Basics for a Bargain: Spring Dress Predictions, Inspired by Kerry Washington, Allison Williams, & More (Dedicated to Nicole)!


When asking around through social media to some of my friends for some style inspiration since I was stuck on what my next blog post should be, my lovely & brilliant friend, Nicole, inquired about spring dresses to expect for next season, especially when winter is such a rich season for playing with texture & prints when it comes to dresses. For spring, my research tells me that dresses are all about the details- what makes them special, whether it’s lace, metallic embellishment, bold colors / patterns, shine, or shape. I had so much fun getting inspired by dresses from the runway & my favorite A-list celebrities.  

Allison Williams, Kerry Washington, Julianne Moore, Anna Kendrick, Kate Mara, & Camilla Belle.

The always stylish Girls actress Allison Williams mixed patterns with her paisley printed silk dress by Giambattista Valli with black pumps. Scandal star Kerry Washington played up detail in a checked Prada dress with a violet clutch & metallic Christian Louboutin pointy toe pumps. This season’s Oscar nominee Julianne Moore dared to be different in a cherry red off-the-shoulder Delpozo dress with Givenchy sandals. The adorable & playful Anna Kendrick wore a flirty cobalt blue laser cut Temperley London shirt dress & nude Christian Louboutin pumps when making an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Former House of Cards co-star Kate Mara donned a lattice paneled little white dress by Vielma with a clutch by Botkier & nude pumps. Lastly, fashion it-girl Camilla Belle did Gucci proud in the brand’s blue printed dress with t-strap pumps.

Also, during Fashion Week, the Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear Collections that hit the runways were all about detail-oriented dresses, chock full of bold colors, modern twists on classics, floral embellishments, playful prints, & much more! 

Mary Katranzou, Erin Fetherston, Alberta Ferretti, Peter Pilotto, Matthew Williamson, Roland Mouret, Temperley London, & Nanette Lepore Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear.

This included collections from Mary Katrantzou, Erin Fetherston, Alberta Ferretti, Peter Pilotto, Matthew Williamson, Roland Mouret, Temperley London, & Nanette Lepore.

And finally, my picks for affordable dresses to start the spring off right are:

Spring dresses from Dress Barn, Old Navy, Wallis, Forever 21, ModCloth, JC Penney, & Chic Nova.

SHOP: textured fit & flare dress ($48.00) in royal @Dress Barn, belted shirt dress ($32.94) in red print @Old Navy, lace dress ($59.00) in black @Wallis Fashion, lush floral tea dress ($29.90) @Forever 21, floral flashback stripe dress ($17.99) @ModCloth, short sleeve print blouson dress ($19.99) @JC Penney, & print cross V-neck dress ($28.49) in yellow @Chic Nova.

Which dresses are your favorites? Which celebrities do you look to for style inspiration? What’s your favorite kind of dress? Have you started your spring shopping yet? What are you looking to update this spring? For more stylish posts, check out my latest picks of sale sweaters for under $20, how to wear a statement necklace in 4 ways, Jennifer Lopez’s press tour for her new movie, Natalie Portman’s Dior look for less, & the complete red carpet gallery from this year’s Golden Globes including looks from Emma Stone & Naomi Watts. Happy Styling!

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Splurge or Save… A Burgundy Blouse?


The color of the upcoming fall-winter season is burgundy & its related hues, including brick, deep red, maroon, oxblood, merlot, & so on. I have to say that this isn’t a color I wear often, but I can see the luxury in it, especially when it comes to classic & feminine pieces like a burgundy blouse. Lately, Style Darling has been all about what’s been going down at New York Fashion Week with manic posts under Runway Rundown, but if we’re going to look ahead, let’s talk about what we should be considering for updating our wardrobe this fall.  Even if you’re not looking to stay on-trend, the idea of a burgundy blouse is pretty timeless.  It will look lush & expensive against any black, gray, navy, cream, mustard (yes, I said mustard), or denim pieces that you already own & rely on for building your everday looks.  Keep with the jewel tones & add a splash of deep purple for some colorblocking!

I’ve found five similar blouses that fit the criteria for Splurge of Save?, ranging in price from nearly $400 to under $20.  Of course, when it comes to a blouse, you have to consider the care that you will take in cleaning it, if it’s hand wash or dry clean only, which will entail an extra cost & time spent going to & from a reliable dry cleaners. Also, let’s say that for the sake of variety, we’d be looking at wearing this blouse twice a month from September to April. That’s 8 months & 16 wears, which is how we’ll figure the always important CPW (cost per wear).

The most expensive, but perhaps my favorite of all these blouses is the Equipment Signature 2-pocket silk chiffon shirt ($398.38) from ASOS. The subtle polka dot print can also be mixed with other prints like a pinstripe pant or always fashionable houndstooth pencil skirt if you’re going for a real runway-inspired look.  At most, this comes to just under $25 per wear, which can always buy you a great lunch & dessert with a refreshing glass of wine when you’re out with the girls.  Next, the Joie ‘Marru’ pleated blouse ($198.00) @Neiman Marcus is a less conventional looking blouse, but the modern pleats down the front add texture to this flowy feminine piece.  Wearing this will cost you less than $13 each day, which doesn’t sound so bad, but for some, the sleeve-length may not be favorable.  This can always be remedied with a cool cardigan or heavy knit wrap sweater. ALso, keep in mind that light pieces like blouses can always soften up tough separates like a leather jacket!

Thirdly, the Calvin Klein roll sleeve shirt ($69.50) from Bloomingdale’s doesn’t necessarily fall under the blouse category, but if worn with the right separates, this shirt can be utilized for day or night, in the office or for a date.  The sporty sleeves are perfect for pairing with a menswear-inspired vest, but this can also be coordinated with faux leather leggings, tucked in with satin shorts & tights, or simply worn with distressed boyfriend jeans & flats.  Dress this up with an embellished cardigan & drop earrings, or keep it simple with a croc embossed belt & riding boots.  For just over $4 a day, this doesn’t seem like such a bad deal, but of course, every Style Darling knows to keep their budget in mind.

For those who love the retro look, consider the ‘Prepare to Bordeaux’ top ($49.99) from Mod Cloth, which recalls that sexy librarian / secretary vibe, while also donning an air of Old Hollywood.  With a metallic-accented brocade pencil skirt or sequined mini, this is perfect with a killer blazer or worn to show off the sheer sleeves.  Not to mention that the scarf-like knot at the neck draws attention to your face.  Not to keep getting too math-y, for just over $3 a day, this blouse is worth the investment.  Lastly, Forever 21‘s shirred high-low shirt ($19.80) is our least expensive blouse, costing barely $1.25 per wear & is also great for styling for day or night.  Take a cue from the pic above & try your favorite pair of colored jeans, or create a 70’s look with wide leg jeans & camel accessories.

Which blouse is your favorite? Are you getting into the burgundy trend? How would you style this look? What piece would you like to see next in Splurge or Save? Happy Styling! (Special thanks to graphic designer, Nino Vlacich <3, for his time & skills in creating the image above!)

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: Spring Styles & Lovely Lace From ModCloth!


I haven’t visited the ModCloth site in a quite a long time, but I was happy to find some of the latest sale items, featuring all sorts of lace details.  I’ve always loved lace b/c even just a swatch on a collar or trim on a skirt, makes for an especially garment.

After perusing through some of affordable deals that are selling out quick, these are some of my favorites! The Critical Moss Top by Jack by BB Dakota ($22.99) is perfect to pair with jeans to make a daytime look a little more polished.  This is one sweatshirt that won’t ever go out of style & will make your lazy day look all the more trendy.

The Pleat Me For Dinner Skirt ($29.99) is a fun way to wear lace b/c of its polka dot pattern & slimming waistband.  This is work appropriate with a high neck blouse & bright blazer.

If you’re looking for a vintage-inspired cocktail dress straight off the set of Mad Men, take a look at the Rock Show Royalty Dress ($39.99).  This is a classic with a twist choice, especially with black opaque tights & round toe pumps. The sexy front slit & button details are unexpected, making this a go-to staple for any season. Happy Styling!

Super Style Wishlist: My Favorite Fall Finds From Mod Cloth!


I love trying to pair up fabulous dresses with outerwear & the right shoes & tights!  Of course, the whole point of this particular series of blogs is to celebrate all items of fashion, including those that are a beyond our budget- pieces that we put on our wishlist for that one day when money isn’t such an issue.

@Mod Cloth, I did some serious browsing & fell in love with this green Queen Anne’s Lace dress.  Since green is the color for fall & I love the sheer sleeves, this is the perfect dress to wear for your next cocktail affair or autumn-wedding!  The all-over lace deserves a belt to break up the color & help flatter your figure & this Roping Elegance belt will do just the trick.

I love the idea of mixing textures like lace with polka dots, which is why I picked the Jukebox Tights in the Pony which add that extra bit of playfulness to your look, but they’re also great to wear with a mini dress or something for professional for work.

You definitely would need some killer heels to show off this elegant dress.  Strike a pose in the Presto heels by Poetic License!  The shiny fabric & shimmering bow embellishment accentuate the femininity of your look.  Since the fall is approaching, you’re gonna need to think about outerwear, & I think that this Wuthering Delights coat is the epitome of vintage, sharing its shape with the dress perfectly!

To break up the black & green color palette here, I picked the Good to Bow clutch wallet, which is the perfect way to store your on-the-go necessities for that perfect night out!

As for the finishing touches, I love the super vintage feel of the jewelry available @Mod Cloth.  You could always go with an ornate bib necklace, but I thought the distressed look of the Facet of Imagination earrings ($19.99) is an especially daring match against the softness of the dress, but will compliment the gold in the belt.  Also, I picked out two cocktail rings that will look stunning with or without the coat, including the Terra Verde ring ($22.99) & the Vine-Stone ring ($12.99).

The total for this look comes to $767.91 before taxes, which is probably the cheaper of my Super Style Wishlist posts, but the total price tag is a considerable investment for one look.  Be sure to check out a post from back in January in The $100 Challenge, which featured a dress from Mod Cloth called ‘Style Darling!’

Do you shop on Mod Cloth? Would you wear this look?  Can you see any of the pieces in your current fall wardrobe?  Happy Styling!

The $100 Challenge: A True Style Darling Uniform!


Somehow or another, the circle of style keeps coming back my way, which makes me very happy.  I recently received word from a very fashionable college friend that the very chic & spirited retailer Mod Cloth features a dress that’s called none other than “Style Darling.”  So here we are on a very snowy blog day that requires a venture into some familiar territory, The $100 Challenge

                       

While we’re in the middle of a week of gray skies, I wanted to show this dress, staying true to its sweetness, but also add some surprises.  Given the price of this dress, at a cool $61.99, wouldn’t it be something to make an entire stylish outfit with the remaining $38?  I love how the simplicity of this dress reminds me of something vintage with a touch of Charlotte York, but the bright tights have a little essence of Carrie Bradshaw.  A touch of polka dots makes for a playful collar, the cinched waist allows for a belt with a little gold- just enough metallic so as not to clash with classic silver bangles.  A simple foldover coin purse turns into a chic daytime clutch & you can’t forget about those cut-out shooties that are perfect for any time of year.  They’re just enough modern for this mod look!  This look can be switched up with knee boots & bright leather belt, or a sweet cardigan & cute ballet flats.  Thanks Michelle & Happy Styling!