Online Shopping Review | J.Crew’s Featherweight Cotton V-neck Cardigan

Online shopping review anyone? Why yes, thank you, I'd love to share the latest. Mmmm hmm.

J.Crew has certainly seen a lot of action from me lately. First I went coo-coo for coco puffs on their swimwear (see the online shopping reviews here) and now I've gone into the ready-to-wear section with a classic that we all know and love, the cardigan. This time around, I'm talking about the featherweight, v-neck version of said Closet Classic/Essential.

So, did the cardi find a home in my closet or did I send it packing, not with me on my recent trip, but back to the warehouse it came from? First things first...

Here's the product shot from J.Crew.com (doctored up via Photoshop because I can't help myself):

redcardiprodtshot

product shot courtesy of www.jcrew.com

That's what I shopped online. Here's what showed up at my front door. Images courtesy of Instagram, etc. Click here to follow along.

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Another shot of the tomato red J. Crew cardi on today's product review chopping block. Remarkably similar to the product shot I saw online, which is a very very good thing. Consistency in the online shopping arena is key as you well know (i.e. you saw a pink dress online, bought it, and it's periwinkle blue twin arrived at your house instead). Time to check out my camera skills:

myprodshotredcardi

Here's the scorecard:

ranking red cardi

Overall, this cardi came with me to Tortola and has made several cameos since then. I'm in love with pretty much everything about it from the color to the light weight cotton that works as temps begin to rise (along with the humidity) rapidly.

I hardly ever, EVER, give out five stars. The last pick that got five stars was a Burberry blazer that I consider to be a member of my family. As in, it's going into my will. And yes, I'm that insane about it.

That said, the higher the price of an item doesn't always equate to a higher ranking. I have a pair of Boutique 9 suede gladiator sandals that hit right at $150 in the coveted five star spot as well.

What I do want you to know is that my online shopping reviews are 100% unbiased. I hold product to a high level of expectation, and I shop everywhere. A decade at Neiman Marcus may have ruined me when it comes to knowing how ridiculously well designer construction fits (thanks Mr. Armani, I've now seen how good it can be and it's tough to go back, so I suppose I should also thank Mr., um, Sample Sale?), but I know value when I see it, and also when I don't.

A big label, and subsequent price tag, is never a guarantee. I shop Target, I shop La Garconne, I hit up J.Crew and I'll never shy away from a quick trip to Yoox.com. My standards are high regardless of  location. Just ask my clients. Well, you can't because their information is on full lock-down. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Moving along...

As far as body type consideration goes, this cardigan is universal. It's an all-skate for pretty much any silhouette out there. The v-neck elongates, the fit is close enough to the body but not too snug (very comfy), and the length is right where you want it to be (just below the waistline or right on it). The only way you could mess this up would be to pair it back to a hunter green, a big red spongey nose, and go around singing Xmas jingles in July. An unlikely, or so I'd like to think.

body type img

My only 'iffy' moment when trying on this cardigan was sleeve length. Part of me really wished the sleeves had gone all the way down to my wrists, it's an odd-security blanket thing I'm guessing I developed after moving and being the new kid (for the ump-teenth time) at a middle school in New Canaan, Connecticut.

I love having the option of pushing up sleeves or leaving them long. This cardigan misses the mark there, but it's stated in the product details so really, shame on me for not reading all of those bullet points. Still, the length isn't three-quarter, or half-sleeve, it's just odd. But not a deal-breaker. The color by the way, I die for. Amazing.

Overall. Love it. J.Crew scores yet again. This cardigan has officially found a new home in my closet.

Love this cardigan but still want to see what else is out there? Check out the rest of my fashion favorites that I update weekly in the virtual StyleShaker Closet. Click below to see the latest batch of prime picks out there from my favorite shopping spots on the web:

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See more where that comes from. Check out more product reviews, style tutorials, and takes on how to wear the latest trends in fashion, all right here (click the images below):

get inspired

Style Tutorial #4 | 1 Tibi Sleeveless Scuba Dress, 5 Ways to Wear It

Question: How do you wear a pink, sleeveless, neoprene 'scuba' dress from Tibi?

Answer:

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Let's start it off with a video. Allow me to introduce both myself and the tutorial topic:

It's time for the Lookbook video where I shake everything up as I style-out the Tibi dress in five different ways. See what I'm talking about:

Check out the close-up of the five looks from the video (separated out below incase you want to get even more up-close and personal or print it out for your very own Looks Library):

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SHOP THE VIDEO HEADER
(Click the images to shop)

Tibi Sleeveless Neoprene Scuba Dress, SHOP MORE DRESSES HERE. my-wardrobe.com

Rag & Bone Lund Cardigan, SHOP MORE SWEATERS & TOPS HERE. lagarconne.com

10 Crosby Derek Lam Shawl Collar Jacket, SHOP MORE BLAZERS & JACKETS HERE. saksfifthavenue.com

Nine West Bezel Sandals, SHOP MORE SANDALS HERE. piperlime.gap.com

Giuseppe Zanotti Sandals, SHOP MORE SANDALS HERE. giuseppezanottidesign.com

Joe's Jeans Footwear Crossing Waters Sandal in Aqua, SHOP MORE SANDALS HERE. modcloth.com

Nine West Kenie Heels, SHOP MORE SHOES HERE. zapposcom

Zara High Heel Vamp Shoe, SHOP MORE SHOES HERE. zara.com

KENZO Leather Bag/Clutch, SHOP MORE HANDBAGS HERE. thecorner.com

Rebecca Minkoff Quilted Shoulder Bag, SHOP MORE HANDBAGS HERE. piperlime.gap.com

Givenchy Large Nightingale Bag, SHOP MORE HANDBAGS HERE. bergdorfgoodman.com

Merci Marie Marbela Hobo in Grey, SHOP MORE HANDBAGS HERE. couturecandy.com

Michael Kors Gia Studded Clutch, SHOP MORE HANDBAGS HERE. modaoperandi.com

House of Harlow 1960 Jewelry Gypsy Feather Necklace, SHOP MORE HANDBAGS HERE. pinkmascara.com

Belle Noel by Kim Kardashian GlamRock Ring, SHOP MORE JEWELRY HERE. shopthetrendboutique.com

Alexis Bittar 1940's Platinum and Diamond Wreath Ring, SHOP MORE JEWELRY HERE. alexisbittar.com

J.Crew Flower Lattice Necklace, SHOP MORE JEWELRY HERE. jcrew.com

Lucca Couture Braided Wrap Bracelet, SHOP MORE JEWELRY HERE.
swell.com

BCBGMAXAZRIA Metal Chevron Stone Necklace, SHOP MORE JEWELRY HERE. bcbg.com

J.Crew Ray-Ban® Classic Wayfarer® Sunglasses, SHOP MORE SUNGLASSES HERE. jcrew.com

 

Body Types HEADER
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PEARS: Looks 1 and 3 are where you'll be playing along here. The top layers will balance out the volume on the bottom of this sleeveless dress, evening things out a bit. Always, always wear a heel on this look.
RECTANGLES: All-skate. Feel free to pick from look 1 thru 5. This is a dress that will give you curves without going overboard so play a bit with the different ways you can pull it off.
HOURGLASSES: Looks 2 and 5 are your friend. This dress is only going to accentuate the classic hourglass shape you're working with so keeping things as simple and streamlined as possible will be key. Again, heel heel heel. Not a flat moment for you.
APPLES: Finally, my apple ladies. Look 2, 4 (if you have the height) and look 5 are where you will be living when it comes to this line up. The bottom half of the skirt will balance out the inverted triangle proportion your working with. If you're petite in stature, avoid look 2 at all costs. It will do the exact opposite of elongate you. As for the other two looks, have at it and do a little twirl in that scuba dress.

Sleeveless dresses are just one fashion sub-category of sooooo sooooo many. There's always more where that came from. Check out the pieces that are pulled each week while digging for my clients and content on the site. All of my favorite picks from my favorite shopping spots on the web are lining the virtual shelves in the StyleShaker Closet.

Welcome to your Shopping Starting Point:

(click the image below to dive in)

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Go look-by-look below to see all the details...

look 1:

look 1

look 2:

look 2

look 3:

look 3

look 4:

look 4

look 5:

look 5

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

get inspired

Dear Past, What a Week! Dear Future, Time to Tackle My Top 10 Shopping List

Meet my top 10 shopping picks for the week. Let me tell you, between the two new Lookbooks and major packing list compilation for a client's upcoming trip to the Virgin Islands (jeal...if only I could fit into her suitcase(s) as well; note to self, work on improving my contortionist skills), it has been a fun few days over here.

Oh right, there was also that teeny tiny (read:massively significant)  launch of the new Spring Trends Shopping Lists (where I took every trend ever mentioned by a fashion editor or director and narrowed it all down to the top 12 for my readers to shop; it's my Cliffs Notes version).

There's been some major on-line shopping mileage covered and today's list of 10 favorites will directly reflect what the latest fashion focus has been here at The StyleShaker. Prepare for some beaded embellishment, sharp metallics, flowy florals, and more. Enough talk, time to check out today's line up:

(FYI:  No one is paying me to pick these items and/or brands. I don't select a single item I wouldn't buy myself and/or my clients. All selections are unbiased, this is my promise to you. Nothing like a swift, yet stylish, injection of integrity before diving head first into your shopping moment of bliss).

source: 1. www.farfetch.com 2. www.usa.frenchconnection.com 3. www.shopbop.com 4. www.shopbop.com 5. www.ninewest.com 6. www.net-a-porter.com 7. www.farfetch.com 8. www.theoutnet.com 9. www.ssense.com 10. www.ssense.com

The top 10 shopping list of the latest picks is just the warm up. Keep the shopping momentum going strong in the StyleShaker Closet. Click any image below to shop pieces, trend driven and just, plain, fashionable, by category.

shop handbags shop shoes shop pants shop jewelry shop accessories shop skirts shop tops shop dresses shop coats

The StyleShaker

Ok, we're moving away from the Shopping List for a minute. Everyone needs a little inspiration every now and then. Something that makes you think. I know, thinking, ugh, such a pain.

But seriously, take a minute and use this time to inhale, get the wheels turning, and reflect. Or just stare and space out, either way, it's a little break and it's good for you, like a vitamin for your soul. I swear I didn't even get that from Oprah, I have no clue where it came from. Espresso does crazy things to me, and for that, I love it even more.

I happened to run across this amazing site, www.behappy.me, the other day and I totally lucked out. Or maybe it knew I had a not-so-hot (diplomatic way to say 'crappy') day and it found me. Who knows, either way, here is what resonated, what inspired me to smile and leave an extra dollar in the tip jar at my favorite coffee spot.

quote

source: www.behappy.me

I was a little torn on this because I happen to believe that when a person says out loud that he or she is 'ready' it means they aren't. It's just a personal opinion based on my own history. I do believe that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Or in other words, we don't control this one. We don't get to tell the world we're ready, it shows us when we are. Then it's up to us whether we rise to the occasion.

We can say we're ready until we're blue in the face (I say this because I have) but, being truly ready isn't shown in words, it's shown in actions. When you're ready, you don't even think about it, you certainly don't talk about it, you just go for it.

I'm definitely not discounting the whole 'thinking about it,' phase when it comes to change. I'm just saying, we (I) have a tendency to get stuck there instead of using it to our (my) advantage.

How to un-stick yourself? Keep it simple and just take a quick inventory of where you're at right now. I do this every time I work with a client. It's the first step, to see where they're at in life, their wardrobe, their closet, all of it. *Important note: keep as much emotion out of this step as humanly possible. The emotion is tied to the past usually, and this first step is all about getting clarity so you can move forward. Say it with me, "for-ward." Yes. Perfect.

Looking back helps my clients see where they've been and how they got to where they are now. Again, I'm not there to help them dwell in the past, or get stuck in the black hole that is their current closet. I'm not there because they told me they're ready and now they want to sit back and wait, let the universe (or whatever's out there that's bigger than us) do it's thing.

I'm there to hold their hand and inspire action with one goal in mind, to help them feel good about themselves and move towards where they want to be.

Every time I do this with a client (read: friend) it's an honor. I'm catching these amazing individuals at the crossroads of the above two points in time illustrated by today's quote. I'm a witness to them being at the corner of 'Lessons Learned,' and, 'Ok, let's do this.' The intersection between Dear Past and Dear Future...I'll keep going but I feel like I'm getting redundant now.

What I'm saying is, I get to be the one standing next to these amazing women in their closets at the very moment they're truly ready to take on their future. Actually, it's why I'm there. And this is why I can now say I love what I do.

Dear Past,

Thank you.

Dear Future,

Who's next?

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

What to Wear | 5 Looks That Will Inspire You To Change It Up a Bit

What to wear? You've got options. I love creating looks, especially for my clients when I get to use actual picks from their personal closets and show them countless ways to wear them they would have never dreamt up. I started doing it in my own closet as a method of survival while working in the land of luxury fashion. Ten years and hundreds of looks later, I now get to share what I love and help simplify life a bit for clients who can now spend the energy they were putting into 'what am I going to wear today?' on actually living their lives. They can walk into their day feeling good about what they have on, and consequently, feel good about themselves. It's a win-win.

Styling 'mush moment' aside... Sometimes I just cant stop creating these looks and a few favorites end up without their rightful cameo on the site or in a client's What to Wear Weekly Lookbook for one reason or another. So, now's their time, and no one is stealing their thunder. Check out five looks that will hopefully inspire you to switch things up a bit with what you have hanging in your own closet...

1.

look img 1

source:  1. Sandro Ciseau Silk Blouse (www.theoutnet.com),  2. Rachel Zoe Hutton Tuxedo Pants (www.shopbop.com),  3. One by Abaco Jamily Bag (www.shopbop.com),  4. Ann Taylor Delaney Haircalf Stacked Platform Pumps (www.anntaylor.com),  5. Lulu Frost Hera Studs (www.shopbop.com)   

2.

look img 2

source:  1. Alice + Olivia India Fur Cascade Vest (www.mytheresa.com),  2. Equipment Slim Signature Star Print Blouse (www.intermixonline.com),  3. All Saints Lucille Leather Skirt (www.us.allsaints.com),  4. Aldo Romelia Suede Court Shoes (www.asos.com),  5. Marc Jacobs Baroque Single Large Quilted Leather Shoulder Bag (www.net-a-porter.com)  

3.

look 5

source:  1. Topshop Crop Back Collarless Jacket (www.us.topshop.com),  2. Rebel Yell Viva Logo V-Neck Tee In Heather Gray (www.shopthetrendboutique.com), 3. J Brand Aiden Distressed Boyfriend-Fit Jeans (www.net-a-porter.com),  4. Opening Ceremony Oc La Small Satchel (www.farfetch.com),  5. Madison Harding Women's Barbara Ankle Boot (www.amazon.com)

4.

look 4

source:  1. Velvet by Graham & Spencer "Joss" Slub Cotton Slouchy Tee (www.bloomingdales.com),  2. Jacob Cohen Flared Jeans (www.farfetch.com),  3. B Brian Atwood Peep Toe Pump (www.blueandcream.com),  4. Rachel Zoe Tote Deux  (www.couture.zappos.com),  5. Carrera 32/S Sunglasses (www.piperlime.gap.com),  6. Adia Kibur Wide Cuff (www.shopbop.com)

5.

look img 3

source:  1. HELMUT / Drape Front Cardigan (www.lagarconne.com),  2. J. Crew Perfect-Fit Boatneck Tee (www.jcrew.com),  3. Citizens Of Humanity Avedon Slick Skinny Jeans (www.shopbop.com), 4.  Pauric Sweeney Python Satchel (www.farfetch.com),  5. Diane von Furstenberg Claret Platform Ankle Boots  (www.stylebop.com

 

It's not just about what to wear, but how to wear it, and even more so, what you're going to go do in that look. Are you not dying for a week off from having to ask yourself, "what am I going to wear today?" I know I was. It's like a weight is lifted, I'm not even being melodramatic here (which is rare). If you don't believe me, see what my client's are saying here.

Want to get on the list and start receiving your What to Wear Weekly Lookbook stat? Sign up asap to get in while one week is still under $20. Or sign up for the month if you're feeling like you want to be really nice to yourself today.

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Keep the shopping momentum going strong. See the rest of the picks lining the virtual walls of the StyleShaker Closet:

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Get more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop, all right here.

What I'm Wearing | Movie Night, Silver Linings Playbook & Some Layers

Hmmm, what to wear to movie night. That is today's million dollar question...

I've had this pair of brown suede ankle boots in my closet for months now. Case in point, they haven't seen the light of day and we're already in January so it was time to pull them out and work them into a look. I'm finally going to see Silver Linings Playbook, I can't take any more gushing about how good the movie is from friends. I need to see it for myself, mind you, now I have this massive build up so hopefully it lives up to the hype. But really, now that I know what I'm wearing, I'm pretty much good with however it goes, Oscar-wirthy or not.

Back to the ankle boots that I found lurking in my closet, practically begging me to get out there with their plea, 'put me in coach, I'm ready.' What? Your shoes don't speak to you? How sad for you.

At the end of the day it style can be boiled down into three steps that I believe are mutually exclusive: there's what to wear, how to wear it, and what you're going to do in it. Obviously you need to know what to wear (not just trends mind you; as we all know, they come and they definitely go). But what good is having that without knowing how to wear it in a way that works for you right? And really, what's the point of it all if you don't have a great storyline to take the ensemble on an adventure in?

Need a little help with this? Who doesn't? Get your own Virtual Weekly Lookbook that covers each of these while stylishly serving up a week of looks personalized to you for under twenty bucks. It's a no-brainer...Get on the list here.

In an effort to check all three off my own list, here's what I'm wearing, how I'm wearing it, and what I'll be doing in it. I never said the 'adventure' had to be something for the books, it's all about what you make out of it. In my case, the look is going be on my back while I get to take in Bradley Cooper on the big screen, knock back some popcorn, and sip on a glass of wine (best thing to ever hit theaters as far as I'm concerned). Can't wait. Here's the look:

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source: 1. HELMUT Drape Front Cardigan (www.lagarconne.com), 2. Splendid Exclusive Thermal Henley (www.intermixonline.com), 3. Stouls Lambskin Leggings (www.farfetch.com), 4. Majo "BOCG 25" Rosa Leather Large Satchel (www.shirise.com),  5. Maison Martin Margiela Bangle Bracelet (www.shopbop.com), 6. Low Luv By Erin Wasson Double Finger Ring (www.shopthetrendboutique.com

Pick by pick for those who love a good close up like myself (click here or on the links above to shop):

1.

1 HELMUT Drape Front Cardigan

2.

2 Splendid Exclusive Thermal Henley

3.

3 Stouls Lambskin Leggings

4.

majo

5.

5 Maison Martin Margiela Bangle Bracelet

6.

6 Low Luv By Erin Wasson Double Finger Ring

At the beginning of every week I pull together some inspirational looks to choose from when I need to figure out what I'm going to wear to certain events on the agenda. I have a massive look library that I use so this isn't as out of control as one would imagine. Well, maybe it is, but then again, I keep that Looks Library at hand and always growing not only for myself but for the weekly lookbooks I send to my clients on a regular basis. Inspiration is always a good thing to have. They keep me creative and sane. 

I ended up going with look two this week. It just spoke to me. Mainly, I wanted to do the whole open-front cardi with leggings thing since I knew it would be a bit chilly and that cardigan is the equivalent of having a cozy blanket to cuddle up in while I watch the movie. The rest of these looks go right back to the Looks Library, sans dewey decimal system, to be saved for a later date...

weekly look line up

source: look 1 (www.kisforkinky.com), look 2 (www.thecupcakecartel.blogspot.com), look 3 (www.thecupcakecartel.blogspot.com), look 4 (www.sea-swept-hair.tumblr.com)

This is not just a pretend post people, I'm actually going to the movie. I figure, if I don't use my own Virtual Lookbook styling process, then why would anyone else right? Well, I do, and here's where I'll be later tonight, love the Angelika, so come by and join me if you're in Dallas:

Angelika Film Center

source: www.angelikafilmcenter.com

Had to throw in a movie poster for now, but later I'm sure I'll have pics to share when I recap my week...I'll let you know what I thought of the movie as well, as if you need one more opinion, I mean really. But after all, everyone's got one, especially on the web. 

61IssWm1J9L._SL500_AA300_

source: www.angelikafilmcenter.com, www.google.com

Like I mentioned, these looks are created by me, for me, and NOW for my growing list of clients.

I'm taking more on at the moment and the list is growing so make sure you get on there, oh you know, if you too wear only one eighth of what's hanging in your closet and are plagued weekly, if not daily (cue scene: you're standing in your closet, it's 6am, coffee in hand, eyes squinting at the harsh lighting, but more so the thought of having to figure out something new to wear, 'eh,' you say,'not today,' as you reach for the same old combination yet again because it's easy and you don't even want to think about it) with that 'what am I going to wear,' question. Yea, I know, that's why I started sharing this service with everyone I could get my hands on.

See what the Lookbook is all about, what people are saying, why you would want fashion advice from me in the first place, and why your twenty dollars (not even) will be the best you've spent in a long time, outside of any movies of course...

After you're done checking out the What to Wear Weekly Lookbook, make sure to keep the momentum going and soak up more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop for it (let alone get ideas on what to do in it) right here.

The Promo-Heavy Christmas Shopping Wishlist

Happy holidays! If you're anything like me, you have one more reason to celebrate with the end of the omnipresent (and I mean, everywhere) playing of Christmas jingles. Oh wait, two more reasons to celebrate, meet the Christmas shopping wish list. It's not for the kiddos or for those who were 'nice,' (although, hopefully you were), it's for you and it's filled with picks that are on sale. Um, ok, so that's even one more reason to celebrate, which brings us to three?

'Tis the season of promotions! But before you dive in, first things first:

merry christmas

Cue the montage...

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1.

This bag is ridiculous. I mean, look at the leather, I only wish I could do some sort of sensory shopping moment right now, but instead, you'll have to stick with a visual. Gorge-ous.

1 Pauric Sweeney H-Box Leather Deerskin Effect Top Handle

2.

This is the cardigan you throw on, the go-to, cozy knit that belongs in every woman's closet in one form or another. This just happens to be Halston Heritage's take on the comfy classic, and so far, so good.

2 Halston Heritage Chunky-Knit Wool-Blend Cardigan

3.

3 Jean-Michel Cazabat Suede Elisa Pumps

4.

Sometimes I love a good statement bracelet. The trick is, you have to wear it and not have it wear you. So, if you're not cool with four golden snake heads dangling from your wrist, I suggest  you move along. However, if you're into Medusa and anything gold & fabulous, this Lulu Frost pick is for you.

4 Lulu Frost Medusa Bracelet

5.

Ruffled silk on an LBD, cue you're 'I feel pretty,' moment ladies. Aaaaaand, go!

5 Notte By Marchesa Ruffled Silk-Organza Dress

source: 1. Pauric Sweeney H-Box Leather Deerskin Effect Top Handle Bag (www.luisaviaroma.com), 2. Halston Heritage Chunky-Knit Wool-Blend Cardigan (www.theoutnet.com), 3. Jean-Michel Cazabat Suede Elisa Pumps (www.shopbop.com), 4. Lulu Frost Medusa Bracelet (www.shopbop.com), 5. Notte By Marchesa Ruffled Silk-Organza Dress (www.theoutnet.com)

Five is just the shopping warm-up. See what else is lining the walls in the virtual StyleShaker closet, filled with hand-picked favorites deserving of their own cameo on the site, even if it isn't in a Top 5 shopping list. Click below to keep the shopping momentum going strong:

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Right, right, it's time for what? Oh you know, a little quote never hurt anyone. Hopefully it does the exact opposite. Get some inspiration with the following line from Laozi:

quotes

I have a 'thing' about using the term 'failure.' Why? Well part of it was an epiphany I happened to have on a flight to Seattle last year. I was going on my fifth interview (all different companies) and by that point, had turned down 3 out of the four I had been on. I was getting really good at being flown into a city with every intention of getting excited about whatever new position I was going for, and then realizing on my flight back to Dallas that my heart wasn't in it. But, before I would repeat this process (until one day I finally realized it was time for me to do my own thing, took the scenic route to get there), and arrive back at my apartment below the Mason Dixon line with a look of sheer confusion on my face, I would prep.

I love to prep. Part of the prep for the Seattle interview was to look at other case studies on-line of what previous interviewees had been asked. The company was Amazon so there was plenty of good info out there. One of the questions I saw every person post in the forum was, "they will ask you to speak about your greatest failure and how you dealt with it." Now, I knew that, by this point, Amazon had probably changed it up a bit, knowing that all of this info had been out on the web, they'd need to switch their questions to keep people on their toes. They're Amazon after all, I'd expect no less.

But the question stuck with me. Actually, it began to obsessively circle around in  my head until I just couldn't let it go. What was my greatest failure? Why couldn't I come up with anything? Was it taking the Neiman Marcus Executive Development Program test without a calculator and consequently not passing the first time? Nope, because without that I would have never been able to have two years worth of stories from the selling floor that I would never give back.

Was leaving Boston when I actually had a job in banking lined up (this was huge, as I graduated with a degree in Advertising the May following September 11th; not a very cushy time to go out into the work force; getting a job was a miracle) a failure?  Nope. If I hadn't left Boston due to a rough break-up I would have never had a year living with my brother in Chicago, which would have never motivated me to move to warmer weather in Dallas, which, would have never led me to this site due to sheer frustration with the corporate world.

So there it was. I was on the plane, talking to my new best friend in the center seat, telling him how I couldn't come up with anything and he said, "fine, then don't...Don't force an answer just for them. Be honest, be yourself." That flight was like three hours of therapy from a complete, unlicensed stranger.

So sure, maybe these instances in my life felt like small failures at the time. There's always going to be a pity-party moment that lasts about a minute. But then I realize that every one of these mistakes, misses, whatever you want to call them, brought me to where I am right now. They were the springboard to my personal and professional growth.

I don't have one greatest failure. I doubt I ever will. And anyway, Amazon never asked. Go, figure.

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

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

 

Today's Top 5 Shopping List, From Sweater Favorites to D.H. Lawrence, For Realz

It's one hundred percent sweater-weather right now, and if you don't have a current favorite in your closet, or are in need of a little refresher, here's your moment. Check out the top five sweaters that made their way onto today's shopping list...

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1.

Loving the loose layers on this one. Keep it simple and cozy with your favorite denim picks covering the bottom half of the fashion equation. Easy.

1 Rebecca Taylor Two-Tone Turtleneck

 

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2 J. Crew Collection Cashmere Bateau Sweater

 

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Should you get stuck in the never-ending grey days of winter (I'm referencing my time spent living in Chicago oh, I dunno, ten years ago; great city, however, I've seen better weather) there's nothing like a little color injection, courtesy of a cardi in this case, to knock you out of it.

3 ASOS Blanket Wrap Cardi In Vintage Pattern

 

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4 Thakoon Addition Patterned Knitted Cotton Cardigan

 

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Ob-sessed with this new find! Say the designer name ten times fast if you like, or just go ga-ga over their line up of cozy sweatshirts and so much more like we did. The entire office is still recovering from the intense swoon session that erupted upon making the discovery last week. This is a complete upgrade to your everyday sweatshirt, taking it from a cozy/casual to super-chic with the addition of that collar and some key zipper details. Gotta love it.

5 kupukupu apparel Black Sun Sweatshirt

 

source: 1. Rebecca Taylor Two-Tone Turtleneck (www.neimanmarcus.com), 2. J. Crew Collection Cashmere Bateau Sweater (www.jcrew.com), 3. ASOS Blanket Wrap Cardi In Vintage Pattern (www.asos.com), 4. Thakoon Addition Patterned Knitted Cotton Cardigan (www.theoutnet.com), 5. kupukupu apparel Black Sun Sweatshirt (www.etsy.com

We cover massive web shopping ground each week to narrow it down to our top five. That said, several shopping casualties end up on the cutting room floor. Instead of leaving them in such a sad state, we pick a few favorites up off the ground, dust them off, and give them their rightful cameo on the site elsewhere. See more favorites that didn't make it into today's list but are currently lining the shelves in the StyleShaker Closet:

shop the styleshaker closet

 

Zen moment time people. It's Monday, the frenzy has begun, which means it's the perfect time for a little breather in the middle of the 'reality' of it all. It's time to take a quick minute, slow your roll, and soak up a little inspiration, this time brought to you courtesy of a quote from D.H. Lawrence:

quotes

D. H. serves up one more way to spin the concept of trusting someone's actions more than their words, and, I, LOVE, it. I love it because it's the great equalizer.

When things get confusing, and you don't know what to believe, first and foremost, take a minute to get a bit more in-tune with yourself. I'll always advocate some quiet time, but when that gets you nowhere, or worse, the mere thought of being your own company has you breaking out in hives (note: this should be explored  further, maybe in a therapy session), there's always the ever-reliable quick reference on the actions of the person in question (sig other, friend, fam member, what have you) to help clarify things a bit.

When people show you who they are, listen. Look at their tale as you hear them out. Your gut will sort it out from there. And yes, it can be that simple. I've found most things can be if we would just get out of our own way, give ourselves a little break, and above all, trust our instincts. Easier said than done, but that's why I'm here. It all starts with a little inspiration, be it a colorful cardigan or classic quote.

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

The Shopping List | From a Burberry Bag to Go Ga-Ga to a New Name in Jewelry OOAKjewelz (you will love), It's All Here

I basically couldn't contain myself with this round of the top 10 picks that made today's shopping list. I already sent a couple of sneak peeks out to some loyal fashion friends because I couldn't keep it to myself. I share what I love and nothing really manages to get in the way, even my posting schedule...

Sneaky shopping shares aside, here's the final shopping list, lined up for your viewing (and shopping) pleasure. It all starts with a new find in the land of handbags from Costella, runs through a few other hand-picked favorites from Linda Farrow to Topshop, and Alexander Wang to Burberry (I admit, I got a little designer heavy, but maintained a bit of balance with the addition of some amazing new names added into the mix, thank you very much). Let's begin at number 1, naturally...

1.

Bags are a toughie for me. I spent a couple of years working (slaving would be the more melodramatic term) away in the designer handbags office at Neiman Marcus, so I know quality, but my sense of what's acceptable on price point is completely warped. The bottom line for me is, a bag, a great bag (and you shouldn't be buying any other kind) is most definitely worth the investment. Am I throwing down $1500 for some of the labels out there? Not at the moment, that's what sample sales and designer dashes are for. But will I spend up to $500 for the right bag ('right' equates to original design, i.e. no label screaming for me, doesn't mean a thing if the bag looks like nothing special, AND, quality that will have me wearing it for years)? Yes. That said, it's always nice to find something for less...

Speaking of, check out a bag from a newer name (to me) with a great look. The details are not overdone, but they give the bag some personality taking it from an 'everyday basic,' and adding a little oomph which I'm always a fan of:

2.

Next up on the shopping list, another 'newbie' designer name (again, new to me) I found on Etsy and fell in love with. I'm a massive fan of taking basics, i.e. your favorite crewneck tee and skinny jeans, and throwing in a statement piece like the below vintage necklace, to make things a bit more interesting. It's amazing how one great piece of jewelry can transform an entire look.

3.

This pencil skirt, a classic piece everyone should have in their wardrobe (hop to it if you're missing it; don't just think workday chic, pair this with a tank and you have something for evening to mix and match outside of your L.B.D), is taken to another level by Boy. By Band of Outsiders. There's rubber in this striped skirt, yep, rubber. It's all in the details, and I'm fascinated. The color combinations here are perfection and actually work well back to a few options that you probably have hanging in your closet. You'd be surprised...

4.

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6.

I wear my printed blouses to death, SO, I usually tend to go towards a blend when it comes to fabric. Silk is just not my friend, and I'm over the whole dry cleaning situation (when I can avoid it), so, I am all about the poly-blend print below from W118 By Walter. Reds are a favorite of mine, so that doesn't hurt either. Wear this over denim, a pencil skirt, tucked into a skinny pant, or wide-leg trouser for that matter. Seriously, you wouldn't necessarily expect such a bold print to offer up so many styling options, but it really fits into almost any style situation you can throw at it.

7.

8.

I'll tell you what I want to do with this cardigan. Throw it on over a basic white tank paired back to some slouchy boyfriend jeans (rolled up),  and hit the beach early in the morning when there's a chill in the air. That's it, just walk and be in this cozy cardi, wrapped up and taking in the scenery. There's a story (real or fictional) behind every piece, just one more reason to love fashion.

9.

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Ok, fine, I can't even take it. I'm dying over this bag. The straw, the leather details, the trifecta of colors that only Burberry can pull off like this, I'm literally swooning, can you tell? This, is a bag. Awhile back, when I was in the buying offices, it's what we called the 'It Bag,' a term which was worn out by the end of 2006, and yet can still be found in several editorial publications (and now here, whoopsie). The only missing link would be that this bag doesn't have a name, or at least, I can't find it and I'm not into digging for the name, it's about the bag. That said, most 'It-Bags,' have a name, they become personified (not creepy at all) such as, 'Paddington,' or, 'Muse,' or even better, 'Coco Cabas.' Yep, I'm bringing it back...

So, I shall fix this style quandary, I'm sure Christopher Bailey will appreciate the resourcefulness. I'll call it the 'Brittany,' tote, which is another way of saying it's mine. And yes, my capacity for subtlety is surpassed only by my brilliant talent with the written word, WHICH, could only surpassed by my unwavering sense of humility, naturally.

Mine all mine.

source: 1. Costella Daniella Onyx Leather Bag (www.boticca.com), 2. OOAKjewelz Vintage Rhinestone Statement Necklace (www.etsy.com), 3. Boy. By Band Of Outsiders Striped 4. Cotton & Rubber Blend Pencil Skirt (www.net-a-porter.com), 5. Linda Farrow Luxe D-Frame Sunglasses (www.net-a-porter.com), 6. Alexander Wang Kamila Bootie (www.alexanderwang.com), 7. W118 By Walter Baker Marisa Chiffon Blouse (www.theutnet.com), 8. Forever 21 Platform Leopard Booties (www.forever21.com), 9. Brochu Walker Toggle Cashmere Cardigan (www.farfetch.com), Diamond Cut Swing Earrings (www.us.topshop.com), 10. Burberry Prorsum Three-Tone Strap Tote (www.farfetch.com

And there you have it. Another top 10 feast of fashion for the eyes. But it never ends with ten, actually, it doesn't begin with ten either. The editing that goes on is endless, and for those favorites that don't make it onto the hit list, like today's, there's always the StyleShaker Closet shelves where they receive their rightful shopping cameo (while still in stock of course):

Here's a moment to take for yourself, or just to indulge me and my love of sharing quotes that resonate  (in hopes that they hit home with you as well). Today it's coming from Bill Cosby:

There's always something to be afraid of, and nine times out of ten, it doesn't exist, it's literally all created in your mind. So in a sense, (deep thoughts for a fashion post, I know) you could very well be afraid of something that's not even there to be afraid of. Actually, that's exactly where  most of my fears reside. They're usually based on nothing real, which is pretty hilarious when you think about it.

I held on to a life that brought me routine, consistently, for days on end. Some people call this 'security.' I did this because I was afraid of leaving, afraid of the unknown, afraid of no longer being associated with a name in the industry that held plenty of well-deserved weight. I stayed because I was afraid of leaving. I saw what could happen that would be a potential 'negative' outcome (totally unsubstantiated of course), as opposed to realizing the good things that could (and have) come from such a change.

So, I jumped, I went for what I want. Actually, I'm currently in the midst of going for what I want, and yes, it's scary but only when I look at the 'what if's,' and guess what, those, aren't real. What's real is this, writing this to you, right now, and loving the hell out of it.

I guess I wanted this more than I feared walking away from what I 'should' be. Know what I'm saying?

I quit my 'job,' to pursue a dream, and guess what, I didn't die, life didn't end, and I'm not spending my days curled up in the fetal position muttering, "what have I done," in-between tear-filled sob-lets (the little sniffley ones that make one completely unable to form a complete sentence; #flashbacktobeingfiveyearsold).

I've actually never felt more alive. I wish the same feeling, oh and the Burberry Prorsum bag (of course), for all of you.

See more when it comes to what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop for it.

10 Additions to the Shopping List this Fall: From Helmut Lang to Kate Spade, the Gang's All Here

It's Monday, kinda chilly below the Mason-Dixon line (a welcome change mind you) and it's time to dig into the top 10 shopping picks of the day...

Cue the montage (and coffee):

The pattern in today's shopping list picks is all about bringing things down to earth a bit, tonally speaking of course. Fall officially in the mix as winter edges it's way into the seasonal equation, as if I had to spell it out for you. What I'm really saying is, 'tis the season to stick with some soft butterscotch-brown neutrals in the form of a fringed boot and oversized, faux fur cardigan I could live in right now...

Jewel tones also make their cameo of course, in the literal sense, with a couple of statement jewelry pieces that I'm swooning over, and a cross body bag from Zac Posen that is the perfect (and I mean perfect) find for my latest client's shopping list. It also happens to take the cake on any other cross body bag I've seen lately, courtesy of few key geometric angles going on with the silhouette making it chic and very wearable simultaneously.

See what I'm talking about:

1.

2.

I can't get enough of this ballerina flat. In all honesty, I've never been able to walk like a normal human with flats on my feet. As anyone who knows me well, I flop all over the place. Doesn't mean a girl can't have dreams right?

3.

I was a little surprised with this blouse pick. I found it on Quicksilver of all places, and yes, there happen to be five hundred iterations of the look out there, but this take on the cream blouse with black piping hit the nail on the head in design and price. Plus, the v-neck elongates, and bonus, this blouse won't swallow you whole like some of the other 'boyfriend' shirts out there. I get that it's a trend, but seriously, I'm going to bypass. That's just me, oh One who believes firmly that, if you've got it, flaunt it (there are ways to do this without looking like you're working the corner, just had to squeeze that one in there).

4.

5.

Helmut Lang is a go-to when it comes to wanting a basic that looks a little less, well, 'basic.' Sounds like opposites day, but the asymmetrical cuts that go on with all things Helmut always add a little edge on top of what could have been a really simple look. If you're petite or pear shape, this tank may not be for you, but it is the perfect way to elongate a torso if you have some height (eh' hem, my shopping bias has made an entrance, I'll own up to it. I love to take my short waist and play with a little proportion magic).

6.

7.

Love this cardigan, especially since it's not 100% wool. I do love a warm cozy sweater, but wool, to me at least, is about as comfortable as wrapping one's self up with a blanket made out of those little prickers that used to get caught on the bottom of your jeans when you'd be out and about in forests as a kid. What are those called anyways? No time to Google, must keep writing.

You can tell how long it has been since I've been wandering around forests. I need to get the right boots for that I suppose. Just one more excuse to add to the shoe collection, but I digress, this is about the cardigan that meets the need of any layering you have going on this season.

8.

9.

10.

Stop it. I mean, c'mon, you're killin me Theyskens'. I get that this is the edgier line for one of my all-time favorites, Theory. I say 'edgy,' which is a term that is completely overused, but right now, other descriptors just aren't coming into my brain so you're going to have to deal with it and move on, which should  be very easy seeing as how I'm serving up the 'Jaco' striped lapel blazer as the finale pick.

You've heard me say it before, and yes, I will say it again (a.k.a.won't shut up about it until the day I die which may sound melodramatic because it truly is, and I own that), I love a good blazer. Key note here: The upper arms need to fit, not be baggy, but actually fit. It depends on one's shape BUT is also a determining factor on the quality of the jacket/blazer. If the tailoring is up to par, you won't have an issue with this, and you know what that means right? Invest.

source: 1. Z Spoke Zac Posen Eartha Mini Crossbody (www.bloomingdales.com), 2. Topshop Geo Print Ballerinas (www.topshop.com), 3. QSW Skyscraper Long Sleeve Blouse (www.quiksilver.com), 4. Kate Spade New York Steps Drop Earrings (www.couture.zappos.com), 5. Helmut Lang Draped Stretch-Jersey Top (www.theoutnet.com), 6. Kate Spade New York Desert Stone Bib Necklace (www.couture.zappos.com), 7. MINKPINK Intazia Faux Fur Trim Cardigan (www.urbanoutfitters.com), 8. MIA Women's Flirty Knee-High Boot (www.amazon.com), 9. Rebecca Minkoff Line Quilt Affair Handbag (www.museten.com), 10. Theyskens' Theory Jaco Striped-Lapel Blazer (www.theoutnet.com

I try, painstakingly, everyday, (cue round 2 of melodrama, god I'm on it today) to pull together 10 shopping list picks that I find notable based on one thing or another. And yet, there's so, so, so much more. The Top 10 lists are meant to inspire, wet the appetite, but most importantly, simplify what can be the overwhelming (on a good day) process of shopping. Where to begin? Here. Simple, done and done.

From here, see where things take you. There are always more options lined up. They live in the StyleShaker Closet. This is where all the favorites find a home, those that made the list and those that just didn't cut it, but deserve their rightful shopping cameo. See what I mean and shop the closet below:

 I love to shop, but I do have one rule, ok two rules and they are: First, if one thing comes in, one things goes out (usually, if in good enough shape, I'm talking donation), and second, fashion shouldn't be taken too seriously. So, I'm bringing this one to a close with a quote that is hitting home right now having personally just said, "good bye," to a company I've been with for over ten years and moving out to do my own thing. It's scary, there's risk, and above all, there's a big, fat, ominous, unknown factor involved. But I suppose that means I'm alive and learning something, which is all I ever really want anyway. Well, that and that blazer.

So, it's time to find a little space for your happy place (I think I've watched too many of Oprah's Super Soul Sundays, as if there is ever such a thing as 'enough' when it comes to 'O,'). Here's the quote that stopped me in my tracks last night.

If it hits something in you, sit with it. If not, move along.

See more daily picks to add to your shopping list, past and present here. Plus find more about what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop for it. Bonus.

Layer Up | The Top 10 Cardigans for Fall & How to Wear Them

Time to Take In the Top 10 Cardigans Out There, Plus, How to Wear Them

Cardigans are a classic, not just for Fall, but year round. Sure, they may have made it to the Fall Essentials shopping check list, and for good reason, but this one piece can add a ridiculous amount of variety to your wardrobe.

I've narrowed it down to the top 10 cardigans out there from my favorite sites and designers, along with how to wear them, because what good is having an amazing cardi that you don't know what to do with right? Let's get started:


Speaking of the top 10 cardigans, slide through the deck below to get the shopping momentum going:


[SlideDeck2 id=9693 iframe=1]


Now it's on the the second part, the very important second part, of the fashion equation (and my client's favorite piece of the puzzle), ways to wear this classic, button-front sweater...Get a little inspiration below and soak up the high-style:



look 1 (www.jcrew.com), look 2 (www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com), look 3 (www.jcrew.com), look 4 (www.style.com)


You can go classic with a pop color cardi, use the print to do all the talking in an ensemble, and always layer over practically any item from a dress to a tank back to a pencil skirt. The options truly are endless which is why you may want to seriously start cozying up to the cardigan.


Speaking of options, if the top 10 isn't going to satiate your shopping cravings, you can always find more cardigans updated weekly, lining the walls of the the virtual StyleShaker closet:



Have a fashion problem and need a little style advice? Ask away. Click the bubble and get your style solutions sent over...


Cardigans are a must-have, without fail, when it comes to a wardrobe. See more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop here.

What I'm Wearing Today. Wednesday's Look from a Fashion Industry Insider

What I'm Wearing Today? Think: Purple cropped pants:

No standing in front of the closet this morning. I picked out what I'm wearing today over the weekend and am loving myself for prepping ahead of time. Just one more step taken to simplify life a little bit. Every little bit helps right? So, time to get to it. Here's what I'm wearing today:

 

When it boils down to what I'm wearing today, I kept it pretty simple. The pop color in the pants takes a basic look and brings it into the realm of trendy, in a good way.

I'm obsessed with J. Crew's Minnie pant and am about to buy them in every color possible, seriously. The fit is amazing, the colors are killer, and the length hits right where I want it to, slightly above the ankle. Throw in a basic black tee and striped cardigan from Urban Outfitters, done and done. I'm looking at the shoes right now, and then the sky (grey and overcast), so I'm thinking I'm going to make a last minute addition of some flats.

As for the accessories, the Pour la Victoire bag can fit a small child in it, not that I have one or would ever do that, but it holds everything you could ever imagine needing throughout your day. The layered bracelets add a subtle touch and finally, a black enamel statement ring finishes off the look.

It's going to be a rainy day filled with a few meetings so these pants will keep the mood up, and the look will keep me completely comfy moving from one room to the next.

That's today's look. See more looks, past and present, what to wear and how to wear it when it comes to the latest trends in fashion, all right here.