Cover Craze: Taraji P. Henson is Boss for InStyle’s January Issue!


Actress Taraji P. Henson is making waves not just in front of the camera as Cookie Lyon in Empire, but also on the big screen (of course, she did this in Hidden Figures too) with her new film out next year, What Men Want–a remake of 2000’s What Women Want starring Mel Gibson  & Helen Hunt). She’s not just the star of the comedy, but also serves as executive producer for the film. For In Style magazine’s January issue, Taraji also discusses in the article (read here) about being a single mom & her 20-plus year career & her connection to her fans, both nationally & internationally.

For the playful/Network-inspired photo shoot, Taraji plays with retro menswear pieces, including Michael Kors Collection (shop sweater here), Zara, Chloe, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi (shop suit here), Bottega Veneta, Pomellato (shop bracelet here), Hermes, Tibi (shop boots here), Missoni, Rochas, Valentino (shop shoes here), & more!

For more magazine-inspired posts, click here, here, here, & here! Happy Styling!

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Buttoned Up Bargain!


This Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend was a whirlwind for me! There was plenty of time spent with family, showing off our dazzling daughter, but there was lots of shopping too! Of course, gift lists were made, but I couldn’t help & treat myself here & there when a great buy was discovered.

As a part of my daily uniform (for work mostly–my at-home mom style has become more of function than fashion), I love a cute blouse-skirt combo with a cardigan, or at least to wear a cardigan over a dress. I was never one for structured jackets (although I can appreciate their visual appeal), so cardigans are my go-to & I can be quite obsessed with them. I’m always on the hunt for a patterned cardigan that I don’t have, especially one that allows me to experiment with pattern mixing too.

When I least expected to find some major style, the Laura Scott houndstooth cardigan found me @Sears. Black & white is always a great way to go when it comes to patterns, that way I could really highlight bright colors to match up; however, I was very interested & attracted to the purple-black combination.

Laura Scott houndstooth cardigan @Sears

For the price I paid, I could’ve very easily bought both colors & been done with it, but keeping my budget in mind for the holidays for my whole family, I limited myself to the purple option. The fit was just what I look for in a cardigan, so I was definitely all set. My mind is already swirling with styling ideas for this cardigan for the rest of the fall and throughout the colder months.

How do you like to style cardigans? What’s your best Black Friday fashion find? For more stylish posts about affordable fashion, click here, here, here, & here. Happy Styling!

Step Into Style With These Holiday-Ready Heels!


The holiday season is the perfect time to bring out the sparkle, especially as your social calendar is filling up. A little shine & glow never hurt anyone, which is why showing off some glitter, glitz, or luxury in footwear is an easy way to step into the holiday spirit with any look. Right now, there are so many can’t-miss holiday sales, especially on shoes, that I had to check out what’s happening @DSW.

These flirty & playful shoe options make for a great finishing touch to a little black dress, a red velvet sheath frock with a leather jacket, a lacey-ruffle blouse & skinny jeans, or dressing up flannel & a statement necklace. Not to mention that the following top picks are not just perfect for this season, but for any upcoming special occasion, which makes them worth the investment.

ALDO Craysa pumpBetsey Johnson Izzy sandalEssex Lane Valan pumpJournee Collection Kitt pumpMix No. 6 Trissa pump

Where are you shopping for the best Cyber Monday deals? What kinds of shoes do you like to wear during the holidays? Do you like lace or velvet details in your footwear? For more shoe-inspired posts, click here, here, here, & here. Happy Styling!

Essential Outerwear Accessories On Sale Now!


With Black Friday just days away, a lot of stores are already forging ahead with their big holiday sales. Whether you’re shopping for someone else or spoiling yourself with the latest stylish wares, now is the time to find a great deal. This includes the latest & greatest in fashionable outerwear accessories, including hats, scarves, & gloves. Essentials like these are perfect for jazzing up any coat or jacket, especially when on the go when the temperatures are dropping. Here are just a few of my favorite affordable pieces & gift sets from New York & Company–a favorite source of mine for all of my cold weather needs.

3-piece sequin, hat, scarf, & gloves set

fringe scarfcable-knit gloves

faux fur head wrapmittens

pom pom hatpom pom scarf

What I love most about this variety of cold weather accessories is the color & sparkle combination. This includes the pattern of knits with special details like pom poms, zippers, cable-knit, & faux fur, which instantly elevate your outerwear look.

Where do you like to shop for winter accessories? Do you like to match each piece exactly or do you collection options depending on your mood? What colors do you typically prefer to match with your jacket or coat? For more stylish accessory ideas, check our previous posts here, here, here, & here. Happy Styling!

 

Velvet: The Holiday Season’s Most Luxurious Texture!


When shopping for holiday must-haves, it’s easy to be attracted to the intricate details of jacquard, colors of tweed, lines of corduroy, & patterns of knits. However, when mixing & matching your favorite separates to prepare for a stylish season, there’s one texture that remains a constant (& it’s really affordable too). That’s velvet!

Right now @Old Navy, velvet is everywhere & affordable in tops (ranging in sizes XS-XXL) & shoes, perfect for coordinating with a printed pencil skirt, skinny jeans, trousers, & much more. What I love the most of these velvet items is their hue. Shoppers can easily enjoy the softest pastel pink & cream, but also go for something more dramatic a jewel tone or luxe charcoal.

camiglitter top

ruffle top

heelsflats

These pieces are easily transitional from day to night, especially when replacing a pendant necklace with a statement bauble, swapping out a pair of pants for a tiered skirt & patterned tights, or playing with layers of leather & silk too. Velvet gets me super excited for all of its styling possibilities, inspiring me to take a closer look at accessories with pearls, ribbons, studs, & mixed metals!

What textures do you like to wear in the fall-winter? What colors are your favorites for this time of year? For more posts on affordable fashion, click here, here, here, & here! Happy Styling!

Cozy Capes, Pretty Ponchos, & Big Blanket Scarves!


The seasons have certainly changed (at least here on Long Island) & my wardrobe has been flipped to prepare me for what’s to come! Some days I can still get away with wearing my denim jacket when heading out, whereas other days, I’m in need of something a little heavier to ward off the dropping temperature. Here’s where a cape, poncho, or blanket scarf enter the stylish picture. Not only are these popular gift items for the holiday season, but they’re must-haves for any fall afternoon. I hate the bulkiness of my coat when I’m running around on the weekend, especially when the stores are packed & I start to get hot, so a cape, poncho, or blanket scarf get me through the hustle & bustle. Also, I always bring one with me when headed to the movies for date night just to make sure I’m comfortable in front of the big screen.

They serve as perfect outerwear to pair with boots, as well as with a turtleneck & skinny jeans, layering tops & leggings, & a sweater dress. Check out these affordable options & all the different color/pattern combinations to make your coziest fashion dreams a reality.

Dressbarn

DSW

Kohl’sLulusVince Camuto @Macy’s

What’s your go-to outerwear piece? Where do you like to shop for fall favorites? For more fall-inspired fashion, check out previous posts here, here, here, & here. Happy Styling!

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!

The Best Floral Shoes for the Holidays!


The holidays are just around the corner & as much as I love indulging in seasonal duds (red knits, green velvet pieces, fair isle sweaters, etc.), I’m always excited to get my hands on (or feet in, in this case) a new find that can be interpreted for the holidays & beyond. I’m talking about the Habit pump & Gigi flat @Payless by Project Runway winner Christian Siriano (a favorite designer of mine!) whose shimmer black floral footwear opens up the styling possibilities for fall, winter, & spring!

Habit pump @Payless

Gigi flat @Payless

I love these shoe options because of their versatility. They can be worn to the office & easily transition for evening for a night on the town or holiday party. They offer the perfect pop of personality for a little black dress, gold-burgundy outfit combination, & a blush blouse & skinny jeans. Also, these two styles of shoes are made in another matching heel-flat companion (for example: black with silver studs here & here), both of which are equally comfortable & chic for a variety of looks.

Holiday florals don’t have to be the traditional poinsettia or all about holly, especially when getting the most mileage out of your wardrobe investments will pay off better in the long run. For more fun shoe-related posts, click here, here, here, & here! Happy Holiday & Happy Styling!

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!

Show Me the Shoes: Velvet Ankle Strap Heels on Sale Now!


I have a lot to look forward to as season transitions from summer to fall. My birthday is coming up, I’m returning my primary job after summer vacation, it’s my boyfriend’s birthday, & we’re headed to some pretty major celebrations all in a matter of a month. With that, I’m very budget-conscious & plan to reinvent wardrobe favorites with stylish accessory combinations, in an effort to avoid buying new pieces. However, when I saw the Delphine velvet ankle strap heels @Nine West, I became really excited at the idea of wearing luxe gray or pretty blush shoes as neutrals to my planned party dresses.

Right now, Nine West is clearing out their spring & summer shoes with amazing clearance discounts. These Delphine evening sandals were originally $99.00 & they’re currently on sale for $29.99, available in sizes 5.5-10. The ankle strap sandal trend isn’t going away, especially as we head into the holidays. Wearing a regal textured shoe is also a stylish way to extend the life of cocktail dresses, dressy separates, & chic street style pieces.

Do you wear the same pair of shoes for every special occasion? Do you invest into textured, unique pieces for events? How much do you spend on end of the season shoes? Where do you shop for your favorite footwear? Happy Styling!