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!

 

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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!

 

Fabulous in 4 Ways: Floral Leggings for Day, Work, Date, & Weekend (Dedicated to Kristen)!


This has been a season of leggings, especially for those us who have been feeling the sweet consequences of the holidays & blizzards in the north-east. However, that’s no reason to get lazy about your style, especially when leggings come in all prints & patterns. Floral leggings are a stylish play on stretchy bottoms & the possibilities of outfits are endless, thanks to my friend, Kristen, who came to me with this idea. In my latest Fabulous in 4 Ways post, instead of styling just one pair of floral leggings, I sought out four must-have & affordable pairs to wear for day, work, date night, & weekend looks.

When headed out on daily errands, coffee with the girls, or planning your next dinner party, floral leggings work, allowing for a mixture of textures to enrich your daytime look.

Day look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($24.99) in multi @Bluefly, sweater ($24.90) in navy / orange @Forever 21, boots ($55.00) in taupe @ALDO, bag ($25.16) @Chic Nova, & stud earrings ($5.00) in gold @Wallis.

Depending on your office environment, floral leggings are also a possibility for your work look. When it comes to casual Friday or a business casual dress code, try leggings with a mini dress, boyfriend cardigan, or long blazer.

Work look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($14.69) @Lord & Taylor, sheath dress ($17.80) in black @Forever 21, ankle booties ($19.97) in grey @Nordstrom Rack, tote ($17.99) in black @Shoptiques, & necklace ($8.74) @Target.

When it comes to date night, instead of a classic LBD, try floral leggings with some metallic detail, which instantly dresses up your look. Pairing them with a pop of color & luxe accessories is the perfect way to dress to impress.

Date night look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($14.00) @Boohoo, blouse ($28.27) in red @Romwe, boots ($25.99) in black @Shoes.com, clutch ($21.99) in gold @6PM, earrings ($9.80) @JC Penney, & necklace ($8.74) @Target.

I love weekend looks because they present a combination of casual & chic. If you’re going to a B&B, traveling to a vineyard for a four-day weekend, or reading a good book & drinking hot chocolate, layering cozy separates in lightweight fabrics can transform the way you enjoy your down time.

Weekend look with leggings.

SHOP: leggings ($10.00) @H&M, blouse ($19.99) in pink @MANGO, cardigan ($12.95) in black @H&M, ballet flats ($11.99) in black @Wet Seal, tote ($21.00) @Shoptiques, stud earrings ($6.93) @Express.

Do you dare to wear floral leggings? How do you like to style them? Would you wear floral leggings on a date or to work? For more stylish posts, check out Megan Fox & Felicity Jones’ latest red carpet looks, Viktor & Rolf’s Spring 2015 Couture collection, how to wear the fringe trend for spring inspired by Scarlett Johansson & Heidi Klum, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s street style for less, & affordable ear cuffs & front to back earrings from Nasty Gal & River Island. Happy Styling!

#BlackFriday Sale Update: 50% Off Everything At The Gap!


Another stylish store with great #BlackFriday deals is The Gap (code BLKFRIDAY), with everything on their website 50% off! Instead of posting all the same items over & over again, I was happily inspired by the colorful, fair isle pieces to help make this winter not just a fashionable one, but also a snuggly season with soft knits & playful colors.

GapSHOP: sweater ($24.98), hat ($12.46), leggings ($22.48), & scarf ($22.48) @The Gap.

For more budget-friendly posts, check out accessories from New York & Company, 30% off picks from Francesca’s, affordable pieces from TJ Maxx, & 50% off finds from The Limited. Happy Styling!

Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet: Kicking Butt This Fall With Boots & A 2-in-1 Sweater Blouse!


My apologies for such a long absence from the blogosphere. The (geographic) Style Darling headquarters has since relocated & it took much longer than expected to finally get settled. However, I’ve been making the best of my budget, decorating my new digs & being VERY conservative with any style must-haves, which is why I’m so inspired to return to my readers with some amazing, affordable finds!

Dress Barn - Knotted faux suede 'Tait' boots $65.00. Woven back top in Turquoise $21.60.

This includes the knotted faux suede ‘Tait’ boots ($65.00) in black & the woven back top ($21.60) in turquoise, both from Dress Barn. Luckily, I’m a part-time employee of the local store & can reap the benefits of a discount, but I can’t emphasize how much I loooove these pieces! I always have such a hard time finding knee boots that zip all the way up & these are super comfortable (although the 3-inch heel is shorter than I usually wear). Also, I love the jewel tone of the top, which reads as a sweater in the front & a blouse on the way out. Not to mention that its reduced from its original price & is available in sizes Small – 3X!

What are your favorite new fall finds? Where are your go-to stores for the latest trends? Which colors are you wearing this season? For more on what’s in my closet, check out previous posts from Inside A Style Blogger’s Closet, including simple & sophisticated summer-ready dresses, a silver tunic sweater, my favorite bicycle print blouse, sweet & ladylike dresses, & shoes for under $10! Happy Styling!