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!

Accessories Access: Affordable & Cute Cold Weather Must-Haves!


Baby, it’s cold outside, which means that you better bundle up in style! That includes hats, headwraps, scarves, & gloves when facing the brutal change in temperature. Not to mention that for Cyber Monday, there are plenty of great buys to help solve your holiday gift giving dilemma, & why not treat a loved one to something cozy & chic like a pom pomp beanie or luxe infinity scarf? Here in the Northeast, it’s been windy & chilly, which means that I’m not leaving the house without layers of elegant extras that won’t add too much frompy bulk. However, as an avid collector of scarves, I’ve found that when it comes to cold weather accessories, there’s such a variety in colors & textures to create an interesting & stylish outerwear look to play with how you style your go-to winter coat.

SHOP: faux fur pom pom beanie @Forever 21, embellished hat @dressbarn, knit headband @H&M, crochet beret @Icing, cable headwrap @Payless, & earflap pom pom beanie @Target.

SHOP: ribbed infinity scarf @Forever 21, knit tube scarf @H&M, shimmer tassle scarf @dressbarn, leopard oblong fringe scarf @Charlotte Russe, & plaid blanket scarf @Target.

SHOP: waffle knit fingerless gloves @Charlotte Russe, wool blend bow gloves @H&M, textured leather gloves @Forever 21, wool flower glove @Target, & quilted studded gloves @dressbarn.

Happy Styling!

Accessories Access: Holiday Party Circuit Clutches!


‘Tis the season to be glitzy! When you’re getting for your the biggest holiday events, shopping for & coordinating your favorite party dresses & shoes, don’t forget about the all-important clutch, especially when hitting the cocktail party circuit where a bulky bag just won’t do. Investing in a classic, all-purpose clutch bag will serve your wardrobe over & over again, & this time of year, you won’t even have to break the bank for that final finishing piece. Take some inspiration from red carpet pros whose clutch game is on point for any occasion, including Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway, Gigi Hadid, Emma Roberts, Jennifer Hudson, Anna Kendrick, & Kerry Washington

Because it is the holiday season, I scouted the web for party-specific bags that will pop with any look, whether it’s an LBD, sparkly frock, sleek jumpsuit, or fit & flare number. The following selections are $40 & under from some of my favorite retailers that I often turn to when getting my wardrobe state of mind into party mode.

SHOP: Tevolio merlot mesh clutch @Target, Luxe by Carmen Marc Valvo tassel clutch @dressbarn, sequin shoulder bag @H&M, & faux fur pouch @Nordstrom.

SHOP: metallic rhinestone clutch @Francesca’s, burgundy velvet minaudiere @Century 21, wine foldover clutch @Forever 21, & gold ring clutch box @Icing.

Happy Styling!

Accessories Access: Stylish & Sparkling Statement Necklaces ($25 & Under)!


It doesn’t have to be the holiday season for me to wear something sparkly, especially a statement necklace. I’m always curious & mindful about how I’m pairing my accessories together to portray a chic look that isn’t too busy either. I love exploring color & shape combinations over my tops & dresses to rediscover new ways to wear each piece from season to season. Check out (below) some of my favorite recent statement necklace looks (as posted on my Instagram @MissAlissaL).

For those of you who are hesitant about dipping yourself in dripping gems, now is the time to explore the different color & shape possibilities with statement necklaces, as well as bold bib necklaces & collar necklaces. I love surprising myself with how a sparkling piece of jewelry can really make an outfit special, dressed up, & appear a lot more expensive. However, when investing in fashion jewelry, it’s important to choose diverse pieces that you can get the most use from. Try some showstopping stones over a plaid shirt, pearls & beads with a graphic tee, or feminine floral motifs with a heavy knit.

SHOP: 1. braided necklace @Francesca’s, 2. bib necklace @New York & Company, 3. green rhinestone necklace @H&M, & 4. bead & stone statement necklace @Target.

SHOP: 5. flower necklace @Dressbarn, 6. drops statement necklace @Charming Charlie, 7. gem statement necklace @Forever 21, & 8. pearl & crystal statement necklace @Icing.

How often do you wear statement jewelry? Where do you like to shop for the best jewelry bargains? What trends are inspiring your holiday style? Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Trendy & Affordable Fall / Winter Must-Haves!


This time of year is ripe with fashionable possibilities, which is precisely what makes it fun to get dressed in the morning, finding new ways to express your style and personality. Of course, there are challenges when it comes to putting together a chic & effortless fall / winter wardrobe, mainly because of the changing weather, but also, if you’re stuck in a style rut, there are five fall / winter trends that will help elevate your look without having to invest too much cash into passing fashion fads that only work for certain body types. These include: layers, sparkle, prints, jewel tones, & lace. The savviest of Style Darlings can even take some of these trends to create a detailed & unique outfit.

SHOP: turtleneck poncho @Macy’s, plaid blanket scarf @Lord & Taylor, faux fur vest @Old Navy, hooded cape @Zulily, & oversized cardigan @The Limited.

SHOP: embellished sweater @Target, glitter skirt @Wet Seal, statement necklace @Icing, glittery platforms @Charlotte Russe, & sequined satin clutch @Forever 21.

SHOP: plaid shirt @H&M, houndstooth blouse @JCPenney, paisley dress @Forever 21, leopard scarf @Charming Charlie, & floral flats @DSW.

SHOP: velvet wrap dress @ASOS, cold shoulder top @Macy’s, zipper sweater @New York & Company, straight leg pants @The Limited, & midi skirt @Charlotte Russe.

SHOP: dress @H&M, tank @Gap, blouse @New York & Company, choker @Lulu’s, & pumps @Payless.

What fall / winter trend are you thinking about? Where are you shopping for the latest deals & style buys? Happy Styling!

Fab in 4 Ways: A Crochet Skirt for Day, Date, Work, & Weekend!


I recently had a conversation with a friend / coworker about the perks of our job, one being all the styling possibilities for certain items that can be worn for a variety of occasions. Thus the inspiration for this post, I couldn’t help thinking about how quickly the summer is going by, & that fall fashion is currently in stores. Blending the new with the past season while keeping a budget in mind is a very present factor when I’m considering how to build new looks from my wardrobe. Transitioning pieces from season to season is really how you can get the most from your fashionable investment, which can also surprise you when planning a day out with friends, a special date night, what to wear for an important work meeting, as well as when you’re headed away for the weekend. 

It didn’t take long before I came across this versatile crochet scalloped skirt from @Dress Barn (shop misses available in small – large & plus available in 1X – 2X here. I have the skirt from last spring (in more of a creamy ivory tone) & I was stuck on how to style it, especially since there’s so much detail in the crochet of the skirt. Gladly, this design was returning to stores in a neutral taupe, perfect for coordinating for any season. In the fall, try this skirt with knee boots & a chunky sweater, or for winter with a blouse, tights, & ankle booties. However, when thinking about all of the styling possibilities, I’m excited to share four fabulous ways to wear this skirt, including for day, date, work, & weekend. 

Crochet for day.SHOP: misses shirt @Charles Tyrwhitt, Aubrey Brooke wedge @DSW, turquoise bracelet @Charming Charlie, Gabrielle Rocha lobster tote @6PM, square stud earring @White House Black Market, plus shirt @Gap, Naturalizer wedge @DSW, turquoise bracelet @Charming Charlie, Gabriella Rocha nautical tote @6PM, & Jasper stud earring @White House Black Market.

Crochet for date.SHOP: misses cut-out top @Forever 21, strappy heels @GOjane, beaded hoop earrings @Francesca’s, champagne stretch bracelet @Icing, ALDO clutch @Zappos, plus fringe top @Forever 21, chunky platforms @GOjane, drop earrings @Francesca’s, iridescent stretch bracelet @Icing, & Jessica McClintock clutch @Zappos.

Crochet for work.SHOP misses Dana Buchman top @Kohl’s, neutral jacket @Dress Barn, neutral pump @Payless, long necklace @Forever 21, watch @Target, stud earrings @Express, plus Dana Buchman top @Kohl’s, neutral jacket @Dress Barn, pointy toe slingback @Payless, long necklace @Forever 21, watch @Target, & knot stud earrings @Express.

Crochet for weekend.SHOP: misses pocket tee @Charlotte Russe, collar necklace @BaubleBar, printed kimono @Wet Seal, fringe sandal @ModCloth, straw shopper @H&M, plus pocket tee @Charlotte Russe, statement necklace @BaubleBar, printed kimono @Wet Seal, colorblock sandal @ModCloth, & canvas shopper @H&M.

How would you style the crochet skirt? What items do you keep handy all year long? Which staples do you like to reinvent in new ways? Where do you shop for everyday essentials? Happy Styling!

07/18/2016 Darling of the Day: Gwyneth Paltrow in Head-To-Toe Blush!


While summer (for me) is all about a good dress & sandals, I’ve been thinking a whole lot about summer outfits that go beyond the comfy Americana look of a tank & cut-off shorts (an ensemble that never really suited my shape to begin with). However, in an effort to fill my brain with as much fashion as possible (an excellent escape plan for when life is throwing a lot of heartache your way), I’m a little obsessed with Gwyneth Paltrow‘s head-to-toe blush outfit in a blouse & pants by Michael Kors with Chloe Gosselin sandals (shop similar here). The actress & goop entrepreneur made a recent appearance to promote her organic Juice Beauty collection while in Toronto, looking effortless & chic in the pastel hue with minimal jewelry.

Gwyneth Paltrow in a blush silk bow blouse & skinny pants by Michael Kors Collection with pink croc Chloe Gosselin sandals at a Juice Beauty by goop event in Toronto.Usually when I dress in a monochromatic outfit, it’s all-black, easy enough for any shape to pull off since pastels aren’t always figure friendly for the curvier shopper. However, I’m impressed to see so many blush options out there, while keeping a budget in mind, for misses, plus, or petites separates to inspire Gwyneth’s look for when you’re at the office, headed to brunch with family, or a day time party event. Wearing blush as a base color also works for a multitude of accessories options, such as metallics like rose gold, gold, & silver. Also, blush is a luxe foundation for other colors & prints to pop against.

Blush misses, plus, & petites looks.SHOP: MISSES blouse @Forever 21, pants @Boohoo, sandals @Lulu’s, & bangle @Charming Charlie. PLUS blouse @Eloquii, pants @Eloquii, shoes @Clarks, & LC Lauren Conrad bangle @Kohl’s. PETITES blouse @JCPenney, pants @Dorothy Perkins, Steven by Steve Madden Valor sandals @Bloomingdale’s, & bangle @The Limited.

What do you think of Gwyneth Paltrow’s all blush outfit? Do you like to wear monochromatic outfits? What color has been on your mind this summer? For more celebrity inspiration, check out previous posts including pencil skirt options as seen on Kerry Washington & Christina Hendricks, Angelina Jolie’s nude strappy flats, & Blake Lively’s princess street style. Happy Styling!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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