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!

 

Show Me the Shoes: Black & White Heels for Spring!


Spring is all about color! Pastels & bright hues are emerging from the darkness that is winter with lighter layers & softer palettes across the board. However, one of the edgiest ways to mix up your spring wardrobe is to pair a pattern or monochromatic outfit with a bold black & white heel. Since spring offers so many clean prints & floaty fabrics, a more modern shoe alternative in black & white will set you apart, changing the way you build a look. Combine stripes with floral or polka dots with animal prints to rediscover a new spring style.

SHOP: Claire d’Orsay pumps @JCPenney, Chinese Launrdy Elise polka dot pumps @6PM, ARA pom pom sandals @DSW, Christian Siriano Klassic cross strap pumps @Payless, Desi striped kitten heels @Sole Society, & Tyler almond toe flower pumps @Nine West

Where do you like to shop for the latest spring shoe trends? Do you mix & match patterns with your outfits & accessories? Do you love sleek black & white outfits? Happy Styling!

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: Pick Out Polka Dots For Spring!


In keeping an eye on the latest spring trends, with all the florals, stripes, neons, & pastels in fashion, I’ve been seeing a consistency presence of polka dots in all items from clothing to accessories. I’m a big fan of polka dots for their classic appeal to any age. I even wore polka dot tights with a polka dot dress & polka dot scarf to work this week. Although it seemed a little overkill, I removed the scarf once I entered the building. Since recently starting a second job, I’m surrounded by plenty of feminine details, including  modern cuts on dresses, flouncy fabrics for accessories, & bold color combinations on separates.

I wanted to select some of the best pieces that are both fashionable & affordable for your spring wardrobe. This includes the polka dot faux wrap dress ($40.00) in orange from Dress Barn, as well as the polka dot sandal wedge ($29.80) from Forever 21 & GOjane‘s pointy toe polka dot pumps ($26.95). Other stylish accessories include the striped polka dot lightweight scarf ($9.99) from Charlotte Russe & the Lulu by Lulu Guinness ring leader bow clutch ($35.00) from JC Penney.

I’d like to also suggest timeless pieces to wear with basics like dark denim jeans, a black pencil skirt, a crisp button down shirt, or a bright, ruffled tank. You can wear the Dr Denim snap high waist skinny jeans ($49.88) from ASOS with any number of toppers like a leather jacket, boyfriend blazer, or embellished cardigan. The Express polka dot peplum tank ($29.90) in gray is also available in a nautical-inspired blue / red combo for a dressy casual look with skinny jeans or a denim mini skirt.

Also, try the Rampage polka dot mesh peplum top ($26.99) from Loehmann’s with edgier bottoms like liquid leggings, a leather pencil skirt, or cropped metallic pants. Another option for a more polished look is the Elementz a-line skirt ($17.99) from Macy’s with a scoop neck tank or three-quarter sleeve pullover. To wear polka dots casually, there’s also New York & Company‘s Spring Street polka dot poplin shirt ($31.46) in blue & a more feminine option is available in pink to wear with a white skirt, linen pants, or lace shorts.

How do you like to wear polka dots? Do you prefer black & white polka dots or do you like to wear unexpected colors? For more on polka dots, check out a recent post in The $100 Challenge, various price points for polka dots stockings, & lastly, spring-ready polka dot pants! Happy Styling!

Splurge or Save… On Polka Dot Pants?


Polka dots will always & forever exist as a classic pattern on any article of clothing. This means shoes, bags, dresses, tops, & certainly pants. So, with my latest Splurge or Save? post, I wanted to feature polka dot pants, a trend that just isn’t going away for any season. It wasn’t surprising that I could find polka dot pants when I was searching the web since there are so many different ways to wear them.  Without breaking the bank, I’m happy to share pairs from under $20 – just about $100. Of course, you need to always consider your cost per wear when investing in key pieces, especially ones that will continue to pay you back over time.

First up, I wanted to share my most affordable selection, which is the polka dot print pants ($19.80) from Forever 21. These range in sizes X-Small – Large & while I love most polka dots in black & white, you can always get away with a black & ivory color combination. An awesome sale deal can be found at Gap with the slim cropped refined dot pants ($24.99), which have recently been marked down from their original $49.95 price. Available is limited since this is an older items, but my plus size Style Darlings would be happy to know that these run up to size 20.

Next, @Dillards, the Soulmates polka dot skinny pants ($39.00) are perfect for wear with bright colors like magenta, red, kelly green, or lemon, especially when matched with pointy toe heels, rounded platforms, or quilted ballet flats. As we move higher in price, the polka dot slim ankle pants ($84.00) from White House Black Market caught my attention. I simply love this story more than I can say & find that their designs are super sophisticated & well-made, so at the end of next season, I will be hunting them down to add to my wardrobe. Lastly, the polka dot ankle pants ($99.50) from Ralph Lauren are classic to wear with a white button-down, tunic sweater, or dolman top. If you were to wear these pants at least once a week, estimated at about four times a month, then each wear would be around $25.

Most of the patterns & prints that I love are in black & white (like zebra & houndstooth), but polka dots will always be number one for me! Would you wear polka dot pants? How much are you willing to spend? Would you only wear these during the warmer months or do you think they serve a year-round purpose? For more posts about affordable fashion, check out Rachel Zoe’s ShoeDazzle favorite picks, a black & silver cocktail or date night look for under $100, Prabal Gurung’s uber-chic & must-have Target collection, & stylish scarves for $10 & under! Happy Styling!

Top 10 Celeb Sightings: Poised, Polished, & Pumped Up Featuring Jennifer Lopez, Lea Michele, Kate Beckinsale, & More!


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It’s been a whirlwind for celebrities recently, what with movie premieres, prepping for the Emmy’s, press appearances, & charity gatherings, yet I’ve been able to sift through some of the best looks for my Style Darlings.  It seems that our favorite ladies of the red carpet haven’t forgotten to dress like ladies, especially since they’re all sporting pretty dresses with pumps, just enough plunging necklines, & figure-flattering frocks.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for the fall trends as well, finding that suit separates are one of the top trends, but I’ll save that for another post since 9/10 of these Style Darlings are pants-free.

Click around through the gallery to see more of fashionable actress Camilla Belle in Jason Wu, Eva Longoria looking red-hot (& affordable) in ASOS, Jennifer Lopez making a splash in Las Vegas wearing Edition by Georges Chakra, the soon-to-be Mrs. Timberlake, Jessica Biel, in bridal white by Giambattista Valli, Dallas star Jordana Brewster in Dolce & Gabbana, Total Recall badass Kate Beckinsale in neon Preen, Hit & Run actress Kristen Bell in a Jenny Packham jumpsuit, Glee songstress Lea Michele baring her assets in Giorgio Armani, rising star Olivia Munn in Raquel Allegra, & the always adorkable New Girl, Zooey Deschanel in polka dots! For more from Top 10 Celeb Sightings, check out links to see Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick & Revenge actress Ashley Madekwe, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton & the lovely Emmy Rossum, & a cropped Anne Hathaway & Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr! Happy Styling!

Super Style Wishlist: White House Black Market’s Sale Makes Me Swoon!


My favorite I’ve-died-and-gone-to-heaven store is & will always be White House Black Market. I love the elegant, classic styles, very reminiscent of Sex & the City‘s Charlotte York, & the quality of merchandise b/c whatever I own from them always seems to last a long time.  However, the prices aren’t always in my budget, which is why I often find myself even swooning over the sale items. If there’s really a very, very special upcoming occasion, then I’ll take the plunge & invest in a valuable new addition to my wardrobe, but that opportunity doesn’t come around very often.

In today’s post, I’d like to share some of my favorites from their sale selection, which are nothing short of ladylike perfection.  The geo-lace stripe pencil skirt ($79.99) is a figure-flattering must-have, & can be worn for all seasons if accessorized correctly.  I recommend pairing your favorite neons or brights with this, belt it, & if it’s cooler, add some opaque tights for texture.  Next is the very 50’s-inspired striped halter sundress ($79.99), ideal for a summer brunch, family event, or weekend at a vineyard.  I’m personally not a fan of halter dresses on me, but this modern take on a vintage look is really irresistible.

If we’re talking black & white, we gotta bring up this strapless dot dress ($49.99) which is perfect for a rehearsal dinner, date night, or cocktail party.  Add a splash of color or stick to patent neutrals to make this look timeless.  Since I’m a shoe-lover, I had to mention the shimmery canvas wedge ($59.99) which are the heavenly combination of dressy & summer-ready with the metallic details & bow over the peep toe.

Note: All of these prices are sale prices & have been marked down from much higher original prices, but if the occasion calls for it & you can swing it without any life-threatening buyer’s remorse, splurge away! Also, if you sign up with the store, they’ll send you coupons & you can get points for even better discounts in the future! Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: The Limited’s Sale Items ($10 & Under)!


I was flipping through March’s issue of Lucky magazine with Heidi Klum on the cover & came across an ad for The Limited’s new spring collection featuring this dress. I’m all about the polka dots, but while I’m on a post-vacation budget, I need to focus on buying only the necessities, or perhaps items that come from scoring really awesome deals. I like to put a price tag on these like finding something $10 or under that’s both fashionable & functional throughout the year, thus we have The Stylish Five.

 The easiest items to pick out are always accessories. They’re so versatile & can really make the most basic black dress or t-shirt & jeans seem more luxurious. A cocktail ring like this one would look very mod against a hot pink dress, or serve nicely for a look with a lot of print or pattern. As for the pearl drop earrings, nothing says sophisticated glamour like pearls that can be worn with a maxi dress in the summer, or with your favorite tweed blazer. I love these textured tights, which really bring more dimension to your outfit if paired with something menswear-inspired. As for the tops, the snowflake tee may seem a little bit on the novelty side, but with the right pair of leggings, a chunky scarf, & leather jacket, it’s your go-to sparkle piece. The tunic is in a rich ‘Gosford Pink’ & totally appropriate for so many occasions.  The jewel tone is one of the colors of the upcoming season. Try it with a flyaway cardigan & ballet flats for an uber-comfortable casual day out & about. 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!