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!


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!

08/30/2014 Darling Of The Day: Emma Stone’s Flawless Black Tee + Pants Looks!

Emma Stone is always a favorite on the red carpet, showing off her playful & sophisticated side, which always makes her one to watch! Just this week, the actress debuted a new cropped ‘do, along with a chic black top + pants & heels look when making public appearances. So, it’s not wonder that this girl next door is today’s Darling of the Day!

Emma Stone in a black top & Sandro pants at the Venice Film Festival. Emma Stone in Proenza Schouler separates at The Birdman photocall.

When arriving at the Venice Film Festival, the actress wowed photogs in Sandro sweatpants (shop here), an effortless black top, & multicolor pumps. Also, during a photocall for her upcoming film, The Birdman, she showed up in Proenza Schouler separates & embellished pumps. These looks are perfect for inspiring Style Darlings on a budget all over the world to transition their summer wardrobe into fall with a few tweeks.

For example, we all have tons of black tops in our closets, so it’s time to break them out, but if you’re looking to spruce up your basics, try the sleeveless tank top ($17.99) in black from Target (available in XS – XXL) & New York & Company‘s dolman sleeve pullover sweater ($14.99), which is currently marked down from its original $44.95 price! Also, have fun this season with unexpected pants, which will certainly amp up your day-to-day style, with the loose fit pants ($6.95) in black/patterned from H&M & the marled knit pants ($17.80) in grey/white from Forever 21 (for similar Plus size styles of both, click here & here).

Emma Stone inspired black & pants looks.

Lastly, Emma finishes her looks with a great heel. Since you’re working with a basic color palette, experiment with texture & embellishments to make your ensemble really pop. I choose the snakeskin print runway heel ($41.94) from Express in multi (currently 40% off!) & GOjane‘s ‘Point Well Taken’ stiletto heel ($20.89).

Which celebrity’s red carpet looks influence your street style? What’s your favorite way to wear trendy pants? For more fashionable posts, check out previous updates including music videos from Iggy Azalea & Meghan Trainormy new pointy animal print flats from Old Navyactress Jamie Chung’s fashion blog ‘What The Chung?,’ & budget-friendly skirts for fall inspired by Michelle Dockery & Miranda Kerr! Happy Styling! 


The Stylish Five: Budget-Friendly Skirts For Fall ($30.00 & Under), Inspired by Chrissy Teigen, Michelle Dockery, & More!

As much as I’m a fan of dresses, especially this summer since I’ve worn a dress most days of this season, I’m always pro-skirt, especially when it comes to transitioning from one look to another for a variety of occasions. This fall, I’m headed all over the place: the classroom, my academic job, my retail job, an internship in NYC, & wherever my personal life takes me. I turned to some of the most stylish celebrities for a little skirt inspiration, both on the red carpet & when they’re showing off their street style. This includes Miranda Kerr‘s emerald green & violet matching separates(shop here) by Escada at the Escada Joyful event last month, supermodel Chrissy Teigen in a printed crop top & pencil skirt (shop here) by Milly with nude ankle strap sandals, & Lily Collins in a head-to-toe mix print look by Chanel while attending the label’s latest fall/winter runway show. Miranda Kerr, Chrissy Teigen, & Lily Collins.

Jamie Chung, Michelle Dockery, & Hilary Swank.

Also, there’s Style Darling Jamie Chung out & about in Los Angeles this summer in a black pleated midi-length skirt with a chambray top & accessories (shop here & here) by Loeffler Randall, Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery showing off her playful side in a look by Victoria Beckham with rings by Melinda Maria & EF Collection while attending the show’s photocall this summer, & two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank at the Marc Cain spring/summer 2015 show in a blouse & polka dot skirt by the designer with black patent pumps.

While I was flipping through the first wave of September issues of my favorite magazines, I came across a few ads that caught my eye & was suddenly inspired by skirts for fall. Here are a few of my top picks that are sure to work with your current wardrobe staples, as well as make a new statement about your fall style. Below, said skirt that inspired this post was the Worthington long pencil skirt ($19.99) in blue geo print from JC Penney, which I could imagine worn with a crisp white button down, a black t-shirt, or a cobalt pintucked blouse. To bring out your softer side, I choose the brushstroke print A-line skirt ($22.80) in black & cream from Forever 21 because it just screams Charlotte York to me!

Skirts from JC Penney, Forever 21, H&M, Target, & Dress Barn.

If you’re really looking to mix things up, try this metallic skirt ($29.95) in silver from H&M, which is a great investment for any time of year, paired with a pastel blouse (like that shown in the image above) or an embellished sweater for the holidays. The assymetrical zip skirt ($24.99) in black from Target is a modern twist on the classic, all-purpose pencil skirt, especially if you’re headed to an interview at a trendy office, or looking to dress up your favorite rocker tee. I’m also a big fan of this because it’s available in gray & sizes X-Small to XX-Large. Lastly, to work the menswear trend this fall, I picked the plaid pencil skirt ($30.00) from Dress Barn, which has hints of so many different colors that you can pop it with a regal purple top or make it work-ready with a navy cardigan. Also, this skirt is sold online & in-stores in plus sizes.

Which skirts are you most inspired by? How will you be wearing your separates this fall? Which celebrity skirt look is your favorite? Where will you shop for the new fall skirts? For more stylish reads, check out previous posts including Olivia Wilde’s Glamour September photo shoot, Lauren Conrad’s newest collection for Kohl’s, & If I Stay star Chloe Grace Moretz’s recent red carpet look! Happy Styling!


Basics For A Bargain: Monochromatic Looks To Brighten Up Any Season, Wardrobe, & Budget!

It’s not often that I wear monochromatic looks, but when I do, it’s usually either black or gray. These are go-to colors that I know I can always mix & match with each other, especially when I’m headed to work & am looking for something chic & fluid to wear. I was inspired by monochrome outfits during my last photo shoot of pictures of myself to post on Style Darling (see the all-green sweater & pants look, for example).

Since I started covering Runway Rundown here, I noticed the dominance of monochromatic designs, especially for the 2013 runways. This includes Calvin Klein Collection with a multi-textural caramel look, Michael Kors‘ lemon yellow duds, Elie Saab‘s cobalt crush, Salvatore Ferragamo using neutral beige, Christopher Kane‘s all-white ensemble, Bottega Veneta‘s brick menswear-inspiration, & BCBG Max Azria‘s flowing black separates.

Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Elie Saab, Salvatore Ferragamo, Christopher Kane, Bottega Veneta, & BCBG Max Azria.

Taking a cue from the runways, there have been plenty of color-on-color red carpet apperances. Celebrities who’ve donned monochromatic looks include Michelle Williams who attended the New York Times Arts & Leisure Weekend event in head-to-toe black with a belted mini, tights, & suede booties. Fashion icon Alexa Chung breaks up her nearly-monochromatic look in an oxblood turtleneck by Versus & leather zip-up mini with lasercut flats. Country songstress Taylor Swift went for a more mature look in a custom-made all-white suit by J. Mendel at last year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Victoria Beckham looks nothing short of amazing in her nude sheath dress design with Brian Atwood pumps. Lastly, back in 2009, Penelope Cruz dazzles in a three-piece scarlett suit by Bottega Veneta at the London premiere of Broken Embraces with two-tone strappy sandals.

Michelle Williams, Alexa Chung, Taylor Swift, Victoria Beckham, & Penelope Cruz.

Now that we’ve seen what’s going on inside the pages of our favorite magazines & who’s wearing what on the runways, I wanted to show how anyone can wear a monochromatic look without breaking your budget. What’s great about finding identical tones is the crisp & clean look that it creates & that’s where you can have fun with accessorizing with a sparkling scarf, baubled cocktail rings, bib necklaces, embossed handbags, & so on. In these looks, I have included at least one accessory, but it’s simply a suggestion & option to really bring the look together & in most cases (except for the teal look) still fits within budget.

First, I’ve been thinking about coral, ever since a post from The $100 Challenge where I featured a coral dress for the holidays, but I just love the softness of the color, which is perfect for any skintone. It instantly adds some natural rosiness to your cheeks & always looks feminine. The studded Peter Pan collar shirt ($22.80) from Forever 21 already has some built-in detail with the gold that helps frame your face. This matches perfectly with Target‘s Mossimo ankle pant ($27.99) & the sueded uber platform pumps ($12.50) from Charlotte Russe, which have just been reduced from their original $32.50 price. Lastly, I fell in love with the art deco-inspired spike triangle earrings ($8.77) from ASOS, which add a rose gold luxury to such a relaxed, yet sophisticated outfit. Also, if you want to break up these pieces to create a trendy or unexpected look, mix things up with dark denim skinnies, cap toe ballet flats, a silk boyfriend blazer, or metallic belt.

I’ve also been seeing a neon opportunity for your wardrobe for quite some time now. Of course, this color is to be worn confidently & with caution. We all want to look so good we stop traffic, but this look with highlighter yellow or electric lime tones could almost guarantee such a result. It all started with the a.n.a. perfect skinny corduroy pants ($17.00) from JC Penney that I spotted sometime before the holidays, but now they’re marked down & I’m excited to see how these might be worn for the rest of the winter & into spring. I paired these with the boatneck banded bottom tee ($29.90) from Express & Forever 21‘s faux suede pumps ($29.80). While any gold, white lacquered, or lucite jewelry will enhance this look, Alloy‘s Zahara neon necklace ($19.90) was just irresistible, thanks to a search on ShopStyle for matching accessories. Also, for more ideas on how to wear these pieces, consider other neutrals like charcoal, black, & navy, as well as classic patterns like polka dots, houndstooth, & plaid.

Coral, Neon, Teal, & Fuchsia.

I found myself a little troubled when looking for coordinating pieces for my teal ensemble- ones that wouldn’t make me go over budget, but… I did. Sometimes that happens when you find absolutely must-have pieces. I just adore this color (on me!) & think it’s a bold way to reinterpret greens & blues since it falls so beautifully in the middle. While checking out the newest arrivals @New York & Company, I found the satiny pleated from belted blouse ($29.95), which instantly made me think to find a skirt. Then the Grace Elements teal skirt with yoke ($24.99) from Loehmann’s was a perfect fit, especially if you’re trying to refresh your work wardrobe. For an extra fun touch, @Steve Madden, the Intrude pumps ($34.99) are just what this look needed to add some texture & despite the myth of material, these can be worn any time of the year. Finally, the Croft & Barrow jet bead hoop drop earrings ($12.00) from Kohl’s put the look just a bit over $100, but you can always keep this affordable by wearing favorites that you may already own like diamond stud earrings or something in silver.

My final look goes out to my plus-size Style Darlings because I think a berry tone is perfect for any shape & any woman. I shopped Wet Seal‘s plus section to find the 3/4 sleeve belted blouse ($18.99) on sale, which comes with a detachable belt, perfect for wearing over a cardigan or jersey dress to help enhance your curves. To keep this look balanced & figure-flattering, the roz & ALI stretch colored jeggings ($19.99) from Dress Barn helped complete the bottom half, especially since they’re available in sizes 14-24. I found the Rocket Dog Monica flat ($24.94) @DSW, which would also help dress down a shirt dress, work if paired with a denim skirt & sweater, or contrast a ruffled blouse & dolman top. My final piece to this looks is the neon metallic teardrop earring ($5.80) from Forever 21, which would sparkle for a date night in an LBD or look cute with a mod shift dress.

Do you wear a monochromatic look? Which colors are you most drawn to? Do you prefer matchy-matchy pieces or like to contrast with colorblocking? For more from Basics For A Bargain, check out posts including outerwear inspired by Kate Middleton & Gwen Stefani, pointy toe heels as seen on Mandy Moore & Miranda Kerr, & how to copy separates looks like Kate Hudon & Kristen Stewart! Also, for more affordable looks under $100, check out a sleek black & silver cocktail look, building with black textured accessories, & how to wear a leopard wrap dress! Lastly, be sure to click on over to Color Me Style for the latest trends in yellow with some help from Emmy Rossum & Kim Kardashian, all-black looks like Jennifer Lawrence & Kate Moss, & black & white ensembles like Jessica Alba & Julianne Hough! Happy Styling!