Get My Look | What I Wear When I Don't Want to Ask Twice

Ouch, I know right? The title of this one seems a little on the Miranda (sounds like Anna) from 'Devil Wears Prada' side of things. A little demanding, a little, "I can't spare a minute for your follow-up question," and a little, well you get the picture. 

There are those days when you just want to be taken seriously and heard the first time around. For myself, those days usually begin with a feeling of, "I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through this one." They are few and far between thank goodness, but they still pop up. You know the ones I'm talking about. We've all been there. I call them my left-foot, right-foot days (my father coined this term for me, and it fits perfectly).

It was on those days when I would lean on my wardrobe to speak for me when maybe my voice (and the rest of my self) felt a little too weary to do it.

A look like the one below (or something similar that would include one of my favorite blazers from my growing, Imelda-like collection) fits the fashion bill perfectly. It's simple, yet effective style. The volume on this look isn't cranked up too loud. I find that when people speak softly and slowly, I tend to lean in to hear what they have to say. There's strength in subtlety, and in fashion, each piece in your ensemble is a word. It's just another language you're speaking whether you like it or not (I happen to love love love it). Choose your words. Figure out what message you want to send.

In this case, the message is strong, polished, pulled together, and means business (plus a little fun; hence the pop of red in the lip). This is the kind of look I would dream about wearing when I was a little girl. Some girls got googley-eyed over the floral and frilly side of fashion. I went weak in the knees when it came to the bold, Madonna circa the Express Yourself  side of the fashion coin (sans anatomically correct power-suit cut-outs, because that would just be awkward let alone completely inappropriate). 

Enough chit chat. This is what I wear (one iteration of it) when I don't want to ask twice:

what i wear when 1

The look summed up in a nutshell: Cinching to highlight the waist, a sky-high platform heel to elongate under those perfect black trousers, a key-hole silk blouse reminiscent of another favorite leading woman of mine, Katherine Hepburn (she probably wouldn't have gone for the key-hole cut out, but I'm sticking with the reference), and finally, a streak of saturated red smacked straight on a full lip, just cause.

It's the kind of look I would throw on and never think about again going throughout my day. The kind of look that would leave me walking a bit taller, maybe a bit stronger. It's the kind of look that screams "authority" (you can be authoritative AND kind in my book), fashion or otherwise. And finally, this is the kind of look that, when it passes you by, you make sure you're words are clear because you know the person wearing it isn't going to pause too long for anyone to repeat what they're trying to say. She's going places.

Shop the Look below:

 

 

That's just one look to get your fashion engines revving up a bit. It's all about being inspired AND (can't have one without the other) remaining open to your own personal style possibilities. Sometimes you just need to sit back, open your eyes, dream a little, and get out of your own way. *Moment of author/owner transparency: I say this to you and yet am still learning to take my own advice.

Keep the shopping momentum going strong with the perfect next step, the Cliffs Notes shopping experience known as the virtual Closet, lined with favorites from all of my top shopping sites out there. The work is done for you and updated weekly. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to click on a fashion category and see what else is out there that you may have never found had you not stopped right here. It's kismet people. Click away:

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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

Product Review | Steve Madden's Realove Ankle Strap Sandal

It's product review time, and the latest purchase I'm following up on are the Steve Madden ankle strap sandals.

I was packing for my recent trip to San Francisco when it occurred to me that, for every evening look I put in the suitcase, I couldn't come up with a pair of comfortable black shoes that I can actually walk long distances (not to mention, up and down some particularly hairy and dangerous hills, especially after having spent the last ten years living on the ridiculously flat-as-a-pancake land that covers Dallas, Texas) in.

So, naturally I went on the hunt for a shoe that would get a lot of use, whatever city my virtual styling and shopping business takes me to. Low and behold, the latest addition to my closet that I would definitely qualify as an essential to any wardrobe:

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Here's how I saw it on-line at Amazon. No major differences which isn't too surprising. You can't really over-style a basic black, ankle strap sandal. 

as seen on amazon

From the back...

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Side angle love...

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Here's the review. I'm going with a simple, three-question evaluation system:

1. What do I like about the shoe? Easy, they go with everything I own in the closet. I tried them on and they're actually comfortable to boot (no pun intended; they're sandals after all). The look is exactly what I was going for, minimal, with a little 'oomph' courtesy of the thin metallic strap going across the toe. The heel height is fine for me (4.5"), and the pitch (angle the shoe has my heel at) is also beyond bearable. It's high, don't get me wrong, but they're definitely easy to walk in. Plus, one more thing to adore is the ankle strap. The shoes stay on my feet, right where they're supposed to. I threw in a little foot cushion to make sure I could stay comfy, and they've done wonders. Sometimes I'll go up a half size for comfort, but I stuck with an 8, and they work perfectly (true to size fit).  One more pro, I bought them through Amazon, I'm a Prime member, so free two-day shipping is definitely a massive bonus. For $79.95, I know I'll be getting plenty of use out of them. No question. 

2. What don't I like about the shoe? Right, you should know this but it bears repeating, I am not paid one cent to review this merchandise. Integrity people, that's what I'm talking about here. I don't get paid to write the review, I don't have the product sent to me, I'm just an industry insider who believes that you should get what you pay for, i.e. value. That said, here is some honest feedback about the 'cons' on this sandal.

You really do need to go out and buy a little foot cushion, especially for the toe bed. The heel height means you'll be putting a little extra pressure there, and with no platform, there's very little buffering between your foot and the surface you're walking on. When it's the sidewalks of San Fran, or just standing on a marble floor during a house party for a few hours, you will need a little lovin in the way of a foot pad. Trust me on that one. Save yourself the pain. And now I'm getting nit picky...The buckle on the ankle strap on the right shoe seems to wander off to the other side of my foot. The strap isn't sewn in place, so it moves around your ankle. Is it uncomfortable? Nope. Still, it's odd looking to have on buckle hitting the outside of the ankle and another buckle hitting the inside of the ankle. Odd, but true. It has only been a month since I've had them so the heel caps have held up.

Usually I have an issue with this as I've been known to have a pretty hard walk. I hit the floor with a vengeance, not sure why, but I've been told people can hear me coming a mile away. It must have something to do with finally being able to get away with wearing heels after years of trying on shoes in my mother's closet, only to have to take them off before I went to school. I take pride in rocking a heel, you'll rarely see me in flats, so when I walk, I really walk. Unfortunately, this also means the consistent need for replacement of heel caps. So far, so good on these sandals, but it's just a matter of time. I wouldn't hold that against them though.

Other than that, the fit is fine, the construction, solid enough for the price, and I can wear them for more than a few hours without holding back tears. Those days are done by the way, no more shoes that make me want to well up at the sheer thought of throwing them onto my feet. 

3. Am I keeping these shoes? Yes. They're sticking around and have now found a new home in my closet. I'm happy to report that they're getting along well with the rest of the 'crew.'

Finding the right shoe is step 1, figuring out how to wear it using what's in my closet is the second half of the equation. This is exactly what I do for my clients, but it started with me. 

Here are two looks to inspire ways to wear these new additions to my closet:

look1_header

This is a more casual take on how to wear the sandals. Mind you, for San Fran, this would probably be considered a bit more dressed up. Potato, pot-ah-toe. I didn't put a red lipstick in there, but I love the idea of it for evening, or day for that matter. Why not?

look 1_how to wear ankle strap sandals

1. Pleione Mixed Media Shirt (www.nordstrom.com), 2. Current/Elliott High-rise Skinny Jeans (www.theoutnet.com), 3. Steve Madden Realove Ankle-Strap Pumps (www.amazon.com), 4. Marc by Marc Jacobs The Classic Q Hillier Hobo  (www.net-a-porter.com), 5. Maiyet Natural Horn & 18kt Gold Plated Necklace (www.luisaviaroma.com), 6. Carrera Eyewear Retro Sunglasses (www.nordstrom.com)

look2_header

Dressing things up a bit with a super-feminine black dress, tough-girl leather jacket (loving the yin and yang of those two), a playful pink lip to add some color, and accessories with plenty of shine. 

look 2_how to wear ankle strap sandals

1. ASOS Sequin Dress with Fitted Bodice (www.asos.com), 2. Rick Owens Leather Jacket (www.theoutnet.com), 3. Steve Madden Realove Ankle-Strap Pumps (www.amazon.com), 4. Monserat de lucca Marciela Cross Body Bag (www.shopbop.com), 5. Rachel Zoe Teardrop Earrings (www.shopbop.com), 6. Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color (www.nordstrom.com)

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The product reviews just keep coming. There's plenty more on the way, in the mean time, check out other reviews here and get more inspiration on all things that cover what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop.