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! 

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!

The Stylish Five: Floral Scarves for Spring!


When it comes to spring fashion, scarves don’t always come to mind first, but they do for me! That’s because I have an enormous scarf collection that I have found much use out of over the years, adding plenty of texture & interest in building a look with a denim jacket over a dress, for example. Scarves are not just limited to one’s neck & for outerwear accessorizing too! Most of the time, I wear a light weight scarf knotted or bowed around my purse to give said every day carryall a little extra splash of style. You can play up a floral scarf with the colors in your outfit, as well as matching other hues of your bag. Here are five examples, ranging in price, but each offers a little something different in terms of color combinations & styling possibilities.

SHOP: abstract floral scarf @Ann Taylor, fuchsia floral scarf @dressbarn, floral & print scarf @Target, woven floral scarf @H&M, & meadow oblong scarf @White House Black Market.

To expand on my scarf-bag theory, here are a few combinations to consider when assembling your next spring outfit. This not only serves fashion, but utility as well. In case you’re chilly, but you hadn’t needed it earlier, it’s right there on your bag!

SHOP: blue dew scarf @DSW, striped Dana Buchman Bella tote @Kohl’s, square tulip scarf @LOFT, bucket backpack @Charlotte Russe, floral fringe scarf @Gap, & faux leather white tote @Forever 21.

Do you wear scarves in the spring? Where do you like to shop for spring accessories? Do you coordinate with your purse on a daily basis? 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!

Accessories Access: Laser Cut Handbags, Shoes, & Belts for Spring!


In getting ready for spring (because it still isn’t here on Long Island—though we experienced two very magical spring-ish days before massive blizzards hit), I’m looking ahead, specifically to the trends I can’t wait to explore. One of the easiest ways to get into the mood of a new season is with accessories. My goal is to turn to some staple & classic pieces that I’ve collected from past seasons for my own looks. However, for some inspiration, I love seeing what’s new & stylish in stores & online right now to get me even more into a spring state of mine. Since I’m always interested in ways to mix patterns & textures to create a detailed & sophisticated look, I love the idea of laser cut accessories, which are typically faux leather, modern & feminine, & created in soft & neutral tones, to offset bold hues, floral prints, & abstract color combinations, especially when it comes to handbags, shoes, & belts. To achieve an affordable & fashionable take on spring, I’ve scoured the web & some of my favorite go-to stores to find the chicest ways to elevate your outfit, as well as help Style Darlings to transition from these last remaining chilly winter days & into a brighter & lighter spring style.

SHOP: black & white tote @dressbarn, nude scalloped crossbody @ASOS, beige handbag @Target, & white Western crossbody @Express.

SHOP: blue pointy toe flats @GOjane, white d’Orsay flats @Old Navy, black Darlene flats @Target, & blush dress sandals @Charlotte Russe

SHOP: pink stretch belt @Charming Charlie, bone skinny belt @Old Navy, & black faux leather belt @Banana Republic

What spring trends are you most excited to wear? Where do you shop to refresh your wardrobe from season-to-season? What neutral accessories do you like best? Happy Styling!

Style Resolutions: Shopping Your Own Closet!


Happy belated 2017, Style Darlings! Hope you’re having just as wonderful and smiley a year as I’m having! The proof is in my Instagram traffic, with a whopping 900 followers as of today! I couldn’t be happier about the progress I’m making in spreading the joy of living the stylish life, one positively coiffed day at a time!

I’ve had a great deal of time since the holidays to consider the goals I want to achieve this calendar year, especially when so many new adventures and responsibilities are headed my way. The countless windows of opportunity are open to me in all personal and professional aspects of life, which is why this year, more than any other, will be MY year. Of course, it’s possible that anyone with a keyboard and Wi-Fi connection is declaring just such ownership of 2017 (I mean, I can share)… or perhaps the public is more concerned with other crucial national / international issues regarding where our country is headed. Not to be an ostrich in the sand given the clamorous climate during this weekend’s emotional marches, but I know that the best way I can be true to myself as an American woman, the woman I want to be, and the woman I want my readers to know, is to just be me, to talk about the magic that is life, love, positivity, inspiration, fashion, and all things creative—all the things that give me hope.

You may begin to wonder (if you’re out there reading and wondering at all) where this Style Darling chick is going with this setup of resolutions? The title of this post basically points to “shopping your own closet” (and I’ll be getting to that more directly in just a moment, so please bear with me). Well, the arsenal of style that I have packed away on hangers, stuffed under my bed, and still stored at my parents’ house from over three years ago are the external representations of what I wish to express as my hopes for this year. On the inside, the strength that I’ve recovered from thirty three years of life experience has allowed me a much greater and more valuable inventory, if you will, of knowledge that I will claim as much as I possibly can. When I’m putting together an outfit. When I’m making my morning tea. When I’m listening to the La La Land soundtrack. When I’m tutoring students about syntax. When my hand is held while hustling through the streets of New York City. And for every lovely moment in between. That knowledge simply includes the promise that I will embrace the richness of every day. I will be present. I will speak up. I will appreciate the time I have to myself and with my loved ones. I will always be my best self; both the world and I deserve it.

In doing so, there are also some worries that make the drive to win the year a little more challenging. Among these, finances are always on my mind, which is why I’m committed to better shopping resolutions, only seeking unique and special must-haves unlike anything I currently own, as well as reinvesting and shopping my very full and fashionable closet with favorite wardrobe staples. In a conscious effort to mind my spending, I’m looking at how unexpected pieces can be played down and how basics can be styled up.

Since I have the liberty of taking my style into my hands at both of my jobs, as an educator and stylist, I’m free to explore what inspires me on social media, in magazines, from the people around me, and within my imagination. However, it has been quite the exercise in self-control since I will no longer, at the swift swipe of my credit card, buy any and every affordable sparkly thing I see online or in stores. No matter how sparkly it is. Really. I’m certainly not punishing myself for past indulgences, but in moving forward to wherever the future takes me, I hallucinate a little bit that I’ll end up being a real-life Miss Havisham of the 21st century, but of the clothing hoarder variety.

And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for… I’ve also recently been very careful about what I look at when it comes to seeking out style inspiration in stores and online, because it is oh-so tempting. However, I found the below affordable and chic graphic tees (gray, cream, black, & navy) from Old Navy for $15.00. I was immediately inspired to give these t-shirts the style blogger treatment they deserve, especially since I’m all about Prosecco and Paris. Upon discovering these tops, I went on a sort-of text rant about how they should have been presented on the Facebook post I initially saw them on, but also in how they are so plainly styled on the website.  

graphic-tees-earrings graphic-tees-necklaces

A simple pop of jewelry takes these tees to the next level, while staying true to any mix of ladylike and modern style where casual meets cool. In addition, to build a budget-friendly shopper-savvy collection, these tees are perfect for Style Darlings of any size, ranging from XS-XXL in each of the designs. As for the jewelry (filigree earrings, drop earrings, choker, & statement necklace) from Forever 21, there’s no better place to shop when selecting something special, while also saving some cash instead of splurging on luxury sparkles.

To take these tees even further, think beyond your favorite pair of skinny jeans and try a sequin pencil skirt with a denim jacket, or a midi skirt and blazer. Also, when it comes to footwear, t-shirts are always compatible with ankle booties, ballet flats, strappy sandals, and knee boots. If you need further proof, just click around on Pinterest and take a fashion risk!

That’s all from me. Have questions? Have inspiration you wanna chat about? Let’s hear it. Happy 2017 and Happy Styling!

Holiday Gift Style: Embellished Cardigans!


One of my latest obsessions this season, to pair with my other obsession: the pencil skirt, is an embellished cardigan. I’ve always been a cardigan girl, opting for the softness of a button-down topper that could be mixed & matched with skirts, jeans, pants, & even over a dress. This is the perfect season for just such a cardigan, one with dazzling sequins, beads, & stones, in designs inspired by a winter wonderland, feminine florals, or holiday sparkle. There are plenty of high-end cardigans on the market, but as always, I’ve selected some style that will surely fit any budget & heighten your holiday ensemble!

SHOP: black cardigan @dressbarn, cream cardigan @Target, red pearl crewneck cardigan @New York & Company (also available in black & white in sizes XS – XXL), red jewel collar cardigan @Walmart (also available in black, gray, & ivory in sizes S-XXL), heather cardigan @Macy’s (also available in pink & ivory in sizes XS-XXL), & black embellished neck cardigan @Nordstrom Rack (also available in gray in sizes S-XL).

Happy Styling!