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!

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!

 

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!

Holiday Shopping Head Start!


‘Tis the season to be gifting! Thanksgiving is next week, which means that it’s time to make that gift-giving list (if you choose to do so). There are so many useful, cute, & affordable gift options out right now to fill your most fashionable friends with style & joy this season. Personally, I don’t buy gifts just for the sake of buying meaningless stuff to give to  anyone. I like to pick special pieces that will really please a recipient & serve a function—even if that function is indulgence & luxury.

When compiling your shopping list, consider if an item is something that they’ll actually use, that it’s not just a filler gift. Also, jot down their interests by their name on your list so that if you can look out for something particularly perfect for a friend or loved one. Lastly, I’ll often discuss with people close to me if they want to exchange gifts (& if so, establish a spending limit) or if they’d prefer to go out for dinner instead. Sometimes arranging a night with a group of friends with dinner & drinks is the best way to go. However, listing, shopping, wrapping, & giving are my favorite ways to put me in the holiday spirit.

All of the below ideas are not just stylish, but they’re all under $15.

beanie @Charlotte Russebook @TJMaxxgift set @Ultaearrings @Francesca’sscarf @H&M

I love discovering accessories as gifts because they add just a little bit more sparkle, which I know I’m always seeking for myself. What kinds of gifts are you shopping for this season? Where do you shop for the best deals this holiday? 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!

08/22/2017 Darling of the Day: Reese Witherspoon’s One-Shoulder Dress & Strappy Sandals!


Reese Witherspoon never fails to deliver on the red carpet, with her street style, & for any press event she attends. I love her feminine & edgy style, often a chic blend of preppy meets glam girl. The Oscar-winning actress & Draper James founder recently made an appearance in The Hamptons while promoting her new film, Home Again, wearing a gorgeous black & metallic one-shoulder Isabel Marant dress (shop here) (from the designer’s Fall 2017 collection) with ruffled Christian Louboutin strappy sandals (shop here). The look is picture perfect, which is why I’m featuring it for my latest Darling of the Day post. The ensemble is a definite style win, but the cost of the dress & shoes alone will run you back by the thousands.

It was hard to achieve a near-identical look-alike outfit, but I loved the inspiration behind the trendy one-shoulder & ruffled ankle strap heels. In featuring pieces inspired by Reese’s look, it’s always my pleasure to share how to recreate something similar for shoppers of any size. I love a great print & a black & white color combination is classic for every woman!

SHOP: Lucky Brand dress @Macy’s, plus floral dress @Target, LC Lauren Conrad linear drop earrings @Kohl’s, Napier linked bracelet @Kohl’s, & ruffle strappy heels @Missguided.

Which celebrity’s style do you love to watch the most? What’s your favorite dress trend right now? Where are you shopping for the most stylish accessories? For more celebrity style posts, check out Emma Stone for Marie Claire‘s September issue, Gabrielle Union’s newest collection for New York & Company, blazers on Jennifer Lopez & Olivia Palermo, & Rachel Bilson’s Old Navy denim look! Happy Styling!

SHOP NOW! A New Day by Target!


Retailers are currently faced with the challenge to reach shoppers in a new & innovative way, while trying to remain relevant, especially when online shopping is so prevalent. The ever-popular Target is headed in a new direction with A New Day, or A.N.D., an in-house collection of apparel, shoes, & accessories for any female shopper. This is evident in the availability of sizes from XS – 4X, ranging in price from $8 – $49.99. The line is full of fashionable fall finds, including denim, menswear inspiration, street pieces, outerwear, & more chic separates that will take shoppers from work to weekend to days off in style.

The line hits stores just in time for back to school shopping on August 27th. It’s sure to make a stylish splash, especially when seeking trend items like pleated skirts, military jackets, & bell sleeve shirts. A New Day comes just in time for Target’s change in clothing too, since announcing the phasing out of popular, staple brands like Merona & Mossimo.

Will you be shopping this new collection at Target? What are your favorite pieces from the line? Do you shop Target for new fall fashion must-haves? Happy Styling!

Accessories Access: Big Bargain Baubles!


Summer is typically the season of the big earring (for me) since I don’t love feeling heavy metals layered on my skin during a humid & sticky day. However, when I’m headed to work or for a special occasion with friends, knowing that I’ll be in air conditioning changes the way I think about my outfit & accessories. I’ve been spotting so many gorgeous statement & bib necklaces lately, each that are perfect for these last days of summer in fun pops of color & whimsical designs. Also, discounted prices play a big role in what I’m willing to invest in, especially as my accessories collection grows!

SHOP: hammered gold coin necklace @Francesca’s, black teardrop stone necklace @Target, poppy collar necklace @BaubleBar, & floral bib necklace @Charming Charlie.

Statement necklaces definitely do make a statement, which can be anything from elegance, confidence, & a chic sensibility. Even though they’re bold, statement necklaces work for outfits that include both patterns & solids, creating an interesting, layered look. Try one of these affordable options over a little black dress, printed maxi dress, blouse & jeans, or graphic tee & leather mini.

Do you like to wear statement necklaces? Which colors do you gravitate towards? What metals are your favorite to wear? How do you style bold accessories? Happy Styling!

SHOP NOW! Project Runway’s New Collection for JCPenney!


Tonight marks the sixteenth season premiere of Lifetime’s Project Runway, the Emmy-winning series that showcases up-and-coming fashion designers who are challenged by time crunches & unconventional materials to create beautiful art. I’ve been watching the show since the very beginning, enthralled by the creative process & style inspiration. In celebration of the show’s newest season, JCPenney has debuted a new Project Runway Collection inspired by season 15 winner, Erin Robertson. The line features a fun & playful mix of separates & dresses in plaid scuba, yellow lace, & classic black lace to be mixed with street style favorites & elegant must-haves. The affordable & fashionable collection ranges in sizes XS-XXL & is priced between $24.99 (when on sale) – $44. Here are just a few of my top picks & I can’t wait to shop these pieces in stores, checking out their fit & the many ways to wear them with my current wardrobe staples.

SHOP: top, top, top, & top.

SHOP: top, skirt, & skirt.

If you haven’t already seen what’s to come on the newest season of Project Runway, check out the trailer below to get a first glance at the runway fashions & all the behind-the-runway drama!

Are you a fan of Project Runway? Are you excited about the newest season premiere? What fall trends are you loving? Where are you shopping for the newest fashions? Happy Styling!