Living in Style: Summer Vacation Must-Haves from Francesca’s!


Summer is all about fun in the sun & adventure, which means it’s time to explore each & every beautiful day. If you haven’t already gone on or planned your summer getaway, or sought out stay-cation options for a local weekend of sightseeing, now is the time to do so! I know I’ve got a beach day on the brain, listing out all the necessities for a comfortable & memorable day of relaxation & style. Here’s an opportunity for Style Darlings to make more playful & whimsical choices when it comes to wardrobe & accessories for a most fashionable day off. This also includes a few must-haves that you’ll need while travelling from one hot spot to the next, such as beach gear, food / drink items, & some extras for quiet time too! I love shopping Francesca’s for cute finds for around the house, which is why I also sought out their latest online collection of vacation-ready trends.

SHOP: watermelon beach blanket, tribal kimono, woven tassel tote, pineapple hair pins, aviator sunglasses, Roxette thong sandal, Bonjour journal, & Secretly A Mermaid emergency kit @ Francesca’s.

Where are you headed this summer? What are some of your travel-ready favorites? Where do you shop for vacation necessities? What’s your vacation style? Happy Styling!

Splurge or Save… On Summer Gingham Tops!


When it comes to summer, there are so many prints that make for a fashionable look, but among them, gingham gets top billing! The typical gingham button down is classic for a variety of outfits, but this summer is all about the trendy, off-the-shoulder, ruffle, or halter gingham top available for shoppers of all sizes! Celebrities even love gingham, as seen on Baby Driver star Lily James, style blogger Olivia Palermo, singer / actress Vanessa Hudgens, A-lister & fashion mogul Reese Witherspoon, & Shameless actress Emmy Rossum.

For a trendy, one-season item like a gingham top, you don’t have to break the bank. There’s so much fashion out in the world & online for shoppers of all budgets, but I do love checking out high-end designer duds for a little inspiration when it comes to finding something to write about, as well as putting together my next outfit. Here are a few examples that range in price from $88 – $265, but still worth keeping an eye on for an end of the season sale item.

SHOP: Carmen blouse @White House Black Market, McGuire Florentine top @Saks Fifth Avenue, Rag & Bone off-the-shoulder Drew top @Neiman Marcus, Draper James Cloister top @Nordstrom, & Mindy Cindy one-shoulder top @Nordstrom.

The six gingham tops below are much more affordable & perfect for styling with white skinny jeans, red chino shorts, a denim skirt, or with bottoms in a bold pop of color like yellow, green, or orange.

SHOP: checked top @H&M, gingham tie top @Saks Off 5th, Design Lab blouse @Lord & Taylor, flounced gingham top @Talbots, plus off-the-shoulder lace-up top @Charlotte Russe, & plus one shoulder ruffle top @Lane Bryant.

Which summer trends are on your wardrobe wish list? Do you prefer the black, navy, or red gingham color scheme? Where are you shopping for summer favorites? Happy Styling!

Fab in 4 Ways: The Prettiest Summer-To-Fall Transition Sweater!


Right now is a very interesting time for fashion & retail. Summer is here & thriving, the best seasonal styles are on sale, but also, the newest fall pieces are starting to hit stores. More than anything, I want to stay in a summer state of mind, especially since the weather has been beautiful, just sunny enough & not oppressively hot (at least here on Long Island). My eye keeps catching what’s next for fall, which brings me to this Roz & Ali lace bell sleeve sweater @dressbarn, available in both misses & plus sizes.

The lightweight top is both flattering & versatile when it comes to styling. The airy, feminine sleeves are my favorite part, inspiring me to think about other patterns & color schemes to experiment with. Since these summer evenings have been on the cooler side lately, this is the perfect top for now & next season too. Making the investment in future pieces that you can wear now is the best way to get the most use out of your wardrobe. However, I especially love the always classic look of black and white separates, which is perfect for Style Darlings of any age or size.

Styling the sweater with a pair of shorts offers a polished look for a weekend brunch with some sandals & drop earrings. A pencil skirt is party-ready with a statement necklace & strappy heels. For a relaxed feel, a maxi skirt is easy-breezy when paired with wedges & layering necklaces. Lastly, cozy palazzo pants are effortless & cool for a day of errands or casual Friday at the office with ballet flats & stud earrings.

SHOP: stripe linen drapey shorts @Gap (available in sizes XS-XXL), front slit pencil skirt @New York & Company (available in sizes 0-20), floral print maxi skirt @dressbarn (available in plus size here), & striped palazzo pants @Target (available in sizes S-XXL).

When I’m styling other women, I always encourage them to try pieces that can not only be worn multiple ways, but also for multiple seasons. This ensures that the garment’s value is really worth it. While I don’t want to wish summer away, I can’t get over all the possibilities for this sweater. Here are a few more suggestions of how you can play up your best fall style when coordinated with any black lacy sweater for work, day, date, or weekend.

SHOP: pencil skirt @H&M (similar in plus size here), utility pixie chinos @Old Navy (available in sizes 0-20), pinstripe ankle pants @Express (similar in plus size here), & 415 classic boot cut jeans @Levi’s (similar in plus size here).

What pieces do you have your eye on this season? What fall trends are you most looking for to next? What staple items do you get the most wear from? Happy Styling!

 

SHOP NOW! Clearance Tops, Dresses, Shoes, & More from TJ Maxx!


One of my favorite things to do when I wake up in the morning (without the ring of a rowdy alarm clock) is to check my email. While I’ve been trying to discipline myself to disconnect from technology a little more each day, especially in the summer where there’s just so much to do & plenty of fresh air & sunshine to take in, I can’t help but still be a little obsessed with clicking through emails from my favorite retailers, blogs, & fashion news sources. It’s like having my own personal fashion show & bargain shopping experience while I’m still in the comfort of my own bed. With that, I’ve created SHOP NOW!, a new category of blog posts here on Style Darling Daily where I’ll be sharing the most exciting fashion buys & sales from the day. These are the styles that make me do a double take, inspire me to explore the latest in fashion, & even get me excited to get ready for another stylish day. So let’s get to it!

Getting into the spirit of summer isn’t hard to do, but when you can’t find anything to wear (oh, I’ve been there!) & you’re on a budget, there are plenty of options to resolve your style rut! Classic tops, flirty dresses, chic shoes, & effortless accessories are the key ingredients to a summer of superb style. Right now, TJ Maxx is having a major clearance event with plenty of brand names items, seasonal essentials, & trendy must-haves for unbelievable prices. Keep in mind that when it comes to clearance sales, sizes & quantities are sometimes limited, but finding a last chance deal makes for a great story!

These tops are perfect for a cool night with a pair of skinny jeans, headed to the local festival in cut-off shorts & sandals, or mixing it up with capris & wedges for a sophisticated summer take.

SHOP: Kaktus cold shoulder ruffle top, Cable & Gauge lace cut-out top, Cupio off-the-shoulder flutter sleeve top, & Acemi plus flounce cami.

Like this season’s hottest summer tops, dresses with ruffles & cold shoulders are the way to go. These affordable & versatile dress options can be accessorized in so many ways with statement necklaces or layering chains, espadrilles or peep toe flats, & belted or not!

SHOP: Cece by Cynthia Steffe Jackie ruffle cold shoulder dress, Ellen Tracy floral scuba dress, Nine West cold shoulder printed dress, & London Times plus denim dress.

It wouldn’t be summer without a fun & flirty shoe. While I’m always touting comfort as my first shoe priority, I love how a neutral wedge offer balance & elegance to a floral frock, whereas something with interesting details like polka dots, a laser cut trim, or animal prints can really express your personality & create some lovely style memories.

SHOP: Style by Charles David ankle strap wedges, Charles by Charles David Becki cork wedges, Jessica Simpson Raffia d’orsay pumps, Nicole Miller leather scalloped peep toe flats, & Bahia leather thong sandals.

Playing with accessories can completely revamp an old favorite like a shirt dress or t-shirt & jeans. Seek out details like pattern or texture in your extras. When it comes to jewelry, a mix of sparkle & simplicity is always the best way to go,

SHOP: Jules Smith stars scarf, Under One Sky paradise charger clutch, Isabella M rose gold opal stud earrings, Mythologie choker, Trina Turk gold opal ring, & Lisa Freede rhodium chain bracelet.

Where are you shopping for your best summer deals? Which store emails do you wait for in the morning? What seasonal trends are you seeking on sale? What’s your summer shopping budget? Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Summer Must-Haves ($35 & Under)!


Summer is in full swing & fall fashions are already hitting stores (ugh!), but that doesn’t mean it’s too late (it really isn’t!) to enjoy some fun & affordable summer styles. It’s still only the first week of July, which means that there’s the rest of this month, all of August, & the first half of September awaiting for you to explore the many outfit & accessory possibilities for a variety of outdoor, everyday, & special occasions. If you need a style boost, here’s a little inspiration of the five summer must-haves that’ll make your summer wardrobe not only chic, but memorable & playful.

1. The denim dress is a hallmark of summer. It’s lightweight with the ultimate classic feel, both features that make this dress perfect for pairing with wedges or sandals, textures like basket weave or cork, as well as acting as a neutral foundation to pops of color in your accessories.

SHOP: cold shoulder dress @Target & shift dress @Old Navy (both styles available in sizes XS – XXL).

2. I tend to rely on big earrings over the summer since heavier metals on my skin in the form of statement necklaces get uncomfortable when I’m out & about during a hot day when I’m trying to stay cool. Try a bold tassel earring instead to play up your personality & bring out the colors of a printed dress. Not to mention, a tassel style helps frame your face with a little flair too!

SHOP: purple shimmy earrings & multi color shimmy earrings @Charming Charlie.

3. There are so many shoe varieties when it comes to summer footwear, but the fringe trend is here to stay. A fringe sandal will not only relieve your feet the discomfort & stress caused by high heels in the heat, but also, it adds an extra splash of style to coordinate with neutrals like a button-down shirt & denim skirt.

SHOP: multi color fringe sandal @Francesca’s & Fergalicious black fringe Tanya sandal @DSW.

4. A floppy hat is always a summer necessity to not only protect your face from the harsh rays of the sun, but also adding a little bit of humor to your beach-ready look. Whether you’re laying out for a nap or walking the boardwalk, floppy hats with a message will easily refresh a tropical cover-up or maxi dress on those beautiful weekends by the water.

SHOP: Do Not Disturb hat @dressbarn & Sonoma Beach Please hat @Kohl’s.

5. Speaking of messages, a phrase / message clutch makes a statement that you’re all about style, taking it just seriously enough. If you’re headed for a weekend away or full-on vacation, clutches that celebrate the luxuries of style while abroad or having fun in the sun are sure to be the extra details that elevate your jersey dress or shorts romper, while also functioning to hold your most precious necessities.

SHOP: I Need A Vacay clutch @Forever 21 & Au Revoir clutch @Lulu’s.

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: My Birthday Style in Navy, Black, & Lace!


birthday-dressAs fashion-obsessed as I am, I have to say that there are few articles of clothing or accessories that really make me stop in my tracks. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true since there are certain qualities in a dress, for example, that are right up my style alley. I’m talking about anything a-line, with lace detail, & overall feminine in nature. In my line of work (or one of my lines of work, that is), it’s not difficult to find dresses such as what I’ve described. When it came time to think about what I’d wear for my birthday during this past Labor Day holiday, I was ready to turn to an older favorite (that I’d only worn one other special occasion time), which had a beautiful floral print in a lightweight summer fabric, perfect for celebrating on a summer weekend at high tea, a party organized by a very special small group of gal pals. However, I came across the Luxe by Carmen Marc Valvo lace fit & flare dress @Dress Barn in navy & black (available in plus size here), & suddenly my birthday outfit dreams were becoming a reality. I couldn’t stop talking about how excited this dress made me & 33 was starting to look really good!

luxe-by-carmen-marc-valvo-lace-fit-flare-dress-at-dress-barnI love the classic look of this dress, which really can be worn any time of year because of the rich navy tone with black lace details. It’s a chic alternative to a go-to little black dress for shoppers of any size, especially when navy can sometimes look dowdy, but here, it’s a modern & elegant party dress that I’m confident will find special multiple wears. For the summer, I paired my look with navy peep toe pumps & a bolero sweater (in case I needed the arm coverage). When it comes to the fall, I’ll mix up the look with a denim jacket & ankle booties for an edgy, textured take. Even in the colder months, I’d love to see how to the dress looks with opaque tights & knee boots. What’s even better about this dress is that it’s available top shop @Dress Barn in sizes 4-24!

How would you style this lace frock & where would you wear it? Do you often transform party dresses for day looks? What trends are you most excited about this fall? For more amazing style, check out more styles from Luxe by Carmen Marc Valvo, as well as model & designer Ashley Graham‘s newest crop of dresses for Dress Barn! Happy Styling!

Fab in 4 Ways: A Crochet Skirt for Day, Date, Work, & Weekend!


I recently had a conversation with a friend / coworker about the perks of our job, one being all the styling possibilities for certain items that can be worn for a variety of occasions. Thus the inspiration for this post, I couldn’t help thinking about how quickly the summer is going by, & that fall fashion is currently in stores. Blending the new with the past season while keeping a budget in mind is a very present factor when I’m considering how to build new looks from my wardrobe. Transitioning pieces from season to season is really how you can get the most from your fashionable investment, which can also surprise you when planning a day out with friends, a special date night, what to wear for an important work meeting, as well as when you’re headed away for the weekend. 

It didn’t take long before I came across this versatile crochet scalloped skirt from @Dress Barn (shop misses available in small – large & plus available in 1X – 2X here. I have the skirt from last spring (in more of a creamy ivory tone) & I was stuck on how to style it, especially since there’s so much detail in the crochet of the skirt. Gladly, this design was returning to stores in a neutral taupe, perfect for coordinating for any season. In the fall, try this skirt with knee boots & a chunky sweater, or for winter with a blouse, tights, & ankle booties. However, when thinking about all of the styling possibilities, I’m excited to share four fabulous ways to wear this skirt, including for day, date, work, & weekend. 

Crochet for day.SHOP: misses shirt @Charles Tyrwhitt, Aubrey Brooke wedge @DSW, turquoise bracelet @Charming Charlie, Gabrielle Rocha lobster tote @6PM, square stud earring @White House Black Market, plus shirt @Gap, Naturalizer wedge @DSW, turquoise bracelet @Charming Charlie, Gabriella Rocha nautical tote @6PM, & Jasper stud earring @White House Black Market.

Crochet for date.SHOP: misses cut-out top @Forever 21, strappy heels @GOjane, beaded hoop earrings @Francesca’s, champagne stretch bracelet @Icing, ALDO clutch @Zappos, plus fringe top @Forever 21, chunky platforms @GOjane, drop earrings @Francesca’s, iridescent stretch bracelet @Icing, & Jessica McClintock clutch @Zappos.

Crochet for work.SHOP misses Dana Buchman top @Kohl’s, neutral jacket @Dress Barn, neutral pump @Payless, long necklace @Forever 21, watch @Target, stud earrings @Express, plus Dana Buchman top @Kohl’s, neutral jacket @Dress Barn, pointy toe slingback @Payless, long necklace @Forever 21, watch @Target, & knot stud earrings @Express.

Crochet for weekend.SHOP: misses pocket tee @Charlotte Russe, collar necklace @BaubleBar, printed kimono @Wet Seal, fringe sandal @ModCloth, straw shopper @H&M, plus pocket tee @Charlotte Russe, statement necklace @BaubleBar, printed kimono @Wet Seal, colorblock sandal @ModCloth, & canvas shopper @H&M.

How would you style the crochet skirt? What items do you keep handy all year long? Which staples do you like to reinvent in new ways? Where do you shop for everyday essentials? Happy Styling!

Color Me Style: All-White Summer Inspiration from Olivia Palermo, Kerry Washington, Kristen Stewart, & More!


July is almost over, but that doesn’t mean summer is about to end. When it comes to summer fashion, wearing monochromatic white is an effortless, chic, & classic choice for any occasion. White is bright, sleek, light, & easy to pair with neutrals & prints for a luxe look. Get inspired by the celebrities below, including Project Runway judge Heidi Klum, royal fashionista Kate Middleton, model Kendall Jenner, Scandal star Kerry Washington, Café Society actress Kristen Stewart, & designer Nicole Richie.

Heidi Klum, Kate Middleton, Kendall Jenner, Kerry Washington, Kristen Stewart, & Nicole Richie in white.Olivia Culpo, Olivia Palermo, Selena Gomez, Sienna Miller, Solange Knowles, & Zendaya in white.More inspiration for the office, a day out with the girls, & date night comes from beauty queen Olivia Culpo, fashionable force Olivia Palermo, singer Selena Gomez, Burnt actress Sienna Miller, musician Solange Knowles, & pop star Zendaya

In an effort to reach Style Darlings of all shapes & sizes, I’m happy to share some white-on-white inspiration  with options of misses, plus, & petites looks because no one should be excluded from wearing what they want. White isn’t always an easy color (or lack of) to pull off (I know I never wear it all together), but I love a crisp white dress & flats, mixed with some sparkly metallic jewelry. Check out the below options to help build an elegant & on-trend all-white outfit to affordably play with for the rest of the summer.

dressesSHOP: misses jewel neck dress, plus floral lace dress, petite lace skirt dress @Dress Barn.

topsSHOP: misses lace blouse, plus twill shirt, petites tank @Old Navy.

bottomsSHOP: misses Free People shorts, misses Anne Klein eyelet pants, plus Amanda & Chelsea skirt, plus Amanda & Chelsea pants, petites Vince Camuto lace skirt, & petites NYDJ crop jeans @Nordstrom Rack

toppersSHOP: misses shawl collar blazer, plus Liz Claiborne open cardigan, & petites Worthington zip jacket @JCPenney.

shoes

SHOP: Jessica Simpson curtsy pump, Clarks Banoy Tulia sandal, GC lace flat, & G by Guess Daniel flat @DSW.

bagsSHOP: Madden Girl perforated tote, Gabrielle Rocha Chiara bucket purse, & Herschel Supply Co. clutch @6PM

jewelrySHOP: floral necklace, teardrop earrings, bracelet, & perforated watch @Charming Charlie

Do you like to wear all white in the summer? Which pieces are your favorites? What color do you most style monochromatically? Which celebrity’s all-white ensemble inspires you? Happy Styling!

Top 10 Celeb Sightings: The Gals from Ghostbusters, Glitter, Glitz, & More!


While I’m working on a new essay based on my recent trip to New York City to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Manus x Machina exhibit, my attention has been drawn to the latest & greatest of celebrity red carpet appearances. Just to clarify, I don’t share these celebrity images to praise the thin & privileged, or to negatively reinforce that beauty is supposed to look a certain way (like a white Hollywood actress). I’m inspired by the style in the images below, from sequins to lace to cut-outs to draping to accessories & all that. Not only do I appreciate the craftsmanship of a beautiful garment, but how an outfit is assembled (to me) is like a work of art, setting a tone & inspiring something beautiful with texture & colors.

Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander shimmered in a silver Louis Vuitton gown with Bulgari Serpenti jewelry at the Jason Bourne premiere. The Shallows star Blake Lively continued to show off her on fleek maternity style in a salmon lace dress by Jonathan Simkhai (shop similar here) with a Christian Louboutin Paloma bag (shop similar here), Sophia Webster Rosalind crystal sandals (shop here), & jewelry by Anita Ko in New York City. German actress Diane Kruger wowed in a red sheer lace Jason Wu design with a mini nude Chanel clutch (shop similar here) at the premiere of The Infiltrator. Indian beauty Freida Pinto went for a monochromatic all-white look in a beaded embellished top with white leg pants & a menswear inspired jacket by Ralph Lauren Collection & neutral pumps at the Wimbledon Men’s Finals. Julia Stiles showed off her curves in a honeycomb-patterned Rubin Singer halter gown (see runway look here) with jewelry by Amrapali & Jerome C. Rousseau sandals at the European premiere of Jason Bourne.

Alicia Vikander, Blake Lively, Diane Kruger, Freida Pinto, & Julia Stiles.SNL star Kate McKinnon was all smiles in a blue Versace gown with jewelry by David Yurman (shop similar here) at the Ghostbusters premiere, alongside Kristen Wiig who wore in a pink strapless sweetheart tropical palm print Jenny Packham column gown with pink Irene Neuwirth gemstones. Funny lady Leslie Jones stole the red carpet in a red off-the-shoulder sweetheart Christian Siriano gown with studded ankle strap sandals at the Ghostbusters premiere. Aussie actress Margot Robbie stood tall in an embroidered peach Miu Miu column gown with diamonds by Messika at the London premiere of Tarzan. Melissa McCarthy glowed in a yellow lace floral embroidered 50s inspired A-line dress by Judith B. Swartz & Daniela Kurrle with strappy cream Aldo sandals (shop similar here) at the Ghostbusters premiere.

Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Margot Robbie, & Melissa McCarthy.I love how even after so many years of following celebrity fashion & blogging that I’m still surprised & impressed by what’s happening on the red carpet. I love how classic silhouettes can work for so many different shapes & sizes, proving that fashion can not only be evolutionary, but also timeless. Dressing glamorously isn’t just for the red carpet either. Take some inspiration from these ensembles & try a little extra sparkle for your next night out. Break out some ankle strap sandals to amp up your street style. Don’t be afraid try a head-to-toe color for summer & experiment with white. Which celebrity look is your favorite? Who inspires your summer style? Happy Styling!

 

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Basics for a Bargain: Black Pencil Skirts for Every Body Type & Budget!


You know the old saying, “If you can’t stop thinking about it, buy it”? Well, that circulated in my head & heart all weekend… about a black pencil skirt. Mind you, I have a few black pencil skirts, all in different materials & cuts, but one particular caught my eye recently & I couldn’t stop thinking about the styling possibilities, especially for my next stylish photo shoot. It’s a staple for any Style Darling at any size, that’s for sure. This isn’t news in the fashion world. Magazines everywhere have been championing pencil skirts for every shape as a way to get the most out of a wardrobe without breaking the bank. Since I gave in to the “buy it” theory, I was simultaneously inspired to explore every which way a pencil skirt can enliven your style.

Check out the A-listers below to get inspired by all kinds of black pencil skirts & style choices, including blogger / actress Jamie Chung, designer / author Lauren ConradMad Men star Christina Hendricks, Aussie actress Rebel Wilson, the flawless Kerry Washington, & the one & only, Jennifer Lopez.

Jamie Chung, Lauren Conrad, Christina Hendricks, Rebel Wilson, Kerry Washington, & Jennifer Lopez.Pencil skirts aren’t just for the office either. Mix up your pencil skirt look with a graphic tee, peplum top, button down shirt, turtleneck, or body suit, for example. Wear one on a date night, going out with girl friends, or when running daily errands. The possibilities are endless for the basic bottom, especially if you’re looking to dress down something glitzy or elevate a casual top. Play with minimalism or menswear, perhaps even utilitarian or bombshell styles all when wearing a pencil skirt.

Misses, Plus, & Petites pencil skirt looks.SHOP: Misses cold shoulder top @Charlotte Russe, graphic tee @Nordstrom Rack, floral blouse @ModCloth, Plus plaid shirt @Forever 21, embellished top @Dress Barn, printed peplum top @Old Navy, & Petites ruffle tank @JCPenney, denim t-shirt @ASOS, & lace trim tank @Gap. Misses skirt @TJMaxx & skirt @H&M, Plus skirt @Eloquii & skirt @Kohl’s, & Petites skirt @Lord & Taylor & skirt @The Limited.

When it comes to the fitted skirt, look beyond a pump & to special details in your accessories. A black pencil skirt is a great foundation & neutral for any special extras, including playing with patterns, metallics, sparkle, cut-outs, & luxe textures. The suggestions below barely scrape the surface of what you can do with your ensemble, especially when you can wear a pencil skirt any season. 

Pencil skirt accessoriesSHOP: ankle strap pumps @DSW, metallic heels @GOjane, ankle booties @Lane Bryant, embellished flats @Topshop, belt @Lulu’s, rose gold tote @Payless, leopard clutch @6PM, & tortoise sunglasses @Target.

How would you style a pencil skirt? How often do you wear one? Where do you like to shop for staple wardrobe pieces? How much would you invest in season-to-season separates? Which celebrities inspire your everyday style? Happy Styling!