The Black Maxi Dress

The Black Maxi Dress

This fashion staple will never, ever go out of style.  Seasonless, ageless, and extremely versatile, a black maxi dress should be in your closet or on your list of must-haves.   I recommend a nice modal or cotton jersey knit fabric that will stand the test of time and can play a casual or dressy role in your wardrobe’s cast of characters.  Throw on a pair of sandals and a cropped cardigan for a simple daytime look.  Add a colorful statement necklace and fun tote for that extra touch of style…

The Black Maxi Dress Ensemble1

1. Sequin Striped Tote, $49.95, gap.com
2. Strappy Cami Maxi Dress, $36, topshop.com
3. Betsey Johnson Flower Necklace, $155, zappos.com
4. Cropped Cardigan, $19.99, mango.com
5. Charles by Charles David Sandals, $54.99, heels.com 

Surprising Spring Trend: Velvet

It’s okay to be a burnout… if you’re velvet!
Spring Trend- Burnout Velvet

Did you know that it’s perfectly acceptable in fashion to wear velvet during the spring and summer months?  Just the word “velvet” makes me feel warm… why would I want to wear velvet when it’s hot outside?  Because burnout velvet can be paper thin and super soft… it breathes, drapes and wears well, whereas velvets of yore tended to be thick, heavy and stiff.  I just bought this lovely gold and grey striped burnout velvet dress for a steal at The Poppy Boutique.  I added a gold wide leather tie belt and bohemian statement necklace and wore this ensemble to my Junior League’s annual dinner… otherwise known as a cocktail dress competition where we all win!!!

Spring Translation- Burnout Velvet

Shopping local head-to-toe:
Earrings- Marianne Homsy Jewelry
Necklace- JC’s Boutique
Dress- The Poppy Boutique
Belt- The Poppy Boutique
Shoes- Deborah Kent’s

*View photos from The Junior League of Tampa‘s stylish dinner event on
Runway Translator’s Facebook page.

Runway Translation: Fluorescent Frocks

Spring 2013 Runway Trend- Bright Yellow Dress
runway photos: style.com

Simone Rocha, Nanette Lepore & Versace were just a few of the designers who showed bold pops of neon and fluorescent hues on the runways this spring.  This trend is a bit tricky because it’s easy to go overboard and find yourself looking like a fashion victim of the 1980’s.  If you’re brave enough to go for a bright yellow dress like the looks above be sure to soften the glow with a complimentary shade of turquoise or pink… even black tends to dial down the bright factor a bit.

Spring 2013 Translation- Bright Yellow Dress

1. Prabal Gurung for Target Ruffle Dress, $19.98, target.com
2. Lionette Designs by Noa Samba Earrings, $137, shopambience.com
3. Camilla Large Zip Clutch, $190, shopbop.com
4. Lolly Metal Heel Sandals, $170, topshop.com

Runway Translation: The Water Effect

Spring 2013 Runway Trend- Water Effect
runway photos: style.com

How refreshing!  With splashes of blues, greens & whites on flowy fabrics this runway trend makes me thirsty for more.  A sea of designers like Proenza Schouler, Charlotte Ronson, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Tracy Reese, and many more seemed to draw upon the ocean for their inspiration this Spring.  Having several upcoming evening events on my horizon, I took this as my cue to dive right in and find my own mermaid-worthy ensemble.  I can’t wait to feel like a tall drink of water in this look (too much?)…

Spring 2013 Translation- Water Effect

1. Phase Eight Dip-dye Maxi Dress, $140, houseoffraser.com
2. Janna Conner Rock Crystal Fringe Necklace, $85, saksfifthavenue.com
3. Steve Madden Too Sweet Clutch, $48, zappos.com
4. Jeffrey Campbell Holiday Sandal, $128.95, lorisshoes.com

Friends With Benefits…

Denise3

The benefits of having stylish friends are endless!  First of all, they are my fashion plates, constantly serving as inspiration for my own personal style.  It’s fun to hang out with like-minded gals who truly appreciate the art of dressing.  My dear friend Denise Schultz recently posted this pic on her Facebook page and I was instantly drawn to the look… casual, yet elegant… comfortable, yet super chic!  Though she appears to be wearing separates, it’s actually a gorgeous striped and cobalt blue maxi-dress she discovered at Nordstrom Rack in Tampa (one of my favorite spots to score designer duds at discounted prices).  I found some great pieces online and put together my amped up evening version of this fabulous Spring/Summer look below…

Denise Inspired Ensemble

1. Stripes and Lace Top, $28, dorothyperkins.com
2. Mango Satin Maxi Skirt, $46, houseoffraser.co.uk
3. Fornash Rosey Earring, $19, simplysoles.com
4. French Connection Cropped Cardigan, $99, usa.frenchconnection.com
5. French Connection Wide Belt, $49.90, asos.com
6. Melissa Optical Sandal, $70, jildorshoes.com

Designer Inspiration: Alice + Olivia

Alice and Olivia Pic
photo: style.com

Okay, so I adore this leopard print ensemble by Alice + Olivia.  The dress, the bag, the shoes… perfection!  The price… a bit out of my league.  These three designer pieces total nearly $1,200 and I just can’t go there.  So, like any determined fashion stalker, I found a few amazing alternatives that convey this same look for a fraction of the price (13/100 actually)! I’ve posted both looks below… the real thing for those with deeper wallets, and the ‘close-enough’ version for gals like me…

Alice and Olivia Ensemble

1. Alice & Olivia Dress, $396, aliceandolivia.com
2. Alice & Olivia Snake Embossed Leather Bag, $545, aliceandolivia.com
3. Alice & Olivia Leopard Print Wedge Sandal, $240, bergdorfgoodman.com

Alice and Olivia Inspired Ensemble
1. Dorothy Perkins Leopard Print Dress, $35, dorothyperkins.com
2. Jessica Simpson Satchel, $69.95, dsw.com
3. JustFab Leopard Wedge Sandal, $49.99, heels.com

 

Runway Translation: Sheer Fabrics

Sheer Runway Spring 2013
runway photos: style.com

Sheer, lightweight fabrics graced the runways of Roberto Cavalli, Akris, Donna Karan, Tom Ford, Rick Owens, and many other talented designers.  And what better way to represent the Spring season than to show some skin? But if being scantily clad is not your style, try pairing a semi-sheer dress with a jacket and you’ll still turn heads…

Sheer Translation Spring 2013

1. Helmet Lang Asymmetric Sheer Dress, $160, theoutnet.com
2. Warehouse Biker Jacket, $88, houseoffraser.co.uk
3. Blu Bijoux Beaded Hoop Earrings, $17, maxandchleo.com
4. Apple Crinkle Clutch, $74, Debenhams.com
5. Asos Holland Leather Heeled Sandal, $127, us.asos.com

One Thrifty Find, Four Stylish Looks

Catherine Malandrino Citron Silk Dress
I recently scored four designer dresses at a local thrift store for $4.95 each!!!  This Catherine Malandrino citron silk dress ($200-$400 retail value) is one of them.  I was so excited to photograph it that I haven’t yet dry cleaned the dress… which is my #1 THRIFTING RULE: ALWAYS CLEAN YOUR FINDS! Anyway, I love the look of a girly dress layered with a blazer or jacket and paired with great shoes and accessories.  Here are four ways to wear this very versatile dress, one for each possible phase of my day…

PHASE ONE: Kid drop, coffee shop and dry cleaner…

CM Citron Silk Dress Day Look

PHASE TWO: Meeting with a potential retail partner…

CM Citron Silk Dress Work Look

PHASE THREE: Date Night with the Hubs (2 options)…

CM Citron Silk Dress Evening Looks
*all items pulled from my existing wardrobe

Lucky Lucky Gold

With St. Patrick’s day just at the end of my rainbow this week, I am dreaming
of the perfect evening look for a swanky weekend wedding.  Gold accessories are my lucky charm…
Lucky Gold Look
1. Issa backless gown, $412, shoplesnouvelles.com
2. Clagett Designs gold clover earrings, $18, etsy.com 
3. Nina Majesta Art Deco Frame Clutch, $85, dillards.com
4. Chinese Laundry gold high heels, $26.99, ebay.com

What I Wore…

…for dinner with a girlfriend:
London Times Dress
London Times dress from Marshalls
Orange beaded gold necklace from Deborah Kent’s (long, but wrapped)
Black crochet & leather belt borrowed from another dress
Tried and true gold braided leather sandals from Bandolino

…for a lunch meeting with a fellow volunteer:
BR Top & Summer Skirt
Tribal silk top and cotton skirt from Banana Republic
Military belt from Salvation Army
Necklace by local jewelry designer Pour Toi
Bronze cork wedges by Mia