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.

Runway to Reality | How to Wear a Tweed Dress for Fall. The Biker Look Gets Polished Up

Fashion Yin & Yang. A Rough, Yet Refined, Runway Look from Belstaff Inspires How to Wear a Tweed Dress

The runway look from Belstaff pretty much sums up the style inspiration perfectly. Rich, deep colors, refined but also with some edge to it:

Next up, how to take the runway look and bring it down to earth with a little shop-by-number moment. Here's how to wear the tweed dress using the designer inspiration:

Shop the look: 1-Levi's Made & Crafted Levi's Vintage Clothing Leather Biker Jacket (www.net-a-porter.com), 2-Kookai Tweed Dress With Leather Details (www.us.asos.com), 3-Casadei Knee High Boot (www.farfetch.com), 4-Yves Saint Laurent Gourmette Gold-plated Crystal Bracelet (www.net-a-porter.com)

Time to get/shop up close and personal and see why this look works...

1.

Why this works: A motorcycle jacket is a classic in any wardrobe. The asymmetrical zipper along the front minimizes, so 'apple' body types, this can be a fabulous thing for you. Not that you shouldn't flaunt it if you've got it, but a little streamlining is always a good thing. The key on leather jackets is in the shoulders. If you try them on and go from female to linebacker, i.e., if there's more than an inch of extra padding or material on the shoulders and upper arms, keep shopping. A tight fit, not to the point of you being unable to lift your arms above 'mummy-walk,' height, but enough that it's close to your actual body, can make a world of difference. It keeps the look modern. Bring it to a tailor if you must. And for the motorcycle jacket, you can bend a bit with this advice. The silhouette lends itself to a bit more volume. Just keep the rest of the ensemble slim if that's the case.

One biker jacket will never do, even though I'm swooning over this one. See more jackets, leather and otherwise, in the StyleShaker Closet:

2.

Why this works: The seaming detail on this tweed dress at the slimmest part of the body is key. Empire (sounds more like, 'umpire,') waistlines accentuate the positive and bring the eyeline right where you want it. The hook closure along the bust is also a sweet detail here making a vertical line (streamlining yet again) that, when combined with the wide scoop neck, makes the dress universally flattering. Smaller bust? The empire waist accentuates. Bigger bust? The neckline keeps things from crossing the line. No need to give 'em a show, but that doesn't mean curves should be hidden. Always follow your lines, they're your guide and it's good to stay within them. Subtle can be sexy.

Finally, warning, cap sleeves are not your friend if you're looking at your arms and thinking about how you should really invest in some free weights already. Cap sleeves will accentuate the upper arm. Go with a three quarter length sleeve to minimize. You should feel strong in this, not obsessed with what doesn't work, but empowered by what does. So, if you need to, make the mini-adjustment, it's easy enough to do...

There are plenty more dress options lining the walls of the StyleShaker Closet:

3.

Why this works: Um, why would a chocolate brown, croc-embossed, knee high leather boot ever not work? Well, right, I know, if you have calf issues, this may not be the boot of choice. But by all means, take the silhouette as a cue for finding something similar AND with a little elastic inset. It's out there.

The runway look shows a bare leg. That's all fine and good, unless you're in Chicago and it's January, ah memories. Throw in an opaque tight, yes, I said opaque, in brown to keep things in line. If you're more on the petite side, I would also definitely recommend this approach. Cutting off the eye-line at the knee is all fine and good when you've got height, but when you're pushing five-one on a good day, throw on some tights, opt out of a boot with a nude pump, or go back to tights and sub-in a fold-over ankle bootie. Let's just say, you've got options, and speaking of...

Shop more boots, pumps, flats, ok fine, all of the shoes we have lined up in the StyleShaker Closet:

4.

Why this works: The chain bracelet works well back to the tougher biker-jacket look on this ensemble. It's the perfect addition to balance out the overall, masculine/feminine look. And, B., how could a gold-plated chain bracelet ever not work? It's stunning. I'm swooning. 'Nuff said.

Shop more jewelry, bracelets & beyond:

There you have it, how to wear a tweed dress for Fall, all inspired by a little runway moment from Belstaff's Fall 2012 collection. I always go back to the archives for inspiration when it comes to figuring out what to wear for myself, but also for my clients. It's a quick reference point that can inspire any variation on the ensemble theme. I happen to consider my wall of inspiration the ace up my sleeve. If I'm ever in a jam with what to wear, pack, etc, I go to it, take in the eye candy, and inevitably figure out the perfect look.

If the wall or this post doesn't cut it for you and you're still puzzled on how to pull off the ankle bootie you just bought, or the printed wrap dress that may be better for evening than daytime, ask away. Send an image and your question, we will follow up with a quick solution and look. Done and done.

Keep the shopping momentum going and see more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop, here.