Q&A: How Do I Wear This Lace Dress from Express?

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It's time for a little Q&A. Lisette asked, and Lisette shall receive. Real person, real question, real answers from our stylists to wear out in the (one more) real world. So many 'reals' we know. Moving right along. Here's the dress in question:

How Do I Wear This White Lace Dress from Express?

 You're officially treading on virtual personal styling territory here. It's a good place to be and it's easy to get to. Send your styling questions here when you have something you just bought, or something sitting in your closet with the tags still on it, and have no clue how to wear it.

The question was, "how do I wear this lace dress from Express?" On to Lisette's answer...

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After gabbing with Miss Lisette and learning more about her lifestyle, body type, and what she's looking for in these looks, we came up with two. One look is for work and one look covers the more casual end of the spectrum. The magic word is versatility.

First up, let's take it slow with a casual ensemble:

How Do I Wear This White Lace Dress from Express, Rectangle Body Type

sources: 1/ Express Lace Shift Dress (www.express.com), 2/ MADEWELL All-Weather Outbound Jacket (www.madewell.com), 3/ Isabel Marant for H&M Fringed Boot (www.hm.com), 4/ House of Harlow Sound Waves Cuff (www.nastygal.com), 5/ ONE by Jo Handbags Perforated Large Hobo (www.shopbop.com), 6/ Lieke Van Opstal CURVE Green Scarf (www.boticca.com), 7/ Nars Sheer Lipstick in Barbarella (www.beauty.com), 8/ Essie Nail Polish (www.target.com)

Second look, it's time to pull it all together, polish it up, and get to work:

How Do I Wear This White Lace Dress from Express, Rectangle Body Type

sources: 1/ Express Lace Shift Dress (www.express.com), 2/ TOPSHOP Petite Collarless Panel Jacket (www.topshop.com), 3/ Nly Viva Pump (www.nelly.com), 4/ Lulu Frost for J.Crew midnight moon tassel necklace (www.jcrew.com), 5/ Gorjana G-Pressed Ring (www.bloomingdales.com), 6/ MARC BY MARC JACOBS Leather Billy Hobo (www.stylebop.com), 7/ Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet (www.bergdorfgoodman.com) 

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We're working with a Rectangle body type here, and that means we have plenty of options to play with. The first, more casual look, balances out proportions on top with the bottom half by leveraging the top layer of the military jacket back to the fringed boot. Throwing a more casual jacket over a lace dress tones things down a bit, mixing masculine with feminine, which is an aesthetic that matches Lisette to a 't.' She knows what's up, has some edge to her look. but she also loves to play with accessories and soften things up a bit.

Lisette lives in San Francisco, so layering is key, not to mention a boot with a heel you can actually walk in. The scarf can be added into the look for chillier temps, the gold bangle adds some 'oomph' to the look, and the neutral bag will hold all of the necessities while blending right in. Finally, some beauty back-up courtesy of a peachy, pink lip from Nars and a grey nail. Love.

The second look brings things back into the professional environment by adding in a classic black blazer. Speaking of classic, the black Marc by Marc Jacobs hobo keeps things polished and leaves room for a subtle pop of color. This is an essential for every woman's closet in one variation or another. Time to talk about the pump. It's definitely a pop color and we love that. This is when your own personality can really start to come out of an everyday look. The red here isn't too in-your-face. The deep burgundy was very intentional and works well back to the lace on the dress. Why not inject some color into the office when you can right? The red lip may be pushing it overboard for day time, so keep it in the bag and layer it on before heading out to grab cocktails when the sun sets. The jewelry integrates into the look seamlessly by keeping it simple. A long necklace won't distract from the lace, but will add a little interest to the overall look and balance out proportions.

There you have it. One dress, two ways to wear it, and that was just us getting warmed up.

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Fashion Mad-Lib: I'm an Apple Body Type, Looking for Something to Wear to Work

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sources: 1 Reiss Smyth Knitted Flare Dress (www.reiss.com), 2 FOREVER 21 Classic Faux Suede Pumps (www.forever21.com), 3 Rebecca Minkoff Mahogany Mini Lusciuous Studded Hobo (www.forzieri.com), 4 Oscar de la Renta Lace Gold Chain Bracelet (www.boutique1.com)

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The top of the dress works well for Apple Body Types with clean lines and solid color. Keep it simple on top so avoid any necklaces on this one. A waist is defined for you with the sewn in seaming details that will emphasize your narrowest part. Finally, the slight pleating at the hem, also in the solid navy hue, brings the attention to the lower half of your body, right where you want it.

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The soft caramel hobo acts as a neutral back to the navy. Substitute another brown or black for the bag. The grey pump keeps everything streamlined and is a bit more interesting than a classic black pump, but either will work. You could also factor in a knee-high boot in a chocolate brown for fall in this fashion equation.

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Look-spiration | 1 Topshop Red Dress, 2 Ways to Wear It.

Look-spiration | 1 Topshop Red Dress, 2 Ways to Wear It

Happy Monday to you! Is that completely obnoxious to write?

You'll forgive me after you check out today's Look-spiration moment that features a red dress from Topshop well under $100, and two ways to wear it.

After ten years in the fashion industry, prancing (not all the time, but when I could, and the heels weren't too high, I would, trust me) up and down the halls of Neiman Marcus (i.e. still corporate America, don't let the shiny stuff fool you) I had developed a serious case of what I like to call a Jekyll/Hyde approach to personal style.

During the week, it was all business, well, all-business while working in the fashion industry still includes trends but still, the overall look was consistently polished.

The weekend would hit, and I'd slide right into my casual uniform (read: this always included denim in one form or another). The two sections of my wardrobe were exclusive from one another, until a few years ago when I started shopping with an agenda. Said agenda went as follows: if I bought something for work, it would have to be easy to translate into a casual look, and vice versa.

Versatility people. It's not rocket science. It's probably nothing new to you, but a good reminder never hurts. Especially when there are visuals involved.

look1

sourcesTOPSHOP Strap Back Slip Dress (www.topshop.com), DAY BIRGER ET MIKKELSEN minimalist blazer (www.farfetch.com), SERGIO ROSSI Black Pumps (www.en.colette.fr), 3.1 Phillip Lim Ryder Snakeskin & Leather Satchel (www.saksfifthaveue.com), Tory Burch Jordan Pendant Necklace (www.toryburch.com), Oscar de la Renta Firework Crystal Button Earring (www.oscardelarenta.com)

The first look polishes things up a bit for work with the simple addition of two core pieces every closet needs to have: 1. the black blazer, and 2. the classic, black pump. From there it's just a matter of incorporating some low-key accessories with one deviation, the bag. You can always go with a basic black leather tote or satchel. There's nothing wrong with that, and I totally get not wanting to move everything into another bag.

That said, I felt like a bit of 'edge' needed to come into play here (accessories are where I encourage you to play and bring out more of who you are) so I went with something a bit more exotic. Snakeskin works. Leopard, zebra, cheetah, or any other animal print would be a little overboard here, so, the adage of keeping everything in moderation definitely applies. Unsure? Like I mentioned, stick with what you know and go with a classic satchel instead. No harm no foul.

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sourcesTOPSHOP Strap Back Slip Dress (www.topshop.com), H&M Denim jacket (www.hm.com), Zara Leather Biker Mid-Cut Boot (www.zara.com), ALEXANDER WANG Handbag (www.yoox.com), Oscar de la Renta Lace Gold Chain Bracelet (www.boutique1.com), MADEWELL Ribbon Ring (www.madewell.com), Ray-Ban Oversized Original Aviator Sunglasses (www.shopbop.com)

Look 2 takes the feminine dress and toughens it up a bit with a biker boot and bucket bag. The heavier boot works best with a long and lean body type, i.e. Rectangle or tall Hourglass. This is a more trend-forward look which means it definitely doesn't work for everyone. If you're a Pear, Apple, petite Hourglass, or completely averse to wearing anything that masculine on the bottom half of your fashion equation, substitute a stacked heel pump or more streamlined oxford bootie to keep it Fall-centric. Still toasty where you live? Perfect. Add in a nude sandal and you're all set (nude will also elongate like none other).

One dress, two ways to wear it, done and done. One more look idea for good luck? Sure, why not, it's the most expected look in my mind and that is just to leave the dress alone, sans layers (no blazer, no denim jacket) and pair it with a flat strappy sandal and an oversized satchel or hobo.

Inspired? Good. Want more? Check out the latest from what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop right here.

 

Weekend Warrior Shopping List | Top 10, vol. 1

It's Weekend Warrior time, and I'm not talking landscaping people. That's right, I said it. Feel free to forego your trip to Home Depot, or Costco (don't worry, the snack stations aren't going to help you fit into that two piece anyway) and saddle up to some shopping time. Skip the crowds, grab a latte (or mimosa, what have you), and get started right, about, here. Welcome to your shopping list.

It's time to check out 10 of our top picks that deserve a cameo and a little Saturday lovin' on The StyleShaker, from a ruffle-dress that screams all things summer, to the perfect travel tote should you be planning any excursions, the gang's all here and they're primed to be picked up.

Slide through to get some close-up action and then keep scrolling to shop each pick:

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Ten picks are lined up just to get the appetite started. Don't think it comes even close to ending there. Keep the shopping momentum going strong and check out more of the latest and greatest picks, from shoes to sunnies, all right here lining the virtual shelves of The StyleShaker Closet: closetfeature

For more on what to wear, how to wear it, and oh so much more, you can always head back here for some inspiration.

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Online Shopping List | 20 Just-In Picks This Week

Good 'online shopping list' morning StyleShakers. It's about that time again.

Welcome to the edited, super-condensed, Cliffs Notes (if you will) online shopping list serving up 20 of my top picks from my top shopping spots out there. Thousands of pieces of merchandise hit the virtual floors every week, scratch that, every day. I should know, I managed millions of dollars worth of said 'merch' for Neiman Marcus (in-store and then online) for oh ya know, just a few years (translation: ten).

On the e-comm side of things we quickly realized that the highest click-thrus on our product pages were found right at the 'VIEW ALL' link. And, if you follow the analytics, you'd then see another pattern develop. After clicking on 'VIEW ALL,' browsing would go for about two solid pages of merchandise (about 200-400 pictures of product) and go bye-bye or to another part of the site. The goal was obviously to get the customer to exactly where she/he wanted to go in an inordinately small amount of time (one must factor in the A.D.D. culture we live in), but one can only take so much new product before getting overwhelmed and moving on to something else. Attentions are tough to hold these days.

That's the game. There's plenty more to it, let alone more qualified analytical e-commerce minds out there that can spell it out for you far better than I can. But essentially, that's what's up.

Enter: The StyleShaker and my personal shopping services that have me scouring the web every day for the right pieces to fill in wardrobe 'holes' and/or update things a bit.

I'm here to edit, weed out and boil things down to give you the perfect shopping starting point using not one site, but ALL of my top shopping spots on the web (a 'hit list' I've been developing over the past six years). This is your shopping starting line that should save you time and hence, money (not to mention, I love a good markdown as much as the next girl when I find them).

There are 20 favorites (reminder: these selections are completely unbiased) below pulled from just a few sites (I go little by little; check out last list), but the list doesn't end there. Check out the Closet (link below) to keep the shopping momentum going strong. For now, check out my top 20 online shopping list picks of 'just in' fashion favorites:

Was this just a 'warm up' for you? Keep the momentum going strong and check out the motherload of all shopping on The StyleShaker. It's what I call, The Closet, my happy place filled and updated weekly with new finds used for How to Wear Tutorials, Product Reviews, Personal Client Shopping Lists, and then some. Check out what's happening inside by clicking below:

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See more on what to wear, how to wear it, my latest shopping finds, reviews, and tutorials, all right here.

3 Ways to Wear Dresses for Winter | Layer Up

Have a favorite dress hanging in the back of your closet and no clue how to pull it off this winter? See three ways to wear the wardrobe essential that is your everyday dress, and get a little inspiration. First, we'll start with a more fashion-forward combination that pulls in a menswear-inspired vest:

look 1

Let the pop of color happen in the handbag, and leave the other layers neutral. This is an updated way to pull off your basic grey jersey dress and add a little oomph. If the tuxedo vest scares you, by all means, omit and substitute a black blazer or oversized boyfriend cardigan.

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source: DKNY Black Tuxedo-Style Vest (www.stylebop.com), Kenzo Floral Print Inset Jersey Dress (www.nordstrom.com), Sergio Rossi Veronica Slouchy Suede Boots (www.theoutnet.com), Coach Madison Leather Isabelle Tote (www.coach.com), Heather Hawkins Y Necklace With Black Horn (www.shopbop.com), Wildfox Couture Jewelry Bone Bangle In Rose Gold (www.shopthetrendboutique.com)

look 2

Next up, a little layering. I put an open-toe sandal in here just incase these milder Fall temps last for a minute longer, but if not, this would be the perfect opportunity to slide in a foldover ankle boot. The rest of the look plays on the color combo between the Vivienne Westwood dress and the butterscotch brown biker jacket. The scarf is another way to draw in color, as well as the Iscar de la Renta earrings that I can't seem to get enough of right now. This is one way to polish up a rough-and-tough biker jacket...

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source: Muubaa Kendyll Biker Jacket (www.farfetch.com), Vivienne Westwood Red Label Asymmetric Jersey Dress (www.farfetch.com), Lanvin Stiletto Sandal (www.farfetch.com), Marc By Marc Jacobs 'Onyx' Scarf (www.farfetch.com), Oscar de la Renta Waterfall Stone Earring (www.oscardelarenta.com)

look 3

Fine, fine, yes, you're looking at a top from Tibi, not a dress, but the length  lends itself to be worn just like a tunic/dress, especially when there are leggings involved. This is the kind of look you wear and can own a room in. It's sharp, there's some edge, but it doesn't go overboard on the intimidation factor. It's just ridiculously sophisticated with a more contemporary twist. I mean, those boots! A drool-worthy additions to any wardrobe.

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source: Tibi Striped Knitted-Cotton Top (www.net-a-porter.com), Givenchy Pleated Back Blazer (www.farfetch.com), David Lerner Zippered Legging (www.intermixonline.com), Alaïa Leopard Calf Hair-Paneled Suede Ankle Boots (www.net-a-porter.com), Golden Lane Perforated Leather Duo Satchel (www.luisaviaroma.com), Gorjana Raul For Gorjana Farrah Armor Studs (www.shopbop.com)

It's so easy to go back to what we know when it comes to our closets, our go-to pieces that we can rely on, yet may not be how to necessarily put our best fashion-foot forward. But who has the time to figure it all out? Well, I do, and so can you.

The What to Wear Weekly Lookbook started on the premise that most of us are only wearing a teeny, tiny portion of what's hanging in our closet. It's what's easy, familiar, and sometimes kind of dull.

Here's why the Lookbook is growing...My clients send over pics of pieces in their closet they need some inspiration on, I pull them together and send them weekly, personalized, virtual Lookbooks. It shows them ways to wear what they already have that  they would have never had the time to think of, or been able to see. On top of that, they get other goodies like a hand-picked shopping list to fill in any essential closet 'holes,' notes on each look, and a Looks Library they can reference any time on the go. Talk is cheap. Visuals are always best, so see what I'm talking about here and get on the list so you can drop the question, "what am I going to wear today?" out of your vocabulary for good...Trust me, it's SO possible:

In the mean time, all the pieces used to create these three looks are pulled from the shopping gold mine that is the StyleShaker Closet. See more fashion favorites in all categories lined up for your shopping pleasure here:

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

3 Looks & New Ways to Wear What's in Your Closet

Today it's all about three new ways to wear some serious outerwear for winter, from a Barbara Bui leopard print fur coat that may lead to instantaneous swooning, to a faux fur vest from Rachel Zoe that can layer into any look you throw at it. Tis the season to bundle up, so you might as well evolve a bit and do it as stylishly as possible right? Or, just take these looks in and get a little inspiration on how to wear what you have hanging in your own closet...

look 1

This is my 'back in black' look that has served me oh so well working in the fashion industry, we LOVE our black. Each pick is tailored and has attention to detail when it comes to structure from the DVF sheath dress to the Mackage shearling coat. The 7 for all Mankind boot combined with the Alexander Wang satchel keep things super clean, sharp and sophisticated beyond compare. The right accessories have the power to do that, it's why they're really investment pieces to any wardrobe. I'd probably say bags more than shoes since it's easier to find amazing shoes at approachable price points than handbags unless you have access to sample sales. More power to you. Finally, those studs add a slightly severe but creative edge. Add in some color using cosmetics with a bold red lip, and you're ready to run the show in this one.

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source: 1. Mackage Black Shearling Trim Isabel-B Coat (www.ssense.com), 2. Diane Von Furstenberg 'Holly' Sheath Dress (www.farfetch.com), 3. 7 For All Mankind Vignet Boot (www.footnotesonline.com), 4. Alexander Wang Jamie Satchel (www.shopbop.com), 5. Tom Binns Hard Wear Small Bullet Studs (www.shopbop.com

look 2

Ah, good, time for a little color after the first black-out look. Nothing like a grey fur vest paired back to a bright printed midi-dress right? Right. I love this look for it's playfulness. Use it as a guideline if you're less into the boho-take on things. Substitute a classic black pump if the wedge isn't your thing, and if you want to tone it down further, go with a solid color dress as opposed to the print. In the end, always do what's best for you and gets you out the door in the morning feeling good about yourself.

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source: 1. Rachel Zoe Taupe Grey Vintage Faux Fur Marianne Vest (www.stylebop.com), 2. Topshop Graffiti Tank Midi Dress (www.topshop.com), 3. Forever 21 Crossed Strap Wedge Sandals (www.forever21.com), 4. Red Valentino Nappa Leather Bow Clutch (www.luisaviaroma.com), 5. Tom Binns Classic Large Ribbon Hoops (www.shopbop.com)

look 3

Finally, a leopard print fur coat from Barbara Bui's runway collection that you need to be a certain kind of woman to wear. I love how, when you take away the coat, the look is pretty clean and polished. Sure, I could have gone with a streamlined black blazer on this, but where's the fun in that? This is all about pushing the envelope and playing a bit. I don't feel fashion is meant to be taken too seriously, so might as well have fun with it, take in the inspiration, and if you feel daring enough, change up your own styling habits. Time to kick yourself out of your everyday rut. Go big with leopard, or start small with an injection of color on anything from your top to your tote...

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source: 1. Barbara Bui Long Leopard Print Rabbit Fur Coat (www.ssense.com), 2. J. Crew Perfect-Fit Boatneck Tee (www.jcrew.com), 3. Michael Kors Samantha Pants (www.theoutnet.com), 4. Aldo Gyal Pump (www.aldoshoes.com), 5. Jene Despain Turner Necklace (www.shopbop.com)

 

These looks are exactly what I create for my clients who are members on The StyleShaker. There's only two differences, their looks use pics of pieces from their actual closets, and their virtual Weekly Lookbook is completely personalized to their individual style profile. I could go on and on about all the goodies you get when you sign up at under $20 (gasp, I know), but instead of telling, I'm just going to show you. Click below:

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Every piece I use in these looks comes from the mecca of all shopping finds we hand-pick and scour the web for on this site, the StyleShaker Closet. See the favorites that are pulled each week covering all of the fashion categories from shoes to sweaters and leather jackets to jewelry. It's all inside:

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Get more on the latest when it comes to what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop, right here.

Today's Top 5 Shopping List | Meet My All Time Favorite Leather Jacket & More

I want to write a witty shopping list intro, I really do, it's Friday after all, but all I can keep thinking is, "I want the jacket, I want the jacket..." Ok, I'm going to try a keep it together and get through the rest of this list filled with everything from a leopard calf hair and suede ankle boot from Alaia to a printed peplum top from Dolce Vita, and a fringed tote bag via Mango to the most amazing asymmetrical wrap dress I've seen in a quick minute, thanks to Alexander Wang. Oh right, and then there's that Rachel Zoe jacket, oh the jacket. I want that jacket...

See, there I go again. Cut to the montage:

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1.

Do you see what all the fuss is about now? No? Fine. Move along. Yes? Yea, I know, I'm swooning over this one too.

1 Rachel Zoe Daphne Fitted Leather Jacket

2.

I will never turn away from a foldover ankle boot. Throw in the fact that it has a leopard print, calf-hair panels and is made by Alaia...I'm done. Sold.

2 Alaïa Leopard Calf Hair-Paneled Suede Ankle Boots

3.

Love the peplum top, and evidently I'm on a leopard print kick. I happen to also be a huge fan of the cosmetic styling with a red lip.

3 Dolce Vita Three-Quarter Sleeve Leopard Print Peplum Top

4.

Fringe? Yes, thank you. Here's the bag for it. Not too big, not too small. Not too crazy with embellishments on top of fringe (keep it simple, studding and metallics need not apply, the fringe can speak all for itself), just right.

4 Mango Fringed Tote Bag

5.

This is one of the most flattering dresses. Draping plus asymmetry make it the perfect cover-up for any flaws you may not want highlighted, all while still showing off your shape and in a rich, velvety red that oozes sex appeal.

5 Alexander Wang Asymmetric Draped Dress

source: 1. Rachel Zoe Daphne Fitted Leather Jacket (www.piperlime.gap.com),  2. Alaïa Leopard Calf Hair-Paneled Suede Ankle Boots (www.net-a-porter.com),  3. Dolce Vita Leopard Print Peplum Top (www.lordandtaylor.com),  4. Mango Fringed Tote Bag (www.shop.mango.com),  5. Alexander Wang Asymmetric Draped Dress (www.farfetch.com)

Aaaand, the shopping continues. It always continues. It's the gift that keeps on giving, or wait, the gift you keep on giving yourself? Right, either way, there's more where that came from. See the rest of the hand-picked products that found their new home in a safe shopping place we lovingly call the StyleShaker Closet. Enter at your own risk: 

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Time to slow down the heart rate a bit, exhale and take in a little non-shopping inspiration:

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I feel like this quote is one that should be left alone. Fear is a big topic. We all have our own relationship with it, so I don't imagine I could write something here that would cover the spectrum of what the one word means to us all.

No. Instead, I'll let you take it in and see how it sits with you. If it resonates, great. If not, great. Either way, it got me thinking and when anything gets me thinking, I share. It's an automatic impulse. Lucky, you.

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

Today's Shopping List Starts with a Caged Ring and Ends with a Quote from Milton Berle. Yup.

Five more fashion favorites, hand-picked and served up for your shopping inspiration on today's list. It's all about baby-stepping your way into a wardrobe you love (not to mention knowing how to wear what's in there). But for now, it's time to focus on what to wear. It all starts here:

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1.

Great ring. It's so different from anything else I've seen out there. Almost like an optical illusion for your hand and I love it.

1 Odette New York Klaia Cage Ring

 

2.

Leah Lerner bags were a recent discovery. I happen to adore an oversized clutch and this large leather one with painted details was a perfect fit to momentarily satiate my obsession. It's simple but with a bit of a twist. You can't go wrong with that.

2 Leah Lerner Large Leather Clutch

3.

3 Sigerson Morrison Colorblock Ankle Booties

4.

This is a dress to own a room in. The architecture, let alone the color, had me the second I laid eyes on it. I bow down to you Mr. Berardi. Well done.

4 Antonio Berardi Sculpted Bolero Dress

5.

Finally, a feminine, edgy pair of teardrop hoops from a new favorite in Jewelry-Designer Land, Nadin Art Design. Simple, subtle, and chic.

5 Nadin Art Design Sterling Silver Teardrop Hoops

source: 1. Odette New York Klaia Cage Ring (www.needsupply.com), 2. Leah Lerner Large Leather Clutch  (www.etsy.com), 3. Sigerson Morrison Colorblock Ankle Booties (www.bloomingdales.com), 4. Antonio Berardi Sculpted Bolero Dress (www.farfetch.com),  5.Nadin Art Design Sterling Silver Teardrop Hoops (www.etsy.com

See more where that came from and check out the StyleShaker closet. The virtual space where all of our favorites go to live before they sell out (which for most of these guys is a very brief window). Shop away:

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And now a quick moment of inspiration should you need it:

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Ah yes, Milton Berle. He hit the nail on the head with this one. And then subsequently, another nail to get the rest of the 'door' on it's hinges.

I've definitely been guilty of waiting for something to happen, something or someone to make the decision for me or give me the permission I used to think I needed to move forward on my ideas. After all, growing up, I distinctly remember thinking less, acting more, and things just working out. I was perplexed at why this didn't hold true in my adult life for the first couple of years I spent outside of being a student.

But then there's that 20/20 hindsight thing. It looked easier back then, but was it really? I remember a good friend stopping me mid-conversation about a year ago when I was talking to her about my current situation. I was remarking on how 'lucky' I was to have the friends I have and options I have in my life on a professional level. I was saying how lucky I was to have this support system. She said, almost before I could finish my mush-moment, "No Brittany, you're not lucky, you need to give yourself a little credit. You have what you have because you've worked on it. Friendships take work, and creating options for yourself on a professional level takes work. Luck is not the term you're looking for here."

With those words, my 20/20 hindsight perspective shifted. Things 'just ended up working out,' because I made them work out. Not controlling the situation, that never works. Trust me, I've tried. But in my mind, I just always made the best of the situation. If I wanted something, I could hear that I clearly wanted it in the first place (there was less over-analyzing back then) and I would go for it. If the outcome wasn't what I expected, I pulled my, "ok, so now what?" card and moved along.

Milton Berle was on to something. In one line he moves us to think proactively, rather than reactively. It's a muscle that we all need to develop, some more than others. But it's there. We all have it, and we can all create our own luck, opportunities, lives, you name it. Maybe it could just be as simple as a change in perspective.

Did you hear that? That was the collective sound of the entire self-help industry scratching their heads...

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

closetfeature

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 Shopping List: Silk Dresses, Swirly Margaritas, & Advice from Ovid

From sheer silk shirts to drawstring satchels, the gang's all here. Check out the latest shopping list of hand-picked fashion favorites, five to be exact, all line-up here to get you inspired...

the latest top 5 shopping list

1.

This dress reminds me of a salty-and-sweet frozen drink I've grown to know and love while living in the crazy city of Dallas, and that is, the 'swirl.' Technically, I have no clue what the name is, but after two years in the buying office and too many late night trips to down a couple of these to take the edge off, I'm just going to stick with 'swirl,' because it works. The ombre on this 'Alana' asymmetric dress hits the mix of sangria and margarita perfectly. I highly doubt Acne would have thought their work would be identified with a margarita, but inspiration does come in all forms. The dress itself is both striking and flattering with draping right where you want/need it. A great start to today's list if I may say so myself, and I may...

1 Acne 'Alana' Asymmetric Dress

2.

Me-ow. Love a leopard print ankle bootie, let alone anything Charlotte Olympia comes out with.

2 Charlotte Olympia Alice Shoe Boots

3.

Meet the perfect, 'floaty' blouse to wear over your skinny jeans or even elongated straight-legs with a little flare at the bottom (super-flattering and more approachable than it's skinny sibling in the denim family).

3 Mara Hoffman Printed Silk-Chiffon Blouse

4.

Drawstrings are all over the place, and this bag, although it claims in it's product title to be too hot to handle, is just the opposite. Handle it, handle away. It's one of the best representations of the cinched satchel trend that I've seen out there, walking the fine line between trendy and wearable oh so well. Translation: you'll be able to wear this for far more than one season.

4 Marc by Marc Jacobs Too Hot To Handle Drawstring Bag

5.

Wake up time! This jacket has me drooling. My Pavlovian response is not attractive, but I'm willing to forgoe saving face when it comes to this. I have no choice really, I'm in love and in full swoon-mode. Can you blame me? Ok, if you're the woman who goes for black every day all day, I have a dare. Get this jacket (or one just like it), work it into your next work-day look with a white tee and wide leg black trousers or skinny pants, and wear it in. People may possibly think you are having an identity crisis, but trust me, when they see you in it, they'll be begging to have a little 'crisis' of their own. Mix it up a bit and throw a little color into your life.

5 BCBGMAXAZRIA Noah Tailored Long-Sleeve Jacket

source: 1. Acne 'Alana' Asymmetric Dress (www.farfetch.com), 2. Charlotte Olympia Alice Shoe Boots (www.matchesfashion.com), 3. Mara Hoffman Printed Silk-Chiffon Blouse (www.theoutnet.com), 4. Marc by Marc Jacobs Too Hot To Handle Drawstring Bag (www.stylebop.com), 5. BCBGMAXAZRIA Noah Tailored Jacket (www.lordandtaylor.com)

Five fashion picks is just the warm up, trust. There's always more, as you know. To boil it down to our five best takes plenty of pain-staking editing. See what else we found that didn't make it onto today's list but happens to be lining the virtual shelves in the StyleShaker Closet here:

shop the styleshaker closet

Time for a little zen moment, yay! Sit back, relax, and soak it up...Or just detour and keep shopping, it's up to you:

quote copy

It's true right? When you're 'in it' it's difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain and suffering we go through is often avoided at all costs, but in the end, or at least I have found, there's really no other way to get back to living your life than going through, not around, these tough moments.

I read something else awhile back, I'll have to try and remember where it came from, for now I'll throw it out there. The analogy had to do with an obstacle of a large wall placed directly in your path when you least need it, when you're at your lowest and think you can go no further. You know that wall, in one form or another. It's a huge pain in the ass and can lead you into a discouraging downward spiral. We all have our 'walls.'

The analogy continued by praising that wall, because if that wall weren't there, we'd never know how high we could go or how bad we really want something (clarification: wanting something with genuine intentions is what I'm referring to).

Like I said, when you're in it, that wall looks impossible to scale. The thing is, you don't grow in spite of tough times, you grow because of them. The concept here is to use your pain in a way only you would know how.

That's when you find out what you're truly capable of. I say this to you as much as I say it to myself. I'm learning to put this into action every day, whether  in a small or big way.

When the going gets tough (cue: the eighties song from Billy Ocean, can you hear it in your head? I can, sorry about that) it helps to have some support. Friends, family, etc are the go-to's on that. But what  you wear can also be a catalyst. It's why I adore fashion. When you can clear your closet, make space for beautiful new things to come in, and roll out in a dress that makes you feel like a goddess, a blazer that has you walking an inch taller along with those new peep-toe pumps, you empower yourself with one more ace up your three quarter-length sleeve when it comes to life's challenges.

Go out and show 'em what you've got. See more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop.

So Now What? We Shop. Today's Top 5 Shopping List Line Up Has Arrived...

Good morning and welcome to the next round of the top five fashion picks that have been added to the never-ending (would it ever be any other way?) shopping list that is The StyleShaker.

Today's list ranges from a printed silk blouse via A.L.C. that I'm swooning over, to a clutch from a new name out there in Fashion Land I'm counting my  lucky style stars that I just discovered. Sit back, relax, and scroll away to start the shopping momentum...

today's shopping list

1.

There's a black pump and then there's a black pump. I know, that sentence makes very little impact when you can't hear the inflection in my voice, so I'll elaborate. This sophisticated Zanotti pump takes the go-to basic suede version and turns it on it's head, courtesy of a little metallic pop in the heel. Just because a black pump is a basic essential to any woman's closet doesn't mean it has to look basic right? Right. Classic, with a twist.

shop the GIUSEPPE ZANOTTI Black Suede Nan Pumps

Here's the look that inspired this pump pick.

Keep it simple. So often we go down the rabbit whole when it comes to putting a look together, and why wouldn't we with all of the shopping options out there that lead to massive style sensory overload? There's no need to stuff it all into one look, I don't care what 'they' say the trends are. Take a step back, and go with what works for you. If that happens to be a tank and skinny jean, perfect.

 

how to wear black pumps

 

2.

Artessorio is a newbie to the mix for our team, and we're happy to add the label to our roster. I stumbled upon this python-printed number while on the hunt for a clutch that had a little oomph to it, and lo and behold, I found this guy. Meet one of the top shopping discoveries this week.

shop the Artessorio Python-printed Construction Leather Clutch

3.

All right, let's just put it out there. I'm officially adding a printed blouse to the list of essentials that belong in every woman's closet. It's official (and yet I'm blatantly aware this semi-bold statement is nothing new or novel, just give me my moment). A.L.C. is a name I have grown to know and love, and for good reason. Why? The overall style aesthetic always, and I mean, always, resonates with me. It's just that simple. The below Marianne silk blouse is no exception.

shop the A.L.C. Marianne Silk Printed Blouse

Here's the look that inspired the blousy shopping list pick. It's casual, yet incredibly polished and pulled together thanks to Miss Conrad (we would expect no less). The best part about this blouse pick however, is the fact that this is just one of countless looks you could pull off with this one printed top. Versatility is a golden quality for anything hanging in your closet to have.

how to wear a print blouse

4.

I'm happy to admit I now have a full-on, designer-crush/soft-spot for Mademoiselle Felee. I first met the designer in this post after having fallen in love (pun intended, you'll get what I mean when you see the ring I featured) with her work. I'm actually writing to you now with that ring on my finger and I'm happy to report the image I saw on-line is exactly what I  got, if not better than expected!

Mademoiselle Felee's designs range from demure to bold, so of course, I had to give the latter end of that style spectrum a cameo in the way of this amazing statement piece, the etoile gold collar necklace. It's a work of art and now has it's rightful spot on today's shopping list.

shop the Mademoiselle Felee Etoile Collar Gold

5.

Ah yes, three little letters that hold such power: D, V, and F. Diane von Furstenberg needs no introduction, let alone someone to elaborate on her extensive and fabulously timeless body work, so I'll just get to it with the next shopping list pick, the 'Missy,' dress. Less is more anyway as this dress speaks for itself.

Meet the perfect dress to have in your bag when you vacate the chilly temps for something a bit more beachy this winter. Add this one to the resort packing list.

shop the Diane Von Furstenberg 'Missy' Dress

And finally, the look that inspired the shopping list pick. The bold, lemony-lime neon yellow is super crisp and perfect for a little infusion of citrus color into any woman's wardrobe. It's the kind of editorial image I could stare at for hours and never gets old...

how to wear a yellow dress

sources: 1. Giuseppe Zanotti Nan Pumps (www.ssense.com), 2. Artessorio Python-printed Clutch (www.boticca.com), 3. A.L.C. Marianne Silk Printed Blouse (www.mytheresa.com), 4. Mademoiselle Felee Etoile Collar Gold (www.boticca.com), 5. Diane Von Furstenberg 'Missy' Dress (www.farfetch.com) | Looks: look 1 (www.thedenimguy.com), look 2 (www.peoplestylewatch.com), look 3 (www.fashiongonerogue.com

And there you have it, the top picks for today's shopping list. See more lining the shelves of the StyleShaker Closet here, because our Top 5 is not meant to be the final fashion word, it's just the jumping off point. Keep the shopping momentum going strong:

shop the styleshaker closet

Time for a quick quote, or really this time around, the little three-word reminder I always go to when things get tough:

quotes

I'll keep this short and sweet, just like the quote. Have you ever found yourself at the end of your rope, things just didn't go your way, and you're exactly where you really didn't want to be? Maybe this is a repeat of what just happened, making it even more challenging to swallow?

Yea, been there. We all have and I am making a generalized assumption that we all have also attempted to find ways to dig out and deal with it. Some better than others.

This is how I suck it up, for lack of a better phrase. These three words are the words I turn to when there's not much else to get me moving my right foot in front of my left. These three words shift my focus from looking at the 'blech' situation I'm in  for far too long, to looking at what I'm going to do to get out of it, and usually that involves lots of little baby steps. But the point is, this phrase gets me moving and sometimes, just those small steps are all we need to hang our hat on. Those are enough for now.

Examples of said 'blech' situation would be:

1. You just broke up with someone you thought you'd end up with. Ok, so now what?

2. You just left the job you spent the last ten years of your life stressing over. Ok, so now what?

3. You didn't get to everything on your laundry list of items for the day. Ok, so now what?

4. 'It' isn't what you thought it would be. Ok, so now what?

The oversimplification that comes with this expression is not a result of lack of compassion. Far from it in fact. In a way, it brings you directly back to yourself, back down to earth.

The, 'so now what?' moments in life are there to show you that life does go on, this too shall pass, and oh yea, hmm, this could get really good. Maybe even better than you possibly could have imagined had that 'blech' situation not brought you right here, right now.

Funny how that goes...

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

It's Time to Get Dressed | Meet the Top 5 Dresses on the Shopping List this Monday

The week begins and the dresses come out. Here comes the Shopping List:

The best thing about wearing a dress is how simple it makes things as far as getting ready to face the day in the morning. You don't need to layer, although it's an option. As far as shoes go, there's a bit more freedom when you're not working to fit under an ankle or wide-leg pant hem, and the best part, by swapping out just a few key accessories you can transition a a dress seamlessly from day to evening. A great dress is an essential in any closet so now may be a good time to find one.

Cue: today's shopping list focus on all things dresses...

1.

Catherine Malandrino has a way with knits, this we know. Every woman could benefit from having a little red dress in their closet. So often, the black version of this fashion classic (a.k.a. the LBD) gets all the attention, and sure, you're going to get more wear out of anything in black than you would in maraschino cherry red, but, that doesn't lessen the significance of having something in a bold red hue hanging in your closet.

Put this puppy on and any problem you had that day somehow magically fades into the background making it the perfect excuse to play with what you've got, and on that note, play up what you've got. There's nothing wrong with taking back custody of your inner-ten year old and playing dress-up for a quick minute. The adult version of the game is even better. Swap out the sippy cup and eight o'clock bedtime for cocktails and who knows what else.

This is the kind of dress that will always have stories (from scandalous to hilarious) attached to it, and hopefully, the best have yet to come...

2.

3.

I adore this dress and all of it's striped-tweediness (technical term that I just created in my own head). It's the perfect pick to pack when you're heading out on vacay or any bridal event leading up to a wedding ceremony (that's when you switch out the white for something else; I'm not one to steal the bride's thunder on her day as if that would even be possible, but you get the picture). It's a classic cut that can work well back to a neutral layered cardigan or pashmina, easy.  Let the metallic details on the dress do all the talking and keep accessories simple, less can be so much more, promise.

4.

This is the kind of dress you see on a woman walking down the street and think, "wow, she's ridiculously put together." Don't fall into the trap of overestimating others, and especially not at the expense of underestimating yourself in comparison, it's a wast of time and energy that could be better spent shopping or running the world. And what do you know anyway? This stylish woman could be a hot mess under those cat-eye sunnies and Chloe satchel.

That is what makes this dress from DSquared2 a secret style weapon. Sometimes, when you can't muster up the strength to pull yourself together, having that undeniably chic go-to dress in your closet will help you put one foot in front of the next. Eventually, you'll be power walking your way through the board rooms or PTA meetings, you superwoman you. That's what I love about great fashion, it can change your mood and change the way you go about your day.

5.

Had to add this little number from Torn by Ronny Kobo just for the print, let alone the fact that it's a dress with long sleeves, something to covet when you're just not wanting to have a sleeveless moment. This is simple, keep the print as the main focus (that will not be a difficult fashion task to manage) and pair it back to black opaque tights and pumps, or a bare leg and knee high boot (with a heel for the more petite ladies, one must elongate when she can right? right). Throw in a statement necklace if you want to really play this one up, but only if you can wear it and not have it wear you. Done and done.

source: 1. Catherine Malandrino Pointelle-Knit Dress (www.theoutnet.com), 2. J.W.Anderson Pleated Leather Wool-Crepe And Neoprene Dress (www.theoutnet.com), 3. By Malene Birger Callinga Embellished Striped Tweed Dress (www.net-a-porter.com), 4. DSQUARED2 Short Dress (www.thecorner.com), 5. Torn By Ronny Kobo Exclusive Baroque Pointelle Knit Dress (www.intermixonline.com)

Sure, five fabulous dresses are great, but that's just wetting the shopping appetite. See and shop more dresses lining the shelves of our 'happy place,' the virtual StyleShaker closet here:

And now for a little StyleShaker tradition, our little zen moment that starts with a quote:

There's something to be said about dropping your plans and just going with your gut.

Having a plan is all well and good, there's some security to be had in that (mind you, in my case I'm blatantly aware that said 'security' is almost entirely false since I have no clue what will happen tomorrow let alone in the next year), but plans, like rules, are meant to be broken.

I've been known to hold onto a plan with a vice grip, willing my focus with every last ounce of energy I have in me to stay firmly on what the original plan or expectation was, you know, the piece of the puzzle that would never come together (square peg, round hole) no matter how hard I tried. When things weren't lining up for me in the way I wanted, the thought of slowing down to listen and gain a sense of awareness on what was happening fell by the wayside of that steely vice grip I had on the outcome. I would make 'it' happen whatever 'it' is, come hell or high water.

Then of course, I inevitably crashed due to exhaustion and an overwhelming sense that my plan was just not working. I stopped thinking, not intentionally, but because I just couldn't anymore. My brain had officially gone on hiatus and there was nothing I could do about it. So, I slowed down, watched movies, walked around the lake, and wrote. Oh, and wrote, and wrote, and wrote...

And then about thirty days in, with my focus having shifted away from what wasn't working to what was working, I went to bed on a Sunday night and realized that I was going to quit my job that coming Thursday. It was so clear that it actually was a little disturbing to me. Definitely one of my, "oh sh$t," moments, or so I like to call them.

This decision, the one I made based on the grey and not the black and white (a brand new feeling for me), ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. Whoa, I know, a bit dramatic, but that's just how I roll and plus, it's true.

What puts this decision in the 'best' category is that it was the clearest act of trusting and believing in myself that I had made in a very, long, time.

I'm not going to tell you it's all rainbows and unicorns. I won't glamorize the whole, 'living my dream,' thing, you've got plenty of upcoming motion pictures that will do that for you. I'm eating, not really praying, and learning to love a bit more, but I'm not writing a book about my world travels and spiritual journey.

Nope. I'm just getting up every day and writing to you with a cup of coffee beside me. From here I get up and head into the rest of my day working out (compassionately mind you; force is not the name of the game even though it's my natural inclination) those muscles that have atrophied a bit. The muscles that open me up to learning, letting go, loving, and living.

The restrictive blinders that gave me that mind-numbing, emotionally-draining, single-goal tunnel vision are officially off.  I don't want to miss anything around me right now.

I should also report that the vice grip was a casualty of this recent change in perspective. May it rest in peace.

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

It's Shopping List Time, See the Latest Top 5 Picks from Pumps to Dresses with Pockets

It's Tuesday and it's time to check out the latest picks added to the shopping hit list. It starts, with a montage...

1.

2.

You have got to love a dress with pockets. This one comes to you courtesy of one of my favorites, Pixie Market. I'm in love with all of it, starting with the print and moving to the pockets of course. Great piece to wear with boots, sandals, flats and the list goes on...

3.

4.

Meet EON, the fashion brainchild of Lisa Cameron and Caroline Farina, and also a new discovery this week that I'm crazy about.  The design duo goes 'small,' numbering each item and championing quality over quality. It's a concept (as a former retailer for one of the big guys) I happen to believe very strongly in and you can see it translate directly into their work, i.e. the black leather neck warmer.

I have never really seen anything else like it. I love how, with the addition of this one layer, you can take a basic top and make it something completely your own. It's a unique piece you can play with back to almost anything you've got in your closet, plus the look it creates is ridiculously sophisticated, bonus round. I may have to start my very own EON fan club if this gushing continues, I'll need an outlet because right now, you need to keep shopping and I need to get out of the way.

5.

Veda is another find this week and the line is all about my personal fashion obsession, leather jackets. I'm not talking you're everyday bomber or biker jacket here. Each creation designed by the name behind the label, Lyndsey Butler, is perfection, completely raising the bar on what a leather jacket can be. Below is the Garde jacket that is about to sell out (not surprised), but you can find more at their on-line shop here.

source: 1. Sonia Rykiel Medium Leather Bag (www.yoox.com), 2. Pixie Market Leather Pocket Dress (www.pixiemarket.com), 3. Jean-Michel Cazabat Metal Toe Stiletto Pump (www.intermixonline.com), 4. EON Black Leather Neck Warmer (www.notjustalabel.com), 5. Veda Garde Jacket (www.ofakind.com)

Top five is one thing. See more picks that have been hand-picked and added to the virtual shelves in the StyleShaker closet here:

Today's quote is a little bit different. It's two words, it's from me, and it basically gets right to the point of things, something I'm a fan of whether I take that route on a personal level all the time or not. Here it is:

I love to be introspective. My natural and instinctive tendencies are to write, question, be curious, and have long conversations over wine sitting around a fire pit that lead to a string of epiphanies. But sometimes, all of that gushy stuff can get one absolutely no where. Sometimes I just want to quiet the chatter and just do, go, be...

Everyone has that thing they talk about 'wanting' to do. Sometimes we get really crafty and find other things we 'should' do that are the perfect distractions taking us further away from what it is we really want. Soon enough, we forget what we wanted in the first place, or worse, we remember it, but still don't act.

I'm a firm believer that, if you want it, you'll do it. Yes, I'm admittedly oversimplifying life to an almost remedial level, but you should have already expected that when you saw my two-word quote. I'm on a simplicity kick.

There's some line I've heard that sounds similar to, 'if you want it bad enough, it will happen.' In my mind, if you want it, you'd act on it. If you're not acting on it, take a second look at what excuses are getting in your way. Actions always speak louder than words and what you act upon will tell you very quickly what your priorities are.

Every now and then I like to take a step back and get some of this perspective in my own vida. I can talk a good game, but I also know, at the end of the day, it's what I do that matters.

So, you've taken in your deep-thoughts for the day, now it's on to play and get some more inspiration.

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

The Shopping List from McQueen Bow-Back Booties to the Importance of Dreams. It Makes Sense, Promise.

Today's edited-down shopping list of hand-picked fashion favorites begins with a little 'look-spiration' courtesy of the all-colorful, all-inspiring product montage:

1.

These ankle boots are ridiculous, in a good way. The look is streamlined with a little leather wrapping at the top of the ankle that works well over a legging. I'd hate for these little details, bow included, to get lost in the shuffle under an elongated, straight-leg trouser or flared jean. Keep it clean with a skinny leg, that's the tip on these McQueen boots:

Here's one take on how to wear it, courtesy of SJP and her colored-skinny jeans that I'm flipping for:

source: www.peoplestylewatch.com

2.

3.

There's nothing like a slouchy shoulder bag that can expand in every way possible to accommodate the kitchen-sink-sized load that lives in your everyday bag. All of that accommodating in one accessory AND it's covered in a super-chic woven fabric with zipper embellishments? That is be-yond. That is Alexander Wang's 'Jane.'

4.

I'm in love with this dress, from the unexpected neckline to the body-conscious shape that accents all the right points on an hour-glass silhouette. It's a powerful L.B.D. where a classic bottom-half marries well with the not-s0-classic top half. Like I said, completely in love with this Darwin dress.

5.

Here's one of my favorite tricks that I've been pulling out lately in styling sessions. I take a basic, clean white tee, throw it back to a classic jean (skinny or not), black skinny pant, a wide-leg black trouser (the options are limitless so I'll stop at three so as not to totally go overboard here), etc and layer on one fabulous statement jewelry piece, in this case, the below Reine de la Nuit necklace from Juliet & Company. It's just, so, simple. Why waste all that time standing in front of your closet every morning trying to reinvent the wheel? Why not just go for what works? Cue my favorite yogi expression: 'try easy.'

source: 1. Alexander McQueen Bow-back Ankle Boot (www.thoutnet.com), 2. Thakoon Addition Striped Sweater (www.net-a-porter.com), 3. Alexander Wang Jane Shoulder Bag (www.net-a-porter.com), 4. Ralph Lauren Collection Darwin Dress (www.thoutnet.com), 5. Juliet & company Reine de la Nuit Necklace (www.shopbop.com)

Shop more picks that didn't make this list but still deserve their rightful cameo in the StyleShaker Closet:

Time for deep thoughts, by moi. Ok, so maybe they're not so deep, but when I stumble across a quote that resonates, I have to share it. It's an impulse, habit, mild-addiction, that just happened to have found it's way into fashion-centric posts. See? Fashion can be deep...ish. Here it is:

I'm a dreamer, we all were at one point or another as kiddos. As we 'grow up,' very little weight is placed on dreams.  Priorities shift to bigger, more 'important' things in life like rent, your inbox, or your 'busy' schedule. Dreams get swept under the rug, covered up and hidden to the point where we don't even remember that we had them in the first place.

What we do remember, every day it seems, is that something is missing. I can't even begin to tell you how many close friends, colleagues, family members, and clients have said this to me in one form or another. I happen to think that 'something' is us. And a big part of who we are comes from our dreams, you know the really outlandish ones that we xanax-popping, Starbucks-wired grown-ups shake our busy (very busy) heads at and see very little value in because, well, they don't usually correlate to money in the bank.

That one dream, the one that makes you the most uncomfortable because you haven't listened to it in forever, the one that leaves you thinking, "omg, something is wrong with me, that is the most insanely grandiose dream," or, "there's no way that's happening, oh look at the phone I just got an email, oh look there's a squirrel, oh wait, where am I again?," or, "there's no way I could have that," THAT is the one you go after with everything you've got.

I happen to believe that one dream, or two dreams, (or two hundred if you're Richard Branson) are why you're here. Those impossible dreams are what can change someone's world. I've gone all Don Quixote with this, but you know what I mean. Dream big, even if it's just 5 minutes, and like me, you're dreaming of sitting front row at the Burberry Prorsum Fall runway show wearing, what else, Burberry Prorsum. I have a few others up my three-quarter length sleeve, the 'biggies,' but I only have so much room and attention span to write this.

So with that, I encourage you to go find yours, your 'biggie' dreams. And when you're ready, share them. Don't leave them swept under a rug for the rest of your time spent hanging out on this crazy planet.

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

Today's Shopping List: It Starts with a Parka from Elizabeth & James, and Ends with a Quote on Sailing

Today's Shopping List goes all over the place as far as fashion categories are concerned. From a Michael Kors mary-jane pump, to a Marc by Marc Jacobs electric blue hobo, it's all here and narrowed down to five favorites, served up for you Monday, fashion-viewing pleasure.

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Let the shopping begin with an olive-green, military-esque parka from Elizabeth & James that I can't get enough of...

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Love this, love a pump-turned-mary-jane that will actually stay on your foot for the entire day and not slide off unexpectedly mid-power walk (ah yes, the power walk, good for making an entrance and the main reason I have a standing delivery at my local cobbler to replace heel caps).

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This little hobo from Marc by Marc Jacobs will do all the talking for you. Pair it back with some basics, black or neutral, to allow the bag to not get lost in the mix. Less is more...

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This is a dress to get out of the cold in. Love the color, love the hi/lo-ness of it all, and how could you walk away from a good ruffle moment right?

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The leather envelope bag is a welcome nod to a more vintage silhouette, and yet, the addition of a little fur embellishment on the strap brings it up to modern speed quickly. I love the bag, but more so, I love the idea of taking a classic and making it new/different with one little addition. It's definitely a possibly fashion DIY scenario, or you could just go the easier route and get your hands Lim's 'Lynus.'

source: 1. Textile Elizabeth And James Kelsey Parka (www.piperlime.gap.com), 2. KORS Michael Kors Galli Suede Mary Jane Pump (www.neimanmarcus.com), 3. Marc By Marc Jacobs Preppy Nylon & Leather Hobo Bag (www.saksfifthavenue.com), 4. Jay Godfrey Exclusive Strapless Ruffle Hi/Lo Dress (www.intermixonline.com), 5. 3.1 Phillip Lim Lynus Leather Envelope Bag (www.blueandcream.com

There's always more coming in, every day, every minute...The shopping is never-ending, and thank god for that. But the new arrivals can inundate and overwhelm, so, I simplify and start with just a few picks to get the ball rolling. See and shop the other hand-picked fashion favorites that can always be found in the StyleShaker virtual closet updated every week:

Time for a quote of course, it is detox-Monday after all, post-turkey feast, or as the retailers call it, Cyber Monday (which to this day, does nothing for me, but I'm warped having spent the last ten years in e-commerce and fashion; very few major promotions catch my eye, especially when they're made up out of thin air).

When you're moving in the 'right' direction in your life, people say it just feels that way, you feel a 'flow,' and in your gut, if you're in tune with your instincts, you know that putting your left foot in front of your right, facing in that particular direction, is exactly where you need to be.

I can't say that my own personal experience with finding said 'flow' feels the same. I know I have taken steps, risky steps, that were right for me, and yes, 50% of me knows that where I'm at this very moment is where I need to be, but I can safely say that the remaining 50% of me has no clue what I'm doing. I've recently concluded that, personally, this is a healthy response, a sign that I've let go (translation: released my ninja-vice grip, juuuust a little) of trying to determine a black & white answer for those bigger, far more 'grey' questions I'm still learning how to ask.

The seas are choppy now, but it's those white-caps that keep me from lulling off into a haze, they keep me present, and blatantly aware of the fact that I have no control over which way the tides will flow. It's annoying and yet, ridiculously liberating.

You don't go through being a child of the eighties and look back at pictures without cringing, it's inevitable. But without those moments, forever captured on polaroid film, I would have never learned that spandex is a completely unacceptable option in any ensemble (amongst other, far more cerebral things, riiiight). We don't learn unless we hit the rough waters and navigate through, not around, them (style examples being: crimping, hammer pants, those little t-shirt thing-ys that gathered your shirts on one corner at the waist, slap bracelets, puffy paint tees, the side-pony with scrunchie, and the list goes on...).

So, come on in, the water is fine, a bit choppy, but in the end, there may be more in it for you than riding along smooth seas.

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

Happy Thanksgiving | The Latest Shopping List Turns Into a Gratitude List

It's Thanksgiving, a time to eat endlessly and sit around the table with the people you call 'family,' the ones you love, sometimes the ones that drive you crazy, but at the end of the day, these are the people who remind you of who you are, they're all your North Star in one way or another.

And for those of us who can't get back home this year or are unable to be in the same room at the same table, I hope you can take some solace in the fact that your family (biological or not) is with you wherever you may be, guiding you along that path, just look up at the sky tonight and you'll see them.

Before I get on a roll with shelling out style picks that cover what I want, it's time to take a cue from Thanksgiving and write a bit about what I'm grateful for. This is probably a process I should keep up with because you can't really have one without the other. For now, here it is, what I'm grateful for today:

And now, it's on to the shopping list, this time, covering five picks that range from silk tops and neon dresses that simply deserved their rightful cameo. Cue the montage:

Equipment has taken the silk blouse above and beyond lately. tapping into something on a classic silhouette that no one has seen, or possibly pulled off in the right way, since it's inception back in the day. I'm a huge fan of this reinvention, and the line itself. Especially the prints that have been surfacing each season, case in point, the python-print 'Brett' blouse that made #1 today:

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This Inner Circle dress is the perfect illustration of how to play dress-up and have fun with what's hanging in your closet, keyword being 'play.' I am definitely guilty of not having worked the 'play time' muscle, it atrophied for a bit there, but now that I'm gaining some strength back, I'm gravitating towards stepping foot outside of a stylish comfort zone. To throw in something neon yellow is completely out of character for me, but the dress reminds me of a street style look I fell in love with and have yet  to be able to shake obviously. So, it's a keeper.

Here's the look I was referring to, color, color, everywhere...

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I know, it's rare to see a list on the StyleShaker and not have something from Helmut Lang, I need to diversify, I get it, but how is that going to be possible when this ruched jersey dress is out there? Ruching is a beautiful thing, the perfect 'camo' for all the areas we have a hard time accepting on our body. Instead of covering it up with extra fabric (which, p.s., makes you look bigger than you are), or going insane with layers of Spanx (a. ow, b. how do you sit let alone get in and out of the ladies room in under thirty minutes with those on?, c. false advertising as my friend Steve would put it), the ruching just covers what you want it to, while still allowing you to show off your assets, your curves, you know what I mean. Be grateful for them for once ok? It's Thanksgiving, so add that to the gratitude list and move along...

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source: 1. Equipment Exclusive Brett Python Print Chiffon Blouse (www.intermixonline.com), 2. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Boeing Taffeta Top (www.matchesfashion.com),  3. Inner Circle Neon Yellow Dress (www.nastygal.com), 4. Mason Exclusive Leather Multi Strap Silk Tank (www.intermixonline.com),  5. Helmut Lang Ruched Jersey Dress (www.net-a-porter.com

Today's list is boiled down to five picks, and to assume that all shopping cravings will be covered and put to bed with that is nonsense, this I know. The point is to use this list as a means to simplify shopping, get inspired, and warm things up a bit. Next, it's on to shop more hand-picked favorites that cover all fashion categories from boots to trenches and dresses to tops, rotated weekly on and off the shelves of the StyleShaker closet:

And although I covered a lengthy nod to the holiday that is today, I can't go on without my Zen moment, my quote:

This one reminds me of the line my father has always told me, "it never hurts to ask." It's so true. Even the asking part used to scare the crap out of me, but when I realized what is possible by just making that one simple move, I became addicted, much to the dismay and frustration of several people that provide my utility services (you should have heard me on the phone with the cable company last week, my father would be so proud).

Of course, I'm referencing this quote to be taken beyond the mundane context of paying one's bills, but baby steps are just as significant at the 'biggies,' life is made up of them after all.

The catch 22 in my mind here is this: Trying involves believing in one's self, but you can't believe in yourself unless you try, so it's back to a 'smile like you mean it,' situation. So, give it a go.

See more on what to wear lined up in Shopping Lists, how to wear them, and where to shop.

10 More Picks to Consider for your Shopping List, from Minkoff to a Sass & Bide Sequined Number that Needs to be Seen

Today's top 10 Shopping List covers everything from blue-washed leather hobo, to a faux fur-framed collar on a coat I'm going ga-ga for.

Follow it up with a pair of sequined leggings that are fun to look at, let alone wear out, and you're all set. But first, it's montage time people, you know the drill:

There's something to be said about venturing outside the realm of your basic black, brown (or white for summer) everyday handbag, but what do you go for right? A metallic? Maybe. Something with an exotic print? Always a good option, or, you could try something on in a brighter color to pull things out of 'basic' and into 'original,' as far as style goes. Meet the blue bag, or more specifically, the 'Oliver' hobo, from Rebecca Minkoff (a favorite name of mine in the category, and I'm not alone, i.e. the Minkette), that says it all for me (which is kind of depressing since I have a tendency to be a 'talker'):

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Here's the thing, fashion-forward pieces, an example being anything that falls onto the latest list of what fashion directors out there are calling a 'trend,' can be easily found out there. The buyers make sure that is the case each season.

It's the basics, the true-blue pieces that belong in your core closet, that are tough to get a hold of, but once you do, you must buy them, and sometimes in multiples. The core is where to invest, and on a sidenote, this is also where I spend the bulk of my time during styling consults.

You can't go for any black boot, basic crewneck tee, or trench coat, you have to try on and see what fits your body to a 't.' These pieces are the foundation of everything, and yes, I'm going on and on here, but I can't stress enough how significant having a core fashion lineup is. Not to mention, it makes life so ridiculously easy. Once you have your basics, what you know you look good in, you can throw in a trend-right accessory, a great statement necklace, or a pop-color pump and be completely pulled together.

All of that style-preaching aside (amen), I present to you a great classic knee-high boot that can be worn under pants/denim or stand alone under a dress, skirt, over leggings, etc. The list is endless, similar to the styling options, so have at it.

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I am a pants girl. It's not because I'm trying to cover up my legs as a problem area, I happen to really like them. I know, take a minute, you just witnessed a woman speaking highly of some part of her body which is a rare thing in today's world.  I'm definitely not gloating on this one, I just know where my strengths and weaknesses are, we all have them, and can all play to the best parts, our assets if you will. It never hurts to focus on the positive.

Pant-rut aside, a skirt will find it's way into my wardrobe, usually of the pencil form, every now and then. This almost-mini skirt, with the quilting going on, caught my eye. I'm seeing it over a pair of black opaque tights with an ankle boot (more daytime) or classic pump for evening. You could get a ton of use out of this one skirt, and instead of just being basic black, the details make it, and life, more interesting.

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A white, button-front blouse is an essential in any closet, and, unless you've been living under a large rock for the past fifty years, you will know this. I'm not telling you anything new or divulging any style secrets here. Should you, like myself, want something a bit less commercial without going too far into the 'trendy' deep end, something like the below Hayden blouse is a perfect option. The shoulder details give this polished classic a bit of edge without going too far. It's such a simple touch that shows a little can go a long way here.

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I mean, hello, how could I not get these leggings into a round of top 10 picks on the Shopping List right? A. they're sequined, B. they're sequined. This is a pick that was added because it shows how fashion is meant to not be taken too seriously. You can wear these leggings with a basic tunic on top, or what have you, and still work it. They are meant for play, to lighten up a bit, to work it out a bit, and just to have fun in. I can see my guy friends looking at this and thinking they're absolutely ridiculous, but you don't buy a pair of leggings like this because you want to follow the rules and please others' ideas of what is right and wrong when it comes to your personal style, it wouldn't be very personal if that were the case.

Wear them for you. If you feel good in them, and can balance out all the shine with some neutrals, go for it. If you can wear them and not have them wear you, go for it. Just do it when the moon is up and not the sun, that's my only caveat.

Outside of that, play a little. Fashion isn't meant to be taken too seriously. Taxes, bills, grades, income, food on the table, health, etc. Those are things you can get serious with. Fashion is where you get to take a little break, whether it's through a pair of outrageous leggings, a bright red lip, shoes you can't stop staring at your feet in, or a necklace that makes you smile. Right now, it's break time, the serious stuff with be there when you get back. Trust.

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I don't usually throw down a pair of 'Loubie's' unless I really love them (mainly because only the tiniest portion of the population would deem them 'affordable' and I think everyone should have access to amazing shoes), but these Vampanados, I love. I mean, I adore them. The silhouette, the ankle-strap, the bow details, the Audrey Hepburn of it all, is so spot on it's hard to say no. And by 'hard' I mean 'impossible.' This is where you can invest, and if you think I'm completely warped, I don't blame you. You don't need to throw down this much on these sandals, but you should find something that you love and spend just a bit more on them to get the perfect pair. I guarantee, you will wear them to death (tip: heel caps can be replaced for under $20 at any cobbler). For now, just take it all in and try not to drool too much.

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sources: 1-Rebecca Minkoff Oliver Hobo (www.saksfifthavenue.com), 2-Vince Camuto Fur Collar Coat (www.vincecamuto.com), 3-Aldo Wiegel Boot (www.aldoshoes.com), 4-Collette By Collette Dinnigan Ramie Dress (www.theoutnet.com), 5-Vanessa Bruno Ath Quilted-Jersey Skirt (www.theoutnet.com), 6-Giles & Brother Encrusted Cortina Cuff (www.shopbop.com), 7-213 Industry Hayden Blouse (www.piperlime.gap.com), 8-Sass & Bide One By One Sequined Leggings (www.net-a-porter.com), 9-Harlow Color-Blocked Envelope Clutch (www.bcbg.com), 10-Christian Louboutin Vampanodo 100 Sandals (www.net-a-porter.com)

The shopping list never ends, literally. Each week, we scour the our favorite spots on the web to hand-pick our best of the best that find their way either onto the Top 10 list, or, The StyleShaker Closet. See the rest of the line-up that may not have made it into today's hit list below:

Today's zen moment is brought to you by none other than Glenda, you know, the good witch? I know, it's random, but what good is life without something random and spontaneous mixed in?

A year ago I was in a situation I didn't want to be in, and I did everything in  my power to find someone, something, or some other company to help me find my way out. I was living a life based on 'job security,' and moving in a direction that I was told I 'should,' be moving in. I was living someone else's life and expecting someone else to pull me out of it. I interviewed with a dozen companies, half offered me a job, the other half didn't. I rejected every offer.

I was shown a ridiculous amount of generosity from good people who were just trying to get me to make a move, and yet I turned down every request.

Every timed I turned something down, I did it because I knew it wasn't right for me. It took awhile to finally realize that it wasn't going to happen via someone else stepping in. This time, it had to be me acting and not reacting. I had to save myself, and I had it in me all along to do so. It's funny because I look back and see how everything I was searching for externally, could only be found internally.

Trying to push a round peg into a square hole can be exhausting, it's like trying to squeeze your size nine foot into a size eight at a sample sale. You may shove it in there, but the fit will never be right. It's only going to take more energy to walk in those new, pain-inducing, blister-manufacturing, toe-crunching shoes. It doesn't have to be so hard, just go for what fits you. Pick the size 9, and if it's not there, try another color you may never had thought would work, but secretly wished you could pull off.

Glenda was right, I had the power all along, and so do you.

Find what fits, try a few things on, and I promise I'll do the same.

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

Hello Cap Toe, Double-Chain Elephant Necklace, and Violet Furla Satchel, Glad to Have You on Today's Shopping List

The hits, just, keep, coming. And I love it. I can't get enough actually, which is why you're getting yet another installment of the Top 10 picks to add, immediately (these puppies sell out) to your shopping list. Cue, the montage:

It all starts off strong with a Reiss pump that you'll either love or wince at. I get it, the color is going to grab you whether you like it or not though, so be warned. Proceed with caution if you must, or in my case, with wild-wide-eyed, shopping abandonment. I'll take a picture of that one day so you get the full picture, or actually, probably not a good idea. I don't want to scare anyone, so just come up with your own visuals for now. Speaking of visuals, it's time to serve up the eye-candy and scroll away...

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Like I said, there's some major color happening here, let alone a cap-toe moment that's gone all 'disco' on me, and I'm perfectly ok with that. These are what you would call an emotional, impulse buy. It's all about pure, fashion playtime with these pumps so loosen up a bit and enjoy it.

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I have been a loyal 'Lovestory' wearer for years now (much to the dismay of my ridiculously fashion savvy friend Sam; she's been trying to get me into new denim for, oh I don't know, a year or two now), and I'll always have a soft spot for J. Brand in my heart, but Mih jeans are moving up fast and may soon trump my go-to denim. The Marrakesh, seen below in a perfect neutral that will go with anything, are a great cut. I can't say much more than that, because it's really just that simple. The cut elongates the leg like nothing I've seen lately, and the quality is on-point. It's a no-brainer.

Disregard the missing 'r' in the bubble please, or wait no, I planned that. It's me having a clever copy moment. Are you buying that? Yea, I didn't think so. Moving along...

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If you're going to do a colored bag, and the color is going to be purple, my suggestion to you is to keep it a bit muted. Let's not go all 'Barney,' with our accessories, yes? Right. This eggplant purple satchel from Furla is a great and classic silhouette that can be thrown into a neutral look and will liven things up a bit. Keep the foundation of the look simple so the bag gets it's rightful ensemble cameo. Or go crazy and add it in with a printed, wrap dress and pumps. Either way, it works.

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You should really just buy these, unless you have a strong aversion to leopard print, or like me, have a tendency to fall over when flats are slipped onto your feet. Seriously, I'm a little jealous of women who can pull off a flat and walk without looking at all ridiculous. I think I've just trained my foot for heels, unless I'm on a beach and have my flip flops. Closed toe flats, although gorgeous, make me look like a puppy that the owner dresses up like a person with shoes (poor doggies, see what I mean here) and proceeds to walk like Bambi, in circles. Take that, multiply it, and you have yours truly.

My fashion hang-ups aside. I love these leopard print flats for the price and the piping detail in the contrasting coral. They're the perfect shoe to have on hand if you're feet need a break from those heels. I'll grab my flip flops thanks, don't judge.

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Job Hazard: I'm a stylist (amongst other things), so I'm constantly pulling together lookbooks and shopping lists for my clients that I consult with. As one would imagine, every now and then, some of the ideas and picks I come up with for my clients tend to rub off on me and my wardrobe. And by, 'now and then,' I mean all the time. One of the latest styling call outs was a pop-color clutch that was desperately needed for an upcoming event involving a classic L.B.D. (little black dress for those not big on acronyms, and if that's the case, then I have no clue how you're deciphering social media but I wish you the best of luck, btw).

Black is a go-to non-color, color pick (I know, it made little sense to me too, but I write how I speak, so it all makes sense in the end, hopefully) for anything evening. I love a good black tank/skinny jean moment as much as the next girl, but that really isn't living up to one's style potential, that's just called playing it safe, or playing it, "I'm way too busy to think about this stuff so I'm just going to grab what I always grab and deal." Scenario number two is why I'm here on the StyleShaker, and what I have built my business off of. So yes, I get both.

Here is one clutch that can quickly solve the problem, in all of it's saturated, cobalt blue glory...

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via: 1. Reiss Olympia Encrusted Toe Cap Pump (www.reiss.com), 2. Mih Jeans Marrakesh Jean (www.farfetch.com), 3. J. Crew Elephant Resin-Link Necklace (www.jcrew.com), 4. Furla Amazzone Leather Satchel (www.lordandtaylor.com), 5. W118 By Walter Baker Gabriel Chiffon Shirt (www.theoutnet.com), 6. Gap Leopard Calf Hair Ballet Flats (www.gap.com), 7. Tom Binns Pinata Drop Earring (www.kirnazabete.com), 8. Thakoon Gathered Striped Brushed-Knit Dress (www.net-a-porter.com), 9. Azzaro Blue Clutch (www.modewalk.com), 10. June Biker Jacket (www.farfetch.com

There's always more than 10 picks when it comes to a fully realized, always changing shopping list, especially a virtual one. See more hand-picked favorites in all fashion categories that may not have made it onto today's list, but are fabulous finds nonetheless. Shop the StyleShaker Closet:

And now, time to take a minute and breathe with a little quote to inspire:

Bah-nanas (I'm doing my impression, Rachel Zoe voice, but you can't hear it). She's absolutely speaking the truth on this one, no pun intended. Whether we like it or not, we are visual people, we take so many things at face value, and pre-judge the book based on the cover. I do it, you do it, we all do it.

So, knowing that, for all the flack and backlash fashion/shopping can get, there's a very strong truth in one's outward appearance being an effective way to tell the world a bit about who you are. Combine that with how the right jacket, dress, pump, etc. can change the way a woman walks into the room, and there's pretty powerful stuff here. Non-verbal communication is no joke.

Why not use it to your advantage? Start small, start with this list, get some inspiration on what people are wearing, try a few things on, and in the end, go for something that makes you feel good about you.

When you care about how you look (all in moderation; I'm not talking vanity here so don't get it twisted), you care about yourself, and in a small way, you give yourself a little love. It can be a very attractive quality to have. What you wear on top of it all is just gravy, important gravy, but the big stuff starts from within.

See more ways to give a little love and shop what to wear, see how to wear it, and other fashion finds covering the latest trends out there.