Inside a Style Blogger’s Closet: Professor Style Then & Now!


The picture from 2017 was taken in front of my parents’ house in Lake Grove for my first day of teaching (as Professor LeClair) a college class & I had no idea the path I was about to fashionably forge or how my life would change over the next 5 years! When I recently uncovered the tropical dress from deep storage (that I was unable to unpack or even mentally tackle for a good 2 years), I remembered that I hadn’t worn the dress since that very first, nerve-wracking day of a career I never wanted; however, with the launch of my sixth academic year as an English professor (as Professor Gambino), I thought it was “fitting” to break it out again.

Of course, I accessorized it differently, opting for white accents & skipped the belt, but it’s good to know that 40 or do classes later, I still got it! The top picture on the right was taken this morning, a beautiful summer morning as the buzz of academia awaited me & called so many back to their jobs after a long break. I’d like to look back on both of these moments as bursting with possibility & new starts, reminding myself that they do come back around, even when it seems like fate has stuck you in a never-ending cycle.

Ultimately, recycling old favorites to make them feel new again & doing my very best to live the stylish life (one day at a time) are goals that I hope to uphold now that I’ve reclaimed a part of myself (& my style) in finally having my wardrobe where I want it to be. Stay tuned for more detailed updates on the unveiling of my cloffice (a.k.a. Style Darling Daily headquarters).

As for the outfit: The dress is an oldie from my stylist days @Dressbarn, as is the black bolero. The recent picture includes a @New York & Company cardigan & @Ardene flats, as well as oldie @Dressbarn drop earrings.

Happy Styling!

Living in Style: The Perfect Organizer for Watches, Bracelets, Bangles, & Cuffs from Amazon!


This past weekend was especially productive as I beat the heat & stayed indoors with my daughter who helped me organize my expansive jewelry collection, including my extra abundant & sparkly watch & bracelet collection, thanks to years of working in retail & a lot of shopping indulgence during my bachelorette days.

About 3 weeks ago, I posted about organizing my statement necklaces, using a gray display stand from Target. Without even attempting to coordinate my growing inventory of storage & organization items, I found a companion pair of velvet bracelet & watch holders. My goal is to have as much as I can visible, so that I can assess what to donate during this process, but also, what to keep! On a day-to-day basis, I need to actually see what I have so I can to choose it & wear it, beyond it just taking up space in my cloffice & remaining ignored from my wardrobe & accessory rotation.

However, with the 2-pack of Diommell velvet bracelet holder with 3-tier rack jewelry display stand watch bangle bar necklace storage organizer in gray @Amazon ($32.99), I was able to sort out the watches by metal / band color (rose gold, gold, silver, & white), although some of them are in desperate need of repair & cleaning after being boxed up for so long.

Also, I appreciate that the pair of stands are made in 7 soft separate pieces that are easy to assemble & disassemble for when picking out what to wear on a tired night before work or hurried morning getting ready.

The below pictured stand with my watches & cuffs doesn’t have a proper shelf in my cloffice, yet so these will be sitting pretty on my desk until shelving is in place. Also, I was able to fit 24 watches of varying size on it & I have 2 more that will be added to the stand once the bands are repaired. For the picture, though, the stand is sitting on my couch!

Yes, all the watches read different times because all of the batteries are dead, having been in storage for over 2 years. Have no fear, they will stylishly tick again!

For the $32.99 price, I was pleased that there were 2 stands, so that I could devote another one entirely to my stretch bracelets as well. This makes my styling time much more efficient & I am reminded of what I have on a regular basis so as not to buy repeats, no matter the deal or how pretty they may be!

Having worked from home for 15 months & keeping my accessorizing at a bare minimum, I’m so happy to be reunited with these stylish pieces & inspired to explore how to incorporate them into my everyday looks. Although, I just have to decide if the day will be a “watch day” or a “bracelet day” as I prefer to keep my right wrist free since I write with my right hand. Oh, the drama! Also, I still have to revisit the bracelet stand to be much more meticulous about sorting the colorful bracelets by bead color.

How do you organize your accessories? What kind of jewelry do you indulge in the most? What organization or storage items do you have that you can’t live without? For more stylish posts, check out: a fashion flashback with the late Olivia Newton-John, Stranger Things‘ Sadie Sink on the September cover of FASHION magazine, & the trailer for Selena Gomez’s 4th season of Selena + Chef! Happy Styling!

Introducing… Professor Mommy Style Darling


As 2018 winds down, I can’t help but reflect on how much my life has changed in the last year. As some of you may or may not have noticed, I took a yearish-long break from the blog grind. This was because my life and priorities changed drastically. While I have always adored all things about fashion and exploring my personal style (this will never truly go away), I was faced with little to no time to regularly document my outfits, nor was I able to take a breath to seek inspiration in new trends to compose daily posts. Developing my blog and establishing a relevant online presence in the world of fashion blogging had long been a goal of mine. I believed that I had an empire to build, one blog post at a time. I relished in the challenge and was hungry for it every moment of every day. But sometimes, a curveball changes everything.

I became a college English professor. Teaching was never a dream of mine, but once offered the position (with five days to spare on my birthday weekend to create an entire syllabus for a Developmental Writing course for struggling student writers), taking the next professional step just made sense. Life before academia had been great, albeit static. I felt I had all the time in the world to blog and post on social media about every fashionable thing I experienced. I was content in the steady craziness that was my weekly schedule because it was what I’d become accustomed to for so long.

Upon accepting to teach the class, I dove right into the responsibility to mold young minds (with the very spare basics of writing) and it became utterly overwhelming. My respect for education has always been held in the highest regard since I’d been a perpetual student until I earned my Masters degree in 2016. Because of this new job, I turned into a maniac with lesson planning and preparing assignments—ever the perfectionist Virgo that I am. Just like with exploring my wardrobe, I was obsessed with the details of a topic and strengthening my grammar muscle. I couldn’t sleep until everything I was about to hand out to students was proofread, articles had been vetted for reliability, and questions were answered by colleagues to help guide me. If I had even a spare minute on the computer, it was completely dedicated to research and class prepping. I feared not knowing what I was doing in the classroom.

It all started with one class (at the college where I’d been regularly tutoring for about five years), but then it turned into two more classes at another college (with barely a whole weekend to prepare). By the end of 2017, I’d been working four different jobs (teaching three classes at two colleges, tutoring part-time during the week, and styling part-time—mostly on weekends). Once 2017 wrapped up, I was offered a full-time professor position teaching English at one of the colleges. Style Darling Daily seemed to be fading in my rearview mirror.

Just when I was getting my feet wet with the new job, 2018 also threw me for a personal loop as well. I was engaged, moving, pregnant, and planning a summer wedding. Don’t get me wrong—these were all good things that took up my time and changed my life, but no matter how much preparation I put into my career, the off-the-clock hours flew by faster than I believed was possible.Chris and I were married in July and our daughter, Melanie, was born in September. Our wedding was beautiful and I couldn’t have been happier with those memories. Melanie is healthy and growing happier every single day. She keeps us busy and laughing all the time. However, after her birth, I spent the better part of two months in pajamas, sometimes forgetting to wash my face—I was so tired, uninspired, and getting dressed was the last thing on my mind. Though, I wanted more than anything to dip my toes back into my Style Darling routine to regain a sense of my identity that no longer seemed feasible while adjusting to life as a mother.Not to mention, my perception of my body changed. I lost all my baby weight rather quickly, mostly because I choose catching up on sleep over eating when presented a few hours of reprieve when the baby was sleeping or help had arrived. I accepted the fact that the shape of my body had changed, but it made making decisions about how to get dressed in the morning (when I did return to work eight weeks later) difficult. For so long, I relied on staples to mix and match for my pre-baby figure. Fit was never anything I had to consider since my arsenal of go-to pieces was constantly at the ready. I had a uniform in place and could automatically put together an outfit; excitement came with pattern mixing, glitzing it up, and reinventing old favorites.

Post-baby, I could still wear the same dresses I had previously, although my collection of tights was no longer viable because they were all too small for me. My maternity leave occurred in the transition from summer to fall and I had a whole closet flip to conduct before returning to work. Also, the pants I’d searched high and low for (pants were always the enemy—I’m a dress girl) were too snug around my healing middle. I was uncomfortable wearing anything tight to put pressure on my C-section incision. Lastly, time to get ready in the morning is even less available, so I have to plan a week’s worth of work outfits in a hurried and harried 20-minute span the weekend before, if I can.

Just to clarify, all of the above information is not shared with resentment or unhappiness. After years of dating the wrong guys and waiting around for the next big thing to happen to me, everything fell right into place when it was supposed to. I am lucky. I thank my lucky stars for Chris’ love and patience with me, my family’s unyielding support, and every one of Melanie’s cheeky smiles.

I’ve figured out (for now, at least) that I can take a minute to breathe and think usually in between classes, while driving home, or feeding the baby for the now one time she wakes up in the middle of the night. I’m excited to seek out inspiration again for Style Darling Daily—taking baby steps (pun intended), of course. I want my daughter to grow up seeing me take care of myself, especially in how I present myself to the world. I want her to play in my closet one day and ask me about the purple leopard print cardigan (that I wore on my second date with her father) or those seashell stud earrings (that I commandeered from my mother).

With that, I’m more conscious than ever about my shopping budget. I was gifted gift cards to my favorite stores, so I’ve been considering any purchases very wisely, investing in unique pieces and favorites that I can get a lot of mileage out of. Also, Melanie is getting spoiled with her own wardrobe and I have a lot of fun coordinating colors, patterns, and themes with her when the occasion arises.

All and all, I’m tiptoeing back into blogland and I can’t guarantee the “daily” anymore for Style Darling Daily, but my heart is still in it, so please stick with me on this stylish journey. I’m back to work full-time and appreciating the opportunity that I have to reacquaint myself with my style sense. I have all the possibilities in the world ahead of me. I’d like to introduce myself while wearing all my fashionable hats. I’m Professor Mommy Style Darling. I love to sparkle and slay, so stay tuned.

What styling challenges have you faced over time? Where does your style inspiration come from? What advice do you rely on when considering your daily wardrobe? 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!

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!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: A Daytime LBD for Fall!


As a blogger, I’m always looking for inspiration on the web & from stores where I shop. It’s only recently that I’m directly using my own style & images of myself (as seen on my Instagram @MissAlissaL) in what I’m wearing to share with readers on a daily basis (which is ironic considering the name of this blog includes the word “daily”). It hasn’t been easy, what with a constant (self) scrutiny of how I look, what an image says about me, & how I feel about putting this side of myself out there to the blog-iverse. In a leap of fashion faith, I’m seizing this opportunity for a number of reasons: 1. The weather is bound to change here on Long Island, so my accessibility to flattering outdoor lighting for pictures is extra limited. (Sidenote: I live alone & don’t own a fancy camera, so heading to my parents’ house between jobs is my usual stop for a quickie photo sesh.) 2. I’m feeling confident in my voice as a writer / blogger, as well as in my style & about my shape. There’s so much about expression through style & body positivity that I want to share with readers & can’t get my fingertips on the keyboard fast enough. 3. I can’t build the Style Darling Daily empire without attaching my face to it. This seems to be working because friends & coworkers of mine regularly greet me with, “Hey Style Darling.” I live the moniker, so I need to blog it.

So here I am in a black floral lace dress that surprised me when I saw it & even more so then tried it on. It’s not a full-on a-line dress, like I’m used to wearing, but I saw the potential in dressing it up & down. Since I had to get to work on this Saturday afternoon, I wanted to try the dress out with fall favorites like patterned tights & a denim jacket, so that the dress wouldn’t look so party-ready. I played up the feminine vibe of this dress with fun & flirty heels, & accessorized with my new metallic bow clutch. I was really into the delicate feel of the dress, so I paired a flower pendant necklace with it, as well as two beaded bracelets.

Some of these pieces are old & no longer available, but there are so many accessorizing possibilities to this look. I’d consider a statement necklace or belt (both of which I tried while getting ready & saved in my mind for later), as well as a blanket scarf & knee boots for a weekend-in-the-country vibe. However, the key elements to recreate this outfit for yourself are just a click away!

SHOP: black floral lace dress, Westport 1962 denim jacket, pin dot tights, & shimmer bow wristlet @dressbarn

What’s your dress style for the fall? What colors & pattern combos are you attracted to? Where are you shopping for great deals on your favorite outfits? Happy Styling!

 

Basics for a Bargain: Pencil Skirt Party for All Sizes!


Earlier in the fall, I was asked what trend I was most interested in, & I was surprised to realize that I’d been all about skirts because my spring & summer wardrobe was so fit & flare dress heavy. However, my flirtation with skirts isn’t exclusive to one style since I’m pretty psyched about all styles & how to explore separates combinations & playing with different patterns. Though, not all skirts are flattering for all body types, but one of the most classic styles that best fits & enhances any shape is the pencil skirt, which is versatile enough to pair with a variety of tops to take you to work to date to weekend & everywhere in between.

Take some inspiration from some iconic television characters who’ve always looked their best on the small screen in pencil skirts, including Christina Hendricks as Joan Holloway on Mad Men, Mindy Kaling as Dr. Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project, Emma Roberts as Chanel Oberlin on Scream Queens, Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones on Sex & the City, & Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyons on Empire.

You don’t have to break the bank either to find a pencil skirt for you, especially when they’re available in nearly every size, pattern, color, & material. Try a pencil skirt for your next office look with a denim button down shirt, a polka dot cardigan with a striped skirt, or a graphic tee tucked into a brocade skirt. The styling possibilities are endless & evident in the countless posts I’ve previously shared in the past, including inspiration from Lauren Conrad & Kerry Washington, Reese Witherspoon’s floral take on pencil skirts, & style steals straight from the red carpet on Cate Blanchett & Michelle Obama! Also, here are just a few ways I’ve been wearing pencil skirts lately!

So if you haven’t already, take the plunge with a sleek & elegant pencil skirt. Check out these ten affordable picks below to get your holiday, fall, & winter style in gear! Not to mention that most pencil skirts are perfect for year-round wear, which makes the challenge of styling them all the more thrilling!

SHOP: 1. plaid skirt @The Limited (available in sizes 0-18), 2. Thalia Sodi leopard skirt @Macy’s, 3. Worthington woven skirt @JCPenney (available in sizes 4-18 & petites), 4. denim skirt @Nordstrom Rack, & 5. sweater skirt @Old Navy (available in XS-XXL, tall, & petite).

SHOP: 6. lace skirt @dressbarn (shop plus size here), 7. pinstripe skirt @H&M, 8. faux leather skirt @New York & Company (available in sizes 0-20), 9, windowpane skirt @Target, & Melissa McCarthy leopard skirt @TJMaxx (available in 1X-3X).

How do you like to style pencil skirts? What colors or patterns are you most drawn to? Where do you like to shop for basic bargains? Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: My Birthday Style in Navy, Black, & Lace!


birthday-dressAs fashion-obsessed as I am, I have to say that there are few articles of clothing or accessories that really make me stop in my tracks. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true since there are certain qualities in a dress, for example, that are right up my style alley. I’m talking about anything a-line, with lace detail, & overall feminine in nature. In my line of work (or one of my lines of work, that is), it’s not difficult to find dresses such as what I’ve described. When it came time to think about what I’d wear for my birthday during this past Labor Day holiday, I was ready to turn to an older favorite (that I’d only worn one other special occasion time), which had a beautiful floral print in a lightweight summer fabric, perfect for celebrating on a summer weekend at high tea, a party organized by a very special small group of gal pals. However, I came across the Luxe by Carmen Marc Valvo lace fit & flare dress @Dress Barn in navy & black (available in plus size here), & suddenly my birthday outfit dreams were becoming a reality. I couldn’t stop talking about how excited this dress made me & 33 was starting to look really good!

luxe-by-carmen-marc-valvo-lace-fit-flare-dress-at-dress-barnI love the classic look of this dress, which really can be worn any time of year because of the rich navy tone with black lace details. It’s a chic alternative to a go-to little black dress for shoppers of any size, especially when navy can sometimes look dowdy, but here, it’s a modern & elegant party dress that I’m confident will find special multiple wears. For the summer, I paired my look with navy peep toe pumps & a bolero sweater (in case I needed the arm coverage). When it comes to the fall, I’ll mix up the look with a denim jacket & ankle booties for an edgy, textured take. Even in the colder months, I’d love to see how to the dress looks with opaque tights & knee boots. What’s even better about this dress is that it’s available top shop @Dress Barn in sizes 4-24!

How would you style this lace frock & where would you wear it? Do you often transform party dresses for day looks? What trends are you most excited about this fall? For more amazing style, check out more styles from Luxe by Carmen Marc Valvo, as well as model & designer Ashley Graham‘s newest crop of dresses for Dress Barn! Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: A Little BOGO 50% Off Sale Goes A Long Way!


There’s always room in my accessories arsenal for some earrings (as seen in my various Instagram posts), which is why I have to share the latest BOGO 50% off sale on jewelry @Express. I’m crazy about the elegant & sophisticated fashion jewelry, perfect for day & evening, especially when there’s a coupon in hand. During my latest mall venture, I discovered & fell in love with the earrings below, which I already have lined up for very special outfits.

Express - faceted stone dangle earrings $!9.90 & white stone stud earrings $19.90.SHOP: faceted stone dangle earrings ($19.90) in shiny gold (also available in pale pink) & stone stud earrings with pave halo ($19.90) in white (also available in turquoise) @Express.

While I love special, one-of-a-kind jewelry, I’m also a big fan of go-to piece when in a rush. What kind of jewelry do you like to wear over the summer? What sales are you shopping this season? Do you prefer gold or silver, or do you mix your metals? For more stylish posts, check out can’t-miss bargain wedges from Payless for $10, Chrissy Teigen’s menswear inspiration on the red carpet, the latest from The $100 Challenge, & Reese Witherspoon’s street style in her own Draper James separates. Happy Styling!

Inside A #StyleBlogger’s Closet: My New, Affordable Summer Favorites!


I’ve been off the grid, but now Style Darling is back with plenty of affordable & stylish summer finds that I know I was pretty psyched to add to my wardrobe. Always with a budget in mind, I came across some summer must-haves, including maxi dresses, footwear (sandals & flats), totes, & jewelry. Also, when it comes to making seasonal investments, I seek out pieces that I can get as much wear from, transitioning pieces (especially accessories) from season to season. This summer, I’m not only planning a Hamptons getaway, but I’m also hard at work & making plenty of time for social calls, which makes me want to amp up my staples for more than one occasion. The following buys are the newest additions to my wardrobe, & I hope they’ll inspire my readers as well!

Sear - Covington maxi dress $24

SHOP: Covington maxi dress ($24.00) in black @Sears & Covington maxi dress ($24.00) in tribal @Sears.

Old Navy - linen scrunch flat $22

SHOP: Libby jeweled sandal ($24.99) in gold @Dress Barn & linen blend scrunch flats ($22.94) off white @Old Navy.

Dress Barn - floral bag $25

SHOP: floral handbag ($25.20) in black & white @Dress Barn & patterned shopper ($9.95) @H&M.

H&M - stud earrings set $9

SHOP: earrings set ($9.95) in rose gold @H&M & rhinestone button stud earrings ($6.00 / 2 for $10.00) in silver @Charlotte Russe

What are your favorite summer buys? What stores are you shopping for the latest trends this season? For more stylish posts, check out summer celebrity style featuring Olivia Palermo & Victoria Beckham, Charlize Theron’s Forever 21 jumpsuit look, the complete red carpet gallery of this year’s Met Ball including Rihanna & Beyoncé, & Top 10 Celeb Sightings with Iggy Azalea & Taylor Swift. Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: New Year, New Bargains from LOFT, Target, & More!


One of my resolutions for 2015 includes spending less money on my wardrobe, mostly because I just don’t have as much space as I’d like for all of my favorite shopping finds. In a last stitch (no pun intended) effort to grab some must-haves, I asked Santa for a few essentials & picked up some great buys with all of the post-holiday sales / coupon deals.

Inside A Style Blogger's ClosetSHOP: rose garden cardigan ($49.99) @LOFT (extra 60% off sale styles – no code needed), belted chevron dress ($46.00) @Dress Barn (code 687 for 20% off in-stores), Xhilaration tights ($6.00) in burgundy @Target (5% off when you use your Target Red Card), & Chelsea flat ($19.99) in silver / gold @Payless (code 251458739 for 15% off, expires 1/4).

What bargains are you shopping for this season? Which stores are you hitting up for post-holiday deals? For more stylish posts, be sure to check out the Top 10 Style Darlings to Watch For in 2015, Oscar de la Renta’s Pre-Fall 2015 Collection, 365 best dressed looks from 2014, & bargain-priced scarves from Forever 21. Happy Styling!

Beauty Buys: Julep’s Holiday #NailArt Must-Haves & Tips to ‘Winterize’ Nails!


Style Darling Nail ArtOne of my favorite luxury nail beauty companies is Julep, thanks to my lovely writer friend & style twin, Meghan, for gifting me some of the brand’s elegant polishes for my birthday earlier this fall. I’m a registered Maven & love seeing my monthly subscription options for what I can add to my Maven box, as well as exclusive deals through the (FREE) Julep smartphone app!

Thanks to Julep for sharing with me some of their trending winter & holiday colors, including Ilsa ($6.99), Joanne ($6.99), Shari ($11.40), Sawyer ($6.99), & Kiki ($11.20). I love the variety of matte & sparkly colors, which presents some #nailart inspiration to decorate for upcoming holiday parties, dinner out with the girls, or a romantic night in.

Trending Winter Colors, courtesy of Julep.However, I have a love-hate relationship with my nails. LOVE: when my nails look perfect after dressing them up in sparkly hues. HAAATE: when the color chips or a nail breaks. SOLUTION: ‘WINTERIZING‘ your nails, which is not just about taking care of the part you’re polishing, since the condition of your hands is equally as important.

I thought I had a solid nailcare routine, but I’ve learned so much from Julep with their valuable tips for a nail, cuticle, & skin regimen for healthy digits when the drop in temperature becomes a factor in your beauty routine! Not only do I wash & moisturize my hands with sensitive hand soap & intensive moisturizer, I’m guilty of skipping a few steps for lack of time. Now, with Julep’s how-to guide, I know just what must-haves to put on my list to Santa & I’m so excited to share these with my readers!

Winterize Nails How-To, courtesy of Julep.SHOP: emery board ($4.00), cuticle softener ($14.40), cuticle pusher ($11.40), hand scrub ($18.40), oxygen smoothing base coat ($14.40), & silk effect top coat ($9.99).

Some of my favorite & recommended polishes for stocking stuffers & to upgrade your collection include:

FavoritesSHOP: Aretha ($11.20), Phia ($11.20), Queen Anne ($4.99), Mia ($11.20), Florence ($11.20), Cameron ($11.20), Natalia ($11.20), & Devon ($11.20).

For more from Julep, sign up to be a Maven & receive your first FREE Maven box, their uber-stylish blog, & shop their new arrivals, which includes tons of beauty care must-haves! To check out all the latest from Style Darling, read my post for Casper’s Beauty Sleep ChallengeJennifer Aniston’s recent red carpet looks, the ultimate Olivia Palermo photo gallery featuring over 300 of her most fashionable outfits, & how to incorporate pastels into your winter wardrobe! Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: Going Green For Fall With A Target Dress!


It’s a very rare occasion that I buy an article of clothing for myself without any kind of coupon or additional discount, especially when it’s a regular priced item. I am always on some sort of budget, but one exception to this is when I am in possession of a gift card. That is the case behind my latest shopping post. My birthday was just a week ago & I was the happy recipient of a Target gift card, which my friends know is one of my go-to stores for all things… LIFE-related. When I took a quick trip to pick up some household essentials, the ME Concept brocade dress ($27.99) in green caught my eye & I couldn’t turn away from it. A pair of Fioni green suede & gold embossed pumps (below & discontinued) from a clearance sale early this year at Payless immediately popped into my mind & I was sold on the look.

Inside A Style Blogger's Closet

I hadn’t worn the shoes since they were an end-of-season purchase, but I had plenty of ideas how to style just such a look when the weather felt officially fall. Of course black opaque tights & a long gold chained necklace would be involved, as well a long sleeve black pullover to wear underneath, so I know I’m set. If I’m really feeling uber-fashionable, I’ll even break switch up my hosiery for a hunter green pair, channeling monochromatic looks of A-listers.

I love the luxe brocade / jacquard texture of the dress, which will also allow me to play with metallic like bronze or gold for dressy occasions, but I can also belt it with something patent leather & wear patterned tights for work with it. Not to mention that I just remembered I have a pair of green suede ballet flats too! Oh the possibilities are endless… Thank you to my friends for celebrating my birthday with me, & their generosity in thinking of my style needs. Happy Styling!

Luxury Look-Alikes For Less: A Fall-Ready Textured Jacket, Featuring Alice + Olivia Vs. Dress Barn!


Since my closet space is already limited & bursting, I only have a few must-haves on my fall wardrobe shopping list. However, when it comes to textured jackets, it kind of becomes an impulse buy only because I have a historical love affair with cardigans. But one such jacket has left an impression on me & I had to have it, which only made me happier for my choice upon the discovery that it was already a luxury brand imitation at a much more affordable price.

Bergdorg Goodman - Alice + Olivia Burma tween jacket $550.00. Dress Barn - collared shawl jacket $44.00.

At Bergdorf Goodman, one can acquire the Alice + Olivia by Stacey Bendet Burma tweed jacket ($550.00) to don the original design, which is a very beautiful combination of menswear inspiration & the sort of modern interest that affords staple everyday separates. My latest addition was the shawl collared jacket ($44.00) from Dress Barn, which I was happy to buy in one size smaller for a sleeker fit on my arms, without having to break the bank either. Also, for shoppers looking to save a little extra, use code jkt25 for an additional 25% off when ordered online. One thing that I love about shopping with Dress Barn is that there’s free shipping anytime your online order is shipped to a store location.

Now, I recognize that these aren’t identical designs, but the mixture of a heavy fabric that wears lightly is the main appeal, along with the endless styling possibilities for both day & the office, transitioning perfectly for happy hour cocktails. I choose the H&M crepe dress ($29.95) in black, accessorized with the Sonya dress bootine ($34.99) in black from Payless & Francesca’s Bailey coil belt ($9.99).

For a chic day out, pair the jacket with basics like the collared surplice blouse ($17.80) from Forever 21, leggings ($24.90) in black from Gap (available in XS – XXL), & the round flat over-the-knee boots ($40.99) in black from Charlotte Russe. How would you style this jacket? What textures are you most drawn to for the upcoming cooler season? What fall trends are you shopping for? For more stylish posts, be sure to check out the latest runway show from Diane von Furstenberg, Warby Parker’s new fall eyewear collection, the fashionable international magazine covers for September! Happy Styling!

Basics For A Bargain: Pointy Animal Print Flats, Tom Ford Vs. Old Navy!


I am all over the new September issues of my favorite fashion magazines, loving all of the style inspiration inside the pages, especially when I’m seeking Basics for a Bargain. So, Lucky magazine is among my go-to publications to expand my wardrobe, as well as shoe & accessories collections. I’m always a big fan of animal prints, which make a great neutral as accessories with some bold solid pieces like a sheath dress & pumps, a belted jumpsuit, or crisp separates with sandals. Now that I’m looking ahead to the fall, I’m pretty excited about wearing flats when I’m headed out & about to my jobs & class. In the pages of Lucky, I found these gorgeous panther print hair calf padlock ballerina flats ($1,190.00) in cognac by the one & only, Tom Ford.

Leopard flats. Tom Ford & Old Navy.

I was immediately reminded of my recent coupon-toting excursion to Old Navy, where I found these animal print d’orsay flats ($16.00). However, the pair that I ended up bringing home was actually reduced to under $8 in stores. I tried these pointy toe flats on & was very excited at the possibilities of how I can wear them: with a little black dress, a cardigan-blouse-pencil skirt combo, & when I’m trying to transition some of my summer favorites into fall like a maxi dress & denim jacket.

For more fashionable animal print flats on the market right now, check out other picks from Steve Madden, Christian Siriano for Payless, Lucky brand @DSW, & Nine West. Where do you like to shop for new fall footwear? What designer do you turn to for style inspiration? To check out more fall-friendly posts, take a look at Jamie Chung’s fashion blog, budget-friendly skirts from Target & H&M, & Olivia Wilde’s September Glamour shoot! Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Loving A Little Leopard, Inspired by Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr, & More!


When it comes to animal prints, my go-to is zebra, which goes back to my natural love all black & white patterns. However, as we’re in the thick of summer, stores are filling up with fall fashions, including luxe leopard pieces to mix up with neutral separates & pops of color in your accessories.

Olivia Palermo, Miranda Kerr, & Heidi Klum

Trendsetter Olivia Palermo styled her separates by Tibi with a pop of leopard in her skinny belt, which offset the geometric look of her ankle strap sandals. Model Miranda Kerr was flawless this spring when hitting the street for a stylish day out with a bold leopard A.L.C. duffel bag to add a trendy splash of personality to her button down shirt, denim skirt, & thigh high boots. Project Runway host Heidi Klum shows off her wild side (& her legs!) in a high slit skirt & embellished too.

For affordable leopard love in your wardrobe, I found these functional & fashionable pieces that are sure to make a splash when corrdinated a variety of ways. First, the leopard tote ($2.50) from Forever 21 is great for all of your on-the-go needs, especially when wanting to use a durable recyclable bag when hitting the market. Also, you can dress up or dress down the tiered leopard tank ($34.00) from Dress Barn (which I own & love!) with dark denim skinnies & a blazer for a girls’ night out, or cardigan & pencil skirt for the office. For a truly wild look, pair these loose fit pants ($17.95) from H&M with a black tank & gold flats for day, or mix up your look with a crop top & pointy heels for evening.

leopard images

I love shopping for printed belts, which can work well with a wrap dress, shirtdress, over a cardigan, or when you wanna cinch in a tunic top to show off your waist, like the leopard skinny belt ($24.90) from Express. One of my most recent purchases come from Charlotte Russe, & that is the patent thong sandal ($7.50), which was such a great buy too since there’s currently a BOGO $5 sale of select shoes. So, I also indulged in a white pair to wear with sporty jersey dresses & when heading out to the beach this summer.

For one last look at some leopard inspirations, I put together some of my favorite images, high end & affordable items, & celebrity moments that include leopard. This includes a September 2010 Vogue UK shoot fetauring supermodel Kate Moss in an embellished leopard jacket. Scarlett Johansson added a pop of leopard in her Christian Louboutin pointy toe pumps with a Vivienne Westwood dress. Also, to celebrate leopard on your nails, there’s the Sally Hansen strips ($9.99) in leopard, available @Ulta. Also, you can keep warm on those cool summer knits with this Apt. 9 leopard scarf ($11.99) from Kohl’s. For some designer inspiration, the paneled leopard dress ($1,150.00) by Escada is sold @Neiman Marcus. Lastly, the leopard heart drop earrings ($16.00) from River Island are playful & flirty to dress down a classic LBD.

Kate Moss for Vogue UK, Scarlett Johansson in a Vivienne Westwood dress & Christian Louboutin pumps, Leopard earrings by River Island, Sally Hansen leopard nail stickers, leopard scarf from Kohl's, & Escada leopard panel dress from Neiman Marcus.

How do you like to wear leopard? What’s your favorite leopard accessory? Which leopard pieces are your favorites? Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: Kicking Butt This Fall With Boots & A 2-in-1 Sweater Blouse!


My apologies for such a long absence from the blogosphere. The (geographic) Style Darling headquarters has since relocated & it took much longer than expected to finally get settled. However, I’ve been making the best of my budget, decorating my new digs & being VERY conservative with any style must-haves, which is why I’m so inspired to return to my readers with some amazing, affordable finds!

Dress Barn - Knotted faux suede 'Tait' boots $65.00. Woven back top in Turquoise $21.60.

This includes the knotted faux suede ‘Tait’ boots ($65.00) in black & the woven back top ($21.60) in turquoise, both from Dress Barn. Luckily, I’m a part-time employee of the local store & can reap the benefits of a discount, but I can’t emphasize how much I loooove these pieces! I always have such a hard time finding knee boots that zip all the way up & these are super comfortable (although the 3-inch heel is shorter than I usually wear). Also, I love the jewel tone of the top, which reads as a sweater in the front & a blouse on the way out. Not to mention that its reduced from its original price & is available in sizes Small – 3X!

What are your favorite new fall finds? Where are your go-to stores for the latest trends? Which colors are you wearing this season? For more on what’s in my closet, check out previous posts from Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet, including simple & sophisticated summer-ready dresses, a silver tunic sweater, my favorite bicycle print blouse, sweet & ladylike dresses, & shoes for under $10! Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: Summer-Ready Dresses For Under $10!


I’ve been splurging but saving a whole lot lately, especially since I have big travel plans in July. This includes an entire new selection of dresses that I’m happy to adopt into my wardrobe for this spring & summer. I always head to the new sale & clearance racks first in order to get the best possible deal, but I was so happy to come across these two dresses that were under $10 each! If that’s not a bargain, then I don’t know what is!

I never thought I was a yellow kind of girl. Sure, here & there I have a yellow top, yellow flats, but I couldn’t conceive on my fair skin an entire yellow look, but I definitely found one with the Merona refined lcae dress ($8.38) in yellow from Target. Online, this dress is $27.99, but I found it on a 70% off rack at my local store & it fits perfectly. I usually score big with this brand, especially since Target often has coupons on their website for this brand too!

Target - Merona refined lace dress $8.38, Walmart - Faded Glory ruffle knit dress $9.49.My second big score was the unexpected one! I hardly ever shop @Walmart, mostly b/c I’m dedicated to Target & can always find what I need, & the local Walmart doesn’t always look like the nicest place to shop- despite low prices. I came across this Faded Glory ruffled knit dress ($9.94) in black, which wasn’t on sale & this was its original price. I was hesitant b/c I wasn’t sure about the quality of the material, but then I looked at the tag of the New York & Company summer dress that I was wearing… & low & behold, both the above black dress & what I was wearing were both 60% cotton & 40% polyester. I tried it on & it was the perfect length & cut, & I was very happy with my decision to purchase this LBD that could be dressed up or down & won’t ever go out of style.

What makes me even happier with these purchases is their potential for accessorizing, which includes great finds like the arrowhead studded faux leather belt ($5.80) in nude from Forever 21, which is perfect for either dress, or even pairing with shorts & a ruffled tank. Also, for some fun & playful colors, I picked the Mudd Kara colorblock crossbody bag ($13.20) in mint yellow from Kohl’s, especially if you’re looking for something summery & smaller to carry around. To dress up both looks for a classy evening, I recommend the hammered chain link necklace ($6.00) from Charlotte Russe, which definitely plays up the chain link trend.

Also, for a casual day out, I love the idea of a pair of flirty exaggerated cat-eye sunglasses ($9.99) in tortoise shell from JC Penney. Lastly, there are plenty of shoes to match up, but I especially love LOFT‘s basil ballet flats ($20.99) in Bombay blue & the Portia high wedge sling ($15.00) in red from Payless.

What’s the best deal you’ve scored lately? What’s been your biggest shopping surprise yet? For more posts on affordable fashion, check out Taylor Swift’s leggy look for under $100, little white dresses inspired by Angelina Jolie & Kerry Washington, fashionable flip-flops from Guess & Steve Madden, & a look at 3.1 Phillip Lim’s new collaboration with Target! Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: My New Spring Must-Haves From Dress Barn!


I’ve been a busy girl lately, especially having just started a new position at work & getting a second part-time job to save up some extra money. However, returning to retail has its disadvantages, including a very tempting employee discount. I have some summer plans coming up, so I knew that I’d have my eye on classic dresses that I’d be able to wear while in the Hamptons & it just so happened that while at Dress Barn, I found some must-have spring items that needed to be in my wardrobe!

This includes the ruched waist floral dress ($40.00) in yellow & eyelet sundress ($46.00) in white. Both are perfectly my style & can be mixed with a variety of accessories like strappy black platforms, white ballet flats, & metallic sandals, or an embellished cardigan, three-quarter sleeve blazer, & or cropped sweater.

Dress Barn

The lace back bolero ($29.00) in black was an easy choice, especially b/c of the feminine detail across the back. It’s also available in white & yellow, but I knew I’d get a lot more use out of the black shrug even over a long-sleeve top in the cooler months. Finally, the metallic toe ballet flats ($25.00) in gold were right on trend with other cap toe footwear that I’ve been eyeing, along with the metallic trim which is will coordinate well for any outfit this season.

What’s on your shopping list to upgrade your spring wardrobe? What kind of dresses are you looking for? For more posts on affordable fashion, check out nautical inspiration for under $100, cork heels from Forever 21 & Steve Madden, Derek Lam’s new DesigNation collection for Kohl’s, & striped dresses under $35! Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: Busy Work Day Look, Mixing Structure, Texture, & Pattern!


Some might say that I get a little overdressed for my office job, that will remain nameless, but I think of it as a chance everyday to explore my professional attire & get multiple uses out of clothing that can be worn on casual days too!

On a not-so-special Tuesday, I put together this outfit b/c I was finally ready to rip off the price tag from the skirt, which I bought back in July (with the purchase of this skirt).  There are a few tiered layers to the skirt by Worthington from JC Penney & it is lined underneath, making it a not-so-summer-ready skirt.  However, as the seasons have been changing, I broke out some of my heavier pieces & saw that my $4.97 (yes, that’s how much I got the skirt for!) was going to waste since I hadn’t worn it yet.  According to the original tag, the skirt was first marked up to $60.00, which seems like much too much. Not to mention when I first bought the skirt, it was nug & now that I’m down a total of 12lbs for the 2011 calendar year, it sits just where its supposed to!

Since the skirt plays with three-dimensional structure, as you can see by the tiers, I broke out my asymmetrical black tee from New York & Company, which I’m pretty sure that I bought for under $10 (with the help of one of my favorite Style Darlings, Laurie).  The belt ($16.99) was a purchase earlier in the summer & polka-dotted tights were from last year, both from Target.  I know there’s a lot going on in the pattern & shape of the skirt, but I think when you have something as bold as this, it’s okay to put another pattern with it.  The skirt has a pointillism-inspired look, so the polka dots aren’t too far off.  Plus, they’re small enough not to take away from the overall look.  And who doesn’t love a good textured tight?

In addition, as a loyal Target shopper, I picked up the flyaway cardigan ($19.99) after urging my bestie Rosie (see the blog I dedicated to her here) to buy one. I don’t know why I didn’t hop on that right away since I’ve been wearing the cotton cardigan several times throughout the season now.

I don’t remember where I got the necklace, but I’d take a guess at somewhere like Mandee, Wet Seal, or Forever 21 since I don’t usually spend a lot on my fashion jewelry.  Of course, I can’t forget the shoes… I have these in a beige / gold also!  I love the four-inch heel & the silver lining around the cut-outs.  They lasted me throughout my eight-hour work day & are just so comfortable, but these are no longer available @Payless, since they were from (about) two seasons ago.  Unless it’s a shoe style emergency, I never buy anything from Payless without a coupon or when they’re having a BOGO 50% off sale & neither should you!

As always, I’m happy to share my style stories, now that I’m finally getting pictures up here on Style Darling.  I even told a customer who came into the office today how much my skirt cost when she remarked on how well-dressed I was & she snickered at me, “You know, you shouldn’t tell people that,” referring to the cheap bargain in which I so proudly announced.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a great deal, but it is nice to feel like you look like you’re wearing luxury pieces, especially when I’ve become invested in all the pieces that express my style to a tee!

Check out my previous Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet posts featuring my closet– literally- & a cute summer dress ($8.74) styled for fall! Happy Styling!