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.

look2

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.

 

Look-spiration | Cozy Sweater Styling Indecision Means Bonus Looks for You

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Look-spiration | Cozy Sweater Styling Indecision Means Bonus Looks for You

This is not a one-and-done kind of fashion situation people. Nope. It's all over the place. Ok I'm exaggerating, it's a double-take because this girl couldn't make up her mind when it came to cozy sweater options. What else is new?

Here's what's up: Inspiration hit via an image from the latest Lucky Magazine, (read: a random shot of Blake Lively nestled in the lower lefthand corner of this month's glossy caught my eye) & it called for a re-creation moment.

Cue: My Insta-inspiration (click to follow The StyleShaker on Instagram)

instainspiration

That said, I couldn't make up my mind between the J. Crew v-neck and the more voluminous Jonathan Saunders option. Both fit the fashion bill, bringing volume to the top half of the equation in relatively soft neutral tones, and yet, the overall look is different. J.Crew keeps it classic, it's what they do, it's why we love them. Saunders on the other hand, adds volume and shape with a keen attention to detail that usually comes with a higher-end label, let alone price point. Both are gorge, and both needed to have their cameo:

how to wear an oversized sweater with skinny jeans

sources: 1 | J. Crew Cashmere Sweater (www.net-a-porter.com), 2| J BRAND 'Maria high rise' skinny jean (www.farfetch.com), 3 | Jerome Dreyfuss Ponyhair Carlos Tote (www.barneys.com), 4 | Manolo Blahnik Pointed Toe Suede Pump  (www.hirshleifers.com), 5 | House of Harlow 1960 Metallic Flatpick Necklace (www.shopbop.com), 6 | Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Sunglasses (www.shopbop.com)

how to wear an oversized sweater with skinny jeans

sources: 1 | Jonathan Saunders Poppy angora-blend sweater (www.net-a-porter.com),  2| J BRAND 'Maria high rise' skinny jean (www.farfetch.com), 3 | Jerome Dreyfuss Ponyhair Carlos Tote (www.barneys.com), 4 | Manolo Blahnik Pointed Toe Suede Pump  (www.hirshleifers.com), 5 | House of Harlow 1960 Metallic Flatpick Necklace (www.shopbop.com), 6 | Ray-Ban Original Wayfarer Sunglasses (www.shopbop.com)

Fashion inspiration, or what I lovingly call, 'look-spiration,' is all fine and good. Actually it's more than fine and good. Inspiration is kind of a big deal. We all need it from time to time, to stay fresh, keep us on our toes, and above all, push us to think (or even better, take action) outside of our comfort zones. Inspiration comes in so many forms, you don't have to look to hard, you just have to keep your eyes open.

Today, inspiration comes to you courtesy of two style-by-number looks. But what to wear is only half of the story. A great half, but it's just 50%. The other half, the reason I've been able to reach triple digits on my roster of amazing personal (and virtual) styling clients, is because knowing what to wear won't get you anywhere unless you get the 'how to wear it for your body type' part of the equation.

You can certainly have one (what to wear) without the other (how to wear it for your body type) IF you're into having a full closet and nothing to wear, or even worse, wearing the same 10% of what's hanging in your closet on heavy rotation. Go for it, but I don't recommend that route.

Try this instead: First things first, we need to define your body type (pear, apple, hourglass, or rectangle; sign up for emails to get priority access to not only the Weekend Warrior Shopping Lists but also I'm compiling the sickest, simplest, most on-point fashion guide to help you figure out what your 'type' is). Got it? Ok good. Now that we know what we're working with, the next question is, will this look work for you?

body type img

Answer:

Rectangles, you've officially found your happy place. The length of the sweater on this one makes it a tough call for Hourglass and Pear shapes. But Rectangles, you have the ability to pull of the additional volume on top as long as you keep the streamlined leg and a heel. I would say lean more towards the pink Jonathan Saunders option, but both work well for your shape.

Now, on to the Apple ladies out there. The v-neck action and emphasis on the hem of both sweaters works well for you, pulling the eye-line down and balancing out proportions. The only major change for the Apples out there would be to swap out the skinny leg for a boot cut option. It will keep proportions in-line. For my petite Apples, go with the J.Crew option, less bulk will be key, and be sure that the hem doesn't fall too far below your hips (too far will stunt you a bit, never fun).

Hourglasses, you could do this but the volume on top will just add to any bust-line your working with, and not in a flattering way. Keep to a more structured look to stay on-point when it comes to your silhouette. What am I talking about when I say 'structured'? Seamed details, a more body-conscious fit, something that will hug you, but not too tight.

And finally, Pears, the length of the sweaters will be a make or break for you here. Since both of these sweaters will hang closer to your natural hipline (drawing the eye right where you don't want it to go), you should look in the other direction. A slimed down sweater that hits at the waist would work, just be sure to keep the skinny leg dark and always, I mean always, wear some sort of a heel in this scenario. Extend the vertical eye-line and all is right with the world.

See more when it comes to what to wear, how to wear it, and to get dibs on the Lookbook launch that is on the horizon.

How-to Tuesdays | How to Wear Pastels & Not Look Like an Easter Egg

It sounds simple enough, but all too often, mixing pastels can go very wrong very quickly. So, how do you pull off those pale pastels and make them look modern on holidays that don't involve talking white bunnies and egg hunts? Before I get to that answer, I have another question for you:

Do you remember paint-by-number? Right, well this is Style-by-Number. There's no paint brush involved, but it is the simplest, step-by-step formula to getting the look you want (for your body type). You won't even miss the brush, promise. It's the exact same premise as the fail-proof canvases you remember so well. Everything is laid out for you, all you have to do is connect the dots.

So, on to the answer, here's one way to wear pastels for an easy, polished daytime look:

4_hourglass

sources: 1. Vince Camuto Mixed Media Button Up Shirt (www.vincecamuto.com), 2. Isabel Marant Leon High-rise Flared Jeans (www.matchesfashion.com), 3. Bond Girl Pump (www.nastygal.com), 4. Rebecca Minkoff Skylar Large Studded Leather Crossbody (www.forzieri.com), 5. Kelly Wearstler Sonya Ring (www.kellywearstler.com), 6. Rebecca Minkoff Multi Feather Necklace (www.shopbop.com)

Looks used as inspiration are a fabulous thing. I've used them to help my personal styling clients see new ways to wear what they have in their closets time and time again. You've got your glossy mags, catalogs, and let's not even get started on the Pinterest boards. Inspiration is not scarce, this we know. What IS missing from the equation is how to actually pull off these looks for YOUR personal BODY TYPE.

Knowing what to wear is one thing. Knowing how to wear it is a fundamental part of building one's wardrobe and updating your personal style. You can't have one without the other. Scratch that, you can have one without the other but it tends to leave you with a full closet and nothing to wear. Sound familiar?

Today's How-to Tuesday look is perfect for a couple of the body types. I'll break it down for you and give you a snippet of what you can expect to receive in your monthly Body Type Lookbooks (more to come on that very soon).

For now, Hourglass ladies, this one is for you, and I'll tell you why:

The blouse offers some coverage while the v-neck elongates. The neckline is also where you can show off your assets without going too far. It's a family-show kind of look with a little edge after all. The neutral beige on top is your best friend when pairing it back to a pastel. Balance out the colors out a bit so you don't go overboard with brights.

The flare leg, Isabel Marant jean works well for several body types actually. Not only does the silhouette work for Hourglasses, but Apples and Rectangles can play here too. If you fear the flare, by all means, go for a toned down version in a boot cut. No harm done. The goal is to balance out the proportions on top with the bottom half of the look. Pears can pass due to the color. Go with something in a darker wash.

Tip: If the top hits too far below the waist of the jean, this look is out for you Hourglasses. With this look you want to highlight the narrowest part of your frame, your waist, and if the shirt goes on forever, you're defeating the whole point.

If you have a longer torso you can always tuck it in. If you're short-waisted, then make sure you leave it out, or just switch to a classic, clean v-neck tee. The fit of the top should be close to the body at the bust-line and then stay streamlined from there, but not too body-hugging (i.e. it shouldn't make you feel like a stuffed sausage). The jeans follow suit with those fit guidelines.

The shoes (love, love, love, obsessed, adore...) are perfect to pair with the look because they're subtle and neutral. You will also be able to put them with a ton of other spring/summer looks you have. The focus is not on the shoes, plus the flare leg will cover them up so don't waist your time there. The cross-body bag is probably, along with the jean, one of the more trend-forward pieces in this style-by-number equation. I fell in love with the lavender. A 'cooler' hue works well back to the warm pink on the jeans so if lavender isn't your thing, go for a pale, dusty blue or just put everything back to a butterscotch brown satchel and pass on the pastel all together.

This look is for you to use as inspiration, so mix-and-match as you choose. Like I mentioned earlier, style-by-number was inspired by paint-by-number, but this time around, you're definitely allowed to pick what colors you want to go where. And if you're anything like me, this will be nothing new to you (visual: paint-by-number canvases of my 10 year old past self showing scenes of lake houses that had magenta roofs, coral waters, and robin's egg blue trees; following directions have never been my thing).

On to more inspiration on everything from what to wear to how to wear it for your body type, all right here.

Get the Look | When Feeling Frou Frou is a Fashion Force to be Reckoned With

It's time to get the look...What exactly does feeling 'frou frou' entail you ask? Good question. It's different for everyone, but for me, 'frou frou' (also the name of a great electronic duo in music) means embellished. It's all in the details and 'frou frou' details usually have a strong femme spin on them. What better way to pull off said feminine focus than with strips of curled silk organza attached to a mini right? Throw in some studs, a clean white blazer for some coverage, gold, lots of gold, and you have yourself a bold evening look. This girl isn't drinking Cosmos, nope, she's more of a Satan's Circus kinda gal. Tough, sweet, and a little spicy.

Check out the look I'm loving:

look

Giuseppe Zanotti Bootie giuseppezanottidesign.com

Michael Kors Gia Studded Metallic Leather Clutch Bag (gold only available) neimanmarcus.com

ASOS Boxchain Choker necklace (SOLD OUT: shop more necklaces here) asos.com

 

Look-spiration is one thing. It's a very important part of any fashion equation. But if there's anything I've learned over the past decade in the fashion industry and more recently, working with my personal styling/shopping clients, it's that the 'what to wear' is only one half of the equation. It only makes sense, comes to life, when you add the other half, the 'how to wear' it half. Bottom line, you can't have one without the other. Well, I lie, actually you can have one without the other, and many of you I'm sure do. How can you tell? Easy, two questions:

1. You have a full closet and nothing to wear.

2. You keep wearing the same twenty percent that's in your closet, leaving the other eighty percent of what's hanging in there feeling ridiculously neglected (read: collecting dust before you gather up the strength to donate or list on ebay).

Sound familiar? I know. I have built a business on the above two style dilemmas and now, I'm taking it beyond my personal one-on-one clients via my Virtual Lookbooks, e-guides that spell out what looks are best for your body type. Allow me to repeat that, 'best for YOUR body type.' You can look through glossy mags and catalogs until the cows come home, but if you don't know how to take that inspiration and make it work for you then what's the point right?

Contact me to learn more about how to get your hands on one of my Lookbooks here.

In the mean time, there's always more to see. Get back to more inspiration here.

Get My Look | What I Wear to Pay Homage to the Hourglass Silhouette

Setting the intention: With everything I do on this site, my intention is simply to inspire you. It always has been and it always will be. Should you crack a smile on top of this, then my day is made. On to the Get My Look post.

Remember Fruit Stripe Gum? Remember how not good it was and yet we still went back to it for some reason? Anyway, nostalgic moment aside, the stripes kept me coming back for more (along with the instantaneous sugar fix) back in the eighties, and they still do the same thing for me today. Case in point, I found this striped pencil skirt and have been obsessed with it ever since.

Note: Don't freak out about having stripes on the lower half of your body. I'm not going to say this look is for everyone, that's not the point. But I can tell you that the old fashion rule that has kept so many (I hear this from clients all the time, almost as much as I get the wearing white after Labor Day or mixing metals question...almost) running in the opposite direction of a simple stripe is not necessary. Sure, if you have bright, wide stripes running right across the widest part of your body, you may want to walk away. But there's definitely a way to incorporate stripes into any fashion equation, even when it involves the bottom half of a look.

Case in point, here's today's look, what I wear when I want to work all angles of my hourglass silhouette & embrace a strong stripe moment without crossing over the line into Tacky Land (it's a scary place filled with bedazzled belts & tie-dyed hair scrunchies). Time to Get My Look:

get my look, what I wear when I want to work my hourglass silhouette

In order to Get My Look, you'll be needing to shop my look. Here's how (click the pics below):

Vince Fav Tank Top farfetch.com

Kelly Wearstler Sonya Ring kellywearstler.com

Gorjana Fatima Layered Necklace- (SOLD OUT shop more necklaces here) shopbop.com

Get My Look | The Body Type Breakdown: Obviously this is going to go well with most hourglass silhouettes. The stripes are thin enough at the hip to keep things looking long and lean, not the other way around. If that was a big wide yellow stripe, I would not be using the skirt in any look. But what about the other body types out there? How does this pencil skirt look stack up for the Pears, the Rectangles, and the Apples of the bunch? Good question...here's your answer:

body type img with checks

Rectangles, you are good to go. Hourglasses, this one is made for you if you're ok with flaunting what you've got. There's a way to do it without giving away all the mystery. This would be it. There's something about putting it all on display that reads a little boring to me. I know, I know, not the descriptor you would think I'd use, but it just says to me that there's little creativity there. There are ways to highlight your assets, and I whole-heartedly believe in doing that. Key word: highlight, not shine a spotlight on. The tank top is body-conscious, along with the skirt, so there's a definite silhouette that is drawn, but at least there's coverage and a little print (in this case, stripes) to keep things interesting. Throw in the accessories, and it all goes from interesting to polished.

Pears, you may want to go with a solid color on this one. You could try the stripes, but solids would be a better bet.

Apples, this exact look is not necessarily in your style 'wheelhouse.' Try going with a top that moves a bit further away from the torso, maybe a looser tee, but keep the constructed neckline. You want to add a little volume, again, something in the form of a peplum and not just bulk, to the waist to balance out your proportions. It's always worth trying out, but again, this is not your go-to look as shown. Tweak a little bit here and there, and you're good to go!

There's always more where that came from. Loving the pencil skirt but maybe wanting to find something sans stripes? What about the black top? Love it but a v-neck is not exactly what you're going for? No worries. It's all about having options and they're lined up right here, along these virtual shelves (updated weekly) for you to pick and chose from. Check out the StyleShaker Closet, category by fashion category below and see what other favorites are out there:

closetfeature

The StyleShaker is all about inspiration. Shopping inspiration, fashion inspiration, Look inspiration, and now inspiration via quotes.

It's one of my favorite things to do, share quotes that resonate with me, with my friends, so I'm incorporating into a few posts, just, cause. Take a minute, take a breath, take a step back and just be for a second. Fill up that part of yourself. Like I said, my intention is to inspire so have at it, and by all means, get inspired:

Time for a quote close up:
quote

Get back to more inspiration when it comes to what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop:

get inspired

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:

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

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

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

The StyleShaker

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

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

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

quote

source: www.behappy.me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Past,

Thank you.

Dear Future,

Who's next?

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

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:

steve madden sandal img

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...

alt shot 3

Side angle love...

alt shot 1

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.

What to Wear, How to Wear It: Equipment's Bright Yellow Silk Blouse

Meet 'Adrianna,' the super-saturated yellow silk blouse from Equipment. Check it out before you see how to wear it...

1 Adriana Shirt in Blazing Yellow

Right, and here we go with how to wear the yellow silk blouse in question. Keep it simple and don't get scared off by the concept of working a pop color into your everyday wardrobe:

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source: 1. Equipment Adriana Silk Blouse (www.piperlime.gap.com), 2. Citizens of humanity Racer Skinny Jeans (www.shopbop.com), 3. Foley + Corinna Mid City Tote (www.stefanibags.com), 4. BCBG Paris Jaze d'Orsay Pump (www.dsw.com), 5. House of Harlow 1960 Zig Zag Tribal Collar Necklace (www.zappos.com)

The picks used to pull together the look around this lemony-yellow silk blouse are all lined up to shop on this post as well as in the StyleShaker Closet. You'll also find the rest of our fashion favorites, hand-picked and pulled every week to line the virtual walls. Check it out and keep the shopping spree going strong here:

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These looks are your style inspiration. Sometimes inspiration only gets you so far. That's when the Weekly Lookbooks come in handy. It's that added 'oomph' of styling direction using picks from your own closet. No more, 'what am I going to wear?' See how it works.

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

the look montage

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...

the look montage

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.

the look montage

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.

montage

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.

the look montage

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...

the look montage

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:

top lookbook sell banner

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 Shopping List | From Feathered Booties to Cat Eye Sunnies, The Gang's All Here

I just realized I haven't had any sunglasses up and running on the StyleShaker shopping lists as of late, and for no good reason. For shame.

I will say however, that Tom Ford's Bardot Cat Eye sunglasses make up for any accessory deficit there was. Follow those sunnies up with a feathered ankle boot, the perfect jumper from Wildfox Couture, and a leather jacket to put all other leather jackets to shame from none other than Mackage, and today it shaping up to be a very good day...

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1.

Are you as in love with these as I am? Cat eyes are settling into their new home on every fashion trend list out there. Surely you can see why. Meow...

1 Tom Ford Black Bardot Cat Eye Acetate Sunglasses

2.

Warning: don't forget to blink. These feather ankle boots form Nicholas Kirkwood will stun you, in a good way. In the best of ways. Navy suede....mmmm hmmm.

2 Nicholas Kirkwood Feather Boot Navy Suede

3.

3 Juliet & Company Aimer Sucreries Necklace

4.

If you follow the StyleShaker you know about my raging addiction to all things 'jacket.' Throw the word leather in front of that, and I go into a full-blown shopping frenzy. Restraints may be necessary. Mackage is today's enabler:

4 Mackage Black Wool Trim Leather Jacket

5.

5 Wildfox Couture Leopard Spots Baggy Beach Jumper In

source: 1. Tom Ford Black Bardot Cat Eye Sunglasses (www.my-wardrobe.com), 2. Nicholas Kirkwood Feather Boot Navy Suede (www.elizabeth-charles.com), 3. Juliet & Company Aimer Sucreries Necklace (www.shopbop.com), 4. Mackage Wool Trim Leather Jacket (www.ssense.com), 5. Wildfox Couture Leopard Spots Baggy Beach Jumper  (www.shopthetrendboutique.com

See where the rest of the picks go when they're not making their shopping cameos on the site. It's a little spot we lovingly call our 'happy place.' Check out the StyleShaker virtual closet:

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And if there ever was a time to get some quotable inspiration, now would be it right? Right. Cue a little enlightenment from the complex mind of Edgar Allen Poe:

quotes

Why save all of your dreams for when you're eyes are closed? Seriously, when you walk down the street (or through the halls of the office building, etc) with open eyes, truth really can be stranger than fiction.

It may just be me, but when I get down to some creative writing time (which is never enough in my everyday life), I've penned some pretty interesting stories of characters based (not even close to loosely) on the people I've worked with over the years. These day dreaming moments were my sanctuary in the middle of board meetings that would include forty page decks punctuated by hundreds of bullet points each explained by one monotonous voice or another.

My imagination saved me on those days. Without it, I'd probably have turned cubicle-beige on the inside, and that's just not right.

Make it a game. Try to find something extraordinary in the ordinary today. It's easier than you think.

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

Today's Shopping List, There's a Reason Why Necklaces Have Stuck Around Since the Stone Age

Necklaces are nothing new, in fact, the gorgeous, shoppable creations out there today are just modern variations on an ancient theme as old as time. The necklace is still around for good reason, several good reasons in fact, and today, you'll see five of them...

today's top five shopping list picks

1.

Color therapy in necklace form is what we have going on with Aurelie Bidermann's 'Do Brasil' piece below. A necklace can elevate any tee-and-jeans look to an entirely different level, bringing light and color around the face (right where you usually want it), and making a look all your own. They don't call them 'statement necklaces' for nothing. We're not in the business of whispering here...

1 Aurelie Bidermann Do Brasil Necklace

2.

2 Belle Noel Enameled Modernista Necklace

3.

I have a couple of go-to, long gold necklaces in my jewelry arsenal. I layer them up or streamline with one depending on the mood and look. It's absolutely an easy essential you should have in your mix, and what better way to cover your jewelry bases than with this double rope necklace from Gorjana?

3 Gorjana Double Rope Necklace

4.

4 AV Max Gold Link Necklace

5.

Meet a modern example of the statement necklace. An encrusted collar that looks very fancy-pants is best thrown into a crew-neck sweater/top situation these days. Meshing the super-glamourous with something a bit more casual is a simple way to bring your style quotient up a level, and plus, it means you get to play 'dress-up' as an adult. This time you get to wear it out of the house (sans boa and chalk-blue eyeshadow; child of the eighties).

5 J.Crew Crystal Encrusted Collar Necklace

source: 1. Aurelie Bidermann Do Brasil Necklace (www.shopbop.com), 2. Belle Noel Enameled Modernista Necklace (www.shopbop.com), 3. Gorjana Double Rope Necklace (www.shopbop.com), 4. AV Max Gold Link Necklace (www.shoptiques.com), 5. J.Crew Crystal Encrusted Collar Necklace (www.net-porter.com)

See more when it comes to necklaces, jewelry, and every other fashion category they have out there. There are plenty for fashion favorites out there lined up and ready for your viewing pleasure in the StyleShaker Closet. Click to keep the shopping momentum going strong:

shop the closet

Time for a zen moment, inhale, and go:

quotes

I love words, I should, I'm a writer in all of my spare time. That said, sometimes words do fail me. When it comes to definitions and placing things in their appropriate 'boxes' whether they belong in there or not, can complicate things when you're looking for the exact opposite, or clarification.

Happiness is one of those 'things' we all try to define, and yet no one really can with one universal sentence. It is just as subjective as defining what the word 'love' or 'god' means to a person, hence G.K. Chesterton's (great name, seriously, great name) quote.

People will always ask, always. Sometimes it's perfectly fine to not have an answer for them. Sometimes the only answer you know is the one that can only be translated by your core self, and maybe, that's where it belongs for now. Words can only take us so far after all, the rest is up to what's inside us, the undefinable space that makes us who we are and guides us in the directions we choose to go in. Explanations can be overrated.

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

Today's Shopping List Zen Moment: Keep Your Heels, Head, & Standards High

The list has been picked apart, narrowed down, and edited to a 't,' all to get to five more shopping favorites that go from a ridiculously versatile blouse to a silk shirt-dress that makes me want to order a Shirley Temple (a.k.a the drink of my childhood, and what led me to my love affair with red dye #2 & grenadine at an early age) just to coordinate...

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This is a go-to blouse that can actually be used as an everyday basic, but looks special thanks to all the small embellishments from seaming details to a an almost-bib like, uber-feminine front. Work this into a professional look by adding a black pencil skirt and pumps, or go weekend casual with a pair of skinny jeans (medium wash, maybe even distressed) and neutral flats. Either way, I love the idea of a red lip with it, in both instances. Red lipstick always feels like cause for a celebration, so sure, it may be putting the cart before the horse, but if you build it (or wear it) they will come.

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I wasn't familiar with the name Gianna Meliani until I discovered these heels, and now I'm obsessed. The suede upper is a luxe touch back to the rest of the leather on the shoe. As far as them slipping on, I'm not sure, but for now, that doesn't matter. What's in a product title anyway (my e-commerce colleagues are cringing, I can feel it). Really gorgeous design and craftsmanship, I'll always tip my hat to that in the fashion industry, always. Well done.

4.

5.

Why fix it if it isn't broken, right? This 5 Station Necklace is a signature look from House of Harlow 1960. It keeps coming back for more each season, and for good reason, it just works. I'm a fan of evolving, the Neiman Marcus handbag buying office clued me in on how important it is to not rest on one's 'it-bag' laurels, but when you've got a good thing going, why overhaul? Make new friends but keep the old, I forget the rest of the saying, so on to the necklace product shot:

source: 1. Daniel Rainn Coco Blouse (www.piperlime.gap.com), 2. Aldo Fabiank Clutch (www.aldoshoes.com), 3. Gianna Meliani Closed-Toe Slip-Ons (www.yoox.com), 4. Splendid Washed-Crepe Shirt Dress (www.net-a-porter.com), 5. House Of Harlow 1960 5 Station Necklace (www.piperlime.gap.com

Shop the rest of the picks lining the walls, and updated weekly, in the virtual StyleShaker closet:

Ah yes, we've come to quote time yet again, my favorite...Here it is:

This one is for the ladies. Amen on the heels, that's just me, I walk like a duck in flats.

Double amen on keeping one's head high. Life comes at you when you least expect it. Sometimes it can knock you down and break you apart. That's when space is made for the really good stuff you would have never seen otherwise, mind you, at the time of said 'blue period,' the warm fuzzy, sunshine and unicorn moments coming your way couldn't feel further away. So annoying, but it's the truth.

That's the moment when you follow the wise words of the above quote, let alone Tupac, and trust that "you gotta keep your head up." And yes, I just mentioned Tupac in a shopping list post. Take THAT (cue subsequent eye-roll from industry people).

But the most important piece of the puzzle in the above quote, in my opinion, is the 'standards' part. I can't speak for everyone on this so I'll speak for myself. I'm don't proclaim to be even semi-closet a 'Wise Sage' status here, I admittedly have plenty left to learn (thank god or else things would get boring), but I do know that, at this point in my life, high standards equate to respecting one's self, and/or self-worth. If you don't respect yourself, I'm not sure who will. Keep 'em high. It reminds me of a line I just heard, "we get the love we think we deserve." The question is, what do you think you deserve and are worth? Probably not something to dwell on, but it never hurts to ask right?

So, to recap, I've got the heels. Please, let's be honest, I'll always have the heels. My head is held pretty high right now, and for those down days, I've got the backup of some good people around me. Check and check. As for the standards, a year ago it was a work in progress, today, it's what I live by and continue to learn from. Check, and done.

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

Post-Turkey Detox Shopping List | Bring On the Accessories

Today it's all about accessories on the top picks pulled for the shopping list, which, mind you, was a smart move seeing as how there would be no way I could realistically write about apparel after last night's mass-consumption moment.

So, as we're all in a little bit of detox mode with Black Friday on our minds, I've decided to stick to a few gorgeous pieces, a little bit of calm in the middle of the shopping storm.

Did I fall in love on my last trip to Paris? No. Did I have a brilliant time with an unexpectedly close friend I happened to meet after several trips to California? Yes. Did we wake up to strong coffee and two croissants every morning and then proceed to walk it all off before wine at lunchtime? Yes and yes. I discovered the gold 'Paris Love Ring' from Mademoiselle Felee (the designer will soon launch a customized line of bracelets that can be personalized, bonus round)on Boticca, and instantly fell in love with it's simplicity, let alone the fact that it's made by hand. Who doesn't need a little reminder of what life is all about on their finger to look down at in the midst of the daily grind right? Love this, pun intended.

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J. Crew manages to churn out some of the most eye-catching and approachable (really decent price points) statement jewelry every season and this resin link necklace falls right in line with that. I'm a huge fan of maxing out the number of looks in your closet by combining basics (a solid core closet is key, trust me, it's also the biggest challenge I have when building a wardrobe to style-out for my clients, but it's well worth it) and switching up the jewelry/accessories involved. You can take a basic black crew-neck tee, throw on some skinny jeans, and turn it into a viable cocktail look with this necklace and the right shoes/clutch. It's so simple, and not seemingly so, it really is a no-brainer.

3.

4.

When it comes to black boots, I have a tendency to go for two things: first, a slight platform, second, I have yet to move in the way of the stacked-heel trend so I keep it a bit more stiletto. The stacked-heel is a great alternative, and a more comfy giving a more even distribution of weight, but for now, my eye goes towards bit more streamlined, cue, the below high-heeled boot from Casadei. I'm also always going to advocate investing in a great pair of black boots, spending a bit more, and then holding on to them for as long as you can. The high-maintenance (not really high at all, just don't trash 'em) is well worth it.

5.

 source: 1. Paris Love Ring Gold (www.boticca.com), 2. Alexander Wang Nadia High Heel (www.farfetch.com),  3. J. Crew Shiny Resin Link Necklace (www.jcrew.com),  4. Alexander Wang Snakeskin Trigone Large Compact Wallet (www.shopbop.com),  5. Casadei High-Heeled Boots (www.yoox.com)

Five picks are never enough, and I totally understand that. So, keep the shopping momentum going strong and take a look at what didn't make this round on the hit list, BUT, the items, the hand-picked pieces that still found their way on to the shelves lining the virtual StyleShaker closet here:

What? What's that? Oh right, it's time to take this shopping-centric post and flip it on it's fashionable head with a quote that caught my eye:

I think this one applies to more than just finding love. I think it can actually be applied to several aspects of an individual's life. There are things that  you shouldn't have to question in your life after awhile. Sure, I'm a massive, huge fan of taking a step back to reevaluate what I'm actually doing, I do it every few months to see where I'm at and if my actions are in line with what I want, or more importantly, if what I want is clear to  me. Most people avoid this introspective moment like it's the plague, but I digress...

So I'm going to flip it: If you love him, you'll know. If you don't, you'll be confused. Apply that to anything...If you want the job, you'll know. If you don't you'll be confused. Or, if you think she's your friend, you'll know. If you don't, you'll be confused. The point I'm getting to here is, that most of the time, you already know, you just need to hear yourself out.

See more when it comes to shopping, finding what to wear, how to wear it, and where to buy it.

The Shopping List Continues: From Free People's Chambray Shirt to an MK Ballerina Flat

Today's Shopping List: Chambray shirts, ankle boots, cowl necks, oh my!

Helmut, Burberry, Rag & Bone, DVF, Tory, I mean, I went heavy on the names with this one, mind you, that is not (in any way, shape, or form) a qualification for making the top 10 Shopping Lists on the StyleShaker (it doesn't hurt mind you, but it's not the end all be all).

These are ten hand-picked favorites that found their way onto today's shopping list solely because they're each amazing in their own way, whether it be a result of  a spot-on detail, or a new take on a classic  silhouette.

I love a chambray shirt. They're all over the place right now, so the velvet-lining on this classic chambray is something a bit new and different. I love Free People for a few reasons, one of which happens to be their leggings (I own a pair of seamed, 5-pocket leggings in three colors, and I'm still going back for more), but they also have amazing selections on tops. Some can go a bit overboard on the boho-chic vibe, but when they hit the nail on the head, they do it well and with originality. Case in point:

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Again with the cowl neck tops. I can't seem to get enough of them, and why not? The cowl neck is universally flattering. The neckline adds instant sophistication. You can keep a cowl neck basic, or easily add in some accessories to bring up the style quotient a bit. Helmut Lang happens to do this silhouette (amongst others) oh so well making a classic top look modern with, what feels like effortless (I can't see what's going on behind the scenes mind you, but they make it look easy) edge. This top, from anywhere really, is an essential add to one's shopping list if it's not already living in your closet, 'nuff said.

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The 'mini-Harper' bag from DVF is an easy way to add a small, not too overwhelming, pop of color into any look. I'm convinced that red essentially at the status of being a 'neutral,' color since it can work back to practically any color out there. The maraschino cherry red on this little structured shoulder bag is the perfect color to liven up a black-and-grey tweed blazer, a basic tee-and-jeans look, or an L.B.D. for evening. The fringe detail is a vintage nod to the more classic shoulder bag, but closure and hardware keep it looking so fresh and so clean, clean.

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Here it is people, after ten years in the La-La Land of luxury fashion, I've grown anti-logo. A logo is less for the wearer and more for the image he/she wants to convey. I don't equate a label to a sense of style, I never have. So when it comes to the next shopping list pick, you may think I'm a complete hypocrite. Honestly, the cap-toe on this ballerina flat just made me too happy to not have it make a rightful cameo on the site. The 'MK' logo is there, but it's not screaming, so I'm dealing with it. It's more of a little whisper back to the gold toe and heel details. I love these flats for being both preppy and polished at the same time. The metallic accents keep things from going too far into the realm of prepster, so overall, they hit a very happy medium.

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Yea, hi, hellooooo, how could this blazer not make it onto a list? It is beyond, and of course, it comes at a Burberry Prorsum (translation=it's up there to say the least) price, but I'm not thinking about that right now, I'm stuck on the peplum and I can't seem to get my eyes off of it. If you're flipping out about your hips (translation: you're not a fan of that area on your body), move along. You could go for a peplum, but you will be accentuating the hourglass, practically defining it really. On the other hand, if you're comfortable highlighting curves and want to do it in a way that is, no joke, supremely sophisticated (not to mention sexy), this is how to approach it. I'm dying over here with this blazer. I'm in love, with a piece of clothing, been here before, and I'm perfectly fine with that thank you very much.

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source: 1. Free People Blue Velvet Chambray Button-Down (www.freepeople.com), 2. Camilla Skovgaard London Ankle Boot (www.amazon.com), 3. Helmut Lang Cowl Neck Tee (www.intermixonline.com), 4. Rag & Bone Light Grey Samantha Biker Jacket (www.stylebop.com),  5. Diane Von Furstenberg Mini Harper Bag (www.shopbop.com),  6. MICHAEL Michael Kors City Logo Cap-Toe Ballerina Flats (www.cusp.com), 7. Sandy Hyun Deco Leather Bib Necklace (www.shopbop.com), 8. Helmut Lang Shale Jersey Drape Dress In Pond (www.forwardforward.com), 9. Burberry Prorsum Belted Blazer (www.farfetch.com), 10. Tory Burch 797 Satchel (www.toryburch.com)

Ten picks are never enough, this I know, but they do simplify shopping a bit and at the very least, inspire. Keep the warm-fuzzy fashion feelings going strong and keep shopping all of the hand-picked pieces we update weekly in the StyleShaker Closet:

There's always time for a quick quote, and today is one of my favorites. This is a line I heard about six months ago from a VP while attending our Monday business meeting, the one where where there's a lot of talking and  yet somehow, by some stroke of corporate luck, very little actually gets done.

An abbreviated version of this quote came out of her mouth ('if you do what you did, you get what you got') and it stuck with me. Actually, it did exactly what the VP wanted it to do, it inspired me. The only problem was, it happened to inspire me to quit my job and pursue my own business. Details.

This quote applies not only to one's occupation, but directly to fashion and personal style.

My client's come to me with certain style goals that all fall under one umbrella and that is change. They've been doing what they've been doing, living their lives according to what their priorities may have been, but those priorities have shifted, hence the need for a style shift.

Change (even though the word contains six letters) can be a four letter word for some. I happen to have an addiction to it, I crave it, you should see how often I reorganize the furniture around my home. Change really is a good thing most times, and yes, it can be scary, terrifying for sure, but that's only because we have this lovely little tendency to look at the negative side of what may happen if things change. What about the positive side of things that could start happening? I mean, what are those things, chopped liver (ew, I know, gross expression, especially when I see it in writing, but it applies)?

If you want something, stop thinking about it, and do something about it. *Sidenote: this applies to those things you want that are in-line with your true self, and come from genuine intentions (this should cancel out doing things because you think you should or to the disadvantage of others, that would completely go against the point).

Everyone says you just have to believe. Sure, but belief only gets you so far. There comes a time when your belief needs to manifest itself in physical action, small or large. For me, that time is now. What time is it for you?

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