Basics for a Bargain: Cozy Capes & More Must-Have Fall Favorites, Inspired by Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, & more!


The weather has finally taken its turn for fall here on Long Island, so it’s definitely time to break out those layers to keep warm & build a stylish look. This starts with toppers like capes, ponchos, & vests, which are perfect for transitioning some of your favorite summer separates for this season. These chunky knits, fine wool, & fringed pieces are not only popular on street style pros of the blogosphere, but also some of the most fashionable celebrities, including A-listers like Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, Jamie Chung, Kim Kardashian, & Olivia Palermo.

Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, Jamie Chung, Kim Kardashian, & Olivia Palermo.Here’s also an opportunity for Style Darlings of any size to play with textures & prints like cable knit, faux fur, stripes, plaid, & fringe to mix with solid basics, pops of color, and complimenting patterns.

The Stylish Five - Capes, Ponchos, & Vests for fall & for all.SHOP: 1. faux fur mink cape ($69.90) in winter white @HSN (available in plus size, as well as brown & black), 2. stripe fringe poncho ($29.90) in black & white @Forever 21 (shop similar plus size here), 3. fringed cable poncho sweater ($42.00) in fig @Dress Barn (shop plus size here), 4. Ava & Viv plaid poncho ($34.99) in black & white @Target, & 5. everyday vest ($26.60, was $38.00) in black @Macy’s (one size fits all).

When wearing a full, flowy topper, the best way to show off your shape & stylish flare is to select a fitted, slim bottom to create a sense of balance. Also, these shapes are perfect to coordinate with knee boots, ankle boots, & other suede footwear for a head-to-toe fashion forward fall look.

What to wear with capes, ponchos, & vests.SHOP: 1. pencil skirt ($39.90) in black @Express (shop similar plus size here), 2. Levi’s skinny jeans ($36.99) in indigo @Kohl’s (shop similar plus size here), 3. faux leather pants ($24.99) in black @H&M (shop similar plus size here), 4. skinny cords ($34.94) in burnt ochre @Old Navy (available in sizes 0-20), & 5. seamless leggings ($6.94) in black @Walmart (shop similar plus size here).

How do you like to style capes, ponchos, & vests? Where do you like to shop for fall’s biggest trends? Which celebrity inspires your style this season? For more stylish posts, check out Olivia Palermo’s jewelry collaboration with Bauble Bar, red carpet & street style inspiration from Sienna Miller, Anne Hathaway, & Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as how to wear scarves like Rihanna & Jessica Alba. Happy Styling!

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Fabulous in 4 Ways: Over-The-Knee Boots From Victoria’s Secret (Dedicated To Laurie)!


Attention Style Darling Readers: We have a new category alert! Fabulous In 4 Ways is my latest in offering the best style advice that I can, while keeping a budget in mind. Of course, I’ve had this idea (taking one item & showing how it’s worn in 4 fabulous ways) for a while now, just sitting away & linkless on my categories page, but just recently, a good friend has come to me w/ a deal on a killer pair of over-the-knee boots, asking for help on how to wear them once the temperatures cool down & heavy knits emerge from the depths of our closets.  Said friend, Laurie (who I’ve dedicated a total of 4 blogs to now- Jordana Brewster’s style, how to wear turtlenecks, & the best day-to-night blazers) has challenged me in a very good & very stylish way. Let’s take a look…

As I usually do in my Basics for a Bargain posts, let’s start off with some celebrity inspiration to see how some of the most photographed & stylish stars interpret their over-the-knee boot looks. The City star / socialite Olivia Palermo looks Upper East Side chic with her navy suede boots & fur-lined jacket, mixing neutrals with a sweater tunic. Mom-on-the-go Kourtney Kardashian wears her boots with a flowy blouse under a menswear-inspired blazer & floppy hat, keeping accessories like her bag matching in texture with her footwear. Supermodel legend Claudia Schiffer goes casual in jeggings & a cobalt cable knit sweater with a coordinating bag for her tan suede over-the-knee boots. Former Spice Girl / designer Victoria Beckham keeps her polished posh persona in check with ultra tight leggings, a black top, & satin-trimmed blazer while traveling through Heathrow airport. Lastly, Project Runway host Heidi Klum offers an edgy approach to her leather Jimmy Choo over-the-knee boots by completing her look with a graphic tee & abstract print blazer.

The boots inspiring this post are the Colin Stuart over-the-knee boots ($94.00) from Victoria’s Secret, which are on sale for less than their original $118.00 price tag (pictured below, to the left).  These are fierce confections of footwear meant only for the confident Style Darling (for example: Laurie!).  Even though these may seem much pricier than your average pump &/or ankle bootie, I can’t emphasize enough that this is an investment piece, especially one that you can dare to wear from the beginning of fall, all the way to the end of the winter.  Since we’re talking boots, VS is currently having a 20% off sale on all Colin Stuart boots, which you can shop here.

However, let’s get down to business in putting together these outfits wth some of the celebrity inspiration seen above.  Typically when I see boots, I think of sweaters & leggings b/c they’re both just so comfy & very on-trend for effortless fall looks.  My first ensemble includes the asymmetric hem sweater ($59.90) from Express, which is available in orchid, black, grey, & blue.  The loose fit is perfect for recalling that 80s off-the-shoulder bulky sweater look, as well as hugging your curves to show off your legs.  Just so you know, Express is currently having a mix & match BOGO 50% off sale this Labor Day weekend, so if you really love the look pictured, then check out the short metal stick necklace ($44.90) to go with the sweater. I’ve selected Forever 21‘s pebbled pointe knit leggings ($17.80), which will add some texture & shine against the rich suede of the boots.  Of course, any solid legging will do, but if you’re going for something with a print, keep it subtle since you’re dealing with a sexy lace-up detail in the back of the boots.

My second outfit is perfect for an office environment where jeans are allowed.  The Faded Glory jeggings ($12.88) from Walmart are a steal & can work with so many other wardrobe staples all year long.  The colored denim trend is obviously not going away & pairing it with White House Black Market‘s tweed trophy jacket ($188.00) is a professional & elegant way to dress up denim.  When shopping @WHBM, of course the regular prices are on the high side, but if you sign up for their seasonal catalogues, you can get discount codes, as well as earn points for reductions on future purchases. I find that comes in handy around the holidays when in a pinch for a cute cocktail dress.  For an extra feminine splash, I’ve selected the graphic checkered strips tiered cotton tank ($39.99) from LOFT to add some dimension- which also just so happens to marked down another 30% at checkout.

Look #3 required a little more attention since I wanted to find pieces that would work for more than just the over-the-knee boots challenge.  I started with this streaky knit t-shirt dress ($39.99) from The Limited, which has been marked down 50% on the store’s website. With a solid sheath-like dress as this, I immediately thought of a belt & found this duo of ivory cheetah & glossy black skinny belts ($10.79) from Bluefly. To keep warm during the cooler fall days, I picked out the basic, yet affordable Style & Co. three-quarter ruched sleeve cardigan ($14.99) in black from Macy’s. If you’re headed out to happy hour with the girls or going from the office to an evening function, this look is perfect with the boots, especially when the Minicci scroll weave tights ($7.99) from Payless are hiding underneath your layers.

Lastly, the forth look is my favorite, but perhaps not too far of a departure from the previous blazer look above.  When I saw the Merona tailored blazer ($34.99) @Target, I immediately loved the idea of mixing the plaid with the laces, as well as navy & black, along with integrating the fall’s best new neutral deep red hue with New York & Company‘s satiny roll-tab shirt ($39.95). Of course you can complete the look with skinny pants, but Style & Co. skinny stretch jeggings ($36.75) from Macy’s looked too good to be true in a classic dark wash!

What do you think of these looks? Would you wear over-the-knee boots? If so, how would you style your look with them? What boots are you shopping for this fall? Happy Styling!

8/2/2012 Darling Of The Day: Kate Middleton & Christina Hendricks Colorblock With Bright Pants!


When I saw these looks worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, & Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, I kept them in mind b/c I loved the bright bottoms worn by both Style Darlings.  Kate’s look is very casual, perfect for observing Olympic events, whereas Christina’s look is more feminine & polished while she walks the red carpet.

Since it’s summer time, a crisp white top, whether it be a polo shirt or a blouse, is always a stylish way to start building an outfit.  I’ve selected both looks to feature in Darling of the Day, especially since it’s been a while since my last post in this category.

To start building Kate’s look, I’ve turned to KMart for the polo shirt ($7.99) & paired it with the Stella colored jean legging ($79.90) in cobalt from Express. The price on the jeans may be high, but right now @Express, there’s a BOGO $29.90 sale on these jeans.  If you’re an Express credit card holder, you can earn coupons for up to $50.oo off! To complete this look, head over to Piperlime for the Nine West Skip N Jump wedges ($39.99) & Kohl’s for the Simply Vera Vera Wang silver tone simulated crystal ball drop earrings ($10.50).

If you’re looking for a dressier way of pairing your whites with bright bottoms, take a look at Christina’s ensemble, which can comprise affordable separates like the satin cascading ruffle blouse ($17.80) from Forever 21 & New York & Company‘s The Crosby Street city double stretch slim leg pants ($46.95). This outfit lends the perfect opportunity to play with prints & textures in your accessories, such as the Andiamo gavel pumps ($34.94) from DSW & Big Buddha handbag clutch ($24.99) from Macy’s.

To shop more colorful bottoms, inducing jeans, pants, & leggings, check out colored stonewash skinnies ($24.80) from Forever 21, stretch twill pants ($24.95) from H&M, Jessica London‘s color jeggings ($39.99), colorful skinny jean ($44.90 – $74.90) from The Limited, & the cafe capris ($39.99) from J.Crew. Also, for basic white tops to mix & match with other wardrobe staples, check out the burnout animal racerback tank ($9.99) from Charlotte Russe, The Gap‘s Essex sugar wash scoop tee ($19.99), the ASOS button down skirt ($33.14), the white zebra twist tee ($28.50) from Torrid, Old Navy‘s split-neck button-front blouse ($22.50).

For more celebrity-inspired posts, be sure to check out Blake Lively’s commercial for Gucci Premiere, Top 10 Celeb Sightings featuring Emmy Rossum, Katy Perry, Liv Tyler, & more, & Kate Hudson’s latest ad campaign for Ann Taylor.  Happy Styling!