Show Me the Shoes: Velvet Ankle Strap Heels on Sale Now!


I have a lot to look forward to as season transitions from summer to fall. My birthday is coming up, I’m returning my primary job after summer vacation, it’s my boyfriend’s birthday, & we’re headed to some pretty major celebrations all in a matter of a month. With that, I’m very budget-conscious & plan to reinvent wardrobe favorites with stylish accessory combinations, in an effort to avoid buying new pieces. However, when I saw the Delphine velvet ankle strap heels @Nine West, I became really excited at the idea of wearing luxe gray or pretty blush shoes as neutrals to my planned party dresses.

Right now, Nine West is clearing out their spring & summer shoes with amazing clearance discounts. These Delphine evening sandals were originally $99.00 & they’re currently on sale for $29.99, available in sizes 5.5-10. The ankle strap sandal trend isn’t going away, especially as we head into the holidays. Wearing a regal textured shoe is also a stylish way to extend the life of cocktail dresses, dressy separates, & chic street style pieces.

Do you wear the same pair of shoes for every special occasion? Do you invest into textured, unique pieces for events? How much do you spend on end of the season shoes? Where do you shop for your favorite footwear? Happy Styling!

Cover Craze: Jennifer Lawrence for Vogue’s September Issue!


It’s that time of the summer when fall fashions are not just hitting stores, but also magazines too! September issues of fashion mags are perhaps the most highly acclaimed, ad-heavy, & competitive in capturing beautiful images of today’s most famous style icons. Vogue is celebrating their 125th anniversary as Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence graces the cover with photos from a slew of creative visionaries including artist John Currin, as well as photographers Annie Leibovitz, Inez & Vinoodh, & Bruce Weber.

Jennifer is clad is designer fashions & accessories including Miu Miu, Ralph Lauren Collection, Cathy Waterman, Tiffany & Co., Elsa Peretti, Dior, Eli Halili, Versace, & David Yurman.

During the interview, Jennifer discusses her love of reality television, the consequences of fame & judgment, as well as her upcoming projects. This includes her new film, Mother!, directed by Darren Aronofsky (& her current beau), as well as films working with Steven Spielberg & that rumored collaboration with Amy Schumer.

Which September issue are you most excited to see? Which stars are your favorites for magazine covers? Are you going to see her new film Mother!? Happy Styling!

Accessories Access: Big Bargain Baubles!


Summer is typically the season of the big earring (for me) since I don’t love feeling heavy metals layered on my skin during a humid & sticky day. However, when I’m headed to work or for a special occasion with friends, knowing that I’ll be in air conditioning changes the way I think about my outfit & accessories. I’ve been spotting so many gorgeous statement & bib necklaces lately, each that are perfect for these last days of summer in fun pops of color & whimsical designs. Also, discounted prices play a big role in what I’m willing to invest in, especially as my accessories collection grows!

SHOP: hammered gold coin necklace @Francesca’s, black teardrop stone necklace @Target, poppy collar necklace @BaubleBar, & floral bib necklace @Charming Charlie.

Statement necklaces definitely do make a statement, which can be anything from elegance, confidence, & a chic sensibility. Even though they’re bold, statement necklaces work for outfits that include both patterns & solids, creating an interesting, layered look. Try one of these affordable options over a little black dress, printed maxi dress, blouse & jeans, or graphic tee & leather mini.

Do you like to wear statement necklaces? Which colors do you gravitate towards? What metals are your favorite to wear? How do you style bold accessories? Happy Styling!

SHOP NOW! Project Runway’s New Collection for JCPenney!


Tonight marks the sixteenth season premiere of Lifetime’s Project Runway, the Emmy-winning series that showcases up-and-coming fashion designers who are challenged by time crunches & unconventional materials to create beautiful art. I’ve been watching the show since the very beginning, enthralled by the creative process & style inspiration. In celebration of the show’s newest season, JCPenney has debuted a new Project Runway Collection inspired by season 15 winner, Erin Robertson. The line features a fun & playful mix of separates & dresses in plaid scuba, yellow lace, & classic black lace to be mixed with street style favorites & elegant must-haves. The affordable & fashionable collection ranges in sizes XS-XXL & is priced between $24.99 (when on sale) – $44. Here are just a few of my top picks & I can’t wait to shop these pieces in stores, checking out their fit & the many ways to wear them with my current wardrobe staples.

SHOP: top, top, top, & top.

SHOP: top, skirt, & skirt.

If you haven’t already seen what’s to come on the newest season of Project Runway, check out the trailer below to get a first glance at the runway fashions & all the behind-the-runway drama!

Are you a fan of Project Runway? Are you excited about the newest season premiere? What fall trends are you loving? Where are you shopping for the newest fashions? Happy Styling!

Show Me the Shoes: Pretty in Pink Flats!


In its fairest shade, pink is a neutral, perfect for matching up with nearly any spring, summer, or fall outfit. I myself do love a rose gold flat with some black tights, if the look demands it, in the winter too! And why shouldn’t a blush shoe be a neutral? It works very well for the upcoming fall season as well with a slew of hues, including navy, chocolate, olive, charcoal, burgundy, cobalt, mustard, hunter green, & so many more!  

With all that build up, it’s no surprise that the pretty pink flats I’m featuring are not only pretty & pink, but also, they’re versatile considering their texture & design. I’ve never been a huge fan of the pink family, but over the years, my heart has started to skip a stylish beat when I see some rose gold jewelry. That’s extended into eyeshadow & accessories like shoes & belts too. However, for fall, take a look at these dressy, luxe, & feminine designs @Charlotte Russe to inspire a pop of pink where you might not have previously.

SHOP: rose gold ponty toe flats, ankle strap patent flats, ruffle velvet flats, & bowed d’Orasay flats @Charlotte Russe.

What’s your go-to shoe color? Do you wear dressy ballet flats? Where are you shopping for the trendiest footwear this season? How do you like to wear pink? Happy Styling!

Splurge or Save… on Lace Up Ballet Flats?


This time of the summer is when retailers are rearing to go with the newest fall items for shoppers to clamor over. This includes trend items that might not stand the test of time, but there are definitely some worth seeking. For inspiration on the best of the newest arrivals for the next season, it’s easy to turn to luxury designers & brands. Those styles trickle down the price point pole & then look-alike items finally become affordable for a Style Darling on a budget.

One example is the lace-up ballet flat, a stylish option to help transition your wardrobe from summer to fall. The below styles range in prices from $685 (wowie!) to $24.99. These are examples of the next level of the ballet flat craze that’s obviously not going anywhere. What will designers think of next? A black ballet flat doesn’t have to be basic anymore, especially when styled with a little black dress or blouse & silk shorts ensemble.SHOP: 1. Gianvito Rossi flats @Neiman Marcus, 2. Sam Edelman flats @Bloomingdale’s, 3. MICHAEL Michael Kors flats @Macy’s, 4. lace-up flats @LOFT, & 5. SO flats @Kohl’s.

Which designers do you follow & invest in? What trends do you buy for less? Where are your favorite places to shop for shoes? What are you most looking forward to wearing for fall? Happy Styling!

Style Tip: No Ordinary Stripe Tops for Summer & Fall!


Whenever I see a garment or item, the imaginative wardrobe archive in my mind starts churning out options of how to style it. I love considering how a statement necklace can be worn with both a dress and blouse, as well as how a jacket can transform other separates. It’s very rare that I invest in an item that I can only wear one way, although there are some outfits that I’ve repeated because it just feels perfect, which is usually the case, I find, with summer clothing.

I was immediately inspired by the jersey top with ruffles @H&M as soon as I saw it an email I recently received. I began to consider its styling possibilities. I love the subtle ruffle sleeve detail, which elevates it as a trend piece above other long sleeve tops. I was a little hesitant to share this one top specifically & singularly because it is only available in sizes XS – XL. I’ve been on a mission to blog about pieces that can reach readers of any size or shape, which is why I set out to find another trendy red & white striped top for plus size shoppers too. That’s how I found the Belle + Sky off the shoulder top @JCPenney, another unique & fashionable shirt that’s a step above the ordinary stripe tee & can transform your summer style.

However, when looking at clothes, I also like to consider how many seasons a piece is relevant for, which is why I’m styling both tops with affordable options for the summer (because there is still plenty of the season left to enjoy!) and fall (an exciting time to play with texture).

SHOP SUMMER: zipper skirt @H&M, sandal flats @Payless, grape pom pom tote @Forever 21, palm tree earrings @Charming Charlie, & hammered gold necklace @Charming Charlie. SHOP FALL: ankle jeans @dressbarn, suede d’Orsay flats @Nine West, utility vest @Target, triangle studs @Charming Charlie, & satchel @Charming Charlie.

Stripes should never be feared by any shopper, especially when an off the shoulder trendy top is both flattering and versatile when headed to a night on the boardwalk or with a fall business casual ensemble.

SHOP SUMMER: shorts @Old Navy, wedges @Francesca’s, heart clutch @Express, necklace @Express, & charm bracelet @Forever 21. SHOP FALL: pixie pants @Old Navy, denim jacket @Lane Bryant, satchel @dressbarn, BCBGeneration heels @DSW, LC Lauren Conrad stud earrings @Kohl’s, & @LC Lauren Conrad layered pendant necklace @Kohl’s.

What items do you carryover from season to season? Where do you like to shop for trendy tops? What’s your philosophy on rewearing pieces in new ways? Do you like preppy & classic red & white stripes? For more fashionable posts, check out Charming Charlie’s pretty $5 stud earrings, Rachel Bilson’s Old Navy denim inspiration, cute olive pieces to transition from summer to fall, & the only navy heels you’ll ever need. Happy Styling!

SHOP NOW! The Prettiest Stud Earrings for $5!


I. Love. Jewelry.

Obviously.

With that, I’m always on the lookout for a little something extra to add some sparkle to my daily look. More than statement necklaces (which might be hard to believe), I’m all about earrings. I have five piercings in each ear, so I’m always playing around with what I like to call either a cocktail or bouquet of studs to create a pretty & interesting design of earrings each & every day. These studs usually range in flowers, sparkles, stones, & other objects like fruits or animals to make a seriously stylish look a little more playful & humorous.

A pair of earrings that I recently discovered & love is the opaque shimmer solitaire studs @Charming Charlie. Not only are these amazing & versatile studs $5, but they’re available in 23 colors!

Which color is your favorite? Do you like to wear big statement studs? How would you style these earrings? What’s your budget for fashion jewelry? Happy Styling!

08/05/2017 Darling of the Day: Rachel Bilson is Neutral Chic in Denim!


Contrary to popular style belief, sometimes the most fashionable looks aren’t necessarily the fanciest. I’m of the mindset that style should exist on the daily & even on my most casual of days off, I take care of myself in the best way I know how—comfortably! Still, on those days, I have things to do like see my family or prepare a dinner date night with my boyfriend, so even if I give my face a break & go makeup-free, I like to put together an easy breezy outfit (comfy top & jeans perhaps) with unexpected twists (usually in the form of accessories).

Actress Rachel Bilson is showing her casual style with a combination of no-fuss neutrals with denim, heather gray, tan, black & silver during a sunny afternoon in Beverly Hills. Typically, one might not think these colors work together, but the Nashville / former Hart of Dixie / The O.C. it-girl knows how to style even the simplest seeming looks, especially with Old Navy’s $40 Rockstar skinny jeans! Earlier in the week, I featured Blake Lively mixing her high-low look with the same jeans in a darker wash!

SHOP: tee @JCPenney (shop plus here), jeans @Old Navy, sunglasses @Target, hoop earrings @Charming Charlie, satchel @Charming Charlie, & Trope sandals by Steve Madden @DSW.

Where do you like to shop for you favorite go-to jeans? Are you a fan of Old Navy’s Rockstar skinny denim? Which celebrity style appeals most to you? For more fashionable celebrity posts, check out how to recreate looks from Blake Lively & Jennifer Lawrence, as well as mixed prints on Jamie Chung & Olivia Palermo. Happy Styling!

Color Me Style: All You Need is Olive!


One color that works well to transition from spring to summer & summer to fall is olive. It’s an earthy neutral, sometimes referred to as khaki green, that looks luxe against gold accessories or with rich leather. Also, olive touches in cargo separates offer a dressed down & utilitarian feel to more formal pieces like a sequin skirt or little black dress, presenting new options to standards in your wardrobe rotation. Olive is also a fashionable alternative to pair with denim to channel a bohemia look, additional neutrals like navy or chocolate for a layered & details ensemble, as well as pastels in peach or pink for a blend of warmth & femininity.

SHOP: shirt dress @H&M, wrap dress @Kohl’s (available in sizes XS-XXL), crochet tank @Target, twill jacket @Old Navy, Audrey Brooke Viv sandal @DSW, G by Guess Beaut wedge sandal @DSW, cargo jogger pants @White House Black Market, & high low mini skirt @dressbarn.

What colors are your favorite to wear each season? Where do you shop for your favorite trends? Do you like to mix cargo separates with other wardorbe pieces? Which of the above bargain finds is your favorite? Happy Styling! 

Watch This Style: Zac Posen’s ‘House of Z’ Documentary Trailer!


Summer is a great time for fashion, especially when it comes to scoping out what our favorite celebrities are wearing in their street style on vacation & for blockbuster movie premieres on the red carpet. It’s August & we’re basking in the post-Met Gala glow of the finest in fashion, preparing for Fashion Week in September, all for the harried & sparkly zen that is keeping up with awards season. One name among all the frenzy that is constantly impressing in the world of fashion is designer Zac Posen.

In the newest trailer for the fashion documentary House of Z, fashion lovers catch a glimpse of Posen’s career triumphs, devastating struggles, & return to fame. There’s nothing I love more than a fashion doc, which is why I’m super excited to learn more about Posen’s creative process & journey. The Project Runway judge / creative director of Brooks Brothers is an unstoppable force whose story teaches viewers that if you have a dream, you must go on & continue creating.

In the video below during an interview with BUILD Series, Posen discusses the documentary’s development, his familial strain, his favorite red carpet moments, & how the film served as therapy when revisiting his past troubles in the industry.

Zac Posen’s impact on the red carpet continues to make waves, especially on celebrities like Heidi Klum, Claire Danes, Reese Witherspoon, Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, January Jones, Eva Longoria, Lena Dunham, Amanda Seyfried, & Sofia Vergara

House of Z premieres on Vogue.com on September 6th. I know I’ll be watching! What is your favorite Zac Posen red carpet moment? Are you going to watch the fashion documentary? How do you express your creativity? Happy Styling!

SHOP NOW! The Only Navy Heels You’ll Ever Need!


For this summer, I’ll admit that my shoe game isn’t always the win that it could be, mostly because I’m always on the go, whether I’m headed to work, hitting up a local festival, & running errands, all while beating the heat. I’ve stuck to my favorite ballet flats, flip-flops, & most sparkling sandal flats, saving my high heels & wedges for only the most very special of occasions. This means that I haven’t made good use out of all my heels this summer (I’m nodding a bit in style shame), but comfort is also such a big deal because I’d never want how my feet feel to dictate if I’m having a good time while out with my beau or working the day away. With this, there’s one thing I can’t deny—a shoe sale!

That brings me to the Taylor cut-out tie heels @dressbarn in navy. I have the blush pair, which were such a big hit when I wore them this spring (though quantities are now very slim fr the paler neutral). I had no idea that the heels also came in a navy—a tricky color for those all-blue looks when you just don’t know what to wear since navy is uncommon, as opposed to a go-to black option. I love that these heels (originally $45 & now they’re only $14.99 on sale!) are so feminine & fancy, while also lending a modern edge when matched with a fit & flare dress, blouse & skinny jeans, or graphic tee & denim skirt. Like I always say, “Oh the styling possibilities!

Keep in mind that this time of year is one of the best to shop for in-season sale items, especially when there are so many coupons available (don’t delete those emails!) to get you some extra discounts on stylish finds, just like these heels! While all the fall goodies are hitting the racks, retailers are marking down perfectly wearable summer pieces (though varieties & sizes might be limited) that can elevate your summer style with bargain-priced shoes, a statement necklace, flirty shirt dress, or an on-trend, off the shoulder top.

Where are you shopping for you best seasonal sale items? Would you wear these navy heels? Do you like the lace-up cut-out trend on footwear? What’s your end of the summer shopping budget? For some more affordable shopping tips, check out previous posts, including my recent adventure in pattern mixing, summer vacation  must-haves, my favorite new summer-to-fall transition sweater, super cute clearance buys @TJMaxx, & colorful pom pom bags! Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: Black & White Pattern Mixing!


When it comes to putting together an outfit, one of two things will happen for me. First, I’ll plan ahead of time for a special occasion what I’d like to wear to honor or celebrate whatever the event is—& I won’t budge away from that outfit idea. On the other hand, for day-to-day styling, I simply go by however I feel. I consider the weather, how long of a work day is ahead of me, where I’m headed socially, as well as how I’m feeling health-wise to measure how much I’m willing to fuss with a garment. While it might look like a lot goes into an outfit, sometimes spur of the moment ideas hit me & I’ve created something unique & detailed.

However, when I want to experiment with my wardrobe to try something new with staple items (usually a cardigan, belt, statement necklace, or dress), my instincts lead me to pattern mixing, which is just my kind of fashion risk & something that I’ve happily & successfully explored over the last year. I love discovering the result of pairing stripes with florals or animal prints with polka dots, as well as metallics with chevron, just to have some fun while reinventing old favorites in a new way. When taking a fashion leap just such as this, I make sure that accompanying items are subtle, such as a patent leather flat, black pant, or opaque tights.

Last week, I was inspired to play with some new fall finds from dressbarn, pieces that are also perfect for a cool summer afternoon too. As soon as I saw the black & white tiered floral blouse & diamond print ankle pants, I knew I loved them, but hadn’t immediately thought of putting the pieces together. A black & white color combination is possibly my favorite because of its timeless & clean vibe for any season. When I play around with mixing patterns, I always keep in mind that the best way to execute an ensemble is by keeping with the color scheme. I added an extra special touch to finish off the look with my older floral printed pointy toe flats (shop similar here), a classic denim jacket (shop here), & silver jewelry (shop similar here) since the busy patterns need neutral companion accessories.

Of course, either of these pieces can be styled in multiple ways. For example, the blouse would look cute with a  pretty pink cardigan & skinny jeans, but it can also be a flirty option for night with a blazer & leather leggings. The printed ankle pants are screaming for a pop of color with a bold yellow tank & cobalt heels, or with a red turtleneck for fall & embellished ballet flats.

SHOP: cardigan @New York & Company, skinny jeans @Old Navytop @Nordstrom Rack, & heels @DSW.

For a little more black & white mixed print inspiration, here are a few more pieces in classic patterns like polka dots, stripes, floral, & houndstooth to get you thinking about all the ways to wear these two very versatile & chic colors.

SHOP: sweater @H&M, pants @YOOX, blouse @Maurice’s, & skirt @New York & Company.

Lastly, when seeking some style inspiration, I usually turn to Pinterest, which is where I can find some amazing red carpet & street style shots of my favorite fashionista celebrities who are experimenting on the daily, just like me, when it comes to mixing prints. Some admirable & professional pattern pushers are style icons Olivia Palermo, Solange Knowles, & Jamie Chung.

Look how each of these fashion forward ladies uses neutrals to play up the busier pieces of their outfits, while also offering a sense of balance among the stylish chaos of their outfits. Olivia uses a black blazer as a topper, as well as gold ankle strap heels for some glamorous edge. Solange is all about yellow with her handbag & cropped pants. Finally, Jamie’s gray booties & black heels complete her effortless looks.

Do you like to mix patterns in your outfits? What questions do you have about this risk-taking outlook? Which celebrities do you turn to for style inspiration? How do you feel about the classic black & white trend? Happy Styling!

 

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!