Happy New Year! Happy New Top 5 Shopping List...

Today's shopping list, and hence the new year, starts with a super-rich take on red, all in a blazer, thanks to Rag & Bone. Next at bat is a hammered gold cuff that is nothing like any other cuff you've seen (which is saying something; they're everywhere). Kenzo makes an entrance with a bright leather and cotton bag that is at the very least, a conversation starter, and Givenchy brings us boot perfection. Finally, to top it off, French Connection serves up what I lovingly call the 'power dress.'

The gang's all here:

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1.

Red anything, and I'll take two please. A red blazer from Rag & Bone, and I'll buy stock in the product. Aaaaand, I'm in love.

1 Rag & Bone Rag & Bone Exclusive Sliver Blazer

2.

You could get two and pretend like they have magical powers. No? Ok fine, one is plenty. Is this not the most interesting hammered gold cuff you've seen in a long time? I know...

2 Hervé Van Der Straeten Hammered Gold Plated Cuff

3.

Half-conversation starter, half-piece of art to wear on your shoulder. I adore Kenzo ready-to-wear, and now I can add their handbags to the list. A happy addition to say the least.

3 Kenzo Le Dix-Huit Tejus Leather And Cotton Bag

4.

Picture a black ankle boot. Ok, now see how to really pull it off. I'd say I can't even take it, but I can, and I will.

4 Givenchy Shoe Boots

5.

Now you can pull off the shape of a tank dress for Fall/Winter. Talk about accentuating the hour glass shape, I mean, this is beyond.

5 French Connection Hattie Jersey Dress

source: 1. Rag & Bone Rag & Bone Exclusive Sliver Blazer (www.intermixonline.com), 2. Hervé Van Der Straeten Hammered Gold Plated Cuff (www.net-a-porter.com), 3. Kenzo Le Dix-Huit Tejus Leather And Cotton Bag (www.luisaviaroma.com), 4. Givenchy Shoe Boots (www.yoox.com), 5. French Connection Hattie Jersey Dress (www.usa.frenchconnection.com)  

What to wear? Done and done. See the picks that made their way onto the virtual walls lining the StyleShaker closet below:

closetfeature

Zen moment:

quotes

It's really a sick joke life can play on you. And yet, it happens. For type A personalities like myself, this Warhol quote can cause an even greater level of frustration. The kind that falls right in-between pulling your hair out and rocking back-and-forth in the fetal position. Get the picture?

Everyone tells you to let go. There are songs written about it, novels, websites, self-help books, movies, and the list goes on. And yet, I still couldn't tell you how to figuratively let go of something you've held on to for a long time. I just don't know how to do it, outside of changing one's focus from the proverbial 'there' to 'here.'

If you have an easier way of loosening one's grip, by all means, make this a forum and share the love. For now, this is a zen moment that's all about reflection. There's no black and white here, just that lovely grey we all know and love.

I will however, leave you with this. Words written by someone who has obviously put far more thought and care into the 'art' of letting go:

At the most practical level, pushing continuously against resistance burns down our available reservoir of energy, and makes us less capable of doing anything well. Beyond that, pushing too hard can end up getting you what you think you want, only to discover, too late, that there was a good reason it didn't come together in the first place. Resistance is an early warning signal.

-Tony Schwartz

See more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop.

What to Wear to Work, Something New & Different. It's About Time...

Time for a New Take on What to Wear to Work. Here Come 4 New Looks to Inspire Your Work Wardrobe...

So, the million dollar question is:

source: www.roseborn.com

We all get into style ruts when it comes to what to wear to work. I'm definitely guilty of reaching for my black skinny pants one too many times. Sometimes it just takes a little nudge to get the fashion juices flowing again. Cue the below four looks, served up 'shop-by-number' style for a little wardrobe inspiration.

Look 1: The Pencil Skirt, an absolute must-have. Pair it with a cozy striped knit, subtle nude pumps to elongate the leg line, and your everyday satchel. Polish it off with a pair of smokey drop earrings:

1. Thakoon Addition Striped Knitted Sweater (www.net-a-porter.com) 2. Reiss Simia Pencil Skirt (www.reiss.com) 3. L.A.M.B. Meredith Platform Pump (www.amazon.com) 4. Coach Legacy Leather Rory Satchel (www.coach.com) 5. Brace Yourself LA Chunky Stone Earrings (www.maxandchloe.com)

Look 2: Everyone has the quintessential black blazer. A cobalt blue blazer with a peplum on the other hand, is the perfect pop piece to liven things up a bit. Let the blazer do the talking. Pair basic black pumps with a flared, fitted trouser, and add some subtle color with accents from earrings to a rich, rust-colored, leather messenger bag:

1. Ted Baker Wrenn Peplum Jacket (www.houseoffraser.co.uk) 2. Burberry Prorsum Stretch Trousers (www.matchesfashion.com) 3. Mango Suede Stiletto Pump (www.shop.mango.com) 4. Aldo Eskeets Messenger Bag (www.aldoshoes.com) 5. Oscar de la Renta Waterfall Stone Earring (www.oscardelarenta.com) 6. Charlene K Gold Dipped Ring (www.maxandchloe.com)

Look 3: This one is not for the fashionably timid. The red wide-leg pant can actually be extremely versatile, don't let the bold color frighten you. Actually, every piece in this look can seamlessly find it's way into a myriad of other ensembles. Thrown all together though, you get an updated take on the silk blouse/trouser combo.

1. PJK Patterson J. Kincaid Blouse Farrow Button (www.bloomingdales.com) 2.Reiss Daria Wide Leg Trousers (www.reiss.com) 3. Dune Bernie Leopard Pointed Court Shoes (www.us.asos.com) 4. Vince Camuto Natalie Round Satchel (www.vincecamuto.com) 5. Alex and Ani Spiritual Armor "Plume" Russian-Gold Bangle Bracelet (www.endless.com) 6. Yves Saint Laurent Statement Ring (www.mytheresa.com)

Look 4: Throw a blazer over a dress and you have your daytime look covered. Subtract the jacket from the fashion equation and you're instantly in cocktail-mode. The look isn't only streamlined and polished, it's actually one of the most comfortable combinations out there. Don't forget the cap-toe on your everyday black pump. It's an approachable trend that's worth taking advantage of this season.

1.Theyskens' Theory Jaco Striped-lapel Blazer (www.theoutnet.com) 2. MICHAEL Michael Kors Sapphire Blue Cowl Neck Drape Dress (www.my-wardrobe.com) 3. Dolce Vita Selina Pump (www.piperlime.gap.com) 4. Marc By Marc Jacobs Graphic Print Tote (www.farfetch.com) 5. Michael Kors 'Mercer' Chronograph Bracelet Watch (www.nordstrom.com)

There's plenty more out there to shop and one of the best places to start is the StyleShaker closet, lined with hand-picked pieces filtered in every week from shoes to sweaters. It's all there. Don't forget another perfect place to shop, you're own closet. You'd be amazed how getting some fresh perspective can take you from, "I have nothing to wear," to, "whoa, I like that."

At the end of the day, it's not only about what you wear. It's about what you DO in what you wear. With these looks on your back, get out there and own it. Get inspired and take advantage of the hours between nine to five (or longer for most of us). You never know what can happen with a fresh set of eyes and metallic cap-toe pumps.

See more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop here.

How to Wear a Men's Blazer, A Layered Look with Jeans For the Boys

Yes ladies, this one is all about how to wear a men's blazer. You read correctly. This time it's not about the dolls, it's time for the guys to get their rightful cameo.

I'm the first one to admit that we have completely neglected menswear on the site. Shame on The StyleShaker. Yes, I said it. After ten years spent in an abnormally estrogen-heavy industry, my fashion focus as the editor became a bit narrowed. Until now that is...

After a couple of convos last week with some close friends, I realized (took the longest route possible to finally see the obvious here, nothing new) that The StyleShaker is, and should be, universal when it comes to what to wear and how to wear it.

To say that the shopping habits of a man differ greatly from a woman would probably be one of the largest understatements I've made this year. I used my guy friends, my 'focus group,' to peel back a few layers on how men shop. What I found with the men is that there's still a good level of thought put in, it just stops at that and doesn't continue down the rabbit hole of over-analysis like some of their female counterparts. You want to look good, of course, but you don't want to have to think about it or spend like there's no tomorrow on trends. Once you get a little direction, find something you like, the decision is made. Decisiveness is a beautiful thing, so in order to keep the momentum going, I'm serving up a little how to wear it look, focusing on a men's blazer, this time around it's a check number from Mango (check=plaid).

I figure, since I'm always asked on trips to help lay out what to wear for my friends, I might as well share the styling love and give you a female high-end fashion veteran perspective on how to pull a look together and make it your own.

source: www.shop.mango.com

It's all about the layers on this one, so think Fall and less Summer. Easy for those of you living anywhere but below the Mason-Dixon line. For those of us still sitting in the heat, it's time to visualize for a minute. Here's how to wear it:

1. H.E. by Mango Technical Jacket (www.shop.mango.com) 2. H.E. by Mango Prince of Whales Check Blazer (www.shop.mango.com) 3. Charvet Micro-Check Dress Shirt (www.neimanmarcus.com) 4. Skinny Stripe Tie (www.express.com) 5. Santoni Men's Classic Suede Chukka Boot (www.dsw.com) 6. 7 For All Mankind SLIMMY - Slim Straight Jeans (www.piperlime.gap.com)

I pulled the men's blazer and field jacket directly from the editorial shot after shopping around and not finding any solid comparisons at the price range Mango is working. Side note, the blazer is shown with a vest but that's just styled like that for the product shot on the website. This is all blazer, sans vest.

I love a good layered moment. You don't have to polish things off completely, but a little structure here and there goes a long way over a great pair of straight leg jeans. The look walks the fine line between dressed up and casual by taking what could be formal (blazer, tie, etc) and matching it with some distressed jeans and field jacket with cargo pockets.

To me, this is a great way to pull off a daytime look if you don't have to be in suit-mode all the time. Love it.

That's just one take from the Menswear side of the fashion biz, see more when it comes to what to wear out there, how to wear it, and where to shop for everything from the latest trends to absolute classics in fashion.

WTW | What I'm Wearing Today, Monday

Here's the Monday look that answers what I should wear today:

It all usually starts with me standing, facing the line up of clothing in the closet in the morning, tea in hand, and wondering what I'm going to wear. Sound familiar?

I love clothing, dressing up, fashion in general, but for as long as I can remember, this time of day has always made me revert to my inner-ten year old, sans openly stomping and making the whiny noise. Don't let that fool you though, at thirty-two years old, I've learned how to finally use my inside voice. The surface may look calm, but inside I'm flipping out as the clock ticks and I need to get out of the house to my clients.

So, in an effort to avoid the a.m. drama, I finally decided to do a little planning ahead using my Virtual Closet and the process I go through with clients. Um, duh. Took me a bit, but I'm slow on the uptake when it comes to the most obvious things sometimes.

See below, here's what I'm going with today. On the agenda is styling out a shoot that will have me on my feet for a bit, a birthday lunch, and some follow up with the latest client. The look I'm going with is inspired by the newest addition to the closet, the blazer (see the review video here), and is loose enough so I can move throughout the day without falling into a triple-digit-heat-induced coma. Lightweight fabrics are key and there's no excuse to not pull out the color, it's summer after all, and I do love a good coral moment. Enjoy...

Back to more on what to wear, how to wear it, oh and the best part, where to shop for it.

The StyleShaker Week In Review | The Condensed Version

Where did the week go right? Hopefully it was a good one for you. For me, it was spent in the post-glow of my recent trip home to Nashville to see the fam.

In case you missed anything on the StyleShaker, now's the time to get the condensed version in the Friday recap. It always ends with a quote that hits home, and this time around, it's all about being ok with maybe, just maybe, not having a grand master plan. Trust me, on a personal level, I happen to love and confide in planning things out when it comes to my life, my business, and what I'm going to wear for the week. That said, sometimes you just don't know, and sometimes, it's ok to hang out in that space for a bit instead of forcing an answer. The 'push' that so many of us never let go of may actually not be getting us anywhere we actually want to be.

Do I advocate sitting on a couch all day and complacency? Hell to the no. But there are times in life, during the week, and maybe during this week, where just 'being' are enough. There doesn't always have to be a reason or plan, so with that, scroll through, read up, let go, and get inspired. Cheers.

Here's what went down this week:

1. Monday came and went with my review of Zara's red jacquard jacket...

2. Tuesday is a day for Love, Pamela Love and her amazing jewelry designs. I say designs, they're art. Let's be honest.

3. Remember that jacket I just gushed about on Monday? Right, well, the logical next step is coming up with ways to wear it:

4. Thursday. You've got to love a Thursday. The anticipation, oh, and my review of the latest shopping pick, J.Crew's 'Perfect' shirt in paisley...

5. It's time for an end of the week Zen Moment. Plan free, care free?

See more product reviews, emerging designer mush-fests, and hand-picked products that cover what to wear, plus how to wear them.

How to Wear | Stripes, Inspired By 10 Crosby Derek Lam

A Spring 2012, 10 Crosby Derek Lam runway shot was the inspiration behind this how-to-wear it, runway re-creation moment. I bought a striped, three quarter length tee at H&M in Paris of all places, in January, and ended up with a case of buyer's remorse. Obviously price wasn't the issue, it was H&M so we're not talking expensive. But I was so let down by the fact that this shirt both faded and fit poorly after one wash. I know better than to expect couture, but I wasn't expecting disposable. Sad face.

My sad little H&M was sandwiched between a tour of Notre Dame and one of the best midday wine breaks I have ever experienced in my life, so it didn't really put a damper on things for too long. That said, I've been on the hunt for some stripes ever since, and although other shopping list items have stolen my focus recently (there's the pop color pencil skirt I'm dying for, the denim button front shirt, etc.), running across this 10 Crosby Derek Lam look was a quick reminder that, yep, I'm still in desperate need of some stripes for summer cause it's kind of already arrived, the season that is. Well maybe, not for much longer...

See the inspiration look here:

(via www.style.com)

And now it's time for me to re-create the look with my own spin on things. Check out the shop-by-number and see how to wear some stripes here:

1. Louche Blazer by SMYTHE (shop online: www.singer22.com)  2. Polly Popover (shop online: www.jcrew.com)  3. Derek Lam Trousers with Black Laminate Stripes (shop online: www.shopbop.com)  4. Mulberry Bayswater Croco-Embossed Tote (shop online: www.mytheresa.com)  5. Kenneth Jay Lane Stone Station Necklace (shop online: www.shopbop.com)  6. MICHAEL Michael Kors Seville Platform (shop online: www.zappos.com)

It all comes together and stays with the contrasting strip theme from the runway shot, just a few less stripes on my re-creation. No more sad face after these finds thank you very much. I'll be clicking around on J.Crew's site and have a button front, striped shirt in my hands in less than three to five business days. Sure, the delivery on this go 'round won't arrive between a visit to a historical landmark and some of the best wine I have ever gulped down, but I think I can make do and figure something else out. It will be a reason to celebrate after all, so I'll pull something together and make it work. I always do.

See more looks that have inspired me along the way and also how to wear them.

What to Wear | My Review of Zara's Jacquard Blazer

It's product review time people! The latest addition to my shopping list was Zara's red jacquard blazer, and when I put it on the list, it's going to be bought, hence not calling it a wish list.

What got me on this blazer was the super saturated color. I was digging around in my closet last week, looking for something to wear to our monthly editorial meeting, and I realized (like I'm sure many of us do), that I was swimming in black or brown or grey or any other color without much of a pulse. Suffice it to say, the color options were few and far between.

This was something I needed to rectify and quickly, hence the new Zara blazer pick. But, enough about my countless hours spent wandering around in my closet, or what I like to call one (I have a few up my sleeve) of my 'happy places,' this is about whether or not the jacquard jacket was a keeper.

First, here's a close up of the bright red, almost persimmon, colored blazer  (source: www.zara.com, click the pic to see more info):

The box arrived ahead of schedule and I dug into that sucker like it was Christmas morning (or the first day of Hannukah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever, you get the picture) which I do with every delivery. I never gets old to me. Cue the bright green tissue perfectly folded and basically begging for me to tear into it. They do a good job at Zara with all the details, not too much and not too little, i.e. a plastic bag thrown into a  box (which, if you shop online as much as I do online, you've seen before unfortunately):

And here she is, in all of her Instagram'd-out glory. The colors are of course warped because I've gone completely insane with the filter options, but you got the accurate color when you checked out the product shot above. So, I'll just sit here and play for a minute with a  few more filters. Don't mind me, talk amongst yourselves...

source: Instagram

K, I'm back. No wonder it's all so addictive. Moving right along, did I keep it (sized correctly, color was as shown on-line, did it fit well, etc) or was this a return-to-sender sitch?

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 I bought this in a medium, and it fits really well (I usually go between size six and eight if that helps). The shoulders are  tad tight, there was bound to be something slightly off with a lesser-tailored jacket or blazer, always is, but that said, my non-negotiable is the arms and how they fit.

If the arm fits loosely, it's a goner. This blazer did just the opposite. It's fitted, doesn't run long, and has a strong vertical seam on the back which keeps things looking smooth. For what I paid, I'm extremely pleased with the product and within the first ten minutes of that creative meeting, people were going ga-ga over the color. Social approval is not the goal, the goal is to make sure you feel good and feel confident, however, it never hurts to hear a compliment or, um, twenty, about what you have on.

So, the Zara jacket stays. I adore it, from the color, to the fit, to the jacquard texture I didn't even touch on until now because I'm so swept away by this blazer. Can you blame me? Oh, and it also comes in a white that is perfection for summer, worn open over a maxi or really anything.

Spoiler alert: Finding the perfect piece to wear and making a new addition to my closet is one thing, figuring out how to wear it is another. I like to cover all of my bases around here, so you can expect to see a 'how to wear' it post inspired by this blazer coming soon, i.e. Wednesday. Be on the lookout!

See more product picks from the shopping list covering what to wear out there, and how to wear all of it, here.

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