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…
PHASE TWO: Meeting with a potential retail partner…
PHASE THREE: Date Night with the Hubs (2 options)…
*all items pulled from my existing wardrobe
runway photos- style.com
The runways were alive with bold color contrasts for Spring and none were more prevalent than the classic black and white combo. Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Narciso Rodriguez, Chanel, Valentino and countless other designers showed us just how these opposites can attract. I love to mix prints like the Marc Jacobs look pictured above, but if you want to keep it simple and still take part in this Spring trend try an ensemble like this one…
1. Torn by Ronny Kobo Peplum Top, $238, intermix.com
2. Juno Black & White Shoulder Bag, $122, wallisfashion.com
3. Michael Antonio Black Stilettos, $60, heels.com
4. Jane Norman Striped Pencil Skirt, $42, janenorman.com
photo credit: style.com
I love the idea of wearing shorts to work! The Spring runways were filled with models wearing shorts with jackets. Some designers showed two-piece suits (Tory Burch, Michael Kors), while others paired separates to create more visual interest (Helmut Lang). Here’s my version of the latter…
1. Bird Print Blazer, $45, fashionunion.com
2. Equipment Silk Shirt, $198, net-a-porter.com
3. Sonance Peep Toe Platforms, $164, topshop.com
4. Chain Whip Stitch Skinny Belt, $28, topshop.com
5. Uniqlo fuchsia shorts, $19.90, uniqlo.com
photo credit: style.com
Interpreting the runway styles and applying them to one’s real life is what I like to call my ‘style translation’. This Spring we saw quite a few Japanese-inspired kimono looks on the runways of several fashion designers (Emilio Pucci, Hermes, Etro). Here’s a great way to translate this Asian Spring trend and avoid looking like a geisha…
1. H&M black kimono jacket, $29.99, ebay.com
2. TopShop patchwork cami, $52, topshop.com
3. Jane Norman yellow wave skirt, $26, janenorman.co.uk
4. Paulownias peacock clutch, $75, etsy.com
5. L.A.M.B. black platform wedge, $196.62, 6pm.com
To me, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on the beach, under a huge umbrella, reading the latest fashion magazines while sipping on a frosty beverage. Keep your look simple this swim suit season and rock a classic black and white combination…
1. L Space black fringe swim suit, $135.95, dogfunk.com
2. Merona sheer black cover up, $19.99, target.com
3. MinLee straw fedora, $20.99, e4hats.com
4. NGIL damask print beach tote, $9.50, ebay.com
5. Havaianas t-strap flip flops, $32, havaianas.com
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…
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
I was recently on the prowl for some new jackets for my back-to-work looks when I stumbled into a huge sale going on at Deborah Kent’s. For those of you in South Tampa who are into fashion, you are probably aware that Deborah Kent’s has been around for over thirty years and is widely touted as being the pinnacle for where to find special European and American designer pieces. I have worked with Deborah over the course of many years and am always impressed with her ability to cater to such a wide variety of customers. Admittedly, I cannot afford a lot of what she’s selling. Somehow I do manage to own a sizeable collection of her offerings, mostly because I spend a fair amount of time admiring pieces from a distance… and if I’m lucky, they go on sale. But just getting to see and touch theses designer garments is half the fun for a gal like me! It’s an education I like to pass on to my friends and clients. I can go there and sip champagne while I sit on her vintage couch and try on a lovely pair of Pedro Garcia pumps, just to see how they look on my feet. Who wouldn’t love to spend an afternoon hanging out like that? But on this particular day, I was on a mission to find jackets!
I dove right into the sale racks, fingering through, piece by piece. It didn’t take long before I had chosen and tried on three great jackets! What amazed me most was not the fact that I found three perfectly awesome jackets on the sale rack, but rather that they were all marked down to 75% OFF!!! I could feel my heart racing with excitement when I started adding up the total in my head! I was thinking about how proud I’ll be to come home and tell my husband about how much I had saved at Deborah Kent’s… and I imagined he would take me out for a romantic dinner to celebrate my triumph!
Anyway, I ended up spending a grand total of… wait for it…
$116!!! Yes… for THREE jackets at Deborah Kent’s!!! I was riding on that cloud for a good two days straight! Oh, how I do love a good find! For me, that means scoring a fabulous piece with quality craftsmanship that fits beautifully and looks great on my body… for a price I can brag about!
If you have the time, I highly recommend you swing by Deborah Kent’s for a look-see. I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.
…for dinner with a girlfriend:
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:
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
Lounging poolside with a cocktail, thoroughly reading my favorite fashion rags… this is my vision of heaven. There’s something so luxurious and relaxing about the act of just absorbing the environment on a beautiful summer day. Sometimes I like to blend into the scene and go unnoticed. Other times I picture myself as the mysterious lady of leisure (yes, despite the husband and two kids in tow!) who does this sort of thing on a daily basis. I like to be the gal at the hotel pool who looks like she actually put a little thought into her effortlessly chic poolside ensemble… or did she?
Let’s start with the swimsuit. Right now I am rockin’ a pre-kid string bikini that somehow still fits nicely (Amen), but I am on the hunt for the perfect black single-shoulder one-piece. Um, okay, so let’s move on to the cover-up, a crucial piece in my summer repertoire. I prefer a classic black, but it almost doesn’t matter what the cover-up looks like. Just the act of wearing one trumps the shorts and tank top norm!
During the writing of this post I am wearing my black and white floral 3/4-sleeve tunic. It has a hint of gold thread woven throughout. It’s perfect!
Now on to the shoes. You could go the functional route and opt for a pair of flip-flops. I’d recommend a gold or silver pair… they go with everything! But if you really want to step it up, slip into a nicely detailed pair of flat sandals with just the right amount of bling… not too adorned.
I love my gold braided leather Bandolino T-straps. I ordered them online last year during the gladiator sandal craze, but I’d definitely put them in the “classic” category.
Now let’s up the glamor factor with a great pair of shades. I know the Aviator style is what it’s all about right now, but I am totally faithful to my Bolle sunglasses!
These simple wrap arounds are not only tight looking, they actually do a great job of protecting my eyes! That’s a two-fer!
Hat or no hat? If I’m fully committed to the poolside Diva look, I’ll go for a big, round, black sunhat. Otherwise, I’ll go without, which is daring considering my hair, when pool-wet and air-dried looks like a poofy auburn Q-tip!!
Finish the look off with a great beach bag. Two words: Go Big!
Even if you only have a magazine and sunscreen to transport, carry a nice big bag in the crook of your arm and your Fashionista ensemble will be complete!
Poolside Chic = Cover-up + Fashion Sandal + Great Shades + Sunhat + Big Bag
I recently attended a fabulous shopping party at JC’s Boutique & Alterations. The store has actually been open since October of 2010, but for me it’s a brand new discovery. Cat Showalter and her mother Josie Martinez opened the shop when Cat became layed off from her job in insurance mediation. Well, her loss was definitely our gain. I can’t decide what I liked more, the pieces or the price-points. It almost felt like I was getting away with something naughty at the cash wrap. It can be a slippery slope for a buyer to find amazingly affordable designers without sacrificing either quality craftsmanship or style, or both. Cat travels to markets on the West Coast like Vegas and San Fran to find designers… and she’s got a great eye! That’s what keeps the store from looking too young, which is the risk you take when offering such low price-points. There’s a level of sophistication that you certainly won’t find at most shops that offer budget-friendly frocks!
What I wore there:
This is a great Vena Cava dress I found in the sale room of Deborah Kent’s a while back. It’s a lightweight silk with navy blue pleated ribbon trim around the neckline. There are many interesting stitching details that are impossible for my awful camera to convey, but trust me when I tell you this dress is special and very unique in it’s cut.
What I bought at JC’s:
One of my newest treasures is this Esley dress I scored for a mere $64. No, that’s not a typo. I love this soft peach with the taupe ribbon detail. Fabulous neckline… so fem! Of course I have a pair of heels for that! I got these Joey pointy toe pumps ages ago from Dillards. I’m thinking of doing something a little different with the belt fabric… definitely going to remove the belt loops I’m covering with my hands. Luckily, JC’s co-owner Josie handles all of the alterations in-house.
Another new addition to my Spring/ Summer dress collection. Love this bold yellow linen number by Esley. Only $49 for this one. The graphic detail rocks! I upped the glam factor a few notches with my Sigerson Morrison gold wedge heels from Deborah Kent’s.
8 bucks for these gems! How sweet is that? Flower cutout on hammered matte gold leaf dangling from one “diamond”. Lately I’m loving the look of long, dramatic earrings with my super short hairstyle.
Looking forward to going back for more fashion finds. I think JC’s Boutique & Alterations now has it’s own stop along my local shopping route!