06/21/2016 Darling of the Day: Blake Lively’s Yellow + Denim Combo Inpires Summer Style in New York City!


Blake Lively is making the style rounds to promote her latest film, The Shallows, taking advantage of every opportunity she can for a beautiful fashion moment. The actress donned her baby bump (#2 on the way for her & hubby Ryan Reynolds) like a prom queen / prep girl straight out of Gossip Girl (that’s really a compliment, folks!) after completing an appearance on NBC’s Today (in a stunning Elie Saab beaded frock & strappy Stuart Weitzman sandals seen here). While waving to photogs, Blake played up her yellow embellished Jenny Packham gown (see it here on the runway from the designer’s Fall 2016 collection) with a light wash denim jacket from Madewell (shop it here), printed Christian Louboutin ‘Kate’ chevron pumps (shop them here), as well as tons of turquoise, blue, & silver jewelry layered on to stay true to her bohemian aesthetic by Jennifer Meyer, Alison Lou, Mociun, & Lorraine Schwartz.

Blake Lively in a yellow Jenny Packham empire maxi dress with a Madewell denim jacket & printed Christian Louboutin pointy toe heels.What I especially love about this look is that it inspires new life into those gowns we all have from special occasions in the past. Since summer is all about maxi dresses, why not play with the styling possibilities & mix up your look with a staple like a denim jacket & fun footwear? That goes for classic prom dresses, perhaps something not so ball gown-shaped, as well as that bridesmaid dress tucked away in the back of your closet. Chiffon is a breezy, light weight material perfect to try on any look this season, maybe when you’re meeting with girlfriends for lunch, or headed to a museum or vineyard this weekend. Check out the inspiration below in dresses (not as glam as Blake’s but still hitting the sunshine-y notes of yellow) & accessories for budget shoppers who wear misses, plus, & petite sizes.

outfitsSHOP: Misses embellished neck maxi dress @boohoo, denim jacket @H&M, Steve Madden cork heels @DSW, Plus maxi dress @Forever 21, Westport denim jacket @Dress Barn, Christian Siriano Wide Width Kathryn pumps @Payless, Petite maxi dress @Dorothy Perkins, Style & Co denim jacket @Macy’s, & Jackpot pointy toe pumps @Nine West.

jewelrySHOP: stud earrings @Charming Charlie, silver tone ring @Kohl’s, turquoise ring @Bebe, circle round stone bracelet @Charming Charlie, & elephant tassel bracelet @Charming Charlie

If pictures & links don’t quite do it for you, be sure to check out this short video of Blake in action, flaunting her look with confidence & elegance, something I practice even when walking from my front door to the car & from the car to wherever life is taking me.

While we’re on the subject of one Blake Lively, it would be a waste not to share the gallery below of Blake’s flawless maternity style this spring during press appearances, hitting the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, & maintaining her #styleicon status at the 2016 Met Ball.

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What do you think of Blake’s Jenny Packham-Madewell-Christian Louboutin ensemble? Can you envision something like this for yourself? How would you dress down a super fancy dress like hers? What do you wear in the summer to make you feel ultra confident? Which celebrities inspire your street style? Happy Styling!

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Fabulous in 4 Ways: Over-The-Knee Boots From Victoria’s Secret (Dedicated To Laurie)!


Attention Style Darling Readers: We have a new category alert! Fabulous In 4 Ways is my latest in offering the best style advice that I can, while keeping a budget in mind. Of course, I’ve had this idea (taking one item & showing how it’s worn in 4 fabulous ways) for a while now, just sitting away & linkless on my categories page, but just recently, a good friend has come to me w/ a deal on a killer pair of over-the-knee boots, asking for help on how to wear them once the temperatures cool down & heavy knits emerge from the depths of our closets.  Said friend, Laurie (who I’ve dedicated a total of 4 blogs to now- Jordana Brewster’s style, how to wear turtlenecks, & the best day-to-night blazers) has challenged me in a very good & very stylish way. Let’s take a look…

As I usually do in my Basics for a Bargain posts, let’s start off with some celebrity inspiration to see how some of the most photographed & stylish stars interpret their over-the-knee boot looks. The City star / socialite Olivia Palermo looks Upper East Side chic with her navy suede boots & fur-lined jacket, mixing neutrals with a sweater tunic. Mom-on-the-go Kourtney Kardashian wears her boots with a flowy blouse under a menswear-inspired blazer & floppy hat, keeping accessories like her bag matching in texture with her footwear. Supermodel legend Claudia Schiffer goes casual in jeggings & a cobalt cable knit sweater with a coordinating bag for her tan suede over-the-knee boots. Former Spice Girl / designer Victoria Beckham keeps her polished posh persona in check with ultra tight leggings, a black top, & satin-trimmed blazer while traveling through Heathrow airport. Lastly, Project Runway host Heidi Klum offers an edgy approach to her leather Jimmy Choo over-the-knee boots by completing her look with a graphic tee & abstract print blazer.

The boots inspiring this post are the Colin Stuart over-the-knee boots ($94.00) from Victoria’s Secret, which are on sale for less than their original $118.00 price tag (pictured below, to the left).  These are fierce confections of footwear meant only for the confident Style Darling (for example: Laurie!).  Even though these may seem much pricier than your average pump &/or ankle bootie, I can’t emphasize enough that this is an investment piece, especially one that you can dare to wear from the beginning of fall, all the way to the end of the winter.  Since we’re talking boots, VS is currently having a 20% off sale on all Colin Stuart boots, which you can shop here.

However, let’s get down to business in putting together these outfits wth some of the celebrity inspiration seen above.  Typically when I see boots, I think of sweaters & leggings b/c they’re both just so comfy & very on-trend for effortless fall looks.  My first ensemble includes the asymmetric hem sweater ($59.90) from Express, which is available in orchid, black, grey, & blue.  The loose fit is perfect for recalling that 80s off-the-shoulder bulky sweater look, as well as hugging your curves to show off your legs.  Just so you know, Express is currently having a mix & match BOGO 50% off sale this Labor Day weekend, so if you really love the look pictured, then check out the short metal stick necklace ($44.90) to go with the sweater. I’ve selected Forever 21‘s pebbled pointe knit leggings ($17.80), which will add some texture & shine against the rich suede of the boots.  Of course, any solid legging will do, but if you’re going for something with a print, keep it subtle since you’re dealing with a sexy lace-up detail in the back of the boots.

My second outfit is perfect for an office environment where jeans are allowed.  The Faded Glory jeggings ($12.88) from Walmart are a steal & can work with so many other wardrobe staples all year long.  The colored denim trend is obviously not going away & pairing it with White House Black Market‘s tweed trophy jacket ($188.00) is a professional & elegant way to dress up denim.  When shopping @WHBM, of course the regular prices are on the high side, but if you sign up for their seasonal catalogues, you can get discount codes, as well as earn points for reductions on future purchases. I find that comes in handy around the holidays when in a pinch for a cute cocktail dress.  For an extra feminine splash, I’ve selected the graphic checkered strips tiered cotton tank ($39.99) from LOFT to add some dimension- which also just so happens to marked down another 30% at checkout.

Look #3 required a little more attention since I wanted to find pieces that would work for more than just the over-the-knee boots challenge.  I started with this streaky knit t-shirt dress ($39.99) from The Limited, which has been marked down 50% on the store’s website. With a solid sheath-like dress as this, I immediately thought of a belt & found this duo of ivory cheetah & glossy black skinny belts ($10.79) from Bluefly. To keep warm during the cooler fall days, I picked out the basic, yet affordable Style & Co. three-quarter ruched sleeve cardigan ($14.99) in black from Macy’s. If you’re headed out to happy hour with the girls or going from the office to an evening function, this look is perfect with the boots, especially when the Minicci scroll weave tights ($7.99) from Payless are hiding underneath your layers.

Lastly, the forth look is my favorite, but perhaps not too far of a departure from the previous blazer look above.  When I saw the Merona tailored blazer ($34.99) @Target, I immediately loved the idea of mixing the plaid with the laces, as well as navy & black, along with integrating the fall’s best new neutral deep red hue with New York & Company‘s satiny roll-tab shirt ($39.95). Of course you can complete the look with skinny pants, but Style & Co. skinny stretch jeggings ($36.75) from Macy’s looked too good to be true in a classic dark wash!

What do you think of these looks? Would you wear over-the-knee boots? If so, how would you style your look with them? What boots are you shopping for this fall? Happy Styling!

Basics for a Bargain: Slip Into A Sweater Dress with Inspiration from Angelina Jolie, Nicole Richie, & Cameron Diaz!


It’s fall, which means that it’s time to take out your favorite knits & sweaters.  The easiest way to start your outfit is with a sweater dress, both comfy & chic.  I’m on the prowl to get one for myself, now that I’ve discovered that I too can wear leggings!  Like it was really such an epiphany lol! Anyway, you have your basic black dress, basic cocktail dress, but what about your basic sweater dress?  You can pair it with tights & knee boots, or flat boots & a crossover bag, a scarf & sunglasses, or some opaque tights & a belt.

To get a little inspired for this basic, I’ve found a slew of famous faces donning the very fall-forward look.  Cameron Diaz slipped into a Bottega Veneta with color Jimmy Choo sandals at the premiere of Knight & Day last year.  Heather Graham sports a black & white striped Diesel turtleneck sweater dress with metallic pumps. Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta Jones wore her gray sweater dress with leggings, a short-sleeved cardigan, slouchy boots, & a scarf while running errands on a chilly November day in New York City.  Lauren Conrad attended an event for Kohl’s in her black sweater dress with matching gladiators, by LC by Lauren ConradNicole Richie also did some self-promotion wearing her own House of Harlow 1960 ankle boots & a dark green sweater dress at a signing for her book, PricelessAngelina Jolie enjoyed a night out in Manhattan, wearing a navy cableknit sweater dress by Loro Piana with Salvatore Ferragamo knee boots.  And way back in 2006, Eva Mendes was super stylish, wearing this Max Azria turtleneck sweater dress with killer brown knee boots & stunning silver cuff bracelet.

These seven sweater dresses will instantly update your dress collection for the season & impeccably show off your figure!  @Macy’s you can find this Style&co. sweater dress / cableknit tunic ($26.98) in espresso.  The ‘Happy Place’ black & taupe sweater dress ($49.00) from Lulu’s is a little more sexy & wild for a sweater dress, but with the right black tights & black patent leather pumps, you’ll look fierce in this 80’s-inspired dress! The third pictured above is the one I want!  I’ve never actually bought anything from Dress Barn, but this cabled sweater dress with envelope collar in fern ($39.99) best represents my style in the form of a sweater dress!  The neckline is modern & flirty, but the cableknit calls on everything I love about preppy style.

I thought it was fitting to find this next dress @Forever 21, which is a burgundy ‘Angelina’ sweater dress ($27.80), since I featured Ms. Jolie up top. The matching belt is super cute & allows for its wearer to mix it up with something in leather.  The dress is also available in cream for the same price.  While clicking around my favorite store, White House Black Market, I saw that the black bateau neck sweater dress ($29.98) was marked down from $100.00! I should warn my readers before clicking that it is only available at this time in size: XL.

As for my fuller figured Style Darlings, I went nuts when I saw the ivory cabled sweater dress ($49.00) @Dress Barn, which I definitely want for myself, but it’s not available in my size.  This would look very chic with a gold belt & metallic ballet flats for a day at the office, or spice it up with something red for the upcoming holidays.  Also, the gray ruffle front sweater dress ($64.90) isn’t necessarily a bargain @Avenue, but is sold in sizes 14-28. It’s professional enough for work, but dressy enough for a special occasion dinner with your beau.

Check out my previous Basics for a Bargain posts, featuring classic items like leather pants, pencil dresses, & more! Do you have a sweater dress?  Where did you get it? Would you wear one of these sweater dresses?  Which celeb looks best in a sweater dress?  Happy Styling!

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: Affordable Animal-Inspired Accessories!


There’s nothing that I love more in an accessory than a pop of animal inspiration!  Personally, I’m a big fan od zebra print, having always been pro-black-&-white in my style.  However, the spectrum of animal print doesn’t stop there since we have leopard, cheetah, croc, & snake prints to bring out the style in our basic items.

First let’s talk shoes… hands down, the boldest of my choices is this blue platform heel from Charlotte Russe for $35.50.  It does border on tacky, but you’re not likely to run into anyone else at a cocktail party wearing them!  They’re wild to pair with a metallic mini dress or even show off with a pair of jeans & silk top.  Something to keep in mind while shopping the shoes @Charlotte Russe is that they’re always having promotions for shoes, like BOGO $10 or $15.  That’s when getting the zebra slingbacks comes in handy so that you’re saving a bunch of money since they cost $40.00!

If you’re looking for something more moderate when it comes to an animal-inspired shoes, take a look at the scrunchy cheetah flats for $15.80 @Forever 21.  They’re darling for a tunic top & leggings or to wearing with skinny jeans & a babydoll top on a casual day.  Another fierce option would be the leopard peep toe cone pumps for $22.80, & cone pumps are very on-trend for fall.  There’s something vintage about them, yet they’re still cute enough to wear with a pencil skirt & button-down shirt.

For fall, I’m also currently obsessed with scarves & can’t wait to layer them over tanks & short-sleeved cardigans at night when the summer weather turns cooler!  The first of my scarf choices is the multi-print scarf from The Limited, but is no longer available!  I had picked this item out a few days ago for $16.99, but my heart has broken b/c I was sooo close to ordering it!  The combination of leopard & polka dot just screamed chic & would’ve paired so well with an all-black ensemble! However, the leopard scarf is available @Payless for $12.99.  It would look so great with a neutral wrap dress or against a black romper.

In the middle, I have three belts picked out, which make for the best finishing touch on a look where you want to show off your figure.  The Material Girl belt duo in pink & taupe is no longer available @Macy’s.  Sad face.  Although, you can do very well with the leopard & black skinny belts from Payless for $12.99, especially since the store is currently having their BOGO 50% promotion!  If you wanna find something a little thicker, try the animal tab stretch belt by Style & Co. @Macy’s for $19.98.

You can’t talk about accessories & not show some bags.  The patchwork shopper is from Payless for $26.99, available in Black / Gray & Brown / Tan.  The combination of exotic prints & the chain strap add some luxury.  Not to mention that it’s also super spacious to put your iPad, cell phone, & other goodies in!  I have been talking about Target a lot lately & looooove this snake print clutch wallet for $19.99.  It’s looks like chic enough to be an evening clutch, but can always be used on a daily basis as your very sassy wallet.  It’s multiple sections inside are perfect for helping to organize your bills & shopping expeditions!

Last, but not least, I have some jewelry pics.  This includes the pink snake embossed bangle from White House Black Market for $34.o0.  It’s just enough print to go with a floral sun dress,  Right now the store is having a sale that you can’t miss: All jewelry is BOGO 25% off!  So while you’re there, try the zebra drop hoop earrings which are marked down to $13.99 from $20.00!

What are your favorite animal print accessories?  For more inspiration, check out how celebrities like  Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson, Julia Roberts, Diane Kruger, Rihanna, & Eva Longoria sport animal-inspired accessories on the red carpet & when they’re out & about!  Happy Styling!