01/11/2019 Darling of the Day: Meghan Markle’s Maternity LBD!


The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, made her first patronage to work with the charity organization, Smart Works, that works with women who are seeking to improve their job pursuits (via interview skills & wardrobe choices). The mother-to-be arrived in a black materntiy t-shirt dress by Hatch & Oscar de la Renta coat with a Victoria Beckham purse & cow print heels. The looks was in keeping with her minimalist elegance, especially as she radiated with positivity & style.

Of course, Meghan’s wardrobe budget can’t compare to most of ours, but her designer pieces are available to shop online. See below.

SHOP: Hatch maternity t-shirt dress @Shop Bop, coat @Oscar de la Renta, & Victoria Beckham purse @Net-A-Porter.

However, to achieve a look similar to Meghan’s (pregnant or not), I scoured the web for similar & affordable items that are also chic wardrobe essentials. The LBD could be styled for day or night depending on your accessories. Also, a neutral coat is a must-have for the colder months.

SHOP: Isabel maternity t-shirt dress by Ingrid & Isabel @Target, t-shirt dress @Old Navy, pea coat @Milanoo, Emmala pointy toe pumps @Nine West, & Kelly & Katie purse @DSW.

What do you think of Meghan’s demure look? How would you style a little black dress? For more celebrity-inspired posts, check out Michelle Obama’s holographic boots, pearl-inspired looks from Brie Larson & Rihanna, Jessica Alba’s gold top, & Jennifer Lopez’s Second Act premiere gown. Happy Styling!

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The Little Black Dress Love of My Life: An Ode to a Car Named Peppy


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One constant in my adult life that has meant more to me than I expected is my car, Peppy. She’s the ultimate little black dress of a car: reliable, classic, and a bit sparkly. She’s the second car that I have called my own, but really, she’s the first that was solely mine and my financial responsibility, a dependent of sorts. I took out my first loan for this car, paid it off, and now nine years and about 67,000 miles later, I’m moving on to newer and superior wheels. In this car, I ventured from home to work to school to boyfriend to new boyfriend to new home to job to second job to graduate school to newer boyfriend to newest boyfriend and back (with a few more stops in between too). Along the way, I took for granted that Peppy, a glossy black 2000 Nissan Altima GLE, was an undeniably important presence, another character if you will, in my story, much like New York City is the fifth gal at Carrie Bradshaw’s luncheon with Charlotte, Samantha, and Miranda. As expected for any well-mannered Style Darling, Peppy is luxuriously accessorized with a leather interior, sunroof, and seats that hug both driver and passengers upon sitting—my kind of gorgeous and accommodating ride, that’s for sure.

Getting in the driver’s seat (figuring out what I want) and taking the wheel (figuring out how to get what I want) has been a challenge to overcome (because of family, relationships, money, health, whatever), especially when the road ahead is always changing (because you don’t always end up with what you want, even when you’re trying your effing hardest). With that on-the-road-ish metaphor in tow, I’m drawn to the fact that Peppy has been the means to getting to wherever I want to go, both literally and figuratively. In doing so, the exploration of ownership and control have been difficult themes in my writing, especially over the last few years living on my own and balancing everything that comes with being an adult.

Looking back, during my childhood and teenaged years, driving was the last thing on my mind. I had friends, Barbie dolls, boys, fashion, and writing swarming through my brain like that Pokémon nonsense is flooding the nation right now. Once in elementary school, a teacher assigned our class to write a few paragraphs about something we would want to do when we turned eighteen—an age that felt like light-years away, especially as I fidgeted in a training bra. The oddball dreamer in me immediately wrote about travelling at eighteen and all the possibilities of life experience that come with that. I don’t mean travel in the commuter sense, but travel as in actually being in places where food, fashion, music, art, and people were stories in motion waiting to inspire me. To my surprise, most of my classmates wanted more than anything to get a car and drive it, a thought that never occurred to me. Not once. Some kids were seeking independence from their parents, some wanted to get the heck off Long Island, and others boasted about rocking around town in “some sick wheels.” Of course, growing up in the suburbs meant that obtaining transportation to get from point A to B to north fork to south shore was essential for basic survival.

I came to own Peppy by accident, because of an accident. I totaled my Volvo and wasn’t about to rely on my parents for long-term help. I was presented with three different Nissan models, and upon my third test drive, my neutral driving satisfaction turned into an exclamation, “Ooh! She’s peppy!” Hence, her name, which eventually evolved into other expressions (depending on the day or my mood), including Pepsi-Cakes, Peppy Girl, Peppy-Poo, Pepperoni Pie, and oh how the list goes on. We were a match, thus beginning our relationship, pet names and all.

Peppy became my vault. She heard me sing, and try to sing, the songs that inspired me and taught me that I had not just a voice as a writer or closeted singer, but also a voice as a young woman. It was therapy. Some may turn to fitness or hobbies to relieve their stress or work through problems, but I confess, I’m a car singer—a hardcore car singer. Summers with the sunroof open called for a mix of favorite female songwriters and 90s alternative tunes, the ones I’d once recorded from the radio on cassette tapes (Google those last two words if you don’t recognize them) on my father’s silver boom box. The Fugees. No Doubt. Jewel. Oasis. Alanis Morissette. Garbage. Goo Goo Dolls. There’s another list that goes on.

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My guilty pleasures were head and shoulder-bopping pop singles, and I still turn up the volume when Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” (a duet with Timbaland) finds its way back onto mainstream FM stations ten years after its debut. The confines of my car’s doors, roof, and windows meant that whatever I spoke or chanted would remain safely inside. I used my car as my own little stage when I was too afraid to sing in front of others. It was like American Idol was airing during every drive and I won every time. It should be noted that driving carefully is always priority number one (before attempts at hitting those belted out high notes in Sia’s “Alive,” which I can do!).

On long drives home from The Hamptons (for education, not luxury living), phrases for songs and descriptions for stories came to me. I couldn’t always pull over to write everything down, so I’d use the voice recorder app on my iPhone, logging hours of myself singing about everything I could. Those earlier penned melodies and hooks still keep me company years later. When, for whatever reason, I couldn’t rely on technology to save my inspiration, I would just repeat the lines of whatever I thought of over and over again, sometimes for up to an hours’ worth of driving, just so I wouldn’t lose the valuable words.

So many memories rise to the surface when it comes to thinking about how Peppy has impacted my life beyond her purpose as a mode of transportation. Nine years is a long time. I’ve told employers that loyalty is one of my strengths because I’ve worked jobs for years in a row, usually moving on only out of financial necessity. I still have close friendships from elementary, middle, and high school. I don’t enter into relationships lightly; I don’t just test the waters of people-knowing with my toes. I’m always all-in. In the end, Peppy, with all of her kinks and quirks and replacement parts and service bills, has been loyal to me.

I drove to meet with Laurie, a new friend to whom I greatly looked up, after 1st boyfriend (not as in the boyfriend who ranks in first place, but just first in the sequence of post-high school romances) broke up with me over the phone. We grabbed gobs of ice cream and toppings galore from the supermarket to gluttonously savor back at her apartment in Saint James (the same one-bedroom I would come to live in six years later). We bonded and wallowed in the heartache that followed so many beautiful, smart, and lovable women who are worthy of the happiness that they struggle to achieve. Also, it was my first time trying Marshmallow Fluff.

I sat in my car, crying on my cell phone to my mother on a December evening. After one tumultuous semester of graduate school, in a Masters in Liberal Arts program and private college that I wasn’t keen on, I needed to drop out. I wasn’t a quitter; I wasn’t used to feeling so not like myself, but I’d been up to my eyebrows in research papers and presentation preparations about Elizabethan writers I didn’t care about. I lost track of the creativity that I desperately needed to express in my own writing. I couldn’t wait to drive off campus and never look back on that feeling of failure again. I drove with only the plan of figuring out a plan for myself.

It was barely four hours into 2011 when my parents drove me to JFK airport. I was flying to Italy by myself to study abroad, determined to write my story, whatever I thought it was at the time. My shoulder bag, stuffed with a laptop and plenty of beauty supplies, weighed me down in the passenger seat. When we parked, I took my luggage out of the trunk, surprised that my carry-on bag was all that was tucked inside the storage space. It was like I had so much room left to fill in the world.  

On the July afternoon on the day after Amy Winehouse died, I’d driven back to Lake Grove from my first writer’s conference in Southampton. I’d been home for only an hour when 2nd boyfriend insisted that we talk about the “break” we were on, which could only mean one thing. We sat in my car in a Starbucks parking lot (neither of us had much privacy at home) when he said, “I can’t be happy with you if I’m not happy with myself.” The road beneath me sunk as my broken heart and I returned home.

In the summer, I parked Peppy in the shade of the parking lot at work (at the bank) so I could take power naps before returning from my lunch break. Sometimes I would read to relax, but the routine of “numbers and paper” (a phrase I often used to describe a job that entailed my being in the presence of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash) dragged me down. When there wasn’t any road construction on the highway across the way, I’d close my eyes, tune out, and forget that thirty-five minutes later my cell phone’s alarm would ring.

I circled 3rd boyfriend’s block over and over again. He said he’d be ready for me to come over at 9:30pm. It was Valentine’s Day, but already night time. I had work during the day and he had a night class that I didn’t expect him to skip for our new relationship, or whatever it was that we were calling our time together. We ended up circling around each other for nearly four years. The miles weighed on my heart just as much as they wore on Peppy.

After I moved into my apartment in September of 2013, I’d been working so much between both jobs and another shot at the right fit graduate school that my first do-nothing-at-all day off was in December—the blizzardy white-out kind of snow day for which the northeast is famous. I’d spent the day binging on an entire season of Mad Men because I just had to clear my mind of everything that changed over the last few months. I’d been checking on my car parked in the street through the blinds, waiting for the right time to clear it off and dig out the area around it, so I could drive wherever I needed to go when it was time to go.

On a harried Sunday night drive after work (at a retail store) and just days before Christmas, I parked next to a dumpster, the only spot available in the apartment complex’s full lot. I checked my makeup in the mirror, not wanting to look too made up, so I decided to forego lip gloss (which I never wear anyway—gasp!), but feeling and looking pretty for this first date was the confidence I needed to put myself out there for someone worth the fuss. I texted where I was parked, he appeared, and then walked me in to his place. Dinner was cooking on the stove, and all the smells of a meal made by someone very special waited for my indulgence.  

Rather than feeling like I’m letting go of a trusted companion, I’m simply choosing to believe that the new car I recently purchased, another twinkling black Nissan, is not just an upgraded version of my car, but that she’s been pampered and preened for a much-needed makeover. Peppy II (or Peppy 2, Peppy Due [doo-eh, as per the number two in Italian], Pepster, and more nicknames to come) is stylish and sleek, a good fit for upcoming adventures.

I’m not even entirely embarrassed about the sentimentality I ascribe to the vehicle. It’s not a materialistic thing, that I need a cool car to feel something better about myself. It’s just so symbolic that looking ahead is always something happening right in front of you. It was hard to say goodbye to the old wheels (even in the midst of so many other bigger things happening in life), although I know Peppy (the original) won’t be too far away, parked in front of another home, driven by a new driver (who will coincidentally be attending the college in the fall where I work), and serving her noble purpose of steering towards a better future.

Maybe those kids from my class that time weren’t too far off the mark in their excitement about driving. I, someone who’s prided herself on being a bit different from the crowd (liking the color green instead of pink, for example—I know, so radical!), just took a little longer to realize and appreciate the value of driving and owning an automobile. Whatever it is that you choose to do, wear, say, think, be, and drive, there’s always somewhere amazing to go. It’s in those moments, when I’m behind the wheel, when life is happening. With that, the soulful 1994 hit “You Gotta Be” by Des’ree is the empowering anthem I choose to end on. Because… why not be everything?

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!

Color Me Style: Daily Look’s New Year’s Eve Little Black Dress Style Challenge!


It’s been a very fortuitous holiday season for my blog so far & the style keeps on coming! Style Darling has been invited to participate in Daily Look‘s New Year’s Eve Style Challenge, featuring the website’s best little black dresses to sport from party-to-party before the year is up. Of course there are many ways to don classic black, a favorite to feature in Color Me Style, such as lace, leather, silk, satin, along with many different shapes & styles.

However, before we get started, I’ve had LBDs on my mind, especially when there’s so much celebrity inspiration hitting the red carpet.  For example, Diane Kruger in a black lace Elie Saab cocktail dress with a black Osman blazer, a graphic Charlotte Olympia clutch, & striped lace-up Sophia Webster heels. Also, Scandal star Kerry Washington makes a bold statement in a leather little black dress with Jennifer Fisher jewelry & white pumps. Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o was stunning in a ruffled LBD by Fitriani, black pumps, & jewelry headband.

Diane Kruger, Kerry Washington, & Lupita Nyong'o.Cameron Diaz, Hailee Steinfeld, & Nicola Peltz.Also,  Cameron Diaz dazzled in little black dress by Isabel Marant with a quilted Chanel purse & Givenchy ankle-strap sandals. Hollywood it-girl Hailee Steinfeld was chic in a black high-neck David Koma pencil dress with capped silver pumps. Newcomer Nicola Peltz played with her youthful style in a black cut-out dress by Michael Kors with strappy sandals.

There’s so much to look forward to when it comes to upcoming fashion trends, but the little black dress is here to stay, especially when seen with runway inspiration from the recent Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear Collections that hit the runway during this past Fashion Week season. LBDs were seen on the runway in modern cuts, with plunging necklines, embellished details, cinched wasitlines, sweetheart necklines, & figure flattering shapes. This includes looks from Kenzo, Dolce & Gabbana, & Saint Laurent.

Kenzo. Dolce & Gabbana. Saint Laurent. Sprng 2015 Ready-To-Wear.Alexander Wang. Anthony Vaccarello. Vera Wang. Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear.Also, I just had to share these stunning looks from the Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear from designers Alexander Wang, Anthony Vaccarello, & Vera Wang.

Now that there’s LBD inspiration oozing off the screen, here are some of the best little black dresses from Daily Look, which can work for a variety of shapes & sizes, if you want to show off your legs, neckline, figure, or shoulders.

Daily Look. Little Black Dresses.

SHOP: pleated a-line midi dress ($59.99), mesh strip midi dress ($44.99), bejeweled cuffs bodycon dress ($49.99), lovely lace midi dress ($49.99), jersey knit long sleeve maxi dress ($55.99), & jessa open back midi dress ($59.99).

You can’t shop for New Year’s Eve without considering some blinged-out accessories, sparkling jewelry, & sexy shoes to complete your look, which is why I picked some of the most affordable & investment-worthy pieces to really bring out your inner glam girl.

Daily Look Accessories.SHOP: fringe earrings ($16.99), sequin multicolor clutch ($44.99), vixen cross strap heel ($39.99), harmony stone plated necklace ($24.99), sparkling pave link bracelet ($64.99), simple strap heel ($39.99), Jane Taylor rhinestone clutch ($64.99), & J.O.A. square pearl ring ($19.99).

Lastly, when it comes to the holidays, not only do your outfits get a chance to shine, but also your beauty look is allowed to be a little extra special, which is why I’ve shared some of my favorite celebrity looks that emphasize one facial feature or makeup style in order to show off the best version of you. This includes new mom Mila Kunis who nails a smoky eye & neutral lip for a dramatic & sexy look, prefect for any cocktail dress. Ingenue Bella Thorne plays with metallic eyeshadows to emphasize the shape of her eyes, as well as play up the glitz of the holiday with playful hues. Experiment with bright eyeliners like Jessica Biel who is making quite the beauty statement with an edgy turquoise swipe of a pencil underneath her lower lash line.

Mila Kunis, Bella Thorne, & Jessica Biel.Beyonce, Reese Witherspoon, & Rita Ora.Another way to play up your eyes is to follow Beyoncé‘s lead with winged liner, recalling a dramatic Cleopatra look that works with a sheath dress or sleek jumpsuit. American sweetheart Reese Witherspoon goes for a soft look with rosy cheeks & classic makeup, which easily makes you photo-ready before the ball drops. Brit singer Rita Ora looks stunning with a bold red lip that draws on her Old Hollywood appeal for some vintage inspiration, perhaps paired with a lacy or beaded frock.

What’s your New Year’s Eve style? Where are you shopping for your holiday essentials? Which are your favorite little black dresses from Daily Look? To see my favorite New Year’s Ever Daily Look ensemble, check out their Style Sets! For more stylish posts, be sure to check out previous posts including holiday gift styles from luxury brands & affordable retailers, how to winterize your nails from Julep, & sleeping in style with Casper’s Beauty Sleep Challenge! Happy Styling!

Basics For A Bargain: LBDS Inspired by Jennifer Lopez, Natalie Portman, & Kristen Bell!


Black Friday is all about getting the best deals on holiday gifts, but why not treat yourself to something special this season? The perfect go-to look for upcoming parties, family celebrations, & gatherings with friends is a little black dress, much like these flirty & elegant choices worn by A-list celebrities like Jennifer Lopez in DSquared, Kristen Bell‘s cut-out zip-up dress, & Natalie Portman‘s red carpet Dior look.

Jennifer Lopez in Dsquared. Kristen Bell in a cut-out LBD. Natalie Portman in Christian Dior.

While shopping around the web, I couldn’t help but fall in love with these designs, perfect for every style & budget. They can be styled in so many fabulous ways with a sequined blazer, embellished bolero sweater, or cardigan, along with accessories like a statement necklace, chandelier earrings, & a cocktail ring.

Forever 21 - Simply Sophisticated Bodycon Dress $24.80, Dress Barn - Belted Capelet Dress $25.00, & Lulu's - Spick & Span Black Midi Dress $35.00.

These dresses include: Simply sophisticated bodycon dress ($24.80) in black, available in sizes XL-3X, @Forever 21, belted capelet dress ($25.00) in black @Dress Barn, & spick & span midi dress ($35.00) in black @Lulu’s.

To shop more affordable LBDs, check out these additional selections from Bluefly, Dillard’s, Victoria’s Secret, Express, Sears, & H&M. For more Black Friday posts, check out sweater sales featuring items from The Limited & Old Navy, fabulous flats from Steve Madden & Payless, & cold weather accessories from LOFT & Zara! 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!

The $100 Challenge: Dress Up An LBD Without Breaking The Bank!


Getting ready for the holidays is always fun, what with the parties, dinners, & gatherings with friends & family leading up to the end of the year. You don’t have to spend a lot to look like a million bucks, especially when you look around at all the latest sales going on online & in stores. First I wanted to start off with a chic LBD for my latest post in The $100 Challenge, which includes the cross front jersey dress ($22.50) in black from Old Navy. The flowy, figure-flattering shape is perfect for any time of year, especially when it’s an ideal foundation for fun & sparkly pieces.  Of course, while heading to parties, you can add a flirty topper like the open front cardigan ($17.90) from Windsor Store.

Fabulous accessories include the Fioni Helix glitter sandal ($19.99) in silver from Payless, Forever 21‘s rhinestoned triangle necklace ($6.80) in grey, bow waist belt ($4.80) in cream, H&M‘s metallic tights ($9.95), & the Bay Harbor ostrich clutch ($18.00) by Apt. 9 from Kohl’s.

The total comes to $99.94, which is just under budget. Do you like this look? What’s your holiday go-to? How much are you willing to spend on one look? Happy Styling!

9/29/2012 Darling Of The Day / The $100 Challenge: Olivia Wilde’s Little Black Dress Look For Under $100!


Actress Olivia Wilde is one of the most in-demand beauties hitting red carpets & every time she makes an appearance, the photogs emerge & fashion critics pay attention.  During a recent appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the former House star dazzled in square neck black A.L.C. dress with Iwona Ludyga Design jewelry & red accented accessories.

Although I wasn’t able to recreate the exact little black dress, I’m crazy for this figure-flattering dress ($34.95) from H&M, which is also available in burgundy.

Luckily, I was able to find affordable accessories to bring this look together, including the metal trim waist belt ($4.80) from Forever 21, the Fioni glitz clutch ($16.99) from Payless, GOjane‘s low cut pumps ($23.80), & the dazzling Apt. 9 gold tone simulated crystal linear drop earrings ($13.00) from Kohl’s.

The total for this bargain look comes to $93.54, which fits perfectly for The $100 Challenge. For more Darling of the Day posts, check out other Olivias, including Olivia Palermo & Olivia Munn! Also, if you’re looking for more fabulous looks worn by Ms. Wilde, check out more images featuring maxi dresses, a Prada gallery, peplum hemlines, as well as her latest look in a Top 10 Celeb Sightings gallery! Happy Styling!

7/12/2012 Darling Of The Day / Basics For A Bargain: Anne Hathaway’s Cropped ‘Do, LBDs, & Audrey Hepburn Inspiration!


Anne Hathaway has hit the red carpet with a reinvented classic retro vibe, cad with her pixie cut (for Les Miserables), little black dresses, basic black shoes, & elegance pendant necklaces.  The Oscar-nominee is in full swing promoting her latest film, the major summer blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. The Style Darling‘s looks are elegant, contemporary, youthful, & worth making her the Darling of the Day.

Since I couldn’t pick just one look that I loved, I decided to share the four most recent images of her Audrey Hepburn-inspired style.  Her short ‘do is perfectly understated while these leg-baring frocks reveal that the actress isn’t slowing down her glamour game just yet.  Included in these images are dresses by Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney, & Givenchy, paired with Tory Burch ankle strap sandals.

Since there are so many fabulous details in the dresses above, I’ve found some affordable LBDs to help recreate Anne’s breathtaking noir turn.  First from Forever 21, we have the shawl collar surplice dress ($27.80) & the mesh yoke bodycon dress ($24.80), which is available in sizes XL – 3X. H&M has this belted dress ($34.95) which moves beautifully & can be dressed up with peep toes or worn casually with flats.  To show off your shape, I recommend the ponte knit sheath dress ($48.93) from Express.  If you’re looking to imitate the feel of Anne’s forth look above, head over to Lulu’s for the Motown black dress ($38.00). Lastly, since we are talking about one of the most sought after actresses in all the land, we need to step up our style game just a little & share the Jessica Howard sequin cap sleeve dress ($70.00) @JCP

Lastly, to help complete the look, I’ve searched high & low for some of the best accessories. This includes the Forever 21 oval locket necklace ($5.80) & floral pendant necklace ($1.50).  In addition, my shoe choices include the Brash Gemini flat ($26.99) from Payless (which I’ve previously featured in champagne), Charlotte Russe‘s fabric mouse ballet flat ($30.00), sueded ankle wrap pump ($35.50), & Michael Antonio Loveme patent pump ($40.00) @Zappos.

Which of Anne’s looks do you like the best? Would you ever rock a pixie cut? How do you feel about all the black-on-black? All comments & suggestions are always welcome, so please share! Check out more posts like this in Basics for a Bargain, Luxury Look-Alikes for Less, & Red Carpet Review! Happy Styling!

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: New York & Company’s Blowout Sale Up To 80% Off!


Whenever I see 80% off in a store window, I’m most likely there, but since I’ve been sick with a double ear infection for the last week (still trucking along to Brooklyn though), my shopping outings have been minimal- not to mention that super tight budget that I’m on. However, if I can score a major deal on a dress, top, or bottom that will change my entire wardrobe, then the rules fly right out the window.  When I saw that New York & Company, my former stomping grounds, was having a super duper blowout summer sale, I knew I had to start clicking around b/c this is a truly limited-time sale.  If you haven’t signed up already to receive emails from the store, then get on it! Not only are there perks for your birthday just for signing up, but you’ll get loads of coupon deals & news on the latest sales.

My number one recommendation for this sale is the split neck interlock dress ($24.46) in black, which has been reduced 30% from its original $34.95 price tag. This quintessential LBD is perfect for belting with something bright or metallic, layering with a cardigan or scarf, or if you’re not into showing off the gams, break out some wild leggings or tights.  The shape of the dress is modern, yet classic all at the same time & there’s no such thing as too many little black dresses.

I’ve recently had the brain fart (excuse the expression) of not knowing what to wear when I get up in the morning- if I’m tired, the weather’s too hot, or I’m not feeling 100%- but a dress like this is no-fail! In addition, it’s one of those perfect pieces that translates beautifully from day to evening.  Replace those ballet flats with some slingback platforms & you’re a whole new Style Darling! Happy Styling!