway. This phrase couldn’t be truer. When a lot is happening in life, I sometimes feel stuck in my wardrobe, seeking something refreshing & exciting to recreate old favorites & discover new trends to move my style forward. However, inspiration is always just around the corner with every click & keystroke on different social media forums.

This spring is probably my favorite spring ever, possibly because so much in life seems to be aligned personally, & I’m also feeling more confident in my style. This knowledge has also informed my newfound respect & developing radar for how accessories can transform your look. While I’m experimenting most right now with separates (mixing prints & color combinations), I’ve noticed how the playful pom pom movement isn’t going away. This includes all sorts of accessories: bags, shoes, earrings, & necklaces. When so much of spring is about light layers & pastels, pom pom accents make a bold statement without being too over the top.

One easy way to embrace the pom pom is with a straw bag, which is perfect for the everyday Style Darling looking to try something different, as well as for a variety of occasions like a weekend away or luncheon with the girls. Sure, there are plenty of expensive designer options making waves in the fashion world, including selections by (above) Kate Spade New York, Rebecca Minkoff, Loeffler Randall, Alice + Olivia, & Nannacay. When seeking out this look, you certainly don’t have to break the bank since the following styles (below) range in price from $29.99 – $43.00.

SHOP: 1. bag @ASOS, 2. tote @Fayrouzy, 3. tote @Zulily, 4. bag @ASOS, & 5. tote @Stein Mart.

What spring trends are you most interesting in trying? Where do you shop for new seasonal accessories? How much do you invest in trend items? Happy Styling!

Splurge of Save… On Light Blue Suede Ankle Strap Sandals for Spring!


My goal, as of late, when it comes to my everyday outfits and sharing style tips on Style Darling Daily, is try something new. This includes combinations of separates that I hadn’t thought of previously, as well as only investing in special new additions that not only stand apart from other items I already own, but will also serve multiple purposes. I’ve realized that in the past, I’ve sought out dresses, shoes, & more that thrill me in the moment to add to my wardrobe, without considering their need in the long run. In order to better maintain my closet & finances, I’m being much more careful about how I approach styling.

With that, spring is underway & I’m trying to break away from my usual all-black or only black & white routine. Spring is all about soft, light colors, embracing pastels & brighter hues like nobody’s business. When I was recently perusing through my daily barrage of emails from my favorite stores, I saw a shoe trend that I just couldn’t stop thinking about. Normally, I’m not a trend chaser, sticking to what’s classic & works for my specific body type & daily needs. Ankle strap sandals have always been a little tricky. I haven’t been able to find a comfortable pair in recent years, though I’ve written much about the sleek & delicate style (here), but when I saw that so many different designers & retailers were pitching light blue suede ankle strap sandals for spring, my mind was racing with all the styling possibilities—with dresses, pencil skirts, cropped jeans, & so many more!

It doesn’t hurt to have a little celebirty inspiration when it comes to this particular shoe style, showing all the different colors & ways to wear them. This includes German starlet Diane Kruger, supermodel Kendall Jenner, Oscar-winner Emma Stone, blogger / actress Ashley MadekweOrange Is The New Black star Taylor Schilling, & pop star Rihanna

SHOP: 1. Stuart Weitzman nearly nude sandal @Stuart Weitzman, 2. Pelle Moda Bonnie sandal @Zappos, & 3. Steve Madden Carrson sandal @Steve Madden.

SHOP: 4. Jessica Simpson Monrae sandals @DSW, 5. Brash Houston sandal @Payless, & 6. ‘It’s Simple Really’ sandal @GOjane.

We all have different styling expectations & budgets, which is why I wanted to share the six above pairs of shoes, ranging in price from $21 – $400, including some very well-known, quality brands, as well as more affordable options to try this spring for a weekend brunch, Easter with the family, or a fashionable date night look.

For more ankle strap sandals, check out these options in other colors & textures to expand your shoe collection & brave a new shoe adventure!

SHOP: Call It Spring wine velvet sandal @Macy’s, Fiolla pink suede sandal @ALDO, Mossimo Pamela sandal in black @Target, Michael Antonio Lovina sandal in pink @JC Penney, & ‘All Star Cast’ white patent leather sandal @Lulu’s.

How much do you typically spend on trendy items? Do you like to try new colors from season to season? What’s your spring go-to shoe style? Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: My First Day of Spring Outfit!


For at least a good three weeks, I’ve been ready for spring. Here on Long Island, the weather has been so wishy-washy where there’d be an amazing sunny, spring-like day in the 60s, followed by a major yucky blizzard. This happened more than once recently too! My wardrobe has been feeling super bipolar as I’ve been wanting to wear lighter & softer pieces in pastels or florals, but there’s still a need for cozy layers to stay warm, especially since it’s been pretty chilly early in the morning… which brings me to today’s outfit. I don’t normally post a whole outfit that I’ve worn, partially because I don’t have access to a photographer (I live alone) on a daily basis. I’m lucky that my friends & coworkers at both of my jobs can spare a few minutes to indulge my style fancies & help me out with some spur-of-the-moment pics while on the clock, hence the sporadic sharing of whole outfit posts on my Instagram account (@MissAlissaL).

I absolutely love this floral fit-and-flare scuba skirt. It’s a style that I’ve been having a lot of fun with since last fall, one that’s perfect for tucking in with various tops, cinching in my waist & playing up a retro & ladylike vibe with modern flare. I’ve thought about styling this particular skirt in so may ways, pairing it with the different colors in the print, as well as with sparkly accessories. I’ve had the sheer dotted sweater in black (both pieces from @dressbarn) that I hadn’t worn yet. When I saw the two together, the sweater added just enough feminine detail at the neckline to counter the softness of the skirt without being too overpoweringly dark & black at the same time.

The accessories that I’m wearing in the picture above are no longer available (because I’ve had them each for quite some time now), but it’s easy to recreate a similar spring style with affordable look-alike coordinating statement jewelry, polished footwear, & a thin neutral belt. 

SHOP: floral statement necklace @Forever 21, Fola bib necklace @Charming Charlie, flower stud earrings @Francesca’s, & glitter stone drop earrings @Icing.

SHOP: gold trim platform peep toe pumps @Charlotte Russe, patent D’Orsay pumps @Old Navy, snake pointed toe flats @Express, & Hope chopout mid heel @Payless

SHOP: bow belt @Target, skinny mint belt @Lulu’s, gold snake belt @H&M, & black braided belt @JCPenney

What spring trends are you excited to wear this season? What pastel colors do you love? Which accessories do you build your outfit around? Happy Styling!