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!

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Make A Stylish Statement–Not Just For The Holidays Either!


Statement necklaces never go out of style. They instantly elevate any outfit & reinvent a look’s accompanying pieces.I love mixing & matching statement necklaces with solid tops or printed dresses, often playing on color combinations to brighten up an ensemble, while also framing the face &, of course, facing the day like the true Style Darling!

Also, statement necklaces aren’t limited to special occasions or the holiday season. Add that extra element of sparkle creates interest in any look, as well as gets the most worth out of your accessories.

To help you get inspired when trying a statement necklace for the first time (or if you’re scouring for new ways to wear old favorites), check out Taraji P. Henson, Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, & Cate Blanchett.

Remember, statement necklaces aren’t just for the red carpet either! Now that it’s starting to get chilly out, you’re breaking out the layers to bundle up & that shouldn’t exclude jewelry. Try wearing a glitzy statement necklace over a chunky sweater with leggings & riding boots or a statement necklace over a sweater dress with patterned tights. Shop these affordable & stylish finds to build your go-to statement necklace inventory for a variety of occasions.

Charming Charlie

Dressbarn

Forever 21

For more statement necklace inspiration, check out this timeless trend in previous posts here, here, here, & here. 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!

 

Accessories Access: Laser Cut Handbags, Shoes, & Belts for Spring!


In getting ready for spring (because it still isn’t here on Long Island—though we experienced two very magical spring-ish days before massive blizzards hit), I’m looking ahead, specifically to the trends I can’t wait to explore. One of the easiest ways to get into the mood of a new season is with accessories. My goal is to turn to some staple & classic pieces that I’ve collected from past seasons for my own looks. However, for some inspiration, I love seeing what’s new & stylish in stores & online right now to get me even more into a spring state of mine. Since I’m always interested in ways to mix patterns & textures to create a detailed & sophisticated look, I love the idea of laser cut accessories, which are typically faux leather, modern & feminine, & created in soft & neutral tones, to offset bold hues, floral prints, & abstract color combinations, especially when it comes to handbags, shoes, & belts. To achieve an affordable & fashionable take on spring, I’ve scoured the web & some of my favorite go-to stores to find the chicest ways to elevate your outfit, as well as help Style Darlings to transition from these last remaining chilly winter days & into a brighter & lighter spring style.

SHOP: black & white tote @dressbarn, nude scalloped crossbody @ASOS, beige handbag @Target, & white Western crossbody @Express.

SHOP: blue pointy toe flats @GOjane, white d’Orsay flats @Old Navy, black Darlene flats @Target, & blush dress sandals @Charlotte Russe

SHOP: pink stretch belt @Charming Charlie, bone skinny belt @Old Navy, & black faux leather belt @Banana Republic

What spring trends are you most excited to wear? Where do you shop to refresh your wardrobe from season-to-season? What neutral accessories do you like best? Happy Styling!

09/30/2015 Darling of the Day: Sienna Miller’s Three-Piece Jacket-Shirt-Jeans Outfit for Less!


Sienna Miller has had one stylish year, killing it at the Cannes Film Festival, & every red carpet she hits. The actress recently lent her support to the 2015 Social Good Summit where she mixed up fall’s best with a chic menswear look in a striped button-down shirt by Frame Denim (shop here) with black skinny jeans, a beaded black tweed Chanel jacket (shop similar here @Nordstrom), & black patent Mary Jane chunky heels (shop similar here @Saks Fifth Avenue). Get inspired by her menswear take with these affordable look-alike items, playing with texture, print, & layers for Style Darlings on a budget & any size.

Darling of the Day - Sienna Miller's menswear look for fall.SHOP: LOOK 1: textured scuba zip-front jacket ($40.00) in black @Dress Barn (shop plus size here), tartan plaid pocket shirt ($17.90) in black @Forever 21, original skinny jeans ($25.00, was $29.94) in black @Old Navy (available in sizes 00-20), chunky ankle strap heels ($24.99, was $46.00) in black @Cato, LC Lauren Conrad filigree ball stud ($10.00) in gold @Kohl’s, & GUESS enamel crystal ring ($13.50, was $18.00) in gold / black @Macy’s. LOOK 2: textured knit zip-front jacket ($40.00) in black / white @Dress Barn (shop plus size here), gradated stripe shirt ($22.90) in white / black @Forever 21 (available in sizes XL-3X), curvy skinny jeans ($25.00, was $29.94) in black @Old Navy (available in sizes 00-20), Gabriella Rocha ‘Sutton’ mary jane heels ($35.99, was 59.00) in black @6PM (available in wide width), Apt. 9 square stud earrings ($8.99, was $12.00) in rose gold @Kohl’s, & GUESS multirow crystal stone ring ($15.00, was $20.00) in rose gold @Macy’s.

Do you like Sienna Miller’s fall menswear look? How do you like to layer separates for fall? Where are you shopping for fall’s best trends? For more posts, check out previous posts featuring affordable looks inspired by Anne Hathaway, Gwyneth Paltrow, & Emily Ratajkowski, as well as the complete red carpet gallery from this month’s Emmy Awards. Happy Styling!

06/21/2015 Darling of the Day: Cara Delevingne’s Starry Menswear Look for Less!


Supermodel Cara Delevingne is a star on the rise, aside from her catwalk fame & awesome-by-association with besties like Taylor Swift & Rihanna. She’s been getting major buzz since the world of fashion media caught wind of her killer street style & enviable red carpet looks. She’s a sure-fire Style Darling who takes risks in modern menswear, minimalistic chic ensembles, & utilitarian pieces, making her a style icon. Recently, she mixed up her off-duty style for an appearance in London in an Equipment star-print ruffled blouse (shop here @Farfetch) with a Saint Laurent blazer (shop here @Net-A-Porter), black skinny pants, initial pendants (shop similar here @Max & Chloe), & black ankle strap sandals (shop similar here @Calvin Klein) at a photo call for her new film, Paper Towns.

Cara’s look here is easy to duplicate, especially for a shopper on a budget. Using the always amazing & helpful site ShopStyle, I was able to recreate the outfit with some Cara-inspired look-alikes for under $100!

Darling of the Day - Cara Delevingne in an Equipment star-print ruffled blouse with a Saint Laurent blazer blazer, black skinny pants, initial pendants, & black ankle strap sandals at the London photo call for Paper Towns.

SHOP: 1. star blouse ($21.99, was $44.99) @Mango Outlet, 2. double-breasted blazer ($15.99, was $32.80) in black @Forever 21 (FREE SHIPPING with code 10ZCSYG, expires 6/25), 3. ELLE skinny leggings ($17.60, was $44.00) in black @Kohl’s (15% off with code JUNE15 online only, expires 6/21), 4. Michael Antonio Jayvix-Sue ankle strap sandals ($32.99, was $49.00) in black @6PM, 5. BCBGeneration initial pendant ($9.99, was $25.00) in silver-gold @Saks Off Fifth, & 6. retro ring set ($2.75) @ChicNova.

What do you think of Cara’s menswear look? Does her style inspire your wardrobe this season? Are you looking forward to seeing Paper Towns in theaters? For more stylish posts, check out luxury look-alikes of gold wedge espadrilles from Michael Kors & Payless, my summer must-haves including affordable maxi dresses & cute tote bags, & stylish celeb sightings from Victoria Beckham & Kate Hudson! Happy Styling!

Fabulous in 4 Ways: Floral Leggings for Day, Work, Date, & Weekend (Dedicated to Kristen)!


This has been a season of leggings, especially for those us who have been feeling the sweet consequences of the holidays & blizzards in the north-east. However, that’s no reason to get lazy about your style, especially when leggings come in all prints & patterns. Floral leggings are a stylish play on stretchy bottoms & the possibilities of outfits are endless, thanks to my friend, Kristen, who came to me with this idea. In my latest Fabulous in 4 Ways post, instead of styling just one pair of floral leggings, I sought out four must-have & affordable pairs to wear for day, work, date night, & weekend looks.

When headed out on daily errands, coffee with the girls, or planning your next dinner party, floral leggings work, allowing for a mixture of textures to enrich your daytime look.

Day look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($24.99) in multi @Bluefly, sweater ($24.90) in navy / orange @Forever 21, boots ($55.00) in taupe @ALDO, bag ($25.16) @Chic Nova, & stud earrings ($5.00) in gold @Wallis.

Depending on your office environment, floral leggings are also a possibility for your work look. When it comes to casual Friday or a business casual dress code, try leggings with a mini dress, boyfriend cardigan, or long blazer.

Work look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($14.69) @Lord & Taylor, sheath dress ($17.80) in black @Forever 21, ankle booties ($19.97) in grey @Nordstrom Rack, tote ($17.99) in black @Shoptiques, & necklace ($8.74) @Target.

When it comes to date night, instead of a classic LBD, try floral leggings with some metallic detail, which instantly dresses up your look. Pairing them with a pop of color & luxe accessories is the perfect way to dress to impress.

Date night look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($14.00) @Boohoo, blouse ($28.27) in red @Romwe, boots ($25.99) in black @Shoes.com, clutch ($21.99) in gold @6PM, earrings ($9.80) @JC Penney, & necklace ($8.74) @Target.

I love weekend looks because they present a combination of casual & chic. If you’re going to a B&B, traveling to a vineyard for a four-day weekend, or reading a good book & drinking hot chocolate, layering cozy separates in lightweight fabrics can transform the way you enjoy your down time.

Weekend look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($10.00) @H&M, blouse ($19.99) in pink @MANGO, cardigan ($12.95) in black @H&M, ballet flats ($11.99) in black @Wet Seal, tote ($21.00) @Shoptiques, stud earrings ($6.93) @Express.

Do you dare to wear floral leggings? How do you like to style them? Would you wear floral leggings on a date or to work? For more stylish posts, check out Megan Fox & Felicity Jones’ latest red carpet looks, Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2015 Couture collection, how to wear the fringe trend for spring inspired by Scarlett Johansson & Heidi Klum, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s street style for less, & affordable ear cuffs & front to back earrings from Nasty Gal & River Island. Happy Styling!

1/31/2015 Darling of the Day: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s London Street Style for Less!


When it comes to street style, there are so many A-listers to look to for inspiration, including British model & actress, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She was spotted out & about in London this week, showing off her usual blend of edgy meets classic, mixing neutrals with luxe fabrics in a look that can be easily duplicated for a Style Darling on a budget.

Darling of the Day - Rosie Huntington-Whiteley

SHOP: coat ($44.00) in cream @Boohoo, sweater ($17.99) in grey @Kohl’s, faux leather skirt ($29.99) in black @Century 21, tote ($24.48) in black @Target, pumps ($29.99) @Bonton, & necklace ($7.90) @Forever 21.

What do you think of Rosie’s look? How do you style leather separates? Are you brave enough to wear a cream coat this season? For more stylish posts, check out the latest trend in earrings inspired by Cara Delevingne & Emma Watson, Atelier Versace’s Spring 2015 Couture collection from Paris, patterned separates inspired by Jessica Alba & Gwen Stefani, Reese Witherspoon’s preppy look for less, & the complete red carpet gallery from this year’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards. Happy Styling!

11/21/2014 Darling of the Day: The Ultimate Olivia Palermo Gallery, Featuring Over 300 of Her Most Stylish Looks!


In a world where reality stars (sometimes unfortunately) rule pop culture, there’s one who’s made an everlasting mark on the fashion world. That’s reality star-socialite-style-icon-fashion-blogger, Olivia Palermo. She’s been on the fashion radar for years & there’s nothing she can’t wear. Whether it’s mixing prints, playing with texture, donning luxe furs, bringing back the belt, taking risks with pops of color, & experimenting with every type of shoe under the sun, her style & beauty is utterly flawless.

Olivia PalermoThe designer darling is a favorite on the red carpet & of photogs’ when it comes to street style. Her level of sophistication is equal to haute couture gowns at the Cannes Film Festival & a casual day walking her dog in skinny jeans & ballet flats. Ever since I started gathering fashionable photo galleries on Style Darling’s Facebook page, I couldn’t help but think about Olivia’s masterful style strategy for taking over the web with one frock at a time.

Check out the gallery below, along with the inspiring slideshow, which can influence any tired wardrobe looking for a change. Rethink a metallic belt, statement necklace, chic coats, lace-up booties, peasant skirts, & a classic tote when putting together your ensemble with basics like a printed scarf, white button down, leather leggings, sparkly LBD, suede knee boots, & tortoise sunglasses. Not to mention that her effortless expression through fashion goes beyond trends since she can wear anything, including menswear, boho chic, minimalist, classic Hollywood, beachy, preppy, bombshell, city casual, utilitarian, girl next door, & ultra chic- all in the same week!

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Since there’s just so much style-wise to examine about Olivia’s constantly gorgeous looks, I’ve put together some affordable ways to upgrade your style with go-to pieces that she wears, & isn’t afraid to be seen wearing out & about more than once, making her wardrobe function for multiple occasions!

Olivia Palermo-inspired pieces.Shop: little black dress ($65.00) @Lulu’s, bib necklace ($20.00) @Charming Charlie, jacquard skirt ($40.00) @Topshop, peep toe bootie ($26.87) @GOJane, Calvin Klein belt ($20.99) @Bluefly, slim leg pant ($26.47) @New York & Company, rose print scarf ($17.94) @Express, cowlneck sweater ($27.80) @Forever 21, faux fur vest ($39.95) @H&M, tote bag ($27.00) @Old Navy, button down shirt ($30.32) @ASOS, zipper jacket ($41.30) @Dress Barn, & leopard flats ($19.99) @JC Penney.

For more on Olivia Palermo, check out her official blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter @TheRealOliviaP, Pinterest, & Instagram @oliviapalermo to see more of her sensational style! Also, for all the latest from Style Darling, take a look at recent posts, including pastels for winter featuring designs from Rebecca Taylor & Chanel, as well as red carpet inspiration from Kerry Washington & Elle Fanning, all-in-one cosmetic kids for the holidays from Sepha & Victoria’s Secret, cold weather accessories from Express & Forever 21, & Anna Kendrick’s beachy cover shoot for Marie Claire‘s December issue! Happy Styling!